Saturday, 12 January 2013

Shale gas is fueling a manufacturing boom in the US

Shale gas is fueling a manufacturing boom in the US, luring back chemical producers, which previously abandoned the country in droves:

The plummeting price of natural gas, which can be used to make a vast number of products, including tires, carpet, antifreeze, lubricants, cloth, and many types of plastic, is luring key industries to the United States. Just five years ago, natural gas prices were so high that some chemicals manufacturers were shutting down operations here. Now the ability to access natural gas trapped in shale rock formations, using technologies such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has led to a surge in natural gas supplies that have lowered American gas prices to a fraction of prices in other countries (see “King Natural Gas”). --

The impact of cheap natural gas on manufacturing could extend beyond the production of various chemicals. Using natural gas as an energy source, rather than a chemical feedstock, could significantly lower costs for manufacturers who use a lot of energy, such as steel makers. (The steel industry is booming already for another natural gas-related reason—it’s supplying gas producers with pipes.) What’s more, cheap natural gas is prompting a shift away from petroleum based-fuels for trucking. Some companies are switching to trucks that burn natural gas directly. Eventually, even diesel trucks could be using fuel made from natural gas. The South African company Sasol plans to build a huge $14 billion plant in Louisiana partly to convert natural gas to diesel, potentially lowering fuel costs for conventional vehicles as well.

Overall, cheaper chemicals, cheaper steel, and cheaper transportation could make the U.S. a far more attractive place for a wide range of industries.

Read the entire article here

Good news from the New York Times: The paper is shutting down its climate change desk

Finally, some excellent climate change news from the New York Times:

The Gray Lady has decided to shut down its environment desk

Andrew Revkin and his warmist colleagues will be "redistributed" to the paper's other teams. The editors maintain that the move will not affect NYT's efforts to cover climate change, but not everybody is convinced:

Margaret Sullivan, the Times' public editor, expressed dismay at the news.
"Symbolically, this is bad news. And symbolism matters – it shows a commitment and an intensity of interest in a crucially important topic," Sullivan wrote.
"If coverage of the environment is not to suffer, a lot of people – including The Times’s highest ranking editors — are going to have to make sure that it doesn’t."
Andrew Revkin, who writes the Times’ DotEarth blog, described reaction to the decision on Facebook and Twitter as “shock and anger.”

We say a happy goodbye to the "green desk", and wish Andrew Revkin a bright future in another New York Times team -  perhaps in the sports department?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Putin's fight against corruption is a joke

Sergey Aleksashenko, director of macroeconomic studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics and a former deputy finance minister, does not agree with "experts" who declare that Vladimir Putin has now begun a serious fight against corruption in Russia:
I don’t agree. I prefer to wait and see those affair end up. Two years ago in the Moscow region an extensive network of illegal casinos was discovered which functioned with the support of the prosecutor’s office and police. During the investigation many people were arrested but all have since been released, and the prosecutor’s office declared that the evidence collected was not valid. The latest spate of financial scandals could come to the same conclusions.
Global experience suggests that independent and fair courts, and an honest and corruption-free state are indispensable conditions for a competitive, open economy and for sustained economic growth.
Putin seems to want to disprove this position. He would like a more efficient, fast-growing economy. But he does not believe in private incentives but in bureaucratic decisions. Moreover he knows perfectly well that the emergence of independent courts in Russia immediately conducts to the collapse of the political system created by him.
And he is not prepared to pay that price. Faced with the choice of keeping power or promoting institutional reform he has chosen power. I do not see why he would change his position in 2013. Can a leopard change his spots?

Read the entire article here

Aleksashenko is of course right. A real fight against corruption in Russia is possible only after  Putin, who recently was awarded an honourable mention as the most corrupt person in the world by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, has been replaced as president by an honest man.  

Thursday, 10 January 2013

UK Met Office admits: No evidence that "global warming" is happening

James Delingpole takes on the UK Met Office, which now has had to admit that global warming has in reality stopped:

The Met Office quietly readjusted its temperature projections on its website on Christmas Eve. 
Until then, it had been confidently predicting temperature rises of at least 0.2 degrees per decade, with a succession of years exceeding even the record-breaking high of 1998.
Its latest chart, however, confirmed in a press release earlier this week, tells a very different story: no more global warming is expected till at least 2017. 
According to Dr David Whitehouse of the independent think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climbdown couldn’t be more dramatic or more devastating for the Met Office’s credibility. 
‘They’re panicking. All the predictions they’ve been making about man-made global warming these past 20 years have started to come crashing about their ears.’
For two decades the Met Office has acted as Britain’s foremost cheerleader for climate change alarmism. In 2007, its Hadley Centre for climate change research produced a briefing document for the Government claiming its state-of-the-art computer models left no doubt: man-made global warming was a very real threat which needed to be addressed urgently by policy-makers.

Read the entire article here

Slowly, but certainly the case for human caused global warming is collapsing ...
But before that, billions of taxpayers' money have been wasted on useless climate change policies and projects ....

Putin tops the list of the world's most powerful dictators

Ian Brummer, president of Eurasia Group, and a blogger for Foreign Policy Magazine, recently published a list of the world's most powerful people, which was topped by Vladimir Putin (as there was no number one). Russian commentators have been quick to notice Brummer's ranking:
Russian President Vladimir Putin is second on a list published by US magazine Foreign Policy of the world's most powerful people. The first position is held by 'Nobody,' as “in a G-Zero world, everyone is waiting for someone else to shoulder responsibility for the world's toughest and most dangerous challenges,” the magazine said, citing a survey of about 150 analysts of the political science consultancy Eurasia Group.

The list ranks individuals’ ability to singlehandedly “bring about change that significantly affects the lives and fortunes of large numbers of people”.
Putin’s second-place rank is due to “Russia's personalised system,” and the influence the country wields in regional affairs.
Fortunately, the editor of Foreign Policy Magazine has distanced himself from Brummer's list:
Joshua Keating, editor of Foreign Policy magazine, says in his article appearing on the magazine's website that Bremmer's post, which created a buzz in Russia's media, does not reflect the real position of the publication.
"It wasn't Foreign Policy, but one FP blogger; it's not an annual feature, and the item did not appear in the print magazine," Keating said.  
Brummer did a disservice to himself and the organization he leads  ("the world’s leading global political risk research and consulting firm", according to Eurasia Group's own description), by publishing his dubious ranking. He should instead have placed Putin on top of a list of dictators. 
Fadel Gheit, a senior energy analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, gives a correct description of Putin:
“There is no question in my mind that Putin is a tremendous dictator so he’s in control of Russia,” “Putin has no opposition; has nobody to really supervise what he does. He can do anything he wants so that’s the difference,”

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

France in free fall: "A shocking deterioration in competitiveness"

Karl Lagerfeld - not afraid of speaking out.

Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel recently grabbed headlines with this statement:

"Outside of fashion, jewellery, perfume and wine, France isn't competitive," Lagerfeld said. "The rest of our products don't sell. Who buys French cars? I don't."

France's socialist president Francois Hollande may not have liked the comment, but a look at the French economy shows that Lagerfeld's description is most accurate:

A deeper look shows that France is mired in no less than an economic crisis. The eurozone's second-largest economy (2012 GDP: 2 trillion euros) is suffering more than any other member from a shocking deterioration in competitiveness. Put simply, France's products -- its cars, steel, clothing, electronics -- cost far too much to produce compared with competing goods both from Asia and its European neighbors, including not just Germany but even Spain and Italy. That's causing a sharp and accelerating fall in its exports, and a significant decline in manufacturing and the services that support it.

The virtual implosion of French industry is overlooked by analysts and pundits who claim that the eurozone had dodged disaster and entered a new, durable period of stability. In fact, it's France -- not Greece or Spain -- that now poses the greatest threat to the euro's survival. France epitomizes the real problem with the single currency: The inability of nations with high and rising production costs to adjust their currencies so that their products remain competitive in world markets.
So far, the worries over the euro have centered on dangerously rising debt and deficits. But those fiscal problems are primarily the result of a loss of competitiveness. When products cost too much to make, the economy stalls or actually declines, so that even modest increases in government spending swamp nations with big budget shortfalls and excessive borrowings. In this no-or-negative growth scenario, the picture is usually the same: The private economy shrinks while government keeps expanding.
That's already happened in Italy, Spain and other troubled eurozone members. The difference is that those nations are adopting structural reforms to restore their competitiveness. France is doing nothing of the kind. Hence, its yawning competitiveness gap will soon create a fiscal crisis. It's absolutely astonishing that an economy so large, and so widely respected, can be unraveling so quickly.
Read the entire Fortune article here
Francois Hollande enjoys grandstanding in his role as president, with all the traditional trappings of a royal head of state, but - as we have said before - he is in reality nothing but an emperor without clothes. 
It will not take long before the citizens of the once mighty and powerful La France will wake up and ask the question, why on earth did we elect this incompetent party apparatchik as our president?

"Vorsprung durch Technik": Germans seem unable to build an airport

"Vorsprung durch Technik" ("Advancement through technology") is the familiar slogan of a well known German car manufacturer, also symbolizing the technical and industrial prowess of the eurozone paymaster in general. 

However, judging by what is going on in the capital Berlin, the German leadership role may have to be reconsidered:

The saga of Berlin's hapless efforts to build a new airport has taken another embarrassing twist with reports that its opening will be delayed for a fourth time because of continued problems with the fire safety system.

The opening of Berlin's new airport BER, set for Oct. 27, has been delayed for the fourth time and will not go ahead this year in a further blow to the city's reputation. Although not yet confirmed by official sources, the news has triggered calls on Mayor Klaus Wowereit to resign and spells at least another year of congestion at the city's two small, increasingly overstretched eastern and western airports.

Newspapers reported on Monday that the airport's management company had informed contractors in December that an opening before 2014 was unfeasible due to construction errors. The main problem, which also led to previous delays, is the fire safety system. --

Bild added that construction experts checking the building had found hundreds of other faults including cracks in the floor tiles, and more seriously, problems with the airport's local area network that steers everything from the check-in system to the runway lights.
Experts have also warned that the airport doesn't have enough check-in counters and baggage claim conveyor belts to cope with passenger numbers at peak times.
The new airport is, or was to have been, a major prestige project for the German capital, replacing the two ageing and outdated western and eastern airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, which are due to close once it opens.
Construction started in September 2006, and the airport was originally due to open on Oct. 31, 2011. It was then delayed to June 3, 2012, then to spring 2013, and finally to October 2013.

And in addition to the Berlin airport, there are several other construction scandals in Germany.

Heavy snowfalls making life unbearable in Syrian refugee camps

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures are making life unbearable for tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing the violence in the country:

Brutal winter weather is making dire conditions even more unbearable in parts of the Middle East, particularly for Syrian refugees who must endure frigid temperatures in tents.

The coldest air of the season is moving in behind a heavy snowstorm that has blanketed refugee camps in Turkey and Lebanon.
And inside Syria, residents in cities pummeled by warfare are taking drastic measures to stay warm -- and alive -- through the winter.
In a video posted online, three men and two children are burning pages of school books to stay warm in the besieged city of Rastan,
"We cant use the heaters inside our residences. No fuel, no wood, no electricity," one of the men says.

Torrential rain and increasing snowfall are paralyzing much of the country, and most government and public offices in Jordan will be closed Wednesday, the state-run Petra new agency said.
In the next three days, temperatures in Amman will drop below freezing, Petra said, citing the Jordan Meteorological Department.

More than 40 displaced Syrians in Bar Elias were trapped inside their tents Tuesday by rising floodwater from the Ghazeel River, Lebanon's National News Agency reported.
Authorities rescued those trapped and provided them with adequate housing, the NNA said.
Elsewhere in the country, the army evacuated residents trapped by torrential snowfall, according to the NNA.

Read the entire article here

Promoters of the Mother Earth cult have "blessed" the new Greenpeace mega yacht

Matauri Bay in New Zealandhas over a kilometre of beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. It is particularly popular in the summer when thousands flock there. (Image wikipedia)

High priests of Greenpeace, one of leading promoters of the Mother Earth cult, have "blessed" their new mega yacht in the "spiritual home" of the Greenpeace fleet:

The new Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior made its first public appearance in New Zealand today when its crew visited Northland's Matauri Bay, described as "the spiritual home" of the environmental organisation's ships.
They paid tribute to the original Rainbow Warrior, bombed by French agents in 1985, and to Ngati Kura, the guardians of the old ship's gravesite on the seabed surrounded by the picturesque Cavalli Islands.
Kuia and kaumatua from Ngati Kura and Ngati Rehia were taken out to the ship for a blessing and a whakatau (formal welcome) in blazing sunshine around 11am.
Among the speakers was captain Joel Stewart, who thanked Ngati Kura for giving the first Rainbow Warrior such an inspiring resting place and for giving all Greenpeace ships a spiritual home.
By visiting Matauri Bay the crew was accepting the baton from the first and second ships, and the duty of caring for Mother Earth.

Read the entire article here


Captain Stewart and his fellow travelers must be congratulated for picking the right date for their Pacific cruise. The "blazing  sunshine" of the pristine Matauri Bay most certainly beats the cold and grey January weather here in the northern hemisphere. 

(While the greenies are enjoying their holiday in the sun, heavy snowfall is making life untolerable for thousands of Syrian refugees in the Middle East and close to 200 people have died in India due to severe Siberian winter weather.) 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Siberian winter killing people in India

Icy Siberian winds are chilling  northern India - with New Delhi having the coldest day since 1969 - and will according to weather forecasts intensify in the days ahead, making the winter even more severe:
For companies selling beverages, winter-wear and heaters, business is booming with sales rising up to 40% in one of the coldest Indian winters in decades, but farmers are getting anxious about the impact on vegetables, pulses and oilseeds although the wheat crop is secure. The weather office says there is no quick relief in the offing.

"There's no respite from the bone-chilling cold. A high-pressure system created over Siberia is pushing cold waves to India. The system doesn't phase out and persists at least for a couple of weeks once it is created," said Laxman Singh Rathore, director-general,India Meteorological Department.

Thee BBC reports that more than 170 people have already died in the cold snap sweeping across northern India.

China is experiencing the coldest weather in almost thirty years:

Ice swimmers were taking their shocking plunges in north China through the thickest ice in years, but most Chinese nationwide are shivering through the coldest weather in nearly three decades.

Freezing weather has sent temperatures diving to a national average of 25 degrees Fahrenheit since Nov. 20, the lowest average temperature in 28 years, says the China Meteorological Administration.

"Nobel laureate" R.K. Pachauri of course knows the reason for the Siberian winter in India: Global warming! 
Precipitation in the form of heavy rain and snow could worsen the winter," said RK Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Pachauri said the frequency of extreme weather events is bound to rise if no action is taken against greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU is shamefully failing young people: Eurozone youth unemployment close to 25%

While EU commission president José Manuel Barroso is bragging ( and lying) about the end of the euro crisis, he - and all the other European leaders - do not have anything to say about this: 

The eurozone unemployment rate hit a new record high of 11.8% (November 2012) with  18.820 million people out of work 

Youth unemployment rate in the eurozone is now 24.4%.

The youth unemployment "leaderboard":

Greece (57.6%) 

Spain (56.5%)

Italy (37,1%)



Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, who is refering to the dismal employment statistics cited above, comments in his Telegraph column:

Mr Barroso may be right that the euro will not implode in 2013. But what matters henceforth is whether the victim nations wish to stay in a project that is causing so much damage, or indeed whether is any moral purpose in holding the euro together at this stage.
The march towards fiscal union (overtly, or by ECB stealth) strips elected parliaments of the final control over tax and spending. It thus eviscerates democracy. The Project breaks the back of historic nation states that are the only real defence of liberal representative government.
So one has to ask, what is the euro for? Why is it self-evidently a positive public good for the peoples of Europe?
Why sacrifice the lifeblood of parliaments for an economic experiment that is not even offering a `Chinese' trade-off of prosperity in exchange for abridged liberties. Why sacrifice democracy for a Barroso Model that has generated a youth jobless rate of 56.5pc in Spain?
These are the questions that Mr Barroso and his successor will have to answer over the next three years as the Club Med slump grinds on. We are no longer in the frothy – dare I say trivial – phase of financial crisis. We are by now in the deadly serious phase of economic and political crisis.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Britain's Prince Charles and environmental hypocrisy

Britain's Prince Charles says that he is worried about leaving "a dysfunctional word" to his grandchild:

“I don't want to be confronted by my future grandchild and (have) them say: 'Why didn't you do something?',” he said in a pre-recorded interview for the high-rating  ITV program This Morning.
“So clearly now that we will have a grandchild, it makes it even more obvious to try and make sure we leave them something that isn't a total poisoned chalice.”
Prince Charles said with the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, and Duchess Kate expecting a baby this northern hemisphere summer, he hoped not to leave them a “dysfunctional world”.

“I've gone on for years about the importance of thinking about the long-term in relation to the environmental damage, climate change and everything else,” he said.

Read the entire article here

Read what Willis Eschenbach recently wrote, and you will understand what a hypocrite the prince is:
So when James Hansen (NNoN: and prince Charles) gets all mealy-mouthed about his poor grandkids’ world in fifty years, boo-boo, it just makes me shake my head in amazement. His policies have already led to an increase in something I never heard of when I was a kid, “fuel poverty”. This is where the anti-human pseudo-green energy policies advocated by Hansen and others have driven the price of fuel so high that people who weren’t poor before, now cannot heat their homes in winter … it’s shockingly common in Britain, for example.
In other words, when James Hansen is coming on all weepy-eyed about what might possibly happen to his poor grandchildren fifty years from now, he is so focused on the future that he overlooks the ugly present-day results of his policies, among them the grandparents shivering in houses that they can no longer afford to heat …

And the hypocrisy of Prince Charles is not only related to fuel poverty and poor people. The prince also fakes an interest in birds:
HRH The Prince of Wales today officially opened the latest Live Build project, a Bird Hide at Llangorse Lake in Wales, completed by our Building Craft Apprentices earlier this year.
The bird hide aimed to replace an older version, also situated at Llangorse Lake, as growing reeds were increasingly limiting views of the local wildlife.The new structure was designed in close partnership with the local community, who played a crucial part in helping the students understand what the new building needed to incorporate in its design.
In reality the Prince, who in 2011 received the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Medal, is cashing in on bird and bat killing wind turbines:

The Royal Family have secured a lucrative deal that will earn them tens of millions of pounds from the massive expansion of offshore windfarms.
They will net up to £37.5 million extra income every year from the drive for green energy because the seabed within Britain’s ter­ritorial waters is owned by the Crown Estate.

Last year energy firms were given green light for 45 windmills on Crown Estate land, which will rake in  in £1million a year in subsidies.

Although Prince Charles has previously said that he opposed onshore wind farms, he has now changed his tune:

“I recently flew over the German countryside where ancient buildings and castles now merge into a new landscape dotted with solar panels and wind turbines. I certainly support the commitment to working with nature’s freely-given forms and clean energy.”

(But the prince of course does not want wind turbines to "merge into" the landscape close to his own "ancient buildings and castles"). 

This is what Prince Charles does not want to people to know:

Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that, this century at least, renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Swedish Russia expert: "Putin is widely seen as the main protector and beneficiary of corruption"

Swedish economist and Russia expert Anders Åslund is not optimistic about the future for Putin's Russia, and it is easy to understand why:

Corruption in Russia is certainly out of control. Investment analysts privately estimate standard kickbacks on government procurement at 70 per cent for pipelines, 50 per cent for roads and 35 per cent for medical equipment. But for all his tough talk, Putin is widely seen as the main protector and beneficiary of corruption.
For any other country, such revelations would be big news but not to the placid Russian elite. They comment privately that hundreds of billions of dollars have been stolen and the biggest culprits are much higher up in the Putin hierarchy.
In each case, the real reason for a corruption investigation appears to be that one member of the elite is attacking a weaker culprit for revenge, power or material benefit.
Given that Putin is widely considered immensely corrupt and that he has tolerated ballooning corruption for years, it is somewhat surprising that he himself has started this campaign. Some argue corruption has reached a point at which the state no longer can be managed. Others suspect Putin has lost control and that his top aides are pursuing personal vendettas. His own words suggest that he is planning a purge of the government.
The families of thousands of top officials and businessmen are already abroad and many senior people are preparing their own departure.
Putin seems to have lost his grasp, making one mistake after the other. Most recently, he punished poor Russian orphans by prohibiting their adoption by Americans. This new law would deprive at least 1000 orphans a year of a family and home, leaving them in Russia's infamously overpopulated orphanages.
Ultimately, Putin's new attitude is destabilising and not sustainable. But it is difficult to see any clear alternative. Perhaps that is why Muscovites are so grim.

Read the entire article here

Oxford ecologist: "Renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change"

Oxford ecologist Clime Humbler has written a must read article on the shocking environmental costs of renewable energy. Wind farms particularly are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, but for ideological reasons environmentalists prefer to ignore the carnage:

Wind turbines only last for ‘half as long as previously thought’, according to a new study. But even in their short lifespans, those turbines can do a lot of damage. Wind farms are devastating populations of rare birds and bats across the world, driving some to the point of extinction. Most environmentalists just don’t want to know. Because they’re so desperate to believe in renewable energy, they’re in a state of denial. But the evidence suggests that, this century at least, renewables pose a far greater threat to wildlife than climate change.
I’m a lecturer in biological and human sciences at Oxford university. I trained as a zoologist, I’ve worked as an environmental consultant — conducting impact assessments on projects like the Folkestone-to-London rail link — and I now teach ecology and conservation. Though I started out neutral on renewable energy, I’ve since seen the havoc wreaked on wildlife by wind power, hydro power, biofuels and tidal barrages. The environmentalists who support such projects do so for ideological reasons. What few of them have in their heads, though, is the consolation of science.
My speciality is species extinction. When I was a child, my father used to tell me about all the animals he’d seen growing up in Kent — the grass snakes, the lime hawk moths — and what shocked me when we went looking for them was how few there were left. Species extinction is a serious issue: around the world we’re losing up to 40 a day. Yet environmentalists are urging us to adopt technologies that are hastening this process. Among the most destructive of these is wind power.
Every year in Spain alone — according to research by the conservation group SEO/Birdlife — between 6 and 18 million birds and bats are killed by wind farms. They kill roughly twice as many bats as birds. This breaks down as approximately 110–330 birds per turbine per year and 200–670 bats per year. And these figures may be conservative if you compare them to statistics published in December 2002 by the California Energy Commission: ‘In a summary of avian impacts at wind turbines by Benner et al (1993) bird deaths per turbine per year were as high as 309 in Germany and 895 in Sweden.’
 A recent study in Germany by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research showed that bats killed by German turbines may have come from places 1,000 or more miles away. This would suggest that German turbines — which an earlier study claims kill more than 200,000 bats a year — may be depressing populations across the entire northeastern portion of Europe. Some studies in the US have put the death toll as high as 70 bats per installed megawatt per year: with 40,000 MW of turbines currently installed in the US and Canada. This would give an annual death toll of up to three -million.
Why is the public not more aware of this carnage? First, because the wind industry (with the shameful complicity of some ornithological organisations) has gone to great trouble to cover it up — to the extent of burying the corpses of victims. Second, because the ongoing obsession with climate change means that many environmentalists are turning a blind eye to the ecological costs of renewable energy. What they clearly don’t appreciate — for they know next to nothing about biology — is that most of the species they claim are threatened by ‘climate change’ have already survived 10 to 20 ice ages, and sea-level rises far more dramatic than any we have experienced in recent millennia or expect in the next few centuries. Climate change won’t drive those species to extinction; well-meaning environmentalists might.
Read the entire Spectator article here