Saturday, November 20, 2010

A reply to Germany's Greenshirts

Statement by EIKE in response to the Short Query from Green parliamentarians submitted to the German Government; Printed Document No. 17/3613; dated 3 November 2010

By Michael Limburg, Vice President, EIKE and Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, Press Spokesman EIKE

On November 3, 2010, the faction of BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN (ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS) submitted a short query, document number 17/3613, titled Deniers Of Climate Change In The Coalition Government (Leugner des Klimawandels in der Regierungskoalition) to the German Government. Named as its authors were parliamentarians Dr. Hermann Ott (formerly of the Wuppertal Institute), Bärbel Höhn, Hans-Josef Fell, Sylvia Kotting-Uhl, Oliver Krischer, Undine Kurth (Quedlinburg), Nicole Maisch, Dorothea Steiner and the ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS party.

Its text (partially quoted herein) cites slander appearing in the Financial Times Deutschland and news magazine Der Spiegel without any check for accuracy on the defamation of Prof. Singer and EIKE, or checking whether these sources were later corrected. The daily Rheinische Merkur followed and repeated the same slander in an article appearing 28 October 2010 (History of Looking Away, by Hans-Jochen Luhmann, who was acting in a fulltime position as Director for Principle Issues at the Wuppertal Institute).

Because of the widespread nature of these publications, the articles being almost identical in content, and their timing with the Short Query from the Green parliamentarians, it is plain to see that this is an orchestrated campaign against the climate realists (also called climate sceptics, or intentionally "climate deniers"). And when looking at earlier comments made by the lead author of the Short Query, Dr. Ott, on 17 September 2010, one sees that comments critical of climate must be “massively attacked” from now on, see here.

The objective is to manoeuvre them into the same boat as Holocaust deniers, in thought and morally. The primary target of the attacks is Prof. Dr. S. Fred Singer and the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), and their supporters. Obviously those in the climate religion see themselves seriously threatened and deeply fear being exposed. The scientific arguments to counter climate realists are simply missing, and so personal attacks using half-truths, distortions, and even slander, have to be used.

As a gesture to open up the channels of communication and to return to professionalism, we cordially invite all parliamentarians of the German Parliament and Ministry employees to the 3rd International Climate and Energy Congress on December 3 -4, 2010 in Berlin. There you can get all the facts on the subject of climate change. Details here. Getting informed of both sides of an issue is a fundamental prerequiste for a functioning democracy and so we hope parliamentarians will take advantage of this.

We now respond to the Short Query - first its preamble: "The so-called “climate change sceptics” or “climate change deniers” for years have been a permanent fixture in American politics. They are mainly supported and funded by the fossil fuels industry like Exxon (Esso) or Koch Industries."

It is true that the climate realists have been able to get their word out in the USA, and that public opinion on climate change has swayed dramatically in favour of climate realism. Currently the proponents of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis have lost much ground in public opinion, and are now about even with those who dispute it (See a Pew survey from October of this year: here), and some surveys even indicate a substantial majority for those who reject the hypothesis (e.g. here). To what extent these surveys are representative, we cannot ascertain.

The preamble is also correct in describing the recognisable fear that the results of the latest US elections will have a notable impact on US climate policy. All measures in implementing Cap & Trade have all but been abandoned and the environmental protection agency (EPA) will not be able to implement its factually absurd determination that CO2 is a pollutant (every child learns at school that CO2 is the main component in the photosynthesis process – a natural gas that is vital for all life). [From Cooler Heads Digest]:

Significant is the fact that the new Republican majority in the House is largely skeptical of the claim that global warming is a potential crisis and is close to unanimously opposed to cap-and-trade and other energy-rationing measures. Not only is cap-and-trade dead, but there is a good chance that the House next year will move legislation to block or delay the EPA from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The question is, can such a measure pass the Democratic-controlled Senate? There is certainly a majority in the Senate for blocking EPA, but sixty votes will be needed. My guess is that there will be more than sixty votes.

As EPA regulations start to bite next year, Senators will start to hear complaints from their constituents. And a number of Democratic Senators are up for re-election in 2012 and will want to avoid the fate of so many of their colleagues this year. Whether or not the named “fossil fuel“ industries, like Exxon or the Koch Industries, have swayed public opinion, we are unable to say. But one can plainly discern that the authors of the Short Query have a complete lack of understanding of democratic principles when they on one hand complain about completely legal funding by companies, but on the other hand enthusiastically support the billions of dollars and euros in funding that flow to the proponents of the AGW hypothesis.

In addition to state funding of the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the Wuppertal Institute and other green organisations, companies like Münchner Rück Re-Insurer, Siemens and others, and companies in Germany such as BP, and Shell in foreign companies pour millions into the green coffers of environmental organisations as well.

Also stated in the preamble: “In the past weeks various press releases and other reports have appeared in the Financial Times Deutschland and news magazine Der Spiegel about how certain climate change deniers were given a discussion forum by the CDU and FDP Bundestag’s factions and that some parliamentarians of the ruling CDU and FDP factions were sympathetic to the ideas put forth by climate denier Fred Singer.”

As we have already pointed out, here one finds the repeated use of the term "denier", which attempts to destroy the right to freedom of expression, which every parliamentarian is also granted by the German Constitution. Moreover, there is absolutely no evidence – not even from the IPCC, in scientific literature that can be easily checked, that shows climate change is induced by anthropogenic CO2. To the contrary, the views and claims of natural climate change asserted by the climate realists are supported by the main report of the Non-Governmental IPCC NIPCC (see here) with over 4000 peer-reviewed papers listed.

The German summary version of this report "Nature, Not Human Activites, Drive the Climate" lists over 200 peer-reviewed references. Because of these facts, one must have the right to question the fixed belief of the single scientific view that the authors hold, which is in no way shared by the majority of all scientists involved. Moreover, the authors defend this fixed belief using an agenda that is completely foreign to democratic principles.

On question no. 1: 1. Is the German Government aware of a scientifically published paper that has been subjected to peer-review that questions climate change caused by man, and that is supported by scientific data? This question shows that its writers have a complete lack of knowledge of the scientific literature, and they did not even bother to inform themselves. There are numerous papers available in scientific journals. The following question no. 2 also falls into the same category. It even poses the strange question of whether or not climate change is even happening:

"2. In the view of the German Government's leadership, is there a scientific discussion on whether climate change is taking place and whether man has a decisive impact on climate?"

Only an individual who is completely ignorant of climate science would claim there is no climate change. All climates in all the different climate zones on earth change naturally, and have been so for over 4 billion years. Sometimes it changes quickly, and sometimes slowly, and at times abruptly - and of course without human influence, as shown by climate palaeontology.

Question 2 has to be answered with “yes“. Indeed a comprehensive discussion is taking place on whether climate is influenced by man or to what extent. In the scientific literature, the search for anthropogenic influences on climate parameters is referred to as the attribution and detection problem. The facts simply do not change even when attempts are made to silence those who disagree, or to deny them resources or to morally discredit them.

On question no. 3: 3. "Is the German Government aware of the publications from American physicist Fred Singer on the subject of climate protection? How does the German Government view the scientific reputation of Mr Singer in regards to climate protection?"

Also here a search in the Internet would have quickly shown that the scientific publications and honours of Prof. Singer1 are numerous, and include several books. His book "Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1500 Years" was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. A very important publication of his on the subject appeared in the renowned International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society in 2008, which shows that actual observations of climate did not agree with model predictions.

On question 4: 4. For the German Government, do the arguments made by Fred Singer and other arguments presented have merit and are they "enlightening”? How do you assess the statements by Mr Singer that "Politicians that are embedded in climate change are more dangerous than climate change itself?“

The numerous publications by Prof. Singer – especially the above mentioned disagreement between model projections and actual observation – has lead to a broad scientific discussion, and for this reason it should be reasonable and enlightening for the German Government. And when taking into account the extremely high costs arising from the completely useless policy of CO2 prevention and considering that the hard-earned standard of living for future generations of the entire population will be massively impacted, the statements made by Prof. Singer are justified.

Concerning question no. 5: 5. Is the German Government aware of the ideas Mr Singer has previously promoted? What is your view on the fact that he, for example, questioned the hazards of passive smoke, or that he contested the fact the ozone layer was damaged by CFCs, or that he trivialized acid rain? With this background, how does the German Government judge the credibility of Fred Singer's activities with regards to climate protection?

Here the authors, particularly former Wuppertal Institute employee Dr. Hermann Ott, cite claims made by environmental activists (and repeated by careless journalists) without first checking sources. The claims made do not withstand objective review. The target is to discredit the moral credibility of Prof. Singer. What is correct: Singer neither supports smoking, nor passive smoking. He has been a non-smoker his entire life and has never worked for the tobacco industry, whose excise taxes have flowed into all government coffers worldwide. Just recently tobacco taxes have once again been increased in Germany.

Singer only determined that the statistical analysis on passive smoking made by the EPA is faulty, a conclusion that every honest scientists would reach. Hermann Ott and his colleagues misinterpret, either on purpose or just cluelessly, the statements Prof. Singer made on the ozone layer. Singer never questioned the impact of CFC gases on the depletion of ozone. The only question that was discussed was whether or not the natural sources of chlorine from e.g. oceanic salt mist or volcanic activity could play a more major role than CFCs. On the subject of acid rain: A clear answer would have been obtained simply by referring to the plentifully available literature about the German-made phantom of Waldsterben (Dying of Forests). Has this idea never occurred to them?

In question no. 6: 6. Is the German Government aware of who financed Mr Singer for his activities? Is the Federal Government aware of the funders who - like Exxon und Koch Industries in den USA - fund the activities of the climate change deniers in Germany?

As usual, here once again the term “climate denier” pops up. This nonsense has already been addressed numerous times in the past. Here again this is an attempt to attack the freedom of science. Obviously the authors surrounding Mr Ott, believe that only money flowing to “green activists” is morally justifiable. The reality is that the money that the opponents of this new religion receive is orders of magnitude less than the huge sums showered on activists of anthropogenic global climate change that come from an array and state and corporate sources (Münchner Rück, Deutsche Bank, BP, Shell, etc.) as well as various ministries and groups.

Except for funds to Prof Singer from company Exxon for approx. $10,000 about 10 years ago, other funds are unknown. Singer denies receiving all other donations. Until today, his numerous adversaries have yet to produce any proof to support their accusations. And concerning EIKE, it receives exclusively private contributions, donations and fees for studies and presentations.

On question no. 7: 7. Does the German Government share the opinion that events involving Mr Singer provide a forum for the pure interests of the fossil fuel industry, and thus enhance their unscientific work and non-serious activities?

First of all, the so-called fossil fuels industry has made our high standard of living possible. These companies are not criminal and they pay their taxes like every other company does. Although no one has to like them, insinuating that these companies work unscientifically and in a non-serious manner indicates a complete lack of seriousness by those attacking them. The question is rhetorical and non-pertinent. The rights to freedom of expression are not reserved only for certain persons or groups, such as green activists. Every citizen and every private group is guaranteed the right to free expression by the German Constitution, and this includes companies who produce fuel, gas, and coal.

In fact, they are obligated to express themselves in the interest of protecting the jobs and livelihoods of their employees, which are expected to be sacrificed because of the dubious assertions of a man-made climate change.

Because of a lack of research and competence, those posing the questions to the German Government are simply ducking the science put forth by the climate realists. This is demagoguery. Should the German Government answer this question with “yes”, then it would only be putting itself in the same boat as the demagogues.

On question no 8: 8. Are there voices within the German Government who question the anthropogenic causes of climate change? The German government may know this, but it is not obligated to know. According to our knowledge, due to the overwhelming evidence and observation of natural climate change, there is a steadily growing number parliamentarians who question the dogma of man-made climate change. And, looking at the immense damage caused by climate policy so far, this is long overdue.

On question no. 9: 9. How does the German Government view the activities of the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) with regards to climate change? EIKE is supported by Fred Singer. In the Federal Government's view, does the Institute work on the scientific question regarding the subject of climate change?

EIKE is a privately operating scientific think tank and it is known to the German government. Various correspondence have been sent from EIKE to the responsible ministers, under-secretaries and department managers. In particular an open letter which was signed by over 400 scientists and highly qualified citizens was sent to Chancellor Merkel dated 26 July 2009 (here). This open letter still remains unanswered today.

The signatories of the open letter have exercised the rights granted by Article 17 of the German Constitution very seriously, which gives every citizen the right to appeal to a representative of the state. It states: “Every person has the right, either individually or as a group, to make in writing a request or complaint to the appropriate offices and representatives of the citizens“.

For this reason, it is that much more regrettable that an acknowledgement of receipt of this letter still has not been received thus far, thus indicating a rather ominous regard for the Constitution. In addition a letter was forwarded to Environment Minister Dr. Röttgen on 20 June 2010 (here), which in turn was tersely and non-directly responded to by the department director of the Ministry of Environment Josef Schafhausen, who particularly dodged our request a second opinion on the question of climate change be summoned.

The fact is that EIKE supports Dr. Singer, and Dr. Singer supports EIKE. In addition to advising and performing public relations work, EIKE also conducts – without any public funds or support – scientific research on the subject of the fertilization effect of CO2, the quality of historical CO2-temperature and sea level data, the analysis of this data using the most advanced statistical and mathematical methods, and research on the influence of the sun on our climate.

The scientists who work with and for us are working on a voluntary basis for the most part. More information on this can be gladly provided by our members, especially by press spokesman Prof. Dr. Horst-Joachim Lüdecke. It is unknown whether the German Government is aware of this. Other institutions such as PIK or VDI know this.

The remaining questions posed by the parliamentary query are irrelevant, and are at times insistent and slanderous, and are therefore unworthy of response. And finally, to the best of our knowledge, the Friedrich Naumann Stiftung for Liberty has never held an event called Climate Change Deniers in Germany, nor would it support such a conference.

Footnote 1.

Prof. Dr. S. Fred Singer was born in Vienna and is an atmospheric and space physicist, is founder and chairman of the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP), Project Science and Environmental Policy, which is a community research and education organisation in Arlington, Virginia. He is professor emeritus in the field of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. Singer has authored a number of books and scientific articles. Last year he published a second printing of the book he authored together with Dennis T. Avery Unstoppable Global Warming - Every 1,500 Years, Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, which was on the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. His earlier books include The Greenhouse Debate Continued: An Analysis and Criticism of the IPCC Climate Assessment, ICS Press, 1992), Climate Policy - From Rio to Kyoto, Hoover Institution, 2000 and Hot Talk, Cold Science - Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, in dependent Institute, 1997, 1999). Singer was a leading scientist at the US Dept. of Transportation (1987-89), as deputy assistant and administrator for policy in the US Dept. of Environment (1970-71) and acted as deputy assistant secretary for Water Quality and Research in the US Dept. of Interior (1967-70). He also was one of the founders of the School of Environmental and Planetary Sciences (Faculty of Science of the Environment and Planet) at the University of Miami (1964-67), first director of the "National Weather Satellite Service, 1962-64 and Director of the Center for Atmospheric and Space at the University of Maryland (1953-62). In the 1980s, Prof. Singer was Vice Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Oceans and Atmosphere NACOA for period of five years. Currently he is directing the Science and Environmental Policy Project, which he founded in 1990. You can find more information at SEPP website:

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The German Ecological-Industrial Complex

Germans are the most eager sorters of trash. They dutifully bring their light bulbs and batteries to special recycling points, introduced deposits on bottles and cans seven years ago, build tunnels under highways so frogs can safely cross. They fight for every endangered tree and animal. More and more windmills dominate the landscape. Environmental studies is taught in school, and the German chancellor's work for climate protection is one of her trademarks.

Historically and psychologically, this close connection to ecology is understandable. The Germans need some sort of ideology. They've had bad experiences with fascism and communism and had to be painstakingly educated in the ideals of freedom and democratic virtue. So ecology was the right idea at the right time. Germans believe it gives them a vision that puts them, for the first time, on the right side of history, the side of the good and of the future.

This explains the inexorable rise of the Greens. For the last five weeks, the party has been polling ahead of the Social Democrats (SPD), replacing them as the second strongest political force. Only slightly behind the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Greens could even appoint the chancellor in a coalition with the SPD if national elections were held today.

The Greens' voters long ago stopped coming primarily from the left-wing alternative milieu. Their strongest supporters now come from the well-off middle class. According to the polling institute Forsa, 37% of German civil servants would vote Green. Among upper-level civil servants the figure is as high as 41%. Nearly one in three self-employed voters supports the environmental party. Green voters are "well-off post-materialists": Their average household income is higher than that of the supporters of any other party. Workers and retirees go elsewhere.

That said, all of Germany's other parties have long-since discovered ecology as well. Chancellor Angela Merkel was once the federal environmental minister, as was (SPD) leader Sigmar Gabriel. Even the market-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) have turned greenish. The governing CDU-FDP coalition recently adopted the world's most ambitious climate-protection program. "Clean Energy For Everyone" was the slogan. Wind parks in the sea, solar plants, energy storage facilities, energy-saving renovations: The goal is that by 2050, Germany should be able to power itself almost entirely through regenerative energy while the carbon dioxide emissions of all buildings will be reduced to zero.

This will be enormously expensive, but that doesn't bother the Germans. Energy prices have already risen drastically, and Mrs. Merkel has prepared the country for rent increases. "Of course, at first glance not everyone likes that," she says, but in the long run everyone will gain. There is consensus that current generations must bear the main burden of ecologically restructuring Germany's energy system. We're the good guys.

And these days, being good even pays off. Given the increasingly global regulations to curb pollution and carbon emissions, exporting countries hope to make environmentally friendly technology the leading industry of the 21st century. In 15 years, according to a government-sponsored study, green technology will overtake the automobile industry as Germany's core industry. A multi-billion-dollar market has developed, and Germany is the leader in many emerging branches, with a worldwide market share in green technology of around 16%. Some 1.5 million Germans already work in the green industry.

Ecology has become an economic "stimulus" program of sorts. Consumers are forced to buy new versions of expensive everyday products—from refrigerators to cars—not because of age or deterioration, but because they no longer conform to the most recent environmental standards. These norms also serve as wonderful import-defense weapons. No dirty plastic dolls from China can enter, no gene-manipulated food may be purchased. Germany's purity law has turned into a type of national environmentalism. Our morality protects our markets.

But it's the consumer who pays the piper. Climate-friendly retrofitting of Germany's buildings might cost some €2.5 trillion. Building owners can transfer these costs to tenants. That means that rents will rise steeply for years. In Berlin alone, according to estimates by tenants' associations, nearly one in three households will have to move because they will no longer be able to afford their old apartments. This will primarily affect the unemployed and those with low income.

You have to be able to afford ecology. The Greens can, but weaker social groups will suffer. Expensive organic products, kerosene surcharges, gas price increases, higher parking fees, rising energy prices and rents—ecology makes the poor poorer. And for those who can no longer afford to fly to Mallorca, the Greens graciously recommend taking a vacation at home. That will boost domestic tourism.

Those who believe they are on the right side of history may view the social consequences of radical environmentalism, in coldly arrogant tones, as unavoidable collateral damage. And wasn't it always unpleasant for Germany's well-off to share the beaches in exotic vacation locales with simple workingclass families, just because of those cheap charter flights?

The Greens like to portray themselves as fighting against the excesses of capitalism. Now it's clear that the ecological-industrial complex increases inequality more than neo-liberal policies ever could.


Britain's Green Energy Policy Is Killing The Old And Vulnerable

MORE than five million British households will struggle to stay warm this winter and the number of people likely to die in freezing temperatures is set to rise sharply, a leading charity warned yesterday.

There are increasing concerns for poorer pensioners and other vulnerable people, said National Energy Action.

Fuel poverty is defined as when a household needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income keeping warm. Campaigners say it is caused by poorly insulated homes, low incomes, and the continued high cost of energy bills. Gas and electricity prices have soared more than 80 per cent in the last five years.

Just last week British Gas announced a seven per cent hike despite owners Centrica showing profits of more than £2.2billion. The rise comes as the number of families struggling to pay their heating bills reaches 5.5million and excess winter deaths this year are expected to be higher than ever.

Action’s Maria Wardrobe said: “The reality of fuel poverty is living in a cold, damp home, which can lead to health problems and seriously worsen existing conditions such as chest complaints with the possibility of this leading to heart attacks and strokes.

“Fuel poverty will continue to grow at alarming rates unless people are able to reduce their energy bills by a national programme of energy efficiency and Government schemes must be effective at targeting help at the most vulnerable.”


Green Energy As A Threat To Energy Security

Development of abundant power and fuel sources is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost green alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

Current Obama administration battle strategies directed toward futile wars to control climate change and free America from fossil dependence are hindering, not advancing, progress toward lasting energy security. Development of abundant power and fuel sources--which we will continue to rely on--is being restrained by regulatory headlocks in favor of much higher-cost "renewable" and "green" alternatives with relatively scant capacity prospects.

Proponents of such policies would have us imagine an autonomous nation powered and fueled by limitless sunbeams, friendly breezes and amber waves of grain-producing-alcohol that sever reliance upon dirty coal mines, oil rigs and smokestacks (those ugly industries that presently heat our homes, fuel our cars and power our computers). How can we possibly resist such a vision? Well maybe it's a bit easier to do so after we observe European experiences.

The E.U., which like the U.S. relies heavily upon coal and oil, has found little salvation through enormous investments in renewable alternatives. This realization is now causing large measures of buyer's remorse and pain. Members are witnessing their already shaky economies further destabilized by rampant fuel hikes, menacing power shortages and costly, yet unsuccessful, CO2 emission reduction efforts.

Massive European subsidies for expensive wind and solar projects have delivered poor investment/return ratios, and the food-vs.-fuel debate has deflated an earlier biofuels bubble. Loud protests have influenced the Scottish Parliament to deny permission to develop a huge Isle of Lewis wind farm, and other wind proposals have drawn similar opposition due to large land tracts required. Offshore wind farms are extremely costly to build and maintain. Wind is also an intermittent, undependable power source, which is often not in synch with high demand periods.

Much to the chagrin of some U.S. Department of Energy folks and other advocates, a report from Spain discredited the notion of wind power as a job creator, a claim touted by the Obama administration. Researchers at King Juan Carlos University concluded that every "green" job created by the wind industry eliminated 2.2 jobs elsewhere in the Spanish economy. And while the research director Gabriel Calzada Alverez didn't fundamentally object to wind power, he did find that when a government artificially props up the industry with subsidies, higher electrical costs (in Spain's case 31%) and tax hikes (5%) along with government debt follow. Every job created was estimated to cost $800,000 to create, and 90% of these were temporary. Alverez specifically presented lessons for the U.S., warning that potential "self-inflicted wounds" could cost our country 6.6 million jobs if we follow Spain's example.

Does the wind industry create jobs? In all fairness, yes. For example, a new wind farm in West Texas created 2,800 of them. Unfortunately, 2,400 of them were in China, with only about 400 temporary positions in the U.S. And all of the jobs imposed big opportunity costs. The taxpayer subsidies that created them, along with high wind power utility premiums passed on to customers, might have been spent in product and service markets that employed many more.

Solar power, like wind, is a natural, free source of energy--provided that public subsidies and customers of high-priced electricity cover the costs. Also, like wind, it is severely constrained by geography and is intermittent. Very high capital cost is an additional consideration, but let's assume that better technologies come along to cure that problem--as well they might. Even under the best geographical sky and climate conditions there is still a recurring problem. It's called "night."

Europe, like America, sits on vast quantities of coal that are coming to be appreciated more and more. Yet Germany's recently announced plans for many new-generation coal-fired plants have hit a green wall due to environmental resistance to (gasp!) carbon emissions.

The European Commission has finally concluded that nuclear power offers the only clean energy solution that can avert a rapidly approaching energy crisis. Germany has reversed previous intentions to phase nuclear out. Even formerly anti-nuclear Italy, weary of paying the highest electricity prices in Europe, plans to begin building nuclear plants. France, of course, is way ahead of the game. It obtains about 80% of its electricity from nuclear, and is a major global nuclear power technology developer and exporter. [....]

Let's also heed lessons from Europe's failed green adventures: Develop all practical energy alternatives, but let free markets, not government, pick the winners.


The British police have sat on their hands over "Climategate"

by John O'Sullivan

Skeptics refuse to let Climategate go away quietly. As we shall see below - even 12 months on – legal analysts show how climate criminals can still be put behind bars. If only UK police applied a more powerful legal instrument: the Fraud Act (2006) discredited government scientists could be prosecuted today.

Those of us with a modicum of legal training have been saying it all along; with the expertise of the Serious Fraud Office instead of those dawdling backwoods country bobbies, Professor Phil Jones and other accomplices linked with the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia, England could all be put behind bars serving a ten-year stretch.

Any Crown prosecutor would slaver over the evidence against Jones. The leaked emails conclusively proved Jones admitted his criminal intent. Not only did he implicate himself he asked his colleagues to conspire with him to destroy key data because he said he would destroy everything in his possession rather than comply with the law.

Indeed, when the police went in they found that Jones had carried out his threat- all the metadata - the calculations used to dishonestly ‘homogenize’ cooler raw temperatures into warmer ‘official’ data were gone. The ‘Jones dog ate it.’ What more proof does it take get the British government to admit that climate crimes were committed?

Some of us with legal training smelt a rat when the investigation was first entrusted to Norfolk Constabulary. Why was this case, potentially the biggest international criminal fraud of all time palmed off onto plodding country constables?

But then it got worse! Almost immediately it was announced that ‘aiding’ Norfolk’s ‘finest’ was a secretive private police unit, the National Domestic Extremism Team (NDET). Yes, you read that right- a private police unit was in on the act. Now why would this be, we may wonder? Perhaps its may have to do with their pension fund?

And where the hell was the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) when required? The SFO are mandated under law to take over any fraud case where more than £500,000 is involved and/or there’s an international dimension. Moreover, unlike the SFO the NDET were under no obligation to abide by the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act. Like Jones, they got a green light from the authorities to play fast and loose with the evidence and then get away with it.

So throughout the coldest winter for 30 years progress in the investigations froze as completely as the weather. With no SFO in the picture (publicly accountable) and ACPO and NDET not accountable, being totally exempt from freedom of information laws (FOIA) this investigation is going nowhere fast.

Today we see the same navel-gazing mainstream media not telling you the truth about how Jones and his accomplices can still be arrested, tried and jailed under the Fraud Act. Unlike that lesser toothless statute there is no time bar at all under the tougher Fraud Act when hunting down such complex international criminal conspiracies.


End the Ethanol Subsidies

What am I missing? There must be some aspect of our insane energy policies that I fail to appreciate. “We the People” just booted a boatload of spendthrifts out of Congress, after they helped engineer a $1.3 trillion deficit on America’s FY-2010 budget and balloon our cumulative national debt to $13.7 trillion.

The “bipartisan White House deficit reduction panel” chimed in with a 50-page draft proposal, offering suggestions for $3.8 trillion in future budgetary savings. The proposal targets $100 billion in Defense Department weapons programs, healthcare benefits and overseas bases. It also proposes a $13-billion cutback in the federal workforce and lining out $400 million in unnecessary printing costs. And yet, amazingly, not even this independent commission was willing to eliminate the $6-billion sacred cow of annual ethanol subsidies. The current 45-cents-per-gallon tax credit for blending ethanol into gasoline automatically expires December 31, as does the 54-cents-a-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. So all senators and congressmen need to do is nothing, and beleaguered taxpayers will save six billion bucks.

We can only hope. Unfortunately, renewable fuel lobbyists will try to use the lame duck session to perpetuate the special treatment. The National Corn Growers Association, Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, ADM and POET ethanol count as friends incoming House Speaker John Boehner, incoming House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, other influential Republicans and scores of prominent Democrats.

Perhaps if DePuy or Sofamor Danek donates some spinal implants, enough wavering legislators will find the backbone to challenge the subsidizers and ensure a little adult supervision over the budget process. If this election was about anything, it was about ending business as usual, ensuring energy and economic common sense, and not bankrupting the United States. Ethanol and earmarks represent a key litmus test for Republicans and fiscal conservatives. Failure to hold the line will create a rocky road for credibility and progress next year. It should be an easy decision. It’s time for action – or more accurately, inaction.

Federal laws already require that gasoline be 10% ethanol, and EPA has announced that it will now allow up to 15% ethanol blends for cars and trucks built since 2007. These mandates already require that ethanol use increase from 13 billion gallons today to 36 billion by 2022, ensuring profitable markets for corn growers and ethanol producers, without subsidies. Even large corn ethanol producers like Green Plains Energy now say the subsidies are no longer needed.

The subsidies and tariffs only fatten profit margins, reduce competition, increase consumer prices, cause frayed relations with Brazil over barriers to its sugar-cane ethanol entering US markets, and stifle technological innovation that could improve production efficiencies and lessen environmental impacts. As Examiner columnist Timothy Carney observes, “the tax credit won't boost ethanol consumption at all in the future, because the mandate will set demand. So the tax credit will simply subsidize the ethanol that blenders – ie, oil companies – would have bought anyway.”

The corn/ethanol lobby says ending the subsidies would cost up to 160,000 jobs. However, a recent study by leading agricultural economists at Iowa State University concludes that only 300 jobs would be lost. If so, preserving the subsidies works out to $20 million for each job saved. Meanwhile, says Louisiana State University professor Joseph Mason, the Interior Department’s heavy-handed offshore drilling moratorium could cost up to 155,000 Gulf Coast jobs. That’s on top of countless billions of lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax dollars the US Treasury will never see, because Interior, EPA, Congress and the White House have made billions of barrels of offshore, Alaskan and Lower 48 oil and gas off limits.

America could produce 670 billion gallons of oil (including 480 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel) from a splinter of ANWR equal to 1/20 of Washington, DC. Doing so would generate enormous revenues, instead of requiring perpetual subsidies. By contrast, reaching the 36-billion-gallon biofuel mandate would require 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol from cropland and wildlife habitat the size of Georgia, and 21 billion gallons of advanced biofuel from switchgrass grown on additional acreage the size of South Carolina.

Opposition to extending the tax credit and tariffs also comes from a growing coalition of meat and food producers, environmental groups and consumer organizations. They emphasize that corn ethanol production increases corn prices, reduces farmland available for other crops, and drives up the price of beef, pork, poultry, eggs, corn syrup and all groceries made with those products. It means fewer malnourished people can be fed under current USAID and World Food Organization budgets. The coalition also points out that growing and processing corn into ethanol requires enormous amounts of water for every gallon of alcohol fuel produced. (Cornell University agriculture professor David Pimental estimates the inputs at 8,000 gallons of water per gallon of corn-based ethanol.) Much of the water comes from already stressed aquifers – and growing the crops results in significant pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer runoff into our rivers, lakes, bays and oceans.

Producing ethanol from sugar cane carries much lower water demands and environmental impacts. Pro-subsidy factions say $6 billion is pocket change in a $3.6-trillion federal budget. It may indeed be a small step. But all the caterwauling suggests it is a giant step for Congress – and a hugely symbolic one that can no longer be avoided. Moreover, if reductions like this are to be rejected as too trivial to trifle with, how do Nanny State legislators justify their intrusive rules on toilets, washing machines, plastic bags and light bulbs? How do they suppose cash-strapped families balance their budgets? The ethanol mandates are enough interference in what should be a highly competitive marketplace of ideas and technologies for America’s energy future. Congress should not muddy the waters even further, by extending the subsidies and protective tariffs.

(While they’re at it, the lawmakers should also pull the plug on chicken-fat-to-biofuel subsidies. This tax credit is just another unaffordable, feel-good “green energy” boondoggle – that turns waste fat into wasted tax dollars. Reducing effluent streams, garnering positive PR, and selling their “alternative fuel” to oil companies and the Air Force, under utopian biofuel mandates, ought to be adequate incentive.) It should be an easy decision. It merely takes commitment to principles – something our legislators better start discovering, if they want to be around after the next election cycle.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, 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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