Saturday, 21 September 2013

Germany - the darling of the "green energy" lobby - is caught in a subsidies trap

Germany has been touted as a world leader in "green energy" by "progressive" international mainstream media. However, this reality check by the government sponsored Deutsche Welle tells another story:

German households face steeply rising electricity bills, companies threaten to move abroad, engineers raise the specter of blackouts. A reform of Germany’s green energy revolution must top the new government's agenda. --

Under an ambitious new energy policy, Germany seeks to boost renewables to make up 80 percent of total power generated by 2050. Along the way, nuclear power is to be completely phased out by 2022, and fossil-fuel based energy production sharply reduced.
However, since the EEG law was implemented in 2000, German electricity retail prices have risen from then 14 eurocents per kilowatt-hour to almost 29 cents today, according to data released by the Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW).
Much of the increase is the result of a surcharge on electricity bills paid by private households and businesses to finance state subsidies for renewable energies. Wind, solar and biomass energy producers are guaranteed fixed so-called feed-in tariffs above market price for 20 years. These subsidies have led to an investment boom propelling the amount of renewable energy from 15 percent of German power generation in 2008 to 23 percent in 2012. --

Curiously enough, the more renewable energy is being fed into the German power grid the more people and businesses pay for the green energy. On July 16, which was a windy as well as sunny day, the wholesale electricity price even slumped to below zero on an excess of power from those renewable sources. Consumers had to pay the price difference to the feed-in tariff guaranteed to renewable producers.
Moreover, the subsidies are further inflated under a government policy to exempt energy-intensive industries such as steel mills and aluminum smelters from paying the renewables surcharge. But those breaks, which were originally meant for only a few companies competing internationally, are meanwhile being granted to over 4,000 businesses.
In addition, the costs of massive infrastructure updates, which are needed to accommodate the vast amounts of green energy, are also footed by consumers through their electricity bills. This includes expanding the power grid as well as creating storage systems for solar and wind power. --

And, as Deutsche Welle, points out, there is no way out of the subsidies energy trap:

No matter which policy measure will be finally implemented, the renewables subsidies' bill for German consumers - currently standing at a total of 20.3 billion euros a year - won't be substantially lower in the years to come. As existing renewable power producers will continue to be guaranteed fixed feed-in prices for the next 20 years, slowing the rise in costs is the best a new government might hope to achieve.

What does this mean?

It means that the medium and long range prospects for the German economy are far from good. International investors should stay away from a country that has chosen to sacrify its present economic success in order to keep the high priests of the church of global warming happy.

UK scientist: Australia's new PM Tony Abbott is like the politicians who claimed that HIV does not cause AIDS

Engineering professor Nilay Shah

Engineering professor Nilay Shah of Imperial College London, lead author of a new climate change report, says that politicians such as Australia's new Prime Minister Tony Abbott are like the South African leaders who contributed to thousands of unnecessary deaths by claiming that HIV did not cause AIDS:

POLITICIANS who dismiss the need for urgent action on climate change are like the South African leaders who contributed to thousands of unnecessary deaths by claiming that HIV did not cause AIDS, a scientist has said.
Nilay Shah, of Imperial College London, said that politicians such as Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has raised doubts about the science behind climate change, would be judged as harshly by future generations as those who questioned the medical evidence on AIDS.
He made the remarks when launching a report saying that the world needed to be spending $2 trillion a year by 2050, or 1 per cent of GDP, to limit global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Professor Shah, lead author of the report by Imperial College's Grantham Institute for Climate Change, said: "There's an interesting parallel with South Africa in the 90s, where political capital was being made out of HIV denial. Those people must now regret what they did. I suspect that some of the politicians [now arguing against rapid cuts in emissions] will still be around in the mid-2030s and will reflect that they didn't do enough on climate change."

Read the entire article here

If someone is going to be "judged harshly", it is this professor, who is spreading false information about (a growing number of) politicians who are brave enough to oppose the false religion of human induced global warming.

Demands that the European Union change its costly and ineffective climate policies are increasing

The IPCC is about to confirm that its previous forecasts about warming have been wrong, but that does not bother European Union's highest climate change official, Danish commissioner Connie Hedegaard and her colleagues in the European Commission the least - the EU should according to the EU warmists continue with its costly and useless climate policies regardless of the lack of warming!

In an interview with the Telegraph, Europe's most senior climate change official argued that the current policies are the correct ones because a growing world population will put pressure on energy supplies regardless of the rate of global warming.

"I personally have a very pragmatic view."

"Say that 30 years from now, science came back and said, 'wow, we were mistaken then now we have some new information so we think it is something else'. In a world with nine billion people, even 10 billion at the middle of this century, where literally billions of global citizens will still have to get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes, don't you think that anyway it makes a lot of sense to get more energy and resource efficient," she said.

"Let's say that science, some decades from now, said 'we were wrong, it was not about climate', would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?."

The Danish commissioner also rejected public complaints over increases in electricity prices to subsidise renewable energies, such as wind farms, as unrealistic because, she said, increased competition over diminishing energy resources such as oil and gas will lead to higher bills.

"I believe that in a world with still more people, wanting still more growth for good reasons, the demand for energy, raw materials and resources will increase and so, over time so, over time, will the prices," she said.

"I think we have to realise that in the world of the 21st century for us to have the cheapest possible energy is not the answer."

Mrs Hedegaard, and the European Commission, have not changed their position that the science that is currently used to justify EU climate change policy is "over 90 per cent" certain that global warming exists and that it is manmade.

However, EU and other policymakers are worried that the IPCC's forthcoming admission, expected on Sep 27, that previous forecasts are wrong will damage the legitimacy of climate change policies, such as levies and fuel taxes on consumers to fund renewable energy.

In fact, there are already signs that European policymakers are about to change their tone when speaking about climate change. The German daily Die Welt e.g. reports that the FDP's spokesperson for environmental policies in the European Parliament, Holger Krahmer, demands an about-turn of EU's climate policies.

Politicians are often slow to admit that they have been wrong, but when they realize that they are about to lose the confidence of their voters, for reasons of self-preservation change they will - or risk being replaced by others. For bureaucrats like Hedegaard  and the rest, there is only one solution - to replace them with more sensible people.

Friday, 20 September 2013

The Economist on a weakened US (and West)

I do not very often find myself agreeing with what the people at the Economist write, but when it comes to Barack Obama's Syria "policy", I think they are right:

Now every tyrant knows that a red line set by the leader of the free world is really just a threat to ask legislators how they feel about enforcing it. Dictators will be freer to maim and murder their own people, proliferators like North Korea less scared to proceed with spreading WMD, China and Russia ever more content to test their muscles in the vacuum left by the West.
The West is not on an inexorable slide towards irrelevance. Far from it. America’s economy is recovering, and its gas boom has undermined energy-fuelled autocracies. Dictatorships are getting harder to manage: from Beijing to Riyadh, people have been talking about freedom and the rule of law. It should be a good time to uphold Western values. But when the emerging world’s aspiring democrats seek to topple tyrants, they will remember what happened in Syria. And they won’t put their faith in the West.

Read the entire editorial here

Politicians told IPCC scientists to "cover up" the lack of warming

This is nothing but a scandal:

Scientists working on the most authoritative study on climate change were urged to cover up the fact that the world’s temperature hasn’t risen for the last 15 years, it is claimed.
A leaked copy of a United Nations report, compiled by hundreds of scientists, shows politicians in Belgium, Germany, Hungary and the United States raised concerns about the final draft. --

But leaked documents seen by the Associated Press, yesterday revealed deep concerns among politicians about a lack of global warming over the past few years.
Germany called for the references to the slowdown in warming to be deleted, saying looking at a time span of just 10 or 15 years was ‘misleading’ and they should focus on decades or centuries.

Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for deniers of man-made climate change.
Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for statistics, as it was exceptionally warm and makes the graph look flat - and suggested using 1999 or 2000 instead to give a more upward-pointing curve.

The United States delegation even weighed in, urging the authors of the report to explain away the lack of warming using the ‘leading hypothesis’ among scientists that the lower warming is down to more heat being absorbed by the ocean – which has got hotter.

The politicians who wanted to cover up the lack of warming should of course be named and relieved of any duties related to (imaginary) human caused climate change - and voters should punish them in the next elections!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Senator John McCain on Putin in Pravda: "He has given you a political system that is sustained by corruption and repression and isn't strong enough to tolerate dissent"

How right US Senator John McCain is in his opinion piece, published in the Russian newspaper Pravda: "Russians deserve better than Putin"

Since my purpose here is to dispel falsehoods used by Russia's rulers to perpetuate their power and excuse their corruption, let me begin with that untruth. I am not anti-Russian. I am pro-Russian, more pro-Russian than the regime that misrules you today.
I make that claim because I respect your dignity and your right to self-determination. I believe you should live according to the dictates of your conscience, not your government. I believe you deserve the opportunity to improve your lives in an economy that is built to last and benefits the many, not just the powerful few. You should be governed by a rule of law that is clear, consistently and impartially enforced and just. I make that claim because I believe the Russian people, no less than Americans, are endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
A Russian citizen could not publish a testament like the one I just offered. President Putin and his associates do not believe in these values. They don't respect your dignity or accept your authority over them. They punish dissent and imprison opponents. They rig your elections. They control your media. They harass, threaten, and banish organizations that defend your right to self-governance. To perpetuate their power they foster rampant corruption in your courts and your economy and terrorize and even assassinate journalists who try to expose their corruption. 
They write laws to codify bigotry against people whose sexual orientation they condemn. They throw the members of a punk rock band in jail for the crime of being provocative and vulgar and for having the audacity to protest President Putin's rule.
Sergei Magnistky wasn't a human rights activist. He was an accountant at a Moscow law firm. He was an ordinary Russian who did an extraordinary thing. He exposed one of the largest state thefts of private assets in Russian history. He cared about the rule of law and believed no one should be above it. For his beliefs and his courage, he was held in Butyrka prison without trial, where he was beaten, became ill and died. After his death, he was given a show trial reminiscent of the Stalin-era and was, of course, found guilty. That wasn't only a crime against Sergei Magnitsky. It was a crime against the Russian people and your right to an honest government - a government worthy of Sergei Magnistky and of you.
President Putin claims his purpose is to restore Russia to greatness at home and among the nations of the world. But by what measure has he restored your greatness? He has given you an economy that is based almost entirely on a few natural resources that will rise and fall with those commodities. Its riches will not last. And, while they do, they will be mostly in the possession of the corrupt and powerful few. Capital is fleeing Russia, which - lacking rule of law and a broad-based economy - is considered too risky for investment and entrepreneurism. He has given you a political system that is sustained by corruption and repression and isn't strong enough to tolerate dissent.
How has he strengthened Russia's international stature? By allying Russia with some of the world's most offensive and threatening tyrannies. By supporting a Syrian regime that is murdering tens of thousands of its own people to remain in power and by blocking the United Nations from even condemning its atrocities. By refusing to consider the massacre of innocents, the plight of millions of refugees, the growing prospect of a conflagration that engulfs other countries in its flames an appropriate subject for the world's attention. He is not enhancing Russia's global reputation. He is destroying it. He has made her a friend to tyrants and an enemy to the oppressed, and untrusted by nations that seek to build a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world.

The German goal of one million electric cars in 2020 going down the drain

Out of about 43 million passenger cars currently registered in Germany, not more than 7,000 are electrically driven. With 3,000 electric cars sold this year, the country is less than 0.2% of the way to achieving the government target of one million vehicle sales by 2020.

According to a study by research institute ISI, the success of electric cars is hugely dependent on energy prices:

Researchers argue that the best scenario for electric cars is for the price of batteries and energy to decrease, while diesel and petrol gets more expensive.

But if energy prices and battery costs do not fall the study believes Germany will be a long way short of its target, with consumers buying no more than 200,000 electric cars, author Martin Wietschel said.

But even the German government's department for promoting electric vehicles understands that the one million goal is impossible to reach without massive subsidies:

Henning Kagermann, head of a government department which looks at electric vehicles within the Ministry of the Environment, told the Süddeutsche newspaper that carmakers may need help from the state to realize the electric car dream, even though the German car industry is making multi-billion euro profits.

And it is not going to be cheap for the German taxpayers. Already now their contribution is huge:

By 2015, the German government will have spent about 700 million euros ($902 million) on promoting so-called e-mobility, which includes auto industry subsidies as well as support for electric transportation projects at community level. In addition, tax reductions for e-cars are planned.
Germany's neighbor France, as well as a number of other European countries mostly in Scandinavia, are trying to boost sales with direct subsidies for e-car purchases.
"This policy has failed so far to increase e-car sales," said Stefan Bratzel from the Center for Automotive Management, adding that the strategy was highly questionable in view of the states' huge public deficits.

The Alternative for Germany makes the German elections interesting

There is one reason why this weekend's German elections are of interest - to see, whether the  stunning success (so far) of the euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) will be enough for the party to reach the Bundestag.

Professor Bernd Lucke's AfD has within a few weeks witnessed a faster growth than anybody had foreseen, according to the conservative daily Die Welt. Polls show that the euro crisis has created a diffuse fear for the future, which the traditional parties are not able to handle.

Not surprisingly, Lucke also has many sympathizers also in the UK:

When Bernd Lucke, the head of the euroskeptic party Alternative for Germany (AfD), visited the United Kingdom before the summer break, he was courted as an honored guest. Lawmakers from the governing Conservative Party met with him in private. The country's main news show, BBC's "Newsnight," brought him in for a prime-time studio interview. Instead of being berated as a right-wing populist, he was praised for his intelligence. --

In June, when Lucke was sitting in front of the black-red-gold flag in the "Newsnight" studio, moderator Jeremy Paxman described him as a taboo-breaker. There is a new party in Germany that is "ready to say what has been unsayable," said Paxman. Namely, that "the euro is nuts." Lucke laughed politely and answered the sympathetic questions in fluent English.--
"He is an extremely impressive figure", says Douglas Carswell, one of the leading euroskeptics of the Conservative Party. "He's very highly thought of by conservatives."

RSPB - the "UK's largest nature conservation charity" - "speaks out for birds" by building bird killing wind turbine


Fact: Wind turbines are deadly to birds and bats as well as needing huge subsidies

This is how the RSPB, the UK's largest nature conservation charity "speaks out for birds"
We've teamed up with green energy company Ecotricity and submitted a planning application for a wind turbine to be erected at our headquarters in Bedfordshire.
If the plans are approved then the wind turbine will be erected at The Lodge nature reserve near Sandy, at the earliest, in autumn 2014 and will measure 100m at its highest point. The turbine is predicted to produce the equivalent of two thirds of the RSPB’s total UK electricity needs.

Paul Forecast, Director of the RSPB in the East, said: “A wind turbine at our UK headquarters is the single biggest step we can take to reduce our carbon emissions, and will make a significant contribution to the RSPB’s carbon reduction targets.

Is there a clearer case of moral bankruptcy?

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Vladimir Putin's new car

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered Russia's Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engine Institute to construct a new car for his boss, dictator Vladimir Putin:

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has tasked the country's leading automotive institute with designing a luxury car for President Vladimir Putin.
The car would also be used for other top officials, and its foundation would be used to build regular cars for ordinary people both in Russia and abroad, according to a Medvedev decree issued Monday.
The state-run research center, the Central Scientific Research Automobile and Automotive Engine Institute, was awarded the contract without a tender, and an agreement providing the parameters of the project will be signed between the government and the institute shortly, Vedomosti reported.
The institute will develop a common vision for the car over the next few months and receive 700 million rubles for its work, Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Alexei Rakhmanov was quoted as saying.
Rakhmanov expressed confidence that the vehicle could become quite competitive if the project was properly organized and the design and manufacturing elements were correctly implemented.
But Oleg Datskiv, the director of, warned that the luxury car would face stiff competition from aggressive newcomers like Hyundai and Kia. VTB Capital analyst Vladimir Bespalov agreed, saying the government would be wise to limit its production to cars for Putin.

This leaked picture is said to show the first prototype of the new Putin car:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Chief Executive of Danish Saxo Bank: "The euro is doomed"

Things have been fairly quiet in Euroland lately, mainly due to the upcoming German elections. (Chancellor Merkel and her Social democratic opponent do not want the euro crisis to disturb the election campaign). But the crisis has of course not disappeared. That's why it is good that Lars Christensen, chief executive of Saxo Bank, reminds us about the reality:

The eurozone is doomed and its dysfunctional model has no chance of recovery with the euro in its current form, creating problems for Russia and other world economies, Lars Christensen, chief executive of European investment bank Saxo Bank, said at a Moscow press conference on Tuesday.
Underperforming eurozone countries create a massive drain on the world economy, he said. “This is a problem not just for Russia but for everybody else,” Christensen added. Saxo bank has been operating in Russia since 2011. --
“The euro is doomed. It took decades to get it in place and unfortunately it will have a very long time to get rid of it again,” he said.
While an immediate dissolution of the common European currency has a potential to be catastrophic for some economies and political leaders who invested their careers in it, the eurozone project had “fundamental construction” problems from the very start, Christensen added.
“These 17 countries [which are part of the eurozone] have to act as if they were a one nation state, [where] you can have some solidarity with areas that are underperforming and accept substantial transfer payments [to support them]. [But] you can’t expect 17 countries to have that kind of solidarity toward each other,” he added.
“[Greece] hasn’t done anything different from what they did before they joined the eurozone. Greece is not the problem for euro. Euro is the problem for Greece.”

Read the entire article here

National Geographic's latest global warming scare: "The entire Atlantic seabord would vanish" - "London? A memory"

"London? A memory"
(image by Wikipedia)

True to its present warmist policy, the once highly regarded National Geographic is again trying to scare people with global warming. This is how the NG introduces its new "interactive maps":

Explore the world’s new coastlines if sea level rises 216 feet.
The maps here show the world as it is now, with only one difference: All the ice on land has melted and drained into the sea, raising it 216 feet and creating new shorelines for our continents and inland seas.

There are more than five million cubic miles of ice on Earth, and some scientists say it would take more than 5,000 years to melt it all. If we continue adding carbon to the atmosphere, we’ll very likely create an ice-free planet, with an average temperature of perhaps 80 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the current 58.
Here are a few excerpts from the texts accompanying the maps:

"The entire Atlantic seabord would vanish, along with Florida, San Francisco's hills would become a cluster of islands and the Central Valley a giant bay."

"London? A memory. Venice? Reclaimed by the Adriatic Sea. "... the Netherlands will have long since surrendered to the sea and most of Denmark will be gone too."
Here are the people responsible for the these "facts":

Support for joining the euro at all time low in Sweden

Sweden is not going to join the failed eurozone anytime soon. Support for the euro has plummeted; now only 9% of the Swedes are in favour of joining.

Jonas Ljungberg, professor at the Department of Economic History at Lund University eplains why the euro is not working:

 "A 'one-size-fits-all' approach to interest rates doesn't work in the eurozone. The countries are simply too different," he tells The Local.

Ljungberg contends that the entire euro project is flawed as the eurozone doesn't correspond to an optimal currency area that is set up to reap the benefits of having a common currency.

"You end up with some countries following the European Central Bank (
ECB) that have their interest rates too low, which can lead to the sort of real estate bubbles that hit Spain and Ireland," he explains.

"While in Germany interest rates are likely too high and this leads to deflation and falling wages."

He cites calculations carried out by Lars E. O. Svensson, a former
Riksbank deputy governor, that tried to quantify the costs of euro membership to the Swedish economy.

"He found that Sweden stood to lose 50,000 jobs if the ECB rate was a half-point too high," says Ljungberg. "Sweden would not have benefited from joining the euro. Rather, I think Sweden has benefited by staying out."

He credits Swedish voters for "not being swayed by the arguments of the elite" who campaigned in favour of euro membership back in 2003.

"The elite were very dismissive of the concerns and arguments of the rest of the public," he says. "It's not enough to just say that only people who are uneducated are against joining."

The eurozone crisis hasn't help boost Swedes' confidence in the common European currency, perhaps exacerbating a latent "hesitation about handing too much power to Brussels of Frankfurt", says Ljungberg.

Up until 2009, support for the euro among Swedes hovered around 40 percent, with just over half of those polled saying they were against joining.

But ever since early 2010, support for the euro has plummeted. In May 2013, a poll by the SOM Institute in Gothenburg revealed only nine percent of Swedes were in favour of joining the euro.

Read the entire article here

New peer reviewed study: Methane leaks from natural-gas drilling sites much smaller than previously thought

Great news from the University of Texas. The anti-fracking lobby cannot use methane leaking in their propaganda anymore:

Natural-gas drilling sites aren't leaking as much methane into the atmosphere as the federal government and critics of hydraulic fracturing had believed, according to the first study of emissions at multiple drilling sites.

The study, led by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and published on Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is likely to ease some concerns about the impact of natural-gas extraction on the climate.

Measuring emissions at 190 sites, the study found less "fugitive methane" than previous work by the Environmental Protection Agency and some university researchers, which relied on estimates. Methane, the primary ingredient in natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas.

Critics of fracking have contended that large amounts of methane leak from gas drilling sites, with some suggesting the problem was so great that it would be better for the environment to burn coal instead of natural gas.

Read the entire article here

Monday, 16 September 2013

San Leon Energy 's first shale gas well in Poland: Initial results "encouraging"

In late August Lane Energy (ConocoPhillips controlled) reported that its well in Poland was flowing natural gas. Today San Leon Energy announced "very encouraging" results from its first well in Poland:

San Leon announce it has completed the flow back, testing and initial analysis of its first vertical hydraulic fracture stimulation ("frac") of the Lewino-1G2 well on its 221,000 acre (894 km2) Gdansk W Concession in Poland's northern Baltic Basin.

"The initial results and data collected at Lewino-1G2 are very encouraging and easily justify continued operations on this concession. The amount of data collected along with the flow of burnable gas from the well is an excellent result for this initial frac and test at Lewino and exceeded our expectations for San Leon's first frac in the basin and further underpins our belief that we are in one of the highest potential blocks in the basin. As is seen throughout North America, each working shale is different, and in fact the same shale formations can vary significantly in the same basin. We are at a critical stage in our shale gas exploration in Poland and we are excited to have flowed gas to surface and to have recovered the necessary information to continue to prove this play. Our knowledge of this system has increased exponentially and we believe has accelerated our understanding of the commercial potential of shale gas production in Poland."

It is still early days, but these first results show that Gazprom and others, who, for various reasons have been busy calling shale gas exploration in Poland a failure, have been proven wrong.

Professor Hans von Storch: Climate scientist "jump with enthusiasm to the first best explanation that doen't shake up our worldview"

The distinguished German climate researcher, professor Hans von Storch, who admits that global temperatures have stopped rising for the past 15 years, says that "climate scientists too easily jump to conclusions:

But what is clear is that we have indeed had very little warming over the past 15 years. And this development is different from what we had projected. If this was to continue and global temperatures basically did not rise at all, we'll have a problem.
So would it be better to do away with such projections and estimates?
No. But it's sound scientific practice that with every theory, you have to be ready to say: "If I observe this or that in the future, then I'll have to draw the conclusion that my findings are incomplete, or not correct."
And this wasn't the case with global warming?
No. Also the story we're dealing with now, about the cooler eastern Pacific, is only being explained in retrospect - trying to explain why we haven't have any warming over the past 15 years. But these sorts of explanations always have a somewhat stale taste to them. A better one would be to say: "Okay, it could be like this - we can't rule this out - but there also could be other reasons."
On the contrary; they jump with enthusiasm to the first best explanation that doesn't shake up our worldview. But instead, we should be asking why our models don't take certain factors into consideration. Our explanation could be correct, but it might also be that our instruments at this moment are just not as good as we want them to be.
One possibility is that the natural variations in the system are being reflected too weakly. For instance, it could mean that the El Ninos and El Ninas aren't factored in enough. This explanation that we're reading in "Nature" right now is in the same category. It might also be that the models put the concentration of CO2 too high, or that there are other factors not being included - like the sun, for instance, which we haven't considered at all so far.

Read the entire interview here

Danish scientist: Climate change "will provide new opportunities for the Greenlanders"

A hint to investors: Time to invest in beach side property in Greenland?
(image Wikipedia)

A bright future is in store for Greenland thanks to climate change:

Climate change could bring about the greening of Greenland by the end of the century, scientists predict.
Today only four indigenous tree species grow on the island, confined to small areas in the south. Three-quarters of Greenland, the world's most sparsely populated country, is covered by a barren ice sheet.
But by the year 2100 swaths of verdant forest could be covering much of its land surface, according to experts.
"Greenland has .. the potential to become a lot greener," said lead scientist Professor Jens-Christian Svenning, from Aarhus University in Denmark. "Forest like the coastal coniferous forests in today's Alaska and western Canada will be able to thrive in fairly large parts of Greenland, for example, with trees like sitka spruce and lodgepole pine.
"It will provide new opportunities for the Greenlanders."
The research showed that with expected levels of warming a majority of 44 species of North American and European trees and bushes will be able to thrive in Greenland.
Many species could already flourish in Greenland today, according to the analysis published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

And this is not all. Greenlanders also have a chance to enjoy economic prosperity in the near future:
Bright future for Greenland: World's largest deposits of rare earth metals likely to be opened up for mining soon

Sunday, 15 September 2013

New Russian initiative: G20 network to block corrupt officials' rights to international travel

Lots of empty seats on international flights out of Moscow in the future?
Image by  wikipedia

Russian diplomacy is advancing on a broad front. If this new Russian initiative succeeds, there will be plenty of empty seats on international flights out of Moscow:

Russia has asked G20 members to create a special body authorized to block officials' rights to international travel if they are suspected of corruption. The proposal is part of Russia’s anti-corruption strategy.

Mr. Dmitry Feoktistov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's New Challenges and Threats Department, gave the following details to the Moscow Times:

"So far, the network exists only on paper. Essential aspects are still to be defined, for instance, how the network will work and who should be considered a corrupt official [either a convicted felon or a person suspected of corruption]," 

The deputy director is presumably right now busy defining whether Vladimir Putin should be allowed to make one last trip before his rights to international travel are blocked.

Assad's message to the "Leader" of the Free World: "A victory for Syria"

War criminal Assad's message to the "Leader" of the Free World:

Syria's government hailed as a "victory" a Russian-brokered deal that has averted U.S. strikes, while President Barack Obama defended a chemical weapons pact that the rebels fear has bolstered their enemy in the civil war.President Bashar al-Assad's jets and artillery hit rebel suburbs of the capital again on Sunday in an offensive that residents said began last week when Obama delayed air strikes in the face of opposition from Moscow and his own electorate.
Speaking of the U.S.-Russian deal, Syrian minister Ali Haidar told Moscow's RIA news agency: "These agreements ... are a victory for Syria, achieved thanks to our Russian friends.

Is anybody surprised?

A tentative list of "unbelievably small" things

"an unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
John Kerry, US Secretary of State, on the once planned Syria strike

What else is "unbelievably small"?

Here is a tentative list:

  • The likelihood that the Obama - Kerry team will ever score a real foreign policy victory

  • The likelihood that the corrupt kleptocrat Vladimir Putin did not smile when Kerry and Obama fell into his Syria trap

  • The likelihood that Barack Obama will not beat Jimmy Carter as the weakest US president in the last 100 years

  • The likelihood that John Kerry will not be considered the most stupid US Secretary of State of all times

  • The likelihood that a community organizer will ever be elected US President again

  • The likelihood that the next US President will not be a Republican

US senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham: Syria deal is "meaningless"

Republican senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have - rightly - criticized the deal struck by the US and Russia regarding the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The deal is "meaningless" according to the senators:

"It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian president] Vladimir Putin."

"What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement – they see it as an act of provocative weakness on America's part. We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon."

 "Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein's playbook."

"The only way this underlying conflict can be brought to a decent end is by significantly increasing our support to moderate opposition forces in Syria. We must strengthen their ability to degrade Assad's military advantage, change the momentum on the battlefield, and thereby create real conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict."


Syndicated columnist Mark Steyn describes the deal even more realistically:

In the Obama era, to modify Teddy Roosevelt, America chatters unceasingly and carries an unbelievably small stick. In this, the wily Putin saw an opening, and offered a “plan” so absurd that even Obama's court eunuchs in the media had difficulty swallowing it. A month ago, Assad was a reviled war criminal and Putin his arms dealer. Now, Putin is the honest broker and Obama's partner for peace, and the war criminal is at the negotiating table with his chances of survival better than they've looked in a year. On the same day the U.S. announced it would supply the Syrian rebels with light arms and advanced medical kits, Russia announced it would give Assad's buddies in Iran the S-300 ground-to-air weapons system and another nuclear reactor.