Saturday, 26 January 2013

The European Union's flagship climate chance project is collapsing

Another piece of good news from the European Union: the EU's  "flagship" climate change project, the European Emissions Trading System (ETS) is close to a collapse:

Indeed, the market for carbon credits has reached new lows. On Thursday, the price of carbon credits dropped 40 percent within 30 seconds before regaining most of the losses. In an indicator of just how vulnerable ETS threatens to become, the volatility followed a nearly meaningless vote for a non-binding recommendation by the industry committee of the European Parliament that the backloading plan be rejected.
Energy-heavy industries and coal-dependent countries like Poland argue against market intervention in the ETS while noting that higher carbon prices leads to higher energy costs that result in a burden on businesses while European economies remain weak. The arguments against intervention may be working, as Germany -- which also harbors deep concerns about the burden cap-and-trade could have on industry -- continues to stall, and the ETS remains mostly useless. A failure on backloading would likely drop carbon credits to a level only slightly above penny stocks.
"This should be the final wake-up call," said EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, according to wire reports. "Something has to be done urgently. I can therefore only appeal to the governments and the European Parliament to act responsibly."

Indeed, the failure of the ETS should be a wake-up call for all sane European - and international - decision makers: It is time time to sink the senseless ETS "flagship" and start concentrating on solving real problems! 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Putin's popularity in free fall

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin’s approval rating fell this month to the lowest level since 2000, according to an independent poll published today:
Sixty-two percent of Russians approve of Putin’s performance, the lowest since June 2000, according to the Jan. 18-21 poll of 1,596 people by the Moscow-based Levada Center. That’s down from 72 percent two years ago, showed the poll, which had a 3.4 percent margin of error.
Thirty-seven percent of Russians disapprove of his rule, the most ever, according to the poll released today.

Putin's downward trend is also visible in Google Trends, showing the number of searches in Russia since 2004 which include the word Putin. Young and educated Russians have deserted the dictator long ago. Others are slowly but certainly following their lead ....

Iceland was able to recover from financial collapse because it is outside of the EU

The president Iceland does not see any reason for his country to join the European Union:

Iceland’s revival from its financial collapse and the prosperity of nations outside the European Union show that membership in the bloc isn’t needed to achieve economic success, President Olafur R. Grimsson said.

“There are a few countries in the world which have succeeded the way Switzerland has,” he said today in an interview in Davos, Switzerland. “And then look at Norway and my country, Iceland, which has recovered from a financial crisis more effectively than Europe. So it’s difficult to argue the case that you have to be in the EU to be successful.”
As the EU battles to rescue the 17-nation euro region from the debt crisis, Iceland has recovered from its financial collapse in 2008, leading the country’s 320,000 citizens to question the logic of joining. 
Read the entire interview here
The president was rather diplomatic in the interview. He could have said, that if Iceland had been a member of the European Union, it would NOT have been able to recover. 

Whole Foods Market founder on global warming: " I don't think that's that big a deal"

John Mackey, the founder and CEO of  Whole Foods Market, with 340 stores selling organic produce worldwide, has a very sensible approach to global warming:

“I haven’t been outspoken about global warming. I’ve been smeared quite a bit in the media about it – all of a sudden, I’m a climate change denier. I mean, climate change is obviously occurring. So -- it's gotten a little bit warmer. I guess my position on it is that I don't think that's that big a deal. Actually, humanity’s flourished usually when temperatures gradually warmed. And humans gradually adapt to it,” he told Off the Cuff.
As for regulation to reduce global warming, he said, “We can probably eliminate poverty on the planet earth in the next 50 years if we will just continue to follow the tenets of free enterprise capitalism to the greatest extent possible. So I just don't want to see that change.”

Read the entire article here

Thursday, 24 January 2013

The EUSSR in action: EU commission orders eight million charging points for electric cars to be installed

EUSSR in action
"Their way of thinking is based on an almost communist type of reasoning: Economic laws do not exist, politics may dictate economics"
Václav Klaus

The EUSSR was again in full action today. EU Politburo member Siim Kallas announced that eight million charging points for electric cars, out of which 800 000 have to be public, must be established in the European Union members countries until 2020. 

At the press conference in Brussels today, Kallas (Commissar in charge of transportation) also announced that the Politburo has agreed a new European standard for the charging points, the Common Compulsory EU Plug.

Commissioner Kallas has estimated the cost of building green infrastructure of transport at €10bn until 2020, compared with the the EU's €1bn a day cost of importing oil.
Read the entire article here
A highly misleading comparison. The oil is used to power millions of vehicles, without which Europeans and European industry and commerce would be unable to function, whereas the reality for electric cars is this:
"To me, this electric hype is inexplicable," Fritz Indra, a doyen in vehicle development, recently told the trade magazine Automobil Industrie. The honorary professor at Vienna University of Technology and former head engine developer at Opel and General Motors still sees a good deal of "open questions" -- and no satisfying answers. 
The first electric cars that aren't DIY projects and offer acceptable crash protection have arrived in the dealerships. Most of them are no-frills mini-vehicles that cost as much as a mid-sized sedans and can only take you a short distance and back on a single battery charge if you're lucky enough to avoid heavy traffic. Of course, that's not the case in the winter, when energy-sapping interior heating significantly diminishes its range. And if it runs out of juice on the road, no jerry can will help. Your only option is to call a tow truck. 
With all the drawbacks of this type of car, you have to be a true believer in electric mobility to imagine that there really are one million people out there who want to have one.

Another realistic view:
"The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge,"  
Takeshi Uchiyamada 
Vice chairman, Toyota

The building of the "green infrastructure of transport" in Europe will be nothing but a huge waste of taxpayers' money. One can only hope that this madness will be stopped in time. 

Natural gas and liquefied natural gas - the fuels of the future - are mentioned in Kallas's  fuel "mix", but by concentrating on underdeveloped and ineffective electric cars, the Politburo is - as almost always - betting on the wrong horse. And environmentally, electric cars do not make much sense, either.  

David Cameron: Britain will not be part of "a centralized political union" in Europe

David Cameron's message in Davos today was the right one:

 Speaking at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Cameron warned European leaders against forcing member countries into ever-deeper political union. "Countries in Europe have their histories, their traditions, their institutions, want their own sovereignty, their ability to make their own choices," Cameron said. "And to try and shoehorn countries into a centralized political union would be a great mistake for Europe, and Britain wouldn't be part of it."

Perhaps Cameron really had been reading the speech Václav Klaus's gave a couple of days ago?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Nile Gardiner on Cameron's EU speech

Nile Gardiner's comment to David Cameron's EU speech is worth reading:
David Cameron’s promise to hold a referendum is an historic step in the right direction. But his support for continuing British membership of a failing European Union is deeply misguided. In many respects this speech was a lost opportunity. This could have been a Churchillian moment for the prime minister, declaring support for a British exit from the European Union, and pledging to fully restore British sovereignty.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cameron remains in denial about the prospects for transforming the EU and advancing British interests within it. Britain’s future as a free and great nation rests upon its ability to frame its own laws, shape its own foreign, defence, economic and trade policies, and to decide its own destiny. All of this is threatened by the European Project, which is heading only towards the goal of ever closer union, regardless of the cost to individual liberty, national sovereignty and economic prosperity. As Margaret Thatcher once put it, “that such an unnecessary and irrational project as building a European superstate was ever embarked upon will seem in future years to be perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era.” Wise advice from the Iron Lady, words that the prime minister should heed.
Read the entire article here
Cameron should have read Václav Klaus's remarks from yesterday before he gave his EU speech. 

Václav Klaus on Europe's political leaders: "Their way of thinking is based on an almost communist type of reasoning"

Václav Klaus, head and shoulders above the rest

For a few weeks still there is one Head of State in Europe who is head and shoulders above the rest - the Czech Republic's Václav Klaus. 

Klaus has not hesitated to speak out about  the the failed European project as well as the senseless global warming policies (adopted by the same European leaders, who are responsible for the current European mess).

The speech which Klaus gave at the 10th International Vienna Congress com.sult 2013 yesterday should be compulsory reading for Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and all the others. Here is an excerpt:

Let´s not be misled. It is wrong when discussing the current European problems to concentrate on the individual countries, e.g. on Greece or any other country in the European South. Greece did not bring about the current European problem, Greece is the victim of the Eurozone system of one currency. The system is a problem. Greece made just one tragic error – to enter the Eurozone. Everything else was its usual behavior, which I – and we all – don´t have a right to criticize.
Greece´s degree of economic efficiency or inefficiency and its propensity to live with a sovereign debt was or should have been well-known to anyone. To let Greece leave the Eurozone – in an organized way – would be the beginning of a long journey of this country to a healthy economic future. The Greeks hopefully already understood that “one size does not fit all” and I only wish the same would be understood by leading EU politicians. I don´t see it, however.
Their way of thinking is based on an almost communist type of reasoning: economic laws do not exist, politics may dictate economics. People like me were raised in an era when such a mode of thinking was dominant in communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Some of us dared to express our disagreement with it already in the past. We were considered enemies then, we are considered enemies now.
Time is ripe for a fundamental decision: should we continue believing in the dogma that politics can dictate economics and continue defending the common currency and other similar arrangements at whatever costs or should we finally accept that we have to return to economic rationality?
The answer to such a question given by the overwhelming majority of European politicians until now has been YESwe should continue. Our task is to tell them that the consequences of such a policy will be higher and higher costs for all of us. At one moment, these costs will become intolerable and unbearable. We should say NO.
What we need are not more frequent summits in Brussels, but a fundamental transformation of our thinking and of our behaviour. Europe has to undertake a systemic change. Coming to such a decision needs a genuine political process, not the approval of a document prepared behind closed doors. It must arise as an outcome of political debates in individual EU member countries. It must be generated by the people, the “demos” of these countries.
We speak about a crisis. But crisis is – in Schumpeter’s definition (and Schumpeter belongs both to my country and to Austria) – a process of creative destruction. Not everything can be saved and maintained. Something must be destroyed or left behind in this process, especially the wrong ideas. We should get rid of utopian dreams, of irrational economic activities and of their promotion by European governments. Part of this implies that even some states must be left to fall. The opponents of such positions keep saying that such a solution would be costly. It is not true. The prolongation of the current muddling through is more costly. The costs the Europeans are afraid of are already here. They are sometimes called sunk costs.
Read the entire speech here

Sicily's traditional family businesses join the renewable energy revolution

Al Gore, Greenpeace, WWF and all the other environmentalists have been joined by a number of leading Italian family businesses in the fight against human caused global warming:

authorities swept across Sicily last month in the latest wave of sting operations revealing years of deep infiltration into the renewable energy sector by Italy’s rapidly modernizing crime families.

The still-emerging links of the mafia to the once-booming wind and solar sector here are raising fresh questions about the use of government subsidies to fuel a shift toward cleaner energies, with critics claiming huge state incentives created excessive profits for companies and a market bubble ripe for fraud. China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar panel maker, last month said it would need to restate more than two years of financial results because of allegedly fake capital put up to finance new plants in Italy. The discoveries here also follow so-called “eco-corruption” cases in Spain, where a number of companies stand accused of illegally tapping state aid.

Roughly a third of the island’s 30 wind farms — along with several solar power plants — have been seized by authorities. Officials have frozen more than $2 billion in assets and arrested a dozen alleged crime bosses; corrupt local councilors and mafia-linked entrepreneurs. Italian prosecutors are now investigating suspected mafia involvement in renewable energy projects from Sardinia to Apulia.
“The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our renewables industry.”
Read the entire article here

Sir David Attenborough: “We are a plague on the Earth"

Sir David Attenborough's cheerful message to humanity:

The famous documentary-maker, who is set to launch new series David Attenborough's Natural Curiosities next week, explained in an interview with Radio Times that humans have become nothing short of a "plague" on this planet:
“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so."
“It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde... Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
Will the broadcaster soon tell us who is going to make the decisions about life and death on planet earth? 
This is what experts say:

The global population will continue to grow for decades. "But," says Wolfgang Lutz, "that shouldn't distract us from the fact that an entirely different development has been underway for some time." Lutz is the director of the Vienna-based International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) and one of the world's most prominent demographers. As he sees it, it is "highly probable that mankind will begin to shrink by 2060 or 2070." --

Africa's growing population could by all means feed itself in the future. Agriculture is still very unproductive in many places, admits Harald von Witzke, an agricultural economist with the Berlin-based Humboldt Forum for Food and Agriculture. But, he adds, "harvests can be greatly increased with a little fertilizer and a few technical tricks."
As Witzke sees it, the vision of doom associated with a rapidly growing population merely blinds us to the actual solutions. "The causes of underdevelopment and hunger don't lie in large numbers of people," he says.

My message to Sir David: Time to retire. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Beyoncé at the Obama inauguration

The Times reports:
Beyoncé did not sing the national anthem live at President Obama’s inauguration.
Millions of viewers around the world were stunned by the singer’s spectacular rendition of the anthem but The Times has learnt that she was lip-syncing to a pre-recorded backing track.
A spokeswoman for the Marine Corp Band Kristen DuBois said it was standard procedure to record a backing track and Beyoncé decided shortly before her performance to rely on the studio version rather .
A fitting way for a fake environmental "crusader" to honor a teleprompter president. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Swedish researchers: Arctic and sub-Arctic mammals "positively affected" by global warming

Arctic mammals have reason to rejoice. A team of Swedish researchers has found that they will be "positively affected" by projected global warming:

Researchers from Umeå University in Sweden have discovered that mammals living in the Arctic and sub-Arctic land areas in northern Europe could be positively affected by climate change between now and 2080 - if they succeed in adjusting their geographic ranges. Presented in the journal PLOS ONE, the study showed how changing climates help drive shifts in species distributions and extinctions, and range contractions and expansions. The researchers postulate that such changes will only increase in the future. 

The researchers modelled the distribution of species, finding that the majority of mammals living in these specific areas will not suffer from the changes predicted for the next 68 years.

The Umeå University researchers should be congratulated for daring to publish these "inconvenient" results. However, knowing the people who decide about science funding in Sweden - and the EU in general - their chances of getting new research money have most  likely not increased. 

Read the entire article here

The selective silence of EU's Danish climate commissioner

The warmist New Europe Online has published an article ("Kallas speaks, Hedegaard hears no evil, EU Budget loses") about the failure of the European Union to include the shipping industry in the community's CO2 emission trading system:

Directive 2009/29 amending Directive 2003/87 so as to improve and extend the greenhouse gas emissions allowance trading scheme of the Community, stipulates that if the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an organization controlled by ship-owners, does not adopt internationally binding rules on CO2 emissions reduction for the shipping industry by 31 December 2011, the European Commission should submit a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the Council so that the new act will enter into force by 2013.
However, no such "legislative proposal" has emerged:
On the contrary, during the course of 2012 the Commission not only did not submit any proposal as ought to do but last October, the Commissioner responsible for Transport (who is not charged with the climate change portfolio but is associated indirectly as the Members of the Commission responsible for Environment, Maritime Affairs, Entreprises etc) announced to the press in London that the Commission has abandoned its plans to make a proposal for the inclusion of the shipping industry in the community CO2 emissions reduction system. Thus substantially depriving the EU budget of a significant revenue of several billions of Euros every year.
Danish climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard and her Climate Action would have been the people primarily responsible for making the proposal for inclusion of the shipping industry. The New Europe Online thinks that "the Commission services in matters of maritime policy are particularly compassionate to ship-owners".
New Europe Online bemoans Hedegaard's and her colleagues' lack of action. On the contrary, the failure to act should be praised. The less ETS, the better. However, it is interesting to note that the article is illustrated with a picture of one of Danish Maersk line's huge containers ships. Mrs. Hedegaard's silence is no mere coincidence. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Merkel's energy transition policy is turning Germans into thieves

Angela Merkel's energy transition policy, with spiraling electricity and gas prices, is turning Germans into thieves:

With energy costs escalating, more Germans are turning to wood burning stoves for heat. That, though, has also led to a rise in tree theft in the country's forests. Woodsmen have become more watchful.
- -
The problem has been compounded this winter by rising energy costs. The Germany's Renters Association estimates the heating costs will go up 22 percent this winter alone. A side effect is an increasing number of people turning to wood-burning stoves for warmth. Germans bought 400,000 such stoves in 2011, the German magazine FOCUS reported this week. It marks the continuation of a trend: The number of Germans buying heating devices that burn wood and coal has grown steadily since 2005, according to consumer research company GfK Group.
That increase in demand has now also boosted prices for wood, leading many to fuel their fires with theft.
About 10 percent of the firewood that comes out of Brandenburg's forest every year is stolen, resulting in losses of about €500,000, Rosenthal estimates. In the southern German state of Bavaria some 5 percent is absconded with annually says Hans Bauer, head of the state's forest owners association.

Read the entire article here

FIFA boss Blatter meets Russian dictator Putin in Moscow

Blatter on twitter from Russia:
"I tremendously enjoy this kind of direct contact with FIFA's members."

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has met with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in Moscow, according to news reports. While in Russia, Blatter also uttered these words in Russian:

With the FIFA World Cup 2018, it's people from the entire world who will gather, because football is more than a game.” 

Blatter is right. Football is "more than a game". In December 2010, when the 2018 World Cup was awarded to Putin's Russia, the Mail reminded readers that FIFA football is also this 

Amid strong suspicions of shady backroom deals, the tournament went to Russia, branded a ‘virtual mafia state’ in leaked U.S. diplomatic cables this week.

Shortly after Fifa president Sepp Blatter declared Russia the winner for 2018, he announced that Qatar, a tiny desert country which has never even qualified to play in the World Cup, would host the 2022 tournament, beating bids from Australia, the United States and a joint bid from Japan and South Korea.

Fifa’s controversial decisions reinforced suspicions that the voting process was corrupt and that the sport’s world governing body had been seduced by the energy-rich countries’ billions, meaning that England’s bid never stood a chance.--

After the recent allegations of widespread bribe-taking and corruption among FIFA officials who decide where the World Cup is staged, it is surely fitting that the winning bid went to a country being looted and misruled by a cabal of crooks and spooks - perhaps the biggest and most powerful organised crime syndicate that the world has ever seen.

(image by wikipedia)