Thursday, October 13, 2005

Air pollution, Weasel Boy and complete dumbfuckitude: Part 2.

Assuming you've read the first part of this diatribe, let's pick up where we left off and try to track down the authors of this infamous air pollution report. As a starting point, let's review the Yahoo article in question, which claims that Canadian air pollution dropped by 2 per cent (OK, let's just accept that for the sake of argument), while the American drop was a whopping 45 per cent!

If we take this claim at face value, we can, for the sake of argument, just accept the Canadian figure -- I don't even want to argue about it. Let's just accept it as accurate, since the real controversy is that 45 per cent -- that's the only figure I'm interested in. But if you read the Yahoo article to the end, you find the following data (in its entirety):

The report is available on the Internet at It lists the top 12 Canadian polluters with their total 2003 emissions:

-Inco Ltd., 368,624,879 kg.

-Alcan Inc., 288,311,262 kg.

-Ontario Power Generation, 248,537,673 kg.

-Nova Scotia Power Inc.174,404,618 kg.

-Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company Ltd.,168,783,694 kg.

-SaskPower,141,826,018 kg.

-Syncrude Canada Ltd., 120,699,098 kg.

-Transalta Utilities Corporation, 102,558,188 kg.

-New Brunswick Power Corp., 100,265,046 kg.

-Noranda Inc., 84,698,864 kg.

-Aluminerie de Becancour Inc. 67,937,464 kg.

-EnCana Corporation,64,440,962 kg

Well, I'm sure that's all wonderful and everything but why list only the Canadian data? If I'm willing to accept the Canadian figures, then this information doesn't do me any good. It's the American claim that's so stunning that it needs solid evidence to back it up. And yet, with respect to data from that side of the border ... nothing. How odd.

All right, so we're going to have to work for this. Let's follow the bouncing links over to Pollution Watch, where we find, on the home page ... the same list of Canadian polluters! So where's the American data?!?! What the hell is going on here?

But wait ... what's that in the top-left corner of the home page? Why, two links, one to "Environmental Defence", and the other to the "Canadian Environmental Law Association." Sound familiar? They should. From the Yahoo article:

Between 1995 and 2002, Canada cut its air pollution by 1.8 per cent while the United States achieved a cut of 45 per cent, says the report by Environmental Defence and the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

So ... a report is written by two organizations, who post only selected (Canadian-only) data at a third web page, which just happens to have prominent front-page links back to those same two organizations. Are you getting nauseous yet?

This is definitely getting interesting, isn't it? More to come. Count on it.

WHOOPS: I just noticed this at the bottom of the Pollution Watch web page:

PollutionWatch is a collaborative project of Environmental Defence, the Canadian Environmental Law Association.

Well, that's kind of intriguing since the Yahoo article kind of suggested that these were separate groups, yet it sure looks like they're tightly coupled, doesn't it? I have no idea where this is going, but I'm sure it will be quite the ride.

Once again, don't change that channel. (But feel free to e-mail me any tidbits you think might be informative here.)

SLIGHTLY TARDY OBSERVATION: From a cursory examination, the "report" at Pollution Watch refers to Canadian companies only. There is, as far as I can see, nothing regarding the data to support the claim that American air pollution dropped 45 per cent between 1995 and 2002. That part of the claim appears to be entirely fictitious -- I see nothing at Pollution Watch anywhere that refers to an alleged decrease in air pollution in the United States.

Help, anyone? Am I just missing it?

EVEN MORE: There's a comments section for that Yahoo article -- perhaps someone there can clarify this.

SUPER BREAKING NEWS!!!! I just now got off the phone with a charming lady at Pollution Watch, who assured me that the claim of 45 per cent reduction in American air pollution was not from them, despite the wording in the Yahoo article. She is e-mailing me the link for that claim as we speak but make sure you understand that nowhere at Pollution Watch is there a claim of reduction in American air pollution. I will let you know what arrives.

Jesus, but Weasel Boy is a gullible, ignorant dumbfuck. But you knew that.


Anonymous said...

Does this "charming lady" have a name and phone number, or are you just making stuff up as usual?

CC said...

1) Why does her name matter as long as I provide the link to the data that backs up my case?

2) If you'd kept reading instead of acting like a snarky dick, you'd have eventually seen the name Jennifer Foulds. Don't you feel stupid now?

3) If you're going to accuse me of "making stuff up as usual," providing links to previous examples of that is typically a good idea.

4) Fuck off. It's the height of arrogant assholitude to complain (falsely) about a lack of attribution and to do it anonymously.

Waiting for that apology that I so richly deserve.


Jennifer Foulds
Environmental Defence
(416) 323-9521 x232

Knock yourself out. Tell her I sent you.