Saturday, 12 May 2012

Gasland shale gas scare proven wrong by EPA

Remember the main scare claim in the film Gasland?: 

"A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire." 

The leftist and liberal media and critics went out of their way to praise this "documentary":


Nominated for Best Documentary OSCAR 2011
Won EMMY for Best Non Fiction Directing
Nominated for 4 Emmy Awards including Best Doc, Writer, Director and Camera
Nominated for Best Documentary Screenplay Writer’s Guild of America
Won Planet Defender Award (Josh Fox) from Rock the Earth
Won Manayunk Eco-Champion Award (Josh Fox)
Won Environmental Media Award for Best Documentary
Won John Lennon/ Yoko Ono Peace Prize 2010 (Josh Fox)
Won Citizens Campaign for the Environment Equinox Award (Josh Fox)
Won best graphic design Cinema Eye awards
Nominated for IDA Pare Lorentz Award
Won Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize
Won Big Sky Film Fest Artistic Vision Award
Won Yale Environmental Film Fest Grand Jury Prize
Won Sarasota International Film Fest Special Jury Prize
Won Traverse City Film Festival Best Environmental Documentary
Listed as one of Current TV 50 Docs to see before you die 
Listed as Outside Magazine 25 most influential Docs of all time
Recipient of numerous congressional, state, local and county citations and proclamations


" of the most effective and expressive environmental films of recent years." Variety

"On the want-to-see- scale, GASLAND tops the list" Washington Post

Riveting LA Weekly

"GASLAND just might be the best film of the year." - The Huffington Post

"Over the past 8 days I was lucky enough to view 40 films...The most important film I saw was the documentary GASLAND...This examination of air quality and more specifically drinking water under attack from NYC to Ft. Worth was very eye opening." - USA TODAY

GASLAND is "well done. It holds people's attention. And it could block our industry." - Oil and Gas Journal President of the Natural Gas Supply Association

"VOLCANIC…With humor and inquisitiveness, Fox has delivered 2010's most alarming wake-up call." Hammer To Nail

"This is the best documentary I have ever seen, because of Josh Fox's wonderful revealing story. The narration is infused with humor, as Fox presents indisputable evidence of the fracking's disastrous effect on America. He...displays the bipartisan nature of the issue. This is unflinching, unrelenting, and unbiased storytelling. The best film I've seen at Sundance." The Mixed Tape

"When something emerges like Josh Fox's GASLAND, a work of art which also happens to educate quite effectively...this is why festivals, even the big ones, are capable of surprises, because wonderful things do seep through the cracks. Precisely because it was purely personal...and that it was as concerned with aesthetic matters as issues, GASLAND may also be some ideal of that cherished sub-genre in many festival circles, the environmental film, which tends to leave art behind for the topic it's addressing." Cinemascope

" of the most effective and expressive environmental films of recent years." Variety 

Reality check: 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said drinking water is safe to consume in a small Pennsylvania town that has attracted national attention after residents complained about hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, for natural gas. 

The EPA has completed testing water at 61 homes in Dimock, Pennsylvania, where residents have complained since 2009 of cloudy, foul-smelling water after Cabot Oil & Gas drilled for gas nearby.

"This set of sampling did not show levels of contaminants that would give EPA reason to take further action," Roy Seneca, a spokesman for the regional EPA office, said about the final set of data released Friday. 

The agency released data for only 59 of the homes as they could not contact residents at two of them. 

Dimock became ground zero for the debate about fracking after Josh Fox, the director of Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary called "Gasland," visited the town and met residents who feared their water was contaminated by the drilling. 

Techniques including fracking have revolutionized the U.S. natural gas industry by giving companies access to vast new reserves that could supply the country's demand for 100 years, according to the industry.
Cabot spokesman George Stark said any contaminants found in the tests "are more likely indicative of naturally-occurring background levels or other unrelated activities." 

Read the entire article here

The Gasland hoax has seriously damaged shale gas exploration - the best thing that has happened in the US economy in decades - not only in the US, but all over the world. But if you think that the hoaxters behind the film, or their leftist and liberal envirofundamentalist supporters will ever apologize for their misinformation campaign, I am afraid you are going to be disappointed. 

Coal still the most cost-effective baseload fossile fuel in Europe

In spite of all the EU greentalk, the much maligned coal is still the most cost-effective fossile fuel for baseload power in Europe - and its helping to alleviate the economic slump created by the failed common currency:

At the same time, profits based on benchmark German prices for electricity generated by coal-fired plants have risen by around 30 percent since the beginning of the year to their highest levels since 2008 and could lead to a 13.5 percent year-on-year jump in German hard-coal power production, Reuters research shows.
"If you have anything that's coal-fired in your generation park at the moment - be it lignite or hard coal - you will take advantage of the high margins and burn the stuff," a trader with a major German utility said.
Utilities in Germany, Europe's biggest power market and economy, have constantly increased their use of coal-fired plants since the beginning of the year.
Coal-fired generation has been strong through the winter and so far into 2012 in Germany, Britain, Italy and the Iberian peninsula, because high gas prices have made coal the most cost-effective fossil fuel for baseload power.
Usually there is a seasonal slump in coal generation in the spring and summer months before it picks up again in the autumn, but this pattern may not occur this year in these countries if coal keeps its edge.
What about the "green" energy sources, praised by all politically correct EU politicians and executives? Well, the guys at Barclays Capital have done some deep research on this: 
Barclays Capital said in a research note that stronger seasonal winds and longer, sunnier days would help wind and solar power generation take a larger share from coal burn in the summer.
Yes, we can rely on wind and solar power - if the sun is always shining and the wind is constantly blowing.

Due to the Merkel government´s "Energiewende" (energy transition policy), the future of coal in the German energy mix seems safe, if Germany intends to retain the same degree of energy independence as now. In case shale gas exploration is also forbidden - which appears likely - there are no other credible alternatives. 
Read the entire article here

EU to have a huge delegation at the Rio+20 conference

The Copacabana is waiting for the EU high fliers
The European Union is planning to have an "imperial" presence at the United Nations Conference On Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro on June 20 - 22. The Commission alone will be represented by its President José Manuel Barroso and five other commissioners. Hower each of these unelected eurocrats will have their own delegations, consisting of about 20 persons, which brings the total to at least 120 bureaucrats:
The EU executive is flying six top officials plus an unspecified number of aides to June's Rio Summit on sustainable development but plans to tighten spending, a European Commission spokeswoman said Thursday.
Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso will fly to Brazil with commissioners Janez Potocnik (Environment), Connie Hedegaard (Climate), Andris Piebalgs (Development) Maria Damanaki (Fishing) and Dacian Ciolos (Agriculture), said spokeswoman Pia Ahrenkilde Hansen.
Speaking after the European parliament cancelled its participation due to concerns over cost, the spokeswoman said the commissioners would "be accompanied by collaborators, but the make-up of the delegations isn't yet finalised."
"We're very sensitive to costs and are trying to reduce our expenses as much as possible in all fields including travel and accommodation," she said.
"Only collaborators who have a precise role" to play will go to Rio, she added.
A source speaking on condition of anonymity said however that each commissioner's delegation was expected to number 20 people.
There is no information about the size of EU "President" Herman van Rompuy´s delegation. But for prestige reasons alone it will most likely be at least of the same size as the Commission President´s delegation. 
On thing is certain, there will be infighting about who gets a seat (and bed) on the new Falcon 7x super jet, now at the disposal of the EU top executives.
This is how EU´s business jet provider describes their newest plane: 
Our new Falcon 7X will be able to accommodate up to 13 passengers. A total of 6 beds can be fitted for long overnight flights. The cabin is what you can expect from a Falcon jet : top of the range finishing and unbeatable comfort.

This is waiting for Barroso and the Baroness on the way to Rio
The unelected high fliers do not have to think about the reaction of the voters when travelling in style, like MEP:s have to do:
On Wednesday evening, the European parliament cancelled plans to send a delegation of 11 MEPs to the UN Rio+20 summit, citing spiralling hotel costs in particular.
"The huge increase in the estimated cost of attending the summit is simply not justifiable, especially at a time when many Europeans are faced with economic hardship", said Environment Committee Chairman Matthias Groote.
He requested parliament formally register a complaint to the organisers of the conference.

Read the entire article here
When the hundreds of delegates from the various EU member countries are added, the EU will succeed at least in creating a huge carbon footprint. 
(image by wikipedia)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Greenpeace boss Naidoo wants to enlist the Pope as his ally

Even Kumi Naidoo, the boss of Greenpeace, has to admit that the environmental movement is fast losing momentum. Both governments and ordinary citizens all over are ignoring the doomsday scenarios of the eco-loonies. But Naidoo has not given up. Now he wants to enlist the Pope as his ally in the fight against "the failures of Western economic development":

Naidoo: We could do this with the help of religion. Ideally, the Pope should ask the people: Do you really think God would bury oil and coal for extraction as the only option to produce energy? There are enough other sources of energy that are way easier to harvest: sun, wind and water to name only three. .When you look at the damage and destruction that needs to take place to source dirty energy, I think instinctively a human recognizes that this is wrong.

One must only hope that there are some cooler minds among the Pope´s advisers, who will see to it, that Naidoo and his eco-fanatic colleagues are kept at arm´s length.

Der Spiegel´s much too deferential interview contains another revealing reply:

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Greenpeace is increasingly advising large companies on environmental issues. Isn't this strategy akin to sleeping with the enemy?
Naidoo: No. It would be a tactical error not to advise those companies or to avoid working with them. We welcome these relationships. Every ally for protecting the environment is important. We're better able to achieve our goals in partnership, not in opposition. And it is increasingly the case that the companies are coming to us. They hope to prevent us from starting campaigns against them. Greenpeace has long maintained a position of no permanent allies or enemies: We keep a neutral position.

Read the entire interview here

Here we have the boss of Greenpeace openly admitting what is the basis for Greenpeace´s co-operation with business leaders: Greenpeace is in a position to threaten the survival of their companies. Naidoo openly boasts that " They hope to prevent us from starting campaigns against them".

This exactly the same  "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" business model that the soft image eco-fundamentalists at the WWF are using. 


Regrettably, some of Pope Benedict XVI´s statements, seem to attract the kind of "allies" - like Greeenpeace - which are definitively not in the long term interest of the Catholic church:

In responding to climate change, Caritas Australia is guided by Pope Benedict XVI and the communities we are mandated to serve. It is the poorest of the poor who experience the worst of climate change.
In the Pope's 2010 World Day of Peace Message, he said: "... can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity, the increase of natural catastrophes and the deforestation of equatorial and tropical regions?"
In Caritas in Veritate, Pope Benedict again speaks of an "intergenerational justice". He says, "We must recognise our grave duty to hand on the Earth to future generations in such a condition that they can worthily inhabit it and continue to cultivate it".
The papal view on climate change is echoed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference: "We urge Catholics as a matter of conscience to co-operate in facing global warming as one of the major issues of our time and take roles of responsibility proper to them.

Cracks in the Panda logo: "WWF is not accountable to anyone"

The once so trusted Panda logo is beginning to show signs of serious cracks. The way the WWF (which once was called the World Wildlife Foundation) today operates is more and more beginning to resemble the "business model" used by another type of wellknown organisations. "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse" is in reality the the starting point in many of the discussions between the WWF and various businesses. 

The way a representative of the Cattle Council of Australia describes the situation is telling: 

“By not engaging with NGO's (like WWF and RSPCA, which are the more moderate), we as an industry run the risk of becoming irrelevant within the environmental and welfare policy development area and we would project an image of apathy for the environment and animal welfare.”

The Cattle Council of Australia seems to engage in discussions with the WWF, cleary because they are afraid of losing market share without the Panda logo. 

Dale Stiller, spokesperson for Property Rights Australia, asks the right question: "Who then are WWF accountable to?"

In an opinion article earlier this year in the Washington TimesAndrew Langer wrote.

“Even “partners” of the organization have been burned by its fundamental opposition to economic activity. In 2010, WWF unilaterally downgraded Vietnamese pangasius, a staple fish, in its “sustainability scorecard” despite a partnership with the industry and cooperation from producers to implement its practices.”
If WWF is not accountable to its partners in the business world surely they would respect the authority of democratically elected governments. But no, Langer also writes in his opinion article.
WWF recently has moved into the business space, convincing governments and institutions that it can be trusted with managing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. One nation that fell for WWF’s sales pitch was Norway, which recently granted WWF responsibility to oversee two environmental aid projects in Tanzania worth a combined $7 million. Last week, amid accusations of embezzlement, the Norwegian government announced that it was suspending the project.”
In June 2011 a German documentary was released called Silence of the Pandas. This documentary demonstrates that WWF aren’t accountable for their activities in third world countries toward indigenous peoples and very surprisingly for an organisation with the image of the protector of the endangered and the environment; it isn’t accountable to these values as well.
(In drawing attention to these youtube links to the Silence of the Pandas and the quote from Rainforest Rescue, Property Rights Australia wishes to advise that it is not comfortable with all material contained within; they do however provide a perspective on WWF’s activities.)
Click here for link to Silence of the Pandas part 1 
Click here for link to Silence of the Pandas part 2
A smaller more idealistic environment group, Forest Rescue, indicates its contempt of WWF on its web site when writing about the Silence of the Pandas documentary.
“The WWF is the largest environmental protection organisation in the world. Trust in its green projects is almost boundless. With rousing campaigns, the WWF directly targets the conscience of its donors - everyone should do their part to save endangered species, the climate and the rainforest. The WWF was founded on September 11, 1961. Today it is the most influential lobby for the environment in the world. Thanks largely to its excellent contacts in both the political and industrial spheres. Behind this eco-facade, the film uncovered explosive stories from all around the world. Stories of displaced peoples, cleared rainforests and the huge money-making industry that is the WWF's green seal of approval”
Not only does this material across the world indicate that WWF is not accountable to anyone but also given this information age that it is only a matter of time and WWF’s image will suffer.  WWF is developing an unsavoury reputation that will ultimately devalue its panda brand name among the affluent westerners who can afford a green conscience. Then the large players in the international beef trade will remove all association with WWF.
Property Rights Australia holds the view that unelected and unaccountable people have no right to interfere in the industry where their knowledge is non-existent or tenuous. Grass roots beef producers were neither consulted nor did they approve of this adventure with big business and the ENGO’s.
Surely as a developed nation we have the capacity to define sustainability in a partnership between landowners and rangeland scientists; we may not have a brand name but at least we will have integrity.

Georgia´s only (USAID funded) wind turbine produces energy for two families

The government of Georgia is to be congratulated for its realistic approach to wind energy:

We can’t subsidy wind energy as we have a lot more important problems,” said Mariam Valishvili, First Deputy of the Minister of Energy. “The cost of building one megawatt wind firm is 1 million EUR, which is quite costly. This will increase the net price of energy and according to our calculations the net price of one KWh of energy is 16 cents. At the same time the areas with good wind energy potential are places where infrastructure isn’t developed at all. Constructing roads and transmission lines would take up almost half of the budget. For those reasons it isn’t worth starting and therefore we prefer to build hydro energy stations.”

No wonder that the Georgians are sceptical with regard to wind energy; The country´s only wind turbine, funded by
USAID, is certainly not a huge success: 

“There is currently only one wind turbine in the village Skra. The project was funded by USAID. The prime cost of the turbine is about 25,000 USD. It produces only 22,000 KWh energy per year, which is enough for two families,” Valishvili said.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Italy latest country to cut "incentives" to solar power

The same story everywhere: When governments cut "incentives" (read tax credits and subsidies) to solar power, the market quickly disappears. Now it is the Italian government, which has realized that heavily burden electricity consumers are not what is needed in these times of economic crisis:

Growth of solar power capacity in Italy, the world's second-biggest market, is expected to slow to 1,500-2,500 megawatts in 2012 after a 9,300 MW leap in 2011, due to a planned cut in incentives, a senior industry official said.
"It could be between 1,500 and 2,500 megawatts," Gerardo Montanino, director of operating division at GSE, Italy's green energy incentives management agency, said on the sidelines of a photovoltaic conference in northern Italy on Tuesday.
"It is very difficult to make more precise forecasts when the rules for the sector are changing," Montanino said.

The Italian government has announced a plan to scale back production incentives to the photovoltaic and other renewable energy this year to ease the burden on consumers, who pay for the industry support with their power bills.

A sharp fall in Italy's solar growth is bad news for major solar equipment makers such as Chinese group Suntech Power Holdings, Trina Solar, Yingli Green Energy Holding and U.S. firms First Solar and SunPower Corp.

Italian makers of solar power equipment, like their western peers, have been hit hard in the past couple of years by the growing competition from lower cost Asian rivals and may turn to the European Commission for help, the head of Italian PV industry association Comitato IFI said.
"We are considering whether to ask the European Commission to launch an anti-dumping action," Comitato IFI Chairman Alessandro Cremonesi told Reuters.
"But it is a very long process ... it would take at least two years, and the industry cannot wait 24 months," Cremonesi said.

Read the entire article here

The secret behind Germany´s economic success story

“We do not live on cutting people’s hair or delivering pizza,” Mr. Westerwelle told the gathering of German manufacturing moguls. “We make great products — reliable products that have beautiful designs” and are sought around the world.
Guido WesterwelleForeign Minister of Germany

What is the secret behing Germany´s recent economic success story?
Answer: Demand for German luxury products in authoritarian and undemocratic developing countries, particularly communist China (and also Russia).  
Peter May, a consultant for small German luxury manufacturers, said that expansion into emerging markets is the future for German industries, from the auto giants Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen to the smallest family-owned firms.
China already has become the biggest market for one luxury automaker — Audi — and its parent company Volkswagen claims the biggest share of the Chinese auto market, which at 16 million vehicle sales a year is now the world’s largest.
Audi’s luxury sedans line the parking lots of Chinese government agencies in Beijing and elsewhere.
“Our products have to be perfect. They have to be masterpieces. That is the criteria” to succeed, he said. While only the wealthiest people in most nations can afford many of these products, as a group they control huge amounts of money and are one of the fastest-growing markets in the world, he said.

German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle confirmed this recently in a speech:
German leaders acknowledge that their success owes in no small part today to the ascendance of China and other emerging countries, where a burgeoning class of newly affluent consumers has developed a strong appetite for German luxury goods.
While other European countries remain the biggest market for German products, Mr. Westerwelle said, Asian countries now account for about one-fifth of German exports, and that is where the growth is fastest.
“We must understand that this is the source of our prosperity,” he said.
So do not except any strong German criticism of Chinese (or Russian) human rights violations any time soon. Neither Westerwelle nor Merkel are prepared to sacrifice their "source of prosperity" by demands for democracy and human rights for the citizens of China, Russia and other undemocratic customer countries. It is so much easier to criticize e.g. the Ukraine or even Hungary for their alleged human rights violations. 

But even abstaining from serious human rights criticism does not necessarily prevent an economic slowdown in Germany: 
Dieter Farwick, retired brigadier general and senior vice president of the World Security Network Foundation, also questioned whether Germany’s rise in influence will be more than transitory.
“Nowadays, the majority of Germans believe that Germany is unsinkable,” he said. “One hundred years ago, the Titanic’s passengers felt the same. … They were wrong, too.”
Mr. Farwick expects that German efforts to hold together the 17-nation eurozone will be defeated eventually by the overwhelming burden of trying to rescue the floundering nations of Southern Europe.
“For the next few decades, rich European countries like Germany and France will have to spend trillions of euros to help put the poor countries back on track,” he said. “There will be no resources left for defense, security and stability” and the “European project” will crumble, he said.
Read the entire article here
There are also questions marks as to how long the Chinese economic boom will last. A serious slowdown in China - which appears more and more likely - will seriously hurt Germany´s newly won "source of prosperity".
The Merkel government´s senseless "Energiewende" (economic transition policy) is also bound to seriously hurt the German economy in the coming years. 
The economic future of the European Union´s economic engine is thus not at all as promising as many observers now seem to believe. 
(image by wikipedia)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

EU´s global warming establishment ready to transfer billions to the senseless Green Climate Fund

The eurozone is in the middle of an economic crisis, with millions of taxpayers facing severe austerity measures. But that does not bother the EU´s global warming queen, climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and the Danish EU Presidency. They have invited the "allies" from the Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Countries to hear how many billions of EU tax payers´ money the EU global warming establishment intends to give to the Green Climate Fund, agreed in Cancun and Durban.  

The "allies", together with the likes of Oxfam, are of course doing their best in order to scare the purse keepers into action, but whether the EU finance ministers will agree to this senseless transfer of billions to e.g. all kinds of undemocratic and unstable governments is another matter:

 EU nations have yet to come up with a plan on how to fill a multi-billion euro fund to help tackle climate change, even as the region's executive body hosts talks with countries likely to bear the brunt of extreme weather.
The European Union recommitted to providing 7.2 billion euros ($9.4 billion) for the fund over 2010-12, according to draft conclusions seen by Reuters ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers next week.
But after that, how much cash will flow is unclear as the text, drafted against the backdrop of acute economic crisis in the euro zone, states the need to "scale up climate finance from 2013 to 2020", but does not specify how.
The Green Climate Fund aims to channel up to $100 billion globally per year by 2020 to help developing countries deal with the impact of climate change.
Its design was agreed at international climate talks in Durban last year.
Europe's Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is fighting to build on the fragile international agreement in Durban.
On Monday and Tuesday, together with the Danish EU presidency, she is holding informal discussions in Brussels with members of what some call the "coalition of ambition", ahead of U.N. talks in Bonn later this month.
The coalition is a union of the EU, the Alliance of Small Island States and the Least Developed Countries. At the U.N. talks in Durban, it played a lead role in forging agreement on keeping alive the Kyoto process, the only global framework on addressing global warming.
Hedegaard told reporters the talks in Brussels were "informally testing different ideas".
"We are all in agreement: no back-tracking, no less ambition. What binds us is this idea we will push for ambition."
Representing the low-lying Marshall Islands, Tony deBrum, minister in assistance to the president, said the EU's leadership had thrown "a life-line" to parts of the world most vulnerable to rising sea levels.
"For us, this is a matter of the survival of a people," he said. "A culture, a language, a way of life."
Non-governmental organisation Oxfam said "intransigence" from some EU member states was putting the coalition at risk as they are arguing against firm commitments to finance after 2012.
"At a critical moment in the fight against climate change, Europe looks to be sitting back rather than stepping up," Lies Craeynest, Oxfam's EU climate change expert, said.
Read the entire article here