Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We live in a world of crazy decisions

This article from Effect Measure (who I have to confess I hadn't come across until today), highlights how governmental agencies still take crazy decisions.

It relates to the interim approval by the EPA for the use of Methyl Iodide as a fumigant to replace highly toxic Methyl Bromide; approval for which has been withdrawn under the Montreal protocol as it is regarded as a ozone depleter.

Now anyone with an iota of chemistry knowledge might suspect that replacing one halogen with another is not really likely to make too much of a change in a chemical's characteristics. And in this case you would be correct; Methyl Iodide is also highly toxic, being both a "neurotoxin and carcinogen that has caused thyroid tumors, neurological damage and miscarriages in lab animals".

"methyl iodide is nasty. If you want to use it you must employ a certified applicator, establish a buffer zone of 25 to 500 feet around the fields, no use within a quarter mile of a school, day care facility, nursing home, hospital, prison or playground. And if you are a shoveler, tractor driver or applicator you have to be trained and you have to wear a respirator. Farm workers can't re-enter the fields for five days after application."

The EPA is supposed to be the US 'Environmental Protection Agency': what the hell is going on over there?

ADDENDUM by Junkk Male - The author has kindly posted a correction which I repeat here:

"Note there was an inadvertent error in that post. Methyl bromide is an ozone depleter, not a greenhouse gas. My error. I corrected it in the post. "

It still doesn't sound like a very welcome addition to the gaseous cocktail we are sharing with future generations.

An interesting snippet on Peak Oil

From Andrew Leonard of Salon.com, who takes a slightly bemused view of the rather optimistic stance that some in the oil industry are still taking; 'there's loads more left to be extracted from the planet' and 'climate change will make the extraction of oil from hostile polar regions easier'.

"The oil companies are going to be in business for a long long time, extracting every last milliliter of oil and gas from every last nook and cranny in the earth. Whether we can afford to pay for the resulting product is an entirely different question."


Well, unless you believe the Russian's theory that crude oil and natural petroleum gas are simply primordial materials erupted from the depths of our planet and nothing to do with being a biological residue of plant and animal fossil remains. As reported on Scoop in September.

More warnings from Flannery

This quite intrigued me. According to The Mirror, Tim Flannery (who now appears to have become accepted as 'a world recognised climate change scientist') states that the forthcoming report from the IPCC (due in November) will "show that greenhouse gas in the atmosphere in mid-2005 had reached about 455 parts per million of carbon dioxide equivalent -- a level not expected for another 10 years."

Now that appears to be significantly important news; we are ten years ahead of schedule against what was actually one of the worst scenarios as far as greenhouse gasses are concerned.

"What the report establishes is that the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is already above the threshold that could potentially cause dangerous climate change."

OK, so where's the rest of the British press? This has been reported worldwide, across all types of publications, but so far, only the Mirror appears to have covered it here. This isn't a scare scenario, it is apparently reporting on scientifically measured levels of what is already in our atmosphere. It is extremely significant information.

Why the deafening silence from the UK meejah?

Just spotted that The Metro also carried this story yesterday too. Cannot immediately see any mention of it in the rest of the press though, yesterday or today.

Same hollow words - different acronym

My heart sank as I read this from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development now has a management speak acronym; you'd all better get used to 'SD'. Having only got to the end of the second paragraph, my memory was triggering 'I've read this before somewhere' alarms. By the time I'd reached the bullet points, the light dawned.

This is almost verbatim the same management speak that was used back in the 70's & 80's for Quality Improvement, in the 80's & 90's for Business Process Re-engineering, in the 90's for Information Management and in the late 90's & early this millennium, for Knowledge Management!

The words are pretty much all the same; simply substitute BPR, IM, KM or QI and its the same hollow meaningless management speak! I worked in a number of multi-nationals throughout those decades and there were literally hundreds of people who actually spoke like this!

"The third level comprises a critical analysis of skills in relation to key (enter buzzwords or acronym) issues outside of the company to inspire different ways of thinking about (enter buzzwords or acronym). The target audience for this level is people who will act as (enter buzzwords or acronym) ambassadors. An external partner conducts this training and each employee is assessed individually and must present an idea for possible implementation. A set proportion of an ambassador’s time is spent on this and it will soon be part of their job description."

"While it is reasonable for top management to be aware and involved [in (enter buzzwords or acronym)], that alone does not guarantee success. The top leadership must show that they support the direction the company is headed, but it still needs to be tied to the rationale of the business, the nuts and bolts; conviction is not enough."

I rest my case. We are now in the management speak era of 'SD'.

The problem is, this one is potentially critical to the future of our little planet and possibly even the future existence of humanity; I hope it doesn't get as hopelessly stuffed up as it has been in each previous iteration.

Byte me

Whitehaven switchover: a view from the local paper

When it rains (and in the UK it does on occasion), my digital reception ceases.

So as far as I can gather, I trashed the environment getting a bunch new kit and ditching a bunch of perfectly good old stuff to get a worse service.

As metaphors go for how the public are steered by government and mostly compliant media into a greener future I'd say that about covers it.