Wednesday, November 30, 2011

UN 'expert': climate change could lead to war

It's a good thing we live in an era of exceptional temperature stability, then. Warming is a prophecy. The facts say otherwise

Attempting to begin the United Nations climate change conference with a stirring call to action, one UN official blasted economic markets principles for asphyxiating "time-honored values of humanity" and suggested that failure to act on global warming fears could damage international human rights and destabilize "peace and security."

Describing the climate change conference as a "make or break moment for humanity," UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity Virginia Dandan said in a statement that failure to produce anti-greenhouse gas emissions policies "would impact on the three pillars of the UN – namely, peace and security, development and human rights, and pin the world down to ground zero.”

Dandan claimed a morally superior position to economic critics of global warming policy. “There is great need for a radical mindset change in order to bring back to the negotiating table the time-honoured values of humanity that have been forgotten after decades of market and profit-driven orientation,” she said.

Her logic might assume that some economic benefit would result from lowering greenhouse gas emissions, however, as Dandan called for conference attendees "to face the challenges posed by climate change such as . . . the continuing and widening poverty gap, and the series of food, energy, economic and financial global crises.”

Recently released emails indicate that scientists stoking the fears about global warming have manipulated the data to justify their political policies. One researcher even noted, in a private message, that “observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”


How going green goes against the environment

Going green has nasty un-environmental consequences that rank-and-file greenies either don't know or don't care about.

For example, those multi-acre wind farms not only kill millions of birds while delivering a mere fraction of the electricity compared to nearly every other power source but 420 of them in Pennsylvania killed 10,000 bats last year.

Bats, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, eat millions of crop-destroying insects. Fewer bats ("nature's pesticides") mean more bugs, causing farmers to spend more on chemical pesticides, raising food prices for everyone.

Bats also eat millions of mosquitoes, many of which may carry West Nile virus and other diseases deadly to humans.

The result: Everyone loses except Obama's taxpayer-subsidized "green jobs" cronies.

Meanwhile, localities nationwide are banning both paper and plastic bags, forcing grocery shoppers to switch to those reusable cloth bags.

But after all the tradeoffs are considered, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (PDF), reusable bags require far more energy and other resources to manufacture, and consume energy and water to wash them, so they must be used 103 times before yielding environmental benefits over paper or plastic bags (studies show they're typically reused 51 times).

The impact of swapping America's 193,979,654 fossil-fueled Light duty vehicles (cars, pickups, SUVs, etc., per Bureau of Transportation, 2009) for electric cars has so many negative impacts they can't even be touched in this article. Go to instead.

Problems like increased strip mining for the hazardous metals (lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride, lithium ion, etc.) plus processing to make those $8,000 car batteries that only last three years, and the hundreds of recycling plants and hazardous waste dumps to process the throwaways, all of which are energy intensive, are only the beginning.

What is rarely considered elsewhere, however, is explaining where all of the additional electricity required to keep all those car batteries recharged will come from.

It may mean doubling, tripling or quadrupling the nation's electric grid.

The most likely, realistic, way to do that is building hundreds of new coal-fired power generating plants.

City-dwelling green voters will be happy with their cleaner air, unmindful that the pollution has simply been shifted into other people's backyards out in Flyover Country, along with all those additional strip mines and hazardous waste dumps.

Libertarians rightfully insist that all environmental trade-offs be considered. Otherwise it isn't environmentalism, its just politics.


More Smoking Guns From The Global Warming Establishment

A new release of incriminating e-mail exchanges between leading climate scientists that is now being termed “Climategate II” actually represents but another episode in a continuing scandal that has been taking place for decades. This fraud of massive scope and consequence has served as the basis for arguably the greatest regulatory overreach of all time.

It has been used to justify the EPA’s demands that restrict carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gas” emissions from stationary sources they attribute to causing climate change. Included are electrical power generation facilities, iron and steel mills, pulp and paper mills, cement production, and the construction industry.

The EPA’s “Endangerment Finding” applied to support these actions was based upon politically-manipulated human-caused climate warming conclusions issued by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that were even at odds with findings of its own internal study on the matter. That EPA report stated “given the downward trend in temperatures since 1998 (which some think will continue until at least 2030), there is no particular reason to rush into decisions based upon a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.”

As if the first round of e-mails purloined from the U.K.’s East Anglia University Climate Research Unit (CRU) network weren’t damning enough, the new batch of about 5,000 more obtained through an anonymous source identified as “FOIA” are truly stunning. Many clearly confirm that top IPCC scientists consciously misrepresented and actively withheld important information…then attempted to prevent discovery. Included are CRU’s Director of Research, Phil Jones, the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) climate’s analysis section head, Kevin Trenberth; and beleaguered Penn State University “hockey stick” originator, Michael Mann.

“If there were any doubts remaining after reading the first Climategate e-mails, the new batch of e-mails that appeared on the web today [November 22] make it clear that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an organized conspiracy dedicated to tricking the world into believing that global warming is a crisis that requires a drastic response,” said Myron Ebell, Director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Energy and Environment. “Several of the new e-mails show that the scientists involved in doctoring the IPCC reports are very aware that the energy-rationing policies that their junk science is meant to support would cost trillions of dollars.”

Phil Jones, who served as a lead author for one of the key chapters in IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (2007), leaves no doubt of intentions to keep embarrassing and conspiratorial disclosures under tight wraps:
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working on AR5 would be to delete all e-mails at the end of the process. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (U.S. Department of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.

In another e-mail Jones admits that the climate models alarmist claims have been built upon can’t be trusted: “Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds. …what he [Zwiers] has done comes to a different conclusion than Caspar and Gene! I reckon this can be saved by careful wording.”

Jones certainly isn’t alone in recognizing serious credibility problems posed by continued use of model-based climate forecasts. Regarding the “future of IPCC”, one scientist observes, “It is inconceivable that policymakers will be willing to make billion-and trillion-dollar decisions for adaptation to the projected regional climate change based on models that do not even describe and simulate the processes that are the building blocks of climate variability.” Another admits: “…clearly, some tuning or very good luck [is] involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” Tom Wigley of the NCAR complained in still another exchange: “Mike, the Figure you sent is very deceptive … there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC …”

After NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth found he couldn’t defend his correlation between global warming and extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes based upon Northern Hemisphere records, he instead advocated shifting IPCC report references to Japan events: “… opposing some things said by people like Chris Landsea who has said all the stuff going on is natural variability. In addition to the 4 hurricanes hitting Florida, there has been a record number hit Japan 10?? and I saw a report saying Japanese scientists had linked this to global warming … I am leaning toward the idea of getting a box on changes in hurricanes, perhaps written by a Japanese.” Phil Jones agreed, writing, “We can put a note in that something will be there in the next draft, or Kevin or I will write something – it depends on whether and what we get from Japan.”

Jones was anxious to get the warming-hurricane connection into the scientific literature. He wrote in another e-mail to Trenberth: “Kevin, Seems that this potential Nature [journal] paper may be worth citing, if it does say that GW [global warming] is having an effect on TC [tropical cyclone] activity.” And in another communication Jones wanted to make sure that people who supported this connection be represented in IPCC reviews. “Getting people we know and trust [into IPCC] is vital – hence my comment about the tornadoes group.”

Several exchanges reveal that certain researchers believed well-intentioned ideology trumped objective science. Jonathan Overpeck, a coordinating lead IPCC report author, stated: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guid[e] what’s included and what is left out.”

Referring to his alarmist blog site, Michael Mann was obviously motivated to get his message out. He wrote: “… the important thing is to make sure they’re [the skeptics are] lo[o]sing the PR battle. That’s what the site [] is about.”

Some scientists candidly criticized Mann’s research competency and objectivity. John Mitchell of the U.K. Hadley Center’s Met Office rhetorically asked:
Is the PCA [principal components analysis] approach robust? Are the results statistically significant? It seems to me that in the case of MBH [one of the key hockey stick articles authored by Mann, Raymond S. Bradley, and Malcolm K. Hughes] the answer in each is no.

Even Raymond Bradley, Mann’s co-author for his most infamous hockey stick paper, took issue with another article jointly published by Mann and Jones, stating: “I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL [Geophysical Research Letters] paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction.” Rutgers University scientist G.H. Cook commented, “I am afraid that Mike [Mann] is defending something that increasingly can not be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.”

And just how important are real facts? Tom Crowley, a key member of Mann’s global warming hockey team, didn’t seem overly concerned when he stated: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” However another researcher saw a problem with this reasoning: “What if climate change appears to be just mainly a multi-decadal natural fluctuation? They’ll kill us probably…”

Writing to Jones, Peter Thorne of the U.K. Met Office also advised caution, saying: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary…” In another e-mail he stated: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.”

Yes, and that political spin has already been exceedingly costly. The U.S. Government Accounting Office (GAO) reports that federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010 (a total $106.7 billion over that period). This doesn’t include $79 billion more spent for climate change technology research, tax breaks for “green energy”, foreign aid to help other countries address “climate problems”; another $16.1 billion since 1993 in federal revenue losses due to green energy subsidies; or still another $26 billion earmarked for climate change programs and related activities in the 2009 “Stimulus Bill”.

Virtually all of this is based upon unfounded representations that we are experiencing a known human-caused climate crisis, a claim based upon speculative theories, contrived data and totally unproven modeling predictions. And what redemptive solutions are urgently implored? We must give lots of money to the U.N. to redistribute; abandon fossil fuel use in favor of heavily subsidized but assuredly abundant, “free”, and “renewable” alternatives; and empower expanding government bureaucracies to protect us from free market excesses.

During an interview with Thalia Assuras of Energy Now News last week, EPA chief Lisa Jackson was asked about the agency’s regulatory boom and the resulting mass retirements of coal-fired plants which provide the majority share of all U.S. electricity. First she correctly denied that the EPA requires shutting down any plants. Of course, she’s right…EPA only writes rules so stringent that they are no longer economic to operate.

Then Jackson went on to explain:
No, I can’t say what a business will decide to do. Some businesses are investing in nuclear, some are looking at natural gas. There are some states that are leading the way on solar and wind…What EPA’s role is to do is to level the playing field so that pollution costs are not exported to the population but rather companies have to look at the pollution potential of any fuel or any process or any plant or any utility when they’re making investment decisions.

So let’s be really sure we understand. The EPA’s latest new role is to “level the playing field”? And by “pollution”, we’re referring here to CO2…the basic nutrient all plants (and thereby all animals) depend upon to live?

Might it be way past time to tromp large carbon footprints on some deserving bureaucrat butts?


Watching The Wheels Come Off The Green Machine

The body count continues to rise as the Green Jobs Revolution sputters its way to the end of a disastrous 2011. Few seemed to notice last week when the electric vehicle maker A123 Systems—poster child for successful clean tech investing—“temporarily” laid off 125 workers at its flagship manufacturing plants in Michigan on the eve of the Thanksgiving media break. It also reduced its earnings guidance for 2011 by $45 million, because its anchor customer, Fisker Automotive, “unexpectedly” delayed the production ramp-up for its Karma luxury electric car—again.

Could these be the same plants that Democratic congressional leaders hailed as the birth of a new era in American manufacturing? The same plants that received a $249 million U.S. Department of Energy grant from the same stimulus money bucket that funded Solyndra? The same plants for which Michigan shelled out $125 million in incentives to lure away from Massachusetts?

Environmentally correct planners put all this public money to work to relieve the technology bottleneck they believed held back our transition to electric cars. So they invested my money and yours into building the largest lithium ion automotive battery plant in North America—to supply a Finnish electric car manufacturer backed by Al Gore’s venture capital fund and which received $529 million in federal loan guarantees. That Finnish manufacturer was supposed to begin production in 2009, but to date has only shipped 40 cars into the U.S. Those cars were delivered to a handful of millionaires and billionaires like Leonardo DeCaprio and Ray Lane who received tax credits because they bought an electric car.

You can’t make this stuff up. Unless you are a central planner; then you can make up anything you want and get away with it as long as taxpayers keep writing checks, politicians keep spinning tales, and pundits keep giving them intellectual cover.

The coming glut of automotive lithium ion batteries will make for quite a fire sale. Forecasts made as recently as three months ago predicted that electric cars would become the leading application for lithium ion batteries by 2015, surpassing laptop PCs and other handheld devices. Who are they kidding? How many portable electronic devices do you own? How many electric cars have you ever even seen? By any rational standard the introduction of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, with fewer than 2,000 units sold between them last month, can only be described as disasters.

Investors who piled into the car battery market attracted by the flow of federal largesse had better put on their crash helmets. It’s going to get ugly when the reverse multiplier effect leverages hundreds of millions of public money into billions in private losses.

Watch this space for the post mortem when A123 is forced to declare bankruptcy just in time for the 2012 presidential election. Of course, this won’t happen until after the company blows through its next $134 million in scheduled DOE grants. Investigations to follow.

What is it that green planners don’t understand about the complexities of re-engineering an entire ecosystem? Do they think they’ll get an A for effort if they get a few pieces of the supply chain to work just as the rest come crashing down around them? Do they believe they can simply mothball the A123 plant while someone else figures out how to design and build an electric car that customers actually want?

Or maybe they believe all these problems can be fixed by forcing consumers to buy electric cars. After all, if we can be forced to buy health insurance, why not electric cars?

As silly as that sounds, this seems to be EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s plan. She recently overruled Congress by issuing regulations calling for America’s fleet of passenger vehicles to meet an average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Overruled Congress? Yes, by declaring carbon dioxide—the stuff you and I breathe out and plants breath in—a pollutant, the EPA seeks to trump Congress’s 2007 CAFE legislation by twisting the 1990 Amendments to the Clean Air Act beyond all recognition, thereby granting itself authority to enact fuel economy standards where none exists. Meanwhile, it dares a dysfunctional Congress to halt this unconstitutional power grab.

The EPA estimates that compliance with the new rules will cost Americans “only” $157 billion. Estimates weren’t provided for the additional highway deaths that would ensue when vehicle weights have to be reduced to meet the standard. But why should lives and money matter when green ideology is at stake?

One of the key tenets of activist government is that the failures of central planning can always be solved with more central planning, just as failed spending programs can be fixed with more spending. All it takes is the will to reallocate resources from the private sector to the state, along with the courage to forge ahead no matter how many failures pile up. President Obama has made this approach the centerpiece of his “We Can’t Wait” campaign, issuing a stream of executive orders to demonstrate his leadership abilities.

Leadership, indeed. But to where?


‘Prepare To Have That Puddle in Your Back Yard Regulated’

Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has used the Clean Air Act to broaden the scope of their authority way beyond its original intention with rules like MACT and CSAPR, the Clean Water Act is becoming a tool of overreach by the out of control agency.

Barack Obama and the EPA’s Lisa Jackson have made it clear through their actions that they will circumvent the legislature by using regulatory enforcement to enact Obama’s green dreams, and now it seems that circumvention includes the Supreme Court of the United States.

During the Bush presidency, a series of Supreme Court decisions acknowledged the limits of reach for the Clean Water Act. Most notably, the Supreme Court clarified that federal jurisdiction did not extend to wetlands and other “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Through the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Country v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Raponos v. U.S. (2006) the Supreme Court established that private property rights still mattered even in light of the Clean Water Act and that the federal government did not have authority over them.

This of course isn’t stopping Barack Obama and Lisa Jackson from moving forward anyway.

It’s important to remember the original purpose of the Clean Water Act (1972). It gives the federal government and the EPA the authority to regulate “navigable waterways.” In other words, not a ditch out front with a lot of water in it and certainly not acres upon acres of private or state owned wetlands. Yet, regulating these types of waters is precisely what the EPA is in the midst of doing.

The Army Corps (pronounced core) of Engineers and the EPA are in the process of finalizing “Draft Guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act,” which is a fancy way of saying “we’re going to go out and change the definition of certain bodies of water so that we can pretend they fall within the Supreme Court’s definitions.”

The Barrasso-Heller Amendment, introduced by Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), was created to prevent the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA from incorporating those Obama changes into the regulatory guidelines, which serves the purpose of distinguishing precisely what the Supreme Court had already covered when it established the clear limitations of the Act.


Australia: Growling grass frog cost $2.6 billion

A SMALL green frog could stop up to 66,000 houses being built and prevent $2.6 billion in development. A draft report on saving the growling grass frog has recommended the State Government declare 4400ha of the city's growth corridor off limits for developers.

Landowners say properties have been made worthless and question whether the frog is endangered.

The draft report calls for 200m no-go zones beside waterways in Melbourne's growth zones where the frogs are found.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said he sympathised with developers, blaming an environmental agreement between the previous government and Canberra, which was adding thousands of dollars to the price of housing blocks.

"I don't know if it is endangered," he said. "All I know is it is a frog that is worth a lot of money in terms of land lots and is holding up a huge amount in our growth corridors and I question the arbitrary nature of some of the distances imposed by the Federal Government."

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke said arrangements with the Victorian Government meant developments on Melbourne's fringe no longer needed individual assessments. "If the Victorian Government wishes to throw out the strategic assessment then we can go back to individual project assessments," he said. "This will increase the time it takes for approvals which will drive up the cost of housing."

Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Tony De Domenico said the frogs would drive the price of house blocks up by $5000 in some areas.

"We've been frustrated by growling grass frogs, bandicoots, legless lizards, mouthless moths, and the golden sun moth in particular," he said. "Some of these so-called endangered species are so endemic they are found everywhere."



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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Anger at aid to help Africa cope with climate change: As UK faces economic meltdown, ministers hand over £330m

Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash is to be poured into Africa to help it cope with the impact of climate change.

The £330million handout will be spent over the next four years on schemes to install solar power plants and encouraging investment in low-carbon transport.

One of the main beneficiaries will be South Africa, a country which is prosperous enough to have its own space agency.

Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem energy secretary, will unveil the foreign aid package at a United Nations summit on climate change which opens today.

The largesse will fuel criticism from Tory backbenchers over David Cameron’s promise to increase UK spending on aid at a time when public services in Britain are facing swingeing cuts.

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: ‘It is completely unjustifiable to spend so much money at a time when we’re reducing the number of police officers in this country.’

Fellow Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘What makes it worse is that much of the aid budget is spent on things that are not really benefiting developing countries. The answer is trade, not aid.’

In a sign that the Government is pulling in different directions on environmental policy, George Osborne will announce tomorrow that the Treasury will offer £250million in tax breaks to firms hit by Mr Huhne’s climate change policies.

He will use his Autumn Statement – effectively a mini-Budget – to help companies that use large amounts of energy after being warned that Britain’s plans to cut carbon emissions faster than our competitors was driving business abroad.

Energy-intensive firms such as cement, aluminium and steel makers will get 95 per cent relief from the climate change levy as well as tens of millions of pounds to offset new carbon levies. Mr Osborne insists Britain should not seek to lead the world in cutting emissions and that he is not prepared to bankrupt British businesses by putting them at a competitive disadvantage.

But Mr Huhne is pressing ahead with spending taxpayers’ money promoting green policies in the rest of the world.

In the second week of the UN climate change conference in the South African city of Durban, he is expected to say the aid will go towards a variety of anti-climate change schemes, such as helping African farmers protect their crops against flooding and drought, installing solar panels in villages, and building slurry pits to produce gas for generators.

Projects to target illegal logging in tropical forests will also get cash.

Ethiopia and Rwanda are expected to benefit, as well as South Africa, the most developed country on the continent with an economy which grew far faster than Britain’s last year.

It is not known whether the money will go straight to governments or whether it will be channelled via charities and companies.

Some £282.5million has already been allocated towards aid for foreign climate-change projects. But next week’s announcement will see hundreds of millions more allocated to African climate-change projects by 2015.

Last night critics questioned whether so much money should continue to be ploughed into Africa, where aid money has a history of disappearing as a result of corruption. Just last week, an independent watchdog found that the rapid expansion of Britain’s international aid programme has left it increasingly exposed to fraud.

Julian Morris, president of the London-based think tank International Policy Network, said Mr Huhne’s announcement would be seen as a ‘bribe’.
A NASA thermal satellite image shows the world's arctic surface temperature trends. Experts have warned that levels of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change have reached a record high

A NASA thermal satellite image shows the world's arctic surface temperature trends. Experts have warned that levels of the greenhouse gases that drive climate change have reached a record high

‘The timing seems to be a cynical move by the British Government,’ he said.

‘It suggests this is an attempt to bribe African governments to sign up to whatever deals the British Government wants them to sign up to in Durban. The money will almost certainly go to foreign governments and do little to improve the lot of the poor.’

Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘The Government should be freezing international aid, not increasing it.

‘Rather than throwing money away on corruption and programmes that deliver little of real substance, aid should be targeted at the world’s poorest who really need help.’

A spokesman for Mr Huhne’s Department for Energy and Climate Change would not confirm the total amount, and said it was not new money as it will be drawn from the Coalition’s fully- funded £2.9billion International Climate Fund.

Last night Business Department sources said Vince Cable had been instrumental in raising his concern about the cost of energy and climate change policies on manufacturing businesses, writing to the Prime Minister and George Osborne on the issue in April.

‘They have made considerable capital investment in their British plants to make sure they are energy efficient. This investment shows their commitment to the UK,’ said one.

‘That’s why it’s so vital we don’t repay their faith in Britain with the introduction of a hefty tax, which could see them relocate and result in the loss of British jobs and do nothing about reducing global carbon emissions.’


Nuclear power? Yes please!: A former British opponent does an about-face

By Fred Pearce (Fred Pearce is an author and environmental consultant at New Scientist magazine)

I never thought I’d say this – but the future is nuclear. Or it should be. And I urge Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne – who, like me, has been an opponent of nuclear power – to embrace that future. Our energy bills depend on it. And so may our climate.

Huhne’s ‘green tax’ sparked anger last week as it became clear that this surcharge on our energy bills will rise to £280 a year for every household by the end of the decade.

For what? Some of the revenue from the tax, currently set at £89 per household, goes to pay for renewable energy projects such as the sleek and costly offshore wind turbines sprouting across the North Sea. But don’t worry, Huhne says, because the tax will also pay to cut our need for energy by subsidising home insulation, better boilers and the like. We will all end up better off.

There is a deal of scepticism about that claim. And many people would prefer a couple of hundred quid in their pockets than a pile of foam insulation in their loft.

To be fair to Huhne, our current high energy bills are not mainly because of the green tax. The real problem for now is rising prices for gas and other fuels. But behind the immediate stink is a bigger issue. How do we want to get our electricity in future?

The truth is that our energy industry is in a mess. Ever since privatisation, the utilities have been mired in short-term thinking and have failed to invest. The big power stations built by the old Central Electricity Generating Board are reaching the end of their lives.

Unless Huhne does something to replace them, he will be remembered as the Minister who left us huddled over candles as well as forking out for a green tax.

Hopefully, Chancellor George Osborne will kick-start that process on Tuesday by announcing plans to accelerate infrastructure building as a recession-busting measure. But that still begs the question: What should we build? Should we opt for burning coal and gas, irradiating uranium or using Huhne’s green tax to harness the winds and tides?

In my judgment any long-term planning that ignores climate change is not just anti-green but botched business. Climate change is real. Admittedly, there are big uncertainties about how fast it will proceed, and what havoc it could cause. But the billions of tons of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere each year by burning coal, oil and gas are trapping ever more of the sun’s heat. That’s 200-year-old physics.

So the world is going to have to move to low-carbon energy – and the sooner we get on this road the better. In Britain, now is the perfect time. And here is the good news. We don’t have to pay through the nose for a low-carbon future. All we have to do is to conquer our fear of nuclear power.

In fact, I see no sensible low-carbon future that does not involve a lot of nuclear power.

Here’s why. First, by most measures nuclear is much greener than renewables. Yes, you read that right. Like them, it is indisputably low-carbon. No carbon is burned in a nuclear reactor, so no carbon dioxide is produced.

But because you can get gigawatts of power from one site, nuclear is the only form of low-carbon energy that won’t blight the British countryside with wind turbines, solar panels or fleets of new pylons. Even better, because we have plenty of nuclear sites across the country where old power plants are shutting, new ones can be slotted in easily.

Second, nuclear is cheap. It is not yet quite as cheap as coal or gas but it is only half the cost of offshore wind, and an even better bargain compared with solar panels or tidal power. That calculation, incidentally, includes the huge costs of handling spent nuclear fuel and decommissioning the reactor when its days are done.

Third, nuclear is doable. France spotted this long ago. Starting in the Seventies, it fitted itself out with enough nukes to power most of the country – in just a decade. France now has some of the cheapest electricity in Europe. And the company that did it, EDF, would love to do the same here.

Of course, nuclear has a PR problem. Some say it is unsafe. Yet even when nature threw a magnitude-nine earthquake and a 50 ft tsunami at a clapped-out Japanese nuclear plant at Fukushima this year, the meltdown failed to kill anyone.

Then the German government announced it would phase out all its nuclear power plants by 2022. But that was a big environmental own goal for a country supposedly dedicated to fighting climate change because coal will be the big winner. Germany’s carbon emissions will rise as a result. Nice work, greens.

Some say we can’t handle the waste. Britain is sitting on enough high-level nuclear waste to fill three Olympic swimming pools, and enough intermediate waste to fill a supertanker. It’s all waiting for a final resting place. But for that we can blame vehement environmental opposition to every proposed burial site.

For the greens to argue that nuclear technology must be abandoned because disposal routes haven’t been secured is a bit rich. They are largely to blame. Even so, the radioactive nasties are mollycoddled in storage. It costs us £2 billion a year (thanks again, greens) but it is safe.

I fear the millions of tons of carbon dioxide spewing out of the coal-fired behemoths at Drax and Ferrybridge, Fiddlers Ferry and Didcot far more than the radiation that is under lock and key at Sellafield. If scientists are anything like right in their climate predictions, those carbon emissions are killing machines for the future.

Many greens – including Huhne before he became a Minister – like to believe that we can ban nukes and still banish climate change. But by throwing away the nuclear option, we would be throwing away the best – and cheapest – way of making big cuts in carbon emissions.

Their muddled thinking is in danger of pushing up our energy bills and peppering the countryside with wind turbines – without fixing the climate.

The Government’s Committee on Climate Change was right this year to conclude that nuclear is ‘the most cost-effective of the low-carbon technologies’ and might generate 40 per cent of our power by 2030. But we have to choose now.

As Huhne told the Royal Society in London last month, ‘time is running out ..... a quarter of our power stations will close by the end of the decade’. We need a new generation of power stations urgently.

We will need renewables and nuclear. Will Huhne bite the bullet? His website contains abundant evidence of his past opposition. ‘Nuclear power not needed to meet climate targets’ is the headline on one item from 2007.

But it is needed. If Huhne doesn’t make it happen, he will indeed be guilty of squandering our green taxes.


Dump the EPA

Like a bad lover, the EPA is a nagging, beguiling mooch. The EPA unconstitutionally barged into our lives and we need to break free from this destructive relationship; let’s give the EPA a two-letter title beginning with ‘E’ and ending with ‘X.’

President Nixon formed a group called the President’s Advisory Council on Executive Organization to help him sidestep Congress and mold public policy. On April 29, 1970, the Council wrote a memo advising Nixon to establish: “an Environmental Protection Administration, a new independent agency of the Executive Branch. … [and the] Executive Branch should be so structured that a high order of public interest is served in making policy, rather than a narrower advocacy position.”

Four decades later, the EPA has grown into the President’s pet behemoth—a darling dragon he can fly to over Congress and blow fire onto America’s energy producers and job creators.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson recently told University of Wisconsin-Madison students that she is proud to work for a President who will bypass Congress and create his own rules via executive order: ‘I’m proud to be part of an EPA that has mobilized science and the law to create modern and innovative protections for the health of the American people. I’m also proud to be working for a president who has said that “we can’t wait” on these issues.’

Jackson may think our President is a king. Yet the Constitution prohibits the President from making laws or delegating lawmaking to an extra-Congressional committee. Federalist and framer Alexander Hamilton explains in “The Federalist No. 78” that Congress controls the purse strings and makes laws while the president merely enforces the laws: “The Executive ... holds the sword of the community.”

I’m sure Alexander Hamilton would slap the President’s hand if he caught him in the cookie jar—seizing taxpayer dollars from the federal purse to sustain an extra-Congressional, policy-making agency like the EPA.

We already have Congress to make laws; we don’t need the EPA. “It has long been clear to me that elected representatives should write the rules, not the EPA,” Sen. Lindsey Graham has said.

The EPA’s regulations are so burdensome, sweeping and impractical that it’s nearly impossible for energy companies to comply without going out of business. Hence, businesspeople in the energy industry increasingly find themselves facing enormous fines and even criminal allegations.

In Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged,” a state scientist quips: “Did you really think we want those laws to be observed? We want them broken. … We’re after power and we mean it. … There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them.”

Case in point: The April 20, 2010 BP oil rig explosion off the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and caused oil to seep uncontrollably for 87 days. When this fatal environmental accident occurred on the EPA’s watch, the EPA’s regulators and enforcement partners within the Interior Department blamed the oil industry instead of owning up to their incompetence and deceit.

The Federal Government has charged BP as a “responsible party” in the spill and BP has set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims. The Justice Department is also leading a criminal investigation into the spill.

Certainly BP’s laxity played a role in the accident. However, BP relied on government regulators and engineers who approved the use of a seal that had far too much cement and indeed reports now show that the excessive cement triggered the fatal explosion.

The government approved the faulty seal and granted BP a "categorical exemption" from performing an environmental impact analysis on its Gulf of Mexico lease less than two weeks before the spill. Who are the “criminals” here? BP executives or the environmental regulators who governed BP?

Per a 2007 Supreme Court Decision, the EPA has the authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases—only if scientific data shows that greenhouse gases endanger public health.

But in September, the Associated Press revealed an internal government watchdog report: “The Obama administration cut corners…” because the EPA issued “controversial and expensive regulations to control greenhouse gases for the first time” despite the fact that the EPA did not conduct sufficient scientific studies to determine whether greenhouse gas emissions do in fact “pose dangers to human health and welfare.”

Today, tens of thousands of oil jobs (and therefore the public health) are in jeopardy because President Obama is citing faulty EPA data on greenhouse emissions to delay building the Keystone XL pipeline.

The EPA claims to be “working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.” Instead, the EPA places the environment and public health in jeopardy. Let’s dump the EPA.


More desertions from the Warmist cause at Durban

As this year's UN climate summit opens, some of the developing world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters are bidding to delay talks on a new global agreement. To the anger of small islands states, India and Brazil have joined rich nations in wanting to start talks on a legal deal no earlier than 2015.

The EU and climate-vulnerable blocs want to start as soon as possible, and have the deal finalised by 2015.

The UN summit, in Durban, South Africa, may make progress in a few areas. "We are in Durban with one purpose: to find a common solution that will secure a future to generations to come," said Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa's minister of international relations, who is chairing the summit.

But the process of finding that common solution, in the form of an agreement that can constrain greeenhouse gas emissions enough to keep the global average temperature rise below 2C, will entail some complex and difficult politics.

Developing countries will certainly target rich governments such as Japan, Canada and Russia over their refusal to commit to new emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol, whose current targets expire at the end of next year. They see this as a breach of previous commitments and of trust. But some observers say small island states may begin "naming and shaming" developing countries that are also delaying progress.

They say the impasse should not delay talks on a new deal, arguing that to do so would be, in one delegate's wording, "the politics of mutually-assured destruction".

The politics of the UN climate process are undergoing something of a fundamental transformation.

Increasingly, countries are dividing into one group that wants a new global treaty as soon as possible - the EU plus lots of developing countries - and another that prefers a delay and perhaps something less rigorous than a full treaty.

The divide was evident earlier this month at the Major Economies Forum (MEF) meeting in Arlington, US - the body that includes 17 of the world's highest-polluting nations.

There, the UK and others argued that the Durban summit should agree to begin work on a new global agreement immediately, to have it in place by 2015, and operating by 2020 at the very latest.

The US, Russia and Japan were already arguing for a longer timeframe.

But BBC News has learned that at the MEF meeting, Brazil and India took the same position. Brazil wants the period 2012-15 to be a "reflection phase", while India suggested it should be a "technical/scientific period".

China, now the world's biggest emitter, is said by sources to be more flexible, though its top priority for Durban is the Kyoto Protocol.

And as the US left the protocol years ago, nations still signed on account only for about 15% of global emissions - which is why there is so much emphasis on a new instrument, with some legal force, covering all countries.

Cooling wish

The US, Russia, Japan and Canada have all argued for delaying negotiations on this for various domestic political reasons.
EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard Connie Hedegaard's EU is increasingly isolated among the industrialised world bloc

But the news that big developing countries are also lobbying for a delay is likely to lead to fireworks in Durban....

More here

Greenpeace behind climate "research"

Research with a foreordained conclusion is not research. It's fraud

From the Climategate 2.0 collection, Imperial College’s Sebastian Catovsky is “collaborating” with Greenpeace and he solicits the University of East Anglia’s to do the same:
Dear Dr Hulme,

I’m currently a post-doc at Imperial College Silwood Park working predominantly on impacts of global change on natural ecosystems. Recently, however, I’ve begun a collaboration with Greenpeace UK to look at direct impacts of climate change on humans. Greenpeace are keen to relate global issues in climate change to local effects in the UK – so that people can better see the consequences of changing energy consumption patterns. Greenpeace have this idea of distinguishing inevitable changes in climate from those that are avoidable if we reduce fossil fuel use. That way, people can recognize how their actions can achieve something tangible. They’d like to pinpoint specific areas in the UK that will be most sensitive to future climate changes – e.g. certain coastal areas if sea level rises.

Anyway, they drafted me in to tackle this from a scientific standpoint.

After some hard thinking, I’ve begun to think that some of the new IPCC Climate Scenarios reflect the inevitable vs. avoidable distinction very well. The A1 family of scenarios reflect a range of emission trajectories that clearly characterize different levels of fossil fuel dependence, from intensive use (A1FI) to alternative energy sources (A1T). Using these scenarios to drive our climate predictions would clearly highlight which impacts are avoidable if we take action now. I’d been now thinking about how we could specifically utilize these scenarios to develop some tangible climate impacts, and Doug Parr at Greenpeace mentioned your name. I think Greenpeace would be interested in investing some resources in the project if we could produce some testible hypotheses about effects of reducing fossil fuel use on UK climate…

I wonder if you’d be interested in collaborating in such a project. I’d be delighted to hear your thoughts on the matter, either way. At the moment, the project is quite fluid. Obviously, I’d expect to take on the bulk of the work – but I have no experience with running climate simulations etc., so I’d need a kick-start with someone with more experience in climate change modelling. I’d hope that we could benefit from funding from Greenpeace, and at least one credible scientific publication out of the work.

Let me know your thoughts on this matter. I’d be happy to talk further with you on the phone, if it’s more convenient.

Best regards,


Scientists Behaving Badly

More nails for the coffin of man-made global warming

Global-warming skeptics spend much of their time knocking down the fatuous warmist claim that the science is settled. According to the warmists, this singular piece of settled science is attested to by hundreds or thousands of highly credentialed scientists. In truth, virtually the entire warmist edifice is built around a small, tightly knit coterie of persons (one hesitates to refer to folks with so little respect for the scientific method as scientists) willing to falsify data and manipulate findings; or, to put it bluntly, to lie in order to push a political agenda not supported by empirical evidence. This is what made the original release of the Climategate e-mails from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia so valuable. They clearly identified the politicized core of climate watchers who were driving the entire warmist agenda. Following in their footsteps are all the other scientists who built their own research on top of the fraudulent data produced by the warmist core.

Last week over 5,000 new e-mails, already dubbed Climategate 2, were released. Anyone still desiring to contest the assertion that only a few persons controlled the entire warmist agenda will be brought up short by this note from one warmist protesting that his opinions were not getting the hearing they deserved: “It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.” Over the years this core group, led by Phil Jones at East Anglia and Michael Mann at Penn State, became so close that even those inclined toward more honest appraisals of the state of climate science were hesitant to rock the boat. As one warm-monger states: “I am not convinced that the ‘truth’ is always worth reaching if it is at the cost of damaged personal relationships.” Silly me, how many years have I wasted believing that the very point of science was to pursue the truth in the face of all obstacles. On the basis of this evidence the scientific method must be rewritten so as to state: “Science must be as objective as possible, unless it offends your friends.”

Unfortunately, from the very beginning, the core group at the heart of Climategate had no interest in “scientific truth.” As one states: “The trick may be to decide on the main message and use that to guide what’s included and what is left out.” In other words, let’s decide on a conclusion and then use only evidence that proves that point, discarding everything else. One scientist who seems to have been slightly troubled by these methods wrote: “I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it, which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.” In another note to Phil Jones, this same scientist complained: “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.”

Of course, nothing of the sort was done. As one e-mail states: “The figure you sent is very deceptive . . . there have been a number of dishonest presentations of model results by individual authors and by IPCC [the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change].” Too bad these so-called scientists felt they could tell the truth only to one another and not the public at large. Some of the other truths they shared only with one another are astounding. For instance, one writes: “I find myself in the strange position of being very skeptical of the quality of all present reconstructions, yet sounding like a pro greenhouse zealot here!” So, despite having no confidence in any of the models the IPCC was using in its reports, this scientist was ready to support the IPCC findings to the hilt. And why didn’t he believe the models? Easy: They were designed to tell the big lie. For example, when confronted with the problem that if all the data were included, the warming disappeared, Phil Jones turned to a novel method: He used only “[time] periods that showed warming.”

At one point, Jones admits that the “basic problem is that all of the models are wrong.” Of course, there is a simple reason for this. When the models do not show what the warmists want them to show, they simply apply “some tuning.” One scientist was worried enough about this “tuning” to write that he “doubt[ed] the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer.” In this case, “tuning” means changing the model until it tells you what you want it to. When it became impossible to torture the models any further without making their uselessness apparent to all, the warmists resorted to changing the data.

The most efficient method of corrupting the models was to use data only from time periods when there was warming and discard others, as Jones admits to doing. This method helped one scientist reduce the cooling in the northern hemisphere between 1940 and 1970, so that he did not have to make up an excuse blaming it on sulphates, which could not be proven. Another complains that no matter how much he fiddles with the data, it is “very difficult to make the Medieval Warming Period go away.” Solving this problem in the modern era was much easier: The warmists merely changed the temperature readings for much of the 20th century and threw away the original data.

Why? One e-mail clearly explains what was at stake: ”I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made to look foolish.” In other words, all the scientific lying was a result of scientists trying to give their political masters a major issue they could use to control people’s lives and justify wasting trillions of dollars. Success, as one warmist stated, rested on somehow convincing the public that “limate change is extremely complicated, BUT to accept the dominant view that people are affecting it, and that impacts produces risk that needs careful and urgent attention.” In other words, climate science is too complex for the simpleton voters, who must be made to believe that unless we wreck the global economy the planet will bake. As Michael Mann says in one e-mail: “the important thing is to make sure they’re losing the PR battle.” Moving even further away from their original calling as scientists, the warmists spend considerable time discussing the tactics of convincing the masses that global warming should be a major concern. For instance, one states: “Having established scale and urgency, the political challenge is then to turn this from an argument about the cost of cutting emissions — bad politics — to one about the value of a stable climate — much better politics. . . . the most valuable thing to do is to tell the story about abrupt change as vividly as possible.”

To win the public debate nothing was out of bounds. For instance, Mann, incensed that some skeptics had trashed his work, wrote to Jones, saying he had “been talking with folks in the states about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre . . . perhaps the same needs to be done with this Kennan guy . . . I believe that the only way to stop these people is by exposing them and discrediting them.” Steve McIntyre and Doug Kennan are well-known skeptics. In fact, McIntyre’s work was crucial in proving that Mann’s infamous “hockey stick graph” — the heart of the United Nations’ IPCC-3 report — was a fraud. Rather than contest McIntyre’s findings with evidence and data, Mann decided that his best alternative was to smear his challenger’s reputation. Skeptics always had to be on the watch for Mann’s spiteful attacks. But what is interesting is that many of his fellow warmists had a low opinion of his work. Despite this, they were slow to criticize Mann — partly because they did not want to give the skeptics any more ammunition, but also because they were afraid of him. As one warmist wrote to Jones, Mann was a “serious enemy” and “vindictive.”

Worried that their e-mail discussions might turn a spotlight on their fraud, Jones and others were constantly advising one another on how to hide the evidence. For instance, Jones once sent out an e-mail stating: “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI [Freedom of Information] Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.” To which one warmist replied: “Phil, thanks for your thoughts — guarantee there will be no dirty laundry in the open.”

Still, none of this deception would be possible without the active collusion of much of the global press, which has swallowed the warmist agenda hook, line, and sinker. As one BBC journalist wrote to Phil Jones after running a piece slightly skeptical of the warmist position:

I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece. But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all, especially as you say with the COP [Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol] in the offing, and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.

What is even more troubling is what appears to be the active collusion of government agencies charged with looking out for the public welfare. In one Jones e-mail, he discusses hiding data, making it clear that the U.S. Department of Energy was an active participant in his fraud: “Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get — and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.” I hope someone in Congress is interested in why the Department of Energy was involved in hiding climate data. One might assume that it would be harder to make an investment in Solyndra if the global-warming threat was proven a fraud.

My favorite quote of all those uncovered was from the climate criminal who asked his colleagues what would happen to them if it was discovered that climate change was “mainly a multidecadal natural fluctuation,” as much of the evidence shows. He answers his own question: “They’ll kill us probably.”



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


Monday, November 28, 2011

Germany once again has global ambitions

German Environment Minister Röttgen asks for CO2 limit for every individual on earth according to an article in the online version of the German magazine "Der Spiegel". It quotes Röttgen's remarks he made in an interview with it. He says:

"It is sensible and necessary to introduce a global competitive order (meaning: to regulate competition) to protect the climate. The final goal is, a per head budget of green house gases for every person on earth (meaning: everybody gets the same budget).

Es ist vernünftig und geboten, eine globale Wettbewerbsordnung zum Schutz des Klimas einzuführen." Das Endziel sei "ein Pro-Kopf-Budget für die Emission von Treibhausgasen, das für jeden Menschen auf der Welt gilt."

He expresses his scepticism regarding a success in Durban: "In many countries of the world community the willingness is shrinking to accept binding targets to protect the climate - while at the same time climate change is advancing. The gap is widening and I am concerned about this."

Die Erfolgsaussichten der Konferenz in Durban bewertete Röttgen skeptisch: "In vielen Ländern der Weltgemeinschaft sinkt die Bereitschaft, verpflichtende Vorgaben für den Klimaschutz zu akzeptieren - gleichzeitig schreitet derKlimawandel voran. Die Schere geht weiter auseinander, und das macht mir Sorgen."

Spiegel writes that Röttgen is criticising the German minister of economic affairs Mr. Rössler (FDP) because Röttgen could not find an agreement regarding binding regulations for energy efficiency. "There is indeed a dissent" the minister says, adding: "I stick to it, that we have to set binding targets in which steps energy efficiency has to increase."

Im Streit um die Umsetzung der Energiewende in Deutschland kritisierte Röttgen Bundeswirtschaftsminister Philipp Rösler (FDP), mit dem er sich zuletzt nicht auf verbindliche Regeln für die Energieeffizienz einigen konnte. "Da gibt es tatsächlich einen Dissens", sagte Röttgen und fügte hinzu: "Ich bleibe dabei, dass wir uns verbindliche Ziele setzen müssen, in welchen Schritten die Energieeffizienz steigen soll."


Green energy could trigger 'catastrophic' blackouts

'Unstable' renewable energy sources increase the risk of 'supra-regional' electricity blackouts with multi-billion pound consequences, insurance giant Allianz has warned.

Solar panels and wind turbines are a "volatile" source of power with fluctuations in the electricity supply risking "grid instabilities" and triggering wide-scale blackouts.

Ageing infrastructure and increasingly cross-border electricity networks have heightened the likelihood of a devastating collapse of power supplies lasting months and covering several continents, according to the joint report by Allianz and the Chief Risk Officer Forum.

In eastern Germany, turbines in strong wind can produce more than all German coal and gas plants put together, while the need to switch off turbines in high winds causes a drop-off in electricity of 12GW - equal to two nuclear power plants. Outages are likely if there is too little demand or storage capacity to accommodate the jumps in supply.

Leading risk analysts modelled a worst-case scenario in which transformers are knocked out in the United States, causing outages to cascade through the grid into Canada, Russia and Scandanavia.

Credit cards and cash machines would stop immediately, and petrol pumps and refineries would shut-down within six hours. Back-up generators powering hospitals, stock exchanges, emergency services and sewerage plants could run out of fuel within days.

Industry would grind to a halt, cooling equipment would fail and homes would go without food supplies, water or heating, leaving families spending winter around open fires. Allianz predict it would take a year to get the transformers back online. The cost to insurers would top one trillion dollars and chronic power shortages would continue for up to a decade.

"Blackouts during the last ten years in Europe and Northern America have demonstrated an increasing likelihood of supra-national blackouts with accompanying large economic losses," the analysts wrote.

"Traditional scenarios only assume black-outs for a few days and losses seem to be moderate, but if we are considering longer lasting blackouts... the impacts on society and economy might be significant," the report said.

Outages could also be trigged by cyber attacks, terrorist action, natural disasters or solar storms - eruptions of charged particles from the surface of the sun which can distort magnetic fields and destroy electricity transmission lines. One such storm knocked out power for six million Canadians in 1989, with the next forecast for 2012.

Half of new electricity capacity worldwide comes from renewable sources such as wind farms, solar panels and biomass plants - up from just 8pc in 2009.

The report said privatisation of electricity networks had split power generating companies from distributors, removing incentives to invest in and maintain infrastructure - a problem exaccerbated by placing windfarms in remote areas. EU nations need to spend £20-25bn on new grid infrastructure by 2016.

The report highlighted how the failure of back-up generators at the Fukushima plant after the Japanese earthquake caused a Chernobyl-scale radiation leak and closed down 11pc of Japan's power supply, leaving factories idle and shrinking GDP by 3pc.

A blackout in the US and Canada in 2003, when the failure of one Ohio generating plant knocked out more than 100 others, left 50 million people without power for four days and cost £3-5bn.


British PM's green guru reveals his doubts over global warming

Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s director of strategy and ‘green guru’, is the latest person to admit to doubts about climate change. ‘I’m not sure I believe in it,’ he announced at a meeting of the Energy Department, prompting one aide to blurt out: ‘Did I just hear that correctly?’

According to one witness, Hilton, 41, the man who coined the slogan ‘Vote Blue and Go Green’ and changed the Tory symbol from a Stalinist style torch to an eco friendly tree, said: ‘Climate change arguments are highly complex. ‘My focus has always been more on using green issues to improve the quality of life.’

Hilton famously persuaded David Cameron to go to the Arctic with a pack of huskies to prove that he was determined to combat global warming in his early days as Tory leader. Now, however, Hilton as become a big fan of former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, a vocal critic of the global warming lobby.

Hilton’s new doubts chime with the Prime Minister’s decision to tone down his previous emphasis on environmental measures to concentrate on stimulating economic growth.

Earlier this year Hilton was said to be secretly plotting with London Mayor Boris Johnson to force the Prime Minister to drop his opposition to plans for a £40 billion airport in the Thames estuary.

The provocative move followed reports that Hilton was on the brink of walking out of No 10 because he thinks Mr Cameron was ‘losing his nerve’.

Mr Cameron believes Tory rival Mr Johnson’s plan for the airport, dubbed ‘Boris Island’, is a non-starter. The disclosure that Hilton had thrown his weight behind the idea was a big boost to Mr Johnson – and a snub to Mr Cameron.

Friends of Mr Cameron were convinced Mr Johnson was trying to exploit policy differences in a campaign to succeed him as Tory leader.


Why that 'eco-friendly' wood-burning stove could actually be harming the environment

The growing trend for fitting rustic wood-burning stoves is causing serious damage to the environment according to a United Nations report. Sales of the stoves, which emit harmful black carbon similar to diesel fumes from cars, have risen in recent years as homeowners seek a cosy alternative to gas-effect fires or a cheaper way to heat their properties.

Many believe the stoves to be eco-friendly as wood is a replenishable resource with some manufacturers going so far as to label their products carbon-neutral.

However the report, funded by the Swedish government, found that emissions from burning wood to be a major factor in 'climate forcing'.

While most of the damage was found to come from developing countries where wood is used in brick kilms and cooking stoves, Europe and North America are currently emitting 300,000 tons of black carbon every year.

The report predicted that as transport technology improves, burning wood will soon overtake diesel cars as the primary source of black carbon in the developed world.

Scientists now believe that by cutting back on black carbon and methane emissions, the rate of global warming could be reduced by up to 0.4C between now and 2040.

By fitting newer technologies such as pellet stoves and boilers the impact of black carbon emissions from the developed world could be almost halved.

The report predicted that as technology improves, burning wood will soon overtake diesel cars as the primary source of black carbon

Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist at the UN Environmental Programme told the Daily Telegraph: 'Whilst it is nice to burn wood in the evening and while it is better for the planet than burning coal, the reality is that it produces black carbon.

'Rather than feel guilty about it we suggest that there are alternatives that provide the same comforts as wood-burning stoves without producing the particle pollution.'

The smoke from wood-burning stoves is also believed to pose a more immediate threat to human health and has been compared to breathing in emissions from a car exhaust, research has shown. Inhaling the invisible particles in the smoke can lead to fatal heart disease and cancer, toxicology experts warn.


Europe plan to 'green' public buildings to cost Britain £50bn

Taxpayers will have to pay billions of pounds a year equipping council houses, town halls, hospitals and other public buildings with the latest green technology, under new proposals by the European Commission.

Local authorities and other public bodies, already struggling with spending cuts, will be obliged to fit schools, swimming pools and libraries, with state-of-the-art insulation, boilers, generators and windows.

Councils say the plan as it affects them alone would cost taxpayers up to £50bn.

The draft Energy Efficiency Directive states public bodies should "lead by example" and "purchase only products, services and buildings with high energy efficiency performance".

Public bodies will also be obliged to refurbish 3% of their properties to the high energy-efficient specification each year, under the plans.

Local authorities say the proposals – set to take effect in just over two years – may force them to make even deeper cuts to core services, such as rubbish collection and care for the elderly. It is understood ministers also strongly oppose the directive.

Disquiet in government over more EU regulations come just weeks after David Cameron, talked openly of repatriating power back from Europe. The prime minister is facing a wave of anti-Brussels from a new wave of eurosceptic MPs.

The Local Government Association (LGA) believes that complying with the legislation will cost councils nearly £50 billion over the next 33 years.

But the full annual cost to the taxpayer could run into billions when properties owned by the NHS, Ministry of Defence and other parts of the public sector are included.

David Parsons, chairman of the Improvement Programme Board at the LGA, this weekend wrote to ministers at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and two other Whitehall departments to raise his concerns about the directive.

"If realised as intended in the European Commission proposal, local authorities would be required to meet very significant costs which could not be funded via local taxation," the letter reads.

Member state governments would be obliged to ensure the new rules were strictly enforced.

There should be "legal and regulatory provisions, and administrative practices, regarding public purchasing and annual budgeting and accounting, with a view to ensuring that individual public bodies are not deterred from making efficiency-improving investments" the draft directive reads.

Many public buildings are more than 100 years old and would be expensive to equip to state-of-the-art energy efficient standards.

"The cost of refitting a Victorian town hall, Whitehall department or older council housing – it could be enormous," said a local government official who has examined the draft legislation.

"These plans will only put councils under even more financial pressure at a time that they really don't need it."

The directive is also opposed by the National Housing Federation (NHF), which represents 1,200 housing associations. The NHF fears that the directive could worsen the shortage of homes for Britain's poorest people.

"A sector that has little room in its investment capacity might lead to the sale of housing association stock in order to pay for the refurbishment obligation," the NHF said in a document sent to the government.

The directive has already had one reading in the European Parliament and is set to be discussed by the EU's energy council within the next few days.

A government spokesman said: "Better energy efficiency in the public sector can reduce expensive energy bills and help the environment. But any new rules should be proportionate and sensible. The overall goal should be to save taxpayers' money."

Eurosceptic Tory MPs are calling for "repatriation" of immigration, human rights and employment laws back from Brussels. Cameron said last month: "We do not agree about every aspect of European policy by any means."

However, there is deep division within the coalition over the government's stance towards to Europe. Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, has called Tories who want to claw back powers from Brussels as "extremists".

"Being shoved to the margins [of Europe], or retreating there voluntarily, would be economic suicide – a sure-fire way to hurt British businesses and lose jobs."


BBC sought advice from global warming scientists on economy, drama, music... and even game shows

Britain’s leading green activist research centre spent £15,000 on seminars for top BBC executives in an apparent bid to block climate change sceptics from the airwaves, a vast new cache of leaked ‘Climategate’ emails has revealed.

The emails – part of a trove of more than 5,200 messages that appear to have been stolen from computers at the University of East Anglia – shed light for the first time on an incestuous web of interlocking relationships between BBC journalists and the university’s scientists, which goes back more than a decade.

They show that University staff vetted BBC scripts, used their contacts at the Corporation to stop sceptics being interviewed and were consulted about how the broadcaster should alter its programme output.

Like the first ‘Climategate’ leaks two years ago, they were placed last week on a Russian server by an anonymous source.

Again like their predecessors, they have emerged just before a United Nations climate summit, which is to start this week in Durban.

BBC insiders say the close links between the Corporation and the UEA’s two climate science departments, the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research, have had a significant impact on its coverage.

‘Following their lead has meant the whole thrust and tone of BBC reporting has been that the science is settled, and that there is no need for debate,’ one journalist said. ‘If you disagree, you’re branded a loony.’

In 2007, the BBC issued a formal editorial policy document, stating that ‘the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus’ – the view that the world faces catastrophe because of man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

The document says the policy was decided after ‘a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts’ – including those from UEA.

The ‘Climategate 2’ emails disclose that in private some of those same scientists have had doubts about aspects of the global warming case.

For example, Professor Phil Jones, the head of the CRU, admitted there was no evidence that the snows of Kilimanjaro were melting because of climate change, and he and his colleagues agreed there were serious problems with the famous ‘hockey stick’ graph – the depiction of global temperatures that suggests they were broadly level for 1,000 years until they started to rise with industrialisation.

But although there is now more scientific debate than ever about influences on climate other than CO2, prompted by the fact that the world has not warmed for 15 years, a report from the BBC Trust this year compared climate change sceptics to the conspiracy theorists who blame America for 9/11, and said Britain’s main sceptic think-tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, should be given no air time.

The man at the centre of the BBC-UEA web is Roger Harrabin, the Corporation’s ‘environment analyst’, who reports for a range of programmes on radio and TV.

Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed that in 1996, he and his friend, Professor Joe Smith of the Open University, set up an informal two-man band to organise environment seminars for BBC executives.

Known as the Cambridge Media Environment Programme (CMEP), it operated until 2009, and over three years (2002 to 2005) received £15,000 from the Tyndall Centre. Mr Harrabin did not derive personal financial benefit, although Prof Smith was paid.

Yesterday Mike Hulme, UEA’s Professor of Climate Change, who set up the centre in 2000 and was its director until 2007, said he planned to fund CMEP from Tyndall’s outset, as an ‘integral part of our outreach and communication strategy’.

Mr Harrabin was also appointed to the Tyndall advisory board – an unpaid position he held for five years until 2005.

The Climategate 2 emails suggest Prof Hulme expected something in return – the slanting of BBC coverage to exclude global warming sceptics.

On February 25, 2002, the climate change sceptic Philip Stott, a London University professor, debated the subject with John Houghton of the Met Office on the Today programme.

This prompted an angry email to colleagues from Prof Hulme. ‘Did anyone hear Stott vs Houghton on Today, Radio 4, this morning?’ he wrote. ‘Woeful stuff really. This is one reason why Tyndall is sponsoring the Cambridge Media Environment Programme, to starve this type of reporting at source.’

Last night Prof Hulme denied he was trying to deny space to sceptics, saying: ‘What I wanted to “starve” at source was “this type of reporting” – in which the important and complex issues raised by climate change are reduced to an argument between two voices representing different positions on climate science, as though there is one right and one wrong answer to climate change.’

Far from wanting to narrow it, he said, he had tried to widen debate about the issue for years.

This was not the only time there was talk of sceptics being shut out. On December 7, 2004, the BBC’s then-environment correspondent Alex Kirby wrote to Prof Jones.

He had, he said, succeeded in blocking one sceptic from the BBC, claiming his work was ‘pure stream of consciousness rubbish’. But to his regret, he had been unable to stop a group of scientists who said there were flaws in the hockey-stick graph being featured.

‘I can well understand your unhappiness at our running the other piece,’ he wrote. ‘But we are constantly being savaged by the loonies for not giving them any coverage at all... and being the objective impartial (ho ho) BBC that we are, there is an expectation in some quarters that we will every now and then let them say something. I hope though that the weight of our coverage makes it clear that we think they are talking through their hats.’

Prof Jones commented: ‘I thought you exercised some caution with crackpots.’ Mr Kirby replied: ‘Oh Phil, what can I say...I hope you’ll still talk to me despite this.’

Yesterday Mr Kirby explained his joke, saying that editors often asked him to include sceptic views in his stories, in order to provide balance. ‘I felt then and I feel now that it’s not our job to inject artificial balance into an unbalanced reality,’ he said.

He believed scientists such as Prof Jones had got the subject ‘mainly right’, while those who rejected their conclusions were often not worth hearing.

In November 2008, in an email to his UEA colleague Claire Reeves, Prof Jones expressed his satisfaction that ‘the reporting of climate stories within the media (especially the BBC) is generally one-sided, ie the counter argument is rarely made’.

But alas, there was ‘still a vociferous and small majority [sic] of climate change sceptics... who engage the public/govt/media through web sites’.

He suggested UEA should set up a project to curb their influence, writing: ‘Issues to be addressed include: should a vociferous minority be able to bully mainstream scientists? Should mainstream climate scientists have to change the way they have worked for generations?’

Mr Harrabin shared his UEA contacts throughout the BBC. For example, in October 2003 Vicki Barker, a presenter on the World Service, wrote asking to visit Prof Hulme, saying: ‘My colleague Roger Harrabin suggested I contact you. I am about to spend several months attempting to answer the following question for senior BBC managers: If we were to reinvent economics coverage from scratch, TODAY, incorporating what we now know (or think we know) about global environmental and economic trends, what would it look like?’

She said she had noticed ‘environmental undertow’ that was ‘beginning to tug at economies around the world... I have wondered if current newsgathering practices and priorities are conveying these phenomena as effectively as they could be. Is this a question you and some of your colleagues feel like pondering?’

The same year, BBC1 broadcast a series on the British countryside presented by Alan Titchmarsh. The last programme presented a deeply pessimistic view of future global warming and before it was transmitted its producer, Dan Tapster, asked Prof Hulme to vet the script. ‘I’d be grateful if you could send me your hourly/daily rate as a script consultant so that I can budget your time,’ he wrote. Prof Hulme said he remembered going through the script, adding that he was not being paid, and was ‘certainly not an official adviser’.

Mr Harrabin knew that if he was seen to be too closely associated with green campaigners – in earlier years CMEP had accepted funding from activist organisation WWF – the impartiality he was supposed to demonstrate as a BBC reporter could be jeopardised.

In July 2004, in an email to Prof Hulme that asked him to continue funding CMEP seminars, Prof Smith explained: ‘The only change I anticipate is that we won’t be asking WWF to support the seminars: Roger particularly feels the association could be compromising to the “neutral” reputation should anyone look at it closely.’

Prof Smith told Prof Hulme that the seminars’ purpose was to influence BBC output.

He spoke of finding ways of getting environmental issues into ‘mainstream’ stories ‘by stealth’, adding: ‘It’s very important in my view that research feeds directly back into decision-maker conversations (policy and above all media). I hope and think that the seminars have laid the ground for this within the BBC... There is senior BBC buy in-for the approach I want to pursue.’

Yesterday he said he had always ensured there was a range of views at the seminar, while by using the phrase ‘by stealth’ he simply meant that ‘sustainability stories are elements of mainstream stories, but the complexity and uncertainty inherent in them make them difficult to report in isolation’.

In September 2001, another email reveals, Mr Harrabin and Prof Smith wrote to Prof Hulme, asking what the BBC should do to mark a climate summit the following year.

They said his suggestions would be ‘circulated among relevant BBC decision-makers’, while instead of confining himself to news and current affairs, he should also feel free to recommend ideas for ‘drama, music, game shows’.

Labour MP Graham Stringer last night said he would be writing this week to BBC director-general Mark Thompson to demand an investigation into the Corporation’s relationship with UEA. ‘The new leaked emails show that the UEA scientists at the Tyndall Centre and the CRU acted more like campaigners than academics, and that they succeeded in an attempt to influence the output of the BBC,’ Mr Stringer said.

Conservative MP David Davis said: ‘Using research money to evangelise one point of view and suppress another defies everything I ever learnt about the scientific method. These emails go to the heart of the BBC’s professed impartiality... its actions must be investigated.’

But the BBC insisted its relationship with UEA had never been ‘unhealthily close’, saying it was always impartial. A BBC spokesman said: ‘We would reject the claim that the Tyndall Centre influenced BBC editorial policy.’

As for Mr Harrabin’s place on the Tyndall board and the advice he gave, he said: ‘The idea was for him to look out for potential stories for the BBC and to offer academics a media perspective on climate change and policy. We do not believe that com-promised impartiality.’

Mr Harrabin added: ‘It was right that the BBC decided not to give sceptics parity on climate change,’ saying there was a ‘cross-party consensus.’ But he said he had maintained they should still be given some air time.



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


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Warmists muzzle skeptical meteorologists

They fear the facts, as all they have is prophecy. An email from Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics), Corbett, Oregon USA, below. OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, henceforth better known as the Oregon Museum for Silencing Inquiry

The Oregon American Meteorological Society's event featuring Meteorologist Chuck Wiese, Climatologist George Taylor, and me on November 29 at OMSI was canceled at the last minute today due to pressure from local universities and others who were apparently upset that our skeptical perspective on Global Warming would interfere with their climate agendas and Federal funding. Details will surely leak out as will whatever reasons they will cite as a cover story.

We suspected this would happen and would happen at the last minute to make it impossible to reschedule the event immediately. But we are grateful to the President of the local AMS chapter (Steve Pierce) and some members of his Board who have expressed a strong determination to reschedule this event in January. Even those Board members who may not support our position on Global Warming seem determined that this event WILL go forward. That should be a warning to those who orchestrated this power play. Most AMS members clearly want to hear both sides, without their organization taking any sides. I applaud their professional behavior. We are not seeking any endorsements, because that is not how science works.

We are seeking the opportunity to present the logic and evidence that are so crucial in objective science. That should not threaten ANYONE who supports real science.

Please be sure to mark your calenders for the January event when we have a specific date and venue that will be more difficult for Alarmists to scuttle.

BANNED BY OMSI, Portland State University, and others - Come and find out what they did not want you to hear!

Received via email

Go green and burn

General Motors Co.'s electric plug- in hybrid Chevrolet Volt is the subject of a US safety probe after its lithium-ion batteries, supplied by LG Chem Ltd., caught fire in crash tests.

A Volt caught fire three weeks after a side-impact crash test May 12 while parked at a testing center in Wisconsin, leading regulators to conduct more tests. Volt battery packs were damaged in three more tests last week, causing two fires, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said yesterday in a statement on its website.

"The agency is concerned that damage to the Volt's batteries as part of three tests that are explicitly designed to replicate real-world crash scenarios have resulted in fire," NHTSA said in the statement.

The US regulator said it doesn't know of any crashes outside of testing that have led to battery-related fires in Volts or other cars powered by lithium-ion batteries. Chevy Volt owners whose vehicles have not been in a serious crash don't need to be concerned, the agency said.

GM maintains that the car is safe. The automaker and NHTSA have been working for months to replicate the fire in the car's lithium-ion battery that occurred three weeks after the May collision test, Greg Martin, a GM spokesman, said by telephone.

The testing, which involved a stand-alone battery assembly, "is part of a broader program over the last six months to induce battery failure under extreme conditions," Martin said.

LG Chem, South Korea's biggest chemical maker, is the Volt's battery vendor. Dick Pacini, a spokesman with the Millerschin Group, which works for LG Chem, said he couldn't immediately provide comment. On Nov. 22, LG Chem said in a statement that it was cooperating with NHTSA and GM.

NHTSA, which said it's working with the US Defense and Energy departments to analyze the fires, conducted its first new test on Nov. 16 without a fire. The second test on Nov. 17 saw an initial temporary increase in battery temperature after the crash, and the battery pack caught fire at the test facility on Nov. 24. In a third test on Nov. 18, the battery was rotated hours after the crash and "began to smoke and emit sparks shortly after," NHTSA said.

At this stage of Volt marketing, the NHTSA investigation will probably not hurt sales, said Jim Hall, principal of 2953 Analytics Inc., a consulting firm in Birmingham, Michigan.

The car has been on sale for a year as the manufacturer ramps up production. Most Volt owners are early adopters with an interest in the technology, and won't be deterred by the post- collision fires, Hall said in a telephone interview.

"If they were selling to the mass market, it would be a bigger problem," he said.

GM started selling the car in seven states and began offering the Volt in all 50 states in October, Martin said.

GM, based in Detroit, sold 5,003 Volts this year through October, according to Autodata Corp., a research firm in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. GM will push production to a rate of 60,000 a year starting in January. Of the 60,000 GM plans to build next year, 45,000 are earmarked for the US, and the rest will be exported, the company has said.


Emission Controls: The Exodus from Britain Begins

Rio Tinto Alcan is closing its Northumberland aluminium smelting plant in north-east England – a direct result of EU climate legislation. The closure of the decades old smelting plant is devastating for an area with already high unemployment.

Not that the Rio Tinto Alcan plant isn’t making a profit, mind you. Even in an era of spiking energy costs generally, it is. But in 2013 the plant faces a profit-erasing rise of around £56 million to enable it to comply with a further tranche of European and UK carbon legislation. As Rio Tinto’s CEO Jacynthe Côté told the London Financial Times, “It is clear that the smelter is no longer a sustainable business because its energy costs are increasing significantly, due largely to emerging legislation.” Note the sting in the tail. Not, as politicians often like to insist, due to rising energy costs, but “emerging legislation”.

Rio Tinto’s plant closure is just one part of a plan to divest the company of $8 billion of aluminium assets. How much is due to “emerging legislation” on emission controls is impossible to say. But expect more jobs to be shed elsewhere.

Britain’s huge energy-intensive chemical industry contributes £30 million a day to the UK economy. But it is clear already that new green legislation has begun to force early closures and a business exodus to foreign parts. Steve Elliott, chief executive for the Chemical Industries Association, told BBC News in October that he feared more British job losses were imminent, with small and medium companies with narrow profit margins especially vulnerable. “There will come a moment when people say enough is enough,” said Elliot, adding, “And there will only be one direction of travel – out of the UK.” Hardly good news for a country that is consistently top of the European league when it comes to attracting inward investment.

In the English Midlands, a region famed for its pottery manufacture, Dr Laura Cohen of the British Ceramic Confederation told BBC News that high energy costs augmented by anti-carbon costs has forced factory after factory in the pottery industry to close, with one firm recently relocating its operations to China.

Not that UK companies have not done their bit to ‘go green’. Cemex UK operates the country’s largest cement plant. It has already moved away from dependence on coal alone. But Director Andy Spencer estimates incoming carbon legislation will increase his energy costs by £12 million. What concerns Spencer most of all is that he knows other countries will not impose similar taxes on their cement industries. He states that Cemex UK is already considering transferring operations to plants it runs abroad, especially Egypt. “I can see a time when it makes more sense to do that,” Spencer told the BBC, “and that time is not far away.”

Steel giant Tata which employs 21,000 people has warned the British government that its planned £1.2 billion investment program could be put at risk by “over the top” green policies. A study by the UK manufacturer’s association EEF has shown that the introduction of the Carbon Price Floor in 2013 will cost the UK manufacturing industry £250 million a year by 2020. The EEF is demanding compensation to help energy-intensive industries – yet another potential hidden cost of carbon legislation.

In August, a UK Department of Energy and Climate Change study estimated that energy-intensive industries, such as steel and paper mills, would likely have to pay 58 percent more for electricity by 2030 compared to what it would cost them in the absence of current climate policies.

Just last week, GDF Suez SA cited EU regulations as creating an unstable investment environment that was discouraging energy investment. Jean-Francois Cirelli, vice-chair and president of GDF Suez told the European Autumn Gas Conference in Paris, “Governments do not hesitate to take decisions that are not totally based on economic rationale”.

In other words political ideology and sheer wishful-thinking in the war on fossil fuels means that many of those making the political decisions still aren’t “getting it”. Britain’s energy and climate minister Chris Huhne exemplifies the ‘disconnect’ by persistently deeming climate policies sacrosanct while insisting high energy costs alone are to blame. “We’ve had a 27 percent increase in the gas price on world markets over the year to August,” says Huhne. “Now with the best will in the world, I can’t do anything about that.” Huhne is clearly not listening to industry bosses who cite the profit-destroying effect of climate policies, especially the EU-imposed extra green costs currently being factored into budgets from 2013.

The EU Climate Commissar is Connie Hedegaard. She was voted in by nobody yet this unelected official is behind the new EU directive on fuel quality. This measure sets minimum standards for a range of fuels. It is this directive which threatens to label Canada’s oil sands as “dirty” and threaten the future of Europe-wide shale gas development.

Hedegaard says, “With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuel suppliers. As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it’s important to give them the right value.” De-coding Euro-speak, Hedegaard wants fossil fuels made as expensive as renewables.

A plague of profit-busting climate policies is indeed sending a “clear signal” to energy-intensive industries: divest yourself of assets, shed jobs – or just plain ship out. Cocooned in ideological green protectionism, however, don’t expect Hedegaard and Huhne to “get” it.


The Non-Green Jobs Boom

Forget 'clean energy.' Oil and gas are boosting U.S. employment

So President Obama was right all along. Domestic energy production really is a path to prosperity and new job creation. His mistake was predicting that those new jobs would be "green," when the real employment boom is taking place in oil and gas.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period.

The ironies here are richer than the shale deposits in North Dakota's Bakken formation. While Washington has tried to force-feed renewable energy with tens of billions in special subsidies, oil and gas production has boomed thanks to private investment. And while renewable technology breakthroughs never seem to arrive, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have revolutionized oil and gas extraction—with no Energy Department loan guarantees needed.

The oil and gas rush has led to a jobs boom. North Dakota has the nation's lowest jobless rate, at 3.5%, and the state now has some 200 rigs pumping 440,000 barrels of oil a day, four times the amount in 2006. The state reports more than 16,000 current job openings, and places like Williston have become meccas for workers seeking jobs that often pay more than $100,000 a year.

Or take production in Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale formation, which the state Department of Labor and Industry says created 18,000 new jobs in the first half of 2011. Some 214,000 jobs are now tied to a natural gas industry that barely existed in the Keystone State a decade ago. Energy firms are also rushing to develop the Utica shale in eastern Ohio, and they are expanding operations in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, among other places.

Good news? You'd think so, but liberals can't seem to handle this truth so they are now trying to discredit the jobs that accompany it. The American Petroleum Institute recently commissioned a study by the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm, which estimated that better federal energy policy would create an additional 1.4 million jobs by 2030.

This has caused a fury on the political left, which complains that the study included estimates of direct and indirect jobs (such as equipment suppliers) but also "induced" jobs, or jobs created when oil workers spend their salaries at, say, hotels, restaurants or bowling alleys. It seems these claims rely on—drum roll, please—"multipliers" to produce estimates of knock-on jobs.

Liberals know all about multipliers, which are the central operating conceit of modern Keynesian economics. The entire public justification for the $820 billion Obama stimulus was the claim that every $1 of spending would have a multiplier effect of 1.5 or more and thus create millions of new jobs.

That looks like a joke now. But Democrats and liberals continue to cite the black-box multiplier claims of Moody's Mark Zandi, who says the latest Obama jobs bill will create 1.9 million jobs. Some 750,000 of those jobs are supposed to appear merely from extending the payroll tax holiday for workers, giving them more money to spend on, say, hotels or restaurants or bowling alleys. All such multipliers are suspect, but the liberals can't have it both ways and invoke them to justify government spending but then repudiate them for private business.

In any case the beauty of the oil and gas boom is that multipliers aren't needed to predict job growth. It's happening right before our eyes. And it stands to reason that if the Obama Administration dropped its hostility to oil and gas energy, even more jobs would be created as the industry invested to exploit other areas with new technology and production methods.

Yet earlier this month the Interior Department released a new five-year plan that puts most of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits for oil drilling. And the Administration has delayed for at least another year the Keystone XL pipeline that is shovel-ready to create 20,000 new direct, pipeline-related jobs.

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue recently noted that federal revenue from offshore bonus bids (from lease sales) in fiscal 2011 was merely $36 million—down from $9.5 billion in fiscal 2008. The Obama Administration has managed the nearly impossible feat of turning energy policy into a money loser, pouring taxpayer dollars into green-energy busts like Solyndra. The Washington Post reported in September that Mr. Obama's $38.6 billion green loan program had created a mere 3,500 jobs over two years. He had predicted it would "save or create" 65,000.

Mr. Obama nonetheless keeps talking about "green jobs" as if repetition will conjure them. He'd do more for the economy if he dropped the ideological illusions and embraced the job-creating, wealth-producing reality of domestic fossil fuels.


"Green jobs" are in trouble in China too

Losses for China’s largest solar manufacturers, including Suntech Power Holdings Co. and JA Solar Holdings Co. may continue through next year as declining shipments prompt them to slash prices and liquidate inventory.

Shipments at Suntech will fall about 20 percent in the fourth quarter from the third, the world’s largest panel maker said today in its third-quarter earnings report. JA Solar, the country’s biggest cell producer, also said shipments will fall sequentially, and it wrote off inventory in response to falling prices, driving down gross margins.

Cell prices have fallen 59 percent since Dec. 27, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Seven Chinese companies reported lower gross margins since yesterday and three said margins have moved into negative territory, an unsustainable level, said Hari Chandra Polavarapu, an analyst at Auriga USA in New York.

“Liquidation is leading to suicidal pricing.” Polavarapu said in an interview today. There are too many solar companies in China, he said, and they are cutting prices to maintain share. “China’s strongest manufacturers are sacrificing profitability because the weakest players still exist.”

Chinese solar manufacturers expanded capacity faster this year while demand growth slowed in Europe, the top regional market.

“We are seeing a softening in the European market continue into the fourth quarter,” Suntech Chief Executive Officer Zhengrong Shi said today on a conference call. “We expect that the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first half of 2012 will be a challenge for all solar companies.” Panel shipments for 2011 will be about 2,000 megawatts, down from an Aug. 22 forecast of 2,200 megawatts, Suntech said.

‘Pricing Has Collapsed’

JA Solar said it expects shipments of solar cells and modules of 310 megawatts to 330 megawatts in the fourth quarter, compared with 445 megawatts last quarter. Neither gave a forecast for next year.

“Demand has not lived up to expectations and pricing has collapsed over the last three quarters,” Aaron Chew, an analyst at Maxim Group LLC in New York, said today in an interview. “Most of the major cell, wafer and module manufacturers are poised to report four quarters in a row of losses and this is just the first one.”

Suntech reported a net loss of $116 million for the third quarter, or 64 cents an American depositary receipt, on sales of $809.8 million. JA Solar posted a net loss of $59 million, or 36 cents an ADR, on sales of $388 million.


Warmist Mike Hulme: "Sexing-up evidence is so easy to do, isn't it?"

Email 3895 below. I assume that the EDP is This

Sexing-up evidence is so easy to do, isn't it?

Reading your letter in the EDP today makes me wonder who your source inside the Tyndall Centre was supplying you with such exaggerated evidence?

Surely it wasn't me, was it? Treating Dick Lindzen with the esteem of flat-earthers; could this claim have been inserted by politicians seeking to make a dramatic point to their audience? Or was it really what the experts in the Tyndall Centre think? Perhaps we need an enquiry.

Don't worry - I'm not thinking of committing suicide should I be exposed as the source of this story; but then again, it couldn't have been me, could it?

I didn't say that after all; all I said was that we are well aware of Dick Lindzen and his arguments (in fact, Dick Lindzen is a pretty smart meteorologist who just takes a more cautious view of the scientific evidence for human causes of global warming; similar in caution in some ways to David Kelly even).

Yes, sexing-up is so easy to do. Be warned.




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