Sunday, January 17, 2010

Greenies are now critical of trees

Should we now call them "Brownies"? No. Brownies are better than that

Contrary to scientists' predictions that, as the Earth warms, the movement of trees into the Arctic will have only a local warming effect, University of California, Berkeley, scientists modeling this scenario have found that replacing tundra with trees will melt sea ice and greatly enhance warming over the entire Arctic region.

Because trees are darker than the bare tundra, scientists previously have suggested that the northward expansion of trees might result in more absorption of sunlight and a consequent local warming. But UC Berkeley graduate student Abigail L. Swann, along with Inez Fung, professor of earth and planetary science and of environmental science, policy and management, doubted this local scenario because, while broad-leaved trees are dark, they also transpire a lot of water, and water vapor is a greenhouse gas that is well-mixed throughout the Arctic.

Taking account of this in a standard model of global warming, the researchers discovered that, while broad-leaved trees do absorb some additional sunlight, the water vapor they pump into the atmosphere causes a more widespread warming. "Broad-leaved deciduous trees are not as dark as evergreen trees and so are generally assumed to be less important. But broad-leaved trees transpire a lot more water through their leaves and are actually able to change the water vapor content and increase the greenhouse effect. As the air warms, it can hold more water vapor, and the greenhouse effect increases further," Swann said. "So, broad-leaved trees end up warming the entire Arctic."

More importantly, the researchers' model predicts that the increased water vapor would melt more sea ice, resulting in more absorption of sunlight by the open ocean and dumping more water vapor into the atmosphere. This positive feedback will warm the land even more and encourage faster, more efficient tree growth and perhaps a faster expansion of trees into the Arctic.

All told, the model predicts an additional 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature over the Arctic as a result of this effect. Global warming already is predicted to increase temperatures in the Arctic between 5 and 7 degrees Celsius within the next 100 years.

The analysis was reported Jan. 7 in the online Early Edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In judging the impact of vegetation on global warming, most scientists have focused on the albedo, or reflectivity, of vegetation, Swann said. The new study shows that water transpiration can have a large effect as well, especially in "closed" environments like the Arctic, where there is greater confinement of atmospheric gases. Swann suggests that the greenhouse consequences of transpiration will be much less in the mid-latitudes and tropics, or at least harder to pin down. "We are trying to identify the physical processes that are going to be important with these changes, and this is an interaction that wasn't really looked at before," Swann said. "Counter to assumptions, it's not just a change in the color of the surface vegetation that affects warming."

Previous studies have shown that needle-leaved trees, because they are much darker than bare tundra, will absorb more light and increase warming. But needle-leaved trees transpire much less water than broad-leaved deciduous trees, so the UC Berkeley researchers expect transpiration to only slightly increase this warming effect. If past episodes of warming are any indication, however, broad-leaved deciduous trees will expand their range more quickly into northern regions than will needle-leaved trees. “Alaska is already getting shrubbier," Fung said. "We hypothesize that there are 'pioneers,' like shrubs and deciduous trees, that modify the climate until it is comfortable, and then the whole clan moves in."


Climategate: You're better off with

More Google censorship

This week, Google announced an end to its long-standing collaboration with the Chinese Communists — it will no longer censor users inside China. That’s good of it. Maybe Google will now also stop using its search engine to censor the rest of us, in the Western countries.

Search for “Googlegate” on Google and you’ll get a paltry result (my result yesterday was 29,300). Search for “Googlegate” on Bing, Microsoft’s search engine competitor, and the result numbers an eye-popping 72.4 million. If you’re a regular Google user, as opposed to a Bing user, you might not even know that “Googlegate” has been a hot topic for years in the blogosphere — that’s the power that comes of being able to control information.

Despite Google’s motto of “Do No Evil,” it has long been controversial and suspected of evil-doing — and not just in its cooperation with China, or in protecting itself by hiding criticism of itself from unsuspecting Google users. In recent months, most of the evil-doing has focused on the Climategate scandal, the startling emails from the Climate Research Unit in the UK that show climate change scientists to be cooking the books.

For many weeks now, readers have been sending me emails describing how Google has been doing its best to hide information relating to Climategate, which has been the single biggest story on the Internet since the Climategate emails came to light on November 19. By Nov. 26, the term had gone viral and Google returned more results for “climategate” (10.4 million) than for “global warming” (10.1 million). As the Climate Scandal exploded, and increasing numbers of blog sites covered it, the number of web pages with Climategate continued to climb. On Dec. 7, Google’s search engine found 31.6 million hits for people who searched for “Climategate.”

Sometime around then, in early December, Google began to minimize the Climategate scandal by hiding Climategate pages from its users. By Dec. 17, the number of climategate pages that a Google search found dropped by almost 10 million, to 22.2 million. One day later Google dropped its find by another 8 million pages, to 14.1 million. By Dec. 23, Google could find only 7.5 million hits and on Dec. 24 just 6 million. And yesterday, when I checked, Google reported a mere 1.8 million climategate pages.

Bing, in contrast, didn’t make climategate pages disappear. As you’d expect from a search engine that wasn’t manipulating data, search results on Bing climbed steadily until they peaked at around 51 million, where they have remained since.

Starting in late November, Google has been keeping the public in the dark about Climategate in other ways, too. Ordinarily, when people begin keying in their search terms, Google helpfully suggests the balance of their text, through an automatic feature it calls Google Suggests.

At the very beginning of the Climategate scandal, before it became huge, Google Suggests worked as advertised. If someone typed in c-l-i-, Google would have shown them “climategate” on a list of options. Many people, in fact, learned about Climategate this very way, because most major media outlets had not yet picked up on the scandal. As Climategate rose in intensity, the term also rose in prominence on the Google Suggest list — anyone keying in c-l-i would see “climategate” at the top of the list.

But suddenly in late November, for reasons known only to Google, Google often would not suggest “climategate” to those who keyed in c-l-i. Even c-l-i-m-a or c-l-i-m-a-t-e-g-a-t weren’t enough to solicit a suggestion. Bing, in contrast, did not and does not steer users away from climategate — it has consistently suggested “climategate” to those who keyed in c-l-i or even c-l.

For those whom Google can’t steer away from “climategate,” and who key in all 11 letters to learn about the eye-opening emails, Google goes the extra yard in keeping people in the dark — it dishes up a page that trivializes the scientific significance of climategate. Those who click on Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” after asking for “climategate” find themselves on a Wikipedia page entitled “Climatic Research Unit hacking incident” that downplays the content of the emails and focuses on the “unauthorised release of thousands of emails and other documents obtained through the hacking of a server,” the “illegal taking of data,” the “Law enforcement agencies [that] are investigating the matter as a crime,” and “the death threats that were subsequently made against climate scientists named in the emails.”

For those who don’t use Google’s “I’m feeling lucky” feature, Google presents them with this one-sided Wikipedia page as the first item in its search results. Wikipedia actually has a page called “Climategate” that contains damning information about the scientists caught up in the scandal but its own censors won’t let the public see it — anyone who tries to key in “Climategate” on the Wikipedia site will be instantly redirected to the Wikipedia-approved version of climategate, where the scandal is described as nothing more than “a smear campaign.”

Why would Google want to tamp down interest in climategate? Money and power could have something to do with it. Search for Google and its founders and you’ll see that they have made big financial bets on global warming through investments in renewable and other green technologies; that they have a close relationship with Al Gore, that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is close to Barack Obama.

But search for Googlegate and you’ll also see that more than money is at stake. The accusations against Google of censorship are wide-spread, involving schemes to elect Barack Obama, attacks on Christianity (key in “Christianity is” and Google will suggest unflattering completions to the phrase), and political correctness (key in “Islam is” and nothing negative is suggested).

The bottom line? Google is as inscrutable as the Chinese, and perhaps no less corrupt. For safe searches, you’re best off with Bing.


Haiti and Climate Change: What’s the Real Problem?

While some people are trying to determine if Pat Robertson or Danny Glover made the more egregious comment on the cause of the earthquake in Haiti (was it a deal with the Devil or failures in Copenhagen), others are getting to the root of the problem: Haiti is very poor and does not have the resources or infrastructure to prevent damage, react properly to a natural disaster or rebuild after the damage has been done. And proposed environmental solutions, both here and internationally, will do much more to hurt the world’s poor than to help them.

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes, “This is not a natural disaster story. This is a poverty story. It’s a story about poorly constructed buildings, bad infrastructure and terrible public services.” Phelim McAleer makes similar points here. And there’s evidence to support it says George Mason economist Don Boudreaux:
Empirical research reveals that Mr. Brooks is correct. For example, in a 2005 paper, economist Matthew Kahn (now teaching at UCLA) found that, while rich countries experience just as many natural disasters as do poor countries, persons in rich countries are less likely than are persons in poor countries to die from such disasters. Specifically, a country of 100 million people with a per-capita income of $8,000 will experience about 530 fewer deaths from natural disasters each year than will a country with the same population but where per-capita income is only $2,000. Raise the per-capita income from $8,000 to $14,000 and the annual expected death toll from natural disasters falls by another 233 persons.”

This isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2001, Jonah Goldberg provided several examples of how natural disasters affected wealthy areas versus how they affected poor ones: “For example, on December 7, 1988, there was an earthquake in Armenia that killed 28,854 people. It recorded 6.9 on the Richter scale. Less than a year later there was an earthquake in San Francisco and Oakland. It was a 7.1 on the Richter scale, but it claimed 63 casualties. About seven months later there was a quake near Rasht, Iran, scoring six tenths of a point higher, at 7.7. But that earthquake killed 50,000 people. You can do the same thing for almost any disaster — hurricanes, cyclones, etc. — the same trend will hold up. Natural disasters hurt poor people because poor people live in terrible conditions.”

The bigger problem is environmental policies designed to prevent natural disasters from occurring simply cannot do so. These costly regulations would, in actuality, have very little effect on the temperature whatsoever. Programs like a cap and trade system or an international treaty to reduce CO2 not only destroys wealth but also allocates resources away from more efficient uses.

Natural disasters will occur with or without global warming and their frequency or intensity cannot be linked to global warming. The answer to natural disasters is not to try to change the temperature but rather focus on increasing economic growth. Markets and economic growth will lead to stronger houses with solid floors and roofs, and paved roads with more accessibility. Countries and cities can devote resources to building better levees, rebuilding sand dunes and upgrading buildings to withstand damage.

It’s no wonder a global pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen failed miserably. Bjorn Lomborg writes in the Washington Post: “First, developing nations have no intention of letting the developed world force them to stop using carbon-emitting fuels. They are understandably wary of any policy that might curtail the domestic economic growth that is allowing their populations to clamber out of poverty. And that is precisely what drastically reducing their carbon emissions would do.”

To prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future, we should allow countries to develop rather than implementing policies that would prohibit them to do so.


Britain's Met Office to review forecasts after failing to warn public of fresh snow

They keep getting it wrong because their Warmist-influenced models are wrong and their faked climate history is wrong

The Met Office has admitted that it failed to warn the public of the heavy snow that brought swaths of Britain to a standstill on Wednesday. Forecasters conceded that they did not spot the widespread snow storms that caused transport disruption and a surge of weather-related accidents until it was too late. Up to six inches fell in parts of the South West, with drifts of 7ft in Wales.

Even when the full extent of the threat was realised, flaws in the Met Office's bad weather warning system meant that the public were not adequately informed, officials said. The system will now be reviewed.

Thousands of Britons endured nightmare journeys to work after waking up to several inches of snow despite reassurances that their regions would escape the worst of the latest flurries. Hundreds of flights were cancelled at Heathrow, Gatwick and regional airports, while schools that had only just reopened were again forced to shut their doors. Accident and emergency departments reported "unprecedented" numbers of patients, many suffering suspected fractures after slipping on ice.

An 18-year-old college student who died after locking himself out was last night feared to be the latest casualty of the weather. Police believe Nathan Jobe froze to death after falling from a window while trying to gain access to his home in Mountnessing in Essex.

In the Peak District, pregnant 40-year-old gave birth to a healthy baby boy after a mountain rescue team transported a midwife to her snowbound home. Melanie Pollitt had sought advice on the Mumsnet website about her labour pains before calling for help.

Gordon Brown yesterday promised a full review of how the country had coped with the coldest winter for 30 years, after councils were forced to cut their gritting by a half to conserve dwindling stocks.

Last night the Environment Agency warned that rising temperatures brought a risk of flash flooding in many areas this weekend as the snow and ice melts.

While the Met Office had been warning for days of overnight snow in the South West, Wales and parts of the Midlands, its forecasters were taken by surprise by how much of the country was affected on Tuesday night. Severe weather warnings were not issued for London & South East, the West Midlands and the North West until the early hours of Wednesday morning, leaving train operators with little time to ensure lines were cleared.

Barry Grommet, a Met Office forecaster, said: "We put our hands up and concede that we did not expect the snow to spread so far east, and with the intensity that it did." The office had issued snow advisories – which are one step down from warnings – for Surrey and Berkshire around 11am on Tuesday but did not release a higher alert because the amount of snow forecast fell just below the required threshold. "We are in a situation where some of the advisories did not get picked up and were not presented strongly enough," Mr Grommet said. "In these circumstances we need to sit around a table and look at the thresholds to see if they should be made more flexible."

The Met Office's latest mea culpa follows widespread criticism of the accuracy of its seasonal forecasts. Predictions of a "barbecue summer" last year were hastily revised after heavy downpours, and early forecasts that we were in for a mild winter this year proved similarly wide of the mark.

After two days of thaw, the snow on Tuesday night and Wednesday appeared to catch much of the country off guard, with passenger groups warning that the patience of commuters was being pushed to the limit. Problems were particularly bad in the South West where dumps of six inches stranded thousands of motorists on impassable roads.

Police and gritting authorities were forced to apologise to drivers who abandoned their cars on Haldon Hill near Exeter in Devon – the scene of problems during last February's cold snap – after becoming stuck for up to six hours.

Rail passengers also endured fresh cancellations and delays, with 12 major train operators including Virgin, Southeastern, First Great Western, Southern and Southeastern reporting severe disruption. Overall 34 per cent of trains across the country were delayed or cancelled, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies.

Airports were also severely affected with Gatwick cancelling at least 114 flights after its runway was closed until mid-afternoon. Heathrow remained opened but 300 flights were cancelled, while Birmingham, Southampton, Cardiff and London City airports were all closed for part of the day.

More than two thousand schools were closed in Wales, the South West, Hampshire in the Home Counties, although most secondary schools made special arrangements to accommodate pupils who were due to sit GCSE and A Level exams.

As the snow spread north yesterday afternoon ambulance services said their resources were being stretched to the limit. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust saw a fourfold increase in call-outs with 600 calls in an hour, principally due to falls on icy surfaces and road traffic collisions. A spokesperson said the service had to call in extra staff to cope with the backlog of calls, but said "all the staff in all the world could not prepare for an increase of this nature." The East Midlands Ambulance Service said there was an "unprecedented" 50 per cent rise in 999 calls on Wednesday, while emergency calls also spiked in the West Midlands and south.

Accident and emergency department were also affected, with the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham said it was under "extreme pressure".

The Federation of Small Businesses yesterday issued a report warning that the country must be better prepared for bad weather in future, estimating that cold spell is costing the economy £600 million a day.

Experts have also warned that there will be more gas rationing in future because Britain lacks sufficient storage facilities. Last week the National Grid had to cut off 100 companies because of increased demand in the cold weather.

Meanwhile, Westminster City Council has sought legal advice to establish that people have "nothing to fear" by clearing snow themselves, after health and safety organisations told homeowners could be sued for attempting to clear paths around their properties.

Despite their recent problems, Met Office forecasters are confident that most of the country will see no more snow this week. Temperatures are expected to creep up today and Friday, reaching 10C (50F) in the South West, although motorists have been warned to expect early morning fog. Councils have warned that organised grit thieves who plan their raids on salt bins using online maps were making conditions even more perilous. [Now just why would people be stealing something as cheap as salt? Because bad bureaucratic planning has created a shortage of it]


Insurance Group Says Stolen E-Mails Show Risk in Accepting Climate Science

A major trade group for the insurance industry is warning that it is "exceedingly risky" for companies to blindly accept scientific conclusions around climate change, given the "serious questions" around the extent to which humans cause atmospheric warming. The assertion was made in a letter (pdf) to insurance regulators, who will administer the nation's first mandatory climate requirements on corporations in May. Large insurers will have to answer about a dozen questions related to the preparations they are taking to safeguard themselves from climatic hazards.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies believes that the new regulation leaves little room for companies to cast doubt on widely accepted assumptions about global warming. Insurers are hamstrung to provide answers that dovetail with the perception of key regulators who believe climate change threatens the industry's financial strength, said Robert Detlefsen, the group's vice president of policy. "It's fairly obvious that certain regulators have made up their minds about what the answers to those questions are, and are just proceeding on the assumption that their answers, or the ones that they subscribe to, are correct and unimpeachable," Detlefsen said in an interview. "There really is no room, as I see it, for any sort of legitimate, in their minds at least, for legitimate dissent."

The group consists of 1,400 insurance companies that underwrite about 40 percent of the nation's property and casualty premiums, according to its Web site. Only a fraction of its membership, however, would be required to answer the climate survey when the new regulation goes into effect this spring. The rule covers large companies that collect at least $500 million in annual premiums.

State insurance regulators adopted a white paper in 2008 that states "global warming is occurring." That preceded the new regulated survey, which flustered many insurance officials during its drafting. But most of the opposition was rooted in concerns around revealing secrets to competitors and making companies vulnerable to lawsuits, not around doubts about climate science.

Now, four months before insurers have to submit their climate answers, Detlefsen is raising perhaps his strongest concerns around the state of scientific integrity, regulators' belief in those findings, and the way that the companies' answers could be exploited by environmentalists. "We fear ... that the wording of the survey questions, together with the public pronouncements of some regulators, will inhibit the expression of what might be viewed as unwelcome 'contrarian' responses," Detlefsen wrote in the letter earlier this week.

E-mails said to show some climate scientists 'at war' with others

His concern was based primarily on the release of stolen e-mails late last year from scientists working at the premier Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. Supportive scientists and politicians have largely dismissed the controversy, saying it does not undercut years of research on rising temperatures, expanding seas and precipitation changes.

But Detlefsen's letter says the "e-mails show that a close-knit group of the world's most influential climate scientists actively colluded to subvert the peer-review process ... manufactured pre-determined conclusions through the use of contrived analytic techniques; and discussed destroying data to avoid government freedom-of-information requests."

"Viewed collectively, the CRU e-mails reveal a scientific community in which a group of scientists promoting what has become, through their efforts, the dominant climate-change paradigm are at war with other scientists derisively labeled as 'skeptics,' 'deniers,' and 'contrarians,'" he added.

The upcoming survey regulation has also caused jitters among some regulators. Indiana Insurance Commissioner Carol Cutter, who was appointed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, an opponent of cap-and-trade legislation, is still considering whether to administer the survey at the state level.

Overall, the insurance industry is addressing climate change, which might increase damage claims, affect insurers' investments, and provide opportunities to offer "green" policies, Joel Ario, Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner and chairman of the national climate change task force that adopted the new survey, said in an interview last week. "The insurers are perhaps the one group that is more concerned about climate change than the environmentalists," Ario said. "If climate change does pose the risk that environmentalists say it does, then guess who's going to bear that risk on their business? It will be the insurers."


Unethical Greenpeace actions threaten the livelihoods and lives of millions

Should corporate ethics principles apply only to profit-making companies? Or should they also cover nonprofit corporations, especially those that badger for-profits to be more “socially responsible”?

Should corporations be judged partly on creating jobs, supporting communities, or improving and saving lives? And should nonprofit corporations be penalized for impeding the enhancement of human life? The answers should be self-evident. But they’re not, as US nonprofits and politicians have repeatedly demonstrated.

Consider Greenpeace. This self-proclaimed paragon of virtue constantly harasses companies that it deems insufficiently virtuous in advertising their products, protecting the environment and promoting their public image. But the Rainbow Warriors’ own actions would frequently merit fines or even jail time if committed by profit-making businesses.

Greenpeace publicity stunts, anti-corporate campaigns and fund-raising appeals are often laden with false and misleading claims about companies and their operations. The Warriors justify their actions as necessary to advancing their legal, legislative and regulatory agenda – and getting people and foundations to write a check or click their website’s “donate now” button. Almost anything goes, because Greenpeace and its comrades in eco-warfare are apparently beyond the reach of the Lanham Act and mail fraud or tax laws that apply to ordinary corporations and citizens.

In the olden days, it made sense to carve out exceptions, to protect legitimate public interest organizations from persecutions and prosecutions based on inadvertent falsehoods or political motivations. But that was before the roster of tax-exempt nonprofits included so many unsavory elements, like unscrupulous eco campaigners and pressure groups for whom truth, ethics and real social responsibility mean little.

In 1995, Greenpeace attacked Shell Oil, claiming the company was going to dump tons of oil and toxic wastes in the ocean, by sinking an obsolete North Sea oil production platform as an artificial reef. A year later, after raking in millions in contributions and free publicity, the Warriors admitted they’d known all along there had been no oil or chemicals on the platform.

Their shiny armor got tarnished, but there were no legal repercussions. A few years later, the Rainbow Warriors were caught diverting funds raised for tax-exempt educational purposes into non-exempt, and sometimes illegal, lobbyist and activist programs. Donors got charitable deductions, and Greenpeace got more millions to stage protests against drilling, manufacturing and free trade; lobby Congress and EPA; and vandalize crops and corporate facilities.

The IRS sent Greenpeace a strong reprimand, demanding that it cease its money laundering, but again no real penalties. Canada, by contrast, refused to recognize the Greenpeace Environmental Foundation as a charity, saying its activities provided no discernable benefits to the public and, in fact, could send families “into poverty.”

But back in the USA, former EPA Administrator-turned-Climate-Czar Carol Browner and other federal agency heads continue to fork over large sums of taxpayer money to Greenpeace and similar eco-activists, to subsidize their anti-corporate, global warming, “sustainable” energy and regulatory thumbscrew campaigns. Meanwhile, the taxpayers are precluded from writing off contributions to congressional candidates who might support long overdue investigations, reforms and penalties. The truly odious ethical violations, however, involve activities that directly damage the livelihoods and lives of innocent people, particularly in impoverished countries.

In Britain, France and elsewhere, Greenpeace vandals have destroyed bio-engineered crops, wiping out millions of dollars in research to develop food plants that require fewer pesticides, are more nutritious, reduce dangerous mold toxins, withstand floods and droughts, and increase crop yields. The people who would benefit most from this research are the poorest, most malnourished on Earth. They could improve their lives, simply by planting different, better corn, cotton or soybean seeds.

“With the old maize,” says South African Richard Sithole, “I got 100 bags from my 15 hectares [38 acres].” “With Bt maize I get 1,000 bags. And now I don’t have to buy any chemicals.” In fact, Bt corn has enabled farmers like Sithole to cut pesticide use and expenses by 75%, triple their profits, save 35-49 days per season working in fields, and save enough to buy a refrigerator or even new house. And yet rich-country Greenpeace activists oppose the technology.

Greenpeace campaigns against insecticides and insect-repelling DDT are even more lethal. These chemicals could prevent malaria, which kills a million people annually and leaves millions more brain- damaged. Today, DDT is sprayed just on the inside walls of thatch and cinderblock homes, to keep mosquitoes out and serve as a long-lasting bed net over entire families.

But Greenpeace claims “some researchers think” DDT “could be inhibiting lactation because of its estrogen-like effects and may be contributing to lactation failure throughout the world.” No peer-reviewed medical studies back up these claims, and lactation problems are definitely associated with the malaria and malnutrition that would be reduced by technologies the Warriors oppose.

Worldwide, 1.5 billion people still don’t have electricity for lights, refrigerators, stoves, schools, shops, hospitals and factories that would bring health, opportunity and prosperity. Yet Greenpeace continues to battle hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power, telling people they should be content with solar panels or wind turbines that provide intermittent, insufficient energy – and guarantee sustained poverty.

Greenpeace justifies its anti-energy ideologies by claiming they are preserving rivers, avoiding dangerous radiation and preventing “runaway” global warming. It has vilified me and two of my Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow colleagues as “climate criminals” and applauded a recent Rolling Stone magazine article that branded CFACT’s director Marc Morano as a “climate killer.”

Our “crime”? Saying climate change is natural and cyclical. Noting that thousands of scientists agree there is no convincing evidence that human CO2 emissions are causing a global warming disaster. And pointing out that, even in the midst of a global cooling period and widening Climategate scandal, Greenpeace is still clinging to its tired fabrications and storylines.

Why the Rockefeller Brothers, Packard, Winslow, Schaffner Family and other foundations continue to support Greenpeace remains a mystery. That other donors are now using Fidelity, Vanguard and Schwab to hide their donations suggests that they don’t want their friends and neighbors knew they give money to this shady outfit.

Last month’s climate gab fest offered an opportunity for CFACT activists to highlight these ethical lapses and give Greenpeace a dose of its own medicine. They unfurled a "Propaganda Warrior" banner from the rails of the Rainbow Warrior ship, and a “Ship of Lies” banner from Greenpeace’s other vessel, the Arctic Sunrise, as they lay anchored in Copenhagen harbor.

“Greenpeace’s callous disregard for the truth and people’s well-being has become intolerable,” CFACT executive director Craig Rucker stated. “They need to start behaving honestly and ethically. We don’t expect them to be Mother Teresa, but it would be nice if they’d start helping people to improve their health and living standards, and began supporting real environmental stewardship.” The world would be a much better place.


Australia: Carbon plan may break us, says government-owned power generator

This will put the NSW Labor government at odds with the Federal Labor government -- as it reduces the value of the NSW government-owned power stations to zero -- which will make it a tad hard for NSW to raise money by selling off the power stations concerned. NSW Laborites are very influential at the Federal level however so an exemption for the power stations will almost certainly ensue -- which will mean that just about everybody is exempt! In a sane world, Prime Minister Rudd would give up on the whole thing in that case. I certainly don't think that a toothless law would impress the Greenies, which is whom it aims to please. The Green party has in fact already voted against the initial version of the scheme

The country's largest single power generator, Macquarie Generation, has warned that its viability is threatened by the Federal Government's proposed emissions trading scheme. Its concerns throw into doubt the State Government's plans to privatise the power industry by selling electricity retailers and output from power generators.

Under an electricity sales contract written with its main customer, the Tomago aluminium smelter in the Hunter Valley, Macquarie Generation carries the full liability for complying with the emissions scheme. Yet under that scheme, Tomago will receive free permits that ensure it is fully insulated. As a result, it will benefit from "double dipping" under the scheme, since its direct liability is offset thanks to free permits it will receive, while its power supplier, Macquarie Generation, has to bear the financial burden of the emissions scheme.

In its most recent annual report, tabled in State Parliament late last year, Macquarie Generation said its "profitability, value and remaining life could be negatively impacted" by the emissions trading scheme. Macquarie Generation "has a long-term, non-reviewable electricity supply contract resulting in [it] carrying the liability for compliance with the carbon pollution reduction scheme and provision of carbon permits in relation to the electricity supply contract", it said in the report. "If the contract counter-party and Macquarie Generation cannot agree on an equitable arrangement with regard to compliance with the … scheme, the corporation will likely face significantly reduced earnings and value."

In its so-called Statement of Corporate Intent for 2008-09, tabled earlier last year, Macquarie Generation said that "without a pass-through mechanism to customers, the emissions trading system will be almost equal to Macquarie Generation's current planned total revenues". Passage of the scheme would result in the two NSW aluminium smelters - Tomago and Kurri Kurri - being compensated in full for any exposure, by receiving free permits to offset the impact of the scheme.

The Greens MP John Kaye said the State Government had been "less than open" about the impact of the contracts on its electricity privatisation plans. "The costs of these fixed-price contracts have been hidden from public view for 2½ decades," Dr Kaye said. "Now the people of NSW will begin to see how much they have been paying and how much they will have to pay off into the future."

It was recently disclosed that the power contracts are linked to aluminium metal markets, and that recent volatility there had cost state taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

A spokesman for the acting Treasurer, John Hatzistergos, said the Government was working with the Federal Government to ensure NSW received its fair share of compensation under the emissions scheme, but he could not comment on individual contracts, which were commercial-in-confidence.

Macquarie Generation has never confirmed the identity of its main contract partner, Tomago Aluminium, nor the size of the contract, which is believed to account for about a quarter of its annual revenues of $1.2 billion. Delta Electricity is contracted to supply the smaller Kurri Kurri smelter, which has capacity of 175,000 tonnes a year of aluminium, less than half the 530,000 tonnes of Tomago.

Both contracts were drawn up in the 1970s and 1980s when the Government was looking for buyers for large amounts of electricity output when it upgraded electricity generation capacity.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, 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 are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: