Friday, 11 April 2014

The secret of Germany's "green" energy transition: Coal!

German politicians are often boasting about their Energiewende - energy transition policy - which includes huge subsidies for solar and wind energy. What they usually "forget" to mention, is that almost half of Germany's electricity comes from coal. And that's not going to change very soon.

The BBC has met the head of operations for one of the largest coal mines:

The mine is one of several operated by the Swedish state-owned company Vattenfall and its managers are bullish about the prospects.

In addition to the lignite already earmarked for extraction, they say there are another 1.6 billion tonnes approved for future mining in this area alone and demand remains high.

The head of operations, Uwe Grosser, is polite about the "energy transition" and the advent of renewables but dismisses the idea of a future without coal.

"We're the only ones who deliver constant power. Our power is always there.

"When solar, wind and the renewables are fed into the grid we're the only ones able to adjust our output, that's the only way it's possible to prioritise renewables.

"If they can't provide power. We can. 24 hours a day. 365 days a year."

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Charles Moore: "The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more"

'This is a brilliant piece of work that every climate change negotiator should have in his front pocket' Jon Snow

Charles Moore reviews historian Rupert Darwall's excellent book "The Age of Global Warming":

The theory of global warming is a gigantic weather forecast for a century or more. However interesting the scientific inquiries involved, therefore, it can have almost no value as a prediction. Yet it is as a prediction that global warming (or, as we are now ordered to call it in the face of a stubbornly parky 21st century, "global weirding") has captured the political and bureaucratic elites. --
Like most of those on both sides of the debate, Rupert Darwall is not a scientist. He is a wonderfully lucid historian of intellectual and political movements, which is just the job to explain what has been inflicted on us over the past 30 years or so in the name of saving the planet.
The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government. It involves a fondness for predicting that energy supplies won't last much longer (as early as 1909, the US National Conservation Commission reported to Congress that America's natural gas would be gone in 25 years and its oil by the middle of the century), protest movements which involve dressing up and disappearing into woods (the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Mosleyite Blackshirts who believed in reafforestation) and a dislike of the human race (The Club of Rome's work Mankind at the Turning-Point said: "The world has cancer and the cancer is man."). --

The final push, brilliantly described here by Darwall, was the Copenhagen Summit of 2009. Before it, a desperate Gordon Brown warned of "50 days to avoid catastrophe", but the "catastrophe" came all the same. The warmists' idea was that the global fight against carbon emissions would work only if the whole world signed up to it. Despite being ordered to by President Obama, who had just collected his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the developing countries refused. The Left-wing dream that what used to be called the Third World would finally be emancipated from Western power had come true. The developing countries were perfectly happy for the West to have "the green crap", but not to have it themselves. The Western goody-goodies were hoist by their own petard.
Since then, the international war against carbon totters on, because Western governments see their green policies, like zombie banks, as too big to fail. The EU continues to inflict expensive pain upon itself. Last week, the latest IPCC report made the usual warnings about climate change, but behind its rhetoric was a huge concession. The answer to the problems of climate change lay in adaptation, not in mitigation, it admitted. So the game is up.

Read the entire review here

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Putin must be smiling: Merkel returns to the traditional German Putin-friendly line

There was briefly som hope that German Chancellor Angela Merkel might finally be prepared to be tough on dictator Vladimir Putin. However, Putin does not anymore need to worry about Merkel - she has (not surpsingly) returned to the traditional German Putin-friendly line. Soon Putin's aggression will be forgotten, and Siemens, Daimler, BMW and all the other major German companies will be amply rewarded by Putin and his henchmen in the business community ...

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is quietly pursuing a more conciliatory course with Russia, a shift that reflects a strategy to protect national business interests and assuage a public increasingly wary of antagonizing Moscow.
While continuing to warn Russian President Vladimir Putin against threatening Ukraine, Ms. Merkel—who earlier said Russia could face massive political and economic damage for its annexation of Crimea—is now emphasizing the need for more dialogue with the Kremlin.
In recent days, the German leader and other senior government officials have repeatedly stressed that de-escalating tensions with Russia, rather than provoking it with a more forceful response, is their top priority. Berlin has also pushed back on pressure from Poland and other Eastern European countries to station more North Atlantic Treaty Organization troops along the security alliance's eastern flank. And German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he saw no way for Ukraine to join NATO.

What lesson can we draw from this?

Answer: Germany cannot be trusted as member of NATO and the Western community

Monday, 7 April 2014

Oxford Russian history professor Robert Service on why Putin is no Peter the Great

Vladimir V. Putin himself is much more like another czar, Nicholas I, who stumbled into military conflict with the British and French and rejected calls for the basic reforms needed to enable Russia to compete with the world powers of the day. Nicholas had a cramped perspective and arrogant personality. Always attentive to the armed forces and the secret services, he overlooked the broader necessity to modernize Russia’s economy and society. His country paid dearly for this when his army was humbled in the Crimean War of 1853-56.--
His biggest miscalculation is about Russia itself. The emergency over Ukraine has jolted the Russian superrich to ship even more of their wealth to the West. Up to $70 billion has left the country this year alone.
Mr. Putin prided himself on bringing stability after the tumultuous years of Boris N. Yeltsin’s rule. Capital flight on this scale tells a different story. The World Bank is sounding the alarm about a halving of Russia’s growth rate if Mr. Putin continues with his Ukrainian obsession.
Just as worrisome for the Russian president should be the phenomenon of human flight. Hundreds of thousands of the brightest young Russians have packed their bags and left for Silicon Valley, New York and London. This has been happening since the collapse of Communism, but Mr. Putin has done nothing to arrest the trend.
Young people leave out of exasperation with bully-boy administrators and violent entrepreneurs. They want to live in a meritocracy where talent alone is what counts. Their model is Google’s Sergey Brin, not the seedy ministers and businessmen of Mr. Putin’s court. --

There was always skepticism about Mr. Putin’s good intentions in Eastern Europe; now there is outright hostility. Even Germany’s reliance on Russian gas imports has not stopped Chancellor Angela Merkel from rebuking Mr. Putin. The European Union is actively considering how to wean itself off dependency on Russian fuel.
Mr. Putin started the year with a display of Russian “soft power” at the Sochi Winter Olympics, where the closing ceremony presented a country of stylish, inoffensive sport and culture. The very next day, he sent troops to Crimea. And now the World Bank suggests Russia may suffer economic recession by the end of the year.
The signs are that Mr. Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov are starting to appreciate the implications of their self-inflicted geopolitical blunder. Mr. Lavrov has at least begun to talk to Secretary of State John Kerry.
Western powers are not going to start a second Crimean war, but they have more opportunities to exert pressure on Russia than Mr. Putin imagined. He would do well to consider the precedent of Czar Nicholas I.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Gallup: Global warming concerns are on the bottom of a list of environmental issues in the US

Global warming and climate change are at the bottom of a list of environmental issues in the US, according to a new poll by Gallup. This once again confirms that the great majority of Americans are wise and clever people, who do not allow themselves to be brainwashed by the global warming scaremongers in the mainstream media:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new report this week warning of the existing and potentially severe adverse future impact of climate change, yet most Americans continue to express low levels of concern about the phenomenon. A little more than a third say they worry "a great deal" about climate change or about global warming, putting these concerns at the bottom of a list of eight environmental issues.

Americans' concerns about global warming and climate change have held steady over the past year, while concerns about other environmental threats tested by Gallup have increased. The percentage expressing a great deal of worry about pollution of drinking water, as well as contamination of soil and water by toxic waste, increased by seven percentage points. Worry about climate change and global warming, on the other hand, went up by no more than two points versus last year.
Americans' generally low level of concern about global warming compared with other environmental issues is not new; warming has generally ranked last among Americans' environmental worries each time Gallup has measured them with this question over the years. Concern about pollution of drinking water has generally been at the top of the list.

Read the entire article here

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder as an obedient employee of Russian dictator Putin

There is no lack of Putin-Empathizers in Germany. Social democrats, like former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, together with a number of prominent businessmen serve as Putin's firs line of defense against meaningful European sanctions for the Anschluss of Crimea:

The most egregious Putin-Versteher is Gerhard (Gerd) Schroeder (Chancellor 1995 to 2005), who chairs the board of Nord Stream, the northern-route natural gas pipeline from Russia to Europe. Nord Stream’s majority owner is the Russian state gas company, Gazprom. Nicknamed “Gas-Gerd” – a word play on “gas oven” – Schroeder’s official one million dollar honorarium makes him an obedient employee of Mr. Putin. As a member of Gazprom’s own board, Schroeder cannot plead ignorance of Putin’s use of Russian gas as a weapon of foreign policy, as he ups the pressure on Ukraine through higher gas prices.

“Gas-Gerd” has proven well worth his remuneration as the spokesperson for Russian moral equivalence. Although he admits that Putin’s annexation of Crimea violates international law, he, while chancellor, ordered German jets into Serbian-Kosovo skies without United Nations’ approval (What a sin!). No difference at all between the two events, claims the former chancellor. We must accept our own guilt, if we deign to condemn Putin’s takeover of Crimea.
Schroeder also complains that the West has not sufficiently respected Russian “sensitivities.” Putin’s troubled psyche must be understood against NATO encirclement and the historical backdrop of Ukraine as the birthplace of the Russian state, says Schroeder. The annexation of Crimea by Russia is no different from our own support of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.
Per Schroder, we should equate the documented mass killing of Kosovo Albanians with possible concerns of Crimean Russians, enflamed by nonstop Russian propaganda, that the Kiev Nazis do not like them and will ban Russian in their daily intercourse, although Crimea’s constitution made it an official second language. Again no real difference between Kosovo and Crimea! Let’s move on. Nothing to see here, says “Gas-Gerd.”

No wonder Chancellor Angela Merkel is furious with Schroeder. What better way to pull the rug from under her negotiations for meaningful sanctions with her coalition partners from Schroeder’s own SPD party. Merkel’s threats to tighten sanctions ring hollow with Putin-Verstehers like Gas-Gerd around. Schroeder’s antics would be the equivalent of Barack Obama trying to negotiate Iranian sanctions with a U.S. former president as a board member of the Iranian National Oil Company, pleading that we must understand the Ayatollahs need a bomb to use against the Western infidel!
Schroeder represents the political wing of the pro-Russian lobby.

There is no dearth of business counterparts. The head of Siemens just paid a visit to Moscow where he demonstratively held meetings with a Russian official placed on the United States’ sanctions list, declaring that “temporary turbulence (should not) inordinately influence our long-run planning.” The president of the Union of German Industry warned that “economic sanctions will harm both sides” (What an insight!)

Read the entire Forbes article by Paul Roderick Gregory here