Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Another EU Greenfail As Poland Vetoes Carbon Targets

The EU’s carbon agenda has launched a trade war that has China blocking purchases of Airbus’s troubled new jumbo jets; now word comes that the EU climate agenda is beginning to fall apart at home.

The European Union’s ambitious low carbon plan collapsed yesterday when Poland vetoed plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically after 2020. The move is the latest stage in the ignominious failure of EU carbon policy that has seen a grandiose carbon trading system bog down in a quagmire of scandal and price collapse. Europe will meet its current carbon reduction goals less because of any serious action than because the continent’s economic crisis brought on by the poorly constructed euro experiment has stalled economic growth.

Now the post 2020 picture is in near total disarray as EU law requires unanimous consent for new carbon targets to be set. Poland, which depends on coal for much of its energy production and has neither the money nor the desire to turn to Russian gas or oil, will not accept any European carbon policy that undermines its drive to raise local living standards.

Back in those halcyon times when the Davoisie were convinced that a global green carbon treaty was just around the corner, EU diplomats and journalists used to boast incessantly that climate activism was the centerpiece of a new and dynamic European diplomacy. Now both Europe and the climate agenda are in near-total disarray, and the EU has been unable to legislate for itself, much less for all mankind.

There are several lessons here. One is a healthy reminder that Europeans think they are very good at foreign policy but fail at it more often than not. Americans are often so concerned by our own regrettable shortcomings in this field that we assume that other people are better at it — but the historical record says otherwise. European powers have been misreading power realities and failing to adopt sustainable international strategies for more than a century. The climate kerfluffle is only the latest in a very long line of half baked initiatives and failures to come to grips with international realities.

This episode also reminds us that in spite of the many problems we have in the United States, we have a much, much better constitutional system than our European allies. Individual states, thankfully, do not have a veto over federal legislation; the last state to propound that theory was my native state of South Carolina back when Andrew Jackson was in the White House. Nullification died in the US, and the Europeans will never have a real union unless they can kill it over there. (They probably can’t for the very good reason that the European Union is a confederation of nations rather than a single people, but that is another story.)

A third lesson from this mess is that the global treaty process is the European Union process writ large. For the green dream of a global climate treaty to come into being under UN auspices, every country on earth must sign up. That includes Poland. It includes China and India, where governments know they face revolution if they give up the right to growth. It includes the United States, where two thirds of the Senate will vote for a complicated, third world-subsidizing climate pact when Hell freezes over and not before.

If the Europeans can’t agree on a climate plan, the prospect that the rest of the world can agree is less than zero. Every dime spent by climate activists on this goal was wasted. Every white paper on the subject was a folly. Every global conference was a grotesque and pointless boondoggle. Every pundit who supported this agenda was blowing smoke and every politician who endorsed it was either an idiot or a demagogue — or both.

This dog won’t hunt. This pig won’t fly. This horse can’t win. This parrot is dead.

None of this will stop green scam artists raising money from naive and goodhearted donors. It won’t stop bureaucrats who have a vested interest in eternal international processes and immortal, salary paying institutions devoid of all purpose or use. It won’t stop people who don’t understand the international system dreaming up new and equally unworkable unicorn catching devices. It won’t stop socialists, Malthusians and other anti-capitalist activists from using green rhetoric in attempts to whip up resistance to progress and change.

But maybe, just maybe, it will persuade a few more thoughtful and public spirited people who genuinely do care about the future of mankind that the environmental movement needs to rethink its approach from the ground up.


More on the Kiribati sea-level fraud

The sea-level is actually FALLING there

The government of Kiribati understands that western governments are comprised of mental midgets. Based on this understanding, they are hoping to extract billions of dollars from moronic westerners – to make real estate investments at other tropical beaches.

The basis for their desired scam is that their island may drown some time in the future, due to global warming. This is an interesting concept, given that sea level is not rising in Kiribati.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Olympic missile defences under threat... from the Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort

Plans to use surface-to-air missiles to protect the skies over London during the Olympics could be thwarted – because they will disturb the habitat of a rare wild flower.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has ordered batteries of Rapier missiles to be placed in South-East London, ready to deal with any airborne terrorist threat to the Games.

But the move has led to a row with one local MP, who says the missiles risk damaging an area of historic woodland, designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which contains the Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort.

The Games will mark the first time that the UK has deployed the weapons to protect civilians. In addition to the missiles, a group of RAF Tornado or Typhoon jets will also be on standby.

Oxleas Wood is regarded by ecologists as one of the most important sites in London, having been continuously wooded since the Ice Age. It is home to plants and animals that have evolved together, including the wild service tree, a berry-bearing native tree that sows itself only on land that has never been cultivated. Trees from the wood were once used for ship-building in London’s dockyards.

The Corky-Fruited Water Dropwort is a member of the carrot family and grows to 3ft. It is now found only in areas of London, Dorset and Hampshire.

MI5 head Jonathan Evans has described the Olympics as a ‘huge event [with] big security implications’. Up to 300 of his intelligence staff have been removed from their usual duties to concentrate on the Games.

The United States has privately raised concerns about security, at one point offering to send a US aircraft carrier to the Thames Estuary to help defend London and eavesdrop on any terrorist ‘chatter’.

It is preparing to send up to 1,000 of its agents, including 500 from the FBI, to the UK in the weeks before the Games. Up to 13,500 British military personnel will help provide security.

The MoD said: ‘Ground-based air defence systems could be deployed as part of a multi-layered security plan, including fast jets and helicopters, which will protect London.

‘Based on military advice we have identified a number of sites and we are talking to local authorities and landowners to minimise the impact of these temporary deployments.’


Warmist proposes a genetically engineered master race

Bad ideas never die, it seems. Uncle Adolf was also a Greenie concerned about resource depletion and he too started out engineering a master race

The threat of global climate change has prompted us to redesign many of our technologies to be more energy-efficient. From lightweight hybrid cars to long-lasting LED's, engineers have made well-known products smaller and less wasteful. But tinkering with our tools will only get us so far, because however smart our technologies become, the human body has its own ecological footprint, and there are more of them than ever before. So, some scholars are asking, what if we could engineer human beings to be more energy efficient? A new paper to be published in Ethics, Policy & Environment proposes a series of biomedical modifications that could help humans, themselves, consume less.

Some of the proposed modifications are simple and noninvasive. For instance, many people wish to give up meat for ecological reasons, but lack the willpower to do so on their own. The paper suggests that such individuals could take a pill that would trigger mild nausea upon the ingestion of meat, which would then lead to a lasting aversion to meat-eating. Other techniques are bound to be more controversial. For instance, the paper suggests that parents could make use of genetic engineering or hormone therapy in order to birth smaller, less resource-intensive children.

The lead author of the paper, S. Matthew Liao, is a professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University. Liao is keen to point out that the paper is not meant to advocate for any particular human modifications, or even human engineering generally; rather, it is only meant to introduce human engineering as one possible, partial solution to climate change. He also emphasized the voluntary nature of the proposed modifications. Neither Liao or his co-authors, Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache of Oxford, approve of any coercive human engineering; they favor modifications borne of individual choices, not technocratic mandates. What follows is my conversation with Liao about why he thinks human engineering could be the most ethical and effective solution to global climate change.

Q. Judging from your paper, you seem skeptical about current efforts to mitigate climate change, including market based solutions like carbon pricing or even more radical solutions like geoengineering. Why is that?

Liao: It's not that I don't think that some of those solutions could succeed under the right conditions; it's more that I think that they might turn out to be inadequate, or in some cases too risky. Take market solutions---so far it seems like it's pretty difficult to orchestrate workable international agreements to affect international emissions trading. The Kyoto Protocol, for instance, has not produced demonstrable reductions in global emissions, and in any event demand for petrol and for electricity seems to be pretty inelastic. And so it's questionable whether carbon taxation alone can deliver the kind of reduction that we need to really take on climate change.

With respect to geoengineering, the worry is that it's just too risky---many of the technologies involved have never been attempted on such a large scale, and so you have to worry that by implementing these techniques we could endanger ourselves or future generations. For example it's been suggested that we could alter the reflectivity of the atmosphere using sulfate aerosol so as to turn away a portion of the sun's heat, but it could be that doing so would destroy the ozone layer, which would obviously be problematic. Others have argued that we ought to fertilize the ocean with iron, because doing so might encourage a massive bloom of carbon-sucking plankton. But doing so could potentially render the ocean inhospitable to fish, which would obviously also be quite problematic.

Q. One human engineering strategy you mention is a kind of pharmacologically induced meat intolerance. You suggest that humans could be given meat alongside a medication that triggers extreme nausea, which would then cause a long-lasting aversion to meat eating. Why is it that you expect this could have such a dramatic impact on climate change?

Liao: There is a widely cited U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that estimates that 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalents come from livestock farming, which is actually a much higher share than from transportation. More recently it's been suggested that livestock farming accounts for as much as 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And then there are estimates that as much as 9% of human emissions occur as a result of deforestation for the expansion of pastures for livestock. And that doesn't even to take into account the emissions that arise from manure, or from the livestock directly. Since a large portion of these cows and other grazing animals are raised for consumption, it seems obvious that reducing the consumption of these meats could have considerable environmental benefits.

Even a minor 21% to 24% reduction in the consumption of these kinds of meats could result in the same reduction in emissions as the total localization of food production, which would mean reducing "food miles" to zero. And, I think it's important to note that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a pill. We have also toyed around with the idea of a patch that might stimulate the immune system to reject common bovine proteins, which could lead to a similar kind of lasting aversion to meat products.

Q. Your paper also discusses the use of human engineering to make humans smaller. Why would this be a powerful technique in the fight against climate change?

Liao: Well one of the things that we noticed is that human ecological footprints are partly correlated with size. Each kilogram of body mass requires a certain amount of food and nutrients and so, other things being equal, the larger person is the more food and energy they are going to soak up over the course of a lifetime. There are also other, less obvious ways in which larger people consume more energy than smaller people---for example a car uses more fuel per mile to carry a heavier person, more fabric is needed to clothe larger people, and heavier people wear out shoes, carpets and furniture at a quicker rate than lighter people, and so on.

And so size reduction could be one way to reduce a person's ecological footprint. For instance if you reduce the average U.S. height by just 15cm, you could reduce body mass by 21% for men and 25% for women, with a corresponding reduction in metabolic rates by some 15% to 18%, because less tissue means lower energy and nutrient needs.


Australia's very own false prophet

Called out by someone who knows what he is talking about

HE could be NSW's very own rainmaker. Every NSW town visited by Professor Tim Flannery or his Climate Commission colleagues for community forums where residents were told they were in a "drying trend" has been deluged by rain up to three times the annual average.

After being warned to expect drying conditions but more rain in winter than summer, Tamworth was drenched last month with 121mm of summer rain in 24 hours - the highest fall on record.

Wollongong was warned it could experience such significant drying conditions that bushfires would be worse, and when rain came it would be in intense bursts.

The city was drenched in the past nine weeks with 661mm of rain, more than twice the 258mm average for the first three months of the year.

Port Macquarie was told to expect prolonged droughts - yet has experienced flash flooding with 100mm in just one night last month. Rainfall for the year is now more than 100mm above average.

An academic who specialises in climate science has accused Prof Flannery of getting predictions "spectacularly wrong." Writing for education publication The Conversation, Associate Professor Stewart Franks from the University of Newcastle's School of Engineering said he believed Prof Flannery was no better than an "amateur enthusiast" at climate science.

"The most obvious factor could well be Flannery's lack of background in a climate science. He is an academic, however his background is mammalogy - he studied the evolution of mammals," wrote Prof Franks who researches climate variability, particularly flood and drought risk, and the predictability of natural climate variability across NSW. "He is perhaps best described as an amateur enthusiast, in which case I could actually have a little sympathy for him getting it so wrong."

The Climate Commission claims the media is getting confused between "climate and weather". Professor Lesley Hughes said there were plans to hit back at criticisms this week with a new report on rainfall "to further clarify this issue for the community".

Prof Hughes, who gives region-specific information at the forums hosted by Prof Flannery, said the climate was drying, although climate change could also cause intense bursts of rain.

"The climate in southeastern Australia has been changing over the past few decades, overall becoming hotter and drier," she said. "Climate models indicate that this drying trend may continue in the long term, increasing the risk of droughts and fires. "However, we still expect variability from year to year in temperature and rainfall."

Prof Flannery did not respond through his spokeswoman to criticisms in The Conversation article.

Prof Franks said the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology had mistaken the drought this decade as climate change-related, when the dry spell and now rain was a long-term La Nina and El Nino weather pattern. He said the weather events occurred in 20 to 40-year clusters.


Australia: Warning of $30bn hit from high carbon price

AUSTRALIA faces a $30 billion hit to growth by 2018 if domestic carbon prices remain higher than the European price, according to new economic modelling that will add to business pressure to bring the $23 starting price closer to Europe's $10.

The modelling, by the Centre for International Economics consultancy, warns that keeping the $23 fixed price regime and the floor price of $15 a tonne - key elements of the current package - will have almost twice the impact on economic growth by 2018 as allowing the Australian price to track international prices.

A higher price in Australia than in comparable international markets could also cost the mining industry a cumulative $4bn and durable manufacturers $1.5bn over six years, the CIE modelling predicts. In a blow to the Coalition's direct action policy alternative, leading CSIRO researcher Michael Battaglia has warned that the abatement figures in Tony Abbott's alternative policy are "ambitious". The centrepiece of the policy - sequestering 85 million tonnes of carbon in soil by 2020 - might only achieve abatement of between 5 million and 20 million tonnes, he said yesterday.

The CIE research, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia, comes amid projections that slow growth in Europe will mean international carbon prices will not rise significantly above the $10 around which they are currently sitting.

When Australia's carbon package was announced, Treasury assumed an international carbon price of between $29 and $61. But the European credit crisis caused prices to slump. The research will amplify calls by key business backers of carbon pricing, including the Australian Industry Group's Heather Ridout and the Business Council of Australia's Jennifer Westacott for the policy to be rewritten.

Last week, Ms Ridout said the difference between the Australian and European prices was effectively "a tax on industry", while Ms Westacott described the disparity as a concern for the competitiveness of Australia's industries.

Kevin Rudd, during his failed leadership challenge to Julia Gillard, reignited the debate last month when he said if he again became prime minister he would examine the implementation of the carbon tax within six months and that the scheme should move to a floating price as quickly as possible.

The CIE modelling said that, if global carbon prices remained low, there was a risk the Australian fixed price or the Australian minimum price (in the subsequent three years) would be above the accessible international price and this would have "important implications for the cost effectiveness of the Australian scheme". "An important consequence of this is that the cost of abatement in Australia could be higher than necessary as the administrative arrangements do not allow the use of relatively low cost international abatement," the report says. "In 2018, for example, the Australian GDP loss is around two times higher with a fixed and minimum price in place compared with what it would have been without the minimum price (-0.9 per cent compared with -0.5 per cent)".

Treasury modelling last year as part of the government's Clean Energy Future Package put the reduction in GDP compared with business as usual at -0.3 per cent in 2020.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Mitch Hooke said the CIE modelling "further confirms Australia will have the world's biggest carbon tax and that the proposed system is a long way from least cost abatement". "The current carbon tax is being introduced at the wrong time and is the wrong design for our economy," Mr Hooke said. "It is simply a revenue churn that imposes massive costs without reducing global . . . emissions."

A spokesman for Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the initial fixed-price period would provide certainty before the transition to an emissions trading scheme, under which carbon prices would be determined by the market. "The government is including a price floor and ceiling for the first three years of emissions trading to avoid sharp price spikes or plunges," the spokesman said. "This will reduce risks for businesses as they gain experience in having a market set the carbon price."

The government was providing a multi-billion-dollar Jobs and Competitiveness Program to provide aid to firms that emitted a lot of pollution and faced strong competition from imports or on export markets, the spokesman said.

"It shields those industries from the full carbon price; in fact, the most emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries will only face an initial effective carbon price of $1.30 a tonne once you take this assistance into account," he said.

Opposition climate action spokesman Greg Hunt said the $30bn hit was "an extraordinary indictment of the government's approach".



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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