Saturday, November 01, 2008


The European taxpayer is SO generous. They would much rather give huge chunks of money to car manufacturers than spend it on better medical services etc. Hey! Wait a minute: Aren't Greenies suposed to be AGAINST cars?? It sure gets tangled over there

European taxpayers already have a meaty hunk of bank bailouts to swallow. Now they're getting something green on their plates as well. Just weeks after EU lawmakers passed strict new carbon-emission regulations despite warnings that they would cost auto makers dearly, Brussels called Wednesday for 40 billion euros in loans to the industry so that it can comply with the new rules. The EU taketh away, the EU giveth.

Brussels describes the loans from the European Investment Bank as being necessitated by the financial crisis. The looming recession will no doubt hurt auto sales in Europe, which fell further than expected during the third quarter.

But the freezing of credit markets and stream of banking failures were already well under way when the European Parliament voted in late September to force auto emissions lower by 18% within just four years. MEPs knew about the economic conditions, but nonetheless rejected proposed compromises to spread out the reductions over more time and lessen the fines for noncompliance. It's also devious, even by political standards, to approve an obviously expensive regulation and then, a month later, to provide the funding for it -- all the while acting as if the two moves are unrelated.

In their more honest moments, eurocrats acknowledge that they're following America's lead here. Washington has guaranteed $25 billion, or about 20 billion euros, in loans to the Big Three U.S. auto makers so that they can meet new fuel-economy standards passed last year, and Barack Obama wants to give them $25 billion more.

It wasn't so long ago that the Bush Administration sued Europe at the World Trade Organization for its soft loans to Airbus; now it's setting the trend in corporate handouts. The U.S. used to be the only side of the Atlantic willing to try to stop these kinds of subsidies, which Europe is only too happy to grant.

If Mr. Obama wins next Tuesday, expect a subsidy synergy between Europe and America as each pushes the other to greater heights -- or should we say depths -- of public largesse. The main effect will be to increase governmental influence over the industrial sector at the expense of taxpayers on both sides of the pond.


Greenie garbage policies bring rat plague to UK

The amount of garbage that councils will collect has been greatly reduced to force people to recycle -- or something. I think you have to be a British Green/Leftist to make any sense of it

Experts claim councils which have stopped weekly bin collections are to blame, along with mild winters and last year's floods. The worst affected city is York, which has seen its rat population rise by 208 per cent in a year. Carlisle has seen a change of 142 per cent. Other areas to see a significant increase in infestation include Exeter (60 per cent) and Salford (40 per cent). Rentokil estimates there are 65 to 80 million rats in Britain compared to around 60m humans.

National Pest Technicians Association director Peter Crowden told The Daily Mirror: "In 30 years I've never known such a big rat population - and there will be an epidemic if people don't reduce food waste. "Fortnightly bin collections now mean it's vital we recycle. Just putting extra food scraps on compost heaps means fantastic breeding grounds for rats to spread disease."

Nationwide, call-outs by pest control units rose by 17 per cent. Out of 50 local authorities asked if they had seen an increase in call-outs, 39 admitted they had. Westminster was one of the few have seen a reduction in the problem, although it has only seen call-outs cut by 10 - from 804 in 2006-07 to 794 in 2007-08.



European member states have proposed amendments to the EU's renewable energy directive that critics claim will water down the legislation and potentially damage investor confidence in the sector. At a meeting last night, European governments reportedly reached agreement on an amendment to the European Parliament's proposed renewable energy package that would allow a review by 2014 of progress towards meeting the target of delivering 20 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The proposal will now be negotiated on by the European Council of member states, the European Commission and the European Parliament ahead of the planned finalisation of the EU's climate change later this year. But renewable energy campaigners warned that if adopted, it could damage investor confidence. "A review of the directive in 2014 would be only six years away," warned Friends of the Earth energy campaigner Mary Roberts. "So if investors looking at projects that deliver a pay back over 10 or 20 years are concerned the regulatory framework could change in six years time it is bound to introduce extra risk to their projects - it sends out a very unhelpful message."

A spokeswoman for the UK Renewable Energy Association, agreed investor confidence could be compromised. "If you have a review planned, it introduces uncertainty for investors and damages the potential for the market to grow," she said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) downplayed fears the proposed review would damage confidence in the renewable energy sector. She claimed that a number of governments, including the UK, had insisted that any review would not be free to recommend changes to the 20 per cent target, and would instead focus on whether or not investment levels needed to be increased to ensure the target is met.

However, Roberts said that Friends of the Earth feared that a review would allow the EU to relax rules governing the extent to which the targets can be met by funding renewable energy projects outside the bloc's borders. Some governments, including the UK, have been lobbying for investment in renewable energy projects in developing economies to count to wards the renewable targets - a loophole green groups have argued would limit the need to for renewables investment within the EU. The DECC spokeswoman said that negotiations were on-going on the extent to which projects outside the EU could be used to count towards the targets.


Slow but steady climate backdown underway in Australia too

The Rudd Government has no ambitions to set an example by moving dramatically ahead of other countries with its emissions trading regime, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has indicated. Senator Wong told The Weekend Australian the Government had "very deliberately" timed the final decisions on the limits or "caps" it would put on Australian greenhouse emissions so they would be taken after a crucial UN meeting in Copenhagen next year. "We will clearly have strong regard to the outcomes of Copenhagen when we are taking those decisions," she said. "We modelled what we are working towards."

Treasury modelling released this week, which found the costs of an ETS would be modest, assumed that developed countries would clinch a deal in Copenhagen and that developing countries such as China would agree on specific emission reduction plans soon afterwards. But industry remains concerned, because of the Government's promise to introduce a scheme regardless of the outcome of Copenhagen.

Business Council of Australia policy director Maria Tarrant said: "The entire focus of the modelling is on there being a global agreement and a global carbon price. It is very disappointing that we don't get any information about what happens if a global agreement does not eventuate."

Kevin Rudd yesterday highlighted the economic dangers of failing to act, pointing out that some countries had threatened border taxes against imports from nations without a cost on carbon. Malcolm Turnbull repeated his call to delay the ETS, saying: "We won't know how much this (ETS) is going to cost until the Government takes into account this global financial crisis".


Global cooling hits Britain again

Dozens of people, including a mother in labour, had to be rescued after a freak hailstorm left a Devon town cut off by floodwater. More than a foot of hail fell on Ottery St Mary, near Honiton, early yesterday morning. Mounds of ice clogged drains, buried cars and trapped a fire engine in a drift up to 6ft deep as floodwater inundated homes and blocked roads.

The storm struck as Juliet Hall, who was having contractions, was being driven to hospital by her husband, Philip. The couple needed to be rescued twice, as first their car and then an ambulance became trapped by rising floodwater. They eventually reached hospital after being transferred to another ambulance in a police Land Rover. Last night Mrs Hall and her newborn son, Nathan, were recovering in hospital none the worse for the ordeal.

The storm was described by the Met Office as a "freak event". An official said: "The weather system which caused chaos in and around the town had a radius of not much more than two miles. It probably is one of those occasions when we can call it a freak event." Residents described hearing a roar punctuated by thunder as the heavens opened and a torrent of hailstones struck their homes.

Sarah Galliford said: "I was woken up by the sound of hailstones thundering down on the roof. I thought it was the end of the world. I looked outside and there was a river of ice coming down the street. I saw a couple of people literally running for their lives. It was a total freak of nature. It wasn't even on the weather forecast. They said there would be rain, but nothing like this. It was absolutely crazy. The sound was amazing and the weather was so bad you just couldn't see anything."

David Garland, whose home was completely flooded, said: "It happened in a matter of minutes and all of a sudden the whole house was deluged. I didn't have time to save anything at all because it happened so quickly. Everything was ruined."

As the water rose the emergency services, including a coastguard helicopter, rescued dozens of people who were trapped in their cars and homes. Farmers fear that hundreds of sheep and cattle may have drowned.

A representative of Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Around one foot of hail fell in just two hours between 1am and 3am. Cars in the town were left tightly packed in ice and the drains were blocked, meaning the water had nowhere to go."

Mike Dunning, of the Environment Agency, said: "What we've seen is a very unusual combination of extreme weather and circumstances that were unforeseeable and freakish. The situation was made worse by two cars that were washed into a brook leading into Ottery St Mary. The blockage impeded the flow of water. It backed up and then everything spilt out over the roads and into the town."


Anchorage suffers one of coldest Octobers ever

Anchorage [Alaska] has logged the eighth coldest October on record, the National Weather Service said today. With an average temperature of 29.7 degrees, October landed a spot in history as one of the 10 coldest out of the roughly 90 years since records have been kept in Anchorage. The coldest October on record was in 1996, with an average temperature of 25.5 degrees. The 10th coldest was in 1965, with an average temperature of 30.7 degrees.

And, though there's little snow left on the ground to prove it, the month was also the 14th snowiest on record, the Weather Service said. Snowfall for the month was 13.1 inches, 5.1 inches above normal. In years past, Octobers have seen as little as no snow to as much as 28.1 inches in 1996, the Weather Service said.



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