Thursday, January 05, 2006


Russian natural gas surged through Ukraine to countries across Europe on Tuesday, banishing the specter of immediate and prolonged shortages because of Moscow's price dispute with Kiev. But relief was tempered by the realization that the continent's dependence on Russian natural gas means it is vulnerable to future energy crises. About one-quarter of Europe's gas comes from Russia -- 80 percent of that via Ukraine -- and the standoff raised fears of serious gas shortages during a cold winter.

European officials sought to dispel anxieties left after some countries saw gas supplies from Russia transiting Ukraine cut by as much as 50 percent -- a result of Moscow's decision to halt deliveries to Kiev -- before Russia pumped extra gas and deliveries returned to normal. European Union spokesman Johannes Laitenberger suggested the standoff between Ukraine and Russia was little more than a business disagreement, describing it as "first and foremost a dispute between a gas supplier and (a) transit operator." "There is no immediate crisis of supply in the European Union," he said in Brussels.

But EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs touched on the Europe-wide insecurity left by a day of energy fears. "The situation has shown how vulnerable the Union is to shortages of gas supply," he said. He said a Wednesday meeting of representatives of the 25 EU member states and the gas industry would discuss how they would react to the current crisis and deal with future threats to Europe's gas supply. "We should be always prepared," he said. "We should be able to supply our citizens with energy resources.".....

While expressing the relief common to all European countries affected that the crisis was over -- for now -- Milos Tomic, general manager of Serbia's Srbijagas distributor voiced shared worries about the future, saying: "I cannot guarantee that gas deliveries will be normal in the coming days." In Italy, the dispute rekindled a debate over the use of nuclear power with Industry Minister Claudio telling the daily Corriere della Sera that without that alternative, "we can't ... be safe from energy emergencies."....

Even with full deliveries restored, Europe's gas scare reawakened fears over Russia's reliability and potential for belligerence -- criticism that comes as the country assumes the chairmanship of the Group of Eight, a position it wants to use to boost its international prestige. "Ukraine is being punished for its decision to become a European, fully democratic country," wrote The Czech Republic's daily "Lidove Noviny." Criticizing what it said was past European "obedience" to Russia, Italy's "Il Messagero" said, "it would be shortsighted and dangerous if Europe would continue to act this way considering the events of present days."

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China, already enduring its coldest winter in 20 years, is preparing for a cold snap that will see temperatures drop by as much as 16 degrees Centigrade (29 degrees Fahrenheit). Northern China, where temperatures are already as low as minus 15-20 degrees Celsius, will feel the strongest effects of the cold front, which is sweeping in from Mongolia and western Siberia, the China Daily reported.

In the capital of Beijing, which enjoyed a relatively warm start to the New Year with temperatures just above freezing, the thermometer is expected to plunge 10 degrees on Monday night, according to the paper. The Beijing News advised the city's residents to return home from New Year holidays early on Monday to avoid expected overnight snowfalls.

Even in the warmer southern regions, the temperatures are expected to drop sharply. "Upon the heels of the cold front ... more snowfall can be expected in the north with rain or snow flurries possible in the south," the paper quoted Yang Guiming, a senior official with the Central Meteorological Office, as saying.

Wang Bangzhong, a deputy director with the China Meteorological Administration, said temperatures across China had already been 1.5 degrees lower than the historical average throughout December. "China is experiencing the coldest winter in 20 years," Wang told the paper. He said three more successive "winter freezes" were expected to affect China during January, usually the coldest month of the year.


Sydney hot, but no more than usual

A heatwave in the nation's southeast was a regular new year event and could not be linked to global warming, senior weather experts said yesterday. Former director of the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre Bill Kininmonth said the temperature spike in Sydney on Sunday to 44.2C was "just one of those sorts of things we have" every summer. "It was not extensive - although it was intense - and it was not unprecedented," he said.

National Climate Centre climatologist Blair Trewin said that while no single event could be linked to global warming, the heatwave was "part of an overall warming trend in which the risk of certain events is changed". World Meteorological Organisation records show that since the start of the 20th century, the global average surface temperature has risen by between 0.6C and 0.7C. Dr Trewin warned that 44C-plus days in Sydney, which had happened only twice in 140 years of records, could become a one-in-10-year event.

But figures for New South Wales show the number of extremely hot days has declined since the 1940s. Sydney weather consultant Don White said heatwaves were becoming less frequent and anybody who believed the heatwave was linked to global warming should "go back and look at the records", which would show hotter days in the past. In the 1940s, Sydney had 10 days of 40C or higher. From 1955 to 1980 there were seven such days, and from 1981 to 2005 there were five. Between 1939 and 1964, Sydney recorded 37.8C, the old 100 Fahrenheit, on 18 days, but registered the mark only nine times, including on Sunday, since 1965.

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Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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