Saturday, 5 October 2013

Nobel Peace Prize nominee Vladimir Putin watching his troops threaten Poland and the Baltic states

This video shows Nobel Peace Prize nominee,Vladimir Putin, joined by fellow dictator Alexander Lukashenko, watching Russian and Belorussian troops in action during the huge military exercises Zapad 2013 last week:

Officially the forces trained how to combat "illegal armed groups" (terrorists), but the real reason for the exercises was to threaten Poland and the Baltic states:

“Russia has officially stated that these are anti-terrorism exercises,” Lithuanian Defense Minister Juozas Olekas told AFP. “But the number of participants and amount of military equipment indicates that that this is not their agenda.”
Senior Estonian military official Lt. Col. Eero Rebo said: “The Kremlin claims that the exercise is about fighting terrorism, but based on the information we have on Zapad 2013, the exercise has an anti-West agenda.”
“If you look at the Baltic sea region, the strategic balance has been changing quite drastically in the last decade, and not in our favor,” Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said Friday.
“We are concerned because we see such large-scale exercises in context,” he added.

Russia had informed NATO that 22,500 troops would participate in the Zapad 2013 exercises, but according to Swedish intelligence sources the real number was much higher, about 70,000. No wonder that people in Poland and the Baltic states are - and should be - extremely concerned.

On this Belorussian video you can see a soldier aiming at an unarmed Swedish Gripen reconnaissance plane (at about 2 min):


Huge early October winter storm in Wyoming and South Dakota - clear sign of global warming?

A huge winter storm has buried large areas in Wyoming and South Dakota in snow on October 4!:

A storm system that buried parts of Wyoming and South Dakota in heavy, wet snow on Friday also brought powerful thunderstorms and possible tornadoes to the Great Plains.
The storm dumped at least 33 inches of snow in a part of South Dakota's scenic Black Hills, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Helgeson said Friday afternoon. Later in the day, thunderstorms rolled across the Plains, and witnesses reported seeing tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota.--

Officials were warning drivers to stay off the roads in the Black Hills and in eastern Wyoming, where reports of 5 to 10 inches of snow were common. Forecasters urged travelers to carry survival kits and to stay in their vehicles if stranded.
"I've lived in Wyoming my whole life and I've never seen it like this this early," Patricia Whitman, shift manager at the Flying J truck stop in Gillette, said in a telephone interview. She said her truck stop's parking lot was full of travelers waiting out the storm.
"I know several of the businesses nearby are completely closed because they can't even get workers into work - it's pretty nasty," she said.--

Julie Lee said she and fellow members of her White Rose Band were accustomed to snow, just "not for the fourth of October." They had barely unloaded their instruments in South Dakota's Old West casino town of Deadwood before the wet, heavy snow started falling and closed part of Interstate 90, the area's only interstate.
"Our car is like an igloo," said Lee, who sings and plays the clarinet and saxophone for her North Dakota-based polka band. "I'm glad we got everything out."

No doubt we will soon see the first "expert" declaring that this is all due to global warming.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The US shale gas revolution threatens Putin's economic strategy

The US shale gas revolution threatens the central economic strategy of Vladimir Putin's mafia state Russia and leaves him with few alternatives: 

Dr. Thane Gustafson, a political science professor at Georgetown University and one of the world’s foremost experts on Russian energy, said the surge in U.S. natural gas production has undercut Russian gas exports to Europe and prompted executives to scuttle their plan for shipping liquefied natural gas (LNG) to America.
Additionally, Russia’s longtime reliance on traditional natural gas production methods involving dry storage, steel pipeline transport, and long-term contracts linked to gas prices will hamper its attempt to transition to cutting-edge markets such as East Asia, he said during a lecture at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
“The Russians are going to find themselves in the position of global gas price takers,” he said. “Their capacity to influence the market there is going to diminish.”
Gustafson said the Russians were slow to realize the potential of their gas reserves but ramped up production after the fall of the Soviet Union. Russian gas giant Gazprom completed deals with German energy companies to construct pipelines and ship gas to Northern Europe, while also buying distribution centers farther down the production chain in Romania and Bulgaria.
The strategy was enormously successful for Russia and three-term President Vladimir Putin, who first began serving in 2000. Hydrocarbons have accounted for half of Russia’s GDP growth since 2000.
However, the advent of the innovative natural gas extraction technique of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the United States has depressed global gas prices and provided Europeans with more options, blindsiding the oil and gas-centric Russian economy, Gustafson said.
Fracking, which Gustafson described as a “remarkable story of entrepreneurship” inspired by “the freedom to fail,” has placed the United States on the path to becoming a net exporter of natural gas by 2020 and energy independent by 2035, according to the World Energy Outlook’s 2012 report.
Gazprom’s exports to Europe decreased by 8 percent in 2012 to the lowest level in a decade.
“Even as this policy succeeds, the world is moving on,” Gustafson said. “In the future, Europe is going to get its gas from a wide variety of sources,” he said, referring to LNG imports and the potential extraction of its own gas from shale rock formations.
The emergence of fracking also “smashed” the profit potential of Gazprom’s plan to export natural gas to the United States, prompting it to shutter its project last year for LNG production at the Shtokman field in the Arctic Barents Sea, he said.
The dramatic changes to the global gas market have plunged Russia into a recession. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently revised its forecast for Russian growth downward, for the third time this year, to 1.5 percent in 2013 and 3 percent in 2014. That compares to average annual growth rates of 7 percent before the 2008 global economic crisis.
Experts have said the IMF’s recommendation of “improv[ing] the investment climate, governance, transparency, and property rights protection” in Russia is unlikely to occur because it would loosen Putin’s grip on power.

Read the entire article here

The US shale gas revolution is of course a bitter pill for Putin and his henchmen to swallow. That is why they are busy trying to talk it down. Here is one Russian "expert" talking to Putin's propaganda outlet The Voice of Russia:

The expert warning that the US shale gas reserves were largely exaggerated, while the deposits were quickly depleted due to the specifics of the production technology was obviously ignored. Now they have more problems, says the chief of the analytical research service of the UNIVER Capital Company, Dmitry Alexandrov.
 "The surge in the interest in shale gas is clearly over. Given the US budget problems, shale gas production companies should expect no more funding. Therefore, shale gas deposits are no longer financially attractive. And finally, the cost-effective subsurface sites have been depleted. So, to go ahead with shale gas production, they have either to resort to a lot of extra drilling, or call into question the existing gas production."
 Experts believe that after the shale gas peak of 2011, gas production will grow stable at best. But the US will certainly not be able to export its cheap shale gas to Europe or Asia, Dmitry Alexandrov says.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

The new "Euroskeptic" José Manuel Barroso: "the EU should not meddle in everything that happens in Europe"

Barroso: "the EU shouldnot meddle in everything that
happens in Europe"

The new "Euroskeptic", EU Commission president José Manuel Barroso, has suddenly realized that "the EU should not meddle in everything that happens in Europe", and that decisions had to be taken "closer ... to citizens".  A less interfering Brussels should instead be more focused on "big issues".

This is of course fine, as long as focusing on "big issues" means such things as
  • how to abolish the failed "one size fits all" euro currency
  • how to stop the EU from wasting taxpayers' money on useless global warming and "renewable" energy projects
  • how to stop the huge waste and fraud in various existing EU programmes
  • how to drastically cut the number of EU useless EU projects and programmes
  • how to drastically cut the number of grossly overpaid EU bureaucrats
  • how to stop the European Parliament's wasteful "Traveling Circus" (from Brussels to Strasbourg)
  • how to delete "ever closer union" from the EU treaty
  • how to create an "EU light", with main focus on free trade

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A sign of things to come: The first claim for asylum from a "climate-change refugee" in New Zealand

Is this a surprise to anybody?:

THE first claim for asylum from a “climate-change refugee” is set to be heard by a court in New Zealand.

The man from the island of Kiribati arrived in New Zealand six years ago and has since settled and fathered three children.
Immigration authorities have twice tried to send him back to the Pacific island, but he has argued rising sea levels caused by global warming means it is not safe for him to return there.
His lawyer, Michael Kidd, plans to argue his case before the High Court on 16 October.
Kiribati, a string of 33 coral atolls about halfway between Hawaii and Australia, has about 103,000 in habitants and has been identified by scientists as among the nations most vulnerable to climate change.
In a transcript of his immigration case, the man said that around 1998, king tides – extreme high tides – began regularly breaching the sea walls around his village, which was overcrowded and had no sewerage system. He said the drinking water would then make people vomit, and that there was no higher ground to escape to.
He said returning to Kiribati would endanger his two youngest children. He said: “There’s no future for us when we go back to Kiribati. Especially for my children. There’s nothing for us there

A University of Auckland law expert thinks that there could be a need to widen the definition of a refugee to include climate-change refugees:

Professor Bill Hodge, a law expert at the University of Auckland, said there was no evidence of persecution on the grounds of gender, race or belief. But, he said, even if the man loses, his case might fuel calls for a widening of the definition of a refugee.

If the court in New Zealand does not grant this man asylum, then he should apply for refugee status in a European Union country. Surely the man from Kiribati - and millions of other "climate-change refugees" must be entitled to asylum somewhere in the EU, "the global leader in climate change policy". After all, isn't it the EU, which through its "climate aid" programmes has made the "natives"aware about being the victims of human caused global warming.

Here is a shortlist of the most "vulnerable" areas, from where the EU can look forward to welcoming future climate-change refugees:

China came out as far and away the world's most vulnerable nation overall, followed closely by India. Bangladesh and Trinidad and Tobago also made the top 10, as did the African nations of Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Sudan and Rwanda. But a different examination limited to just vulnerability to extreme weather risk found new countries on the endangered catalog, like Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Mozambique and the Philippines

President Obama's foreign policy weakness gives EU's Baroness Ashton a rare moment of glory

But now the 57-year-old baroness is suddenly at the center of world diplomacy. And whenever she is mentioned, she earns praise for her hard-nosed negotiating skills, her stamina and her diplomatic talents. It is said that US Secretary of State John Kerry has much faith in her. "She is discrete and perceptive, but also tenacious. That makes her an ideal negotiator," says Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, the head of Germany's business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the European Parliament and a member of its Committee on Foreign Affairs.

What's the cause for all this enthusiasm? After negotiations about the Iran nuclear issue appeared on the brink of collapse, the main parties are finally returning to the table. The next round of talks is scheduled for Oct. 15 in Geneva. The West's aim at the meetings in Switzerland is to test whether the Iranians are actually "serious about their willingness to abide by international norms and international law and international requirements and resolutions," as US President Barack Obama said Monday evening after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
The word in diplomatic circles is that this diplomatic renaissance can primarily be attributed to Ashton. In recent months, she has spoken on the phone four times with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who studied in the United States and gives the impression of being effectively pro-West. --

After praising the Baroness, the Spiegel writers at least have added some words of realism in the end of their article:

...the new Iranian government has yet to make any substantial concessions. But time is running short for the West, and a report published in August by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), stating that Iran is continuing to pursue its uranium-enrichment activities unabated, has only increased the pressure. At the White House on Monday, Netanyahu repeated his warning that the West should not let itself be hoodwinked by Tehran's charm offensive, stressing that: "Iran is committed to Israel's destruction." President Obama also struck a tough note, saying: "It is absolutely clear that words are not sufficient."

The problem with the likes of Obama and Ashton is that contrary to what they say, they actually seem to think that words are sufficient.

The Washingtons Post's columnist Jennifer Rubin rightly has some words of warning:

President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke by phone on Friday, an event greeted with unbounded — and inadvisable — enthusiasm by the chattering class.
The substance of the call and the president’s remarks afterward were deeply worrisome. Whenever the president parrots the idea that the problem is “mistrust” between the parties — one an open democracy and the other a theocratic dictatorship — you know it’s trouble. In doing so, the president merely reinforces Iranian propaganda that we bear equal responsibility for this “mistrust.”

The problem is not that Iran “mistrusts” us or that there is some religious prohibition on nuclear weapons; it is that the mullahs’ regime sponsors terror, helps kill Americans, threatens its neighbors, represses its people, holds Americans against their will and violates sanctions prohibiting development of nuclear weapons.

"Brussels a ghost town as the reality of EU government shutdown sets in"

Image wikipedia

There is at least one good thing about the US government shutdown. It can serve as an inspiration to make the headline of this blog post true in the not too distant future ...

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Is Putin planning to say thank you for the Nobel Peace Prize in Swedish (or Norwegian)?

Tack så mycket! Takk!

The following nugget of information, offered by Sergei Borisovich Ivanov, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's old KGB buddy and present Kremlin Chief of Staff, is quite interesting:

In an odd  aside, Ivanov said that he and Putin sometimes exchange phrases in Swedish. "The president knows German well, and I know English. Swedish is somewhere between," he said. "He will say something in Swedish, and I will answer in the same language. Although he isn't a philologist, he loves languages ​​and linguistics."
Ivanov, who like Putin is a former KGB officer, did not say whether he had picked up Swedish while he was posted for several years at Moscow's embassy in Helsinki during Soviet times. Swedish is widely spoken in Finland.

As a matter of fact, Ivanov studied English and Swedish at the Leningrad State University before joining the KGB. But it is likely that he was able to improve on his skills while working for the KGB in Helsinki.

Where Putin learned Swedish, is not immediately clear. However, this could be the reason for his interest in Scandinavian languages:

President Putin should get the Nobel Peace Prize for his moves to resolve the Syrian crisis. A group of Russian activists and political scientists have indicated that they are officially proposing the president’s nomination.

Maybe Putin is planning to give his thank you speech in Swedish - or even Norwegian? That would be another PR coup for the leader of the world's greatest kleptocracy.

Merkels Energiewnde in tatters: The German market for solar parks has disappeared

Angela Merkel's much-touted energy transition policy - die Energiwende - is in tatters:

"For society as a whole, the costs have reached levels comparable only to the euro-zone bailouts. This year, German consumers will be forced to pay €20 billion ($26 billion) for electricity from solar, wind and biogas plants -- electricity with a market price of just over €3 billion. Even the figure of €20 billion is disputable if you include all the unintended costs and collateral damage associated with the project. Solar panels and wind turbines at times generate huge amounts of electricity, and sometimes none at all. Depending on the weather and the time of day, the country can face absurd states of energy surplus or deficit.
If there is too much power coming from the grid, wind turbines have to be shut down. Nevertheless, consumers are still paying for the "phantom electricity" the turbines are theoretically generating. Occasionally, Germany has to pay fees to dump already subsidized green energy, creating what experts refer to as "negative electricity prices."
On the other hand, when the wind suddenly stops blowing, and in particular during the cold season, supply becomes scarce. That's when heavy oil and coal power plants have to be fired up to close the gap, which is why Germany's energy producers in 2012 actually released more climate-damaging carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than in 2011."

 Merkel's new government will have to address the problems created by constantly growing energy prices and the exorbitant subsidies to wind and solar power.

The already decided reduction in the solar energy subsidies has had the anticipated result: The market for solar parks has died in Germany:

"We are now building the last facilities in Germany", says Bernhard Beck, director of Belectric, the largest European solar power planning and construction company. "As a result of the current circumstances it will latest by the end of this year be economically impossible to build (solar parks) in Germany. Even locations with high solar radiation cannot be developed."

The market for wind parks is next in turn to disappear, when the level of subsidies falls.

The German example clearly shows that solar and wind energy are not - and will in the foreseeable future not be - competitive without exorbitant subsidies.

Hamburg - Jahrelang boomte die deutsche Solarindustrie, doch jetzt bekommen vor allem die Erbauer großer Sonnenstromkraftwerke Probleme. Seit Anfang 2012 ist die Förderung wegen einer gesetzlich verankerten Degression Monat für Monat gesunken, zum 1. Oktober fällt sie erstmals unter zehn Cent pro Kilowattstunde. Viele Firmen sehen damit die ultimative Schmerzgrenze erreicht.
"Wir bauen gerade die letzten Anlagen in Deutschland", sagt Bernhard Beck, Chef von Belectric, Europas größtem Projektierer für Solarkraftwerke. "Spätestens ab Ende des Jahres ist der Bau in der Bundesrepublik unter den derzeitigen Bedingungen wirtschaftlich unmöglich. Selbst Standorte mit hoher Sonneneinstrahlung können dann nicht mehr erschlossen werden."

Von anderen Projektierern sind ähnliche Aussagen zu hören, ebenso von Analysten. "Der Markt für Freiflächenanlagen ist platt", sagt Erkan Aycicek, Energieexperte bei der LBBW.
Die Solarbranche hatte jahrelang von großzügigen Fördersätzen profitiert. Hunderttausende Hausbesitzer pflasterten in der Folge ihre Dächer mit Photovoltaikanlagen, was die Strompreise deutlich erhöhte. Auch die Nachfrage nach großen Solarkraftwerken boomte, Investoren winkten jährliche Renditen von 15 Prozent und mehr.
Doch die Zeiten sind vorbei. Branchenkenner beziffern die Rendite für aktuell im Bau befindliche Solarparks auf vielleicht noch 4,5 Prozent. Und die Vergütungssätze fallen weiter, die Kosten dagegen sind, unter anderem wegen neuer Strafzölle für Solarmodule aus China, gestiegen. Der Preis für bestimmte Module, die in großen Solarkraftwerken verbaut werden, ist seit Jahresbeginn um 3,6 Prozent gestiegen.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Voice of America on "fading Climate Change Stars" Gore, Pachauri and others

The warmists are clearly deeply disappointed. The latest IPCC scaremongering "assessment" gets a big yawn from ordinary citizens - and a large part of the international media. Even the usually pro IPCC Voice of America published this article about "fading" "Climate Change Stars" (Gore, Pachauri, Nasheed, Obama, Merkel ...):

Much of the "glamor" has gone since Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian chair of the IPCC, and Gore proudly showed off the Nobel gold medals in 2007, a time when firm global action on reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses seemed feasible.--

The problem proved intractable in the financial crisis. A U.N. summit in Copenhagen in 2009 failed to work out a deal, and many voters may simply have tired of hearing of global warming.

It is a sign of the times that some of the world's most powerful figures such German Chancellor Angela Merkel - a former environment minister - U.S. President Barack Obama or Chinese Premier Li Keqiang appear to have put the issue on the backburner to focus on domestic economic issues.

Even former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed, who made global headlines in 2009 with the world's first underwater Cabinet meeting to highlight the threat of rising sea levels to his small islands, was forced from power in domestic turmoil.--

" ... Gore has also been worn down by criticisms, especially by U.S. Republicans who say his climate campaigns are alarmist and question the science behind them.

His later ventures have been less high profile. He sold his struggling cable channel, Current TV, to Al Jazeera in January."

Well, what can you say. Pachauri, Gore and all the rest had their moments of (vain)glory. Now they are fading, and the international community has fortunately began to focus on real problems ...