Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Influential EU lawmakers sought in a key vote on Tuesday to ease the cost for factories of meeting greenhouse gas emissions limits from 2013 as much of Europe heads for recession. But the European Parliament's environment committee backed an EU executive Commission plan to wipe out utility windfall profits from carbon trading and transfer up to 30 billion euros ($40.76 billion) to member state coffers.

Factories and power plants participating in the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS) get most of their carbon permits free now. The committee backed a phased-in approach for energy-intensive sectors vulnerable to competition, and staring at a global economic slowdown to pay for just from 15 percent of carbon permits in 2013 rising to 100 percent in 2020. "The clear political message from us to the (EU executive) Commission is we want these energy-intensive industries looked after," Avril Doyle, the MEP steering EU ETS legislation for the European Parliament, told Reuters.

Tuesday's vote set the legislature's position in energy and climate negotiations with EU leaders ahead of a final agreement expected later this year or early in 2009."The greens weren't very happy and those on the side of industry weren't very happy, so I reckon I got it somewhere right in the middle," Doyle added.

The panel backed full auctioning for power plants from 2013, meaning generators would have to pay for every tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, a move likely to dent coal plant profits. "One hundred percent auctioning for power generators was not contested here at all," said Doyle. "Some of our Polish colleagues were nervous, we have to show solidarity, if there are real problems for some of our newer member states I think they'll be looked after," she said.

Coal-dependent Poland has tried to assemble a blocking minority to delay adoption of the step.


Lindzen: Corrupted Science Revealed

Outsiders familiar with the proper workings of science have long known that modern Climate Science is dysfunctional. Now a prominent insider, MIT Meteorology Professor Richard S. Lindzen, confirms how Al Gore and his minions used Stalinist tactics to subvert, suborn and corrupt a whole branch of science, citing chapter and verse in his report entitled "Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?" His answer: A resounding "NO!"

Detailing the corruption, he names a series of names. Until reading this I did not know that: "For example, the primary spokesman for the American Meteorological Society in Washington is Anthony Socci who is neither an elected official of the AMS nor a contributor to climate science. Rather, he is a former staffer for Al Gore." Page 5

Although a bit lengthy, this very important report is highly readable and revealing. While some of the paragraphs are a bit technical, I encourage AT readers to wade through them because their purpose is to provide specific examples of how a radical cabal is forcing scientists to ignore or amend measurements that undermine the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming. Scientists are literally forced to include sentences in their papers that indicate their support of AGW, even if these sentences are non-sequiturs, or even if they conflict with the overall thrust of the paper. In this way, Al Gore's uneducated political commissars are able to deliver the "consensus" he so craves.

How is this possible you might ask? Prof. Lindzen gives considerable background history.

However, having been an undergraduate and graduate student in the hard sciences, and later a research collaborator with dozens of industrial scientists and university professors, perhaps I can shed some further light. Today's scientists get to the top of their field by extreme dedication to their specialty involving inordinate focus and concentration that cannot tolerate distractions. The best scientists are constantly "at home" at their lab bench, with their instruments, analyzing data, teaching a few promising students and preparing publications. Most scientists interact intensively only with other specialists in allied fields ("geeks").

Many scientists are naturalized citizens from Asia and Eastern Europe, unfamiliar and intimidated by American politics and government, to which they are dependent upon for visas and grant support. Although all stereotypes are unfair to individuals, there is some truth to the one of the shy, retiring, absent-minded professor. His or her absent-mindedness is most likely due to intense cogitation on a difficult scientific problem. Their dealings with one another are only possible by maintaining extreme standards of honesty, integrity and open-mindedness to scholarly debate in search of the truth. The very qualities that make them good scientists and scholars thus leave them ill-equipped to deal with the raucous, underhanded, disrespectful, politically-motivated radicals unleashed upon them by Al Gore and his fifth column for a "hostile takeover" of their scientific institutions.

I naively thought that the National Academy of Sciences could impose some quality-control on an errant discipline. Prof. Lindzen notes that event this august body has been penetrated by eco-activists by exploiting loopholes in its nominating procedures. Fortunately, in science "truth will out". The long term faith of the American public in science, a trust built up since WWI is at stake. Next it will be important to see whether a prominent scientific journal publishes this revelation.

More here


This is strange territory. The Dow is down. Wall Street needs a bailout. But in the Washington area and across the country, there is still a bull market in environmental guilt. Sales of carbon offsets -- whose buyers pay hard cash to make amends for their sins against the climate -- are up. Still. In some cases, the prices have actually been climbing. In other words, when nearly everything seems to be selling for less, thousands of individuals and businesses are paying more for nothing, or at least nothing tangible.

Experts say this is possible, in part, for economic reasons: The financial crisis has not yet reached those upper-middle-class consumers who are willing to pay $12 to offset a cross-country flight, $80 for a wedding or $400-plus for a year of life.

But there is also a cultural factor, the legacy of a complicated decade defined by a "green" awakening and a national splurge in consumer spending. Many people have learned to pay to lessen their climate shame -- and, at least for now, they don't think of it as a luxury purchase. "I was feeling really guilty because I was basically traveling to three continents in the last month: 'I've spent basically six days on an airplane. I've got to fix this,' " said Michael Sheets, 27, who lives in the District's Logan Circle neighborhood.

So a few days ago, Sheets paid $240 to a Silver Spring-based vendor,, choosing its offsets because they were more than $100 cheaper than a comparable package from another offset seller. He got back an e-mail saying that the 52,920 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions attributable to him for the entire year, including his trips to Trinidad, Thailand and Argentina, had been canceled out. "I feel much better about it," said Sheets, human resources director for an online-education company in Northern Virginia. "I don't feel as guilty about flying to Vegas tomorrow for the weekend."

On the surface, offsets sound like a simple transaction. Generally, the buyer uses an online tool to calculate the carbon footprint -- the amount of harmful emissions -- of a car, a flight or a year's activities. Then the buyer pays an offset vendor to cancel out that footprint. This is done through projects that stop emissions from occurring or remove pollutants from the air.

Some offsets are sold like stocks on the Chicago Climate Exchange. Other groups sell them directly to consumers. One study last year found that offset prices ranged from $1.80 per ton of emissions to $300, with most about $6.10.

Watchdog groups say offset vendors sometimes do not deliver what they promise. Some offset projects, such as mass tree plantings aimed at absorbing carbon dioxide, deliver climate benefits that are difficult to measure. In other cases, it is unclear whether offsets funnel money to existing projects or to projects that might have been done anyway. Despite those concerns -- and despite continuing turmoil in world financial markets -- offset sales are strong. And offsets are selling for more.

More here

Garbage obsession in Canada

Companies that sell takeout coffee must create their own deposit-return system that keeps disposable cups out of litter and landfill, or governments will do it for them, says a waste diversion consultant. Coffee cups are the latest target of Toronto planners who want to divert 70 per cent of the city's garbage away from its shrinking landfill sites by 2010.

Clarissa Morawski, an environmental advocate who has written extensively on waste policy, said the industry is facing a "paradigm shift" in the way its disposable cups are viewed, littering Toronto's streets and filling garbage cans instead of being recycled. "If they don't act, then the risks are very big. That is the writing on the wall," Morawski said. Similar changes - considered radical several years ago - are underway in other sectors that create disposable packaging.

Within the next few weeks, The Beer Store will install bottle-return machines - for LCBO wine and spirit bottles - at two stores in Toronto and one in Brampton, in a pilot project that gives consumers a chit they can use against the cost of their next Merlot. And, this week, Canadian Springs, one of Canada's largest bottled water suppliers, jumped ahead of the debate on banning plastic water bottles, by offering a 25-cent deposit return for its 500-millilitre single-use bottles.

"If I were the head of a large coffee company, I would say I am spending so much of my time fighting off the bad news by the media - because coffee cups are all over ditches - so why don't we come up with a solution that makes us look like the greenest company around?" Morawski said. "It's not like if they don't do it they will be sitting status quo," she said. "I don't believe that the status quo will last much longer. I think they are going to be pushed by government to do things they don't want to do."

In Toronto, the paradigm shift that Morawski speaks of has already begun. "We are going through a revolution in terms of how we manage our solid waste," said Geoff Rathbone, director of the city's waste department. Toronto has a target of 70 per cent waste diversion, which means Rathbone and others are now targeting different types of garbage to incrementally reach that goal. In this case, they are focusing on the industry's responsibility for its disposable packaging of hot beverages and takeout food, as well as plastic bags. Rathbone and his staff are putting the final touches on a report that has the potential to transform the way businesses operating in Toronto will manage the packaging around their products.

The report will detail the various ways that council can force industry to take responsibility for their food or coffee containers, and examines whether the City of Toronto Act will give them the legal power to enforce action. The report will go to the city's executive committee in November. Morawski said a forward-thinking coffee company could easily use a deposit return system, with similar reverse vending machines that are going to be used at The Beer Store locations. If gathered in volume, the cups could be taken to a paper recycler, she said. "If you did this, you would solve the (litter) problem in a week. If you put an economic value on these containers, people are not going to let them sit on the street," she said.

Chuck Riegle is spokesperson for the Norway-based TOMRA, the company that builds The Beer Store's reverse vending machines. Riegle said that the company has not yet been asked to create a coffee cup return machine, but could do so. "It's not a pipe dream. If the market needs it, we'll service it," Riegle said, from TOMRA's Connecticut office. Riegle said the company's machines are used in Europe and the United States for pop and drink containers. In England, the company supplies machines for "large public recycling centres" at Tesco grocery stores, a major chain. Customers strip the packaging from their products as they leave, and later, can return almost all of their recyclables, like cardboard and milk jugs.

Toronto does not recycle its coffee cups. Rathbone says most cups are thrown out with plastic lids still attached, making it too problematic and expensive for recycling. As well, coffee cups often end up in garbage or street litter, instead of the blue recycling boxes, he said.

In Hamilton, the city allows coffee cups - without the lids - to go into the organic green bins. The paper cups are simply composted with the rest of the kitchen food waste, a Hamilton spokesperson said.

Tim Hortons is the most popular takeout coffee company in Ontario. Spokesperson Nick Javor said the company is working on a solution by giving customers a 10-cent discount when they use refillable containers. It is also piloting an expanded in-store recycling system in 11 of its Toronto restaurants, which will be expanded to all Toronto restaurants by early next year, as well as other locations. Javor said Toronto should figure out a way to compost its coffee cups, the way that Hamilton does. He called concerns about plastic lids a "red herring," saying the city should simply ask residents to remove the lids, which are recycled at a plant in Mississauga. "I really think that we are looking at an element that is trying to make this into an environmental catastrophe. Well, it is not," Javor said.


Australians 'bored' by climate change

AUSTRALIANS are becoming bored with the issue of climate change and many still doubt whether the phenomenon is actually happening, according to a new survey. Only 46 per cent of Australians said they would take action on climate change if they were in charge of making decisions for Australia, a dip from 55 per cent last year, according to the Ipos-Eureka Social Research Institute's third annual climate change survey. And almost one in 10 Australians (nine per cent) strongly agreed with the statement "I have serious doubts about whether climate change is occurring". A further 23 per cent agreed to some extent.

Ipos-Eureka director of Sustainable Communities and Environment Unit Jasmine Hoye believes Australians are becoming more concerned with other environmental issues that they can have more direct control over. "We believe the public is currently overwhelmed by other, more pressing environmental issues - namely water and river health - and sees climate change as something that is largely out of their control," she said. "However, there is a desire among many Australians to know how they can personally make a difference regarding climate change."

Aside from river and water health, other environmental issues of most concern to Australians included illegal waste dumping, renewable energy, litter, smoky vehicles and packaging.

But there were no real standout actions being taken by Australians to personally reduce their greenhouse emissions, said Ms Hoye. "Ipsos research has shown that recycling is a fairly generic activity that people tend to say they are doing to help the environment, and it is also something that many Australians were already doing before climate change came along," she said. "Thus, one could be justified in thinking this is a fairly glib response. "What really strikes me is that we still have so few Australians taking specific actions like substantially reducing their household energy use, driving and flying less, switching to green power, or even buying carbon offsets, especially given all of the media coverage on this critical issue," she added.


Now, should we destroy the economy?

Astute Australian financial analyst Terry McCrann looks at the Warmist numbers

BEAUTIFUL. The release of the Garnaut report could not have been better timed. It was dead, dead, dead, before it hit the table. The dark greens and all the climate carpetbaggers and main-chancers who have sprouted like weeds at the prospect of sharing in the 21st century theological rents will come to look back wistfully at his - original - modest emission reduction targets. Hopefully, from their humpies beneath those disused windmills which had yet to be dismantled. Apart from the ones kept as a record of a crazy religious cult that infected the world in the early years of the 21st century.

There is no way even the Rudd Government is going to embrace a policy to destroy the economy, in the wake of this week's disaster on Wall St and the Hill - the US House of Representatives. What, Rudd is going to get up and announce the wrecking of the economy starts now: barely 60 weeks away on January 1 2010? Before the next election? There is no way that China and the US are going to agree to slug their economies in recession with punitive policies to send them in even deeper.

If the Prime Minister persists with his ambition for a global agreement to reduce emission, he won't be preaching to the converted but an audience which will make the one he addressed in New York last week look like the MCG last Saturday. Further, it opens the door to victory at the next election not just to the Federal Opposition but to every state opposition facing increasingly nervous Labor governments.

At the national level, Malcolm Turnbull would have two choices. Simply to argue for postponement of any emissions scheme, or the more rational and also more opportunistic: to make any reductions by us at the very least conditional on US and Chinese delivered reductions. I would prefer him to take the emissions scheme off the table entirely. To go Churchillian and announce: he does not intend to become the Queens's first minister to preside (that's a word he might like) over the impoverishing of Australia.

The idea that we should lead is beyond absurd; that the world is 'waiting on us'. Oh yeah? Just like 'the world' flocked to hear the Prime Minister's inspiring words of wisdom at the UN last week.

At the state level, oppositions have to just promise to keep the lights on. Literally. To build new coal-fired and nuclear power stations. And provide emergency defibrilators to dark and even light greens. Or recycled paper bags to breathe into.

Is the average person going to vote to go back to a Dark Age future? Words chosen very particularly; both literally and figuratively. The Garnaut report remains like its predecessor, the British Stern report, an uneasy mix of religion married to dodgy economic and statistical analysis. Garnaut claimed yesterday that "the overall cost to the Australian economy of tackling climate change under both the 450ppm and 550pm scenarios was manageable and in the order of 0.1-0.2 per cent of annual economic growth to 2020".

Rubbish. Correction. Utter rubbish. On a whole series of levels. For starters, we can't 'tackle climate change'. Taking the 'science' as read for the purposes of discussion, it is completely out of our control. We reduce our emissions by 100 per cent, we have absolutely no impact on the climate. Not just the global climate but our local climate. We reduce our emissions by zero, or indeed double them, and on either scenario we have exactly the same impact on the climate. Zero.

OK. So we have to jointly cut emissions, with everyone else? Actually, no. The only, the only emitters that matter are the US and China, and perhaps India out a few years. Only they need to cut. And if it's so Garnaut-Stern like painless, why do we have to lead? They'll unilaterally embrace cuts. Again, they cut and what we do is utterly irrelevant to any climate outcome. They don't cut, and ditto.

Now this might suggest that we have to do something in unison. But the one thing that it absolutely does announce is the pointlessness of us cutting unilaterally. Sorry, not the pointlessness, but the sheer dopey stupidity. Which is exactly what Garnaut -- still -- recommends. Explicitly. That we cut even though the world refuses to agree a global process!

Our 'fair share' of cuts that would actually achieve something is to reduce emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 and by 90 per cent by 2050, according to Garnaut. Allowing for population growth, the bigger figure is to all intents and purposes 100 per cent. I'm surprised he didn't go the whole hog and suggest 130 per cent.

His original report had some shreds of analytical credibility compared with the disgraceful Stern report. This one has none, as Garnaut combines analytical idiocy with profound theological hubris. His entire report turns on 'assuming' the mother of all can-openers. An LA the economist who, washed up on a desert island with cans and cans of food - of the old fashioned, non-self-opening variety - first assumes a can-opener. We can turn off all our existing electricity and do away with petrol. Easy. Assume a replacement.

And, as a consequence, the cost will be marginal out to 2020? Sorry, it will destroy the economy. It will destroy the economy even if everyone cuts. It will destroy the economy if we go wandering off alone like Anabaptists, in Europe in the Middle Ages, seeking some sort of salvation.

Garnaut's modelling of the economic costs comes from the same guys and the same computers that predict the budget surplus each year. Last May they predicted it would be $10.6 billion in the 2007-08 year. It came in at $27 billion, after making the necessary adjustments for new initiatives. The difference is equivalent to 1.5 per cent of GDP. So Treasury can't get a figure about a process it actually has plenty of knowledge about within 1.5 per cent of GDP, one year out. And we are expected to believe that Garnaut can get accurate within 0.1 per cent of GDP changes out 12 years?

After the imposition of trauma never previously imposed on the economy, requiring unprecedented shifts in energy use, with consequences that have never previously been experienced. This demonstrates in the most specific way how Garnaut has 'got religion'. In comparison with his report, creationism is the very font of scientific objectivity.



For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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