Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mormon Polygamy on Trial: the dark side of polygamy

More information about the dark side of Mormon polygamy - at least as practiced by the FLDS - has come to light in the BC legal system. New evidence from the Eldorado, Texas compound has revealed that fathers of 12 and 13 year-old girls drove them to Texas and delivered them as brides to FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs. This raises two very disturbing questions. Why would the 49 year-old Warren Jeffs want to marry 12 and 13 year-old girls? and What parent in their right mind would subject their daughters to this type of abuse?

While this sort of behaviour is not typical of the fundamentalist Mormon movement, it certainly receives the most attention. Probably justifiably so. Whether this new evidence will enter the constitutional reference hearing is still open for debate. It is another open question as to how this would impact the decisions around the general application of Section 293 which outlaws any polygamous relationships (polygyny and polyandry) that may exist - even among consenting adults.

Girls married to U.S. polygamist: docs - British Columbia - CBC News

Friday, February 11, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables: Saudi Arabia Cannot Pump Enough Oil to Keep a Lid on Prices | Common Dreams

Well - leave it to WikiLeaks - but finally we have the confirmation that so many people already knew. Saudi Arabia does not the reserves that have historically been reported (for OPEC quota reasons) and they can not produce enough oil to keep prices down when demand escalates - or in other words - when the economy recovers.

Those who believe the Canadian tar sands can fill the gap are in for a big surprise. When the energy equivalent of one barrel of oil was invested into oil exploration, production, refining and shipping in Saudi Arabia it would yield more than 10 barrels of oil in return. When that same barrel of oil (energy equivalent) is invested in the Alberta tar sands it generally yields less than 3 barrels of oil in return. This reduction in the "net energy" profit margin will undoubtedly result in higher prices for oil sands production which in turn will rapidly increase the oil price for the rest of the economy.

There is another way of looking at this. The USA consumes about 22 million barrels of oil per day. Assuming the energy balance of the current Saudi Arabian fields, it requires about 2.2 million barrels of oil to find this oil, get it out of the ground, refine it and ship it to the USA. Therefore the real oil consumption for the USA has been about 24.2 million barrels per day.

In the tar sands it would take approximately 7 million barrels of oil (energy equivalent) to produce this same 22 million barrels of oil. That means the total USA demand becomes 29 million barrels per day rather than 24 million - an increase of more than 20%. In addition to this, it would require more than 100 million barrels of water per day to produce and refine this oil.

In reality, this is simply not possible. The optimistic target for the tar sands is about 5 million barrels of oil per day - and this is at the price of horrific environmental degradation. In addition to this, as energy prices climb, the cost of developing - never mind remediating - the tar sands will likely price themselves out of the market place.

Even if it were possible to produce the tar sands at this scale, the CO2 emission increases - due to the heavier nature of the crude - will increase much faster than the energy cost - and the atmosphere simply cannot tolerate that.

We simply have to find a way to move forward with less reliance on hydrocarbon resources. That is where our investments must go.

WikiLeaks Cables: Saudi Arabia Cannot Pump Enough Oil to Keep a Lid on Prices | Common Dreams

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CO2 Emissions - Porter-Hirsche's from 2001 to 2010

Proportional with our reduction in energy consumption, our CO2 emissions have also fallen. However, it is important to point out that in British Columbia our electricity comes from hydro so we do not consider these emissions. In addition to this, a portion of our heating comes from firewood, which is also carbon free.

At this point in time, we are only considering CO2 from our vehicles. The reduction is from 10.2 to 8.5 tons for the family.

Energy Consumption: The Porter-Hirsche's from 2001 to 2010

Well, the numbers are in and we have managed to reduce our energy consumption again for 2010. Our total energy usage for the family has reduced from 72,800 kWh/yr to 58,900 kWh/yr (These totals do not include energy costs related to food, material purchased or embedded energy).

The overall reduction is about 23% over last year. This is mostly due to reduction in home heating costs (32% decrease which may be due to a milder winter). Electricity usage dropped by about 25%, mostly due to monitoring usage using a real-time monitoring system and turning-off un-necessary appliances. Transportation dropped by about 20%, which is entirely due to more fuel efficient vehicles (since we drove almost the same number of total kilometers as last year).