Saturday, 16 March 2013

Putin defends Stalin's brutal aggression against Finland

A Finnish ski patrol, lying in the snow on the outskirts of a wood in Northern Finland, on the alert for Russian troops, 12 January 1940.

Vladimir Putin, dictator of the mafia state called Russia, has again showed his true colors. In a speech to the Russian Military Historical Society at Novo-Ogaryovo, the former second rate KGB agent defended his idol Joseph Stalin's aggression in 1939 against a small neighboring country, Finland:

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the Soviet Union launched the Winter War with Finland in order to “correct mistakes” that had been made when Finland gained its independence in 1917.
“The border was just 20 kilometres from St Petersburg and that was a significantly major threat to a city of five million”  

"Historian" Putin gets it wrong on all counts. The Finnish border was not 20 km from Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), but almost 40 km away. Of course Finland was no threat neither to Leningrad nor the Soviet Union. And the population of Leningrad was about 3,5 million at most, not five million. 

Putin's argument about the "correction" of the "mistakes" of 1917, when Finland gained its independence, is also revealing. Apparently Putin sees Finland's independence as a "mistake", which Stalin rightly tried to "correct". 

Russian historians, as opposed to Putin, are nowadays more familiar with the reality of the Winter War:
It was a war one of the sides involved would rather forget, while the other fights to keep the memory alive. Finns are commemorating the 70th anniversary of the start of the Winter War against the Soviet Union.
After months of ultimatums, on November 30, 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Finland.
With a sizeable advantage in manpower, tanks and aircraft, the Red Army command expected victory within weeks.
“We could not understand why. The Soviet Union was so big, so why would they take something from us?”says Lars Loflund, Finnish war veteran.
Just months earlier, the Soviet Union and Germany had signed a non-aggression pact, which contained a secret protocol dividing North and East Europe into spheres of influence. Finland fell under the USSR's.
That fitted in with Stalin's plan to expand the Soviet border from its second city of Leningrad. However, the Soviet Union had underestimated the Finns.
The Finnish Commander, General Mannerheim, had ordered the construction of a powerful line of fortifications. Although poorly equipped, the defenders knew the rugged terrain, and were better prepared for the plunging temperatures.
“In the conflict zone there were no roads, no settlements – just forests and lakes. Nothing to get your bearings from”, says Viktor Lavskiy, Russian War Veteran, adding, “The soldiers and the equipment were not ready, and the reconnaissance was insufficient.”
As losses mounted, the Soviets pumped more and more troops into the theater of conflict to finally break through the Finnish fortifications. Despite making inroads, the cost of the war was proving too high for the USSR.
On March 12, 1940, it accepted the offer of a ceasefire less than six months after the first shots were fired. While Finland ceded around a tenth of its territory, it retained its independence.
It had been a short but bloody war. Twenty-five thousand Finns were lost, but the number of Soviet casualties was up to five times that amount.
“During Soviet times, people were reluctant to even mention this war. It was difficult, not particularly successful, and however you try to spin it, the Soviet Union was the aggressor,” says Aleksandr Golubev, Historian from the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Even if Putin is wasting enormous sums of oil and gas money (which should be used for "correcting" the backwardness of the Russian society) on rebuilding the Russian army, he will fortunately not be in a position to "correct" the "mistakes" with regard to Finland. But it is important for Russia's neighbors - particularly the Baltic countries - to understand what kind of a person is in charge in Russia today. 


The wars in Chechnia and Georgia are of course more recent examples of the policy of "correcting mistakes", favored by Putin. 

The rise and fall of the solar power industry: Even the Chinese solar panel industry is beginning to crumble

We have seen major manufacturers of solar panels file for bankruptcy in the U.S. , as well as in Europe. Politicians and solar industry lobbyists have blamed Chinese cheap solar panel manufacturers for the failures. But soon there is no-one left to blame: Even China's government supported solar panel industry is beginning to crumble. The collapse of Suntech Power, one of the world's largest manufacturers, is just the beginning: 

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels, Suntech Power, has nearly run out of cash and is poised to be taken over partly or entirely by the municipal government’s holding company in its hometown, Wuxi, China, solar industry executives and a Wuxi official said Wednesday.

The collapse of Suntech is a milestone in the precipitous decline of China’s green energy industry in the last four years. More than any other country, China had bet heavily on renewable energy as the answer to its related problems of severe air pollution and heavy dependence on energy imports from politically unstable countries in the Middle East and Africa.

So far the solar and wind power producers (as well as panel and turbine manufacturers) have been able to reap windfall profits thanks to government and state support and subsidies. But all over the world the trend is against artificially supporting these ineffective and expensive forms of energy production. Indeed, why on earth should taxpayers enrich the people behind failed technologies, when there is more than enough cheap and clean shale gas and oil around!:

With the advent of US shale production, the domestic supply of natural gas is in such abundance that when adjusted for inflation it’s practically as cheap as it was back in 1999. As a result, gas-fired power is far cheaper than anything else on the wholesale market, with the exception of especially efficient hydro facilities. Even nuclear plants–with their extremely stable fuel costs–can’t always compete, as plans to shut down a small plant in Wisconsin and a larger but problem-plagued facility in Florida demonstrate.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Leading German climatologist: "Climate research was hijacked by politicians"

"Climate research was hijacked by politicians, in order to make their decisions look scientifically given and without any alternative". That is the key message in German climatologist, IPCC lead writer Hans von Storch's new book "Die Klimafalle: Die gefährliche Nähe von Politik und Klimaforschung" (The Climate Trap: The dangerous closeness between politics and climate research), which he has written together with social scientist Werner Krauß. 

Von Storch is highly critical of the IPCC reports, which he describes as "co-productions between science and politics". By accepting the "one truth only" basis for political decisions, scientists have made themselves "clandestine advocates", says von Storch. A blend of apocalyptic rhetoric and politically exploited science has driven climate research into a dead end. "It was extravagant to claim, that such a complicated problem as climate change was 'solved', and that there was a consensus about it", von Storch and 
Krauß write. 

The authors also say that it was "scandalous" that Michael Mann and the rest of his "hockey team" broke the scientific free exchange of information rules. The trench warfare damaged science - "open debate, the engine of scientific progress, was abandoned". The loss of credibility has not only damaged climate research - but also the protection of the environment, the authors say. 

Although von Storch does not want to be called a climate skeptic, his argumentation is still an important  and most welcome step forward towards a meaningful discussion of climate change/global warming. One must hope that his criticism is read - and understood - by the hundreds of climatologists and other scientists who have allowed themselves to be used as tools in a political game. 

Read the two Der Spiegel articles here (in German). 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

"Germany is dirtying the planet in the name of clean energy"

Howard Rich, writing in Forbes, explains why Germany's green energy disaster is a cautionary tale for other countries: 
In 2000 Germany passed a major green initiative which forced providers to purchase renewable energy at exorbitant fixed prices and feed that power through their grids for a period of twenty years. Promulgated by a Socialist-Green coalition government – this initiative has since been embraced by Germany’s Conservative-Liberal majority, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel. In fact Merkel has doubled down on Germany’s renewable energy push in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan – ramping up government’s plan to phase in renewables while taking the country’s nuclear power industry offline. --
The basic problem? Wind farms are notoriously unreliable as a power source. Not only that, they take up vast amounts of space and kill tens of thousands of birds annually.
“Generating energy with wind involves extreme fluctuations because it depends on the weather and includes periods without any recognizable capacity for days, or suddenly occurring supply peaks that push the grid to its limits,” a 2012 report from Germany energy expert Dr. Guenter Keil notes. “There is a threat of power outages over large areas, mainly in wintertime when the demand is high and less (power) gets delivered from abroad.”  --
Because renewable power sources have been so unreliable, Germany has been forced to construct numerous new coal plants in an effort to replace the nuclear energy it has taken offline. In fact the country will build more coal-fired facilities this year than at any time in the past two decades – bringing an estimated 5,300 megawatts of new capacity online. Most of these facilities will burn lignite, too, which is strip-mined and emits nearly 30 percent more carbon dioxide than hard coal.
In other words Germany is dirtying the planet in the name of clean energy – and sticking its citizens with an ever-escalating tab so it can subsidize an energy source which will never generate sufficient power.
This is the cautionary tale of command energy economics – one other nations would be wise to heed.
And this failure is going to cost German taxpayers around one trillion euros by the end of the 2030s, according to Germany' environment minister Peter Altmaier

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The world's most powerful navy fighting a non-existent "threat" with useless biofuel powered "Great Green Fleet"

It appears that the U.S. Navy has become one of the last strongholds for the global warming religion. The latest testimony to that is an interview in which admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, speaks about "the disappearance of whole countries", "hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced" and climate change as the greatest threat in the region:

Locklear spoke to the Boston Globe on the topic after spending two days in the Boston-area talking to scholars and foreign policy experts on the situation in the Pacific. As Locklear told the Globe, the changing climate “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’
Among the issues that the Admiral cited as most concerning was the possibility that rising sea-levels result in the disappearance of whole countries, producing influxes of “climate refugees” in neighboring states. The certainty that climate change is a phenomenon to be dealt with has affected the way that the Navy interacts with the various countries in the Indo-Pacific region that will be affected by shifting weather patterns:
“We have interjected into our multilateral dialogue – even with China and India – the imperative to kind of get military capabilities aligned [for] when the effects of climate change start to impact these massive populations,” he said.“If it goes bad, you could have hundreds of thousands or millions of people displaced and then security will start to crumble pretty quickly.’’
The Navy has been at the forefront of attempting to shift U.S. policy on climate change through the influence wielded by the military. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in 2009 announced the development of a “Great Green Fleet,” a Carrier Strike Group fueled by energy sources other than oil, as part of a strategy to reduce the Navy’s dependence on foreign oil. While currently more expensive, the Navy’s buying power would be able to bring down biofuel prices as supply catches up with demand. Mabus’ program was nearly shut down by Congress, but was revivedby the Senate in November.
Read the entire article here
Recently vice admiral Philip Hart Cullom, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, spoke about the Navy's biofuel projects:
“Advanced 2nd and 3rd generation alternative fuels, such as those we are experimenting with during RIMPAC, will allow us to continue to perform our mission in a manner that frees us from relying upon a diminishing resource. As with the development of any new technology or product, up-front research and development costs in alternative fuels are a necessary part of getting to a new way to power the Fleet. Technological advances and demand are beginning to drive economies of scale and production quantities that can drive down the costs of alternative fuels.”
Read the entire article here
What we have here is the world's most powerful navy combating a non-existent "threat", with ships driven by the world's most expensive fuels. Besides, the Navy has also completely missed the train - or should we say the boat - with its "strategy to reduce the Navy's dependence on foreign oil". Thanks to the shale gas revolution, the U.S. has more than enough of domestic fuel for at least 100 years for a Navy even twice as large as the present one. Why on earth waste American taxpayers' money on biofuels, which in addition contribute to increasing international food insecurity! Even warmists, like the Guardian's George Monbiot, wonder why "the poor must go hungry just so the rich can drive" (or sail). 

Warmist propaganda film maker gets one thing right: Al Gore "completely the wrong person" as climate change "spokesperson"

New Zealand geologist and amateur cameraman Simon Lamb has made a global warming film, "Thin Ice" - a joint project between Oxford and Victoria Universities - which premieres next month on Earth Day, when "it will be screened simultaneously across the world, free of charge".

Lamb's film is, as could be expected, full of warmist propaganda, masquerading as science. But it is not difficult to agree with what he has to say about Al Gore (in the second sentence):

"He's a smart man, Al Gore, but he's not a climate scientist. And he's sort of become the 

spokesperson and he's completely the wrong person."

As warmists so often do, also Lamb uses children - his own six year old daughter - in order to 

promote his alarmist message:

Dr Lamb's 6-year-old daughter will be front and centre.
She was born the year her Dad started making the film - the motivation for getting started.
"Say the climate change actually was quite severe and bad and my daughter said to me, well what did you do about it? I'd say well, I'm not a climate scientist but, what I tried to do is use my skills to communicate what the science said."
He must be doing something right - she's already taken an interest in the subject.
"I ask her well what is the Greenhouse effect, and she's not really quite sure, so she's picked up some things, yes."
Lamb's six year old daughter, who says "she is not really quite sure" about the Greenhouse effect, appears to have "picked up" more than her father!
One of the warmists featured in Lamb's film is Phil Jones of Climategate fame. In one sequence we can see Jones at work in his state of the art office:

Phil Jones at work, surrounded by heaps of "evidence" for global warming. Note the box in the bottom right hand corner. Is that where he stores his copy of the hockey stick graph?

Watching Jones at work, makes one wonder:

Would you buy a used car from this man?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

"The largest Earth Hour celebration in Canada" cancelled

Great news from The True North

The lights go out for "the largest Earth Hour celebration in Canada". 

The Barrie Earth Hour Music Festival has been cancelled. The event was to take place on March 23, but organizers say they do not have sufficient funding to continue. 

May this positive development inspire misled Earth Hour sponsors in all other countries, which have been infested by this bogus festival of darkness!

Freezing winter conditions in Europe: Army ordered to help clear roads in France

Cold winter weather hits large parts of Europe 

Freezing winter weather, with heavy snowfall, hits large parts of Europe, closing airports, stopping trains and creating huge traffic jams. In France the army was ordered to help clear roads and rescue people stuck in cars:
Instead of enjoying the onset of spring, travelers shivered in stranded cars, packed onto icy train platforms, or languished in airport waiting halls. Thousands of schoolchildren stayed home. Tens of thousands of homes were without electricity.
Frankfurt airport, Europe's third busiest, closed at midday after recording about 12 centimeters (5 inches) of snow. More than 355 flights had been canceled by mid-afternoon.- 
North of Frankfurt, the A45 autobahn was shut down after more than 100 cars and trucks crashed in a pileup near Muenzenberg. Police said dozens of people were injured but that no deaths were reported. -
The French army was called in to help as civilian authorities struggled to clear roads and rescue people stuck in cars and buses on snowed-in roads, notably in Normandy, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on RTL radio.
With up to 50 centimeters (19 inches) of snow in some areas of northern France, the government urged people to stay home unless absolutely necessary.
The French housing ministry, meanwhile, said it will prolong until the end of March the winter-long ban on tenant evictions - owing to the biting weather conditions.
 Read the entire article here
At least in Germany the cold weather is set to stick around at least through the end of the week. 
It cannot take long now, before we have an announcement from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research informing us that the severe winter weather is a direct consequence of global warming. 

Václav Klaus on the present European leaders: "Their way of thinking is based on an almost communist type of reasoning"

Yesterday, now former Czech President, Václav Klaus again reminded us about what is wrong with the present European Union:
As I said, I see the important part of the problem in the European economic and social system itself. It is more than evident that the overregulated economy, additionally constrained by a heavy load of social and environmental requirements, operating in a paternalistic welfare state atmosphere, cannot grow. This burden is too heavy and the incentives to a productive work are too weak. If Europe wants to restart its economic development, it has to undertake a fundamental transformation, a systemic change, something we had to do 20 years ago in our part of Europe.
The other part of the problem is the European integration model. The excessive and unnatural centralization, harmonization, standardization and unification of the European continent based on the concept of “an ever-closer Union” is another obstacle.
These complex issues deserve to be discussed from many perspectives, but it is evident that they found their “climax” in the attempt to monetarily unify the whole continent. This was the moment when the marginal costs of the European integration project started to visibly exceed its benefits. This evident failure, and it is appropriate to call it a failure, was inevitable, was expected, and was well understood by many of us in advance. Its consequences – especially for economically weaker European countries which were used to undergo unpleasant, but much needed and unavoidable adjustment-bringing devaluations of their currencies repeatedly in the past – were well-known in advance as well. All economists who deserve to be called economists were aware of the fact that Greece and some other countries were doomed to fail having been imprisoned in such a system. History gives us similar examples. --
Let’s not be misled. When discussing the current European problems, it is wrong to concentrate on the achievements or failures of 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. Letting Greeceleave the Eurozone – in an organized way – would be the beginning of a long journey of this country to a healthy economic future. I have no ambitions to change Greece, I want to change the EU institutional arrangements. 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 again.
Read the entire speech at the Cato Institute here

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Where does the U.S. shale gas revolution leave Europe?

Shale gas drilling in Appalachia.
(image by Meredithw at en.Wikipedia)

A research note by Morgan Stanley summarizes the benefits of the shale gas revolution for the U.S.:
The new technology is unlocking oil and shale gas resources, spurring economic activity and giving industry a competitive edge with less expensive gas and electricity prices.

These developments could lead to the industrialization of the U.S. economy and could deliver sustainable growth, Morgan Stanley said in a research note on Wednesday.
With the help of cheap energy, manufacturing will pick up and move down the ladder to capturing the production of less "sophisticated" goods (computers, fabricated metals and automobiles) currently manufactured in emerging nations. As a result, the United States will likely compete with emerging markets for market share rather than being a consumer, Morgan Stanley said.
"As the manufacturing renaissance takes hold in the U.S., the move down the value-added ladder in the U.S. is likely to clash with China's need to further increase the sophistication of its manufacturing base," it said. 
And as the bank details, China needs to move up that ladder to not only produce medium-term growth but to protect against economic stagnation, the "middle-income trap" and move from an emerging to a developed market.-- 
A continued fall in U.S. oil imports means North America could become a net oil exporter by around 2030, according to the IEA, and the United States could become almost self-sufficient in energy by 2035. 
And the U.S. shale gas revolution will not only impact on China
"U.S. reindustrialization will likely challenge Russia's presence in steel, chemicals and industries to support that very renaissance," it said.
The Morgan Stanley research note does not seem to mention where the U.S. shale gas revolution leaves Europe. But you do not have to be a financial expert in order to understand what is in store for the EU
The deadly combination of a failed energy policy (read: taxpayer subsidized, ineffective and costly wind and solar energy) and a recession generating failed common currency cannot result in anything else than an accelerated marginalization of Europe.
The views of Peter Altmaier, Germany's "conservative" environment minister, exemplify what is wrong with the European approach:
One one hand, Altmaier seems to understand the devastating costs (for consumers) of the German energy transition policy:
"Energy transition could end up costing up to a trillion euro"
On the other hand, the same Altmaier, echoing Greenpeace and other envirofundamentalist NGOs (and Russia's Gazprom) has this to say about the shale gas revolution: 
"For now I cannot see that fracking is acceptable anywhere in Europe. This also applies to Germany"
Germany's export successes have been considerable during the last few years, but there are already clear signs that the German economy is joining the rest of Europe in the downward spiral:
In Europe, the decline in industrial production previously observed in a few countries of the European Union spread across the continent. Industrial production systematically decreased there in all four quarters of 2012, UNIDO reported.
Manufacturing output in the fourth quarter fell by 3.9 per cent in France, 2.9 per cent in Germany, 6.9 per cent in Italy and 1.8 per cent in the United Kingdom.