Saturday, 1 June 2013

Apple's greenwashing likely to backfire - Hiring of former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson "will be counterproductive and costly"

Apple's hiring of former EPA administrator, global warming alarmist Lisa Jackson is applauded by Greenpeace (which probably is one reason why Apple hired her): 

Apple announced that former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson will join the world’s number one company as its vice president for environmental initiatives. Jackson wrote in an email, “I’m incredibly impressed with Apple’s commitment to the environment and I’m thrilled to be joining the team.”
Greenpeace has campaigned to make sure Apple is the leader on several issues including toxic product manufacturing, and most recently, on powering its massive data centers with renewable energy rather than fossil fuels.
“Apple has made a bold move in hiring Lisa Jackson, a proven advocate with a track record of combating toxic waste and the dirty energy that causes global warming, two of Apple’s biggest challenges as it continues to grow,” says Greenpeace’s Senior IT Analyst Gary Cook.  ”Jackson can make Apple the top environmental leader in the tech sector by helping the company use its influence to push electric utilities and governments to provide the clean energy that both Apple and America need right now.”
But Apple's greenwashing is likely to backfire:
Jackson–who has just been hired by Apple as an environmental advisor–may have shamelessly pursued unconstitutional power grabs and earned a congressional investigation for using an alias email address in her dog’s name while at EPA, but none of that would have been a surprise to those in Jackson’s previous jurisdiction: New Jersey.
Before coming back to the federal EPA, Jackson ran the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection during the Corzine administration (before becoming Corzine’s chief of staff). Though Jackson seems to have steered clear of the corruption around her, the state’s environmental apparatus has played an important role in Jersey’s corrupt state Democratic machine, which went something like this: miles of red tape were backed up by the use of obscure and blatantly irrelevant laws to make building a structure–home or commercial–in many cases close to impossible. That enabled politicians and bureaucrats at various state agencies to go looking for bribes and kickbacks to cut through that tape or to change zoning laws to increase favored property values.
The regulations won bureaucrats high marks from environmental lobbies, but they didn’t actually make anybody safer because they were bypassed by greasing the wheels. --
The Wall Street Journal’s Joseph Rago sums up Jackson’s tenure this way in a reaction to the news of her new job at Apple: “At the EPA Ms. Jackson proved to be an especially abusive and willful regulator, even for the Obama administration, and her epic rule-making bender continues to drag on economic growth. But nothing about her career suggests any expertise in technology; prior to her EPA posting Ms. Jackson was a political functionary in New Jersey and New York.”
So why would Apple hire her? Rago suggests that Apple executives, who are being dragged in front of congressional committees for obeying tax laws and making money, might think bringing Jackson on board would insulate them from the political attacks. At the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney asks: “Will Jackson’s job be about chasing subsidies for the renewable investments Apple is already making?” Whatever the reason, if her past experience is any indication, even with the best of intentions it will be counterproductive and costly.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Australian state of Victoria leading the way in fight against wind energy madness

The Australian state of Victoria is leading the way in stopping ineffective, costly and bird killing taxpayer subsidized wind turbines:

Welcome to my home state of Victoria, Australia's hub of art and culture, lane-way cafes and wonderful coffee, Aussie Rules football, the miraculous leadbeater's possum, and magnificent forests.
And also, after law changes in 2011, one of the most difficult places in the world to build a wind farm.
Back in 2011, the then-premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu, enacted laws that, according to The Conversation website, effectively imposes a blanket ban on wind farms in many parts of the state:
They effectively give the owners of any dwelling within 2km of a proposed wind farm the power to decide whether or not the development should proceed.
The laws were part of the conservative Liberal-National coalition's 2010 election platform to "restore fairness and certainty to the planning process for wind farms". The laws have definitely provided certainty. --
The chilling effect of these planning laws is plain. Only one application to build a new wind farm has been made since the new laws came into effect.
The warmist Alexander White, writing in the Guardian, is of course whining, but the rest of us have reason to celebrate. May Victoria serve as a model for other regions, states and countries all over the world! It's time to stop the stupidity! 

New groundbreaking UCLA study: "Global warming will be increasing the amount of time and speed with which organisms move around"

Global warming will increase "interactions" that lead to a "feeding event".
(image by

US taxpayers must be delighted to find out that they have financed another global warming study by UCLA "life scientists". This groundbreaking research was federally funded by the National Science Foundation (grant DEB 1021010):

In the current research, Savage and his colleagues examined how organisms' different physiological responses to rising temperatures could impact what are known as consumer–resource interactions. These are interactions between two organisms that lead to a "feeding" event – a prime example being a predator (consumer) and its prey (resource).--
Their model accounts for the fact that a change in temperature is likely to result in some predators becoming better at capturing prey while some prey animals become more efficient at evading capture, leading to imbalances in the food chain and potential repercussions for ecosystems.
A key biological trait driving different responses to temperature change among consumers and resources is body velocity – the speed at which an animal moves. Cold-blooded animals, for example, tend to move faster as their body temperature increases. The biologists predict that one of the primary impacts of global warming will be increasing the amount of time and speed with which organisms move around a landscape and thus encounter and interact with one another.
Global warming surely must be something these "consumers" can look forward to: More speed, more encounters, more social interaction and probably even more "feeding events". What more could they wish?

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Germany's shift away from nuclear power is in a shambles

Germany's shift away from nuclear power, the Energiewende, is in a shambles. Der Spiegel reports that the EU Commission now believes that the practice of exempting the German industry from paying higher prices associated with solar and wind energy distorts competition in the EU. Huge penalties could be in store. 

For the European Commission and for Competition Commissioner Joaquín Almunia, Oettinger said during a dinner event, it is clear that price concessions for energy-intensive companies in Germany amount to an inadmissible subsidy. In the best-case scenario, he said, the Commission would ban such subsidies. But, he added, the worst case could see Brussels demanding that such companies pay back the money they had saved as a result of the discounts they have received.

The centerpiece of the Energiewende, the Renewable Energies Act (EEG) has become a "giant redistribution machine" enriching the owners of solar and wind energy companies, which are "a long way from being able to produce energy at the prices possible in coal-fired or nuclear power plants.":  

Since 2000, Germany has used the EEG to promote the expansion of renewable forms of energy. To ensure that the construction of expensive solar and wind farms is worthwhile for private individuals and investors, they receive a guarantee that the electricity they produce will be purchased at a fixed price for a period of several years.

The costs of start-up financing for green energy and the compensation for expansion of the power grid are added to customers' electricity bills in the form of a special tax. The entire subsidy system is supposed to come to an end when green energy becomes competitive. That, at least, is the theory.
But the reality is different. No longer can one simply describe the tax as a way to get renewable energies off the ground. Indeed, following Berlin's decision two years ago to shelve nuclear energy and accelerate the expansion of renewables, the EEG has become a giant redistribution machine.
Owners of wind and solar farms were paid about €14 billion ($18 billion) last year alone. This is the difference between the guaranteed EEG price and the proceeds actually achieved on the market for the electricity they fed into the grid. Experts with the Institute of Energy Economics at the University of Cologne estimate that consumers will have to pay more than €100 billion by 2022 for renewable energy facilities that have already been installed. Of the 28 cents household customers pay per kilowatt-hour of electricity today, 5.28 cents already applies to the EEG levy, and that figure is growing.
There are many reasons for the cost explosion. Contrary to earlier forecasts, solar and wind farms are a long way from being able to produce energy at the prices possible in coal-fired or nuclear power plants. There are also high costs associated with grid expansion and electricity storage facilities -- both necessary for a system more reliant on renewables -- as well as for backup power plants, which take up the slack when the sun isn't shining or the wind isn't blowing. In addition, the German government failed to define upper limits for solar energy, an expensive form of energy that is inefficient in a country like Germany, with its relative lack of sunshine.
(bolded by NNoN)

Read the entire article here


So far the German economy has been doing quit well, But Chancellor Merkel's senseless energy transition policy is beginning to seriously hurt the engine of European growth. With Germany facing a serious self made crisis, the Euro-Titanic is slowly heading for its its final destination....

Finally: The UK government is cutting the number of useless climate change bureaucrats

Global warming stopped at least 15 years ago. But international organizations and governments are still crowded with thousands of overpaid climate change bureaucrats dealing with this non-issue. When the UK government - quite rightly - tries to reduce the number of useless climate bureaucrats, the greenies are whining

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is preparing to cut the number of civil servants working on climate adaptation from over 30 officials to just six, prompting outrage from green groups who have today accused the government of failing to take adequate steps to protect the UK from worsening climate impacts.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Friends of the Earth revealed that over the past three years the number of civil servants working on Defra's climate adaptation activity has fallen from equivalent to 38 full-time staff in 2009/10 to 32.5 full-time positions in 2011/12.
However, with the department having published its Climate Change Risk Assessment report in January 2012 and with the government's National Adaptation Programme due for publication this summer, ministers are preparing to cut the number of staff working on the department's overarching Adapting to Climate Change programme to just six full-time employees.
Speaking at a lecture hosted by Friends of the Earth last night, former UK Special Representative for Climate Change John Ashton accused the government of scoring an "own goal" by cutting the number of staff dedicated to climate adaptation work when a "major new report that Defra has itself commissioned warns of growing climate disruption in our countryside".
The best solution would, of course, be to get rid also of the remaining six full-time bureaucrats dealing with the "Adapting to Climate Change programme", as well as a few hundred of other global warming officials among Defra's staff of 10,000 bureaucrats. 
And by the way, why is Defra (the UK  Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) spreading this false information on its webpage?:
The world’s climate and weather patterns are changing. Global temperatures are rising, causing more extreme weather events, like flooding and heatwaves.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will discuss cybersecurity and closer military ties

We are told that President Barack Obama will discuss cybersecurity with Chinese President Xi Jinping when two two meet in California next week. 

This comes after a Washington Post report that Chinese hackers have been able to access designs of some of the most advanced US defense systems:

Designs for many of the nation’s most sensitive advanced weapons systems have been compromised by Chinese hackers, according to a report prepared for the Pentagon and to officials from government and the defense industry.
Among more than two dozen major weapons systems whose designs were breached were programs critical to U.S. missile defenses and combat aircraft and ships, according to a previously undisclosed section of a confidential report prepared for Pentagon leaders by the Defense Science Board.
At the same time Obama's National Security Adviser is calling for deeper military ties with communist China:

The United States called for deeper military ties with China on Tuesday, including working closer together in areas like peacekeeping, fighting piracy and disaster relief, despite growing tensions between the two on a range of security issues.
White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon made the remarks at a meeting with senior Chinese military leader Fan Changlong, two weeks ahead of a summit between the U.S. and Chinese presidents in California.

"An essential part of building a new model for relations between great powers is ensuring we have a healthy, stable and reliable military to military relationship," Donilon told Fan at the Chinese Defence Ministry, in brief comments before reporters.
If Obama's intention really is to have "a healthy, stable and reliable military to military relationship" with the People's Liberation Army, then the question of Chinese military hackers should not be a problem. So maybe Obama actually will tell comrade Xi that he can order his Army of Hackers to concentrate on other, more interesting jobs, because within the framework of the new healthy military relationship, he could have the new weapon designs delivered by ordinary mail, for a modest fee, of course....

Monday, 27 May 2013

A look into the future: "Life in the Former European Union" exhibition opens in Brussels

If you for some reason own one of these, do not throw it away - in 2060 it will be a a rare collector's item, featured in the BBC Antique Roadshow and other similar programs.

A most welcome look into the future of the European Union is on offer in Brussels

The year is 2060 and a ramshackle little museum is hosting the first international exhibition ever on “Life in the Former European Union”, a period “when Brussels, not Warsaw, lay at the beating heart of the old continent.”
Held in a derelict former boarding school, its rooms fitted with old white wash-basins, the show — destined for a supposed audience from the future and taking place a stone’s throw from current EU headquarters — claims to be hosted by fictional group The Friends of a Reunited Europe.
The fake exhibition looks back at the “Second Interbellum” from 1945 to 2018, or Final Years of the Long Peace, to chronicle how the EU developed and what went wrong when the Great Recession struck in around 2010.
Just how Project Europe actually collapsed remains unsaid, though there are dark shades of bloody protests by hungry migrant workers and a wave of Austerity Suicides in the decade to 2015 are painfully evoked.
The exhibition states that the EU’s 33rd and last member was Scotland, which joined in 2017. Current EU President Herman Van Rompuy was followed in the chair by Finland’s Jyrki Katainen, and Italy’s Mario Draghi remained at the helm of the European Central Bank until 2018. --
Tongue in cheek, Bellinck stacks documents stretching three stories high through floors and ceilings to portray the 311,000 rules and regulations — weighing 1.5 tonnes, he says — agreed by 2017 by the Brussels bureaucracy.
Displays include the first euro-bills, photos and relics from the early 2000s, and famed EU directive 2257/94 setting the required dimension of a banana at 14 centimetres long and 27 millimetres in diameter.
By 2015, the exhibition states, Brussels had become the lobbying capital of the world, with 200,000 lobbyists — against 654 three decades earlier — whose dog-eared visiting cards line museum walls.
Disintegration began during the euro crisis, a period epitomised by a plastic lemon squeezer with an Angela Merkel head. The collapse of the European dream was exacerbated by an ageing population whose relaxed lifestyle — including a taste for year-round tasteless tomatoes at rock-bottom prices — wound up undermining Europe’s competitive edge and productivity.
The curator of the exhibition, Thomas Bellinck says that “I’m not a eurosceptic, I believe in Project Europe”, and he even thinks that the EU  "can be resuscitated before it is too late” - but I would add tongue in cheek also to this statement. 

Image by wikipedia

Serge Halimi, editorial director of Le Monde Diplomatique, on why elections do not matter anymore in the eurozone

The European Union, which gives lessons in democracy to the whole planet, has made this denial (to pay no heed to the electorate’s verdict) one of its specialities. 
Serge Halimi

For eurozone countries, it does not matter who wins elections - the economic policy, dictated by Brussels, the ECB and IMF, will remain the same, according to Serge Halimi, editorial director of Le Monde Diplomatique:

Once the formality of national elections is out of the way, Brussels, the ECB and the IMF send their road map to the new leaders so that particular campaign promises can be ditched immediately. EvenThe Wall Street Journal could not conceal its bafflement last February: “The French, Spanish, Irish, Dutch, Portuguese, Greeks, Slovenians, Slovakians and Cypriots have to varying degrees voted against the currency bloc’s economic model since the crisis began three years ago. Yet economic policies have changed little in response to one electoral defeat after another. The left has replaced the right; the right has ousted the left. Even the centre right trounced Communists (in Cyprus) — but the economic policies have largely remained the same: governments will continue to cut spending and raise taxes. The problem facing newly elected governments is that they operate within the institutions of the Eurozone. National governments must follow macroeconomic directives set by the European Commission. All of which means that, after the sound and fury of an election, national governments have little room for manoeuvre on economic policy” (15). “You get the impression,” Benoît Hamon admitted sadly, “that a leftwing policy or a rightwing one just administers different quantities of the same ingredients” (16).
When a senior official from the European Commission attended a meeting between his colleagues and the head of the French Treasury, he reported:  “It was stunning: they [the Eurocrats] behaved like schoolmasters telling a poor student what to do. I was very impressed that the director of the Treasury kept his cool” (17). This scene brings to mind the fate of Ethiopia and Indonesia at the time when their leaders were reduced to the role of administering punishments which the IMF had decided to impose on their countries (18). Now Europe is getting a taste of the same medicine: in January 2012, the Commission in Brussels instructed the Greek government to cut nearly €2bn from its public expenditure within five days or face a fine.--

This intellectual school — which is fundamentally distrustful of democracy, “the tyranny of the majority” — postulates that political leaders are inclined to sacrifice the general interest (indistinguishable from the initiatives of business leaders) in favour of satisfying their clienteles and guaranteeing their own re-election. The sovereignty of such irresponsible people must consequently be strictly curtailed. That is the role of coercive mechanisms that currently provide the inspiration for the European project (the independence of central banks, the 3% budget deficit ceiling, the stability pact).

Read the entire article here

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Russian human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeeva: "the Kremlin has decided to destroy my country's civil society"

Lyudmila Alexeeva, chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, is convinced that Vladimir Putin and his henchmen are out to destroy the remnants of civil society in Russia:

I have been active in the human rights scene here since the dark days of the Soviet Union. As I look across today's Russia, I have every reason to believe that at the very top, the Kremlin has decided to destroy my country's civil society for daring to raise its head in protest against government repression and to demand fair elections and respect for the constitution.
From the end of the 80s to the middle of this century's first decade, a lively and active civil society formed in Russia. Today, it is an obstacle in the path of President Putin and his circle, who aim to form a harshly authoritarian, perhaps even totalitarian, regime.
It is precisely to destroy civil society – and primarily the human rights groups that form its backbone – that a series of repressive laws were adopted in 2012 by Russia's Duma, elected fraudulently and obedient to Putin. One of these laws requires that NGOs which receive funding from abroad and "engage in politics" voluntarily register as "foreign agents". This demand is the equivalent of Nazi Germany's demand that Jews don a yellow star.
This law is directed against human rights organisations that have to receive financing from foreign donors in order to maintain their independence – since neither the Russian government nor big business will support organisations whose goal is to protect citizens from violations of their rights by the state.
The foreign agents' law should not apply to human rights NGOs, as they do not engage in politics. However, the law defines the term "politics" as including "influencing the formation of public opinion" – and, of course, human rights NGOs do exactly that. For violating this law, NGOs face closure and fines of up to 500,000 rubles (£11,000), while their leaders face fines of up to 300,000 rubles and up to two years' imprisonment.
If the law demanded that NGOs register as organisations receiving foreign grants, all of us would register, as this would reflect the truth. But we cannot register as foreign agents. In Russia, "foreign agent" means "traitor", "spy". We are not agents of foreign governments or private foundations, as we do not carry out their instructions. To register as their agents would mean sacrificing our reputation.
Read the entire opinion piece here.
Of course Alexeeva is right. Human rights, rule of law and democracy are not part of Putin's KGB vocabulary. But in the end the former second rate KGB agent will be chased out of office, if he does not understand to flee the country before that ...

Filmmaker and former Cal State university professor Saul Landau: "Climate change seems to have exacerbated the stupidity of US daily life"

Former California State University professor Saul Landau, who on his blog introduces himself as "an internationally-known scholar, author, commentator, and filmmaker" , does not seem to have many good things to say about his own country

Climate change seems to have exacerbated the stupidity of US daily life, or maybe we’ve long suffered from the consequences of the capitalist mode of production, plus the negative spin offs from the massive US war machine. Both systems feed off nature, which cannot sustain their demands on it. For example, both systems emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide, the most significant greenhouse gas that gets burned in production and war, and gets pumped into the atmosphere by fossil fuel burning and other human activities. Trapped gases lead to climate change. --

This new threshold represents capitalism’s supreme capacity to shit in the plate it eats from (Nature). But it also seems to have formed of a kind of global shell around human consciousness, as if those in leadership daydream when faced with the issue of runaway greenhouse gas emissions. “Why should I think about it? Let the next generations deal with it,” they conclude. Our modern Cassandra, Al Gore wrote that “we are reaping the consequences of our recklessness.” --

Scientists affirmed that climate change threatens future life. Some prophesize doom if we do not reform, but Apollo’s curse remains. “Beware of technology burning energy” might replace the warning of “Greeks bearing gifts.” Inside the new Trojan horse of development lies the mechanism that will doom our heirs, unless we make drastic reforms now – especially here and in China where the most greenhouse gasses get produced.
Citizens need to make their own history by acting and forcing leaders to deal with climate change before it gets too late

It may be good to know that this Landau has always been an ardent admirer of Fidel Castro and the socialist Cuba he created: 
  Fidel did promise elections. But he quickly found out that the Cuban people did not want them - for very good historical reasons ....

  You must remember the desire, the terrible desire for unanimity on all decisions. They don't want things to be just a majority rule, they want it to be all the way ....

  ... To the Cuban worker free speech meant very little. The revolution to them is absolute good ....
Anybody who opposes the revolution is absolute evil. It's quite as simple as that ....

One wonders why Landau has chosen to remain in the US, when his paradise is so close .....