Saturday, 25 August 2012

The conversion of a believer in "green jobs"

Deborah Sloan is a mechanical engineer and researcher, who after completing her Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford took a "Green Job" with a solar company because believed its potential to create clean and cheaper energy. However, soon she found out that the "green" reality was quite different from the "green" dream: 

Mitt Romney has recently taken fire not only from the Obama campaign but even from some left-leaning Republicans, for his rightful criticism of Obama’s destructive “green jobs” programs.  Not only is Mr. Romney right to criticize these programs -- and his position supported by many economic studies -- but in fact the situation is even worse than anything suggested by these criticisms. Green jobs are destroying the abilities and spirits of a whole generation of engineers. I should know. I was one of those engineers.

In 2008 I completed my Masters in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford and took a “Green Job” with a solar company. Excitingly, it seemed to match the green rhetoric--to have potential to create the incredible value of cleaner, cheaper energy.

Unfortunately, the more I learned about my job and industry, the more I realized they were fundamentally flawed.

Management said we would be competitive with oil and gas once we manufactured panels for $1.00/watt. But as a mechanical engineer, I learned most of solar’s cost is not panels themselves but “balance of system” (BOS) components like DC to AC converters, wiring, and structural mounting, adding about $3.00/watt for a best-case and typically around $4.00/watt. Coal and hydroelectric systems cost as low as $2.10/watt and $1.00/watt, respectively. Ifound no evidence that solar’s BOS costs would decrease meaningfully.

Nor did anyone have a solution to the problem that has plagued solar and wind energy since their inception: intermittency. Solar and wind energy come intermittently, with no means to store it for later use that wouldn’t add considerably to their already-high cost. Thus, the idea of a large scale solar and wind economy is farcical.

If the industry was fundamentally unproductive, so were my colleagues and I. We were wasting a tragic amount of time, talent--and other people's money--making a far inferior form of power when we could have been creating real advances in other, legitimate kinds of energy.

Just as disturbing was what these “jobs” did to people’s spirits. Every high-ranking person in solar or wind must eventually figure out, as I did, that he cannot compete in the market, that his competitive advantages are government subsidies and forced limitations on competitors.
Whatever technical advances we made didn’t solve the intractable problems, so our real victories came in forms such as the Cap and Trade Bill. I learned of the bill’s passage in the House of Representatives while driving home from a day spent on an interesting technical project. I knew my work was trivial in comparison. Our true means of revenue-generation was forcibly limiting carbon emissions, to force consumers into using energy sources like ours.

I had looked forward to beating the competition, but with superior products--and working even harder if we should lose, or if that failed, joining the competition in creating a more energy-rich world. When the goal is not out-producing but crippling of the competition, the goodwill of "May the best man win" becomes "What kills them can only make me stronger."
Real wealth and jobs are not produced by means of subsidies extracted by force from helpless victims by the Obama administration, but by rational free people acting under their own initiative.  The sooner the government stops forcing green jobs on us, the sooner the rest of America’s wasted green workforce can join me in getting real jobs.
Read the entire article here

Friday, 24 August 2012

An Australian bureaucrat to lead the Green Climate Fund

Ewen McDonald - a smiling bureaucrat (image by Australian gov.)

The Australian bureaucrat Ewen McDonald has just been chosen to lead the Green Climate Fund, that by 2020 is supposed to begin handing out  $US100 billion (paid for by taxpayers in "rich" countries, of course) each year in order "to help poorer countries adapt to changing climate conditions and to move toward low-carbon economic growth". Dictators and authoritarians in charge of a great number of the "poor" countries can hardly wait to see the free money start rolling in ....

But the reason McDonald is smiling is that he can look forward to being amply compensated for his future role in distributing the billions. McDonald´s salary has not yet been disclosed, but it will most likely be on par with UN Under Secretary Generals, who must try to make ends meet on their paltry $240,000 tax free salary (+ a great number of perks). 

McDonald is certainly also looking forward to his new dazzling office - most likely in Bonn, Germany - with "roof top gardens" and and a "sunken terrace" restaurant:

Green Climate Fund Headquarters, Bonn (architect´s proposal)

There is no agreement about how the promised billions will be raised, and it is certain that the $US100 billion annually will remain a pipe dream. But that does not the least worry the politicians and bureaucrats behind this scheme. For them the essential thing is that a huge new international buraucracy is established, offering excellent job opportunities (for themselves and their supporters). 

Newest global warming scare: The future of American football is threatened!

Image by wikipedia

The next global warming scare is here: The future of American football is threatened! 
This is what happens when an American sportswriter is brainwashed by the climate change alarmists´ propaganda: 
With a choice, kids may opt out of putting themselves through hellish conditioning in a hellish environment. Or, parents may make the decision for them.
It may sound alarmist now, but not if you project the current weather trends, and their potential impact, into the future.
The weather’s future may affect young people’s future in football, which inevitably would affect the future of the game itself.
Florida and Texas are the powerhouses of American football and also continuously burning up outside, even hotter than the rest of the country. Major droughts just add to the sizzle. It can feel like there’s no air to breathe during parts of the day.
If August, September, and October continue to hang on to these temperature numbers, game time at night will be gruelingly difficult, as well.
Even African-American youths, the ones counted on to carry the sport of football, may begin to turn away from the sport. African-American youth are more heavily involved in all sports now, including skateboarding, swimming, tennis and others.  In the past, opportunities for some sports were not afforded to them, or desired, but times have changed.
In the NFL, players will do what they can to make a buck, but the weather does crazy things to people. This heat can demotivate the best of them. Players may end up not playing as many years or may decide to do other things besides play football.
Injuries play a big part in this too. With less practice due to the heat, players could end up out of shape for game time and be more prone to misgivings with their bodies.
Attendance could be affected, also. If it’s going to be this hot, fans may decide the cool temperature of their home suits them fine at the start of the season, rather than sitting in the hot sun or dry heat.
So until the scientists figure out how to refreeze the polar caps from the north and the south … don’t be surprised if interest in American football slowly declines as the years move on and the temperatures keep inching upward.
It would probably be a good thing for Howard Alperin, managing editor of, who wrote the column, to cool off a little before he makes any more "predictions". Or maybe he should start writing about ice hockey instead?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Greenpeace: "We don´t need such a huge amount of gas and certainly not cheap gas"

The shale gas revolution has been a game changer in the U.S. It could give an enormous boost also to Europe (which is heading for another deep recession). But that is exactly what the enviro-fundamenalist alarmists, who have hijacked the entire debate in Europe, want to prevent:  

Unless carbon capture and storage can be developed on a commercial scale, that means gas as a fuel has a limited future and should not be invested in too heavily, environmental campaigners say.

They are especially against shale gas, whose environmental credentials are questioned in Europe.

"We need natural gas as a transition fuel. However, we don't need such a huge amount of gas and certainly not cheap gas, because that would kick out not just coal, but also renewables," Greenpeace renewable energy director Sven Teske said.
Read the entire article here
Cheap and clean energy, like shale gas is anathema to "green" fanatics like Teske. These people prefer expensive Russian gas, or even "dirty" coal, rather than "American" unconventional gas, as long as they help to maintain the taxpayer funded huge subsidies for senseless "renewable" wind and solar energy. 

Al Gore praises Australia´s neo-socialist carbon tax

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that Al Gore is lauding Julia Gillard´s neo-socialist carbon tax (in reality a tax  on carbon dioxide; the colourless and odourless gas that is entirely necessary for life on Earth):

"This year in Australia, for the first time, in a move that has inspired the world - I hear it everywhere - carbon polluters are being held accountable for the global warming pollution they pour in the atmosphere every single day.
"Policy actions like Australia's historic achievement are beginning to unlock innovative approaches to the climate crisis that will provide new sources of sustainable economic growth and good jobs while simultaneously solving the climate crisis.  We're not there yet, but fortunately we are gaining momentum and we can solve this problem.
"I salute Australia's strong commitment to solving the climate crisis and I know it's going to continue to be a crucial player in building a global solution to this global problem."

Read the entire article here
What the carbon tax and Gillard´s other "innovative solutions", lauded by Gore, will mean to Australian taxpayers is clear: 

The Gillard government, for instance, intends to siphon off $10 billion of carbon tax revenue to meet a commitment to the Greens for a Clean Energy Finance Corporation. This will see more taxpayers' money wasted on dubious renewable energy ventures -- the very projects supposed to be self-sustaining thanks to the cost impact of the carbon tax on power generated by fossil fuels.
None of the state or federal governments, or their oppositions, is keen to discuss the price impact of renewable energy. Bipartisan support for mandatory renewable energy targets and generous feed-in tariffs for domestic solar power are a major contributor to soaring costs. Studies show these schemes are increasing costs by up to 10 per cent on top of the carbon tax. The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has found in the coming year the carbon tax will add $168 to the average bill. At the same time, renewable energy schemes add $102. Then there is a climate change levy and energy saving scheme, so the total additional cost of the carbon tax and other green programs is $317 a year, split almost 50:50 between the tax and other schemes. It's not easy on the hip-pocket being green.
Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Italy´s top scientist on the politicization of climate science

This is what Professor Antonino Zichichi, one of the world´s leading particle physicists, thinks about the politicization of climate science:
He is an angry man. Angry because he, like me, was brought up in the Classical tradition, which insists that the duty of every “seeker after truth” (Al-Haytham’s beautiful phrase for the scientist) is to be logical and rational. He founded the Federation at the height of the Cold War to remind scientists of their moral responsibility to use their craft for good, not for ill, and of their intellectual obligation to adhere rigorously to the scientific method.
Nino is furious at the politicization of climate science. Science these days is a monopsony. There is only one paying customer: the State. Scientists increasingly produce the results their political paymasters want rather than seeking after truth.
Nowhere is the buying of desired results by governments clearer than in Nick Stern’s now-discredited report of 2006 on climate economics. The U.N.’s absurd climate panel had already at least tripled the true (and harmless) rate of warming to be expected from our adding CO2 to the air. Stern, to please his socialist paymasters, tripled it again without the slightest justification. Then he divided by 10 the true cost of making global warming go away and multiplied by 10 the true cost of not acting to Save The Planet (memo to Old Nick: The planet was triumphantly saved 2,000 years ago and doesn’t need saving again).
Tony Blair, the shifty socialist prime minister of the day, was so delighted with this nonsense that he gave Stern a peerage and installed him as head of the Grantham Institute, a lavishly funded propaganda institution promoting fear of climatic Armageddon and hatred of the West.
Using Old Nick’s report as a pretext, Blair (with the near-unanimous support of all parties, including Call-Me-Dave Cameron’s Not-The-Conservative-Party) introduced the biggest tax increase in human history. With only three votes against, the Climate Change and National Economic Hara-Kiri Act was passed on the very night when the first October snow for 74 years was falling outside in Parliament Square.
Read Christopher Monckton´s entire article here.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Václav Klaus: The arrogance of the global-warming alarmists is appalling

President Václav Klaus has again spoken words of wisdom on global warming. Here is an extract of his speech at the International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies, organized by the World Federation of Scientists in Erice, Sicily on 20 August 2012:

As someone who personally experienced central planning and attempts to organize the whole of society from one place, I feel obliged to warn against the arguments and ambitions of the believers in the global warming doctrine. Their arguments and ambitions are very similar to those we used to live with decades ago under Communism. The arrogance with which the global-warming alarmists and their fellow-travellers in politics and the media present their views is appalling. They want to suppress the market, they want to control the whole of society, they want to dictate prices (directly or indirectly by means of various interventions, including taxes), they want to “use” the market. I agree with Ray Evans that we experience the “Orwellian use of the words ‘market’ and ‘price’ to persuade people to accept a control over their lives”[8]. All the standard economic arguments against such attempts should be repeated. It is our duty to do it.
To conclude, I agree with many serious climatologists who say that the warming we may expect will be very small. I agree with Bob Carter and other scientists that it is difficult “to prove that the human effect on the climate can be measured” because “this effect is lost in the variability of natural climate changes”[9]. Provided that there are no irrational attempts to mitigate the human effect on global temperature, the economic losses connected with the warming we may expect will be very small. The loss generated as a result of the completely useless fight against global warming would be far greater.
Read the entire speech here

Catholic bishops in the US jumping on the climate change bandwagon

The Catholic Church in the US is jumping on the climate change bandwagon
The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change “and our partners,” which include the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services, and Catholic Charities USA, are inviting Catholic parishes, colleges, and schools to show Sun Come Up on or before October 4, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Oscar-nominated documentary, according to its web site, “shows the human face of climate change. The film follows the relocation of the Carteret Islanders, a community living on a remote island chain in the South Pacific Ocean, and now, some of the world’s first environmental refugees.”
The "documentary", which the Catholic bishops and other organizations "invite" parishes, colleges and schools to show is of course nothing but environmental spin. The Carteret Islands, as well as other Pacific low-laying atolls, are not sinking because of climate change
Fortunately there are cooler heads among US Catholics, like Dr. Jeff Mirus, who has written a very sensible article on climate change:
It seems likely, after all, that what we are witnessing in the furor over climate change is a rerun of the wildly off-base population explosion announced in the 1960s, or the brief romance with a threatened ice age in the next decade, or the treatment of pregnancy as a disease, or the pressing need for safe sex, or the horrors of growing up in a world in which not everyone respects and affirms our every choice. These have all been made the moral basis for social, political and economic action, yet most people in our culture understand these issues either badly or wrongly. Worse still, the actions taken at best waste time, energy and resources and at worst either make the problem worse or create new problems in their wake.
Think how much more good could be done if those who are rushing to join the climate change crusade, especially as it relates to yet another set of coercive government policies, were to put even half of their fervor into living chastely, protecting the lives of the unborn, discouraging divorce, nurturing families, participating actively in local churches and community organizations, supporting neighborhood health clinics, promoting charitable work, or actually lending a hand to those in concrete, discernible and remediable need. Instead of trying to be seen on the “moral high ground” of the latest fashionable cause (be it whales, diversity, gender-neutral speech, or climate change), we could all actually begin to construct a better world one person at a time.
After observing the secular social order for some fifty years, I am absolutely convinced that both the human person and society as a whole have a deep need for a moral orientation, and when a society either rejects or ignores the natural law and Divine Revelation because these conflict with inordinate desires, then people are strongly drawn to ersatz causes in order to achieve moral satisfaction while distracting themselves from deeper issues. The effort to get climate change documentaries into parishes and Catholic schools is, I believe, a signal example of this common failing, arising as it does from an almost willful refusal on the part of the proponents to open their eyes to the for more pressing moral infections which have already metastasized in our culture like a deadly cancer.
A study of climate science in educational institutions is certainly both appropriate and important. As with knowledge of almost anything else, but especially of those things which may affect our lives, we should want to study climate and learn what we can about it. But we also need to recall that there have been significant climate changes before, even during the past few thousand years of recorded human history, complete with widespread shifts in what crops could be grown in different places and where people preferred to live. One thinks, for example, of the Medieval Warm Period which affected Europe and other regions between about 950 and 1250, which was followed by the so-called Little Ice Age. We probably do not even have a long enough window of serious climate study to know what we ought to consider the outer limits of “normal”.
In any case, it will take far more study, with far more accurate and universally respected results, over a much longer period of time before our limited human comprehension can form a true picture of what is happening, why it is happening, whether it is a source of long-term concern, and whether there is anything particular to be done about it. Under these circumstances, making climate change into a moral priority—that is, a guilt trip—is extraordinarily imprudent. It will serve as more than a distraction. Like many a cause célèbre before it, climate change will become an excuse to ignore the damage done through human relationships that are sadly based on a rejection of God and the natural law.

Read the entire article here

Monday, 20 August 2012

A failed presidency

Historian Niall Ferguson on Obama:

Yet the question confronting the country nearly four years later is not who was the better candidate four years ago. It is whether the winner has delivered on his promises. And the sad truth is that he has not.
In his inaugural address, Obama promised “not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.” He promised to “build the roads and bridges, the electric grids, and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.” He promised to “restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” And he promised to “transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.” Unfortunately the president’s scorecard on every single one of those bold pledges is pitiful.
Read the entire article here

Clean energy - A tale of two countries

A tale of two countries: 

Here is what´s happening in Germany, the country - much praised by the enviromentalist lobby - that decided to exit nuclear and switch to cleaner forms of energy:
The startup of the 2,200-megawatt station near Cologne last week shows how Europe’s largest economy is relying more on the most-polluting fuel. Coal consumption has risen 4.9 percent since Merkel announced a plan to start shutting the country’s atomic reactors after last year’s Fukushima disaster in Japan.
Germany’s largest utilities RWE and EON AG (EOAN) are shunning cleaner-burning natural gas because it’s more costly, while the collapsing cost of carbon permits means there’s little penalty for burning coal. Wind and solar projects, central to Germany’s plans to reduce nuclear energy and cut the release of heat- trapping gases, can’t produce electricity around the clock.
“Angela Merkel’s policy has created an incentive structure which has the effect of partially replacing nuclear with coal, the dirtiest fuel that’s responsible for much of the growth in the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions since 1990,” Dieter Helm, an energy policy professor at the University of Oxford, said by phone Aug. 17. Building new coal stations means “locking them in for the next 30 years” as a type of generation, Helm said.
Read the entire article here
And this is what´s going on in the US, the country that Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, WWF and all the other warmist enviro-fundamentalists love to blame for the lack of progress in the UN-led climate change negotiations: 
The amount of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere in the U.S. has fallen dramatically to its lowest level in 20 years, and government officials say the biggest reason is that cheap and plentiful natural gas has led many power plant operators to switch from dirtier-burning coal.
Many of the world's leading climate scientists didn't see the drop coming, in large part because it happened as a result of market forces rather than direct government action against carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the shift away from coal is reason for "cautious optimism" about potential ways to deal with climate change. He said it demonstrates that "ultimately people follow their wallets" on global warming.
"There's a very clear lesson here. What it shows is that if you make a cleaner energy source cheaper, you will displace dirtier sources," said Roger Pielke Jr., a climate expert at the University of Colorado.
In a little-noticed technical report, the U.S. Energy Information Agency, a part of the Energy Department, said this month that total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions for the first four months of this year fell to about 1992 levels. The Associated Press contacted environmental experts, scientists and utility companies and learned that virtually everyone believes the shift could have major long-term implications for U.S. energy policy.
While conservation efforts, the lagging economy and greater use of renewable energy are factors in the CO2 decline, the drop-off is due mainly to low-priced natural gas, the agency said.

Read the entire article here

Even Michael Mann is lauding the shale gas revolution! The logical next step for Mann is to join the opposition against inefficient and uneconomical wind and solar power ....

Sunday, 19 August 2012

US National Science Foundation funds $5 million urban global warming brainwashing campaign

The US National Science Foundation apparently thinks that Philadelphians - together with people in New York, Pittsburgh and Washington DC - need to be brainwashed in order to become full fledged supporters of the global warming cult. That´s why the NSF has awarded more than $5million of American taxpayers´ money in order to re-educate the aberrant urbanites:

The National Science Foundation announced Thursday that it is awarding the Franklin Institute more than $5 million to educate Philadelphians and other urbanites about climate change. Franklin Institute will be sharing the money with partners in New York, Pittsburgh and Washington DC.

“I have been leading the fight in Congress to make science and research funds available to institutions in Philadelphia and nationwide,” said Congressman Fattah, the leading democratic appropriator for science and the NSF. “Education and research provide the key to American innovation and to securing our future as world leaders. That includes leadership to combat human-created climate change while we still have time to act.”

The educational outreach will include K-12 classrooms as well as programs aimed at adult residents in neighborhoods around Philadelphia, said the Franklin Institute’s Steve Snyder, who is listed as the principle investigator on the grant.

 “There’s a lot of discussion of climate change but people don’t understand the basics so they can make sense of all the information floating around,” said Snyder, who is the Franklin’s VP for exhibits and program development.

Read the entire article here

Oligarch Alexander Lebedev criticizes the Pussy Riot sentence

Dictator Putin will never reform the justice system of Russia.

It is of course good that Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev - co-owner of the Moscow pro-democracy newspaper Novaya Gazeta and the UK Evening Standard and Independent - criticizes the Pussy Riot sentence

The jail sentences handed to the three members of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot are a totally disproportionate punishment for their ‘crime’ – expressing dissent by staging a protest against Vladimir Putin in Russia’s main church.
Their plight has exposed to the world the total lack of impartiality in Russia’s legal system and opened our country to international ridicule.
President Putin maintains that he had no say in the state-run court’s decision, but he should take a stand against the country’s corrupt, inefficient and extremely powerful bureaucracy by showing the young women leniency.

However, Lebedev cannot seriously believe that the de facto dictator Putin had no say in the courts decision!

And even less can the oligarch believe that Putin, by pardoning the girls, would signal that he is willing to make "sweeping reforms to the justice system"!: 

Sweeping reforms must be made to the justice system – and pardoning Pussy Riot would send  a strong signal to the world that Putin is willing to make them.

If Putin actually would pardon the Pussy Riot members, it would only be for tactical reasons, in the face of increasing domestic and international condemnation. Lebedev of course knows quite well that Putin´s mafia state can be reformed only by removing its creator. Bu he probably still has so many economic interests in Russia that he does not want to rock the boat too much.