Saturday, 9 February 2013

The great European budget show (2): Climate change

The EU überwarmist, former Danish journalist Connie Hedegaard celebrates the new "multi-annual" EU budget:
"Today is an incredibly important day for Europe and for the fight against climate change. European Heads of State and Government have taken up the Commission's suggestion to commit at least 20% of the entire EU budget from 2014-2020 to climate-related spending.
This is a major step forward for our efforts to handle the climate crisis. Rather than being parked in a corner of the EU budget, climate action will now be integrated into all main spending areas – cohesion, innovation, infrastructure, agriculture etc. And it underscores yet again the European leadership in the fight against this crucial challenge. If all other major economies were to make similar commitments, it would have a very significant impact.
It is now up to all involved parties – including the European Parliament – to ensure that the overall ambition is duly reflected with clear targets and transparent measuring methods in all the relevant policies and programmes, not least the Common Agricultural Policy.
But the steer from Europe's political leaders is unequivocal: they want to remain in front in the transition to a low carbon economy. And they are fully committed to align our common spending with this political priority. This is good news from Europe!"
This is of course an incredibly sad day for sanity in Europe. At a time when Europe is in the middle of a recession and millions of people are out of work (in 12 of our 27 member states youth unemployment is higher than 25 percent) the leaders of Europe agree to "commit at least 20% of the entire EU budget" on fighting imaginary human caused global warming. 
Even if most of the climate change money in reality is hype, it's still sheer madness. 

The great European budget show

The EU multi-annual budget summit show in Brussels is over. The heroes who worked so hard through the night have returned home.

EU "president" Herman Van Rompuy waxes lyrical about the great achievement:

It has been a lengthy, but successful 24 hours: the European Council has just agreed on the 
next multi-annual budget. And not just any budget. It is a balanced and growth-oriented 
budget for Europe for the rest of the decade. 
It was no easy task: this was our single longest meeting so far in my mandate, but it was 
worth working for this result.

Here are a few of the things Haiku Herman is particularly proud of in the budget:

This budget will allow Europe to keep engaging on vital global issues, such as climate change, nuclear safety, and development aid. 

This is how I read it:
Europe will continue to waste taxpayers' money on dubious, non-existent human caused global warming and on mostly totally useless and counterproductive development aid projects.

this is a budget driven by pressing concerns. The most urgent challenge is unemployment, in particular among the youth. That is why we have set aside €6bn for a new Youth employment initiative. A powerful incentive.

This is my reading:
Unemployment - particularly youth unemployment - is indeed a huge problem in the EU. But it is a problem mainly caused by the senseless policies of Van Rompuy and the rest of the summit "heroes", who should be ashamed of allowing this to happen. The money now "set aside" for a new "Youth employment initiative" will of course not solve anything. It is nothing but window dressing.

Across the board, funding programmes will become simpler and better controlled. In 
today’s economic context, increasing efficiency and reducing costs is also in order for the 
EU administration itself.

My reading:
This is the kind of fancy talk politicians turn to when they want to look good. We have heard this for decades now, without seeing any real improvements.

Friday, 8 February 2013

New study: Less work and longer holidays could reduce global warming by half

The Washington D.C. based think tank Center for Economic and Policy Research has published a report by David Rosnick, called "Reduced Work Hours as a Means of Slowing Climate Change". Rosnick is of the opinion that holding back consumption by way of reduced working hours " would eliminate about one-quarter to one-half of the global warming": 

"This choice between fewer work hours versus increased consumption has significant implications for the rate of climate change.  A number of studies (e.g. Knight et al. 2012, Rosnick and Weisbrot2006) have found that shorter work hours are associated with lower greenhouse gas emissions and therefore less global climate change. The relationship between these two variables is complex and not clearly understood, but it is understandable that lowering levels of consumption, holding everything else constant, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.This paper estimates the impact on climate change of reducing work hours over the rest of the century by an annual average of 0.5 percent. It finds that such a change in work hours would eliminate about one-quarter to one-half of the global warming that is not already locked in (i.e. warming that would be caused by 1990 levels of greenhouse gas concentrations already in the atmosphere)."

Rosnick recommends a "European response to productivity gains" as a solution:

"a significant reduction in climate change is possible by choosing a  more European response to productivity gains rather than following a model more like that of the United States.  By itself, a combination of shorter workweeks and additional vacation which reduces average annual hours by just  0.5 percent per year would very likely mitigate one-quarter to one-half, if not more, of  any warming which is not yet locked-in."

What Rosnick does not tell us is that choosing "a more European response" also would mean this:

After five years of economic crisis and the return of a recession in 2012, unemployment is hitting new peaks not seen for almost 20 years in the EU. That's according to the 2012 edition of the Employment and Social Developments in Europe review.
Household incomes have also declined and and the risk of poverty or exclusion is on the rise, especially in member states in southern and eastern Europe.
I would not be surprised if Rosnick in a follow up study will come to the conclusion that a return to the stone age would eliminate the other half of human caused global warming. 

Thursday, 7 February 2013

New study published in Nature: Global warming does not kill the Amazon rainforest

In a paper published online Feb 6 2013 by the journal Nature, a team of climate scientists from the University of Exeter, the Met Office-Hadley Centre and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has shown that, contrary to previous reports based on climate models, the Amazon rainforest is not in danger of dying due to human caused global warming: 

Lead author Professor Peter Cox of the University of Exeter explained: "We have been struggling for more than a decade to answer the question 'will the Amazon forest die back under climate change?' Our study indicates that the risk is low if climate change is associated with increased plant growth under elevated carbon dioxide.

By combining this relationship with the year-to-year variation in carbon dioxide as seen in the real world, the team were able to determine that about 50 billion tonnes of carbon would be released for each degree Celsius of warming in the tropics. Peter Cox said the findings were initially a relief: "Fortunately, this carbon release is counteracted by the positive effects of carbon dioxide fertilisation on plant growth under most scenarios of the 21st century, so that overall forests are expected to continue to accumulate carbon."

Read the entire article here.

European climate change "success story": EU taxpayers finance 10 electric bicycles at a cost of €315,000

The tentacles of the green lobby have reached all levels of the EU bureaucracy. The WWF sponsored "Well Spent" site, quoted by the European Commission, highlights EU "success stories" (presumably achieved as a result of WWF lobbying). 

Here is one of the "success stories" - a project, that provided ten electric bicycles for the inhabitants of the city of Agueda in Portugal. The cost for European taxpayers: €315,000


The city of Agueda (50,000 inhabitants) in north west Portugal has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by one third by 2020. One strand of its transport policy is the creation of a new public electric bicycle scheme, named operation "Center", which allows citizens to reduce their carbon footprint and access new parts of the city.
The scheme's overall aim was to encourage more citizens to see cycling in general – and not just the new bikes – as a viable transport alternative. This builds into the overall emissions reduction plan of Agueda that seeks to support a shift of mentality in how citizens view the environment, energy and transport.
Between July 2010 and February 2011, a pilot project introduced ten electric bikes, each of which had a WiMAX tracking system that allows the scheme's administrator to track their use. After the first six months of the trial, 13,000 km were covered by the bicycles, saving the equivalent of two tonnes of carbon emissions. There has also been a reduction in car use and noise pollution, as well as cleaner air. Following the success of the pilot phase, it was decided to expand the project throughout 2012 and increase the number of bicycles available, using the data collected to sensibly distribute the bike stations.
As the bikes become an established feature of the city of Agueda and more and more appear on the streets they will further increase in popularity and the benefits are likely to increase exponentially. This project shows how small savvy investments in transport can change attitudes, lead to better transport choices and yield large environmental returns.

 €315,000 is not a huge sum of money, but at a time of austerity and recession in the Europan Union, it is highly questionable that European taxpayers' money is wasted on this kind of meaningless activities. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Heaviest snowfall in a century in Moscow - WWF blames global warming

Moscow has seen the heaviest snowfall in a century, the Moscow Times reports:

The heaviest snowfall in a century brought Moscow and the surrounding region to a near standstill and left hundreds of people without power, officials said Tuesday.
And with snowfall set to continue at least until the end of the week, the authorities are bracing for more chaos on the roads.
"There hasn't been such a winter in 100 years," Pyotr Biryukov, deputy mayor for residential issues, said Tuesday in comments carried by Interfax. "The snow this year has already reached one and a half times the climatic norm," he said.
The capital has seen 216 centimeters of snow fall since the beginning of winter, Biryukov said.
Average snowfall in Moscow is 152 centimeters a year. Biryukov said the city saw 26 centimeters in the 24 hours preceding his Tuesday afternoon news conference and has seen 36 centimeters since the beginning of February. 
The heavy snowfall that struck the city Monday quickly led to chaos on the roads. The Yandex Probki traffic monitoring service reached a full 10 points, and on Monday evening it issued the seldom-seen warning that "it's quicker to walk."

It comes as no surprise that WWF Russia blames the exceptional winter weather on global warming: 

"The weather we've seen in the past couple of days completely fits with the tendency that was identified a couple of years ago, that we are going to to see much stronger, intensive bursts of precipitation in the future," said Alexei Kokorin, director of the climate and energy program at WWF Russia. "In the summer, we will probably see stronger bursts of rain."  

The warmists make it easy for themselves; whatever weather we experience, it always is due to global warming! 

German government report: Thousands of EU bureaucrats earn more than chancellor Angela Merkel

Thousands of EU burecrats earn more than German chancellor Angela Merkel 

Thousands of EU bureaucrats enjoy higher salaries than German chancellor Angela Merkel, according to information published by the German government. Merkel's net salary is 11.200 euro, whereas the take-home pay of 4400 middle rank and higher Eurocrats in the Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament is in average 12.500 euro after four years in office (provided that they have two children and do not work in their home country). 

The highest paid Eurocrats - when e.g. Commissioners are not counted  - are Directors-General, with a net salary of 16.500. There are at least one hundred Eurocrats on this level in the Commission alone. 

No wonder then that the European Taxpayers' Union demands an end to the Eurocrats' extensive privileges, which among other things include 13 holiday weeks, a 16% living abroad allowance, low tax rates, extremely advantageous pensions benefits, to name just a few of them. 

The EU Commissioner in charge of administration, Slovak Maroš Šefčovič, maintains that the privileges are necessary in order for the EU to be able "to pick the best possible people". (Šefčovič is himself a good example of these "top people" - his own qualifications include five years at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations - without a degree - and a Doctor of Law degree from the Comenius University in Bratislava, based on less than a year's studies)

German Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that there are discussions in Brussels about a 10 to 15 billion reduction of the EU budget (which includes staff costs). If a cut of this size would be agreed, then it would be better for the Commission "to pack up and go home", the same Šefčovič told the Süddeutsche.

Finally a word of wisdom from a top EU bureacrat!

Monday, 4 February 2013

The (EU) Union Angela Merkel does not want to talk about

Angela Merkel does not want to talk about the transfer union.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has on several occasions let it be known that the European currency union (the euro) is not enough - ultimately there must also be a fiscal union and a political union. 

However, what Merkel has chosen to "forget" is that all these unions cannot function without a fourth union - a transfer union ( a European community based on shared liability)

A transfer union would in practice mean that Germany and the few other well functioning EU member states would have to transfer huge - and I mean really huge - amounts of money, above all to the southern member countries, such as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy as well as some of the new member countries.

The cost of integrating the former DDR into Germany (approximately 1600 billion euro (1990 - 2009) will pale, compared with the transfers needed to the "less developed" member countries in a full-fledged transfer union. The German euro bail out payments so far are also just a trifle, compared to what is needed in a transfer union. 

This is of course why neither Merkel, nor any other German politician, is willing to tell the truth to the paymasters - the German taxpayers. But sooner or later the truth will come out - and that will be the end of Merkel's "impossible  (and stupid) dream". However, Merkel and all the other dishonest EU leaders know that they will be retired when it happens, leaving it for others to sort out the mess. 

Is Martin Schulz beginning to see the light?

Martin Schulz - a Eurosceptic?

"When people turn away from a project or an idea, then at some point it will come to an end".

Martin Schulz, (socialist) president of the European Parliament, on the European Union.

Unfortunately, the rest of the interview shows that Schulz still has a few steps to take, but this is a promising beginning! 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Pachauri's Sustainability Circus in New Delhi

In case you have not yet noticed, "South Asia's leading Multimedia News Agency" ANI brings us this piece of cheerful news from New Delhi

TERI's flagship summit ends with international consensus on resource-efficient growth
New Delhi, Feb.3 (ANI): Expressing concern at the mounting environmental challenges, global thought leaders unanimously emphasised on the need to adopt resource-efficient innovations at the final session of the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2013.
The summit, organised annually by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) since 2001, provided an international platform for comprehensive discussion on issues pertaining to resource efficiency, climate change, clean energy and sustainable development.

Continuing the series' rich legacy, DSDS 2013 featured an illustrious array of distinguished luminaries from more than 35 nations across the world.
Among the Heads of State attending the discussions were the Former President of Finland, Ms. Tarja Halonen; President of the Asian Development Bank, Mr. Haruhiko Kuroda; President of African Development Bank, Mr. Donald Kaberuka; President of the sixty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly, Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser; Member of the House of Lords, UK, The Rt. Hon. The Lord John Prescott; Nobel Laureate and Scientific Director of Germany's Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Carlo Rubbia; renowned economist and Director of The Earth Institute at USA's Columbia University, Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs; and noted author and Foreign Affairs Columnist of The New York Times, Mr. Thomas L Friedman will also be leading the sessions

I wonder whether someone has counted how many times such "illustrious luminaries" and "global thought leaders" as Labour Lord Prescott, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman, professor Jeffrey Sachs, former president Tarja Halonen and their likes have criscrossed the globe - of course flying first class and staying in five star hotels, directly or indirectly at taxpayers' expense - on this kind of useless sustainability/climate change/global warming junkets? 

ANI also reports that R.K. Pachauri revealed the theme for next year's "flagship summit":
 'Energy, Water and Food Security for All'. 

No doubt Friedman, Sachs and the rest will be there - and where ever similar gatherings are  happening - to provide an "illustrious array of distinguished luminaries". The Sustainability Circus show must go on ....