Saturday, 23 July 2011

Great climate change news for German gourmets: Truffles made in Germany

                                       Truffles hunting demontration with a pig

Great climate change news from Germany and Switzerland: A Swiss climatologist has found truffles in Germany:

Truffles, a luxury delicacy in French and Italian cuisine, may soon be adding flavour to blander dishes, as it migrates further north amid climate change, a Swiss scientist said Friday.

Ulf Buentgen, a climatologist, told AFP that a rise in average temperature observed during 20th century may be shifting the natural habitat of the delicacy about 100 kilometres north, from France and Italy to Germany.
During an expedition in southern Germany last year with a specially-trained Italian truffle-scenting dog, the climatologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich found some two kilograms of Burgundy truffles.
Buentgen, who ate the truffles, explained that such finds had rarely been reported, but could be explained by climate change, “which translates in an an isothermal upward shift of around 100 miles (110km).”
The preliminary finding has led to a more extensive ongoing study, which has so far turned up a further 210 sites with truffles since last summer in eastern Switzerland and Germany.
The find could prove lucrative for northern European states as the much sought-after warty fungi used to flavour up anything from pasta dishes to sausages can fetch up to 1,000 euros (1,432 dollars) a piece.
In November 2010, Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho reportedly paid $330,000 for two white truffles weighing a total of about 1.3 kilograms during an auction in Macau, matching the price he paid two years earlier for a single 1.5 kilogram specimen.
Read the entire article here
Hopefully the Swiss climatologist, who ate the truffles, enjoyed his lunch. He could, of course, have made another choice - to have a Big Mac, sell the truffles to Mr. Ho and buy a Rolls Royce convertible.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Former Greenpeace boss now a big player in the doomsday business

Throughout the history of mankind, doomsday prophecies have fascinated people. In this age of fast communications and world wide audiences clever manipulators - think of Al Gore  - have realized that scaremongering is a huge business opportunity.

One of the newest entrants into the exclusive club of top doomsday entrepreneurs is Australian Paul Gilding, former head of Greenpeace International.

Gilding, whose "merits" include being arrested five times,  now has a private consultancy with several major companies "from BHP Billiton to Dupont" as his customers. (Business contracts are now clearly much more appealing than Greenpeace stunts for this former activist ).

Lucrative book contracts offer another business bonanza for climate change scaremongerers, which is why Gilding has written  a book, "The Great Disruption". The former activist is now busy touting his literary "masterpiece" to warmist mainstream media, most of which willingly agree to spread his message of gloom.

Recently the NYT climate change hypocrite Thomas Friedman did his best to to promote Gilding´s book:

One of those who has been warning me of [a coming crisis] for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment-when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once-’The Great Disruption.’ “

Reuters is the next one to promote the book:

Gilding, author of a new book "The Great Disruption", has a simple message: We have left it too late to avoid serious impact from climate change and ecological damage after trying to drive global economic growth far beyond system and resource capacity.
As a consequence, we risk an environmental crash, triggering a sudden collapse in the global economy, and need to be ready to respond to the ensuing "social and economic hurricane", he says.
"If you thought the financial situation in 2008 was a crisis, and if you thought climate change was a cultural, economic and political challenge, then hold on for the ride," writes Gilding, a former head of Greenpeace International.
"We are about to witness humanity deal with its biggest crisis ever, something that will shake it to the core -- the end of economic growth," added the 52 - year-old Australian, who as an activist was arrested five times during protests.

He sees a series of ecological, social and economic shocks driven by climate change, including extreme weather, melting polar regions and agricultural output changes boosting prices.
Financial markets will see big drops, while the resulting economic and political crises will be massive in scale and last for decades.
So what are we supposed to do? Gilding says the stark view that it's too late now to avoid a crisis at first caused him despair -- he recalls breaking down sobbing during a 2007 presentation on the issue to a business audience in New York.

However, after 2007 things have improved for Gilding. No more sobbing and breakdowns for the  hard working business entrepreneur. There is money to make in the doomsday business.

Although the doomsday prophecy is the one that is supposed to sell his book, Gilding obviously has realized that his consultancy business would suffer, unless there is a happy ending:

But despite the turmoil and geopolitical strife he says we could face he is optimistic that humanity will quickly respond once it wakes up to the scale of the threat.

Read the entire article here


Obvious airlines and coal companies are not among Gilding´s customers:

Among a series of measures, he foresees the closure of 1,000 dirty coal power plants within five years and the building of huge wind and solar farms. He suggests half the world's aircraft might have to be stranded to cut emissions.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

"A good day" at the UN Security Council?

The UN Security Council´s deliberations yesterday were another example of the almost complete uselessness of the institution. After a lenghty debate, initiated by the "climate security superpower" Germany - a country not willing to increase its real defense spending within NATO - the Security Council managed to agree on a meaningless statement:

The Security Council "expressed "concern that possible adverse effects of climate change may, in the long run, aggravate certain existing threats to international peace and security."

It also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to include information on possible climate change impacts in his regular reports on world troublespots.
Western diplomats said the fact that any statement was agreed was an advance on the last council debate on the issue in 2007. "This was a good day today for climate security," German Ambassador Peter Wittig told reporters.

Sadly, also Obama´s UN ambassador Susan Rice contributed to the "climate security" hype:

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Washington strongly believed the council "has an essential responsibility to address the clear-cut peace and security implications of a changing climate," and should "start now."

This blog seldom praises Russia for anything. However, even if Russia finally agreed to the meaningless SC statement, what the Russian ambassador Alexander Pankin said, makes sense:

But Russian envoy Alexander Pankin said Moscow was "skeptical" about attempts to put the implications of climate change on the council's agenda, which is defined as dealing with threats to international peace and security.
"We believe that involving the Security Council in a regular review of the issue of climate change will not bring any added value whatsoever and will merely lead to further increased politicization of this issue and increased disagreements between countries," he said.

Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

US Congress to focus on EU´s plans to lift China arms embargo

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Chairman of US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee is taking steps in order to prevent the European Union from lifting its ban on arms sales to communist China. The EU´s "foreign minister", baroness Ashton, supported by France and Spain, has recently been busy promoting the lifting of the ban:

A new bill urging the EU and its member states to keep an arms embargo against China has been introduced to the US Congress.
Sponsored by US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the bill is in response to moves by some prominent European nations to lift the embargo.
“Lifting this embargo would pose a grave threat to Taiwan,” said Coen Blaauw, an official with the Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA).
“The prospect of EU-made submarines and missiles being sold to China is very disturbing. Additionally, some of the European weapons are based on US technology and could be used against US forces if Washington defends Taiwan should China stage an invasion,” Blaauw said.
“The Taiwan Strait continues to be one of the major flashpoints in the world and a conflict in the region will ultimately involve US forces. Lifting the ban will be bad for Taiwan and bad for the US,” Blaauw said.
The bill has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where Ros-Lehtinen is expected to ensure that it is given a hearing soon.
A European arms embargo was introduced against China following the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989.
However, Spain recently said it wants to “eliminate any inconvenience in relationships between the EU and China” and EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has recommended lifting the embargo to develop stronger foreign policy and security ties with Beijing.
According to the bill, China’s military buildup remains “shrouded in secrecy” and challenges the US and its allies, “particularly Taiwan.”
“The People’s Republic of China has been engaged in an extensive military buildup in its air, naval, land and outer space systems, including the deployment of approximately 1,600 short and medium-range ballistic missiles near the Taiwan Strait,” it says.
Weapons sales from Europe, the bill says, would encourage China to settle longstanding territorial disputes in the region “by the threat or use of military force.”

Read the entire article here

The Heritage Foundation´s Sally McNamara and Walter Lohman warned about Cathrine Ashton´s activities already in January:

It has been revealed that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton is pushing for the lifting of the EU’s 1989-imposed arms embargo on China. EU leaders failed to reach agreement on the issue at their summit in Brussels in December, but Lady Ashton is reported to be working closely with France and Spain to take the issue forward this year, describing the embargo as “a major impediment” to intensifying relations between Brussels and Beijing.[1]
British Prime Minister David Cameron rightly opposes lifting the ban on both security and human rights grounds. It is vital that Cameron work closely with his European allies—including Poland and the Czech Republic—to block Lady Ashton’s initiative and make clear that he will use Britain’s veto power if necessary. The new chairman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–FL), should also make clear that a lifting of the embargo would fundamentally weaken the transatlantic alliance.
A Violation of Human Rights and Breaking Faith with an Ally
The EU’s ban on arms sales to China was imposed on human rights grounds in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square massacre. Not much has changed since in the area of human rights. In 2010, The Heritage Foundation conducted an extensive examination of every annual State Department human rights report since the massacre and found the situation over that time “not improving and occasionally worsening.”[2]
China wants the embargo lifted for two reasons. First, the Chinese do not believe that as a major world power they should be held accountable for their internal policies. Second, by accessing European defense technologies and reverse engineering those products, Beijing can improve its technological expertise, expand its military capacity, and increase defense sales. China is developing its armed forces rapidly, and Beijing has little intention of leaving itself dependent on foreign sources for key weapons in the long term.
And at whom is China’s weapons buildup directed? Last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen said out loud what many analysts have long observed: “Many of these capabilities seem to be focused very specifically on the United States.”[3] It is inconceivable that the EU would directly assist in the development of forces in the Pacific intended to undermine America’s historical mission to safeguard peace, prosperity, and security in East Asia, an area of the world where it has tens of thousands of troops and its Pacific Fleet in harms way.
Lifting the embargo would also represent a contravention of several elements of the EU’s Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. The voluntary agreement—already blatantly disregarded by France, which announced that it will sell its Mistral assault ships to Russia—includes a commitment to “prevent the export of equipment which might be used for internal repression or international aggression or contribute to regional instability” and to take into account the risks posed to friends, allies, or other member states from arms sales.

Read the entire article here

The Winner of the Euro song competition: The Euro Crisis Song

I must admit that the Guardian is not my favourite daily, but this one they got almost right:

Al Gore´s new car

Al Gore must  be a very disappointed man these days. Along with Colin Powell and 3000 other "environmentalists" he will still have to wait for the car of their dreams, the Fisker Karma, while Hollywood eco-fighter Leanardo DiCaprio jumps the queue:

The man largely credited with turning the Toyota Prius into a bonafide celebrity is about to add a bit more green to his garage.
Fisker Motors announced last week that Leonardo DiCaprio will be the first to receive keys to a 2011 Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid – an honor that places him ahead of more than 3,000 others, including Al Gore and Colin Powell.

It is easy to understand why Al Gore wants to lay his hands on this car

This is how the manufacturer describes DiCaprio´s contribution to the project:

The Karma was inspired in part by actor and activist Leonardo DiCaprio, as well as Prince Albert II, Sovereign Prince of Monaco.  DiCaprio's role came when he was seen by Henrik Fisker arriving at the Academy Awards in a fuel-efficient Toyota Prius, even though he could be driving something much more opulent.   His Royal Highness Prince Albert commented to Fisker and Koehler that he would like to drive a fuel-efficient luxury car, having seen the Fisker Tramanto, a high-performance coachbuilt car based on the Mercedes-Benz SL500.  

(There is no mention about the royal environmentalist Albert also jumping the queue, but Al Gore better be prepared for another disappointment)

This is why the $100K vehicle, capable of running for up to 50 miles on its lithium-ion battery pack, must be the ideal car for the world´s first carbon billionaire Gore:

Two rear-mounted electric traction motors, mid-mounted lithium ion battery pack and front/mid-mounted range-extending gasoline engine/generator set
Battery: 20 kWh, 180 kW lithium ion w/Nanophosphate™ technology (A123 Systems)
Range extending Engine/Generator Set: 2.0-liter, 260hp, low-emission, four-cylinder direct fuel-injection w/ turbocharger (GM Ecotec®) and 175 kW generator
Traction Motors: 403 hp (300 kW) total [2 x 201.5 hp (150 kW)]

Motor Trend magazine´s description: the dual electric motors (coupled to act like one) shovel a nice 403 hp and a naughty 981 lb-ft of torque to the single-speed gear reduction. Technically, that's more torque than a Bugatti Veyron (This is a feature that Gore - who is used to fast travelling by private jets - must like)

And the big battery is not the only environmentally correct feature. This list of interior and exterior details and options should make all celebrity environmentalists salivate:

  • Certified Sunken Wood™ sourced from the bottom of Lake Michigan; White Oak, pure grain finished naturally 
  • Certified Fallen Wood™ sourced from old growth felled by California storms; Mahogany, pure grain finished naturally 
  • Certified Rescued Wood™ sourced from California wildfires - Walnut, pure grain finished naturally 
  • Animal-free execution that sets the benchmark for responsible luxury 
  • Premium EcoSuede™ interior reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 80% during the recycling process
  • Incremental features unique to EcoChic™Interior Materials
  • Available Diamond Dust Paint with 35% - 55% recycled glass flake 
  • EcoLucent™ transparent battery column and door inserts made from 40% post-industrial recycled content 
  • Chrome-free, semi-aniline premium 'Bridge of Weir Low Carbon Leather TM'  interior prepared in 100% energy self-sustaining facility that sources hides from suppliers that abide by the Five Freedoms of humane animal treatment 
  • Incremental features unique to EcoSport™ 
  • Carpet backing made from recycled post consumer materials
  • Wing wood substrate made with recyclable post consumer pine fiber 
  • Seating foam made from soy-based bio fiber
  • Eco-Enzo™  windshield wipers from certified crashed and recycled Ferraris (just a joke)
The almost endless list of climate correct extras makes one expect that the owners also are made of recycled stuff. While it may take a while before we are there, environmentally conscious  drivers will at least be able to by a solar powered bikini for their lady passenger...

It is not difficult to imagine the exhilarating feeling, when Gore on a balmy summer evening drives the Karma from his nine bathroom ocean view mansion to Malibu beach for a midnight swim with a lady companion - convinced that he is saving the world from catastrophic global warming at the same time ...


Whatever one may think about the whole project, the people behind the Karma are at least to be congratulated for surviving the enormous paper work (most of which is the direct result of people like Gore) required for this eco-beauty to hit the market:

Because the Karma will be sold the world over, Fisker engineered the car to be compliant with all applicable regulations for crash, emissions and homologation in the US, Canada, the EU, Japan, China, GCC (Middle East) and Russia. The 840 rules, at an average of 54 pages each, encompass 43,000 pages and require the submission of an additional 30,000 pages of documents and images. Together they would fill 70 three-inch ring binders. Stacked atop each other these binders would reach more than 11 feet high.

More info on the Karma here

EU chief climate alarmist Hedegaard sides with the climate-industrial complex

It is not surprising that the European Union´s chief climate alarmist Connie Hedegaard has sent this message of congratulations to the Australian government:

On the occasion of the announcement of a carbon price by the Australian Government, EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said:

''Congratulations to Australia for its commitment to pricing carbon emissions and introducing a domestic cap-and-trade scheme from July 2015. Our experience in Europe is that our emissions trading system has led our most forward thinking industries to some very creative and innovative ways of working, that help reduce emissions and cut costs. This creativity is also developing the skills and experience in the industries of the future. We look forward to Australia embarking on the same route and make a carbon market the core of its policy response to the climate challenge''.

Hedegaard is, of course, right about the "very creative and innovative ways of working" when it comes to cap-and-trade in Europe. Here are some examples of this "creativity":

In addition to over-allocation, windfall profits and the more fundamental problems with the EU ETS, other scandals have taken centre stage recently. In 2010, reports of more sophisticated forms of corruption have demonstrated that when 'buying' and 'selling' a sham commodity, the possibilities for fraud are endless.

"Carousel" fraud:

'Carousel fraud', which was widespread in 2010, involves claiming value-added tax (VAT) refunds from international carbon trades. The traders import the "goods" or allowances tax-free from markets in other countries and sell them on to domestic buyers, charging the VAT which was never passed on to the treasuries. The result is a quick and difficult-to-trace profit. Part of the problem is that trading in the ETS happens over several different registries making transactions and 'authentic' allowances difficult to verify. The European investigation continues, at the time of writing, with a suspected €5 billion carbon trading tax cost, across at least 11 countries.

New EU regulations have tightened up VAT regulation, making this form of fraud more difficult. However, registries are lax and inconsistent across EU states. When the allowances enter the registries, their authenticity is nearly impossible to determine.

More fundamentally, many registries neglect to carry out any checks on the applicants that seek to open a trading account. The Danish registry, for example, failed to administer checks over the course of two years and was found to be filled with fraudulent companies and false names. Over 90% of the account holders in the Danish system were deleted last year.

Carbon offset fraud:

Carbon offsets are another fundamental problem with carbon trading. The EU ETS is the biggest buyer of credits issued through the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). By using offsets to meet emissions reductions targets, the purpose of capping emissions becomes obsolete. Companies can simply buy credits to pollute from so-called emissions reduction projects in the South, thereby eliminating the need to reduce pollution at source and, as extensive research has shown, exacerbate social and environmental problems for communities in the South.3

Offsets are rife with corruption from the ground up, from the projects to the companies that implement them all the way to double counting on the market. Offsets enable companies and governments in the North to continue polluting while exacerbating harmful development in the South.

Fake registries:

Other fraud in the market includes the creation of fake registries. The wide-spread 'phishing attacks' were prompted by e-mails to thousands of firms around the globe, including New Zealand, Norway and Australia, with the hardest hit countries being Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The attack closed down registries in at least 13 countries while fraudulent transactions were conducted.

The scam involved emails promoting the fake registry and prompted users to log on to their website and reveal user identification codes to carbon trading registries. The 'phishers' would then use this information to carry out transactions in the registries. It is estimated that over €3 million were netted in phishing scams in February 2010.7

Hacking and selling on the "spot" market:

Possibly the most costly scandal has been hacking into computer systems and selling the allowances on the 'spot' market – the trade for permits in return for cash payments, which is estimated to account for 10−25% of the total market. Spot trading allows permits to be sold for cash. The spot market increased 450% over 2008 which totalled 1.4 billion tonnes in 2008. Spot volumes in the first half of 2009 increased 75-fold from 2008.8

European countries have called for a central register to control the CO2 certificate trades earlier than the 2013 planned date. However, the proposed central registry would link to emerging markets in other OECD countries. The market is rife with loopholes and ways to sidestep responsibilities. Global linking would increase, rather than reduce, the complexity and potential for fraudulent trading, because it would involve exchanges of permits that are subjected to different financial and environmental rules.

Read the entire article here

Of course, Connie Hedegaard knows the truth about the EU´s cap-and-trade fraud and she also knows that the EU ETS has not reduced emissions in Europe.

The question is then: Why is Hedegaard still continuing here cap-and-trade crusade?

Maybe for the simle reason that the interests of the climate-industrial complex (to which some of the most "polluting" energy companies now belong) in reality are the number one priority for her - much more important than actual CO2 reductions.

This is what another Dane, Bjørn Lomborg wrote about the climate-industrial complex alredy in 2009:

Naturally, many CEOs are genuinely concerned about global warming. But many of the most vocal stand to profit from carbon regulations. The term used by economists for their behavior is "rent-seeking."
The world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer, Copenhagen Climate Council member Vestas, urges governments to invest heavily in the wind market. It sponsors CNN's "Climate in Peril" segment, increasing support for policies that would increase Vestas's earnings. A fellow council member, Mr. Gore's green investment firm Generation Investment Management, warns of a significant risk to the U.S. economy unless a price is quickly placed on carbon.

The cozy corporate-climate relationship was pioneered by Enron, which bought up renewable energy companies and credit-trading outfits while boasting of its relationship with green interest groups. When the Kyoto Protocol was signed, an internal memo was sent within Enron that stated, "If implemented, [the Kyoto Protocol] will do more to promote Enron's business than almost any other regulatory business."

A bad day for Medvedev in Germany

Today was not a good day for Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, who met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hanover.

Medvedev tried to convince Merkel that Germany needs to import more Russian gas in the future after the country´s exit from nuclear power.

However, in spite of Medvedev´s best sales efforts, Frau Merkel did not seem particularly impressed:

“It’s up to German companies to decide whether they buy more Russian gas"

“The cheaper it’s priced the more likely it is to be bought.”

“Let’s wait and see what happens,”

A German energy expert gave a clear reason for Merkel´s moderate interest:

Merkel is “right to cold-shoulder” Medvedev’s offer to expand gas supplies, said Claudia Kemfert, who heads the Berlin- based DIW economic institute’s energy unit, in an interview today. “Russian gas is simply too expensive and touting sweeteners like asset exchanges and a slice of the cake in modernizing Russia’s energy grid aren’t convincing.”

Read the entire article here

The Germans,who know that the world gas market is changing because of shale gas and increased LNG capacity, are clearly not willing to accept the kind of expensive multiple-year contracts that the Russians are offering.

Otherwise Medvedev´s day was dominated by the German democracy prize that was not given to his boss, prime minister Putin:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday slammed a decision to cancel a private German democracy prize for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a sign of "cowardice".
"When you have already taken a decision to award a prize, it is taken and reversing that shows cowardice and inconsistency," he told reporters after a joint cabinet meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
"I think after such a decision this prize is finished, at least for the international community.

Read the entire article here

Medvedev may have been right in believing that the Quadriga prize is finished. However, if the prize actually would have been awarded to Putin, that would even more certainly have finished it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The persecution of Christians continues in China

The persecution of Christians by China´s communist regime continues unabated. Sadly, western political leaders, who only seem to care about trade and economic ties , are turning a blind eye to  China´s repressive policy.

The Catholic Online reports about the worsening situation for Catholics in China:

With our growing economic reliance and dependence upon the Regime in China: Are we sacrificing our fundamental obligation to defend human freedom and human rights because we depend on the economic assistance of a repressive regime? We should also ask the candidates running for public office their view on the right to religious freedom and our relationship with mainland China.

We have followed with alarm and concern the heavy handed efforts of the Regime in mainland China against the legitimate leadership of the Catholic Church in China. Though there appeared to be a warming in relations for a while, reports out of China in 2010 confirmed that the situation for faithful Catholics looked ominous.

The Chinese Regime forcibly coerced Catholic Bishops faithful to the magisterium of the Catholic Church to attend an illegitimate gathering of the Regime-sponsored "Patriotic Association" (PA) and "Council of Bishops". They used violence against Catholic Bishops, priests and lay faithful.

Like many deceptive governments, the regime in mainland China presents a public face of tolerance but acts with impunity against Catholics, other Christians and other religious believers. They use coercion and violence against Catholic Bishops, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful.
For example, in 2010, in order to coerce his attendance at the illegitimate meeting Bishop Feng Xinmao was seized by 100 police officers and government agents. His priests and members of the lay faithful reportedly fought for hours to prevent his arrest. Eventually, the Bishop was arrested by Police and placed in isolation.

The Bishop was rescued by the faithful and returned to his home. However, the representatives of the Regime did not give up. They attempted to again seize the Bishop once again and the faithful fought for hours to prevent violence against him but were unsuccessful. The Bishop was then dragged to Beijing and forced to attend the illegitimate gathering.

Read the entire article here

Asia News comments on the unwillingness of western leaders to confront China:

A rosé of presidents further encourages this attitude (including the Italian president) as well as Secretaries of State, who visiting China never fail to eulogise the "positive path" taken by Beijing on human rights, while – beyond bishops and priests - thousands of activists, petitioners, artists and writers are imprisoned and forcibly silenced.

As the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to admit on her first trip to China "with Beijing we can talk about everything, including human rights, but without jeopardizing our economic relationship."

It is not just a case of simple greed, of interest in the Chinese market, it is a matter of short-sightedness in not seeing that attacks on religious freedom, sooner or later, become attacks on all freedoms. The Chinese workers, enslaved and under paid, the farmers cheated of their land, the children and disabled people forced to work in brick factories, in preference to adults because "more docile”, know this all too well. But even economic freedom is beginning to choke: by now there is not even one entrepreneur left who, having invested in China, was sooner or later robbed of his patents, or forced to pay bribes of up to 25 per cent of his turnover to be able to set foot on the Chinese El Dorado.

There is also short-sightedness in the Chinese leadership who instead of responding to the lack of political reform and respect for human rights with the change, prefers oppression and a police state and thus prepares the ground for an increasingly explosive social conflict. The 180 thousand riots that break out in the country every year are just a drop in the ocean of what might happen if China and the world continue to pat each others backs to exploit the Chinese people and together suffocate their human and religious rights.

Read the entire article here

Greenpeace activists arrested in Scotland

Recently Greenpeace boss Kumi Naidoo and some of his fellow "activists" were arrested and deported by the police in Greenland.

Now Edinburgh police have had enough of the Greenpeace bunch:

The activists entered the offices to “search for a copy of the company’s secret oil spill plans,” Greenpeace said in an e- mailed statement. Lothian and Borders police said in a statement on its website that “a number of people” were arrested at Cairn’s offices and will appear at the Edinburgh Sheriff Court tomorrow.

Read the entire article here

It is time to get tough with these people, who think they are above the law!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Queen Margrethe of Denmark is right about climate change!

Queen Margrethe of Denmark has incurred the wrath of Greenpeace, WWF and all the other Danish enviro-fundamentalists. The combined Danish greenies burst out in anger because the highly respected Queen dared to utter the following (true) words about climate change, when visiting Greenland:

"You just cannot change the climate, when the climate changes itself. That you must understand."

"There is nothing to be done."

"You just cannot set off with a freezer in order to make new ice on a fjord. That´s how it is."

Read the entire article here (in Danish)


This will probably by a case for the Danish - or maybe even the European - climate inquisition. There is reason to believe that the Queen does not retract as easily as the Polish EU commissioner Lewandowski  did recently.

Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder´s Russian activities

When Schröder left office, the Bundeswehr band played the Frank Sinatra hit My way. The choice of music was, unintentionally, quite revealing, when one considers the kind of "network" Sinatra was involved with. (More about Schröder´s "network" below)

During cold war a considerable number of western intellectuals, artists and politicians were used by the Soviet Union as so called useful idiots. The USSR:s Communist leaders of course in private laughed at these credulous "idealists", who in general did not understand what they were doing.

Those in the West who sided with the Soviet Union - and were paid for it by the KGB and other similar Soviet organizations - were, of course, not useful idiots, but traitors.

After the fall of Communism, a lot changed in the former Soviet Union, but the longer former (second rate) KGB spy and FSB boss Vladimir Putin has been in power, the more obvious it has become that the legacy of the evil empire is live and kicking in Russia.

Putin´s Russia is now one of the world´s most corrupt countries, without rule of law and properly functioning democratic institutions. That is why most serious analysts have no problems in agreeing with how former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates characterized the country:

“Russian democracy has disappeared, and the government is an oligarchy run by the security services.”

Other leaked American cables confirm Gates´s description: "Russia has become a virtual "mafia state" with widespread corruption, bribery and protection rackets"

Putin himself has declared that the collapse of the Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.

But for many years now, Putin has had a powerful western friend and promoter in the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

Schröder made some headlines already in 2007 when he told an interviewer that Putin is a "flawless democrat". Although evidence about the contrary is overwhelming, the former chancellor still is not prepared to reconsider his opinion:

 "I have not changed my characterisation of the Russian President, and I will not take my words back" ( Schröder, May 7, 2011).

The reason for Schröder´s uncritical support of Putin becomes clear when one looks at what happened in the weeks and months before and after he had to resign as German chancellor in 2005:

Less than one month before leaving the chancellorship, Schröder used his office to guarantee a $1.4 billion loan (later turned down) for a Kremlin-backed natural gas pipeline that would connect Russia to Germany via the Baltic seabed. Then, just days after stepping down, Schröder accepted a senior post with the pipeline consortium run by Russia's state gas monopoly Gazprom. The deal was a huge scandal inside Germany, where Schröder had already been known for years as Genosse der Bosse -- "comrade of the bosses."
The chancellor's move to the Kremlin energy payroll inspired a wave of alarm in Europe over its potentially dangerous dependence on Russia for natural gas. Moscow supplies about a third of the European Union's gas -- Europe's preferred heating source -- and some of its countries are 100 percent dependent on Russia. What's more, Europe's annual gas consumption is set to rise 40 percent by 2030, further stoking those fears about Russia. Several times in recent years, the Kremlin has abruptly cut off gas deliveries after disputes with key transit countries such as Ukraine, leaving millions of Europeans shivering in the winter cold.

Read the entire article here

Some analysts have described Herr Schröder´s behaviour in a more blunt way:

Schröder was given a lucrative position as an advisor of the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. The gas deal is generally perceived as being a private pension scheme which Schröder – a Socialist – has provided for himself.

Schröder´s and Putin´s gas deal was, rightly so, criticized by many, not least by people, who knew what it meant to be under Soviet domination:

Polish Defense Minister Radek Sikorski -- whose country, along with Ukraine, Lithuania, and others, feared the end of transit fees and access to Russian gas -- compared the Nord Stream deal to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that partitioned Poland between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union in 1939.

Former Czech President Vaclav Havel told RFE/RL the pipeline project was a "provocation." It could only be completed "by people who don't know anything about modern history, or what's going on today."

When Schröder´s successor, conservative Angela Merkel (former citizen of the DDR) entered office, many people thought that things would change with regards to Russia, but unfortunately Merkel has been a disappointment:

During her first visit to Moscow as head of state -- in January 2006, shortly after Russia's gas shutoff to Ukraine -- Merkel made a point of meeting human rights activists to signal a departure from Schroeder's refusal to so much as nod in their direction.

That "changed the atmosphere," said Beck, a prominent rights advocate. But, she added, Dmitry Medvedev, who has cultivated a misleadingly liberal image since becoming Russia's president in 2008, has since "softened" views toward Moscow. "He looks like the West and talks like the West, so relations are more friendly and relaxed. But when it comes to real change in Russia, you don't find much."

Nevertheless, Merkel soon dropped her combative stance. Her first government, which lasted until 2009, sold its renewed drive to engage Russia as an updated Ostpolitik.

Now "rapprochement through economic interlocking" would supposedly encourage Moscow to adopt Western values by helping integrate it into the Western economy, a notion the energy lobby tirelessly promoted.

By 2008, Germany again appeared to be Russia's biggest booster in Europe. When the Bush administration campaigned to put Ukraine and Georgia on a path to NATO membership, which provoked fury in Moscow, Merkel led the opposition to the plan.

NATO rejected the initiative, despite international outrage over Russia's summer invasion of Georgia. Beck said she believes Merkel "closed the window of opportunity" on Ukraine, where a new pro-Moscow government is now busy arresting former pro-Western officials.

Perhaps more tellingly, Merkel then headed the effort to block proposed EU regulations that would have restricted foreign companies from buying European energy utilities, measures aimed at slowing Gazprom's advance.

From a western point of view, the picture does not get much better, when one looks at the kind of network Putin and Schröder are operating with:

Putin has been especially adept at employing a legacy of the Cold War: a network of former East German officials still doing Moscow's work in Germany. The number of ex-Stasi agents among its ranks, including Gazprom Germania's director of personnel and its director of finance, who was investigated in 2008 for allegedly lying about his past, is particularly disturbing to critics.

But the best example of the Kremlin's use of communist-era intelligence agents for building modern-day Russia's state-controlled energy industry is Matthias Warnig. The director of the Nord Stream consortium is a decorated former Stasi officer who "The Wall Street Journal" reported as having helped Putin recruit spies in the 1980s, when the future president was a young KGB operative in the then-East German city of Dresden.

Dresdner played a role in the state takeover of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's Yukos oil company in 2004, when the bank's investment-banking arm valuated Yukos assets for the government. Later sold to an unknown shell company in a rigged auction, those assets were eventually acquired -- with the help of a loan from the same Dresdner Bank -- by state-controlled Rosneft, which became Russia's biggest oil company.

Read the entire article here
More about Schröder, Putin and Warnig here

The Nord Stream pipeline is scheduled to be completed at the end of next year at a cost of an estimated 7,4 billion euros ($10.3 billion). However, there are now serious questions about the economic viability of the project:

But new developments in the global gas market have put the project under question. When Nord Stream was inaugurated five years ago, experts were predicting future gas shortages, but the current situation is "completely different," economist Kemfert said.

New discoveries of gas in the United States, Middle East and elsewhere that are increasing global supplies and the advance of LNG -- liquefied natural gas that can be shipped anywhere by tanker -- are driving a burgeoning spot market for short-term gas deals.

Together with the reduction in energy demand caused by the global financial crisis, those developments are driving down prices and transforming the global gas market. Although prices rose earlier this year as a result of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, many economists believe the disaster will actually push prices down because of its negative impact on industrial production.

Westphal speaks of a "power shift." "Before the global financial crisis, the Kremlin set the rules," she said. "Now gas markets are under pressure. It's amazing." Kemfert agrees, saying the Nord Stream pipeline is "unnecessary," partly because Russia isn't investing enough in gas production to ensure it will be adequately supplied.

E.ON Rurhgas and other German companies are said to be questioning their decisions to sign long-term contracts for Russian gas, which is pegged to the rising price of oil. "I'm not sure how aware Russia is about this," Westphal said. Since bilateral contracts are negotiated in secret, it's hard to know how much the changing market is affecting relations, but many point to E.ON Ruhrgas's decision to sell its 3.5 percent stake in Gazprom in November 2010.

Read the entire article here

The article cited above does not specifically mention the most recent, and crucial, development, which is going to be detrimental to the Putin-Schröder pipeline - the influence of the American led shale gas revolution in Europe. As we have reported in several earlier posts, shale gas is going to be a major game changer in Europe, and porticularly so in Poland (and probably also e.g. in the Ukraine).

When shale gas from Poland is available, the Russians will not anymore be able to dominate the European gas market in the same way as hitherto. Neither will Putin be able to use gas a political weapon against other countries.

This is why the Kremlin and Gazprom, with the assistance of their "friend" Gerhard Schröder, have started a lobbying campaign against shale gas exploration in Europe. In this campaign the Russian join forces with the green movement, which is against all fossile energy sources. In the European Parliament, Schröder´s socialist friend Jo Leinen is already working on legislation to make it impossible in reality to utilize the enormous shale gas resources in Poland and other European countries.

However, the Russians, their German supporters and the greens are going to be disappointed. The Poles (supported by a number of other countries) will not accept that their future is again decided by outside forces. Poland has a unique chance to become "a new Norway", to use the words of foreign minister Sikorski, and it is also in the general European interest that it is given a chance to fulfill its dream.

But what should one think of people like Gerhard Schröder?

He is definitively not a useful idiot. Whether he fits into the other group of people mentioned in the beginning of this post, I leave for you, dear reader, to judge.

In addition to lobbying for Putin´s Russia, Schröder is also actively promoting Iran:

The German Near and Middle East Association (NUMOV), an NGO whose honorary chairman is former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, is promoting billions of euros of trade between German companies and Iran.