Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Germany's nationalists Turn to Environmentalism (?)

"Spiegel" isn't a bad magazine. It sometimes takes potshots at Greenie policies. But they are being deliberately obtuse below. German nationalists didn't need to "turn" to environmentalism. They always were Green. Hitler was as much a nature romantic as any modern Greenie. And if you read the article below carefully you will see that environmentalism goes right back to the origins of the present nationalist party

And note the word "Schutz" (protection) in the pic above. It's a common word but it was also part of the name of Hitler's elite blackshirts, the "Schutzstaffeln" (SS). As used above it means Environment protection, homeland protection

Environmentalists are often associated with the political left. But now neo-Nazis have discovered nature's charms too. In addition to selling organic vegetables and publishing a magazine on the environment, Germany's far-right NPD party has co-opted green campaign issues. Party members use it as a dubious means to make the NPD more socially acceptable.

Jens Lütke opposes genetic engineering and the expansion of roads. He also protests against the construction of new power plants and volunteers once a year at an environmental action day. "I often get asked if I'm a member of the Green Party," he says. But Lütke doesn't support the environmentalist party -- he backs the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). He's the party's top candidate for state parliament in elections in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein to be held this May.

When Lütke collects trash as a volunteer on an environmental action day, it's hard to tell which party he belongs to. "We don't bring an NPD banner with us when we participate," he says. Still, he isn't alone within the party with his efforts on behalf of the environment. The party regularly coopts the issue of environmentalism in an insidious attempt to make the party more acceptable in German society. Often, it's difficult to recognize the right-wing extremist ideologies behind these efforts.

The tactic is visible in an environmental affairs magazine published by right-wing extremists entitled Umwelt & Aktiv, or "Environment & Active," which resembles a normal magazine focusing on the environment -- at least at first glance. And although the publication's articles on biofuels, genetic engineering, gardening tips and children's songs may seem legitimate, further examination yields pages on Germanic myths and pagan rites. Under the heading "homeland security," readers of last year's March edition learn that the German people will perish both biologically and spiritually if they procreate with people of other ethnic origins.

The so-called environmental magazine also stirs up hatred about religion, claiming that the slaughter of animals without anesthesia is the barbaric custom of Jews and Muslims. "So that all migrants feel at home," the January 2007 issue reports, other "religion-based customs" such as genital mutilation, stoning and hand amputation from the "Orient" could also be imported into the country.

Bavaria, where Umwelt & Aktiv is based, is the focal point of the far-right environmental drive, but other states are also home to "green" Nazis. The NPD is particularly active on environmental issues in the eastern coastal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. As far back as 2007, a farmer and NPD member made headlines with a campaign against genetic engineering. And Udo Pastörs, a member of the state's parliament and deputy leader of the national party, is known for his nature conservation efforts.

Even outside the party there are right-wing extremist environmentalists in the northern state, near Güstrow and Teterow. Since the 1990s farmers who follow the tradition of the Artaman League, an agrarian movement stemming from the 1920s that adheres to a "blood and soil" ideology and was closely associated with the Nazi party. These settlers have been spreading into other areas too, according to an expert for the NPD-critical organization in the state, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Völkische Siedler, or "Working Group for Racial Settlers." Most of them take an active role in village life, getting involved in schools and childcare facilities, the expert, who asked not to be identified by name in this article, says. And many also produce and sell organic products.

The NPD has long adopted environmental issues in its efforts to gain voter support. The party referred to it as early on as in its 1973 "Düsseldorf Program," which described environmental protection as a contribution to public health. But it was first with the professionalization of the party in recent years that the issue has been catapulted to the forefront.

In its current party platforms, the NPD rejects both genetic engineering and large-scale industrial livestock farming, in addition to calling for greater government spending on alternative energies and national self-sufficiency for agricultural products. Farmers need more support, they say.

In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the NPD has also printed posters that read "Umweltschutz = Heimatschutz," or "Environmental Protection = Homeland Protection." And Jens Lütke also plans to use environmental themes as one of the main issues in his campaign as an NPD candidate for the Schleswig-Holstein state parliament, even if the primary topic he will address is criticism of the euro. "We don't want to leave the green topics to the Green Party," he says.


'Global warming started over 100 years ago': New temperature comparisons using ocean-going robots suggest climate change began much earlier than previously thought

Wotta laugh! This is just what skeptics have been saying for years. And note the small size of the warming effect: Only a third of one degree Celsius over a 140 year period! How trivial can you get? And it's actually half what Warmists usually claim from their "adjusted" data

It’s widely believed that global warming began in the 1970s, but new ocean temperature readings show that the Earth has in fact been warming for far longer.

A study by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego traced ocean warming to the late 19th century, which implies, say researchers, that the Earth’s climate as a whole has been heating up since then.

The report is the first global comparison of temperature between the historic voyage of HMS Challenger between 1872 and 1876 and modern data obtained by ocean-probing robots now continuously reporting temperatures via the global Argo program.

The research, led by oceanographer Dean Roemmich, shows a .33C (.59F) average increase in the upper portions of the ocean to 700 metres (2,300 feet) depth.

The increase was largest at the ocean surface, .59C (1.1F), decreasing to .12C (.22 F) at 900 metres (2,950 feet) depth.

Scientists have previously determined that nearly 90 per cent of the excess heat added to Earth's climate system since the 1960s has been stored in the oceans.

The new study, published in the April 1 advance online edition of Nature Climate Change and co-authored by John Gould of the United Kingdom-based National Oceanography Centre and John Gilson of Scripps Oceanography, pushes the ocean warming trend back much earlier.

‘The significance of the study is not only that we see a temperature difference that indicates warming on a global scale, but that the magnitude of the temperature change since the 1870s is twice that observed over the past 50 years,’ said Roemmich, co-chairman of the International Argo Steering Team.

‘This implies that the time scale for the warming of the ocean is not just the last 50 years but at least the last 100 years.’

Although the Challenger data set covers only some 300 temperature soundings (measurements from the sea surface down to the deep ocean) around the world, the information sets a baseline for temperature change in the world's oceans, which are now sampled continuously through Argo's unprecedented global coverage.

Nearly 3,500 free-drifting profiling Argo floats each collect a temperature profile every 10 days.

Roemmich believes the new findings, a piece of a larger puzzle of understanding the earth's climate, help scientists to understand the longer record of sea-level rise, because the expansion of seawater due to warming is a significant contributor to rising sea level.

What’s more, the 100-year timescale of ocean warming implies that the Earth's climate system as a whole has been gaining heat for at least that long.

HMS Challenger was a former battleship modified to carry out research. She collected sealife and sediment samples and measured ocean temperatures on a marathon 68,890 mile voyage. The steam-assisted ship carried a crew of 243 officers and scientists who worked in on-board laboratories.


More speculation about a "Melting Arctic"

This is all rubbish. Both the Northwest and Northeast passages have already been traversed by ships many times over the last 100 years. So it is amusing that the article below refers to them as "currently inaccessible sea lanes". Global cooling, anyone?

This year's frenzy of oil and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be the harbinger of even starker changes to come.

If, as many scientists predict, currently inaccessible sea lanes across the top of the world become navigable in the coming decades, they could redraw global trading routes - and perhaps geopolitics - forever.

This summer will see more human activity in the Arctic than ever before, with oil giant Shell engaged in major exploration and an expected further rise in fishing, tourism and regional shipping. But that, experts warn, brings with it a rising risk of environmental disaster not to mention criminal activity from illegal fishing to smuggling and terrorism.

"By bringing more human activity into the Arctic you bring both the good and the bad," Lt Gen Walter Semianiw, head of Canada Command and one of Ottawa's most senior military officers responsible for the Arctic, told an event at Washington DC think tank the Centre For Strategic and International Studies last week. "You will see the change whether you wish to or not."

With indigenous populations, researchers and military forces reporting the ice receding faster than many had expected, some estimates suggest the polar ice cap might disappear completely during the summer season as soon as 2040, perhaps much earlier.

That could slash the journey time from Europe to Chinese and Japanese ports by well over a week, possibly taking traffic from the southern Suez Canal route. But with many of those key sea routes passing through already disputed waters believed to contain much of the world's untapped energy reserves, some already fear a rising risk of confrontation.


Shocker: Nature Conservancy chief scientist admits ‘data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of collapse’

The eco-fragility trope of Rachel Carson and Al Gore is wrong, says an unlikely source. Peter Kareiva writes in the Breakthrough Journal that:
… The fragility trope dates back, at least, to Rachel Carson, who wrote plaintively in Silent Spring of the delicate web of life and warned that perturbing the intricate balance of nature could have disastrous consequences. Al Gore made a similar argument in his 1992 book, Earth in the Balance. And the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment warned darkly that, while the expansion of agriculture and other forms of development have been overwhelmingly positive for the world’s poor, ecosystem degradation was simultaneously putting systems in jeopardy of collapse.

The trouble for conservation is that the data simply do not support the idea of a fragile nature at risk of collapse. Ecologists now know that the disappearance of one species does not necessarily lead to the extinction of any others, much less all others in the same ecosystem. In many circumstances, the demise of formerly abundant species can be inconsequential to ecosystem function. The American chestnut, once a dominant tree in eastern North America, has been extinguished by a foreign disease, yet the forest ecosystem is surprisingly unaffected. The passenger pigeon, once so abundant that its flocks darkened the sky, went extinct, along with countless other species from the Steller’s sea cow to the dodo, with no catastrophic or even measurable effects.

These stories of resilience are not isolated examples — a thorough review of the scientific literature identified 240 studies of ecosystems following major disturbances such as deforestation, mining, oil spills, and other types
of pollution. The abundance of plant and animal species as well as other measures of ecosystem function recovered, at least partially, in 173 (72 percent) of these studies…


Carbon pollution standard: Four ways weird

EPA’s proposed “Carbon Pollution Standard” requires new fossil-fuel electric generating units (EGUs) to emit no more than 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt hour. About 95% of all natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) power plants already meet the standard (p. 115). No existing coal power plants come close; even the most efficient, on average, emit 1,800 lbs CO2/MWh (p. 134).

A coal power plant equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology could meet the standard, but the levelized cost of new coal plants already exceeds that of new natural gas plants, and “today’s CCS technologies would add around 80% to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal (PC) plant, and around 35% to the cost of electricity for a new advanced gasification-based (IGCC) plant” (p. 124).

In short, EPA has proposed a standard that no commercially-viable coal plant can meet. This is not surprising given President Obama’s longstanding ambition to “bankrupt” coal and his vow to find other ways of “skinning the cat” after the election-day “slaughter” of cap-and-trade Democrats. What is surprising is the rule’s weirdness – the contortions EPA performs to make the proposal seem reasonable.

(1) EPA tries to palm off natural gas combined cycle — a type of power plant — as a “control option” or “system of emission reduction” for coal-fired power plants.

EPA picked 1,000 lb CO2/MWh as the “standard of performance” for new fossil-fuel EGUs because that is the “degree of emission limitation achievable through natural gas combined cycle generation” (pp. 35-36). But consider how the Clean Air Act (CAA) defines “standard of performance” [Sec. 111(a)(1)]:

“The term ‘standard of performance’ means a standard for emissions of air pollutants which reflects the degree of emission limitation achievable through the application of the best system of emission reduction which (taking into account the cost of achieving such reduction and any nonair quality health and environmental impact and energy requirements) the Administrator determines has been adequately demonstrated.”

Performance standards are supposed to reflect the best “system of emission reduction.” But natural gas combined cycle is not a system of emission reduction. It is a type of power plant. EPA is not proposing that new coal power plants install emission reduction systems that have been “adequately demonstrated.” Rather, EPA is proposing that new coal power plants be new natural gas plants. EPA is saying with a straight face that natural gas combined cycle is an emission reduction system that has been adequately demonstrated for coal power plants.

To my knowledge, this is the first time EPA has ever defined a performance standard such that one type of facility can comply only by being something other than what it is.

(2) EPA lumps coal boilers and natural gas turbines together in a newly-minted industrial source category (fossil-fuel EGUs) — but only for CO2 emissions, not for conventional air pollutants.

EPA sets performance standards for specific categories of industrial sources. A coal boiler is different from a gas turbine, and up to now EPA reasonably regulated them as different source categories, under different parts of the Code of Federal Regulations (Subpart Da for coal boilers, Subpart KKKK for gas turbines). EPA now proposes to regulate them as a single source category — fossil-fuel EGUs — under a new subpart numbered TTTT. But only for CO2! Coal boilers and natural gas turbines will continue to be regulated separately for criteria and toxic pollutants under Subparts Da and KKKK (p. 71).

Why hold coal boilers and gas turbines to different standards for those pollutants? EPA’s answer:

“This is because although coal-fired EGUs have an array of control options for criteria and air toxic air pollutants to choose from, those controls generally do not reduce their criteria and air toxic emissions to the level of conventional emissions from natural gas-fired EGUs” (p. 102).

The same logic argues against imposing a single CO2 standard on coal boilers and natural gas turbines. Coal plants have no “adequately demonstrated” options for reducing CO2 emissions to the level of emissions from natural gas plants. CCS may qualify in the future but it is too costly now (p. 100).

So we’re back to EPA’s contortion of classifying natural gas combined cycle as an emission-reduction system adequately demonstrated for coal power plants.

(3) The proposed rule exempts modified coal power plants from the CO2 performance standard even though CAA Sec. 111 requires modified sources to be regulated as “new” sources.

CAA Sec. 111(a) defines “new source” as “any stationary source, the construction or modification of which is commenced after the publication of regulations (or, if earlier, proposed regulations) prescribing a standard of performance under this section which will be applicable to such source” (emphasis added). The provision defines “modification” as “any physical change in, or change in the method of operation of, a stationary source which increases the amount of any air pollutant emitted by such source or which results in the emission of any air pollutant not previously emitted.” These definitions clearly imply that, once EPA promulgates CO2 performance standards for power plants, a coal-fired EGU that increases its CO2 emissions due to a physical change or change in operation is a “new” source. Yet under EPA’s proposal, modified coal-fired EGUs will not be treated as new sources.

Why? EPA claims it does “not have adequate information as to the types of physical or operational changes sources may undertake or the amount of increase in CO2 emissions from those changes” (p. 151). That’s odd. EPA has been collecting data on power plant CO2 emissions since the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (Sec. 821) and on power plant modifications for much longer. EPA also says it lacks “adequate information as to the types of control actions sources could take to reduce emissions, including the types of controls that may be available or the cost or effectiveness of those controls” (p. 151). More plausibly, EPA knows full well that the only available control options are to install CCS or re-power with natural gas, and that imposition of such requirements would shutter coal plants, drive up electric rates, jeopardize power plant safety and grid reliability, and provoke an angry political backlash. Is EPA again “tailoring” (amending) the CAA to avoid a regulatory debacle of its own making?

(4) The proposed rule has no monetized costs or benefits.

EPA says the rule will not “add costs” to the electric power sector, ratepayers, or the economy, because EPA “does not project construction of any new coal-fired EGUs” between now and 2030. Rather, EPA expects power companies “to build new EGUs that comply with the regulatory requirements of this proposal even in the absence of the proposal, due to existing and expected market conditions” (p. 200), namely, the superior economics of natural gas (p. 36).

The rule won’t “add costs” because it ratifies where the market is already going. By the same token, however, the rule has no estimated benefits. EPA does “not anticipate any notable CO2 emissions changes resulting from the rule,” hence “there are no monetized climate benefits in terms of CO2 emission reductions associated with this rulemaking” (p. 202).

So what’s the point – why propose a “carbon pollution standard” that won’t reduce CO2 emissions and has no estimated climate benefits?

Because the rule expands EPA’s control over electric utilities and creates a powerful new tool for “skinning the cat.” It puts fossil-fuel EGUs squarely under EPA’s regulatory thumb with respect to their inescapable and principal byproduct, CO2. It sets the precedent for EPA to promulgate CO2 performance standards for other industrial source categories. Most importantly, it tees up EPA to put the regulatory squeeze on modified and existing coal power plants in a second Obama administration. In EPA’s words:

“Although modified sources would not be subject to the 1,000 lb CO2/MWh standard for new sources, the EPA anticipates that modified sources would become subject to the requirements the EPA would promulgate at the appropriate time, for existing sources under 111(d)” (p. 153). “The proposed rule will also serve as a necessary predicate for the regulation of existing sources within this source category under CAA Section 111(d)” (p. 201).

The proposal is EPA’s first — not last — action to fulfill the agency’s December 2010 settlement agreement with state attorneys general and environmental groups. The agreement requires EPA to set CO2 performance standards for both new and modified EGUs plus emission guidelines for non-modified EGUs (p. 64). By creating the framework for limiting CO2 emissions, the “carbon pollution standard” puts coal generation in an ever-tightening regulatory noose.

Like the rest of EPA’s greenhouse agenda, the proposed rule is an affront to the Constitution’s separation of powers. Congress never voted to prohibit construction of new coal power plants. Indeed, Congress declined to impose less onerous constraints on new coal generation when Senate leaders pulled the plug on cap-in-trade. Congress should reassert its constitutional authority, overturn the rule, and rein in this rogue agency.


The lights go out for yet another "Green" business

Q-Cells, once the world's biggest maker of solar panels, is filing for bankruptcy. The German firm says it has abandoned an attempt to refinance its debts and will file for insolvency on Tuesday.

Like other solar panel makers, Q-Cells has been hit by falling prices and last year the firm lost 846m euros ($1.1bn; £702m).

The company started in 2001 with 19 staff and now employs more than 2,000 workers. Several other German makers of solar equipment have failed recently including Solon, Solar Millennium and Solarhybrid.

The industry has been hit by the government's decision this year to cut subsidies for solar power production. Under the system, German power companies were obliged to buy solar power from producers at a fixed price. The government is cutting that rate by up to 30%.

Q-Cells had been trying to organise a deal to swap debt for shares in the company. But it said that a court ruling last week, which blocked a similar restructuring plan at German wood processing company Pfleiderer, convinced it that it could not go ahead with its rescue plan.

"Against the background of the final ruling of the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court in the Pfleiderer case on March 27, 2012, the company had come to the conclusion that no going concern prognosis is given anymore," Q-cells said in a statement.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why are we letting the warmists redefine the beginning of the warming back to the end of the Little Ice Age? Of course it's warmed since then.