Thursday, September 10, 2009

BRITISH PLANS TO PRICE THE POOR OUT OF FLYING -- From a Labour Party government!

Does Leftist hypocrisy know no bounds? Passengers face new tax to halt rise in air travel

Tens of billions of pounds will have to be raised through flight taxes to compensate developing countries for the damage air travel does to the environment, according to the Government’s advisory body on climate change. Ticket prices should rise steadily over time to deter air travel and ensure that carbon dioxide emissions from aviation fall back to 2005 levels, the Committee on Climate Change says. It believes that airlines should be forced to share the burden of meeting Britain’s commitment to an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050.

The Times has learnt that it may challenge the Government’s decision to approve a third runway at Heathrow, suggesting that this would be inconsistent with that commitment. The committee was established under last year’s Climate Change Act. It has a strong influence on government policy and proposed the 80 per cent target accepted by ministers.

It says that initially the cost per passenger of compensating for climate change would be small but would rise over time and eventually reach a level that would put people off flying. Industry estimates suggest that the average passenger would pay less than £10 extra per return ticket when aviation joins the EU emissions trading scheme in 2012. This would depend on the price of allowances to emit CO2, which is expected to rise over time.

The committee proposes a global cap on aviation emissions, with airlines required to buy allowances, and that the revenue generated should be given to developing countries to help them to adapt to climate change — for example, by building flood defences to cope with rising sea levels.

In a letter to the Government published today, the committee says that an increase in global temperatures is inevitable and that developed countries must pay for the consequences. It says that the EU trading scheme does not go far enough and could result in airlines making windfall profits.



A new global treaty on climate change hinges on China and India agreeing to limit their CO2 emissions but it is unclear whether they will do so, Denmark's climate and energy minister said. Connie Hedegaard, who is a key mediator in the talks to find a successor to the Kyoto Treaty, said western nations must agree to pay to help poorer countries cut emissions. However, this will not be enough to get a deal at a United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December, or to solve the problem of global warming. "We must have all major emerging economies on board," she told the Offshore Europe oil conference on Tuesday, adding it remained "open" whether China and India would agree to curbs.

Scientists say industrialized nations are largely to blame for the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere but developing nations are expected to be major contributors in the future. China has already nudged ahead of the United States to become the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, increasing the pressure on China to limit future emissions. "We will have to have a deviation from business as usual by China," Hedegaard said. China needs to identify a date by which its emissions would start to fall, the minister said, adding this date should not be too distant. "The sooner the better," she said.

Climate change is expected to be on the agenda of the G20 meeting of the leaders of the world's largest economies in Pittsburgh later this month. Hopes for progress at Pittsburgh were dented last weekend by the refusal of China and India to even debate measures to tackle global warming at the G20 finance ministers meeting in London.

Hedegaard said she hoped leaders of rich nations would agree at Pittsburgh to provide "upfront" financing to tackle climate change. In recent months, developed nations have increasingly spoken of using market mechanisms such as "cap and trade" programs, whereby polluters pay to emit CO2, to meet the bill of tackling climate change. Governments like these plans as they shift the bill away from state coffers to the private sector -- companies and individuals.

Emerging nations are suspicious rich that countries are using these mechanisms to avoid paying the full amount needed to tackle climate change.


Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

One standard for oil companies, another for green energy sources

On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.

ExxonMobil is hardly alone in running afoul of this law. Over the past two decades, federal officials have brought hundreds of similar cases against energy companies. In July, for example, the Oregon-based electric utility PacifiCorp paid $1.4 million in fines and restitution for killing 232 eagles in Wyoming over the past two years. The birds were electrocuted by poorly-designed power lines.

Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year. A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.

Altamont's turbines, located about 30 miles east of Oakland, Calif., kill more than 100 times as many birds as Exxon's tanks, and they do so every year. But the Altamont Pass wind farm does not face the same threat of prosecution, even though the bird kills at Altamont have been repeatedly documented by biologists since the mid-1990s.

The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies. "Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry's trade association, each megawatt of installed wind-power results in the killing of between one and six birds per year. At the end of 2008, the U.S. had about 25,000 megawatts of wind turbines.

By 2030, environmental and lobby groups are pushing for the U.S. to be producing 20% of its electricity from wind. Meeting that goal, according to the Department of Energy, will require the U.S. to have about 300,000 megawatts of wind capacity, a 12-fold increase over 2008 levels. If that target is achieved, we can expect some 300,000 birds, at the least, to be killed by wind turbines each year.

On its Web site, the Wind Energy Association says that bird kills by wind turbines are a "very small fraction of those caused by other commonly accepted human activities and structures—house cats kill an estimated one billion birds annually." That may be true, but it is not much of a defense. When cats kill birds, federal law doesn't require marching them to our courthouses to hold them responsible.

During the late 1980s and early '90s, Rob Lee was one of the Fish and Wildlife Service's lead law-enforcement investigators on the problem of bird kills in Western oil fields. Now retired and living in Lubbock, Texas, Mr. Lee tells me that solving the problem in the oil fields "was easy and cheap." The oil companies only had to put netting over their tanks and waste facilities.

Why aren't wind companies prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds? "The fix here is not easy or cheap," Mr. Lee told me. He added that he doesn't expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry. This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America's wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by "green" energy.


Black Activist to Speak Out on Climate Bill at Rally on Philadelphia's Independence Mall

As liberal lawmakers return to Washington hoping to enact new cap-and-trade climate change regulations that essentially are a massive new energy tax, Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli will be joining an expected crowd of thousands to voice grassroots opposition to cap-and-trade in Philadelphia. Borelli is scheduled to speak at the "Cost of Hot Air" rally to be held on Independence Mall in downtown Philadelphia September 9 beginning at 4:00 PM.

"Cap-and-trade legislation is a sure way to enslave all Americans by reducing our standard of living through higher energy costs and higher unemployment," said Borelli. "With the economy suffering and unemployment rising, this is the worst time to consider an energy tax. By pursuing cap-and-trade, President Obama and his legislative allies are once again demonstrating their willingness to put left-wing ideology before the needs of the American people. For this very reason, we need to make our voices heard and demand a representative government."

The rally is located near the local offices of Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), who is planning to hold hearings in Washington on climate change legislation as early as September 9.

Borelli is a long-time critic of cap-and-trade climate regulation intended to lower fossil fuel emissions by driving up their cost and availability. She is the author of the recent commentary "Cap-and-Trade is a Ball-and-Chain for Poor Americans," available here.

In 2007, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that "most of the cost of meeting a cap on [carbon dioxide] emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline... [and] poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households would."

A recent report by CRA International suggested cap-and-trade legislation would reduce national GDP by roughly $350 billon below the baseline level and destroy 2.5 million jobs per year while reduce earnings for the average U.S. worker by $390 annually.

A nationwide poll of black Americans conducted for the National Center for Public Policy Research by Wilson Research Strategies found that 76 percent of blacks want Congress to make economic recovery, not climate change, its top priority. The poll also found 56 percent of black Americans believe economic and quality of life concerns of the black community are not adequately considered by policymakers when addressing climate issues.

The "Cost of Hot Air" rally is a project of Americans for Prosperity. Borelli participated in a similar rally at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on September 8.


A rubbish idea in Britain

Yesterday saw the start of a new trial in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead designed to encourage recycling. Under this scheme, households will ‘earn’ vouchers to be used in local stores with each kilogram of waste that they recycle. 3,800 bins have been fitted with microchips in order to weigh household trash. There are several reasons why this trial seems somewhat idiotic.

Firstly, the council is trying to encourage its occupants to act in a ‘socially useful’ way, yet the scheme could well promote the opposite. By rewarding people for recycling as much as possible, it lowers the incentive for people to choose goods with less packaging. This distorts the market signals sent to shops and manufacturers that prompt them to cut down on unnecessary wrapping. If this were adopted nationwide, it would limit the way in which society reduces waste directly.

Such a system can be easily exploited by the placement of heavy, non-recyclable objects inside the chipped bin. While a spokesman for the trail claimed “rewards are much more effective than fines, which are complicated and expensive to administer”, the council still needs to monitor the programme, which it proposes to do with on the spot checks and the withdrawal of access to vouchers - which is likely to be costly and unproductive.

This leads on to another issue: the cost of it all. Where is the funding for this scheme coming from? Landfill tax stands at £40 a tonne and a household can earn up to £130 a year through this trial, and so the setup, maintenance and payouts of the scheme can hardly be achieved through the reduction in rubbish arriving in landfill.

No, the answer is that the money will be coming out of council tax, so in effect households will be rewarding themselves for their own good behaviour. In fact, some will be rewarding the daily life of others; those with less recycling to be done such as the elderly will be subsidising payouts to families who inevitably consume and therefore throw out more.

Once you add this to the fact that the scheme forces the residents of Windsor & Maidenhead to have their recycling movements stored on an online database (what will we have monitored next, the frequency of our showers to reduce water consumption?), it can be seen that this scheme basically stinks.


Australia: Another public transport outrage

Another example of how governments get people out of their cars. Bus driver couldn't change $20 so leaves schoolboy behind on the road. How odd that so many drivers don't know of a government "policy" that says they must not do that? Is it a policy mentioned only in hushed whispers or in fine print? Any wonder why I drove my son to school when he was a kid?

A 14-YEAR-OLD schoolboy has been left behind on a semi-rural road by a Brisbane bus because the driver refused to break a $20 note. The incident was the second serious case in a month for Brisbane Transport after a 10-year-old girl was left stranded in Mt Gravatt.

The boy's father, Nick Smith, told The Courier-Mail he had dropped his son Joshua off on Meadowlands Rd at Carina early last month, with a $20 note to pay for his week of bus trips to school. But the boy, who was dressed in school uniform, was told by the driver he would have to leave the bus because there was not enough spare change to break the note.

"He had a $20 note and then the driver said to him that he couldn't change the note and that he had to get off the bus," Mr Smith said. "I had to pick him up and then take him down to Cannon Hills bus terminal ... but where he was on Meadowlands Rd there are no shops or things close to hand for him to get change. "Being in full school uniform, showing his ID and being of a relatively minor age, I felt it was extremely disappointing that the decision was made not to let him on, given the problems that we have had in the past."

Both TransLink and Brisbane City Council have a "no child left behind" policy, which states that children of school-age or younger cannot be left behind by buses regardless of whether they are carrying the sufficient fare.

Mr Smith said his wife had rung TransLink to complain, and was told the driver had the right to refuse entry if passengers were not carrying the correct fare. "Initially when we complained, my wife actually rang them and they said, 'Look, passengers do have to tender the right change – there is a sign on the bus'," he said.

"If it was an adult, or if he was abusive or the behaviour was not appropriate you would understand but he did nothing wrong, he was very upset, very shaken and quite disappointed that he wasn't allowed to get on the bus."

A spokesman for TransLink said yesterday incidents of children being left behind were "very serious" and the driver had been disciplined but not sacked. "In this instance, following a thorough investigation by Brisbane Transport and TransLink, the driver involved has been disciplined and counselled and an apology has been issued to the child's parent," he said.

Public and Active Transport chair Jane Prentice said a memo had been sent to council drivers, reminding them of the "no child left behind policy". "I understand the latest incident was after we sent the alert but the bottom line is that it is not acceptable behaviour."



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1 comment:

John A said...

"A new global treaty on climate change hinges on China and India agreeing to limit their CO2 emissions but it is unclear whether they will do so, Denmark's climate and energy minister said. Connie Hedegaard," who apparently has no access to any sort of news media, said, Unclear? Bith China and India have stated flatly they will not impose limits - well. unless "Developed" nations agree to match the per-capita output of said countries within a few years and/or pay out some 600 billion US dollars...

re Windmills Are Killing Our Birds
"The fix here is not easy or cheap"

As much as I am against windmills [certainly as a one-size-fits-all solution] there actually is a cheap fix. Darned if I know how to find it again, but a Canadian company sells decals that can be affixed to windows, and others that can be used on rotating structures (like similar things for bicycle/motorcycle wheels), with images that repel almost all birds. And the window versions are largely invisible/transparent to humans.

- - -
Bus driver couldn't change $20 so leaves schoolboy behind on the road.
The earlier case was execrable. Not so sure about this one (at fourteen h should have some resources of his own), other than the "policy" being unknown to either driver or youngster. Just how much change are drivers supposed to carry? Could Dad not have supplied four fivers, or three fives and five singles? In my area, the policy is that drivers have no change, period, full stop. As Dad drove off, did he pass through any area of shops or petrol stations?