Saturday, 21 January 2012

Human rights violations continue in China

China´s communist government continues its shameful crackdown on human rights in 2012:

The Chinese government recently sentenced three prominent activists to lengthy prison sentences, confirming that human rights standards in the country continue to fall in 2012. This week Li Tie, a longtime human rights defender and writer, was sentenced to ten years after the court denied him his own lawyer, instead insisting he use a government-appointed one.

These three court decisions have fallen under the “subversion of state power” umbrella, enabling the authorities to hand down lengthy sentences.
The UN released a statement denouncing the recent crackdown: “We are very disturbed by this trend of severe suppression of dissent in the country, which appears to be designed to intimidate.” U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke corroborated this sentiment in an interview earlier this week, stating, “The human rights climate has always ebbed and flowed in China, up and down, but we seem to be in a down period and it’s getting worse.”

Yu Jie, who was able to flee China, has described how he was treated by Chinese security officers after publishing a critical book:

When Yu Jie wrote a book in 2010 slamming Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabo as a cynical actor at the head of a heartless Communist party, it was unknown how Beijing's authoritarian government might react.
Yu revealed the answer publicly this week: Chinese security officers dragged him from his home in December 2010 with a black hood on his head and then beat him until he convulsed with seizures.
The plainclothes men pummeled him in the head and face, Yu said in a statement released this week. They also kicked him in the chest, and a state security officer told Yu they could bury him alive and that no one would ever find out.
Chinese security continued to harass him off and on for more than a year after the beating, until earlier this month, when he fled China. He surfaced in Washington on Wednesday, where he gave a news conference and distributed his account.

 U.S. ambassador Gary Locke must be congratulated for speaking out against China´s human rights violations. Western governments - including the Obama administration - have been much too passive in their criticism - mainly because they do not want to endanger their perceived economic interests in China. This opportunistic silence is, however, a very shortsighted policy, which in the long run does not benefit western economic or political interests in China.  

Friday, 20 January 2012

Hilton hypocrites promoting another climate change scam

Some of the readers of this blog may remember the post about Hilton Hotels Worldwide "sustainability" hypocrites announcing the "shutting down of business center equipment", "dimming interior lights in lobby and reception areas" and "encouraging guests to switch off their room lights"  during the "earth hour" last year.

(Fortunately business executives in need of hotel accomodation were able to use the facilities of other hotels, not participating in this annual greenie stupidity.)

Now the same Hilton hypocrites are again busy promoting another climate change scam.

Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute announced today the winners of the newly launched Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award program, which includes $25,000 for one feature film and one in-process category winner. The prizes will be presented at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival next week.

In a press release Hilton eulogizes the winning (bogus) documentary:

The Island President (Feature): President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced -- the literal survival of his country and everyone in it. As one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands enough to make them uninhabitable. A classic David and Goliath tale, The Island President captures Nasheed's first year in office, culminating in his trip to the Copenhagen Climate Summit where the film provides an unprecedented glimpse of what takes place at such a top-level global assembly. A movie about one man's mission to save his nation, The Island President, is a riveting, uplifting story that is impossible to ignore

The reality is that Hilton´s "sustainability" efforts are just a way to look "progressive", cash in on the supposed "green" trend and at the same time reduce energy costs in their hotels.

And the selection of "The Island President" as the winning documentary is also a carefully thought out decision. As one of the biggest - if not the biggest - foreign hotel and holiday resort businesses in the Maldives - with three major resorts: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Hilton Maldives/Iru Fushi Resort & Spa and Waldorf Astoria Maldives - Hilton is of course interested in receiving favourable treatment by the Maldives government.

Awarding the film that glorifies the publicity hungry climate crusadeer president of the tiny island state is, of course, one way of securing Hilton´s future business interests in the area.

One would not be surprised at all if President Mohamed Nasheed, who once organized a publicity stunt with an underwater government meeting, is already one of the regulars at the Conrad Maldives "unique Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, the world’s first all-glass undersea restaurant with spectacular 180° views of coral and marine life".

At least it would fit the real lifestyle of this darling of the "progressive" western media, who recently joined The Legacy Club for the super rich in Asia, which certainly has a lot of interesting activities to offer for its members:

The Legacy club "is, first and foremost, a lifestyle club. And like all lifestyle clubs, members enjoy a range of privileges that include investment opportunities, luxury hotel suite stays and wellness retreats, priority booking for private jets and once-in-a-lifetime experiences"

Energy+ Partnership - Norway´s new international image campaign

Norway has according to a foreign ministry spokesman pledged to spend $300 million a year "to devise ways to help some of the world's poorest people get better access to energy and to develop a new market-based system to limit emissions from global energy production".

Other countries in the Energy+ Partnership, as the programme to be launched by Norway by June is called, are said to be UK, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands and South Korea. The countries on the receiving side will be Bhutan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal and Tanzania, and later perhaps also India and South Africa.

Reuters adds:
The cash will depend on how well the recipient countries can prove they are increasing public access to energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions compared to unchecked levels, according to a policy document seen by Point Carbon News.

Read the entire article here


One should not be deceived by this PR stunt, designed to make oil rich Norway look like a serious benefactor of poor countries while at the same time pretending to work for "cutting greenhouse gas emisssions".

$300 million a year is a drop in the ocean when one looks at the enormous oil incomes that Norway reaps from its off-shore fossile fuel industry. If Norway´s socialist government really believed in IPCC´s global warming scenarios, it would immediately close down all the oil and gas production facilities that contribute to future catastrophic global warming. But they are of course not prepared to do anything that would seriously endanger their own source of riches. Instead they just want to shine as a "resonsible" model pupil in the worldwide UN school of global warming hypocracy.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

MIT warmists recognize the benefits of the shale gas revolution

Even warmists at the MIT understand the importance of shale gas. These are some of the conclusions in a fresh paper:

Under one scenario, they found that gas prices would rise by about five times their current levels by 2050 without shale gas. Electricity prices would also grow. With shale gas included in the mix, gas prices would only double. The shale input also reduces electricity price growth by 5 percent in 2030 and 10 percent in 2045, compared to a scenario without shale gas.

But the problem for the greenie scientists lies in this: 

The paper notes that, without new regulatory restrains, there is little interest in developing technologies such as carbon capture and storage, or CCS, and that "the shale gas reduces interest even further."

"The gas 'revolution' has important implications for the direction and intensity of national efforts to develop and deploy low-emission technologies, like CCS for coal and gas," the MIT paper said.

Under strict limits on greenhouse gases, renewable sources such as wind are needed, but shale gas development delays such sources by up to two decades, the study said. "While taking advantage of this [shale gas] gift in the short term, treating gas as a 'bridge' to a low-carbon future, it is crucial not to allow the greater ease of the near-term task to erode efforts to prepare a landing at the other end of the bridge."

Read the entire article here

However, the assumption that shale gas is some kind of a "bridge to a low-carbon future" is totally wrong . Shale gas is no bridge, but a quality highway to the foreseeable energy future. And CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) for coal and gas is a useless technology not worth wasting government (= taxpayers´) money on.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Shale gas: Bulgarian government caves in to pressure from Gazprom and greenies

The government of Bulgaria appears to work hard in order for the country to retain its position as the poorest country in the European Union. Otherwise it is difficult to understand why the center-right coalition has decided to cancel a shale gas exploration permit it had granted to Chevron last May. In addition, it is reported that it is preparing a ban on hydraulic fracturing.

Bulgaria´s former masters in Russia - and the greenies, who oppose all reasonable energy projects - must be smiling.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

German think tank thinks that the euro crisis is (almost) over

Hooray, the euro crisis is finally over!

At least if we are to believe the German think tank ZEW:

“It seems the worst of the euro crisis is over,” Michael Schroeder, head of ZEW’s financial markets department today told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Schröder is basing his positive statement on a poll indicating that German business confidence  jumped the most on record in January. The rise was according to Schröder driven by "upbeat economic data as well as the European Central Bank's massive injection of cash on the markets last month, which has left banks awash with money".

It´s nice to know that there still are optimists in Europe, but at least I would not put my savings in a bank managed by Herr Schröder.

Only yesterday Bloomberg had this to say:

Germany may be on the brink of recession after its economy shrank “roughly” 0.25 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, the Federal Statistics Office said Jan. 11 in an unofficial estimate. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of declining gross domestic product.
Economists estimate the euro zone economy will contract 0.2 percent this year, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. A separate survey shows the U.S.’s gross domestic product may expand 2.3 percent in 2012.

New Australian climate scare: "Climate change could quadruple deaths"

Welcome to the wonderful world of climate modelling! Models are an ideal tool in the hands of people who feel a need to produce ever new global warming scares. The latest example is an Australian study, "The impact of temperature on years of life lost in Brisbane, Australia", published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

"Climate change could quadruple deaths", is how Cosmos magazine describes the central finding of the new study.

Once the team had produced a statistical model, they used it to predict the effects of increased temperature due to climate change on deaths in the city in the year 2050. If temperatures in Brisbane rise on average by just one degree, Barnett's study suggests that there will actually be fewer temperature-related deaths than there are now. That's because cold deaths are currently the main problem and there will be fewer as the climate becomes warmer.

A 2 ºC increase, however, will markedly raise the number of deaths due to heat and at 4 ºC, "the health consequences become catastrophic" with more than four times the current level of 'years of life lost' due to heat.

The problem with this kind of studies is that that they totally ignore the fact that people tend to adapt to different environmental circumstances. In this case the authors even admit this:

The authors emphasised that their study assumes no change in the way Brisbane deals with climate, and so is probably a worst-case scenario. Things can be done to improve the situation. "It would be a good idea to insulate properly every house in Brisbane,"said Barnett, "starting with houses belonging to people over 65."

Dr. Barnett even concedes that cold weather is right now the worst killer in Brisbane:

"There are more deaths from the cold in Brisbane than Hobart!" said Barnett. "It's because Brisbane houses are very open to allow the air to flow through. When it gets cold, a lot of Brisbane houses tend to be exposed to what's outside." Barnett also suggested that people living in warm climates often don't have the right clothes for cold weather.

Read the entire article here


Australians are welcome to e.g. Scandinavia to learn how to thrive in a cold climate. In the same way there are places where Australians - and the inhabitants of Brisbane in particular - could learn to function in much warmer climates. But for the true global warming cultists, these simple facts of course spoil the party.

Another major problem with these kind of studies is, of course, that they take the unsubstantiated IPCC warming "predictions" for granted.

The latest scare: Global warming turns clownfish to alcoholics

CO2-happy clownfish? 

The New Scientist brings us the latest global warming scare:

Carbon dioxide in the ocean acts like alcohol on fish, leaving them less able to judge risks and prone to losing their senses. The intoxication adds to the threats that global warming and ocean acidification pose to marine ecosystems.

Luckily, an Australian and a Norwegian scientist have already found a way to cure serious cases of hangover in the clownfish community:

Treating the clownfish bred under CO2-rich conditions with gabazine, a chemical that blocks the GABA-A receptor, helped them to regain their senses, though: fish treated this way swam towards the predatory smell only 12 per cent of the time.

Read the entire article here

(Ímage by Wiki)

Monday, 16 January 2012

The Economist scoffs at Poland´s opportunity to become self sufficient on energy

The Economist seems to have a problem with accepting that the American-led shale gas revolution will benefit Poland hugely in the future. The leftist and environmentalist slant in the once great magazine is obvious when one reads the Economist blog:

 For the last few years the country has been getting ever dizzier at the prospect of ending its dependence on Russian gas and becoming a "new Norway".
The Polish government insists that the system is not to blame for any individual wrongdoing. Still, it is working on a new legal framework for shale-gas exploitation. A new geological and mining law [paywall] came into force on January 1st, applying EU regulations and simplifying procedures for investors.
Environmentalists, however, complain that although the law gives concession-holders potential buyout rights to properties where they might want to set up a drill, it says nothing about "fracking fluid"—the huge quantities of water and chemicals that shale-gas extractors pump into the ground in order to crack shale rocks and get to the gas.

In the next three months the government should present a new law on the taxation of shale gas. The concurrent corruption investigation could have a sobering effect on a country caught up in flighty dreams of riches.

Yes, it is true that seven people have been charged in Poland with offering or receiving bribes in the allocation of concessions to look for the gas in 2011. But does this give the Economist the right to scoff at and belittle Poland´s unique opportunity to finally get rid of its dependence on Russian energy? Certainly not!
However, Gazprom and Greenpeace will applaud.


This is the kind of news that the Economist is not interested in publishing:

By the end of 2012, around 3,500 residents of small towns and villages within the Pomorskie voivodship will be able to use shale gas to heat their homes, reported Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.
The change will save them around zł.100 to zł.200 per year on their normal fuel costs.
It is estimated that shale gas will be about 20 percent cheaper for consumers than conventional gas imported from Russia.
Although the production of shale gas on an industrial scale is expected to be launched in Poland not earlier than in 2014, Polish oil and gas giant PGNiG wants to start testing production levels at its Lubocin location in the second half of 2012, writes Dziennik Gazeta

Daniel Hannan: The case for leaving the EU

Daniel Hannan (MEP, UK) does not need many words for a convincing case:

We have locked ourselves into a declining regional bloc, with whom we run a massive deficit, at the expense of the developing and Commonwealth markets with whom we are still in surplus (I quote the trade figures in the piece). We have disadvantaged our farmers, betrayed our fishermen and burdened our small entrepreneurs. We now propose to wreck our financial services sector. On top of all this, we have ceased to be an independent democracy. Oh, and we pay £19 billion a year for the privilege of having these things done to us.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mary Robinson: Western "rich lifestyles" to blame for global warming and poverty in Africa

Former Irish president Mary Robinson has for a long time been a star performer among the do-gooders who jet around the globe in order to give speeches at various "progressive" gatherings.

Last week Robinson, who is also chairing an organisation, modestly called "The Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice" -  was in Washington D.C. "to discuss issues of climate change, population and sustainability at a forum hosted by the Aspen Institute".

This was Mrs. Robinson´s message in D.C.:

I had been working in the small organization 'Realizing Rights' and was traveling to different African countries on issues of public health, women, peace and security. I kept hearing, how [people's] lives are so much worse now because of the change in seasons, the dramatic flooding, the long periods of drought.

It was my realization that this was a human rights issue, because these were communities that were not climate resilient. They didn't have insurance and they were already poor, so they had been undermined in their poverty by the impact of global warming, which is the result of the greenhouse gas emissions from the rich lifestyles elsewhere in the world.

Read the entire article here

Robinson peddles the same message - although in her case wrapped in bogus human rights terminology - as all the other highly paid international bureaucrats and scaremongers - from Ban Ki-moon to R. Pachauri: People in the "rich" western countries are to blame for the poverty and everything else - including purported human caused "climate change" - that is bad in the "developing" countries.

And Mrs. Robinson´s solution to the problem is also the same:

 "To achieve climate stabilisation will necessitate radical changes in lifestyle and behaviour"
(quote from the Mary Robinson Foundation - Climate Justice page)

Maybe it would be better if Mrs. Robinson would do a little less travelling and start listening to Africans who really know what it takes to lift poor countries out of poverty.

(image by wikipedia)