Saturday, 15 December 2012

German scientist: UN climate models represent "almost complete disregard for reality"

Sanity is beginning to prevail in the German public debate on global warming. More and more leading experts say that it is time to discard the useless, expensive and absurd UN climate negotiation process:

Today's computer-simulated climate models, the foundation of all UN climate negotiations, represent the "almost complete disregard for reality," says Werner Krauss, from the Helmholtz Geesthacht Center for Materials and Coastal Research. "A world is being saved that only exists as a model."
Any sort of move away from the 2 degree Celsius target, of course, would be politically risky. To many, it would sound like an abdication and a retreat from decades of pledges to finally launch a global effort to combat global warming. But researchers are beginning to come to the conclusion that there might be no other way.
The goal of limiting global warming to just 2 degrees Celsius has become much too central, they say, because it guarantees that the focus of the public debate remains almost exclusively on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. Yet after two decades of failed negotiations, the 2 degree goal has likely already become unattainable. It's time to broaden the focus, they say.
"The current discussion is much too fixated on greenhouse gases," says Uekötter. He refers to the recent climate conference failures as the "phase of inaction."
Instead, many say that measures aimed at dealing with the inevitable consequences of climate change must become central. That would involve including local initiatives in the broader UN approach rather than just focusing on average global temperature.

Germany, for example, has moved ahead with a multi-billion euro plan to protect its coasts from rising sea levels and worsening storm surges. But such issues are left largely unaddressed at UN climate conferences.
"The situation is absurd," says Sebastian Wiesnet of the University of Bamberg. "It would be more forthright, with respect to voters, to step back and think about how global climate protection could really be implemented." Efforts to actually prepare for the effects of climate change, he says, could not only be implemented more quickly, but they would also be cheaper than emissions reduction efforts.
Furthermore, the effects of the changing climate are different from place to place and are often magnified by local realities. When it comes to dangerous storm surges threatening islands in the South Pacific, for example, the UN climate conference tends to focus exclusively on rising sea levels. But the problem is often magnified, for example, by the destruction of coral reefs by fishermen. "At the local level, other, more rapidly changing conditions are often more consequential than climate change," says political scientist Mayer.

Read the entire Der Spiegel article here

The next step is of course for politicians - not only in Germany - to part company with the enviro-fundamentalist greenies, who so far have been allowed to dictate so much of the politically correct global warming/climate change agenda so far. 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Quote of the week: The International Trade Union Confederation's employment forecast

The International Trade Union Confederation is worried about employment opportunities in the post Doha world. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow has just presented their new forecast:

“There will be no jobs in a dead planet"
Sharan Burrow,  General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

One kind of wonders, for how long various national trade unions are prepared to pay, probably a very considerable salary to a representative, who has thrown in his lot with WWF, Greenpeace, Oxfam and the other warmist greenies. 

François Hollande - an emperor without clothes

François Hollande, the  party apparatchik, who was never a government minister despite 30 years in politics, enjoys the grandeur of his new home in Paris. But it cannot take long before those who put him there realize that he is an emperor without clothes.

It is becoming more and more apparent, that president François Hollande and his fellow socialists are incapable of reforming their crisis-ridden country:

In the midst of the economic crisis, France's Socialists are denying reality. The minister of industrial renewal is calling for nationalization of some industries, while the president shies away from necessary structural reforms. Business leaders fear the clock has been turned back 30 years.

industry's share of economic output has declined from 18 percent in 2000 to 12.5 percent today. This puts France in 15th place among the 17 countries in the euro zone, and significantly behind Italy. The country's industrial sector has lost 2 million jobs since the Mitterand era. In 2011, France had a trade deficit of €71.2 billion ($93.1 billion), compared with a surplus of €3.5 billion in 2002. At the same time, the national debt has grown to 90 percent of the gross domestic product.
"Whenever a new problem popped up in the last 25 years, our country reacted by increasing spending," says banker Michel Pébereau.
Public sector spending now accounts for almost 57 percent of GDP, more than in Sweden or Germany. For every 1,000 residents, there are 90 public servants (compared with only about 50 in Germany). The public sector employs 22 percent of all workers.
La douce France is a sleepy country of bureaucrats and government officials who want their peace and quiet. But the bad news is beginning to pile up for Hollande.
France is worried, France is beset by doubts and France is depressed, says writer Jean d'Ormesson, a member of the Académie Française. The philosopher Pascal Bruckner confirms his diagnosis: "France's biggest party is the party of fear. The French are afraid of the world, afraid of others and, most of all, afraid of their own fear."
This leads them to turn a blind eye to reality. They feel vindicated in their repression of reality by the crowds of tourists in the country, who value France precisely because of the museum-like quality of its savoir vivre.

Read the entire article here

With this kind of development, it cannot take long before France joins the other southern eurozone countries in need of German bail-out funding. By that time M. Hollande will have to start looking for a new, somewhat less grand dwelling. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A fake Santa in search of a new home

The real Santa would never leave his beloved reindeer to starve.

Of the thousands of apps on offer, this one, called Santa's New Home storybook app for iPad, iPhone and IPod Touch, must be the most stupid one:

In this story, it is Christmas morning and Santa has just returned from delivering presents all over the world. Just as the reindeer are being put away, he and Mrs. Claus and the elves hear a CRACK and a CRASH!

The Greenhouse, where all the beautiful Christmas plants are grown, has fallen through the ice. The polar ice cap is melting!

Because the reindeer are too tired to fly after going around the world in one night, Santa fires up his second favorite method of travel, a zeppelin called The Christmas Star. 

With his wife, Sarah Claus at this side, Santa is joined by four elves, Tinsel, Toby, Snowball, and Sherman, as they search the world for a new place to move the Christmas Village to. Along the way, the look for a place to set up shop in the Big City, the Florida Everglades, a deserted Pacific island, and a castle in England. 

Will Santa find a new home? Find out!

This Santa is quite clearly a fake. The real Santa would never consider moving to live in a castle, and leave his beloved reindeer to starve on the North Pole, or anywhere. 

The European Union as an empire

Top Brussels bureaucrats seem to enjoy describing the European Union in imperial terms. We all remember how José Barroso characterized the EU as an empire. Now another EU grandee, the European External Action Service Counsellor Robert Cooper, "one of the intellectual architects of EU foreign policy" (whatever that is), is comparing the EU with the Habsburg Empire:

Above all, both the Habsburg Monarchy and the EU have provided a home for the small nations of Europe who would have difficulty surviving alone: in the nineteenth century, their need was to avoid being at the mercy of the less liberal German and Russian Empires. In the twentieth, belonging to a larger framework has brought both political and economic security. Had it not been for the catastrophe of war, the Habsburg Monarchy would have continued to develop in its haphazard way, no doubt giving more autonomy to those who wanted it but still providing the smaller states with things that mattered a lot to them.

What was unique in the Habsburg zone was that it enabled the small nationalities to survive, keep their culture, some level of autonomy, and even to thrive with it. The security it provided was political; but was backed – for this was the nineteenth century – by military force.

A further curious resemblance to the European Union is that the Monarchy was (as Robert Kann puts it) a power without a name; or rather a power with several names, none of them quite right: Habsburg Empire? Austro-Hungarian Empire? Habsburg Monarchy? None quite expresses its nature, because, like the European Union, it was complicated and did not fit into any convenient category. For Europe today, Common Market and European Economic Community are too little; European Union is too much: the EU is not a union in the sense that the United States or the United Kingdom is. This last name is an aspiration; but what is the use of an aspiration if nobody knows what it amounts to?

Cooper appears to realize that not everything is well in his beloved European "empire":

But the threat that the EU now faces is, in its way, as deadly as the one that confronted the Habsburg Monarchy a hundred years ago. Instead of the uncontrolled expansion of armies and navies of the early twentieth century, when few understood the implications of the new military technology, we live today in a world of uncontrolled global financial markets dealing in instruments that few comprehend. And the crisis strikes at the heart of the EU. If the EU ceases to be a bringer of prosperity but becomes instead a cause of impoverishment, it too will collapse. Because, unlike the Habsburg Monarchy, the EU is not a state but a community of states, its collapse will not begin at the centre, but at the edges. If it ever dies, it will do so with a whimper, rather than a bang. This fish rots from the tail, not the head. The explosion will come not in Brussels but on the streets of Athens, Rome or Madrid. Perhaps we are seeing the first signs. And if the explosion comes, it will bring down with it the open borders, the single market, the practice of cooperative relations with others, the collaboration in many fields, and at its centre the good political relations that have delivered peace and a sense of community over fifty-five years.

The stakes in the Euro-game are high: monetary union was meant to bring prosperity (and to bind Germany closer!). If the result is penury and political instability, then the EU will share the fate of the Habsburg Monarchy.

A good description of the EU malaise. But the distinguished "intellectual architect of EU foreign policy" does not have very much to offer in the way of curing the disease:

Unlike war, there are no winners when financial markets collapse (no, not even George Soros). If we fail, it will be by errors in our economics or misjudgments of our politics or through collective stupidity. Getting it right does not need a miracle. It requires only open debate, open minds, a readiness to listen and to learn. Intellectual clarity and human sympathy is all that we need, plus some understanding what we stand to lose.

Of course, Cooper does not really want an "open debate", because that is what the entire EU establishment has been - and still is - avoiding like a plague. The EU leaders do not want a really open debate, because  it would lead to the reconsideration of the entire failed project.  

On the highest EU level, there is one head of state, Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who is head and shoulders above the rest. But Cooper and the the other EU grandees, who talk and write about an "open debate" and "readiness to listen", have during the last ten or so years done their utmost in order to shut him out. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The truth about Gazprom - "the world's most profitable energy company"

“The joke in my office is that they’re going to build a pipeline to the moon. There’s no telling when Gazprom will get over the hump on big ticket projects because they never end."
Michael O’Flynn, managing director, UFG Asset Management.

Bloomberg reports on Gazprom:

The world’s most profitable energy company is being punished by investors who are concerned it’s also the biggest spendthrift.

OAO Gazprom (OGZD)Russia’s natural-gas export monopoly, will beat Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) to earn $37.9 billion in 2012, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Yet its shares have fallen 14 percent this year as the state-run company uses its cash to finance the industry’s largest capital expenditure program, including an export terminal in the Far East and undersea pipelines to Europe, where demand is forecast to drop.

The forecasts haven’t reassured investors: Gazprom’s price- to-earnings ratio is the lowest among the world’s 300 biggest oil and gas producers by market value, according to Bloomberg data. The company paid just 7 percent of profit as dividends last year, based on international accounting standards. That compares with 23 percent at Exxon and 45 percent at PetroChina.

The fact that western investors stay away from dictator Putin's pipe laying gas company Gazprom is, of course, nothing new. But what is amazing, is that renowned business media - Bloomberg among them - continue to describe Gazprom as "the world's most profitable energy company". They should know better:

Curiously, in 2011 Gazprom was formally the most profitable company in the world with purported net profits of $46bn, but these profits were hardly real. Investment analysts opined that no less than $40bn disappeared through inefficiency or corruption. Gazprom’s cash flow was barely positive.
In their 2010 booklet Putin and Gazprom , Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov, the opposition politicians, detailed how assets were being stripped from Gazprom through large kickbacks on pipeline construction and cheap sales of financial and media subsidiaries to Putin cronies. Since shareholders have realised that only their dividend yield is material, Gazprom’s market value has plummeted by two-thirds from $365bn in May 2008 to $120bn today.

Yes, there it is - the secret behind Gazprom's pipe laying "strategy".

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

EU's carbon capture projects have fallen through

While the EU Crème de la Crème have been busy congratulating themselves in Oslo, sources in Brussels report that all European projects this year for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, have fallen through:

The aim was for energy and other industrial facilities producing large amounts of CO2 to capture and then store the gas underground as part of efforts to limit climate change. European Parliament member Chris Davis, of Britain's Liberal Democrat Party, had championed the CO2 capture/storage scheme and expressed deep disappointment at the latest development. "Hopes of Europe becoming a world leader in the development of a key technology to combat global warming have been dashed," Davies said. "More than 1.5 billion euros of EU funding available to support carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects will now be diverted to new renewable energy schemes," he said. Earlier Thursday, the world's biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal said it was withdrawing from the EU's Uclos project to install a CO2 capture/storage facility at its plant in Florange, France. That move could prove highly controversial given the dispute between the French government and the company over the future of Florange where ArcelorMittal has closed capacity in the face of a global steel glut. The ArcelorMittal announcement "means that not one single new CCS scheme is set to proceed," Davis said, adding it "marks a major failure by Europe to step up to the mark. 

Read the entire article here

In 2007 EU leaders agreed to have 12 CCS projects in operation by 2015. Now it appears clear that the entire project has fallen through, leaving EU taxpayers to pay the bill. And if the funding still unused, 1,5 billion euros, "will be diverted new renewable energy schemes", as the warmist MEP Chris Davis suggests, even that money will be wasted.

But for this is of course small potatoes for Nobel laureates ... 

Monday, 10 December 2012

Finally an EU success story: The EU-Style Shoe

The European Commission finally introduces a real success story on its webpage: 

"The EU-Style Shoe"

This is how the well funded EU Dorothy shoe project works: 

The customer, anywhere in the world, steps in a DOROTHY shop and co-designs the EU style shoe, that is manufactured in the multi-site-nation factory, designed thanks to DOROTHY tools.

European Shoe Manufacturing industry faces an intense and growing competitive pressure brought forth by developing countries, which are entering the global market offering low-cost workforce for the production of labor-intensive, low value added products. Moreover these countries are rapidly modernizing their production methods and enhancing their technological capacities (Manufuture, Strategic Research Agenda, p.8, 09/2006). DOROTHY aims at transforming the shoe industry and its related business model for strengthen Europe's ability to compete in terms of high added value for the customer (as cost-based competition is not compatible with the goal of maintaining the Community's social and sustainability standards). This transformation relies, on one hand, on the development of tools for the design of customer driven adding value shoes (service ranging from tailor made shoe to mass produced better fit shoe) and, on the other hand, on the realization of tools for the design, configuration and reconfiguration of flexible multi-site multi-nation production factories, meant to manufacture those customer driven shoes. DOROTHY mission is to "design customer driven shoes everywhere, manufacture them intelligently anywhere" as a crucial challenge for shoe industry to gain competitiveness in the global markets, also through better cooperation (and not only to compete) with low-wage countries.

I would like to by a pair of  "customer driven adding value" EU-Style Shoes - like the ones in the picture - as a Christmas present to my wife. But for some strange reason, I cannot find an EU Dorothy Shoe Shop anywhere. Maybe somebody in the Commission could help me out? 

Or has something gone wrong in the central planning process? 

The slogan of the EU-Style shoe project, "towards sustainable economic development - better cooperate and not only compete", closely builds on the Soviet shoe factory concept, but maybe the EU planners did not quite grasp the entire idea:

In the Soviet Union, however, profit was of no concern to the manager of the state-owned shoe factory. Neither did he worry about selling the shoes. His only concern was to produce what he was told to produce, and if he could do that, both he and the workers of the plant received sizable bonuses.

One explanation for the delay could of course be that Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is still working on how to minimize the carbon footprint of the EU-Style Shoe. 

Ban Ki-moon should learn from his own country: South Korea invests in coal-fired power in order to prevent blackouts

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has for years now been one of the leading international global warming snake oil salesmen:     
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today issued an urgent warning to government leaders as the annual United Nations climate negotiations kicked into high gear in Doha. “Let us be under no illusion,” he said. “This is a crisis. A threat to us all. Our economies. Our security. And the well-being of our children and those who will come after.”
Opening the high-level segment of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, Ban said, “The danger signs are all around,” citing the unprecedented melting of icecaps, rising sea levels, and land degradation and drought around the world.
Read the entire article here
Maybe the Secretary-General should make study trip to his own country in order to learn about how to prevent energy blackouts and safeguard economic growth, when facing another cold winter:
South Korea is considering allowing non-state companies to generate coal-fired power for the first time in three decades, as it adds capacity to prevent blackouts that cost the economy $11 billion.
“It will be good to allow a certain number of private coal power generators,” Nam Ho Ki, the chairman of Korea Power Exchange, the government-run company that oversees the country’s power supply and is helping to decide on the new policy, said in an interview in Seoul last week. “We are positively considering that option.”  --
South Korea is vulnerable to blackouts after the government miscalculated demand when planning power plants over the last decade. Some projects were either canceled or delayed because South Korea caps electricity prices to control inflation. Monopoly power distributor Kepco has reported operating losses since 2008. Kepco’s president resigned last month, having failed to win a big enough increase in tariffs.
The Ministry of Knowledge Economy estimated in June 2012 that such “uncontrolled power supply reductions” cut gross domestic product by 11.6 trillion won ($10.7 billion) each time they occur, the equivalent of 1.1 percent of the value of goods and services produced in the country last year.
Another blackout looms this winter because of forecasts for unusually cold temperatures and possible supply interruptions because of the unscheduled shuttering of two nuclear reactors on Nov. 5. South Korea has sounded power demand alerts five times in December after reserve capacity plunged to near or below the 4,000-megawatt safety threshold.
Read the entire article here

Sunday, 9 December 2012

"Global warming" descends on Europe: Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures hit large parts of the continent

Heavy snowfall in southern Sweden on Sunday.

"Global warming" is taking its toll on Europe:
The heavy snowfall that engulfed much of South-Eastern and Central Europe over the weekend has claimed at least 9 lives.
Four persons have perished in Croatia and two more in Serbia due to dropping temperatures and blizzards, informed authorities.
Three cold-related deaths were also reported in the Czech Republic later on Sunday.
Cars had to wait for hours on a main Serbian highway leading to Hungary, trapped in snow that accumulated for hours.
Temperatures have dropped to -5 degrees Centigrade, with the windchill reaching as low as -15 C.
Read the entire article here

Heavy snowfall and cold weather is also causing big traffic problems in northern Europe. On Sunday the busy Frankfurt airport was closed amid heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. More snow and even colder temperatures are on their way, according to the latest German weather forecasts

A severe snowstorm in southern Sweden on Sunday created huge traffic problems for trains, cars and flights. 

More snow is expected also in parts of the UK tomorrow, with bitterly cold winds bringing temperatures as low as 14F (-10C), freezing fog and icy roads.

Cold weather has so far claimed the lives of 824 people in Europe this year. 

UK Secretary of State for the Environment: "We want our country back from Europe"

Owen Paterson: "We want our country back from Europe"
(image by Defra)

Finally, there is a glimmer of hope in UK government politics. David Cameron's Secretary of State for Environment, Owen Paterson, dares to speak out, both on EU and senseless subsidised wind energy. And he understands what a blessing shale gas could be for the UK:

He looks beyond the EU and sees prospects for trade with the anglo-sphere, and with the giants of China and India. The world is evolving fast, and so is the EU. Britain’s relationship with the EU will evolve too. “They are going to leave us… [the Commission] has come up with a very clear plan for what is effectively a new country.”
He has entered the debate about wind farms and shale gas with an enthusiasm that has delighted Tory MPs and terrified environmental campaigners in equal measure.
Given that wind energy is central to the Coalition’s energy policy, his contempt is striking. “These turbines are being built because of subsidy and it is causing huge public consternation. They are inappropriate technology which matured in the Middle Ages, they are inappropriate for many areas of inland Britain and they are doing real damage.” He speaks of those who have had their lives blighted, and says residents should have the power to veto proposed wind farms.
Likewise, he is evangelical about the potential of shale gas, demonstrated in the United States. Mr Paterson believes Britain’s reserves of shale gas could have a similar positive effect here, if only we would let the private sector get on with exploration and extraction.
Mr Paterson argues that the investment in shale gas would revive struggling rural communities. “It could be absolute huge,” he says. “It is totally unlike windfarms. It depends on no public subsidy. It runs in tune with the economy, and it provides an energy source which is reliable.” To encourage development he has set up an office in Defra to speed up the licensing application process.
Read the entire article here

A noble gathering of the Order of Mutual Admiration in Oslo

The Grand Master,  Belgian bard van Rompuy, will be presented a medal of gold in Oslo.
(image by Consilium Europa EU)

Almost all members of the Glorious Order of Mutual Admiration of Europe, also known as the European Council, will tomorrow gather in Oslo, the historic stronghold of the western Vikings, founded a thousand years ago by King Harald Hardråde. This meeting extraordinaire has been called by the Grand Master, a Belgian bard by the name of van Rompuy, in order to make it possible for the other members to witness when he receives a medal of gold (192 grams of 18 carat gold) in the presence of King Harald V, head of the Norse Fossil Energy Kingdom. (The Grand Master will be assisted by the Portuguese High Priest Barroso and the minor Teutonic knight Schulz). 

The Grand Master, who upon his arrival in Oslo declared that "the EU is going through a difficult period ", is accompanied by a colourful retinue of court jesters, doorwards, pages and other servants.

Due to internal strife among his tribesmen, Cameron, the chief of the Anglo-Saxon tribes, will not be in attendance. In his place, Clegg, the head of a minor, now almost extinct tribe, will embark on the high carbon footprint journey to the land of the Norsemen. 

The Norse peace medal will, according to still unconfirmed reports, later be on permanent display on the top floor of the new Order building in Brussels, together with other holy relics and documents of the Order.