Saturday, 3 March 2012

Stanford University activist wants to fight global warming with contraceptives

Kavita Ramdas, executive director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship at Stanford University, wants to fight global warming with contraceptives. Ramdas, who participated in a discussion at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington D.C. , said that  “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally.

Kavita Ramdas argued that contraceptives should be part of a strategy to save the planet, calling lower birth rates a “common sense” part of a climate-change reduction strategy.At the event, titled “Women’s Health: Key to Climate Adaptation Strategies,” Ramdas pointed to studies conducted by health consultants at the for-profit Futures Group, the government-funded National Center for Atmospheric Research and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, to connect contraception with climate change.
Ramdas told The Daily Caller that the research shows “empowering women to time their pregnancies” and avoid unwanted births would reduce carbon emissions between 8 to 15 percent globally.
The United States and other countries with high levels of emissions, Ramdas told TheDC, have the potential to make the biggest impact by making contraception more accessible. She said every child in America absorbs, on average, 40 percent more of the earth’s resources than children in other countries.

Read the entire article here

Putin´s Rotten Russia

Russian billionaires,Yuri V. Kovalchuk, Arkady Rotenberg, Gennady N. Timchenko and Vladimir Litvinenko, are living proof of the fact that it can be helpful to be a close friend of Vladimir Putin´s:

What these men share, besides staggering wealth and roots in St. Petersburg, is a connection to Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who is poised to win a new six-year term as president in elections on Sunday. The three billionaires are members of a close circle of friends, relatives, associates, colleagues from the security services and longtime advisers who have grown fabulously wealthy during Mr. Putin’s 12 years as Russia’s paramount leader.
Critics say these relationships are evidence of deeply entrenched corruption, which they view as essentially government-sanctioned theft invariably connected to Russia’s abundant natural resources: gas, oil, minerals. This has become a persistent grievance of demonstrators who have staged four large street protests since December and are promising more after the election.
“The basic point is that these guys have benefited and made their fortunes through deals which involved state-controlled companies, which were operating under the direct control of government and the president,” said Vladimir S. Milov, a former deputy energy minister and now political opposition leader who has written several reports alleging corruption. “Certain personal close friends of Putin who were people of relatively moderate means before Putin came to power all of a sudden turned out to be billionaires.”

Read the entire New York Times article here


Edward Lucas´s article in the Mail is also worth reading:

For the past four years, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, and his sidekick Dmitry Medvedev, who has the nominal post of president, have been engaged in a huge propaganda operation to fool Russians and the West.
With much fanfare, they have pretended to reform their benighted land. Mr Medvedev denounced corruption, and they pretended to be friends with the West, particularly through a warming of their relations with the U.S. in 2009.
But this has been a sham to conceal the truth: that Russia is shamefully misruled.

The ruling former KGB regime has squandered tens of billions of pounds and missed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to modernise the country.
It has no real interest in friendship or co-operation with the West, whatever our gullible diplomats and officials may think. It wants to launder money in London, but not to adopt our values of liberty or the rule of law.

Friday, 2 March 2012

China´s huge shale gas reserves unwelcome news for Gazprom

China has huge reserves of shale gas, according to a new survey:

China has 25.08 trillion cubic meters of explorable shale gas reserves (excluding Qinghai and Tibet), Yu Haifeng, deputy director of the ministry's geological exploration department, said at a briefing, citing the ministry's latest survey.
Shale gas resources are widely dispersed over the country. The Sichuan Basin, the Ordos Basin, the Tarim Basin, the western Hubei-Eastern Chongqing area, and the provinces of Guizhou and Hunan boast huge stores of the substance, the survey showed.
"China is facing tight gas supply on booming demand. If the country's shale gas output exceeds 100 billion cubic meters by 2020, the fuel will become an important source of China's energy supply," Yu said.

The news about China´s enormous shale gas reserves must be causing panic in the Gazprom boardroom - and in the office of the next Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The Russian energy giant´s plans to sharply increase exports to China will come to nothing, unless Gazprom agrees to much lower prices.

Even before the positive shale gas news from China, the negotiations with the Chinese have remained stalled:

Moscow's plans to export gas to China apparently remain stalled. On February 1, Gazprom said it was expecting new price offers from its Chinese partners. Therefore, the bilateral negotiations have been inconclusive.

Gazprom's project to build the Altai gas pipeline to China was delayed for several years as both sides struggled to agree on gas prices. Six years ago, Moscow first promised to export Russian gas to China via a 6,700 km Altai pipeline. In March 2006, Gazprom and CNPC [China National Petroleum Corporation] signed a memorandum on the delivery of Russian natural gas to China from 2011. Gazprom first offered to supply gas at European prices, while CNPC insisted on lower prices.

Last October, Putin said bilateral talks on the terms of Russian gas supplies to China "were nearing completion". Russian officials had previously expected a final agreement on gas prices to be concluded in June 2009, and gas supplies to start in 2014-2015.

EU leaders introduce a new European reality show

Reality shows, like Big Brother, are now reported to be Europe´s biggest TV export successes. The EU leaders are apparently trying to emulate the success by introducing their own inverted version of Big Brother:

In this EU Big Brother +, a mixed bag of people - consisting of the elected political leaders and a number of unelected bureacrats -  spend time together in a ramshackle house (also known as the European Union) isolated from the outside world without being watched by cameras (except when temporily exiting their secret premises).

There is only one essential and absolute rule in this inverted Big Brother: Nobody, I repeat NOBODY, is ever allowed to leave to house. The show is "irreversible". Some participants, who have expressed the slightest wish to leave, have, according to reliable rumours, been subjected to psychological terror of the worst kind.

There are so far no detailed accounts of what exactly is happening inside the Big Brother+ house, but according to one report, pouring money into a bottomless barrel is right now the most popular pastime.

What is clear, however, is that the inverted Big Brother is in the end going to be a success - if only an inverted success.


Two unelected team members today gave an exciting account of the latest dramatic developments in the members only Big Brother+ house:

Putin´s Russia: "Media suppression, corruption and the murder of political rivals"

Media suppression, corruption and the murder of political rivals have marked the regime of Vladimir Putin, who, despite mass demonstrations, is set to win his third term as president this week.  That is the sad reality of Putin´s Russia, according to Russian journalist Masha Gessen, who´s new book, The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin is now out.

Here are a some of the highlights of an NPR interview with Gessen:

"Putin has created a system in which people who run afoul of the government know that they are living with a constant threat to their lives. At this point we are living in a situation where physical attacks on critics of the government and even murders are expected."
The problem with the Russian government at this point is that any contact an individual has with the state at this point — from getting a driver's license to getting a license for importing something — is unpredictable and humiliating. You're taken for bribes, contracts are broken, there is violence, businesses are taken away. The very wealth that created a long era of contentedness has created this new era of extreme discontent."
What's going on is a very diverse, very massive movement of people who are fighting for their dignity. The battle cry of the movement is fair elections. But really the main motivator is this humiliation that you feel from dealing with the Russian state. And the elections have become the focus because in a way there's nothing more humiliating than going to vote and having your vote blatantly stolen and essentially being told you don't exist."

"Our audience is not Putin. Our audience is everybody else and largely it's the police and the military, who will eventually — maybe it will happen March 5th — maybe it will happen later, but eventually when Putin feels threatened enough, he will consider using force. And my greatest hope is that by that time, neither the police nor the military will be willing to use force against people who are protesting this regime."

Read and listen to the entire interview here

On must hope that Gessen´s hope regarding the police and the military will turn out to be true.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Does Ted Turner practice what he preaches?

 "We'll be eight degrees hotter in 30 or 40 years and basically none of the crops will grow"
"Most of the people will have died and the rest of us will be cannibals"
(Ted Turner in a PBS interview 2008)

Ted Turner likes:

 "I like Obama. I don’t know who could do a better job. He’s got an incredibly tough situation, and a good heart and mind. I’d like to see him rally support a little better."

Ted Turner does not like:

“Certainly the Tea Party people are mean-spirited. It’s so heartbreaking to have [them] say that global warming is a hoax.”

Ted Turner likes:

Lester Brown: World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse
(quote from the book: “civilizational collapse is no longer a matter of whether but when,”)

Ted Turner practices what he preaches?:

Turner shuttles endlessly among his 28 properties — 14 of them ranches with 55,000 bison — traveling hundreds of thousands of miles per year on his private Challenger jet, making numerous speeches when he’s not communing with nature in the "wilderness," as he puts it. With nearly 2 million acres, he was America’s largest landowner until his friend, Liberty Media chairman John Malone, surpassed him. (“He said he was sick of me being No. 1 in land ownership. But he didn’t give $1 billion to the U.N., so he can afford it,” Turner quips.) He retains, according to Forbes, a 
$2 billion net worth.

Read the entire article here

(image by wikipedia)

India’s total grain output is expected hit a record for the second year in a row

Flashback 2009:

Lester Brown explains that what happens to India’s wheat harvest and its agricultural supply chain, including and in large part due to the resulting effect on food prices, will determine the economic status of everyone everywhere, as scarcity and price pressures alter the base economy of every nation around the world.
Population growth and depletion of water resources are determining the future sustainability of an affordable food supply at high volume. With over 500 million people entirely dependent on the Ganges for drinking water and crop irrigation, even the massive US agricultural export base will not be able to prevent price rises at home.
The one river feeds more people than live in the entire 27-nation European Union. Glacial melt is so severe and the reduction in river flow already so marked that there is no tap water in some districts even within Delhi. Water-scarcity riots are already commonplace as residents scramble to siphon as much clean water as possible from the government trucks that distribute the slim supplies day after day.

Read the entire article here

Reality check 2012:

India is reaching records this year in many key agriculture areas, potentially giving rise to more intensification of food crops as the government moves to bolster its food security.

As previously reported in FCI, India has become the world’s largest producer of rice as a result of record production and the lifting of a three-year ban non-basmati rice exports. Rice exports are expected to reach 6 million tons in the 2011/12 growing year compared to 2.2 million tons the previous growing year. Thailand was the world’s top exporter last year, followed closely by Vietnam.

India’s total grain output is expected hit a record for the second year in a row. Agriculture Secretary P.K. Basu said grain output will reach its target of 245 million tons for the growing season ending in June 2012, almost 3.5 million tons more than the production record set in the 2010/11 growing year.

Additional production updates include:- Chili production is expected to rise 10% to 15% compared to last year due to favorable rainfall and temperatures. However, prices for the crop are expected to decline as a result of lower demand domestically and abroad. This year’s relative oversupply could prompt farmers to opt for other crops next year
- A bumper onion harvest and an export ban, which has already expired, has led to price deflation for onion farmers.
- The value of spice exports were up 43% in the last three quarters of last year compared to the same period in 2010, driven largely by heightened demand and price stability for pepper and cardamom.
- Tea prices are likely to rise as a result of early onset of winter in northeast India, which lost 15 million kilograms of the crop. India exported about 990 million kilograms in 2011. Key African producers, including Kenya, are reporting lower harvests as well due to drought, which could contribute to higher tea prices.
- The Indian Council on Agriculture Research is planning to double the production of cashew nuts during the next five years. Powdery mildew disease is the biggest threat to cashew productivity.

Read the entire article here

Wheat exports from India, the world’s second-biggest producer, is expected to more than double to 1.5 million tonnes in the 2012-13 marketing year on account of back-to-back record harvest, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in a report.

“Assuming the current export price parity for Indian wheat vis-a-vis other origins, 2012-13 marketing year wheat exports are forecast at 1.5 million tonnes,” the report said.

Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Former German chancellor Kohl thinks the euro is about preventing war

Former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, one of the  main architects of the failed euro, has stepped into the debate about the wisdom of further aid to Greece:

On Tuesday, Kohl repeated his mantra that the euro was about nothing less than preventing war. That view, he argued, still applied despite the decades of peace Europe has enjoyed.
"The evil spirits of the past have by no means been banished, they can always return. That means: Europe remains a question of war and peace and the desire for peace remains the driving force behind European integration," wrote Kohl.

It is of course difficult for Kohl to realise that his great project is about to fail. In order to spare him from further embarrassment, hopefully someone tells Kohl to abstain from making further comments.

What happens when a greenie reporter visits an offshore windfarm?

"So grand, so gentle"
"There is nothing more modern and impressive than these turbines"

This is what happens when a warmist newspaper - in this case the Guardian - sends one of its most ardent believers in the cult of global warming on assignment to an offshore windfarm:

The towers that rise so slenderly from the sparkling icy sea look from this boat like monuments to optimism, common sense and human daring.
The structures themselves have the panache of Thomas Telford's 1826 suspension bridge across the Menai Straits, or Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Britain, launched in 1843 and the world's first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship.
But out at the windfarm, there is the spectacle of a new industrial revolution with a difference. While the great achievements of 18th- and 19th-century British engineering filled the air with carbon and laid the foundatns of man-made global warming, this is a benign revolution.

There is nothing more modern and impressive than these turbines. As we sail through the middle of the farm, they recede in regular rows across the sun-silvered water.
A Victorian, steampunk version would surely have gothic trimmings, or be painted in stripes like old lighthouses. Perhaps in future, there will be retro-turbines that emulate such traditional nautical structures.
The Thanet shore is being brought to life by winds that once filled the sails of sloops and brigs and now drive these machines, so grand, so gentle.

Read the entire article here

Hopefully the Guardian reporter already has recovered from his delusional trance.

Having returned to the real world he could take a look at the reality of wind power in UK (as reported earlier by his own newspaper):

Opposition to wind power in rural Wales is said to be "total", with communities threatening peaceful direct action and at least 20 groups fighting plans for 870 of the largest turbines in Powys alone.
Glyn Davies, the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, was heavily criticised last year for backing a Welsh anti-pylons direct action group. He said the entire region was now "up in arms" against the pylon and turbine plans. "They will industrialise the uplands with wind turbines and desecrate our valleys with hideous cables and pylons. The scale is almost impossible to comprehend," he said.
National Grid says it will need to erect a 15-mile row of Britain's biggest pylons to connect a huge offshore windfarm off Anglesey to the grid, as well as a second nuclear reactor at Wylfa. Another line of pylons will be needed to Trawsfynydd.
"No one knows the full implications of these developments or what they will do to tourism. The opposition is total and very impressive," said Welshpool campaigner Richard Jones. "I was broadly in favour of wind power until I saw the scale of the pylon developments."

Read the entire article here

The government and energy industry have quietly shelved plans for windfarms equivalent to four large traditional coal and nuclear power stations, amid growing public and political anger over the cost and sight of the turbines.
Responding to the latest cost figures, Chris Heaton-Harris, the Tory MP who co-ordinated the letter to David Cameron, said: "The more the true full cost of wind energy is exposed the more you have to ask why we continue to back such an expensive and intermittent source of energy. All this money ends up coming from consumers at the end of the day and this raises the question: how many people will be forced into fuel poverty because we continue with such a high level of direct and indirect subsidy to the wind industry?"

Read the entire article here

(imagey by wiki)

Former head of Central Elections Commission in Russia says prosecutors ignore voting fraud

Another sign of positive development in Russia; a former head of the Central Elections Commission has openly criticized prosecutors for ignoring cases of voting fraud:

The former head of the Central Elections Commission criticized prosecutors for failing to pursue voting-fraud cases and said the street protests that followed December's State Duma elections show that many Russians have lost faith in the system.
The outspoken comments made by Alexander Veshnyakov, Russia's ambassador to Latvia, in an interview published in Izvestia, were highly unusual for a currently serving diplomat.
Veshnyakov served as elections chief from 1999 to 2007. After being critical of Kremlin-backed voting laws and campaign tactics, he was replaced by current elections commission head Vladimir Churov, a strong ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
In the interview published Monday, Veshnyakov said cases of falsifications brought to prosecutors by the elections commission during his tenure were often not tried.
"Unfortunately, such facts [of voting falsifications] were uncovered when I worked as chair of the Central Elections Commission. But they only made it to court sometimes. In a few cases, prosecutors had to be appealed to several times to make them reopen a criminal case that they had opened, but then closed, and take it to be examined in court," he said.
"And when a case made it to court, the maximum punishment was, to my chagrin, probation," Veshnyakov said.
The former elections chief said the recent opposition demonstrations are evidence that many Russians doubt the results of the controversial parliamentary elections, which the opposition claims were tarnished by mass falsifications.
"It can be stated that a rather significant portion of Russian citizens do not trust the election results. And that lack of trust was expressed in a democratic form — as was demonstrated at the protest on Dec. 10 [on Bolotnaya Ploshchad] and the following [ones]. That is a worrying signal," Veshnyakov said.
"After all, if such a large group of people does not trust [the results], that means there are grounds for that," he said.

Ambassador Veshnyakov is to be congratulated for speaking out on election fraud only a few days before the presidential election. However, knowing how the Putin system works, chances are that his tenure as Russian ambassador in Latvia will not last for long.

Taxpayers funding global warming indoctrination campaign in American zoos

"Call them the ursine Al Gores"

Global warming alarmists are desperate. Despite years of massive taxpayer funded propaganda efforts, the American public is not convinced about catastrophic human caused global warming. But there is no end to "creativity" of the warmists: The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has decided to begin indoctrinating its visitors about global warming. American taxpayers are financing the indoctrination campaign in the form of a grant from the National Science Foundation:

Brookfield Zoo received a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to lead a team of 15 zoos and aquariums across the country in exploring the issue of climate change among zoo and aquarium visitors. While nationally 64 percent of Americans believe climate change is happening, that percentage rises to 82 percent for zoo and aquarium visitors, surveys at the participating institutions showed.
“The American public is not that engaged on climate change,” Grajal said. “This is a great opportunity. We have a favorable audience.”
The survey of 7,200 zoo and aquarium visitors also revealed that about 90 percent of those who believe climate change is happening don’t believe they can do anything about it. Grajal is also working with educators and psychologists to determine the best way to educate on a subject that can be dry and overwhelming.
“The mistake we made in the past was saying this was a huge problem and unless you change your lifestyle radically and all the politicians worldwide get together we’re doomed,” Grajal said. “It’s very pessimistic.”
The focus now is on encouraging people to make small lifestyle tweaks, like not idling their cars, using more energy efficient light bulbs and, when possible, eating locally grown produce.
Michelle Parker, the Shedd’s vice president of Great Lakes and sustainability, said that a series of videos shown before the Shedd’s aquatic show highlighted efforts the aquarium is making to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. In the summer, the aquarium is growing flowers, food and vegetables for some animals to cut down on food shipments. Aquarium staff are also growing tiny shrimp, snails, crickets and plankton for food.

Read the entire article here

A million dollars may not be a huge sum nowadays, but still American taxpayers´ money could - and should - be used for something else than financing global warming propaganda in the zoos!

(image by wikipedia)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

New climate change study: Big California beaches are the winners in 2112

Researchers at Duke University´s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions have used models to simulate the effects of climate change on beach size, beach attendance and beach-goer spending at 51 public beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

The researcher have found that small beaches are the losers if there is a 1-meter rise in the sea level a hundred years from now:

“We found, as relatively small beaches shrink more due to sea level rise, people will stop visiting them, opting for wider beaches.”

Fortunately the researchers have made some exciting new findings about how small beaches can fight back - a hundred years from now:

Adding lifeguards, convenient parking and improving water quality could help make up for some of the lost sand.

Read the entire article here

Who could have guessed?

We should probably be grateful that the Duke modellers at least seem to think that there still are people and cars around in the year 2112.  Maybe global warming will not after all cause the kind of apocalypse that Gore and his likes are saying if you you can beat it with a couple of lifeguards and more convenient parking? 

Gazprom under Putin´s rule: "more like an organized crime syndicate than a legal corporation"

The eminent Swedish economist Anders Åslund, who knows Russia extremely well, has written a damning account of how Vladimir Putin has misused and mismanaged Russia´s energy giant Gazprom:

Gazprom has been Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's main preoccupation since 2001, but it has been a spectacular failure. Gazprom possesses huge natural resources, however, it is extremely inefficient because of poor management and massive corruption. In addition, it pursues an aggressive foreign policy that harms both the company and Russia. In reality, Gazprom in many ways is more important in advancing the Kremlin's foreign policy than the Defense Ministry or the Foreign Ministry.

In short, the way Gazprom is run is an accurate model for how Putin rules Russia.
As a result of poor management and corruption, Gazprom's production has been stagnant for the last two decades, and its share of Russia's gas output has fallen to 76 percent. It enjoys a monopoly on gas exports, but its net exports have declined for the last decade. The company's strategy is problematic. Essentially, Gazprom just sits on its giant fields that comprise a quarter of global reserves of traditional gas, and it pipes this gas from western Siberia to Europe. It maintains its old strategy with remarkable conservatism and does not stand up to new opportunities or challenges.

Meanwhile, the gas industry is going through a revolution with a huge new supply of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, and shale gas, but Gazprom barely participates in this game. It gained some LNG production after it muscled in on Royal Dutch Shell's Sakhalin project, whereas it has largely ignored the shale gas market. Gas prices have fallen sharply in the United States and decoupled from high oil prices, while Gazprom insists on high prices linked to the oil price. It also persists with long-term contracts, trying to avoid spot markets. As a result, Gazprom's export volumes to Europe have fallen and are likely to decline further despite the gas bonanza.

Gazprom's largest preoccupation is to build pipelines that are not needed. It is building both Nord Stream (55 billion cubic meters) and South Stream (63 bcm). South Stream is likely to cost at least $30 billion, while Nord Stream may cost half as much. This capacity is not needed because the Ukrainian pipeline system can transit at least 120 bcm of natural gas to Europe and only needs limited repairs for $3.5 billion. Why throw away $45 billion? The reason is not cost efficiency. Gazprom's pipelines cost two to three times per kilometer more to build than similar projects.

the total amount of sheer waste and corruption may have amounted to $40 billion last year, almost equaling Gazprom's net profit of $44.7 billion. That sounds more like an organized crime syndicate than a legal corporation. If Gazprom were one-tenth as large, due diligence would prevent major international financial corporations from dealing with it.

Read the entire article here


Russia is a country with enormous natural resources, which - well used - could help make life for ordinary Russians much better. But it will not happen as long as Vladimir Putin is in charge. Fortunately, though, more and more Russians have become aware of the true state of affairs in their country and are demanding an end to the disastrous Putin regime.

Germans do not believe that the Greek bailout will work

German taxpayers are not stupid:

A majority of Germans believe the bailout (of Greece) won't work. According to a survey conducted by pollster Emnid and published on Sunday, 62 percent said they wanted parliament to vote "No" on Monday. Only 33 percent were in favor. Almost two-thirds said they were convinced that Greece can't be rescued from state bankruptcy.

But the Merkel Government (with the help of a clear majority in the German parliament) continues its disastrous bailout policy despite of the will of the people and the opinion of a growing number of economists.

And when a minister dares to disagree, he is immediately rebuked by the Chancellor:

Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to rebuke one of her cabinet ministers, Hans-Peter Friedrich, for breaking ranks with the government's line and saying Greece should be encouraged to quit the euro.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said she "doesn't share this view" and believed that the priority was to stabilize Greece within the euro zone.

Seibert added that the center-right coalition government had a unified position on the €130 billion ($175 billion) package for Greece.

Merkel's move prompted Friedrich, who is interior minister, to distance himself from his own statements. "We assume as the federal government that Greece can be reformed and made more competitive within the euro zone," he told reporters ahead of a meeting of conservative leaders in parliament on Monday. "I have no doubts about the chancellor's bailout course." He added that his own support for the second bailout package for Greece had never been in question. The package, he said, was for the time being the "best alternative, otherwise I wouldn't vote for it."

However, in an interview with SPIEGEL published on Monday, Friedrich had said: "Greece's chances to regenerate itself and become competitive are surely greater outside the monetary union than if it remains in the euro area."

The interior minister does not seem to be the only member of the government who has doubts about Merkel´s policy:

the center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Monday that Friedrich may not be the only government member to have major doubts about the strategy to rescue Greece.
The newspaper reported that other ministers, among them Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and Economics Minister Philipp Rösler, had privately voiced doubts that the crisis management strategy can work. The newspaper gave no further details.

Read the entire article here


It is, of course, possible that all this is just political theatre. Mrs. Merkel could in the end turn out to be the greatest eurosceptic of them all.

Monday, 27 February 2012

The German solar madness: "Chinese boom has been generously supported by German financial aid"

Having read the Der Spiegel article about the total failure of the Merkel government´s solar energy and climate change policy , one wonders how long the German taxpayers are going to accept the madness:

Germany long aimed to be a front runner in the solar energy industry, but waning subsidies and rising competition from China have clouded its outlook. To add insult to injury, the Chinese boom has been generously supported by German financial aid.

It was a bad week for Germany's crisis-ridden solar industry. First the government announced plans to slash subsidies for electricity from solar energy. Then the share prices of solar-panel makers plunged. Finally, after several rainy days in a row, the outlook for Germany's solar economic miracle, long enthused about by Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, now seems worse than ever before.

The environment minister with the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is aware who is principally to blame for the plight of the German solar industry: the Chinese. The emerging economy's dumping policy has led to ruinous competition in the global market for solar panels, Röttgen said last Thursday, when he accused the Chinese of pursuing a "pricing policy designed to displace German companies." Thanks to generous Chinese government subsidies, he added, the competition is able to "obtain almost unlimited capital."

It is indeed true that Asian low-wage manufacturers have access to funding sources to which German companies do not. Those sources include the German government's budget for development aid, as well as the budgets of government institutions that aim to promote what the environment ministry calls "global climate justice" in its brochures. More than €100 million ($134 million) in government subsidies have already reached China from Germany, partly along circuitous routes, to bolster an industry that has already become the dominant global market player in some areas.

Warmist professor of international law tries to make AGW a human rights issue

Warmists are getting more and more desperate as the UN promoted climate cult is fastly losing  support among both decision makers and the general public worldwide. Dinah Shelton, professor of international law at the George Washington University Law School, is now trying to make global warming a human rights issue, "because nothing else is working":

Dinah Shelton, who chairs the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, said various regional treaties – to which over 100 countries are signatories – enshrine the “right to a safe and healthy environment”.
“Why take a human rights approach to climate change? First, in a rather cynical way because nothing else is working,” said Shelton, of the George Washington University Law School.

“We have seen efforts through the environmental law regime, we’ve seen 25 years of sustainable development since the Brundtland Commission, and the emphasis has been much more on ‘development’ than ‘sustainable’; the climate change situation does not seem to have improved.

“Can human rights address some of these issues in a more effective manner? I think the answer is yes, partly because of the very high place that human rights law plays in the global community.”

Read the entire article here

Professor Shelton is right about the cynicism (in her own approach) and the fact that human rights still has a high place in the (western part) of the global community. But her suggestion that the AGW religion should have some direct link to human rights is preposterous. By openly promoting the global warming scam, professor Shelton is seriously weakening the "high place that human rights law plays in the global community".  But that does not seem to bother this climate cultist, who apparently is intent on destroying the credibility of her own field of research.

What is fortunate, however, is that professor Shelton´s approach to global warming is most certainly going to end up in the same heap of rubbish where we find the rest of the fake AGW science propaganda.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

What will happen in South Africa after Mandela dies?

The latest scare about Nelson Mandela´s health raises questions about what will happen in South Africa when he dies. The British writer Fred Bridgland, who lives in Johannesburg, is worried:

The fear is that politics in South Africa will become much more raw and ruthless once Mandela dies. Already the extent to which the ANC, the organisation to which Mandela devoted his entire adult life, has lost its hold over its own stated core principles is astonishing. “The rot has been evident for some time, spreading ever deeper into the very soul of the organisation,” says veteran liberal journalist and ANC sympathiser Allister Sparks. “We have become a corrupt country. The whole body politic is riddled with it. We have reached a kind of corruption gridlock. When so many people in high places have the dirt on each other, no-one dares blow a whistle. When the President of the country (Jacob Zuma) has managed to get off the hook on a major corruption case (charges relating to bribes associated with the country’s multi-billion dollar arms deal with Britain and other European Union countries), how can he crack down on corruption anywhere else in his administration?
“We have gone backwards on the two core principles that carried the ANC through all the long years of its liberation struggle, through the tough constitutional negotiating process and into the dawn of the new South Africa – the principle of non-racialism and the principle of clean, honest government that would deliver a better life for all.”

The ANC under Zuma has tolerated toxic verbal assaults on the white minority by the firebrand ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, whose rants have poisoned the national atmosphere to a degree not seen since apartheid days. Whites’ resentment of reverse racial discrimination has been exacerbated by the way the policy of Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has been applied. BEE was meant to open up economic opportunities long denied to the black majority and level the economic playing field. Unfortunately, as designed by the ANC, it has involved re-instituting racial classification in a society that loudly proclaims to the world that it has non-racial principles. BEE has enriched only blacks at or near the summit of the ANC, creating multi-millionaires overnight, while driving abroad qualified young whites who had nothing to do with the dispossession, oppression and exploitation of blacks in the past and who see no future if they are to be discriminated against when job-hunting in “the new South Africa.” Moeletsi Mbeki, younger brother of former President Mbeki, says: “The trouble with BEE is that the guys who were given the shares (in former white-owned companies) are not creating jobs, they’re not creating new products, they’re not creating anything that will increase our exports. The fact is that BEE is a politicians’ Ponzi scheme. Black people, mostly the poor and working class, are being ripped off to enrich these guys.”

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The Voice of America is also the voice of Putin?

This is really sad: U.S. taxpayers are funding pro-Putin Voice of America programs.

Ted Lipien, former VOA acting associate director reports about the "reset" of broadcasting policy at the VOA´s Russian service:

If American taxpayers had any idea what kind of messages Voice of America (VOA) is sending in their name and at their expense to Russia, they would be hopping mad.
Opposition leaders and independent journalists in Russia have warned that the VOA Russian website has a pro-Putin bias and downplays human rights reporting, but the latest scandal brings the harm to a new level. The VOA site posted a fake interview and embarrassed a leading Russian pro-democracy figure.
The VOA is funded by Americans to broadcast information programs to countries without free media. A leading Russian anti-corruption lawyer and Putin critic, Alexei Navalny, wrote a scathing Twitter comment accusing VOA of "going nuts."
He dismissed the purported interview with him on the Russian website as "100 percent fake." He further suggested that someone in Washington should start listening and "let all these guys go."

The VOA Russian Service removed the interview and apologized to Navalny, no doubt hoping the scandal would soon blow over.

But the story was picked up by RIA Novosti news agency and other Russian media, which reported on it in Russian and English. Significantly, the VOA English website ignored the whole incident.

What we have here is not just an isolated journalistic flop. Russian opposition leaders have known for quite some time there is something fundamentally wrong with the VOA Russian website.

In early 2011, the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency that runs VOA, commissioned a study from a highly respected independent journalist living in Russia.
He warned that the website favored a pro-Putin line. It even downplayed a human rights speech delivered in Moscow by Vice President Joseph Biden.

The BBG bureaucrats did not highlight this damning assessment to members of the bipartisan board or to the new VOA director, David Ensor. They told them instead that the Russian Service was doing a terrific job.

On the day the Russian Service editors were getting ready to post their apology, Ensor praised them for being a model of innovation.

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