On Time and On Budget

There’s a cliche around the City of Regina the last while. Politicians will say a project is “on time and on budget”, but fail to point out that the initial estimates for the budget and time it’s expected to be completed, are amended as the project goes along. Get support for the project by low-balling the cost estimate, then when the public is committed, up it by including all of the reasonable maintenance costs.

“McMorris says the entire project will likely cost upwards of $300 million.”

Why did the project costs change?

The Government’s total investment of $1.88 billion includes the full cost of the Bypass over the next 30 years and construction.

The previous estimates were based only on the construction-related costs. The cost of construction alone is in line with the $1.2 billion estimate.

Apr 08, 2016:

The Saskatchewan government says the asphalt on most of the ramps on the new interchange at the intersection of the Trans-Canada Highway and Pinkie Road will have to be ripped up in order to prepare for a complex new series of ramps and overpasses.

The Pinkie Road Interchange was officially opened in the fall of 2013. ”

“When it began constructing this interchange back in September 2011 the government was thinking that the South Bypass would reconnect with the Trans-Canada Highway east of Albert Street “on the curves between Wascana Parkway and Albert Street.”

However, in September 2012, a consultant recommended that the bypass connect with the Pinkie Road interchange, which was already under construction.

Did a different part of the government see they needed to make a different interchange?

March 13, 2013:

Initially only eight to 10 acres were meant to be given up by each neighbour. Now, on average, each of those impacted were made to give up 88 acres.

Siller gave up a portion of his land – as required by law – for the new interchange. The bureaucrats took more than he feels was needed with a vision to one day create a cloverleaf where the interchange is now being constructed.

“Highways bureaucrats literally admitted they are proud of the fact they took extra land so they didn’t have to deal with future development,” Denton said.

Leader Post: Publishing Anti-Facts

In response to Herb Pinder’s July 16th op-ed “Climate change alarmists ignore nature’s role”, I wonder if the Leader-Post has decided to publish conspiracy theories as reasonable opinions. I think many have heard of “young earth creationists” who contend the Earth is only 6000 years old, but it’s news to me there are people such as Mr. Pinder who purport to have discovered it’s “almost six billion”, or 1.5 Billion years older than scientists determined in 1956. It seems Mr. Pinder’s opinion “cries out for historical and factual context” he claimed to provide to Mr. Prebble’s opinion piece.

There’s a fascinating episode of Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, called “The Clean Room”. It’s about the scientist Clair Patterson who used lead-lead dating to determine the true age of the Earth, and inadvertently discovered that everyone was being poisoned by leaded gasoline. He spent the rest of his life fighting to change what the fossil fuel industry once insisted was of no consequence to our health.

I think that story provides valuable context when discussing Mr. Pinder’s error riddled op-ed he wrote in support of continued fossil fuel pollution.

leaderpost. com /opinion/letters/fossil-fuel-fan-short-on-facts

The Leader Post published a response also from Michael E. Mann.

Continue reading

Bogus Brokerage Bull, and Other Online Obstructions

“by keeping that purchase threshold at $20 instead of giving Canadian shoppers a break and raising it to $80, Ottawa spends about $166 million to collect $39 million in additional taxes and duties.”

Here’s something the Industry Minister should fix this year. Especially in light of the Liberals’ support of the TPP, why are they dinging consumers for buying Chinese and American made goods? In the case of mid-range bicycles, there’s no Canadian manufacturer, yet they’ll easily make a beach cruiser (made in China) sold in California for $100US, cost over $350CAD in a Canadian bike shop.

Stranded Assets, Saskatchewan Style

A report by a little known government entity says what I have been saying about pipelines stranding assets:

Its overall conclusion, however, urges caution when it comes to long-term investments in pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure.

Such investments “could be at high risk of becoming economically unviable as prices in renewable electricity further decline,” it warns.

I happened to also be writing the Leader Post to question why its columnist wrote that coal isn’t going away for a foreseeable 30-40 years!

Dear Editor:

In response to Bruce Johnstone’s “Carbon capture critics see the world the way it should be, not the way it is”, there are some apparent inaccuracies.

One needs only to look to SaskPower’s own predictions of the power mix in 2030 to learn that coal-fired generation as it exists today, will cease to exist in only 14 years. The Conservatives, hardly traditional climate change fighters, passed this into law. Johnstone’s prediction that it “is unlikely to decline significantly in the next 30 or 40 years.” seems out of step with what is most likely.
It’s unclear why a technology that doesn’t exist is listed as a possible silver bullet, rather than examining geothermal which the Premier and SaskPower both have said could come to our aid in short years.

Johnstone feels the $1.5 billion invested in CCS is a solution, but in his own words “defeat[s] its own purpose”, through its enhanced oil recovery. Isn’t it a bit like taking material to patch a hole in the bow of your boat, from the hull of the stern?

Johnstone cites MIT’s Herzog as believing “that renewables alone cannot help us achieve our climate change goals”, but there are other experts like Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson who believe they can. Regina’s Dr. Brett Dolter can explain other possibilities for Saskatchewan’s grid that leave coal and CCS in the past, while renewable energy sources build the province and economy.

“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” concludes Policy Horizons Canada.
Yet Johnstone concludes with, “So it would be a huge mistake, not to mention a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, to give up on carbon capture now.”

This runs completely contrary to the advice from Policy Horizons Canada.
“[We] suggest that governments ensure that the risks of further investments in oil and gas infrastructure be borne by private interests rather than taxpayers,” the report reads.”

SaskPower is a public interest and bears the risk of CCS. While Cenovus, a private venture, benefits from the waste CO2 production.
Whose perspective is Johnstone arguing for?

Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina

http://leaderpost.com/opinion/columnists/johnstone-carbon-capture-critics-see-the-world-the-way-it-should-be-not-the-way-it-is

Alternate shorter version below, the word limit was 250, instead of 350.:
Continue reading

Wall’s Government Denies Climate Change

Wall had the Lieutenant Governor read to the Legislature that opposition to climate change is a “misguided dogma” in his throne speech.

https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/tell-saskatchewan-s-premier-to-stop-denying-climate-change-and-act

The Premier and the Sask Party are making it government policy that a contributing factor in the wildfires that caused thousands of refugees to flee their homes last year in Saskatchewan, is actually a hoax intended to harm our economy. A misguided dogma contributed to the partial razing of Fort MacMurrray, chasing almost a hundred thousand people from their homes and jobs?

“Lots of talk about the environment,” Wall grumbled [at COP21] in Paris. “But not a lot of talk about the economy right now.”

That’s Wall’s usual response whenever climate change comes up: portray the issue as a false choice between the environment and the economy.

But even Wall’s old friend Preston Manning thinks that line of argument is tired and worn out.

Let’s entertain Wall’s ridiculous claim for a moment, and say that climate change and shifting to a low-carbon economy are not based in reality. What is his government doing with official webpages devoted to something he now claims is not real? Is his “God bless” multiple times at the end of his speech not enough evidence that he’s actually a fan of some dogma not based in reality?

“In a world where China and India are going to continue to build new coal (plants), we think that Canada can contribute to the global effort on climate change by cleaning it up, making it cleaner than natural gas even,” said Wall.

Why has Wall spent $1,500,000,000 on purportedly reducing climate change gas emissions to clean what he yesterday claimed is a “misguided dogma’ designed to rob people of work? From his misguided, indefensible perspective, is he admitting to investing over a billion dollars into a job stealing scam?

From a Government webpage:
Wall said CCS has a pivotal role to play in the mitigation of climate change […]”, “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.

On CBC:
“I don’t know how Saskatchewan can be an outlier in this when we are offering a potential solution,” to “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

What’s the Premier’s reaction to being called out for his attack on climate science, and the people supporting action based on it? More defiance in supposed defence of carbon burning jobs that help make us a world leader in emissions per capita.

His speech tone was very much like the one he uses when talking with Big Oil executives, and unlike the more balanced tone when speaking more publicly with people less biased toward carbon-burning industries.
I was reminded of this gaffe:

Double Standards

Eeeevil Lefties: ‘This is a disaster. We should aim to prevent future disasters. What went so wrong?’
Rawlco: “it will be positive and it will go a long way to mitigating Alberta’s downturn.”

He’s a story about how people survived north of the Fort Mac wildfire.

I noticed that tweet first, and it was out of context. I thought it might be referring to the 25,000 Syrian refugees that took months to bring to Canada, late.

Heather Scoffield, The Canadian Press thinks:

FLAME WARS: political parties are expected to set their rivalries aside in the face of tragedy. As wildfire pushed the population of Fort McMurray into a state of homelessness, the non-partisan reaction went a step further as politicians asked the public to set their own critiques aside as well.

“There have always been fires. There have always been floods,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Pointing at any one incident and saying, ‘Well, this is because of that,’ is neither helpful nor entirely accurate. We need to separate a pattern over time from any one event.”

Meanwhile, Huffington Post thinks:

“Talking About Wildfires And Climate Change Isn’t Playing Politics”

“Stating that climate change is political, instead about science, is exactly the problem. It indicates our society’s grim lack of awareness over the most pressing issue now facing humanity. And May was repeating the science.”