Saturday, 31 March 2012

Herman van Rompuy gets an award

Students of the Economic Faculty Association of Rotterdam University have granted  the European Union "President" Herman van Rompuy the “World Leader cycle Award”.

It is not quite clear whether Haiku Herman got his prize for of his ability to ride a bike, or perhaps - and this is more likely - because his style of leadership rather well fulfills the definition of a cycle:
"A process that returns to its beginning and repeats itself in the same sequence".

Anyway, the students of the Rotterdam University are to be congratulated for showing a real sense of humour -  a rare faculty in the world of academic faculties today.

In a recorded video message the grateful award winner eloquently elaborated on what it takes to be a great world leader - by describing himself in action:

The oracle in Brussels also gave this prediction:

I´m confident that Europe will overcome the crisis. We will get there, but it takes time.
A few more steps to take this year and next year, and we will see a strengthened Europe, with confidence in the future.

Twelve months from now you will be surprised!" 

Herman van Rompuy may be right about a surprise 12 months from now, but chances are that it will not be the kind of surprise that he is pipe dreaming about.

What happened to the free market?

Dr. Richard North asks the right question about the huge subsidies for Airbus and  Boeing:

Nevertheless, one is tempted to wish a plague on both houses. Cumulatively – on both sides of the Atlantic, we are looking at $25 billion of taxpayers' money handed over to aircraft makers, to keep them competing with each other. Whatever happened to the free market, where the best product was supposed to prevail?

Read the entire blog post here

Has anybody ever tried to find out how many tens of billions our politicians waste on all kinds of dubious and useless policies and projects (like e.g. climate change, to name only one "sector" of waste)? In the European Union alone, the total sum must be staggering.

Friday, 30 March 2012

EU turf fighting could - hopefully - delay the launch of the UN Green Climate Fund

What´s new about the United Nations´ Green Climate Fund (GCF),  which is supposed to hand out billions of taxpayers´ money to (often kleptocratic) governments in Africa and elsewhere?

The flow of the free money should begin already next year, but now it seems less certain that it will actually happen: The GCF bank accounts are still  more or less empty, according to UN climate chief Christiana Figueres: 

Figueres said earlier this month that governments had not put forward specific numbers yet and those that will contribute to the fund's startup costs this year are identifying sources of finance and waiting for the board to be constituted.

And as always, when UN and EU representatives and diplomats are planning how to waste taxpayers´ money on some new (mostly useless) international project, the process begins with fierce turf fighting about who is going to get the seats and (highly paid) jobs in the new international bureaucracy created for the purpose:

European Union ambassadors were due to meet on Wednesday in an effort to settle a dispute over the allocation of seats to member states on the United Nations´ Green Climate Fund (GCF) board, sources close to the matter said.

U.N. climate talks in Durban last year agreed on the design of the fund, which is aimed at channeling up to $100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change.

Regional groups of countries are deciding which nations will represent them on the governing board of the fund, which will have 12 seats for developing countries and 12 for developed countries. There will also be 24 seats that will alternate among members.

Any delays in the board's organization could slow the process towards the fund's launch, which is expected in 2013.
"The key contentious issue is whether the EU Commission should have a seat or not," one source said, under condition of anonymity.

"Some member states, like the UK, Germany and France, believe they should have one seat each and that the Commission has no right to a chair on the GCF, saying it is not a legal entity internationally to be able to do so."

Other member states favor all seats being shared.

The EU Commission was not immediately available to comment.

The EU has until March 31 to put forward its proposal on seat allocation to the Green Climate Fund but could miss this deadline if the matter is not resolved.

"The EU risks not being ready with a joint nomination and risks countries putting themselves forward to the U.N. separately after the deadline," the source said.

However, the fund is still an empty shell. U.N. climate talks last year did not manage to make solid progress on sources of finance. Out of the EU countries, Denmark has announced an intention to pledge around 13.2 million euros ($17.6 million).

Read the entire article here

In the case of the Green Climate Fund the usual diplomatic turf fighting could actually be a blessing in disguise, if it would lead to a delay of this useless and costly UN project. The world does not need yet another huge UN bureaucracy to deal with a non-existent problem. 

Scientists in Tanzania: Do not blame every environmental disaster on climate change

Usually when politicians and environmental scientists get together in Africa, you can be certain of at least one thing: Having been brainwashed educated by American or European "experts", the participants of these gatherings will always produce a document, statement or at least interviews blaming global warming/climate change for almost anything environmentally bad that has happened - or will happen - in their respective countries.

That´s why it is refreshing to read about what local scientists said at a recent "climate change adaptation workshop" in Kigoma, Tanzania:

Scientists meeting here have expressed concern over what they saw as the government’s tendency to blame every environmental disaster on climate change.This was a sentiment expressed by local scientists attending a western Tanzania climate change adaptation workshop on Wednesday. 
Mr Godlove Mwamsojo, an environmental expert with the Lake Tanganyika Integrated Regional Development Programme, disagreed, for instance,  that the 100-year two-kilometre wall in Pangani District in Tanga Region was succumbing to the effects of climate change on account of the fact that the level of the Indian Ocean waters has been rising fast in recent years, eating away the wall away and flushing water onto the streets.
“This wall was built by German colonialists over 100 years ago. For how long do we want this wall to last? What kind of material was used to build it?” queried Mr Mwamsojo, calling on the government to avail more funding for the wall’s preservation.

He was reacting to a presentation by an environmental officer with the Vice President’s Office, Eng Alphonce Bikulamchi, who told the workshop that rising seawater caused by climate change has eroded parts of the wall, paving the way for sea water to flow inland and destroy nearby houses.

“We are overplaying theories. We lack scientific proof,” said the environmental expert (Godlove Mwamsojo).

Eng Bikulamchi also told the two-day workshop, jointly organised by The Nature Conservancy, the Jane Goodall Institute and the Frankfurt Zoological Society, to raise awareness on climate change and its impacts throughout western Tanzania, that Lake Victoria water level has dropped by about 2.57 metres between 1965 and 2006 due to climate change.

This observation was also disputed by Dr Ismael Kimirei, acting centre director for the Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (Tafiri) in Kigoma Region, who said that the drop in water levels in Lake Victoria might have been caused by an over use of water in Uganda.Lake Victoria, the world’s second largest freshwater body shared by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, is the source of the Nile.

In addition, Eng Bikulamchi told the workshop that the Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, is losing its snow fast, noting that 80 per cent of its glacier has vanished since 1912 because of climate change.
Again this observation was strongly objected by Dr Hudson Nkotagu, the Lake Tanganyika Integrated Regional Development Programme national coordinator, who said that volcanic activities might have been the reason behind the decrease of the glacier.

The reaction of an American participant in the workshop, was not surprising. She felt a need to "correct" the "heretics" who had dared to question the teachings of the global warming religion:

Reacting to these observations by the local scientists, Dr Elizabeth Gray, Global Climate Change Fellow with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), a US charitable environmental organisation that seeks to preserve lands, said such environmental calamities might have been caused by other factors, but climate change was magnifying the current situations.

Read the entire article here

Kudos to the local environmental scientists in western Tanzania!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The euro rescue fiasco: When will German taxpayers say, enough is enough?

Der Spiegel notes that yet another red line has been crossed in the continuing euro rescue disaster. The question is: How long are the German taxpayers willing to accept the misinformation - and, yes, lies - thrown in their faces by the present leadership? It cannot take long before Angela Merkel will have to face the wrath of the voters.

The euro bailout funds will be enlarged, and Germany's guarantees will rise further as a result. Once again, Berlin has exceeded its own self-imposed limit in crisis talks. Coalition members are grumbling, but seem to have lost the will to fight. Finance Minister Schäuble has promised this will be last concession, but experience indicates otherwise.
Now yet another red line has been overstepped. Contrary to initial assertions, the euro-zone bailout fund will be effectively increased, and with it the formerly untouchable German contribution of €211 billion. Coalition leaders in Berlin are trying to play down the move.
Merkel praised the euro firewall increase as "the final step down a logical path," but some conservatives
doubt whether this milestone has truly been reached. On Tuesday the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said the euro bailout package should be increased to at least €1 trillion to help the currency union return to economic health. The European Commission would also like more concessions from Germany, preferring for the ESM and EFSF to both run parallel at full strength, through which their volume would increase to some €940 billion. The best option, in their view, would be the transfer of EFSF funds to the ESM -- which would cause Germany's responsibility to explode, reaching a volume of some €400 billion.

Read the entire article here

Italy´s Mario Monti blames bad parenting for euro crisis

Italy´s technocrat PM Mario Monti blames "the father and mother of the eurozone" (Germany and France) for much of the euro crisis:

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday said the root of  Europe´s debt woes lay partly in the irresponsible parenting of Germany and France during the bloc's infancy.

Monti told reporters in Tokyo that because the eurozone's two largest players had not abided by fiscal rules, they had set a bad example for the rest of the continent.

"The story goes back to 2003 (and) the still almost infant life of the euro," Monti said.

"It was in fact Germany and France that were loose concerning the public deficits and debts."

He said despite recommendations, a meeting of ministers from European Union governments had decided not to punish France and Germany for going beyond the deficit limit.

"So the two largest countries in the eurozone had the (deficit) with complicity of Italy, which was then chairing under the rotation system the council of prime ministers of European Union.

"Of course if the father and mother of the eurozone are violating the rules, you could not expect... (countries such as) Greece to be compliant."

Read the entire article here


Monti is probably right about the bad parenting. However, he should have added that the illegitimate child - or maybe the euro should be called a bastard -  is certainly not blameless, either.

Denmark, "a global leader" in green energy - fiction and facts

"Progressive" and "green" governments and politicians all over the world clearly cannot resist the temptation to present rosy future scenarios for a time when they are not anymore around to fulfill their promises. The latest contribution comes - surprise, surprise - from Denmark, the country with the world´s highest electricity prices for private consumers:   

The Danish government has stepped up its green energy and carbon reduction targets for 2020, hailing the plan as the "broadest, greenest, and most long-term energy agreement" it has ever reached.
Danish minister for climate, energy and building, Martin Lidegaard, confirmed on Friday that parliament had agreed a new set of goals designed to wean the country off oil and gas.
The deal aims to see Denmark cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 34% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and decrease energy consumption by more than 12% compared to 2006.
It also aims to supply 35% of its total energy from renewables, with half of its electricity delivered by wind farms. The agreement also covers advances in renewable heat, smart grids, and biogas among other green technologies.
"Denmark will once again be the global leader in the transition to green energy," said Lidegaard. "This will prepare us for a future with increasing prices for oil and coal. Moreover, it will create some of the jobs that we need so desperately, now and in the coming years."

The agreement will help Denmark achieve its goal of supplying 100% of its energy from renewables by 2050, including electricity, heating, industry and transport.

Read the entire article here

Back in the real world, the "global leader in the transition to green energy" looks somewhat different:


Denmark is the wind capital of the world - that's one of the reasons why Copenhagen was chosen to host the great climate change conference last year. Between 1985 and 2005, more than 3GW of wind-turbine capacity was installed, of which about 15 per cent was sited offshore.
There are few areas on western Denmark's coast and in its flat or gently rolling countryside that are unaffected. Fortunately, the nation's agricultural community has learned to love the modern intruders - or at least the subsidies.
As the sector expanded, so did the size of the wind turbines. The latest idea is to build 20MW versions as tall as the Eiffel Tower. Each turbine requires an access road, massive concrete foundations and, of course, electricity pylons.
Wind turbines, despite being so very green themselves, are antipathetic to nature. On forested hillsides, they require the clear felling of woodland; on low-lying coastal sites, they necessitate the draining of wetland to facilitate the construction of access roads and enormous concrete foundations.
As independent energy consultant Vic Mason has pointed out, such side-effects could stimulate the oxidation of peat (releasing carbon dioxide) and damage many sensitive habitats essential for particular species of wildlife.
Until recently, the most important subsidy supporting the sector was that the Danish National Grid (and hence consumers) was obliged by law to buy all the electricity produced by wind-power projects - and to do so at prices determined by the government, not the market. That's why Danish householders must pay almost double the UK price for electricity. Estimates of the costs of the subsidies differ - the Danish government says it is about DKr4 billion (£443 million) a year - but independent experts put it at about DKr10 billion a year. If the higher estimates are correct, it would mean that Denmark has been spending more on wind turbines each year than on education.
In spite of the cost, wind power generates only about 4 per cent of the electricity used in Denmark: the truth is that almost all of it is wasted.
Specialists believe that it is unrealistic to expect turbines to produce much more than 20 to 25 per cent of their potential annual output, and that has been the experience in Denmark. Sometimes there is too little wind, sometimes there is too much. Sometimes the machines are broken or being serviced and polished.
With wind turbines, a conventional power station must always provide back-up. For the Danes, traditional power stations with capacities equal to 90 per cent of the installed wind-power capacity must be permanently online to guarantee supply at all times.
But worse still, even when the turbines are busily whirring away, the electricity generally cannot be used. For "technical reasons", as they say, to ensure stability in the domestic grid, most of Denmark's wind power has to be exported at prices well below what it costs to produce. During 2003, 84 per cent of the wind electricity generated was surplus to demand at the moment the wind blew.
Energy specialists calculate that Denmark's exports of electricity to its large, hydro-nuclear-powered neighbours to the north cost local consumers about DKr1 billion each year.
All this combines to explain why, in practice, only 4 per cent of the electricity Danish consumers actually use comes from the turbines. For this miserly contribution to "green thinking", people must pay double the bills.
Nowadays - reneging slightly on its commitment to reduce Denmark's 0.0003 per cent contribution to the CO2 released annually into the atmosphere from the Earth - the Danish government is dismantling its obligatory purchase scheme, although owners of existing wind turbines and district heating plants will continue to receive subsidies. In fact, even after years of spending on an array of wind turbines, Denmark's carbon emissions were rising until recently.
What lessons do the Danish experiences offer us? None, it seems. The UK government is attempting to follow suit. It aspires to a European target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. This nominally equates to about 20,000 2MW wind turbines, along with new systems for energy back-up.
A rule of thumb says that to prevent turbulence from adjacent turbines taking power from each other, they should be separated by up to 10 times their rotor diameter. Thus, the installation of 40GW of wind power in the UK would leave a turbine "footprint" (that is, the land directly appropriated), on land and/or at sea, equivalent in size to almost half the total land area of

Read the entire Times Higher Education article by Martin Cohen here

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

"The compost bomb" - The new warmist "tipping point"

The need to continuously invent new "tipping points" seems to be an obsession for the global warming scaremongers. An Australian warmist yesterday introduced the latest one in London:

Speaking at the Planet under Pressure conference in London, Prof Will Steffen, a global change expert from the Australian National University, described the ‘compost bomb’ as one of many “tipping points” in danger of pushing global temperatures beyond dangerous levels.
Almost 3,000 scientists are attending the conference to discuss the threats of global warming and the best way forward.
He said that there is evidence of a ‘compost bomb’ around 55 million years ago that caused a huge amount of carbon to be released into the atmosphere all at once.
Scientists are also investigating whether a ‘compost bomb’ caused the peatland fires around Moscow a couple of years ago.
“We know how the compost bomb process works, we think we have seen it in the past, we just do not know what global warming will trigger it or when it will happen, " he said.
Peter Cox, Professor of Climate System Dynamics at the University of Exeter, explained the process of decomposition kicked off by warmer temperatures.
“But if we are warming the planet too fast then theoretically the soils will warm up like a compost heap, making the microbes work faster and generate yet more heat. This causes heat and gases to build up and an abrupt release of carbon into the atmosphere.”
The compost bomb also causes a positive ‘feedback loop’ as the hotter the soil gets the harder the microbes work, causing yet more heat. Also the gases released cause more global warming.

Read the entire article here

3000 scientists from all over the world have taken polluting flights to London in order to listen to this kind of highly speculative "tipping point" talk. (Taxpayers probably have the dubious honour to cover the costs of most participants). In reality, the only "compost bombs" the warmists are faced with in London are the dog droppings in the vicinity of the (five star?) hotels where they are staying. Hopefully they will at least enjoy the sights and sounds of the great city!

Monday, 26 March 2012

The euro in "calm waters" according to van Rompuy - but is it?

EU "president" van Rompuy is optimistic about the euro:

EU council president Herman Van Rompuy sees the eurozone in "calmer waters" as market and consumer confidence return, marking "the end of the sequence of 'summits of truth'," which have been held almost monthly. "The European Council, as the Union’s 'crisis body' takes a moment to rest," he said.

It appears that the renowned haiku poet is not aware of what a wise person said already in 1576:

"Calm continueth not long without a storm."

Financial Times´s Wolfgang Munchau welcomes van Rompuy back to reality:
Welcome back to the crisis. And it’s set to get worse once the markets discover that the eurozone is about to fudge the increase in the European rescue umbrella. The argument I am hearing is a wonderful example of circular logic: we don’t need a bigger umbrella because market pressure has eased.
Well, the market pressure has gone up again recently. Investors are concerned about Spain.
It took the markets several weeks to understand the significance of the recent political and economic developments in Spain. It may take some more until Germany’s stance on the ESM is understood.
But it is only if you consider the two together that the real significance becomes clear.
The current ESM is big enough to handle small countries, but not Spain. I expect Madrid eventually to apply for a program, specifically to deal with the debt overhang of the Spanish financial sector. But even a minimally enlarged version of the ESM will not be big enough.

Social trend analyst: People are losing interest in Earth Hour and environmentalism

The organizers will probably again declare the annual "Love-in" of the greenies a huge success, but experts do not agree:

ACTIVISTS take part in it, celebrities endorse it and experts are divided about it - Earth Hour is fast approaching and it's expected hundreds of millions of people around the world will be switching off their lights for an hour during this Saturday's event.
But one expert says that locals are actually losing an interest in Earth Hour and environmentalism.
Social trend analyst David Chalke says the "hysteria" generated by celebrity environmentalists like Al Gore over climate change has died down and, as a result, people are less concerned about the environment.
"What people are genuinely much more concerned with is practical solutions rather than symbolism.
"We're far more concerned about the economy. Are we going to have a job?"
Monash University's director of environmental sustainability Paul Barton said the public was tired of environmental issues.
"The general public has moved away from recognising and supporting Earth Hour. I think there's an aspect of fatigue around environmental issues. "We've been debating climate change, the carbon tax and the environment for five years now," Mr Barton said.
He said the waning interest was also due to a fall in the public advertising campaign by organisers.

Read the entire article here

Sunday, 25 March 2012

"Full mobilization of the police" when Philippine prisoners celebrate Earth Hour

The close to 500 inmates of the Baguio City jail in the Philippenes "will join the world in the observance of “Earth Hour”, according to the Philippines Information Agency:  

While the world-wide switch-off is set for an hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., the prisoners plan to unplug an hour or two earlier to contribute two hours or more, as they did in the last three editions of the annual campaign.

Baguio City mayor Mauricio Domogan is performing a "ceremonial swith-off", but it appears that he is not fully convinced about all aspects of the celebration of darkness in the city jail:

Domogan also called on residents to adopt security and safety measures and for the full mobilization of the police, fire and other public office personnel to guarantee success of the program.

The European Union´s aviation tax: India prepares for trade war

China, U.S. Brazil, Russia - and now also India - are preparing themselves for action against the European Union´s unilateral carbon tax on aviation. The Times of India reports:

After a carbon tax levied on aviation by the European Union, the government is now preparing for a possible trade war with the European Commission imposing a similar levy on shipping business as well - a move that can increase freight rates by 3-15%.

With EU mulling a tax on the shipping industry that will impose a levy based on carbon emissions on ships entering European waters., the Indian government has prepared a policy document to examine impacts of such a move and list measures to retaliate what it sees as a unilateral move.

The government has also asked aviation sector players in India not to communicate with EU on the carbon tax it has imposed. The decision was taken after official meetings with the aviation ministry now empowered to take progressively stronger steps to block the EU move.

Read the entire article here

We have said it before: This is a fight José Barroso´s and überwarmist Connie Hedegaard´s "empire" will loose.