Saturday, 8 September 2012

Putin´s Gazprom loosing its shine

 (composed and performed by Vladimir Tumayev, director of the Gazprom subsidy Spetsgazavtotrans)

Things are not going so well for Vladimir Putin´s favourite energy company: 

Is this the end of Gazprom as we knew it? For years, the world’s largest natural-gas company has kept Europe hooked on Russian gas supplies, while enjoying a near-monopoly in its home market.

Suddenly, though, Fortress Gazprom seems to be under assault from every direction. On Sept. 5, European Union authorities announced an antitrust investigation of Gazprom’s long-term gas supply contracts in Central and Eastern Europe. The next day, the company announced first-quarter profits fell 24 percent to 357.8 billion rubles ($11 billion), as European exports slumped and some customers renegotiated contracts to win more-favorable terms.
Back in Russia, rivals such as NovaTek and Lukoil  are starting to poach some of Gazprom’s business. And the company recently delayed a planned investment in the Shtokman gas field in the Arctic, as shale-gas development and the increased availability of liquefied natural gas worldwide have depressed prices, making the Arctic project uneconomical. “There is a whole chain of events happening with the company,” says Ekaterina Rodina, an oil and gas analyst at VTB Capital in Moscow. “I can’t see how they can turn all these negatives to positives.

Read the entire article here
Great news for Poland and other European Gazprom customers, who can look forward to lower prices. And time for Putin´s stooges Gerhard Schröder and Franz Beckenbauer to start looking for new paymasters? 

New study: Global warming increases biodiversity

"A big surprise" - A warmer Earth increases biodiversity

Global  warming increases biodiversity. That is the main finding -"a big surprise" - of a new report by a group led by University of York evolutionary ecologist Peter Mayhew:  

Rather than kicking off the expected cycles of extinction, periods of warming in Earth's history were accompanied by increased biodiversity, according to a report published this week.
Researchers examined the number of known families of marine invertebrates, as well as sea-surface temperatures, over the course of 540 million years of Earth's history. They found that when temperatures were high, so was biodiversity. When temperatures fell, biodiversity also declined.
Even so, given that climate change is generally viewed as disruptive, Mayhew admits it was a "big surprise" to find that eras of warming were accompanied by increases in biodiversity. The work also provided a solution to another puzzle, Mayhew says. Tropical ecosystems are known to be Earth's most diverse, and the tropics would be expected to expand during warm eras. Yet in the past these eras were thought to be species-poor compared with cooler ones. The new results resolve that contradiction.

Warming produces both extinctions and originations, and in the past the originations of new species have outstripped the loss of old ones, says Mayhew.
Knowing that the new findings will not be well received by the global warming alarmist community, it is not surprising that Mayhew adds a caveat: 
"The rate of change is very important," Mayhew says. For diversity to rise, he explains, new species need to evolve. And that takes between thousands and millions of years — much slower than the rate at which extinctions are likely to occur with today's rapid change.
Read the entire article in the journal Nature here
(image wikipedia)


Friday, 7 September 2012

The ECB is playing with fire: Financing through the money presses

A brand new euro factory will soon open in Frankfurt, Gemany
"A euro commmunity based on one treaty breach after another is on shaky ground" 
Süddeutsche Zeitung

The European Central Bank has now agreed to unlimited bond purchases in order to prevent a further escalation of the euro crisis. Jens Weidemann, the head of the German Bundesbank, was the only ECB Governing Council member to vote against this plan which in reality means using the printing presses for creating "free" money:

Weidmann has been warning against the program for weeks now, and on Thursday he became the only member of the Governing Council to vote against the bond-buying program. In Weidmann's view, bond purchases through the ECB "are too close to state financing via the money presses," a Bundesbank spokesman said.

Weidemann and other critics understand that using the printing presses to create money out of nowhere is a recipe for disaster, creating inflation and relieving crisis-ridden countries of fiscal responsibility. Also, the bond buys will violate the mandate of the central bank, because it means financing states.

ECB President Mario Draghi may think that he has "saved the euro" with this new policy, but he is mistaken. His plan is just another step towards the final failure of the entire euro system.

There is also the possibility that Germany´s constitutional court will stop Draghi from carrying out his plan:

The answer is likely to come next week when, on Sept. 12, Germany's Federal Constitutional Court is expected to rule on complaints against the creation of the permanent ESM bailout fund. The ECB's bond buying program can only commence if Germany's highest court rules that the ESM is compatible with the German constitution. If the court rules against the ESM, those seeking to save the euro will have to go back to square one and drum up new ideas.

Read the entire article here
(image wiki)

Obama tries to take credit for the shale gas revolution

The shale gas (and oil) revolution is probably the best thing that has happened to America for years, if not decades. It should therefore be no surprise to anyone that Barack Obama tries to benefit from it in his re-election campaign:

"We're offering a better path - 
 ... where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that's right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone."

Barack Obama

 in his speech at the Democratic National Convention

“I am a big promoter of natural gas as a way for us to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources but also to create jobs”

Barack Obama

 in a taped radio interview on WHBC radio on September 5

However, there is no evidence that Obama administration policy has had anything to do with the American shale gas revolution. On the contrary. It is obvious that Obama´s embrace of shale gas is only a tactical move in order to help him in the re-election campaign, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out in its editorial already in January: 

A re-election campaign is a terrible thing to waste, and this year’s race is already producing miraculous changes at the Obama White House: The latest example of a bear walking on its hind legs is the President’s new embrace of ... natural gas from shale. The catch is that this endorsement runs against every energy policy pursued by the Obama Administration for three years. It’s certainly smart politics for Mr. Obama to distance himself from the anti-fossil fuels obsessives, and no doubt his political advisers are hoping it helps this fall in the likes of Ohio and Pennsylvania. On the other hand, this could be a one-year wonder, and if he wins Mr. Obama might revert to form in 2013.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A celebration of EU "successes"

In his speech to EU Heads of Delegation, Herman Van Rompuy has highlighted the great successes achieved during his tenure as President of the European Council:

First of all: we have come a very long way. In almost three years we have re-enforced rules 
for oversight of budgets, bubbles and banks; built rescue mechanisms; developed 
assistance programmes for countries in difficulty; embarked upon a path of fiscal 
consolidation and structural reform in all Member States; and on top of that we are 
stepping up our joint investment in growth and jobs.

Van Rompuy appears to live in his cosy little haiku world, far away from the evils of the real world surrounding him. 

This is the sad reality today: 

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone, published by Markit, showed the economic rot that began in smaller periphery members of the 17-nation bloc is now taking hold even in Germany, its largest and strongest economy.
"There is very little in the overall euro zone PMIs to suggest an imminent recovery. The figures are consistent with the economy returning to a technical recession," said Philip Shaw at Investec.

But maybe the gloom and doom has a silver lining?: 

The External Action Service has now reached its cruising speed! It is one of High Representative Cathy Ashton's many successes. 

We will apparently have to wait for Van Rompuy´s next speech in order to get some more information about Baroness Ashton´s "many successes". (My suspicion is that it will be a very short speech.)
Meanwhile, there are people who are not as convinced about Cathy Ashton´s achievements.  

A voice for a free and independent Bavaria

This could be the flag of independent Bavaria

"The fate of ordinary Bavarians can only improve, when the Free State no longer is at the mercy of the constraints and exploitations of a double transfer union, a German one and a European one."
Wilfried Scharnagl (in Welt am Sonntag)

Bavarians are hardworking, god-fearing and law-abiding people, who have managed to build a thriving society in their corner of the Germany. They are also tired of being the paymasters of both the rest of Germany and Europe. And who could blame them for that!

Bavarian veteran journalist, and CSU party member Wilfried Scharnagl has written a book, in which he propagates for an independent Bavarian state. The northern German weekly Der Spiegel, which does not like the idea, tries to make fun of Scharnagl and the Bavarians:  

The southern German state of Bavaria has a bigger population and economy than many European countries. Now one veteran journalist has written a book calling for Bavarian independence. The Bavarians, it seems, still haven't gotten over the trauma of joining the German Empire in 1871.

Last Thursday, the day when Bavaria's independence was proclaimed in Berlin, was a historic occasion. It was the day when Horst Seehofer, the famously outspoken leader of the conservative Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, had nothing to say for once.
For weeks, Seehofer and his CSU colleagues Markus Söder and Alexander Dobrindt have been outdoing themselves trying to come up with new insults, directed at the European Union, the Greeks or the rest of Germany, which the wealthy Bavarians resent because of the money they have to transfer to poorer regions under Germany's system of inter-state equalization payments. But noon came and went, and still there was no attack from Seehofer and his cronies.
It was the day when a man carrying a book took to a podium in Berlin. He wanted to finally draw the logical conclusions from all the things that make Seehofer and his colleagues so angry. The man was Wilfried Scharnagl and he was there to call for Bavaria's independence from Germany. "Bavaria does not have the place in the world, the rank and the role that would be appropriate because of its history, size and population," said Scharnagl, who was editor in chief of the Bayernkurier, a weekly newspaper published by the CSU, for 24 years.
Scharnagl delves far back into German history and puts his finger on the open wound: Jan. 21, 1871. On that day, the Bavarian Chamber of Deputies voted to become part of the new German Empire -- in Scharnagl's words, a "to be or not to be" decision for Bavaria. Because a majority of deputies voted to join the German Empire, it was ultimately a "day of disaster for Bavaria," Scharnagl says. He cites his compatriot Prince Otto of Bavaria, who took part in the proclamation of the empire. "What a mournful impression it made on me to see our Bavaria bow before the emperor ... my heart wanted to burst. It was all so cold, so proud, so shiny, so showy and ostentatious and heartless and empty."
Sense of Sadness
More than 140 years later, Bavaria apparently still hasn't overcome its sense of sadness. If one believes Scharnagl, Bavaria is still feeling the consequences of 1871 today. After all, it has to transfer billions of euros to cash-strapped foreign states such as North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Berlin, whose citizens, as all Bavarians know, like to spend their days lounging around instead of grafting like the hard-working Bavarians. And ever since the euro was introduced, the Bavarians have also had to fork out for the even lazier Greeks, Spaniards and Italians. That, in a nutshell, is the opinion of Germany's south-east corner.

Read the entire article here

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Talk about double standards!: Greenpeace Norway "proud" of the country´s oil industry

Norwegians, those socialist Arabs of the Arctic, who enjoy a life in luxury  thanks to lucrative fossil fuel exports, also enjoy lecturing others on the lack of environmental awareness. Greenpeace Norway is no exception; these greenies are proud of their oil and gas industry while at the same time strongly condemning other countries - like Canada - which try to benefit from their own natural resources: 

I'd come to those offices because I was interested in the views of the world's largest environmental group on the industrial darling of the Norwegian nation. Was Greenpeace -- an organization often characterized as extremist by the Canadian government -- going to provide me the first voices I had heard stridently opposing the Norwegian oil industry? Not really. Like everything else in this country, the dialogue was decidedly more thoughtful, and typical of the much lower rhetorical temperature in Norway.

I was met by Martin Norman and Truls Gulowsen, two veteran campaigners from the Greenpeace Oslo office. 

When I asked if they were proud of the Norwegian oil industry, there was a somewhat awkward pause. Gulowsen offered these measured thoughts:
"In Norway the oil industry is the biggest problem for responsible action on climate change and probably will be re sponsible for a lot of problems in the future.

 But as a Norwegian, I am quite proud that we as a nation have been able to control the world's most powerful industry to the degree that we have. So when we discuss the oil industry with my international colleagues sometimes it makes me a little proud that many of my colleagues would be happy if they could get their oil industry up to Norwegian standards in terms of regulation and precautionary measures and openness."

Oh yes, Greenpeace´s man in Norway fakes some vague criticism of the the Norwegian fossil fuel industry, but in general he is proud of it! No wonder then that Gulowsen every year gets an invitation to speak at the Norwegian Police Academy, where he probably concentrates on berating foreign governments for endangering the future of the world, by allowing the exploration of fossil fuels: 

Especially when it comes to operations in Alberta, it seems the oil industry is not under control. It's not regulated and monitored and enforced the way one would believe as a Norwegian. The more it leaks out to the rest of the world about how Canada lets the oil companies behave in the tar sands is gradually changing the world's picture about the environmental status and responsibly of Canada, and that isn't beneficial to any Canadians. "

Talk about double standards! 

Read the entire article here

Barroso´s unveils plan to manipulate Europeans to "broadly support" a Federal State

EU Commission president José Manuel Durão Barroso yesterday outlined his ideas of the European future for a number of EU Heads of Delegation. Not surprisingly, Barroso´s only recipe for solving the current crisis is ever more integration: banking union, fiscal union, economic union, political union ...

...our work is not complete ...

We have a monetary union, but the crisis has demonstrated
that there is a cumulative logic to the integration process: monetary
union cannot function without a banking union, and without further 
fiscal and economic union.
We should move forward in our project to consolidate a truly political union.

But there is a problem that even the former maoist Barroso appears to understand: 
The majority of citizens in the EU member countries do not want to have Barroso´s "empire" with all of those unions!

Of course there is a very important problem is that at the time when
we are required to take further steps in terms of integration it is
exactly the time when there is less support in the public opinion for
this integration. 

This is how Barroso plans to deal with the unwilling citizens´ problem: 

This is why we need also to act politically for the
member states and the European institutions to act together to keep
the population of Europe broadly supporting the European integration
which may be at a risk in the current circumstances when we see the
economic situation deteriorating and when we see the very high levels
of unemployment.

What Barroso means, is that the Commission and the "European institutions" are planning to manipulate the "population of Europe" to "broadly support" a federal European state by e.g. faking an interest in "more democracy and "more accountability". What Barroso and his likes want to avoid at all costs is that people would  be given a chance to have their say by e.g. voting in a referendum. The only way to fight these fake "democrats" is to vote for parties and politicians who dare to oppose the manipulations of the Brussels bureaucrats and their political supporters!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The German dream world of windmills on water has turned into an enormous fiasco

Things are not looking good for German chancellor Angela Merkel and her government. The economy is slowing down, the euro crisis shows no signs of easing, and the chancellor´s hastily undertaken energy transition policy is turning into a huge failure: 

Germany wants to pepper its northern seas with offshore wind turbines as part of its ambitious energy revolution. But strict laws, technology problems and multiple delays are turning the massive enterprise into an expensive fiasco. Investors and the public are losing patience.

Nothing goes according to plan. For example, in July, RWE tried to load a 550-metric-ton jacket foundation from the wharf in Cuxhaven onto an installer vessel. During loading, the elevated ferry sank into the harbor mud because the cargo was too heavy. Now the transfer has to be completely reconfigured.
The HVDC converter stations are causing the biggest problems. They consist of giant converter platforms directly adjacent to the wind farms, where they collect the alternating current generated by the turbines, convert it into high-voltage direct current and transmit it to land via long cables.

It is clear that the first wind farms will likely be complete by the end of 2013, but they still won't be transmitting any electricity to the mainland because the necessary outlets will be missing.

Delays and Risks
A battle has been raging over who should pay for the slowdowns. Tennet made an "unconditional grid connection commitment," says Assheuer.
But the company, which is owned by the Dutch government, cannot meet its obligations. According to a letter from the German government, it will cost an additional €15 billion to connect all offshore turbines in the first construction stage to the grid by 2020.
In light of these panic reports, the entire energy revolution has come to a standstill. Many next-generation wind farms have been put on hold for now. The industry is taking a wait-and-see approach, looking on to observe how the pioneers fare.
It is already clear that everything will become more expensive. The offshore operators are already paid up to 19 cents per kilowatt hour in compensation for electricity fed into the grid. It's estimated that the average household will pay an additional €50 next year for electricity because of the many green-energy subsidies.
The full effect of the calamities on the high seas will only become apparent after that -- and driving prices up even further.
Strict laws are to blame. Dahlke's agency, for example, requires an "environmental compatibility test" for each operator. But biologists are only slowing beginning to realize how harmful the wind turbines are to wildlife.
The turbines pose an enormous threat to blackbirds, thrushes and robins. New data show that the migratory birds orient themselves toward illuminated points in bad weather. As a result, large numbers of birds can end up flying into the flashing rotors.

Read the entire article here

The Brave New Euro-world: Unelected commissioner wants citizens to "feel more ownership" (of the failed policies)

                                      The Commissar Commissioner has spoken

Dr. Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the European Commission and member of the Commission responsible for Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Euro, has given a speech to the ECON Committee (The European Parliament´s Economic and Monetary Affairs committee). In his speech Dr. Rehn (who is - or at least his speechwriter is - well versed in the European Union´s bureaucratic gobbledygook) highlighted the following clearly defined, concrete steps:
Therefore, while we reflect and work on the design of a future EMU, we must at the same time make full use of the existing instruments and toolbox and of the governance framework currently in place, improving them where there is room for improvement.
We can still enhance the governance framework, in particular by completing work on the two-pack. We must introduce new dynamism into the ongoing trilogues to allow us to swiftly reach an agreement that respects the original aim of proposals, notably improving budgetary surveillance and coordination in the euro area.
This includes a timely presentation of Member States' draft budgetary plans ahead of parliamentary adoption and a more efficient framework to ensure the correction of excessive deficits.
Honourable members,
Moving towards more decisions made at European level on financial, fiscal and economic policies requires strong mechanisms to legitimise the decisions taken in common and to ensure the necessary democratic accountability and political participation. This is essential to build public support for European-wide decisions that have a far reaching impact on the everyday lives of citizens. Citizens should not only be able to enjoy the benefits in terms of more stability and prosperity but also feel more ownership of the policy processes.
The Economic Dialogue introduced by the Six-Pack is a new inter-institutional instrument ensuring a forum for democratic accountability in the area of economic policy coordination. A potentially far-reaching aspect of the six-pack are the innovative provisions which allow the Parliament to conduct Economic Dialogues with individual Member States, in particular when they are in breach EU rules. These provisions allow for a national government to be held to account in public at the European level for any failure to respect their European obligations.
Isn´t it wonderful that an unelected bureaucrat like Dr. Rehn is so dedicated to democratic accountability and ordinary European citizens´ "ownership of the policy processes"! (The speechwriter had realised that the commissioner was addressing those larger than life guardians of democracy at the European Parliament).
However, one sentence in Dr. Rehn´s speech needs to be clarified:
While we need to be ready for bold steps towards integrated financial, fiscal and economic policies, we should not raise the bar too high – at least in the short term – since this would risk, paradoxically, playing into the hands of those seeking to portray a truly integrated EMU as an impossibility. 
What Dr. Rehn really meant is that the European Commission and all the political decision makers, who are working hard in order to create a European Federal State, want to introduce it by stealth. European citizens should not be told about it - at least not "in the short term" - because that could "play into the hands" of the majority of Europeans who do not want it. 
Among Dr. Rehn´s "tools", the "six-pack" is easy to comprehend even for the ordinary "European citizen". But what is a "two-pack"? 

Monday, 3 September 2012

Quebec taxpayers sponsoring free two week holidays in the Magic Desert Kingdom of Doha (for young climate bloggers only)

"As your aircraft descends into Qatar, you are welcomed by a spectacular view of the capital city, Doha. The completely landscaped, crescent-shaped Corniche, the sparkling blue waters of the Arabian Gulf, and the sandy desert backdrop provide the first glimpse of what experiences await you. This sun-kissed country is filled with possibilities – desert escapades and shopping extravaganzas; natural attractions and water sports; state-of-the-art sporting facilities and historical museums; all combined with fine dining and luxurious accommodations. Welcome to the heart of the Arabian Gulf. Come … experience Qatar."

If you are a "budding blogger" between 18 - 30 years of age, the "Adopt a Negotiator project" offers you a FREE two week stay in the Magic Desert Kingdom of Qatar - including "a generous per diem" - courtesy of the Quebec taxpayers. 

All you have to do is to fake a little interest in "climate action", and you will be eligible for a high carbon footprint flight to the UN climate jamboree COP18 in Doha, starting on November 26:

Bloggers to Win Free Doha Climate Change Conference Trips this November: Adopt A Negotiator

Are you a budding blogger with an interest in the environment? Or maybe a video journalist with a passion for social issues? Well, if you are and also happen to be between 18-30 years old, then the ‘Adopt a Negotiator’ project is for you. They are on the look out for talented people to join their delegation to the UN COP18 conference in the hope of securing a better deal for the climate and the world’s citizens at the next climate summit.
Sébastien Duyck from AaN explains more about the project: “We bring young (18-30) people and bloggers to the main meetings of the UN climate talks to push for stronger climate action, mainly through the use of social media. So as we are now seeking new candidates to join our delegation to the UN COP18 conference, we would like to invite several regional representatives to join us.
Fellows will be provided with:
  • The opportunity to play a specific role to promote progressive climate policies in your country;
  • The chance to be part of a team with many other amazing young activists/bloggers;
All support needed from our team and partner during the coming months (networking, capacity building);
  • Transportation to Doha, accommodation and a generous per diem during the Doha Climate Change Conference

The "Adopt A Negotiator" project is run by the Global Campaign for Climate Action, which lists the Quebec Government as one of its main sponsors. I´ll bet taxpayers in Quebec are not aware of their generous "sponsoring". 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A sad day for Europe: "We are heading for a dictatorship of bureaucrats"

Warning: You are a criminal if you import one of these to an  European Union  member country!

Yesterday was a sad day for Europe. Since September 1, 2012, it is illegal to manufacture or import traditional incandescent light bulbs in EU member states. The criminalizing of the bulbs in the name of fighting imaginary human caused global warming is of course sheer madness, but the way this insane regulation (European Commission Regulation No. 244/2009) has been forced upon European consumers is also an example of the gradual undemocratic power grab undertaken by the Brussels bureaucracy. "We are heading for a dictatorship of bureaucrats," says German MEP Holger Krahmer, who is to be congratulated for daring to speak out: 

For Holger Krahmer, a member of the European Parliament for Germany's business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), the reform is a complete failure.   "We are heading for a dictatorship of bureaucrats,"  he says. Krahmer is on the energy committee, which is using the Ecodesign Directive to make more and more products more energy-efficient.
For example, plans call for mandating that the heating plates of coffee makers are designed to only stay on for a specific amount of time. Vacuum cleaners are supposed to become more efficient with the additional of moveable suction mouths. Laundry detergent could be reformulated so that it dissolves fats at only 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit). And laundry itself could soon be cleaned using microwave or vacuum technology.
A debate over the showerhead of the future is also causing a certain amount of stress. Germany opposes water-saving showerheads. The country's sewage pipes already threaten to dry up today because water-saving plumbing devices are making it so that not enough water is being flushed through the system. Everything from stoves to heating systems, ovens, windows and insulation is being tested and made more efficient by the EU.

When a refrigerator makes a beeping noise because the door has been left open too long, it's probably because of the efforts of people working for EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. It might not even be long before bureaucrats will be telling Europeans how brown their toast and how hot their showers can be.
If the European Parliament or the Council of the European Union want to reject a measure, they will have to come up with a majority against it. If no one takes action, the provision automatically takes effect after a predetermined time period. For Krahmer, this presents an insurmountable hurdle. "Neither the Council of the European Union nor the European Parliament has the muscle to oppose the power of the bureaucrats," he says.

Read the entire article here

This madness must be stopped!