Saturday, 1 December 2012

People - and media - have lost interest in the UN annual climate festival

The annual UN festival of climate alarmism continues in Doha, but almost unnoticed. The Edmonton Sun columist Lorne Gunter explains why:

But the lack of international interest may also be a sign that, at least subconsciously, more scientists are recognizing that the climate isn’t changing as rapidly or dramatically as predicted.
Certainly the alarmists, both within the scientific community and among environmentalists — the Al Gores and David Suzukis — are as vocal as ever in their predictions of imminent doom. They still insist that every study that calls into doubt their “settled science” is a plot by Big Oil and climate “deniers” to ignore reality.
But take, for instance, what is sometimes called the “Arctic refreeze.” It’s true that this summer more northern sea ice melted that at any time since the record low of 2007. But less well-publicized is the fact that since Oct. 1 there has been a record return of ice in polar regions, or that Antarctic sea ice has been growing for 30 years.
The destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy has been used repeatedly in Doha as “proof” extreme weather is intensifying.
Yet as Chris Landsea of the U.S. National Hurricane Center pointed out this week, there has been no increase in the intensity of landfalling hurricanes since 1900. While 2004 and 2005 were the two most intense hurricane years in the last century, 2006 to 2011 were the five least intense.
Britain is this year predicting its coldest, snowiest winter in a century, following 2011-12 which was the coldest, snowiest in 70 or 80 years. Europe and Alaska are in the grips of early cold snaps and Moscow has had one of its snowiest Novembers on record.
Global temperatures have been flat for nearly 15 years and northern Hemisphere winter temperatures have fallen significantly in the past two years, despite predictions that global warming would be most felt in northern climates, in winter.
It’s true that many alarmist scientists objected when the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper ran stories two months ago claiming global temperatures have flatlined since 1997. But the fact is, the Mail was only using temperature statistics provided by the U.K. Met Office, a very pro-warming government agency.
Even more convincing is a chart compiled by researcher Paul Vaughn for the blog Tallbloke’s Talkshop ( that shows sea level and sea surface temperatures rise and fall with the activity of the sun — not emissions.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Open letter to alarmist Ban Ki-Moon

Finally, some sane people tell alarmist UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to abstain from global warming scaremongering:

Mr. Secretary-General:
On November 9 this year you told the General Assembly: “Extreme weather due to climate change is the new normal … Our challenge remains, clear and urgent: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to strengthen adaptation to … even larger climate shocks … and to reach a legally binding climate agreement by 2015 … This should be one of the main lessons of Hurricane Sandy.”
On November 13 you said at Yale: “The science is clear; we should waste no more time on that debate.”
The following day, in Al Gore’s “Dirty Weather” Webcast, you spoke of “more severe storms, harsher droughts, greater floods”, concluding: “Two weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy struck the eastern seaboard of the United States. A nation saw the reality of climate change. The recovery will cost tens of billions of dollars. The cost of inaction will be even higher. We must reduce our dependence on carbon emissions.”
We the undersigned, qualified in climate-related matters, wish to state that current scientific knowledge does not substantiate your assertions.
The U.K. Met Office recently released data showing that there has been no statistically significant global warming for almost 16 years. During this period, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations rose by nearly 9% to now constitute 0.039% of the atmosphere. Global warming that has not occurred cannot have caused the extreme weather of the past few years. Whether, when and how atmospheric warming will resume is unknown. The science is unclear. Some scientists point out that near-term natural cooling, linked to variations in solar output, is also a distinct possibility.
The “even larger climate shocks” you have mentioned would be worse if the world cooled than if it warmed. Climate changes naturally all the time, sometimes dramatically. The hypothesis that our emissions of CO2 have caused, or will cause, dangerous warming is not supported by the evidence.
Read the letter signed by 125 scientists here.

A fish called Obama

The mostly Republican anglers of Tennessee are now free to catch Obama, the new fish:

Last week, five new fish species were given some left-leaning names after being recognized as distinct species for the first time. The five fish species were previously considered populations of the wider-ranging Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum), but male breeding colors and morphology have revealed their 'true colors.' The fish were "discovered" and named by Steve Layman from Geosyntec Consultants in Georgia and Rick Mayden from the Department of Biology at Saint Louis University.
Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jimmy Carter are also honored by the names of these new freshwater darter species.

Steve Layman: “We chose President Obama for his environmental leadership, particularly in the areas of clean energy and environmental protection, and because he is one of our first leaders to approach conservation and environmental protection from a more global vision."

Here you can compare the new political fish species. The Etheostoma Obama is the reddest of them. 

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Climate change in Germany: Hype meets reality

Hype is beginning to meet reality in Germany, Europe's model country on climate change. Germany's politically correct leaders still sound like nothing would have changed, but their actions tell another story: 

Can a member of parliament be expected to be chauffeured around Berlin in a small car? Or should he even stoop to the level of taking a cab? Now that, the Bundestag recently decided, would be asking too much. But because the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the elegant limousines normally used to chauffeur German lawmakers exceeds standards set three years ago, the Bundestag came up with a convenient solution. They simply raised the previously established limit of 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer to 140.

And what about the fact that the European Commission in Brussels has been fighting for months to set the limit at 95 grams? Forget it! And the climate? Oh, that again.
Only a few years ago, lawmakers would have hardly dared raise the limits for allowable greenhouse gas emissions coming from their official cars. They would have been too worried about upsetting climate activists and triggering outraged editorials in the papers.
But things have changed, so much so that the Bundestag's decision hardly attracted any notice in the press, and neither did the government's decision to eliminate a rule requiring official trips to be climate-neutral. As mundane as these decisions seem, they symbolize a significant failure, namely that no issue of global urgency has tanked quite as quickly as the warming of the earth's climate.

The German political establishment of course understands that their entire global warming policy has failed abysmally. But, as politicans everywhere, they are not prepared to admit that they were wrong. Instead they have opted for a face saving operation: 

Despite all this, no politician in Germany, touted as a model country on environmental matters, is willing to back away from the 2-degree target. "It's about saving face," says Oliver Geden, a climate expert with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin. That's why the Germans are resorting to methods that auditors would probably characterize as an accounting trick.
This is how the trick works: You allow temperatures to shoot up by more than 2 degrees Celsius at around the middle of the century. Then you reduce greenhouse gas emissions to such an extent that the planet's temperature curve falls below the magic limit of 2 degrees above current levels by 2100. Practically speaking, no climatologist will be alive to experience that day, which makes it easy to reach such a resolution, which insiders refer to as "overshooting."

Read the entire article here

Gazprom finally begins to diversify - wants to create a Soviet football league

Putin's new soccer league would not have to waste money on creating  a new logo.  This one would do fine, perhaps with the globe coming in the form of a football.

Putin's struggling pipe laying company is finally beginning to diversify. Gazprom is now proposing a football tournament for the top clubs of the former Soviet Union states:
Belarusian football powerhouse BATE Borisov say they will gladly compete in a tournament which would unite top clubs from the former Soviet Union states, currently proposed by Gazprom.
“The establishment of such a league is interesting by definition,” the statement on BATE’s official website said. “Given the strength of the Soviet Union championship, participation in the competition would be attractive to many teams.”
“However, it’s important to make the key points clear – the rules for participation of the clubs in this tournament, the principles of licensing, relationships with the UEFA and the terms on which the CIS countries’ representatives will take part in European tournaments. If these issues are resolved and specified in the competition’s regulations we think that from the point of view of the development of the Belarusian football and the country’s national team it would be a very interesting project."
The Belarusian club’s administration believes that the patronage of such a huge multinational company as Gazprom can really make the idea of the CIS league work.
This great idea must be the brainchild of Vladimir Putin himself. We all know that the dictator has during the last few years worked so hard in order to recreate his beloved Soviet Union. A Soviet football league would certainly be a step in the right direction. Who knows, maybe Putin even could get Gazprom's PR man, German football legend Franz Beckenbauer to promote this new tournament? And Putin's c lose friend Gerhard Schröder will of course be available, if the project needs political support. 

Peer reviewed study: Wind turbines cause sleep loss and mental health problems

Living close to these can cause serious health problems.
(image wikipedia)

It is widely known that wind turbines are inefficient, unprofitable without subisidies, and that they kill hundreds of thousands of birds and bats every year. Now a new peer reviewed study, published in the international journal Noise &  Health shows that industrial wind turbines also cause sleep loss, mental and other health problems for people living in their vicinity. 

This is what the authors of the study, Dr. Michael Nissenbaum, Dr. Jeffery J. Araminy and Dr. Christopher D. Hanning conclude:

This study supports the conclusions of previous studies, which demonstrate a relationship between proximity to IWTs and the general adverse effect of 'annoyance',[11],[12],[13] but differs in demonstrating clear dose-response relationships in important clinical indicators of health including sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and mental health. The levels of sleep disruption and the daytime consequences of increased sleepiness, together with the impairment of mental health and the dose-response relationships observed in this study (distance from IWT vs. effect) strongly suggest that the noise from IWTs results in similar health impacts as other causes of excessive environmental noise 1 .

The degree of effect on sleep and health from IWT noise seems to be greater than that of other sources of environmental noise, such as, road, rail, and aircraft noise. Bray and James have argued that the commonly used noise metric of LAeq (averaged noise level adjusted to human hearing) is not appropriate for IWT noise, which contains relatively high levels of low frequency sound (LFN) and infrasound with impulsive characteristics. [14] This has led to an underestimation of the potential for adverse health effects of IWTs

We conclude that the noise emissions of IWTs disturbed the sleep and caused daytime sleepiness and impaired mental health in residents living within 1.4 km of the two IWT installations studied. Industrial wind turbine noise is a further source of environmental noise, with the potential to harm human health. Current regulations seem to be insufficient to adequately protect the human population living close to IWTs. Our research suggests that adverse effects are observed at distances even beyond 1 km. Further research is needed to determine at what distances risks become negligable, as well as to better estimate the portion of the population suffering from adverse effects at a given distance.

(bolding by NNoN)

Read the entire study here

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Gazprom - the pipe laying company - is building even more pipelines!

With Nord Stream currently running with less than a quarter of capacity, Gazprom - the pipe laying company - is fighting back - by building even more pipelines
Gazprom, which supplies about a quarter of Europe’s gas, is seeking to maintain its market share and boost German sales by gaining access to end-customers. With partners EON SE,GDF Suez SA (GSZ), Wintershall AG and Nederlandse Gasunie NV, the Moscow-based company last month doubled the pipeline’s capacity to 55 billion cubic meters a year.
While Nord Stream’s current flows are less than a quarter of capacity, Gazprom is considering adding two more lines to the project, with one potentially ending in the U.K. BP Plc (BP/) is interested in the Nord Stream expansion, Toby Odone, a spokesman for the London-based company, said by phone.
Gazprom is also desperately trying to hold on to its oil linked gas pricing. It will of course end in failure. Norway's Statoil has recently signed a 10-year gas deal with Germany's Wintershall, based on spot prices, something Gazprom has been saying is impossible. 

The tipping point is nigh for Russia's energy giant, as professor, energy markets expert Craig Pirrong points out in his excellent column:

So Gazprom can hold its breath insisting on oil linked pricing until it turns blue, but competitive pressure and the insistence of buyers and the increasingly evident absurdity of its denigration of gas index pricing will eventually force it to capitulate.
This is one source of trouble for Gazprom. Another source is the shale gas revolution. It's not right to say that there's gas under every rock, but it's not too much of an exaggeration to say there's gas in every rock, and becoming easier to access every day. Like in Algeria.
Other sources of trouble are closer to home. Like Ukraine ("Little Sovok")threatening to cut purchases of gas from Russia ("Great Sovok").
And as Anders Aslund points out, at home proper-through an insane investment program pushed by Putin. Even though North Stream is operating below capacity, it is plunging ahead with South Stream (gas supplies to be named later) and adding additional capacity on North Stream at a combined cost in the $50 billion range. It is also moving forward on a massive greenfield production and LNG project in Siberia (cost-$40-$65 billion) to supply China. You know, that big Asian country that Russia has failed to negotiate a deal with for traditional piped gas despite 5 (or is it 6?) years of bargaining: but hey, they've agreed on everything but price!
So, Gazprom is supposed to complete a gargantuan production and LNG project on spec, and negotiate the terms with the Chinese later, after the investment is sunk? How do you say "holdup" in Russian? And did I mention that Gazprom has never delivered on an LNG project?
That makes sense how, exactly?
The only way it makes sense is as a means of tunneling resources out of Gazprom into well connected pockets from steel pipe makers to Putin. But that's the epitome of good sense in Russia.
Aslund is right that the world's most maligned company - Gazprom - is in desperate straits. Indeed, the splurge suggests that they know the game is up and are tunneling while the tunneling is good. Maybe Putin realizes the game is up, and as Aslund suggests, is putting his chips on Rosneft (RNFTF.PK) instead, and in the meantime is directing an insane capital investment program to move as much money out of Gazprom as possible. (Sechin's ascendance is bad news for Gazprom as well: the bad blood between him and Gazprom is well known. Thinking of which also reminds me of how insane BP was to go to Sechin to help them out with their Kovytka problem with Gazprom. What could they have been thinking?)
This is all quite encouraging.
Who says there's no good news?
Read the entire article here
Pirrong is of course spot on - also about the role of BP. And now the same BP is also indicating that it is interested in an extension of the loss making Nord Stream pipeline! Something is really rotten in this formerly great energy company, now tying its fate to Putin's failing energy empire! Time for BP's hopefully still sane major shareholders to make the necessary changes in the company's boardroom!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Deutsche Welle on the Doha climate "summit"

The Deutsche Welle has done some research about the only real result of the Doha climate "summit":

Renewable energy success stories

There have recently been quite a few stories about wind and solar industry failures in a number of countries. But we should not loose sight of the fact that renewable energy also has its fair share of successes. Subsidized wind energy has for example been a hit among Sicily's mafia gangs, who are working hard in order to modernize and diversify their traditional business model. 

Now we hear that illegal marijuana growers in the U.S. are wholeheartedly embracing solar power:

Illegal marijuana growers are increasingly using solar power to operate large-scale operations in an attempt to remain off the grid and avoid detection from law enforcement agents, authorities said.
In isolated regions of the country, law enforcement agencies say they are finding more growers going green and trying to be self-sufficient by drawing power directly from the sun.
New Mexico State Police recently busted up a marijuana operation around the Four Corners region that used solar panels to pump water. And authorities in California have stepped up enforcement against solar panel thefts from vineyards that they believe were headed to illegal growers.
“We’re definitely seeing more and more of it,” said New Mexico State Police Lt. Robert McDonald. “I think since the cartels down in Mexico are now having such a hard time getting their product up here that some growers are trying to grow it themselves and to (stop) us from finding them by using solar. It definitely makes it harder.”
During last month’s bust in New Mexico, agents raided a solar-operated facility and seized around 250 marijuana plants that were between six- to eight-feet tall in an isolated area of Rio Arriba County.
In 2010, police in Socorro, N.M., pulled more than 1,500 plants from three locations in a marijuana operation that detectives called “very elaborate and sophisticated.” Police said the operation use solar panels, water pumps, batteries and hundreds of yards of hose that functioned on timers.
The use of expensive solar panels allows illegal marijuana operations to avoid the need for massive power consumption from nearby power companies, tipping off local and federal authorities, investigators say.
The use also has sparked the demand of solar panels that has resulted in thefts of panels from homes and businesses.
In California’s Napa Valley, wineries and vineyards two years ago reported a rash of solar panel thefts that authorities believe were linked to a ring that sold the panels to illegal growers.
Michael Honig, president of Honig Vineyard and Winery in Rutherford, Calif., said after installing 819 solar panels, thieves took off with around 40 panels. “Around 10 to 11 wineries were hit,” Honig said. “So was a school.”

It is most likely that there are many other similar renewable energy success stories, which have not yet got the attention they deserve. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Recession-proof climate tourism: Hundreds of NGOs take high carbon flights to Doha

Doha COP18 guide: "Immerse yourself in Arab culture at Souq Waqif, a traditional market. Wander through the labyrinth of traditional Qatari architecture, where stalls sell everything from exotic spices and perfume, to fabrics and household goods. Visitors can barter over the local handicrafts, see the falcons for sale or relax with a shisha pipe and some Middle Eastern delicacies." (image by wikipedia)

The annual highlight of the climate tourism season - The UN COP climate jamboree - is due to begin today in Doha. While tourism in general is suffering from the global economic slowdown, climate tourism is recession-proof: Over 1400 NGOs are entitled to attend the Doha conference as "observers".

Below is a selection of the lucky ones, who will have a chance to "search for bargains along the alleys and stalls of Souq Waqif, wander among one of the world’s most extensive collections of Islamic art in the I. M. Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art or take the family for a stroll along the scenic Corniche or beaches and shops of Katara."  

Association of Former Diplomats of China, Peking
Mr. Changjiu Wang

Association of German Teachers in Geography (VDSG)

Mr. Frank-Michael Czapek

Australian Koala Foundation (AKF)

Ms. Deborah Tabart

British Council
Mr. Christopher Howard Palmer

California College of the Arts (CCA)

Mr. David Meckel 

Earth Child Institute, New York
Ms. Donna Goodman

Edison Electric Institute, Washington
Mr. Eric Holdsworth

Employers' Association of Greenland
Ms. Ellen Lerch Hoj Arnskjold

Evangelist Professional Training School,   Berlin

Faith Association of the Rehabilitation of Street Children and Orphans (FARSO), Ghana

Mr. David Edusah

Gaia Association (GAIA), Ghana

Mr. Milkyas Debebe Mogessie

Global Footprint Network, Oakland
Ms. Rachel Hodara

Global Peace Initiative of Women, New York
Ms. Marianne Marstrand

Huairou Commission Women Homes and Community, Brooklyn
Ms. Suranjana Gupta

League of American Wheelmen, Washington

Mr. Andrew Clarke 

League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS), Washington

Ms. Patty Day

Labor/Community Strategy Center (LCSC), Los Angeles

Mr. Eric Mann 

Lincoln Theological Institute, Manchester, UK
Mr. Stefan Skrimshire

Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic, Inc.. Maryknoll

Ms. Ann Braudis

Native American Rights Fund (NARF), Boulder

Mr. Kim Jerome Gottschalk

Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks, Tupper Lake, United States

Ms. Maria Leonardi

Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Oslo

Ms. Michelle Yonetani

Peace Child International (PCI), Bunting, United Kingdom

Mr. David Rupert Woollcombe

Peace Parks Foundation, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ms. Annelle Scott

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Luisville

Mr. William Somplatsky-Jarman

Quaker Earthcare Witness (QEW), Burlington, United States

Ms. Ruah Swennerfelt 

Railway Association of Canada, Ottawa

Mr. Nicholas George Vincent

Rotary International, Evanston, Illinois
Ms. Christine Sanders

San Francisco Carbon Collaborative
Ms. Tiffany Potter

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council, Washington

World Alliance of Young Men's Christian Associations,  (YMCA)

Mr. Romulo Dantas

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC)

Mr. Ricardo Costa

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS)

Ms. Harriet Christine Thew

World Association of Zoos and Aquariums * (WAZA)

Mr. Gerald Dick

Youth Crime Watch of Nigeria * (YCW Nigeria)

Mr. Yinka Oladapo
Asokoro - Abuja

Bon voyage! 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Putin's anti-corruption campaign is a big joke

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's campaign against corruption is a big joke. Here we have one of the most corrupt politicians of all times fighting corruption! The Carnegie Moscow Center's Masha Lipman has written a good overview for the New Yorker:

Corruption is often described to have become the very texture of Russian life. (In 2011, according to the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, Russia ranked a hundred and forty-third out of a hundred and eighty-two countries).
Yet the mechanisms and driving forces of the anti-corruption campaign recently launched by the government (In addition to the defense ministry, several other high-profile investigations of corruption are currently underway.) are hardly more transparent than the love life of the minister of defense.
Anti-corruption campaigns are generally a product of political competition: newly elected leadership come with clean hands to investigate the wrongdoings of their defeated predecessors. Yet in Russia we don’t have either political competition or a new leadership. The same leader in whose tenure graft and kickbacks have reached abominable proportions now sets out to expose corruption. It is speculated that the purpose of the current campaign is to boost Putin’s somewhat eroded popularity or to intimidate his elites into loyalty or both. Since the law-enforcement and the judiciary are under control it is up to the most powerful to decide who will be “sacrificed” so others be kept in fear. The choice of Serdyukov may have a special goal of tempering the discontent over the minister’s reforms caused among the military. And this choice was probably easier to make if the theory of the vengeful father-in-law is true.
But whatever the ultimate goal of the anti-corruption campaign, in the Russian political system built on informal client-patron ties, one should make sure that the investigations do not go in the “wrong ” direction so those who deserve to be covered up would not be affected.