Saturday, 22 December 2012

Quote of the week: "The EU does not solve any problems, it is the problem"

Quote of the week:

"The EU does not solve any problems, it is the problem. Since the end of the existing real socialism, for which it was also said there was no alternative, the EU is the most massive attempt to incapacitate citizens and abolish democracy in the society."

 Henryk M. BroderPolish born German journalistauthor and TV personality in an interview

The cost of funding José Manuel Durão Barroso and the other EU bureaucrats

This is how much it annually costs EU taxpayers to fund the former maoist J.M. Barroso and the other EU bureaucrats.

Now we know how much the taxpayers of EU member countries have to pay every year in order for van Rompuy, Barroso, Baroness Ashton and all the other EU bureaucrats to receive their salaries: 

4,5 thousand million euros (4,500,000,000 € )!

EU: Salaries


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon
    To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the total salary bill of the European Commission and other EU institutions; and of the level and total amount of personal taxation levied on those salaries.[HL3798]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): EU institutions' staff members are not subject to national income tax. Instead, salaries paid by the Commission to its officials are subject to a community tax which is paid directly back into the EU's budget. An additional levy is also in place for EU officials. These taxes result in around €700 million in revenue for the EU budget each year. The total salary bill of the European Commission and other EU institutions totals €4.5 billion every year.

Source: House of Lords; Written answers, Tuesday 18 December 2012.  

Friday, 21 December 2012

Merkel's senseless energy transition brings poverty to Germany

More and more Germans have to disconnect the electricity supply becayse thhey cannot afford to pay the high energy prices. 

Germany is often described as the rich powerhouse and paymaster of the eurozone. This description is not false, but it does not tell the whole truth. There is also a flip side of the German euro coin: 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has come under renewed attack for its record on fighting poverty, which a new study says is increasing despite low unemployment and Germany’s status as the euro zone’s economic powerhouse.
The Paritätische study follows a report from the research body at the Economics Ministry earlier this week which said young people are at the highest risk of poverty, particularly those from immigrant backgrounds and single-parent households.
According to Paritätische, which questioned 830,000 in a survey, the percentage of the population as a whole threatened by poverty in Germany increased to a post-reunification high of 15.1% in 2011–up from 14.5% in 2010, despite a year-on-year increase in the country’s economic output of about 3%. In the capital, Berlin, one in 10 inhabitants is at risk of poverty.
The Merkel government's senseless energy transition policy is one major factor contributing to the growing number of poor in Germany. Thousands of Germans, among them many elderly people, are now living in houses and apartments without heating and electricity, because they cannot afford to pay the high energy prices. A new study by the Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft shows that the burden of the higher energy prices is above all hitting Germany's poor. Well to do people are the ones profiting from the wind and solar energy subsidies. During the next few years the energy costs for German consumers are expected to further rise with about 70%, sending more and more Germans into energy poverty. Next year alone, "green" energy subsidies will amount to more than €18 billion ($23.32 billion).
The question is, how long are Germans willing to put up with this renewable energy madness? 

Thursday, 20 December 2012

IPCC expert reviewer: Modest rise of temperature will do more good than harm

There is not going to be the kind of large temperature rise that IPCC alarmists have predicted. The estimated modest rise of no more than 1 C will will actually do more good than harm. Matt Ridley, writing in the Wall Street Journal/Australian, has been talking to Nic Lewis, an expert reviewer of the leaked draft IPCC Scientific Report
In short: we can now estimate, based on observations, how sensitive the temperature is to carbon dioxide. We do not need to rely heavily on unproven models. Comparing the trend in global temperature over the past 100-150 years with the change in "radiative forcing" (heating or cooling power) from carbon dioxide, aerosols and other sources, minus ocean heat uptake, can now give a good estimate of climate sensitivity.
The conclusion - taking the best observational estimates of the change in decadal-average global temperature between 1871-80 and 2002-11, and of the corresponding changes in forcing and ocean heat uptake - is this: a doubling of CO2 will lead to a warming of 1.6-1.7C.
This is much lower than the IPCC's current best estimate, 3C.
Lewis is an expert reviewer of the recently leaked draft of the IPCC's WG1 Scientific Report. The IPCC forbids him to quote from it, but he is privy to all the observational best estimates and uncertainty ranges the draft report gives. What he has told me is dynamite.
Given what we know now, there is almost no way the feared large temperature rise is going to happen. Lewis comments: "Taking the IPCC scenario that assumes a doubling of CO2, plus the equivalent of another 30 per cent rise from other greenhouse gases by 2100, we are likely to experience a further rise of no more than 1C."
A cumulative change of less than 2C by the end of this century will do no net harm. It will actually do net good - that much the IPCC scientists have already agreed upon in the last IPCC report. Rainfall will increase slightly; growing seasons will lengthen; Greenland's ice cap will melt only very slowly, and so on.
Some of the best recent observationally based research also points to climate sensitivity being about 1.6C for a doubling of CO2. An impressive study published this year by Magne Aldrin of the Norwegian Computing Centre and colleagues gives a most-likely estimate of 1.6C. Michael Ring and Michael Schlesinger of the University of Illinois, using the most trustworthy temperature record, also estimate 1.6C.
The big question is this: will the lead authors of the relevant chapter of the forthcoming IPCC scientific report acknowledge that the best observational evidence no longer supports the IPCC's existing 2-4.5C "likely" range for climate sensitivity? Sadly, this seems unlikely - given the organisation's record of replacing evidence-based policymaking with policy-based evidence-making, as well as the reluctance of academic scientists to accept that what they have been maintaining for many years is wrong.
Read the entire article here

The euro crisis is by far not over

EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, ECB President Mario Draghi and French President François Hollande have all recently declared that the euro crisis is over. Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich,  executive director of The New Zealand Initiative, thinks that all this talk about victory - which we have heard before - is premature:

The first reason to doubt the euro optimists is the cyclical nature of the euro crisis. We have been there before, more than once. Over the past three years there has been no shortage of ‘breakthroughs’ in the crisis but none has lasted long. Europe’s monetary and sovereign debt crisis is a complex beast, as should have become clear by now. If it is ever solved, it will only happen over a long period of time, but most certainly not overnight.
Second, even if financial data indicate an overall improvement, this does not reach the ‘real economy’. It is rather bizarre that there is talk about an end of the euro crisis at the same time that the ECB has just cut its growth forecast for the eurozone.
The ECB’s previous forecast was for 0.5 per cent eurozone GDP growth, but earlier this month ECB President Draghi said it was unlikely to exceed 0.3 percent next year and the economy could even end up shrinking by 0.9 per cent. With such “growth” (if you can call it that), it is hard to imagine any substantial improvement in Europe’s public debt situation. If anything, Europe’s public debt mountain will grow further. If the Europeans are lucky, the only thing that might shrink is the rate at which their debt will grow – provided austerity measures work.
Third, there are enough complicating factors in European politics that will make crisis management more difficult in 2013 than it had been in 2012. Chief among them are general elections in two of the big eurozone countries, Italy and Germany. In both countries’ elections, the future of monetary union will play a key role. As I have argued before, in Italy it may even trigger a debate on the country’s continued euro membership (Berlusconi battles towards an Italian liberation, December 13), while the German elections will delay any meaningful debt restructuring for Greece (How Merkel’s fiction is writing Greece’s future, November 22).
Fourth, there remains a big question mark behind the ECB’s announcement to defend the euro at all costs. Not only does the ECB lack a mandate to defend the euro, let alone individual eurozone countries, from collapse. Indeed, it cannot even be ruled out that the legality of the ECB’s action will be challenged in the courts. But there is also a political reason why the ECB could be struggling to do what it has promised.
As long as consumer prices remain stable and inflation expectations low, it is easy for the ECB to promise defending the euro at all costs. That is because these costs are hardly visible. If however the ECB’s activism eventually manifests itself in price increases it will be much harder for Europe’s central bankers to deliver on their promise.
The European public, particularly in central Europe, remains highly sensitive about price stability, which puts a limit to the ECB’s room for manoeuvre. How likely is it, really, that the ECB can continue to bail out banks and governments once the inflation genie has escaped from the bottle?
For these reasons, it is premature to proclaim the euro crisis dead. And we have not even talked about the structural differences between eurozone members which are the root of the euro crisis and which have not changed substantially since the euro crisis first erupted. Neither have we considered the political implications of a Greek default which would cost central European taxpayers dearly. Least of all have we even mentioned the structural and demographic challenges hanging over the European economy like a Damoclean sword.
No, the euro crisis is not over. It was wishful thinking that got Europe into its crisis. But wishful thinking will not get Europe out of it.
Read the entire article here
Dr Harwich is of course right. The "victory" Barroso, Draghi, Hollande and others are talking about is nothing but wishful thinking. The fundamental flaws of the euro are still there, and nothing of real importance has been done to remove them. This is just another case of calm before another storm ...

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

UN Secretary General celebrates his new 500 hp luxury limousine: "This looks like a very big holiday gift for me"

Ban Ki-moon, December 4, 2012:

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described global warming as an  "existential challenge for the whole human race", when he recently spoke at the COP18 meeting in Doha. The Secretary General added:
"Climate change is happening much, much faster than one would understand."  

"The science has plainly made it clear: it is the human beings' behavior which caused climate change, therefore the solution must come from us."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon accepted an armored Hyundai sedan from South Korea's Ambassador Kim Sook on Monday afternoon, along with a glass of champagne.
 Ambassador Kim Sook said the car had taken one year to customize, and is named Equus, which he translated as "horse of victorious general" -- in this case, Secretary General.
AP reports that Ban marveled at his "brand new beautiful armored vehicle"."This looks like a very big holiday gift for me," the Secretary General added. 
This is how Hyundai describes their brand new luxury limousine Equus :
The facelifted Equus fully reflects the feedback from its target customers, a class of busy leaders that need to be conscious about their social status while still requiring practical space and features.
In particular, the Equus facelift aims to offer maximum satisfaction to rear seat passengers, with fine-tuned suspension that ensures more riding comfort and balance on bumpy road conditions.
The 2013 Equus is powered by Hyundai's 5.0-liter Tau DOHC V8 engine, producing 429 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 376 lb-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm.
The facts above relate to the standard Equus model. Ban's armored "holiday gift" is of course in a class of its own, with a plethora of additional luxury features, and an enlarged V8 engine. 
Happy riding, Mr. Secretary General! 
We hear that some ordinary UN staffers are less than happy with Ban's new Christmas gift;
"We're told by Ban's office we can't accept even a bottle of wine from our Missions," one complained. "And he takes a car?"

Monday, 17 December 2012

Putin, the dictator, is turning the clock back in Russia

Vladimir Putin, the dictator of Russia, is turning the clock back in his country. The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt has no doubts about the reality in Putin's Russia:
He has had his compliant parliament redefine “treason” so vaguely that pretty much anyone who speaks to a foreigner or foreign organization will be nervous. “I’m liable just by job description,” Lokshina said. “I literally don’t have to do anything.”
Putin required any organization that takes foreign funds, which means most human rights groups, to declare itself a “foreign agent,” which to Russian ears sounds synonymous with “spy.” He expelled the U.S. Agency for International Development. Both the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute (IRI), which help political parties learn to function in democracies, have had to pull staff out after two decades in Moscow, IRI just last week.
Putin also set out to make examples of those who defy him. An independent-minded legislator was drummed out of the Duma. An opposition leader, Sergei Udaltsov, was charged with plotting mass disorder, and his associate was kidnapped from neighboring Ukraine and tossed into jail. The ludicrous persecution of the Pussy Riot musicians has been well documented, but 17 other protesters are being prosecuted, with one already sentenced to 4 ½ years. A daring opposition blogger, Alexei Navalny, and his brother are threatened with prison on byzantine, far-fetched allegations of bribery and fraud.
The phoniness of the case is the point: No one is beyond Putin’s reach, and no one will be protected by judges, the law — or innocence. Just as in his first term he broke one of the richest industrialists, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, to tame every other oligarch, so the prosecution of Russia’s best-known and most daring leaders cows everyone else, down to health-ministry bureaucrats in Siberia (and their brothers).
Putin is seeking to instill this fear because of his own. Large protests a year ago stunned him. “He’s frightened,” said Lokshina. “He wants to go back to 2007, when he was certain of stability and his popularity.”
Lokshina says that she doesn’t believe he will succeed. “It is a different society, and he cannot turn back the clock.”
Read the entire column here
Let's hope that Tanya Lokshina, deputy director of the Russia office of Human Rights Watch, is right. In the end, Putin will be chased out of his office, but before that happens, he and his  KGB cronies are capable of causing a lot of damage and suffering in a country, so rich in natural resources, but still suffering from the legacy of decades of communist rule. 

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Envirofundamentalist Friends of the Earth cynically exploits Sandy victims

It is easy to feel sympathy for retired NYC firefighter Don Green and the other Sandy victims, but the way the Friends of the Earth uses their stories in order to frighten people to donate money to its dubious activities is both cynical and highly objectionable. 

Envirofundamentalist Friends of the Earth has launched "Climate Stories",  one of the most cynical fund raising campaigns ever, using victims of the tropical storm Sandy and other natural events in order to scare people to finance its dubious activities: 

The project, produced in partnership with HEIST (, uses powerful, emotional video shot entirely on location to bring to light the very real and tangible effects that climate change and extreme weather are already having on Americans all across the country.
Inspired in part by the devastation left in the wake of Superstorm Sandy and this summer’s record-breaking drought, Climate Stories documents unique, personal stories from Americans living across the country, from Alaska to Nebraska, Louisiana to Vermont.
“We’re already seeing the effects of climate change everywhere, affecting Americans regardless of political affiliation or background,” said Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica. “This campaign represents a new way of approaching the issue. It’s time to hear from real people whose lives are already being transformed. Stories are a powerful way to mobilize and inspire everyone -- most importantly, President Obama --  to act now to on climate change.”
The website, found at, highlights short videos of Rockaway Beach, New York, and Isle de Jean Charles, Louisiana, emphasize the large-scale loss of neighborhoods and homes to Superstorm Sandy and encroaching sea levels, respectively. In the videos, interviews with residents draw contrasts between past weather patterns and the recent, erratic events that are destroying their ways of life.
The campaign also compiles user-submitted stories and invites visitors to submit their own accounts, pictures and videos. In Wisconsin, unseasonable temperatures ruined apple crops for a farming family and other apple-growers across the state, while in Colorado, a family explains the heartbreak of losing their home in recent record wildfires.
The well paid Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica most certainly knows that Sandy was not caused by global warming/climate change. But he is doing exactly what professor Roger Pielke Jr. is warning us about:
Public discussion of disasters risks being taken over by the climate lobby and its allies, who exploit every extreme event to argue for action on energy policy.-
There are no signs that human-caused climate change has increased the toll of recent disasters, as even the most recent extreme-event report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change finds. And even under the assumptions of the IPCC, changes to energy policies wouldn't have a discernible impact on future disasters for the better part of a century or more.