Saturday, 24 September 2011

Vladmir Putin´s KGB/Stasi style welcome to British and US diplomats in Moscow

KGB/FSB is alive and kicking in Moscow

Obama´s reset partner and David Cameron´s recent discussion partner in Moscow, former second rate KGB spy Vladimir Putin - soon to be "elected" president again - probably is proud of the kind of welcome offered to Brítish and American diplomats in Moscow:

Russia's spy agency is waging a massive undercover campaign of harassment against British and American diplomats, as well as other targets, using deniable "psychological" techniques developed by the KGB, a new book reveals.
The federal security service (FSB) operation involves breaking into the private homes of western diplomats – a method the US state department describes as "home intrusions". Typically the agents move around personal items, open windows and set alarms in an attempt to demoralise and intimidate their targets.
The FSB operation includes the bugging of private apartments, widespread phone tapping, physical surveillance, and email interception. Its victims include local Russian staff working for western embassies, opposition activists, human rights workers and journalists.
The clandestine campaign is revealed in Mafia State, a book by the Guardian's former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding, serialised in Saturday's Weekend magazine.
The British and American governments are acutely aware of the FSB's campaign of intimidation. But neither has publicly complained about these demonstrative "counter-intelligence" measures, for fear of further straining already difficult relations with Vladmir Putin's resurgent regime. Putin, a former KGB lieutenant colonel, was head of the FSB.

Read the entire article here

Great news from the University of Utah

There is reason to celebrate: The National Geographic reports about a new study that shows the benefits of  global warming :

There may be a bright side to global warming, at least in the Arctic—the changing climate could improve air quality in the polar region, a new study shows.
The find is rare good news for the Arctic, which most studies find is warming much more rapidly than the rest of the planet.
Currently, air pollutants generally travel from industrially developed regions in the south northward to the Arctic, where pollution contributes to heating up the polar climate.
The reason for the potential boost in air quality is increased global rainfall, which many climate models predict will be a widespread result of global warming, said study leader Timothy Garrett, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Utah. (See an interactive map of global warming's effects.)
"Precipitation is the atmosphere's single most efficient way of removing particulate pollution," Garrett said. That's because raindrops simply take the pollutants with them as they fall from the atmosphere—the mechanism behind acid rain.
Thus, pollution may be already scrubbed from the air in other regions before it even reaches the Arctic.

Less Soot = Less Warming?
To verify that rainfall can remove pollutants before they reach the Arctic, Garrett's team examined a decade's worth of air-quality records from Barrow, Alaska, and Alert in Nunavut, Canada—the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world. (See an Arctic map.)
The team compared levels of carbon monoxide—a pollutant not removed by rainfall—with those of sulfates and soot, which are scoured out of the atmosphere by rain. The results showed that the sulfur and soot levels were lower than expected, leading the team to conclude that rainfall is already cleaning the Arctic air. (Test your knowledge of pollution.)
This effect may also partially counteract Arctic warming, Garrett noted.
That's because air pollutants, particularly soot, increase the greenhouse effect that's the hallmark of global warming. (Watch a video explaining the greenhouse effect.)

Read the entire article here

Cleaner air and less warming - what more could one ask for! This must be really unpleasant news for all doomsday prophets. Somewhere the warmists must already be planning a counterattack on the "traitor" Garrett and his University.

Closely guarded Ban Ki-moon in a hot place

                        Ban Ki-moon and his sauna partners in Finland

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is a closely guarded person. In July he and his wife were vacationing in Finland as the guests of Finnish president Tarja Halonen (who seems eager to get a UN job after retiring as president early next year). In a speech to Mme Halonen in New York earlier this week, Ban Ki-moon revealed that he was not even allowed to take a bath in Halonen´s sauna without his bodyguards being present:

As you can imagine, President Halonen insisted I take at least one (sauna bath) during my stay at Kulturanta.

Here's the problem: I can never go anywhere alone. So ? into the sauna I went – with my security detail.

I insisted they not take their weapons – of course! Who needs second-degree burns?

Or maybe the Secretary General did not trust the native guards after this incident?:

Finnish regional daily Turun Sanomat reported Tuesday that a policeman had reported for duty to guard Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, while blind drunk.
According to the paper the incident happened at Kultaranta, the Finnish president's summer residence in Naantali, on 17 July.
Turun Sanomat reported further that the policeman had driven to the site.
"The policeman was clearly intoxicated when he arrived at Kultaranta, so his superior gave him a breath test," Kari Frilander, a prosecutor heading an investigation into the incident, was quoted as saying by the paper

Friday, 23 September 2011

"The explosion of the European project"

                              The end of the present "EUSSR" is near

Both the elected and the unelected (like EU "president" van Rompuy here) leaders of the European Union are still talking as if they were representing a real European empire. However, the future of the EU looks somewhat different, as Bret Stephens points out in his column in the Wall Street Journal:

Here is where Europe slipped from convenient fiction to outright fraud.
There was the fraud of Greece's entry into the euro, a double-edged affair since Athens lied about its budgetary figures and Brussels chose to accept the lie. There was the fraud of the so-called Maastricht criteria—the fiscal rules that were supposed to govern the euro only to be quickly flouted by France and Germany and then junked altogether in the current crisis. There was the fraud of the European Constitution, overwhelmingly rejected wherever a vote on it was permitted, only to be revised and imposed by parliamentary fiat.
What is now happening in Europe isn't so much a crisis as it is an exposure: a Madoff-type event rather than a Lehman one. The shock is that it's a shock. Greece was never going to be bailed out and will, sooner or later, default. The banks holding Greek debt will, sooner or later, be recapitalized. The recapitalization will be borne by German taxpayers, and it will bring them—sooner rather than later—to the outer limit of their forbearance. The Chinese will not ride to the rescue: They know not to throw good money after bad.
And then Italy will go Greek. Europe's crisis will lap on U.S. shores, and America's economic woes will lap on Europe's—a two-way tsunami.
America will survive this because America is a state. But as Bismarck once remarked, "Whoever speaks of Europe is wrong. Europe is a geographical expression." The "fiscal union" that's being mooted will never come to pass: German voters won't stand for it, and neither will any other country that wants to retain fiscal independence—which is to say, the core attribute of democratic sovereignty.
What comes next is the explosion of the European project. Given what European leaders have made of that project over the past 30-odd years, it's not an altogether bad thing. But it will come at a massive cost. The riots of Athens will become those of Milan, Madrid and Marseilles. Parties of the fringe will gain greater sway. Border checkpoints will return. Currencies will be resurrected, then devalued. Countries will choose decay over reform. It's a long, likely parade of horribles.
Where is the Europe of Ismay, Erhard and Monnet? It's there in memory, if anyone cares to recover it. Give it another 50 years, and maybe someone will.

Read the entire column here

Stephens is probably right in his basic analysis, but the future of Europe need not be quite as dark as he thinks. The EU could also transform to a kind of "EU light" keeping free trade, the single market and the best parts of the present union.

Medvedev wants oligarchs to tell schoolchildren how they became rich

Alexander Lebedev (a billionaire himself) about Russia´s oligarchs: "They don't read books. They don't have time. They don't go to exhibitions. They think the only way to impress anyone is to buy a yacht."

Russian president, Putin´s puppet Dmitry Medvedev has called on Russia’s oligarchs to teach schoolchildren about their personal success stories.

 “I will call on representatives of big business, mostly people whose wealth starts, for example, at $1 billion, and say they should all start teaching in schools,” he told members of the Presidential Commission for Implementation of Top-Priority National Projects and Demographic Policy.
Medvedev added that he expects school principals to support his “success story” initiative, although it has sparked debate among Russians.

A daring initiative by the puppet president, who certainly must know how the Russian oligarchs got their money:

"In my view there is no oligarch in this country who didn't steal the assets in the first instance. There's no doubt about that."
Vadim Kleiner, Hermitage Capital Management

Or maybe Medvedev plans to ask his master to tell Russian schoolchildren about his personal wealth creation "success story"?:

Citing sources inside the president's administration, Belkovsky claims that after eight years in power Putin has secretly accumulated more than $40bn (£20bn). The sum would make him Russia's - and Europe's - richest man.
In an interview with the Guardian, Belkovsky repeated his claims that Putin owns vast holdings in three Russian oil and gas companies, concealed behind a "non-transparent network of offshore trusts".
Putin "effectively" controls 37% of the shares of Surgutneftegaz, an oil exploration company and Russia's third biggest oil producer, worth $20bn, he says. He also owns 4.5% of Gazprom, and "at least 75%" of Gunvor, a mysterious Swiss-based oil trader, founded by Gennady Timchenko, a friend of the president's, Belkovsky alleges.

Read the entire article here

Ordinary Russians have reacted quite rationally to Medvedev´s initiative:

Most ordinary Russians responded negatively to the proposal, claiming Russia’s oligarchs could only teach cynicism, moral bankruptcy and corruption.
Yaroslav Kabakov, rector of investment firm Finam’s educational center is more skeptical about the idea of turning Russian oligarchs into teachers, saying that they would probably not be interested in telling their real life stories to anybody, including children. Russia’s oligarchs, who made their money by snapping up state assets at knock-down prices after the collapse of the Soviet Union, are indeed identified with the chaos and criminality that swept Russia in the early 1990s.

Expert on carbon markets: "You couldn’t design a better instrument for corruption"

                                         Flashback 2010

The "rich" nations have promised to provide $30 billion by 2012 "to help poorer, vulnerable countries adapt to climate change" and they have pledged to raise that amount to $100 billion a year by 2020.

Fortunately, it is highly unlikely that the "rich" nations will ever raise those sums of money. Still, before the final unraveling of the case for human caused global warming, billions of dollars are likely to be wasted on corruption e.g. in connection with carbon markets (cap and trade), recently described in this way by an expert: “You couldn’t design a better instrument for corruption":

 "corruption risks are particularly high in carbon markets, programmes to preserve forests, and projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM allows rich nations to offset their greenhouse gas emissions by supporting emissions-reducing projects in poor countries.
Protection work in remote forest areas is difficult to monitor, said Fiona Napier, associate director of Global Witness, an organisation that investigates resource extraction and human rights issues.
And carbon markets, with their multiple layers of trading in intangible assets, are a magnet for corruption, she added.
“You couldn’t design a better instrument for corruption as far as we can work out,” she said.
CDM regulations, meanwhile, are a “labyrinth”, said Peter Newell, a climate and corruption expert at the University of Sussex. In some countries, the people charged with signing off on the projects are the same ones developing and even auditing them, he noted."

Read the entire article here

European Union "president" van Rompuy misinforms the UN about the EU´s role in Libya

The unelected "president" brags about the EU as "fatherland of democracy"!

The unelected European Union "president" Herman van Rompuy used his opportunity to speak at the UN General Assembly to brag and misinform about the EU´s role in the liberation of Libya:

"When, earlier this year, there was the risk of a bloodbath in Benghazi, European leaders, together with others, acted with swiftness and determination," he added. "You can rest assured that Europe will remain engaged together with you to create a world of peace and security, to promote universal values of human rights and democracy and to combat famine and poverty."

The EU Observer´s Andrew Rettman rightly points out what really happened:

The speech glosses over the fact EU countries cozied up to Arab dictators for decades for the sake of oil and security - Van Rompuy's staff before the summer quietly removed a framed picture of Gaddafi from his EU headquarters in Brussels. It also glosses over that Germany did not back Nato air strikes in Libya and that the EU's only military contribution, the so-called Eufor aid mission, was rejected by the UN.

Read the entire article here


van Rompuy, who addressed the General Assembly for the first time as the EU´s top official, also tried to give the impression that he is one of the world leaders (which he is not):

"This institutional innovation gives our union more continuity and consistency vis-a-vis other world leaders."

Obama refuses to let Taiwan by new jets - "This deal has Beijing´s fingerprints all over it"

 U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has criticized the Obama goverment for not letting Taiwan buy the new F-16 jet fighters it wanted:

“The upgrade of older model F-16s is a modest step in the right direction but woefully insufficient to meet Taiwan’s increasingly urgent requirements for modern combat fighters and other defensive weapons systems. The Administration’s most recent China Military Power Report clearly shows the threats that Taiwan faces from an increasingly aggressive China. The decision by the Administration not to include the F-16 C/D fighter in this package calls into question the Administration’s commitment to longstanding policy to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself from mainland China, as legislatively mandated in the Taiwan Relations Act.

“This deal has Beijing’s fingerprints all over it.”

The Obama administration´s decision has received a cautious welcome by the Taiwanese government, while the opposition has been critical:

However, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said the Ministry of National Defense and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to describe the US arms sale of F-16A/B upgrades as an “achievement” was regretful and contradictory.
“We don’t understand why the two ministries expressed gratitude when Taiwan came up short of its wish for F-16C/Ds procurement,” DPP spokesperson Kang Yu-cheng (康裕成) said, noting that Deputy Minister of National Defense Andrew Yang (楊念祖) in May explained to US officials why Taiwan desperately needs the F-16C/D and yet, on Wednesday night, he said the offered package was not a bad deal and he was not disappointed at all.

Read the entire article here


The Obama administration´s refusal not to allow Taiwan to buy the jets it urgently needs is shameful and, as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen so rightly points out, "has Beijing’s fingerprints all over it". This is not the way to treat an old ally.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

British climate "art" madness: £500,000 for floating a piece of Arctic rock to England

Sometimes one wonders about the sanity of the people who are in charge of handing out (usually taxpayers´) money to contemporary art and artists. Consider for example this climate change "art project":

The Arts Council is spending a staggering £500,000 on floating a huge piece of Arctic rock more than 2,000 miles from Norway to England.
Once in the UK the newly-named Nowhereisland, which is the size of a football pitch and was only 'found' because of the partial melting of a glacier, will then be sculpted and toured 500 miles around the south coast.
The project, which forms part of its 2012 Cultural Olympiad, has been hailed by artists as an important and innovative way of looking at the dangers posed by climate change.
But critics have branded it a 'complete waste of public money'.
Bristol artist Alex Hartley, 48, came up with the project after discovering a new island, which had previously been buried under a glacier but was now showing because of receding ice, on the Svalbard Peninsula in Norway in 2004.
He became fascinated with the area after realising he was the first man to walk on the island.
Seven years later he returned with a team of 18 volunteers to cut out the six ton section of rock, load it onto a schooner, and is now taking it back to Britain.
The initiative is also supported by the Situations Arts team at the University of the West of England at Bristol.
Mr Hartley, who hopes the project will highlight the dangers of climate change by giving ordinary people a chance to become citizens of his new nation, said: 'My plan is to take a part of the island into international waters and declare it as a micro-nation so people can register to become citizens.

Read the entire article here

This waste of money comes at a time when UK taxpayers have to cope with a steep rise in the cost of energy, due to the government´s (stupid) climate change policy:

To meet our environmental targets, we will need to invest more in the energy sector this decade than Germany, France and Spain put together.
And paying for all that investment means higher profits for the energy companies. Paying for those profits means higher bills - £200 billion of investment doesn't come cheap.
Analysts at Citigroup have warned that the huge investment needed in the energy sector will require a real terms rise of more than 50% in our combined energy bills by 2020.

Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The "crushing victory" of the Eurosceptics

Peter Oborne´s and Frances Weawer´s article "The great euro swindle" in the U.K. Spectator is an excellent reminder of what went wrong with the Financial Times, the CBI and the BBC, which all chose to become ardent supporters of the single currency:

Very rarely in political history has any faction or movement enjoyed such a complete and crushing victory as the Conservative Eurosceptics. The field is theirs. They were not merely right about the single currency, the greatest economic issue of our age — they were right for the right reasons. They foresaw with lucid, prophetic accuracy exactly how and why the euro would bring with it financial devastation and social collapse.
Meanwhile the pro-Europeans find themselves in the same situation as appeasers in 1940, or communists after the fall of the Berlin Wall. They are utterly busted. Let’s examine the case of the Financial Times, which claims to be Britain’s premier economic publication. About 25 years ago something went very wrong with the FT. It ceased to be the dry, rigorous journal of economic record that was so respected under its great postwar editor Sir Gordon Newton.
Turning its back on its readers, it was captured by a clique of left-wing journalists. An early sign that something was going wrong came when the FT came out against the Falklands invasion. Naturally it supported Britain’s entry to the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1990. In 1992, under the slow-witted editorship of Richard Lambert (in a later incarnation, as director general of the Confederation of British Industry, Sir Richard was to become one of the most sycophantic apologists for Gordon Brown’s premiership), it endorsed Neil Kinnock as prime minister. It has been wrong on every single major economic judgment over the past quarter century.
The central historical error of the modern Financial Times concerns the euro. The FT flung itself headlong into the pro-euro camp, embracing the cause with an almost religious passion. Doubts were dismissed. Here is the paper’s supposedly sceptical and contrarian Lex column on 8 January 2001, on the subject of Greek entry to the eurozone. ‘With Greece now trading in euros,’ reflected Lex, ‘few will mourn the death of the drachma. Membership of the eurozone offers the prospect of long-term economic stability.’ The FT offered a similar warm welcome to Ireland.

Read the entire article here

Pachauri: "Critical voices are also needed"

R.K. Pachauri has shown signs of  a new kind of humility on a recent visit to Finland. He even admits that "One cannot succeed every time" and that "Critical voices are also needed, and we are pleased to receive all new information."

Rajendra Pachauri, the brown-eyed, black-bearded, and black-haired Chair of the IPCC, said to Helsingin
Sanomat that he works every day, every month, all year round, without any holidays.
He has a permanent guilty conscience about not having enough time for his family in India.
Do you get enough rest?
”No”, he laughed. ”I sleep way too little.”

What is your most important task as the Chair of the IPCC?
”I am supposed to find the world’s best scientists and to persuade them to work for the IPCC. Managing the panel in practice is challenging work, too.”

The credibility of your organisation has been put to the test. How have you felt about this?
”We are speaking about multi-layer scientific research. One cannot succeed every time. Critical voices are also needed, and we are pleased to receive all new information. Basically, one has to bear in mind that the employers of the IPCC are the governments that assess the reliability of our work”, Pachauri noted.

Read the entire article here


Whether Pachauri actually means what he said, remains to be seen. When one looks e.g. at this information about the next IPCC report there is reason to be rather sceptical about the new humility.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

IPCC warmists get desparate: Doomsday scenarios even more megalomaniac

The UN global warming religion promotion network IPCC is clearly getting desperate as it is trying to deal with its continuing loss of credibility. The warmist high priests seem to think that they will regain the initiative by making their doomsday prophesies even more megalomaniac:

New research, to be published in the journal Climatic Change in November, suggests humankind may have to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere on a vast scale if emissions keep rising after 2020.
The series of articles provide scenarios which will form the basis of the next report by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 and 2014.
At present emissions levels, in less than 20 years the sky would effectively be full, meaning every extra tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted would have to be removed to stay within safer climate limits, one lead author says.
"If we want to stay below 2 degrees and possibly achieve 1.5 in the 22nd century then we're not going to get around these negative emissions," said one lead author, Malte Meinshausen, of Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Meinshausen's study calculates that the world would have to halt rises in global greenhouse gas emissions within five years.
By 2070, humans should have a net output of minus 3.5 billion tonnes CO2 annually to reduce temperature rises further below 2 degrees in the long-term and so slow sea level rise.
Researchers say that allowing emissions to continue to rise after 2020 would involve passing 2 degrees as early as mid-century.
After that, the only way back would be CO2 removal from the atmosphere on a massive scale -- a net output of minus 18 billion tonnes of CO2 annually during the next century and for about 100 years, they calculated in the new series of studies.
That compares with actual emissions of 33 billion tonnes CO2 last year from burning fossil fuels. Emissions have risen 2-3 percent per year over the last several decades.
The view that extreme steps are needed is therefore becoming more accepted.
"If we really are going to avoid more than 2 degrees of warming, we're either looking at geo-engineering in the sense of sun shields in space, or negative emissions type of geo-engineering in the second half of this century," said Oxford University climate scientist Myles Allen.

Read the entire article here


On thing is clear: The scaremongerers are going to be disappointed. Their new scare tactics will have one certain - positive - effect; the total and final loss of credibility of the IPCC.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Sociologist: Global warming could lead to "nuclear exchange" between India and Pakistan

Dr. Christian Parenti (a contributing editor at The Nation, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, and a visiting scholar at the City University of New York) is convinced that human induced climate change will lead to increasing violence and wars in different parts of the world. He even seems to think that global warming could contribute to a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Here is an excerpt from a review which praises Parenti´s new book:

The collision between climate change and violence is the subject of Christian Parenti’s impressive new book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence. The guiding idea is what Parenti calls the “the catastrophic convergence.” By this he means something more geographically and historically targeted than a coming climate-triggered global war. Chaos focuses on a handful of developing countries where the author says climate change is amplifying previous crises with roots in the more climatically stable 20th-century.

The book’s most chilling chapter surveys how climate change threatens to upend the increasingly delicate water balance in South Asia. Kashmir, aside from holding deep symbolic value to both Islamabad and New Delhi, is the source of rivers providing 90 percent of Pakistan’s agricultural irrigation. Because of declining rainfall, these rivers are not what they used to be, and water tables are falling throughout the country. The glaciers that feed the Ganga and Indus rivers in India are likewise shrinking, threatening India’s future water stability.

Although they don’t often make it into media accounts of militant Islam or U.S. Af-Pak policy, climate issues are increasingly relevant. Parenti reminds us that the religious fanatics of Pakistan and Afghanistan “talk of water, god, and violence in the same breath.” Subtract god from the equation, and you also have the battle cry of the Maoist Naxalites, India’s own increasingly climate-driven rebel army. Should India’s water situation throw the country into an even deeper agricultural crisis, Hindu extremists, who have major party representation in the form of the BJP, will likely take up a similar battle cry. And it won’t just be a regional disaster if the two countries go to war over water. The latest science indicates an Indo-Pak nuclear exchange would trigger an atmospheric disturbance that would lead to “worldwide destruction” and a further decimation of global food capacity.

Read the entire article here

Reality check:

This year India has experienced an all-time record harvest - which has created serious problems due to lacking storage capacity. So, not very likely that climate change is throwing the country "into an ever deeper agricultural crisis" and certainly not to an "Indo-Pak nuclear exchange".

And how about the "chilling chapter" about "water tables falling throughout" Pakistan leading to war and violence?
Not very likely either: The Pakistani government has just launched a major new initiative in order to prevent damages created by extremely heavy rains:

Rapid Response Plan–Pakistan Floods 2011, has been launched on Sunday, Federal Minister for information Firdous Ashiq Awan has said that masses in country are unfortunately once again passing through great hardship due to unexpected and unprecedented heavy monsoon rains and resultant floods that have hit the entire Province of Sindh as well as few areas of the Province of Balochistan.

Global warming blamed for the melting of a holy "phallus-shaped" ice stalagmite in India

The latest climate change scare comes from India:

Hindus who believe in the god Shiva are blaming global warming for the melting of the holy "phallos-shaped" ice stalagmite in a Himalayan cave:

A very long way from home, Arvin Prasad Goel clutched his wife’s hand as they prepared to eat in a makeshift communal kitchen set up on the Himalayan mountainside.
They were weary from a four-day trek through rough terrain and cold weather to visit the Amarnath cave, perched at an altitude of 12,600 feet (3,880 metres) in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The cave is revered by many Hindus as a shrine of the god Shiva, whom they worship in the form of an ice stalagmite known as the Shiv lingam. Over a 45-day period each year, more than half a million pilgrims make the arduous, 60 km (38 mile) uphill trek to pray before the phallus-shaped formation.
Goel, a 60-year-old resident of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh state, has made numerous pilgrimages to Amarnath, and said his faith made the journey possible.
"For our age and health this trek is simply impossible, but it seems Bolay (Lord Shiva) infuses in us the intrinsic power to climb the difficult terrain," he said.
But this year, faith was no match for warmer conditions on the mountain, as the couple found when they finally arrived at the cave.
"To my dismay, the lingam had melted and I could not do the darshan (religious observance),” said Goel. “I couldn’t let my wife see the holy lingam.”
But by ten days prior to the end of the pilgrimage period, the stalagmite had completely melted, disappointing thousands of devotees like the Goels.
Shrine Board officials attribute the early melting of the ice to the effects of climate change on the region. In their view, this important cultural practice is at risk from a warming planet.
“The Shiva lingam melted simply because of a warm summer this year,” said. R. K. Goyal, chief executive officer of the SASB ( Shri Amarnath Shrine Board). "The overall increase in temperature is the reason.”

A local meteoroligist seems to have a more realistic view of the disappearance of the Shiva lingam:

“During the first 25 days on average 15,000 to 20,000 people visited the holy cave (each day), and this does have an impact,” he added.

Read the entire article here

"Can We Really Call Climate Science a Science?"

Dr. Paul Roderick Gregory, professor of Economics and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford, has written a must read article in Forbes, titled "Can We Really Call Climate Science A Science?"

Here is an excerpt:

The “warmist” consensus view of “climate science” is represented at a popular level by advocates like Al Gore and at the scientific and technical level by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as supported by researchers at East Anglia (Phil Jones) and Penn State (Michael Mann). This panoply of people and organizations is the equivalent of the Central Committee in my Stalin dialog above. “Skeptics” (the equivalent of Trotsky above) are individual scientists and advocates who stake out positions at odds with the IPCC-Central Committee orthodoxy. They are the ones who “dare to speak when fierce growling dogs roam everywhere.”

Three recent events have brought the controversy over climate science back into the news and onto my radar screen:

First: The Giaever story starkly disputes warmist claims of “inconvertible evidence.” Despite the press’s notable silence on such matters, there are a large number of prominent scientists with solid scholarly credentials who disagree with the IPCC-Central Committee. Those who claim “proven science” and “consensus” conveniently ignore such scientists.
With his public resignation, Nobel Laureate Giaever joins a long list of distinguished “skeptics,” which includes Richard Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Hendrik Tennekes, retired Director of Research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Sallie Baliunas, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Ian Clark, hydrogeologist, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa: William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus and head of The Tropical Meteorology Project, Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, William Happer, physicist, Princeton University, Tim Patterson, paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada, and Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia (just to name a few from a long list).

This is professor Gregory´s conclusion:

I do not know whether the warmists or skeptics are right. I do know that the modeling of the climate is among the most complex of scientific tasks. In this regard, climate science and economics have much in common. We both must try to understand complicated systems with intricate feedbacks and uncertain causality. As recent experience shows, we economists have yet to find “incontrovertible truth.” We will never reach a consensus. Nor should we. Why should we expect climate science, unlike other disciplines, to reach a consensus when we do not expect this of other fields of scientific inquiry.
About a year ago, I attended a debate between a noted warmist and skeptic. They agreed only on one thing: Climate science is in its infancy. We are just beginning to understand the climate. When we look back, we will understand how little we really understood and how wrong our first findings were. This is the way science is created.
False claims of consensus and inconvertible truth reveal a political or ideological agenda wrapped in the guise of science. The incontrovertible bad behavior of the warmists has led skeptics to suspect base motives, and who could blame them?

Read the entire article here

Professor Gregory is another, much needed voice of reason. Luckily, more and more prominent academics have began to speak out about the warmists´ non-scientific, purely political and ideological agenda (which clearly has Marxist roots).

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Russian Criminal Case No. 144,128 - "The Putin Affair"

"while serving as the Chairman of the City’s Committee on Foreign Economic Relations he routinely took bribes. And I’ve spoken to many people myself who were a party to such transactions with him. You couldn’t establish a joint venture in the City without going through Putin, and you couldn’t go through him without paying a bribe".

Andrei Zykov, former senior investigator for special matters at the Investigation Department of the Interior Ministry

Eleven years ago, Russian prosecutors closed Criminal Case No. 144,128. The Russian blog has published an interview with the investigator who was in charge of the case that later became known as the  “the Putin affair”.

Investigators were in no doubt that the then-president was implicated in a number of crimes related to embezzlement of budget funds while he was serving in the government of the City of St. Petersburg.

An English version of the interview with senior investigator, Lt. Col. Andrei Zykov can be read here.

Welcome to the Brave New World of German Energy Policy!

Germany is now importing electricity from the Czech Republic and France. Picture shows the cooling towers at the Temelin NPP close to Bavaria.

The party seems to be over for Germany. The Paris based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believes the country is headed toward an economic downturn. The economic growth has almost stopped, much as a consequence of the Merkel government´s nuclear phase out decision. Germany now has to import expensive nuclear and coal energy from neighbouring countries. And its getting worse. The German consumers are in for an unpleasant surprise next year:

Germany's decision to phase out its nuclear power plants by 2022 has rapidly transformed it from power exporter to importer. Despite Berlin's pledge to move away from nuclear, the country is now merely buying atomic energy from neighbors like the Czech Republic and France.
The German government's 180-degree turn in nuclear policy has helped breathe new life into Europe's energy industry -- though not always to Germany's benefit. The country has gone from being an energy exporter to an energy importer practically overnight, which brings along with it a number of negative consequences for its economy, consumers and security.
The country's economy is still growing, but only barely. In the second quarter of 2011, Germany's gross domestic product was just 0.1 percent higher than it was the previous quarter.
The Federal Statistical Office believes the nuclear phase-out has helped cause this anemic growth. "Electricity has increasingly had to be imported in order to satisfy demand," the organization explains.
This has noticeably weakened Germany's economic strength. In fact, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) even believes the country is headed toward an economic downturn. Last Thursday, OECD chief economist Pier Carlo Padoan said that one of its causes will have been the "uncertain consequences of the nuclear phase-out."
In recent months, the Leipzig-based European Energy Exchange has monitored an increase in electricity prices in Germany of around 10 percent. "Prices are already at an alarmingly high level," warns European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger of Germany.
Still, most consumers have yet to notice anything in the way of price increases. That unpleasant surprise won't come until the next fiscal year, when one leading executive in the energy industry predicts most households can expect to pay significantly more than they have been due to higher fees.
The computer system also indicates the sources from which electricity flows into Europe's pipelines. A thick arrow is constantly pointing from France to Germany. Since France hardly has any other energy sources, this electricity obviously comes from nuclear power plants.
Another thick arrow is coming from the Czech Republic, and it mostly represents electricity from the nuclear power plant in Temelin. Even Poland has an arrow pointing toward Germany now, though this one primarily represents electricity generated from brown coal in Europe's dirtiest CO2-belching facilities

Read the entire article here

The downturn in the German economy happens at the same time when the country is expected to make even bigger contributions in order to help bankrupt Greece stay in the crisis ridden eurozone. No wonder that opposition against Merkel´s policy is growing among her coalition partners, and even in her own party.
And few people think that windmills and solar panels will be the answer to Germany´s growing energy problems.