Saturday, 14 January 2012

Russia behind shale gas protests in Bulgaria

Today Bulgarians have witnessed concrete examples of  Gazprom´s - and probably also the Russian intelligence service´s - efforts to prevent the American-led shale gas revolution from reaching Europe:

Approximately 1,000 people have gathered in downtown Sofia to stage a protest against shale gas exploration and production in Bulgaria, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
The protestors urged the parliament to adopt a moratorium and, later, a ban on hydraulic fracturing method, which is used, as they say, in shale gas exploration works and production in Bulgaria.

Similar protests were organized in 11 more cities across Bulgaria.

Alex Alexiev, the chairperson of the executive council of the Centre for Balkan and Black Sea Studies in Sofia gave the background to the Russian efforts already in December:

“The grounds stated in the three draft bills on termination of shale gas studies in Bulgaria coincide with the opinion of Gazprom’s board of directors about the shale gas, published in the end of November,”

In Alexiev’s words, it is hard to avoid the impression that these Bulgarian politicians, deliberately or not, service the interests of the Russian monopolist and work to the detriment of the Bulgarian national interests.
“This is not surprising for the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), since together with their forerunners – the communists, they have always served their Russian masters. As far as Ataka is concerned and the people of Yane Yanev [the Order, Law and Justice (OLJ)] – I do not know what their motives are. I would not be surprised if there are some financial motives, too. The Russians are very generous when it comes to protecting their energy monopoly in Bulgaria,” Alex Alexiev said further.

Read the entire article here

New study: People with better knowledge of science are more likely to be sceptical of global warming

A new study by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School has produced a result that its authors want to hide:

People with better knowledge of science and stronger reasoning skills are more likely to be skeptical of climate change than people with lower levels of comprehension.

This is without doubt the most importantant finding in the new study, but because it does not fit into the warmist authors´ agenda, they choose to bury it in a heap of sociological gobbledygook:

The Tragedy of the Risk-Perception Commons: Culture Conflict, Rationality Conflict, and Climate Change

Friday, 13 January 2012

The launch of the Danish EU presidency: "a very, very sad day for Denmark"

“This is a very, very sad day for Denmark”.  Those were the most memorable words by Danish PM Helle Thorning Schmidt when she together with EU Commission president José Barroso yesterday launched the country´s EU presidency in Copenhagen. Not the best possible start for a presidency with green jobs on the top of its priority list.

The sadness was caused  by the news that the pride of the Danish industry, the world´s biggest manufacturer of wind turbines, Vestas  was to cut 2335 jobs in an effort to cut costs.  “This is one of the businesses that we thought will be the new way of doing things,” Thorning Schmidt said.

The Vestas fiasco is another example of what happens when an industry - in this case the wind turbine industry - is totally dependent on government subsidies. But the wind power lobbyists still think they can get away with it:

“When global development is lagging, we have a challenge,” Jan Hylleberg, chief executive officer of the Danish Wind Industry Association, said in an interview yesterday. “Most important for the Danish industry in these times are the political decisions that need to be taken, especially in Europe.”

Read the entire article here

''Political decisions need to be taken, especially in Europe" of course means that there should be even more subsidies for Vestas and other failing wind turbine makers. At the same time wind industry lobbyists are working hard in order get Congress to extend the tax credits that Vestas and the other wind turbines companies rely on.

There is, however, no real reason why Congress would choose to extend the tax credits, particularly considering the fact that the American-led shale gas revolution will provide clean, cheap and plentyful energy for the foreseeable future.

The European Union is another matter. In spite of the deepening financial crisis the failed EU leaders - Helle Thorning Schmidt among them - still keep on repeating the mantra about the European Union as the "world number one" in "clean" energy, regardless of the costs to taxpayers. But the day of reckoning is coming closer also in Europe.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

2012: A hard landing in China and a recession in Germany?

This year may see the Chinese economy crash and Germany sliding into recession. Right now there are not too many bright spots (the American-led shale gas revolution is one) in the global economy:

A looming hard landing in China will bring the financial and economic crisis of the past five years to a climax in 2012, one of the City of London's leading analysts has warned.
Albert Edwards, head of strategy at Société Générale and one of the UK's leading "bears", said the next 12 months would be the "final year of pain and disappointment".
Predicting a sharp slowdown in activity in the world's fastest-growing emerging economy, Edwards said: "There is a likelihood of a China hard landing this year. It is hard to think 2013 and onwards will be any worse than this year if China hard-lands."

Edwards's view was supported by the historian Edward Chancellor, who said China's recent economic performance conformed to the pattern of previous manias and bubbles in history. These included an uncritically assumed growth story, easy money and credit expansion, investment booms and the misallocation of capital, and conspicuous consumption.

Read the entire article here

And China´s hard landing will soon start hurting the German economy. There are already fears about a recession later this year:

The German economy grew strongly last year, despite the European debt crisis. Gross domestic product jumped by 3 percent, while the national deficit sank, the Federal Statistical Office reported on Wednesday. But experts warn that, given the slight contraction in the final quarter of last year, Germany could enter a recession in 2012.

And with Europe´s economic engine running out of steam the last hope for a solution to the eurozone crisis is quickly disappearing ....

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Italy remains true to its heritage

The new Italian government is working tirelessly to avoid an economic collapse. Whether signore Monti will succeed, remains to be seen. However, one cannot blame the Italians for failing to remain true to their heritage:

It was once confined to the sun-baked, sleepy south of Italy but the mafia is now the country's biggest business enterprise, with an annual turnover of €140bn (£116bn), according to an authoritative report.

The country's four mafia groups have broken out of their traditional strongholds in the dusty 'Mezzogiorno' south of Rome and spread their tentacles across the whole country, taking advantage of the economic crisis to snap up ailing businesses and ramp up their loan-shark operations.
They now boast estimated cash reserves of €65bn, collectively making them "Italy's biggest bank", according to a study released on Tuesday by Confesercenti, a prominent employers' association.
The groups make an estimated annual profit of €100bn – about 7pc of Italy's GDP.

Read the entire article here

Frau Merkel and all the other bigwigs in Brussels have repeatedly urged the Italians to adopt the new EU agenda, including a strong commitment to renewable energy. And that is exactly what the country´s biggest enterprise has been doing:

September, Italian police confiscated their largest ever collection of mafia assets when they seized assets worth $1.9 billion from a Sicilian businessman named Vito Nicastri. The haul included 43 wind and solar companies and around 100 properties, including luxury villas in western Sicily. Nicastri, known as "The Lord of the Wind" because he was the island's largest developer of wind farms, had been arrested the year before and accused of ties to Matteo Messina Denaro, a man believed to be the head of the Sicilian mafia.

Unlike the mob's usual criminal activities — trafficking in arms or drugs, investments in real estate, waste management and construction — the renewable-energy sector requires technical prowess. Which is why the mafia seems to have mainly taken on the role of middle man: arranging contracts, buying up land, organizing government permissions, snatching up the construction contracts. The overheated demand caused by subsidies has brought in financial speculation — some 90% of the authorizations to build power plants are subsequently sold — making the market particularly permeable to organized crime.

Read the entire article here

Reaping the benefits of free trade has been another catchword in the new Italian business drive:

The Italian fraud squad recently announced they were investigating allegations that the country's largest olive oil producers have adulterated Italian oil with cheaper imports from Spain, Greece, Morocco and Tunisia.
Mueller found that fraud was extensive, particularly adulteration and false labelling. The world's largest former dealer in olive oil, one Domenico Ribatti, plea-bargained his way to 13 months in prison during the 1990s for passing off Turkish hazelnut oil, which he had refined in his own plant, as olive oil. Another prominent importer, Leonardo Marseglia – appropriately based in a town called Monopoli – has variously been accused of selling cheap non-European oils as Italian ones, fudging documents to shirk import tariffs and forming a criminal network to smuggle contraband. Marseglia has denied the charges.
A 2007 EU investigation found that 95% of all known misappropriations of EU agricultural subsidies occurred in Italy, telling us something of the culture in which Italian olive oil fraud was taking place.

Read the entire article here


On 20 January the ruling EU duumvirate Merkozy will arrive in Italy in order to learn more about the exciting new developments taking place in the midst of economic doom and gloom in Europe.
Hopefully they will not fail to express their gratitude to signore Monti´s predecessor, who´s contribution to the Italian heritage project should not be forgotton.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Animal armageddon: "they compete, they parasitize each other and they eat each other"

Global warming scaremonglers are becoming more and more desperate. The latest scare comes from University of Connecticut warmists who have invented some "really sophisticated" models for predicting the coming of animal armageddon:

“We have really sophisticated meteorological models for predicting climate change,” said University of Connecticut ecologist Mark Urban, who led the study. “But in real life, animals move around, they compete, they parasitize each other and they eat each other. The majority of our predictions don’t include these important interactions.”
The study finds that animals unable to regulate their own temperature are likely move to different climates, possibly increasing the number invasive species. The team discovered that animals are traveling an average of eleven miles per decade towards our planets poles, likely in an effort to escape increasingly warm temperatures. Among the more extreme examples included one butterfly species that has already moved over 130 miles north in just two decades.
Not all species can disperse fast enough to get to these more suitable places before they die off, Mr. Urban said. And if they do make it to these better habitats, they may be outcompeted by the species that are already there – or the ones that got there first, said the study’s authors.

Read the entire story here

How tragic all this is, when we know that animals lived in peaceful harmony with each other before man-made global warming made them cruel cannibals!

Great stuff for a new Hollywood horror blockbuster!

No bright future for "green" jobs in Germany

The German government´s dream about hundreds of  thousands of "green" jobs has been - and will remain - just a dream. Since chancellor Angela Merkel in March announced an about-turn in energy policy by deciding to switch off Germany's eight oldest nuclear reactors and to close by 2022 nine others currently online, job loss announcements have kept on coming.

EON, the biggest power supplier, is planning to cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, and its rival RWE will shed 8,000 jobs.  And the German solar energy industry is in dire straits because of foreign (mainly Chinese) competition and a government decision to reduce subsidies.

The government - and renewable energy industry lobbyists - still speak about several hundred thousands of new new jobs to be created in the "green" energy sector, but researchers at the leading independent research institute RWI are questioning these figures:

"Just for show," Manuel Frondel, a researcher at RWI institute, said dismissively, arguing the figures did not take into account jobs lost because of the shift to renewable energy.
"Renewable energies demand a lot of capital but less manpower" than conventional energy sources, he said.
Hundreds of personnel are needed for the operation of a nuclear or coal-powered plant, while very few are required for the running of a wind or solar park.

Frondel in particular points the finger at "blatant (political) mistakes" in the solar energy sector.

While the installation of solar panels in Germany has jumped in recent years, it is down to a subsidy system financed through levying a surcharge on consumers' energy bills, he said.
At the same time, the system has proved particularly beneficial for Asian producers of solar panels which are less costly than those produced in Germany.
"Every job (in Germany) in the solar (sector) costs 250,000 euros ($318,000)" to electricity consumers, meaning they are "doomed" or already lost jobs, Frondel commented.
According to a study last year by Stuttgart University's Institute for Energy Industry and Efficient Energy Use, the end of nuclear energy by 2022 will have a limited negative impact on jobs in the short term.
"But by 2025 job losses of about 185,000 people will be recorded here too," it said.
Additionally some research institutes believe the expected rise in the cost of electricity in Germany will hold back growth and neutralise in the short term any employment benefits reaped from the move to renewable energy.

Read the entire article here

Monday, 9 January 2012

In sight: Energy independence for the European Union

Russia and Gazprom are fast loosing their grip on the European energy market. The Russians thought they would be able to dictate price and deliveries to a Europe more and more dependent on Gazprom gas. But the American-led shale gas revolution and LNG have - fortunately - destroyed Putin´s dream:

“Russia now faces real competition from L.N.G. and from shale gas, which the Europeans have access to,” Mr. Freedman said, referring to liquefied natural gas. “It should be worried.”
Europe imports a third of its gas from Russia and accounts for 65 percent of Gazprom’s total exports. But the big energy companies that have signed long-term gas contracts with Russia are winning more flexible pricing arrangements.
Some German companies argue that it is now a buyer’s market. This is because increasingly, the price of natural gas is no longer fixed to the cost of a barrel of oil, as it was in the past.
There is competition from liquefied natural gas, which is transported by ship, and shale, an unconventional natural gas extracted from sedimentary rocks that already makes up 14 percent of the U.S. natural gas supply, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The availability of liquefied natural gas and the discovery of shale resources in Europe have rattled Gazprom’s position, especially in Eastern Europe.
Poland, which imports two-thirds of its gas from Russia, plans to reduce its dependence on Moscow by extracting shale and buying liquefied natural gas. Waldemar Pawlak, the deputy prime minister and energy minister, said that having access to alternative supplies gave Warsaw leverage in negotiations. “We can either buy cheaper conventional gas or move quicker on shale gas extraction,” he said.

Read the entire article here

This positive development (from a European point of view) is happening solely as a result of innovations in the energy industry - not by any way through some European Union energy policy. On the contrary, if anything, there is a clear danger that the EU could seriously damage its future energy independence by continuing to cling to the choices preferred by the greenies and Gazprom.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fidel joins Putin - and the NYT - in the fight against shale gas

Cuba´s Fidel Castro is joining Russia´s Putin - and the New York Times - in condemning the American-led shale gas revolution:

Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro said on Thursday the world was on an "inexorable march toward the abyss," which he blamed in part on the discovery and exploitation of vast reserves of so-called "shale gas" around the world.

The Energy In Depth blog has some thoughts about the new Cuban-Russian alliance:

For nearly forty years, Cuba and the Soviet Union joined hands across the Atlantic to oppose western civilization. The private sector became the bête noire for both countries, with Cuba and the USSR consistently looking for evidence that would undermine economic freedom (they failed). But with the fall of the Soviet Union, the legitimacy of communism also crumbled under the weight of a superior economic model: the market economy. The ideological link between Russia and communist Cuba was strained, if not completely severed.
But shale development represents a new bond between Cuba and Russia, a source of joint opposition that is, once again, premised on nothing more than flawed logic and a commitment to undermining a superior (and safer) economic system.

Why the New York Times has chosen to join the Casto/Putin team is more difficult to understand. The blog offers one explanation:

However, leftish opposition to fracking is not about the problem of industrial accidents; it's about the fact that cheap abundant relatively low-carbon natural gas undercuts their preferred forms of high-cost renewable energy, chiefly wind and solar power.