Saturday, October 02, 2010

"Green investment" panic in Nederland

The turning tide against climate idiocy is gaining strength, at last! After months-long coalition talks, the Dutch have finally got a new government, leaning heavily towards common sense.

One of the consequences is the removal of "green energy subsidies" and the "green investment funds" have promptly closed their doors to new investors.

Use an online translator for further details here

Criminals and Muslims who refuse to abide by Dutch law have also been given notice - this is news you won't see in a hurry on your TV screens. So far not a word on the BBC web pages.

An email from Hans Schreuder

LOL! Osama bin Laden concerned about climate

There is an old saying about knowing a man by the company he keeps ....

OSAMA bin Laden believes climate change is more damaging than war. An audio recording attributed to the al-Qaeda leader and broadcast on the internet yesterday expresses concern about the devastating floods in Pakistan and calls on Muslims to provide relief for the victims. "The number of victims caused by climate change is very big... bigger than the victims of wars," says the recording.

If genuine, the recording would be Bin Laden's first since March 25. It was not clear when the tape was made, but Bin Laden congratulated Muslims on the holy fasting month of Ramadan which ended September 10.

"The catastrophe (in Pakistan) is very big and it is difficult to describe it," the recording says. "What we are facing... calls for generous souls and brave men to take serious and prompt action to provide relief for their Muslim brothers in Pakistan."

The recording makes a series of recommendations to deal with climate changes namely preventive measures that should be taken by governments in the face of disasters. "Providing tents, food and medicine is a duty... but the disasters (facing many Muslim countries) are much bigger than what is being offered. "Action should not be confined to providing emergency aid... but to set up a capable relief task force that has the knowledge and experience need to" meet the challenges.

One of them is "setting up studies of urban areas that lie by rivers and valleys in the Muslim world", a reference to floods that hit the Saudi city of Jeddah earlier this year.

The recording also calls for a review of security guidelines concerning dams and bridges in Muslim nations and said more should be done to invest in agriculture to guarantee food security for all. "Investment in agriculture needs a lot of efforts and yields small gains. The issue today is not about gains or losses, but about life or death."

In one of two tapes issued in January, bin Laden blamed major industrial nations for climate change, a statement the US State Department said showed that he was struggling to stay relevant.

In his most recent remarks, he warned that al-Qaeda would kill Americans if the alleged mastermind of the 2001 attacks on the United States, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, were executed.

Plans to send Mohammed to trial just steps away from his alleged crime in New York had to be put on hold after a furious public backlash over potential costs and security threats.

In another statement in January, he claimed responsibility for the botched Christmas Day bombing attempt of a US airliner and vowing further strikes on American targets.

Bin Laden also referred to US support for Israel in the January message. "God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel," he said.

Bin Laden's whereabouts are unknown, but in August, the US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, said he was in the remote mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Desperate Warmist Video

Killing people is amusing to the Green/Left. Their kinship with Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. is evident

John O'Sullivan

UK cinemas see national release of ‘fun’ new climate activists campaign video showing killing of global warming deniers. Film marked with a parental advisory warning.

Touted in The Guardian newspaper the film labeled, “Not suitable for children” marks a new low in environmentalist cinematic propaganda. Announcing the film’s release the national newspaper boasts, “Our friends at the 10:10 climate change campaign have given us the scoop on this highly explosive short film, written by Britain's top comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis, ahead of its general release.” (hat tip: Barry Woods).

Last Ditch Attempt in Failing Campaign

The offering is being dismissed as a lamentable last-ditch attempt to salvage something of the British government’s futile and soon redundant‘10:10 climate change campaign’ (an initiative to persuade Brits to cut 10% from their carbon emissions in 2010). Official figures show that UK household emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by more than 3% this year as domestic fuel use rose due to colder temperatures.

Guardian readers are invited to guffaw as role models and authority figures depicted in the film press a red button and detonate global warming ‘deniers’ into gory lumps of offal. Packaged in the guise of humor this naked hard sell seems a pitiful attempt at convincing the ‘one or two’ of us who are still left that the sky really is falling despite no rising temperatures globally since 1998.

Gillian Anderson (X-Files) and Radiohead join the motley collection of B listers and has-been former soccer stars. Along with indifferent school kids and non-compliant office workers the naysayers all have their innards exploded. No doubt an enhanced 3-D high-definition sequel will be in the pipeline if the premier of this ‘offaling’ goeswell. For your edification you can watch a nay-saying soccer player and movie star vaporize into gory pulp- all for ignoring their carbon footprint!

Bad Year for Hollywood’s Warmist Cinema

Sadly, 2010 is fast turning into a bad year for tree-hugging film makers. It started with so much promise with the general release of James ‘Chicken’ Cameron’s animated full length feature, ‘Avatar.’ But, Cameron, the new Hollywood darling of the warmist crazies, turned tail and ran after canceling at the very last minute after demanding a climate debate with prominent skeptic, Marc Morano of Climate Depot.

On this evidence, Curtis and Hamilton have so much in common: both appearing to be intellectually bankrupt yet filled by self-loathing as they mournfully concede that public interest in climate-related issues just walked off a cliff.

Setting the bar so low with its most simple (or should that be simplistic?) message, this mercifully short film, also showing on Youtube, is literally tripe and speaks more to the converted than non-believers. But as they say, all publicity is good, right?


An encouraging degree of open-mindedness among French scientists

Comments by Vincent Courtillot, the Director of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and Professor of Geophysics at the Denis-Diderot University

On 20 September, the French Academy of Science organised a climate debate that was instigated by the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Mme Valérie Pécresse. This is a short report about the meeting.

The President of the French Academy of Science, Jean Salençon, emphasised from the onset that this meeting was being held in the normal way the Academy operates when asked by government to provide advice on a major topic: a working meeting is first held with those academicians who agree to engage actively in the discussion, together with a number of guests suggested by the academicians themselves or public research organisations such as the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS).

After the debate a short report and recommendations to the government are discussed at a full meeting of the Academy where it can be amended. Then a larger report is produced after a couple of months. The recommendations and the report will be sent to Mme Valérie Pécresse, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, who asked for it, but I assume it will be made public. In that sense, this meeting was not especially 'secret.' However, on this particular topic, it was likely on the minds of the Academy advisers that the debate would be scientifically deeper and less passionate if the debating scientists did not have to be concerned about journalists, some of whom may relish in sensationalist reporting of skirmishing and in-house fighting rather than matters of fact.

I believe some 70 academicians attended (out of about 200 members), and there were about 60 guests, mostly scientists engaged in climate research. There were four equal parts in the debate:

1) observations and methods of analysis of these observations;

2) climates of the past;

3) numerical climate models;

4) physico-chemical mechanisms.

In each section, there were 45 minutes of presentations by speakers. Each part was chaired by an academician not involved in climate research.

Then two rapporteurs provided their synthesis of the 42 papers that had been submitted via the academy website in response to a call by the organisers (I believe in June). Finally, 3 to 4 scientists involved in climate research could give a short presentation (in principle 7 minutes and 5 slides each). An hour of open discussion followed. Some examples of these short presentations included Serge Planton (from Meteo-France) and myself in part 1 (I summarised our research - with Jean-Louis Le Mouël and Russian colleagues - of the past 3 years on solar signatures in climate observations), Jean Jouzel and Jean-Claude Duplessy on part 2, Richard Lindzen and Hervé Le Treut on part 3, Robert Kandel and Edouard Bard on part 4.

My own assessment of the day was that it was quite well organized by our colleagues Jean-Loup Puget and René Blanchet (an astrophysicist and a geologist who are representing the Academy's research section on 'sciences of the universe'). Most presentations were balanced, presented in a quiet and open way. It was very interesting to hear the comments of academicians who were not climate specialists (mathematicians, physicists, chemists, biologists,...), who formed a sort of "educated public" and allowed all to think of how to present this complex science to the more general public. I took 15 pages of notes and heard some very interesting comments and suggestions. There were 4 or 5 rather tense and hostile comments each lasting only a few minutes; overall the day was not (to me) as tense as had been feared or has been suggested afterwards by some journalists.

Although, of course, there was no "vote" at the end of the day, my impression is that half of the attendees balanced in favour of anthropogenic greenhouse gases as the main cause of recent warming (the spatial and temporal signatures of which were discussed), and half in favour of natural causes including the sun. These figures, of course, have a large uncertainty. Even more interestingly, a majority of those leaning towards AGW were quite open to discussion and I believe a main conclusion of the day should be to reaffirm the need that any debate on such a complex scientific question will remain absolutely free, open and tolerant to alternate views, provided of course scientific arguments are used.


Sea Level Rise Due To Groundwater Extraction

Large-scale groundwater extraction for irrigation, drinking water or industry results in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately 0.8 mm, accounting for about one-quarter of total annual sea-level rise (3.1 mm). According to hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares, the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the fact that most of the groundwater extracted ultimately winds up in the sea. The hydrologists explain their findings in an article to be published in the near future in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Groundwater extraction is more common in more arid regions of the world, where there is less available surface water. It is used for crop irrigation, drinking water or industrial purposes. Aquifer levels will decline if over a prolonged period more groundwater is extracted at more locations than can be replenished by means of rainwater recharge. As a consequence, rivers and wetlands will run dry and aquifer levels will fall to such a depth that pumping becomes impossible. Aquifer depletion can eventually spell ecological disaster or even lead to famine.

Rising sea levels

With the knowledge that most of the extracted groundwater eventually winds up in the sea, the researchers at Utrecht University and Deltares calculated the contribution groundwater extraction makes to rising sea levels. Researcher Marc Bierkens says, “We calculated it at eight-tenths of a millimetre per year. This is surprisingly large when compared to the current annual rise in sea levels, which the IPCC estimates at 3.1 mm.” About half of the current rise in sea levels can be attributed to thermal expansion, a little over one quarter to run off from glaciers and ice caps, and the remaining quarter to groundwater depletion. “Although the role of groundwater depletion in rising sea levels had already been acknowledged, it was not addressed in the most recent IPCC report due to a lack of reliable data to illustrate the severity of the situation. Our study confirms that groundwater depletion is, in fact, a significant factor.”

Groundwater depletion

The researchers looked at a combination of information to identify the areas in the world where groundwater extraction leads to groundwater depletion. An estimate of the amount of groundwater extracted annually in most of the world’s countries could be obtained from a database of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), which is affiliated with Deltares. Combining this information with the estimated demand for water, based on population density and data on irrigated areas, the researchers were able to produce a map of global groundwater extraction. A water balance model was then used to map out global groundwater aquifer recharge, i.e. precipitation that seeps through the soil to recharge groundwater aquifers. By subtracting the figures of the groundwater extraction map from the figures of the groundwater aquifer recharge map, the researchers were able to compile a map of global groundwater depletion.

Depletion worst in certain countries

According to Bierkens, “The study reveals that depletion is the most acute in areas of India, Pakistan, the US and China, which are also the regions without sustainable levels of food production and water consumption and which are expected to experience major problems in the long run.” The hydrologists estimate that global groundwater extraction and depletion have increased by 312 km3 to 734 km3 and 126 km3 to 283 km3 per year, respectively, since 1960.


Another government mandate: First they force you to buy health insurance, then wind power, too

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, New Mexico Democrat, and Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican (and the party's gubernatorial nominee) must be gluttons for punishment.

Mandates to buy things - pushed by Washington - have fouled the political air. The public, which is shown in polls to hate Obamacare, hate most the part that obligates them to buy health insurance. What else do they despise? The ban on the incandescent light bulb, which begins to take effect in 2012 and will force everyone to buy higher-priced mercury-filled compact fluorescents for the rest of their lives. More than a few people hope for a repeal of both measures after the November elections.

So Americans are tired of the dictating, but what do the aforementioned senators do? They dictate more, with a proposed law that will force you to procure part of your electricity from windmills, solar farms and other costly sources. It's called a Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), brought to you by politicians who think they know what's good for you.

It works this way: The nation's biggest utilities (think Exelon, Duke Energy, Xcel Energy), which supply the majority of the country's power, are coerced into generating a minimum percentage of their electricity from alternative energy. It's 15 percent under the Bingaman-Brownback bill. It costs much more for these resources - even after heavy subsidies from government - so the utilities must pass on the rate increases to their customers.

A study by the Washington-based Institute for Energy Research found that states with their own binding renewable electricity standards have 40 percent higher electricity prices than do states without such mandates. It is impossible to determine how much the extra costs are attributable to an RES (they are still relatively new), but the states that have them - mostly on the West Coast and in the upper Midwest and the Northeast - are generally known for greater government energy-market regulation than are those who don't have them - mostly in the South. You get the picture.

But the implications won't stop with the rise you see on your monthly power bill. Business and industry, which provide the products and services you consume every day, will not absorb these extra costs for the overall cause to "go green." They will instead incorporate them in their charges to you.

So also will governments face larger electric bills, with schools, facilities and public buildings hit with the additional charges. There goes more spending of taxpayer dollars, again.

And don't forget: Politicians love and alternative-energy companies need the subsidies that keep the solar and wind businesses alive. Without that massive infusion from taxpayers, they - the lawmakers without ribbon-cuttings and the rent-seekers without corporate welfare - could not survive.

Indeed, this summer, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) showed how dependent alternative energy interests are on taxpayers after the Senate omitted a national Renewable Electricity Standard from its energy bill. In a July 27 press release, AWEA stated, "The U.S. wind industry is in distress. Today we announced that with only 700 megawatts added in the second quarter, wind power installations to date this year have dropped by 57 percent and 71 percent from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively, and manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. An RES is a critical component to ensure the U.S. wind industry thrives."

Understand? Squiggly light bulbs don't sell without a government mandate. Windmills don't sell without a mandate. And every other harebrained energy-generating scheme (like chicken-excrement incinerators) doesn't sell without a mandate. Yet in about 30 states they get them - and subsidies, too.

Unfortunately, there may be enough of Mr. Bingaman's and Mr. Brownback's Senate colleagues to get a national renewable electricity standard passed - maybe even during a lame-duck session this year. While it doesn't surprise that nearly all the Democrats are on board, Reuters reports that support from several Republicans could make a filibuster shutoff easy. The news service identified Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, Nevada's John Ensign, Maine's Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Tennessee's Bob Corker, Alabama's Jeff Sessions, and Iowa's Charles E. Grassley as members who have backed RESs in the past and might do so again.

Pretty amazing in this electoral season when "Throw the bums out" is the theme because people are fed up with government diktats. Will the Beltway establishment ever get it?



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


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