Monday, August 20, 2012

Attention-seeking doctor ignores reality

If warmth is so bad for your health, how come the uptick in hospital admissions is in winter, not summer? What a pathetic mess of pumped-up ego she is!

A doctor riding a bicycle across the United States will stop in Rochester on Saturday to talk about the health effects of climate change.

Dr. Wendy Ring, a 56-year-old family physician, is riding a bicycle across the country this summer to talk to people about the health effects of climate change and the need to speed transition to renewable energy. She is speaking at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rochester, 1727 Walden Lane S.W.

At 2 p.m., she will meet with some riders in Pine Island and ride into Rochester, holding a press conference later in the afternoon.

Ring says climate change is already affecting health in the United States, resulting in thousands of emergency-room visits, hospitalizations and deaths from a variety of respiratory, cardiovascular and infectious diseases.

She is a graduate of Yale and Columbia universities and holds a PhD in medicine and master's in public health. Formerly the medical director of an innovative mobile clinic in rural northern California, she has been recognized by the California state Senate and Assembly, the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association for her contributions to health care for the under-served.


Financial newspaper Talks Openly About “Germany’s Dirty Wind Energy Secret”

Horst von Buttlar writes at the online Financial Times Deutschland a piece called: "Wind Energy: The Dirty Secret of the Energy Transformation".

In the aftermath of Fukushima and Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, Germany rushed madly, in a state of collective hysteria, to alternative energies, ignoring all warnings that it would cost a bundle and wouldn’t work. Now with the big bills rolling in, the country is beginning to show some signs of returning to a little sanity.

Von Buttlar in the Financial Times begins his piece: "Slowly it is beginning to dawn: The energy transformation is not only stalling, but it is also is exposing the well-hidden secret that it has long been a huge redistribution program from the bottom up.”

He writes that it’s about large landowners and farmers parking Ferraris between their tractors, or a famous law firm investing an 8-digit sum in a solar park with the state guaranteeing a handsome profit. It’s about a Bavarian farmer with hundreds of solar panels on his barn’s roof laughing his way to the bank: “That’s 20,000 euros per month.”

The German socialist and green parties used to be about protecting the little guy, making sure that their money and assets don’t get transferred from the bottom to the top. Today, however, they’re making sure that it does get transferred to the top! It just happens many Greens and socialist honchos are at the top reaping the benefits of political sellout.

Slowly but surely, it is all coming out. Von Buttlar writes: " … a few days ago the Consumer Protection Agency complained about high electricity costs: In 2007 every household paid on average 35 euros for alternative energies. Beginning in 2013, when the share in the costs rises from 3.5 cents to 5 cents, that number will jump to 185 euros.”

Von Buttlar reminds us that many Germans still accept this and view it as a “good cause” – a position he calls naive" "We should at least be honest – these are times when armies of corporate representatives and “advisers” from Enercon, Repower, or the numerous obscure solar companies are invading the countryside. It is not about a lofty objective or a good cause. That’s the story that gets told at town meetings. No, it’s about money. More precisely said: it’s about lots of money for a very few – money that is being divided up between plant operators, investors, leasing companies and manufacturers. 16.4 billion euros was the energy feed-in allocation in 2011. In the coming year it is going to be 20 billion.”

This is the reality that I hope my friends in Vermont are going to wake the hell up to – soon. The whole thing is a financial scam. And it is not going to have a bit of impact on the weather.

Not only is it going to cost you lots of money, but, as you are now painfully witnessing in Vermont, it is wreaking environmental damage of catastrophic dimensions. Your mountains and landscape are being devoured by industry. How do you like the face of climate protection now?

Rich landowners, says von Buttlar, are leasing their land to windpark operators for 2000 to 10,000 euros an acre. Farmers can now kick back and do nothing but watch the money roll in.

The alternative energy situation in Germany has skidded so much out of control that even one of the fathers of the environmental movement has switched sides. Enoch zu Guttenberg, symphony conductor and co-founder of leading environmental activist group BUND, left the group in protest in May. Von Buttlar writes: "‘BUND appears to have sold out’, and he no longer wanted to crane his hands ‘near every money barrel,’ that corrupts. ‘Unfortunately we are no longer talking about the responsible future of energy management in Germany,’ zu Guttenberg writes. “We are talking about making a really fast buck’.”

Hopefully Germany’s disastrous energy model will act to deter others from following on the same path, which clearly Vermont has already embarked on in a radical way. Von Buttlar concludes his Financial Times article: "The next time you see a wind turbine, don’t think about whether it is attractive or ugly, or whether it is clean or polluting. Just think: Great! Now there’s sombody that has gotten seriously rich!“

And also ask: At who’s expense?


Third Largest Power Company in the World is the Third Largest Recipient of Risky Loans

Through this special series on green-energy crony-corruption, we’ve been highlighting specific examples of green-energy loan guarantees and grants. What connects each of these cases is that they received fast-tracked approval from the Department of Interior (DOI) for their projects. Of course, they also have many other dots that connect, such as key players with White House visits, raising funds for Democratic campaigns, and serving within government agencies such as the Department of Energy (DOE) or as an appointed member to President Obama’s Job’s Council.

Now we come to the last of our “special seven” series. Like those before it, it contains many inside players and funding from various “stimulus” government programs. While Lewis Hay (the CEO of NextEra Energy) with his White House involvement and friendship with former Florida Governor Charlie Crist make for some juicy details in the NextEra story, we’ll begin with a brief background that will help put this next piece of the green-energy crony-corruption scandal in perspective.

NextEra Energy, Inc. is one of the oldest, third largest, and arguably one of the most solid power companies in the world, with “2011 revenues [that] totaled more than $15.3 billion.” It is estimated by Forbes, that CEO “Hay earns nearly $10 million in total compensation from NextEra.”

NextEra Energy Inc. has two primary subsidiaries:

Florida Power & Light is the third largest electricity producer in the US (about which a September 2009 report states: “it's a political dynamo, making millions in political contributions and lobbying assiduously to achieve its goals”).

NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator of energy from sun and wind resources in North America. The company also has the third largest fleet (8) of nuclear powered electricity generating plants in the United States.

With its wealth and widespread influence, the DOE gave this huge energy conglomerate nearly $2 billion of taxpayer money, which includes the two risky projects listed below, plus hundreds of millions more in various stimulus grants.

Desert Sunlight: $1.2 billion

In September 2011, the DOE approved a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for the junk-rated Desert Sunlight project in California. A day after the loan was approved, First Solar, the project developer/owner sold Desert Sunlight to NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, the competitive energy subsidiary of NextEra Energy, Inc. and GE Energy Financial Services. Both CEO's are on President Obama's Job Council: Lewis Hay of NextEra Energy and Jeffrey Immelt of GE. (Immelt is another top Obama donor, donating $529,855 to his 2008 campaign. Note: GE has raked in more than $3 billion of stimulus money, and counting.)

Genesis Solar Project: $681.6 million

But as we reported in the beginning of this series, the Desert Sunlight Project is not the only large DOE “risky” loan that NextEra secured. NextEra Energy Resources also received $681.6 million from the DOE for its Genesis Solar project in Blythe, California. This was one of the few DOE 1705 loans that were not considered junk rated, as S&P placed it at a “lower medium grade.”


Remember that the common denominator of these “special seven” projects was a “fast-tracked DOI approval?” The policy has come back to bite the projects.

According to the Los Angeles Times (LAT), “The $1-billion Genesis Solar Energy Project has been expedited by state and federal regulatory agencies that are eager to demonstrate that the nation can build solar plants quickly to ease dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming. Instead, the project is providing a cautionary example of how the rush to harness solar power in the desert can go wrong—possibly costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and dealing an embarrassing blow to the Obama administration's solar initiative.”

The problem is the “expedited” process may endanger the whole project. The House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform’s March 20, 2012 report says, “To expedite site approval, NextEra opted for a less thorough process.” As a result, the site “encroached on the habitat of the endangered kit foxes.” NextEra had to move the foxes prior to grading the site. “Ultimately, seven foxes died from NextEra’s removal process.”

Additionally, there have been concerns of desert tortoises and a “prehistoric human settlement.”

But warring factions within the environmental movement also plague the NextEra Genesis Solar project.


Coming Soon: Higher Energy Prices, Shortages

Despite their natural abundance

“Once real numbers have come out about renewable energy costs, people are having second thoughts,” reported Maureen Masten, Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources and Senior Advisor on Energy to Governor Bob McDonnell, VA, while addressing his “all of the above energy” strategy to meet the state’s energy needs.

The real costs of renewable energy are coming out—both in dollars and daily impacts. After years of hearing about “free” energy from the sun and wind, people are discovering that they’ve been lied to.

On Tuesday, August 14, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) approved a new renewable energy rate rider that will allow the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to start recovering a portion of its recent development costs for building five solar facilities around the state, a pilot solar facility with battery storage, and wind resource procurements. The renewable rider could be on ratepayers' bills by the end of the month—“depending on when the commission publishes its final order,” said PNM spokeswoman Susan Spooner.

The rate rider currently represents about a $1.34 increase for an average residence using 600 kilowatt hours of electricity per month—or a little more than $16 per year. This increase seems miniscule until you realize that this is only a small part of increases to come. PNM needs to recover $18.29 million in renewable expenditures in 2012 and the rate rider only addresses monies spent in the last four to five months. The remaining expense will be carried into 2013.

Like more than half of the states in the US, New Mexico has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that mandates public utilities have set percentages of their electricity from renewable sources. In New Mexico the mandate is 10 percent this year, 15 percent by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. Most states—with the exception of California (which is 33 percent by 2020)—have similar benchmarks. To meet the mandates, PNM will need considerably more renewable energy with dramatically more expense—all of which ultimately gets passed on to the customer. PNM acknowledges that the rider will increase next year and predicts the total cost recovery for 2013 to be about $23 million. By 2020, based on the current numbers of approximately $20 million a year invested, resulting in a $24 a year increase, consumers’ bills will go up about $200 a year just for the additional cost of inefficient renewable energy.

Had the PRC not approved the special rate rider, costs would be even higher. Typically rate increases are only approved at periodic rate case hearings, usually held every few years. The system of only allowing rate increases after a lengthy hearing, keeps the costs hidden from the consumer for longer but increases costs to the utility and, ultimately, the consumer, due to interest charges on the borrowed money. PNM believes the rider will allow for more “timely recovery of costs,” resulting in a $2.7 million savings.

Environmental groups, who’ve been pushing for the renewable energy increases, opposed the special renewable rate rider and have threatened a potential appeal of the PRC’s decision. It is hard to tout “free” energy when there is a special line on the utility bill that clearly points out the new charge for renewables.

So, renewable electricity is hardly free. It also isn’t there when you need it—like in the predictable summer heat of California.

To meet their 33 percent renewable mandate, California’s utility companies, like New Mexico, have been installing commercial renewable electricity facilities—with wind capable of providing about 6 percent, and solar 2 percent, of the state’s electric demand. But in the summer heat, the wind doesn’t blow much and the solar capacity drops by about 50 percent when the demand is the highest.

Despite increasing renewable capacity and an exodus of the population, California has been facing threats of rolling brown/blackouts due to potential shortages. TV and radio ads blanket the air waves begging consumers to limit electricity usage by setting their air conditioners at 78 degrees and using household appliances only after 6PM. “Flex Alerts” have been issued stating: “conservation remains critical.” “Consumers are urged to reduce energy use,” “California ISO balances high demand for electricity with tight power supplies” and “maintain grid reliability.”

Even with expedited permitting, California cannot build renewable electricity generation fast enough. Environmentalists block construction due to species habitat, such as that of the desert tortoise or the kit fox. If they oppose renewable energy construction, you can imagine the vitriol they extend toward coal, natural gas, and nuclear. There is a big push to shut down nuclear power plants and new natural-gas plants, which are ideal for meeting the needs of “peak demand,”are fought by the very same groups that are pushing electric cars.

San Diego-based, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Roger Hedgecock observed: “Right at the moment in California, building new electricity generating power plants of any kind is politically taboo. Electricity itself is becoming politically taboo.”

Texas has been faced with both increasing costs and fears of shortages. “Concerned about adequate electricity supplies,” the Texas Public Utility Commission recently voted to allow electricity generators to charge up to 50 percent more for wholesale power. The increase is to encourage the building of new power plants in the state with the highest capacity in the country for wind electricity generation.

Apparently new electricity-generating power plants are politically taboo in Texas, too—at least within the environmental community. Instead of encouraging new power plants to be built, Ken Kramer, the Texas head of the Sierra Club, said, “A better idea would be to encourage more energy-saving programs”—perhaps like setting the thermostat to 78 degrees and not turning on appliances until after 6PM.

When will Americans revolt over being forced to use less while paying more?

We know that high energy prices are just the beginning of inflation that raises the cost of everything from food to clothing to manufactured goods. When the cost of manufacturing goes up, industry moves to countries with lower-priced energy, cheaper labor, and more reasonable regulations. Jobs go overseas and we import more. The trade deficit grows, and America is less competitive.

The higher electricity costs are 100 percent due to government regulation and legislation that are unreasonably crushing American businesses and ratepayers—much like the pressure England imposed on the American colonies that launched the American Revolution.

Paul Revere alerted the early settlers—“the Red Coats are coming, the Red Coats are coming”—which brought people into the town square where they joined forces and rallied together. Their cooperative effort was so effective that those early Americans made it so painful for the Red Coats that they abandoned their objective.

People who hear me speak often describe me as the Ann Coulter of energy. Due to the childhood nickname of “Bunny,” my family refers to me as the Energizer Bunny. But today, I feel like the Paul Revere of energy: “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”

What remains to be seen is how the citizens of America will respond. Will we gather in the figurative town square and join forces, making it too painful for the use-less, pay-more agenda to continue? Will we force state legislators to abandon the RPS? Will we rally together in opposition to the EPA’s cost-increasing regulations? Will we turn out a president who is more concerned with lining his cronies' pockets than doing what is best for Americans?

Unless the publicly-inflicted pain forces the abandonment of the objective, “Higher energy prices are coming. Energy shortages are coming.”


Whatever Happened to Peak Oil?

Why are peak oil-ers like Jehovah’s Witnesses? Answer: When the definitive JW prediction of the ‘Day of Wrath’ failed in 1914, they did what false prophets have done in every generation: shifted the goalposts (to 1975 in the case of JW’s—and wrong again). It’s what false prophets do to save face, enabling them to keep fleecing the inherently gullible. Peak-oilers do likewise.

Having written their headline-grabbing, money-making blockbusters predicting the imminent collapse of an oil-driven industrial world, peak-oilers like to maintain a ‘fluid’ approach to their predictions. In the case of oil, however, that’s becoming a tougher proposition, as their ignorance of energy, economics and the sheer ingenuity of man is increasingly revealed in the looming global oil boom.

The ‘new Middle East’

When John Fogerty sang about coming home to Green River, the incentive was hardly a 200 year supply of oil. But that’s the reality of the world’s largest shale oil—more properly, deposit at the Green River Formation (GRF). The USGS estimates the GRF holds 3 trillion barrels of oil, around half of which is deemed recoverable. That’s equivalent to the total of the world’s proven oil reserves.

At current levels of US consumption—19.5 million barrels per day (bpd)—Green River on its own could supply domestic US needs for the next 200 years. Then there are the Bakken and Eagle Ford shale plays. The former alone is on a par with big Persian Gulf producing countries. Eagle Ford may even match the hydrocarbon endowment of the Bakken/Three Forks play in North Dakota and Montana. To date, shale or tight oil has added about 700,000 bpd to US oil production.

No wonder North America is being talked about in oil terms as ‘the new Middle East’. But the Bakken and Eagle Ford plays aside, there are a further 18 plays with plenty of energy potential across the United States. And I haven’t even touched on the granddaddy of North American oil plays: Canada’s huge Athabasca oil sands development. Just for good measure, a report by Citigroup analysts estimates that America’s “reindustrialization”, driven by its conventional energy (oil and gas) sector, could see the creation of a whopping 3.6 million new jobs and add a full 3 percent to national GDP.

Deepwater and beyond

A USGS report of 171 global regions in 2012 further estimates that the world’s undiscovered conventional and technically recoverable oil resources, much of it in deepwater, stands at 565 billion barrels of oil (BBO). That’s a figure that only represents known conventional resources. But it pales in significance when unconventional resources, such as heavy oil, oil sands and shale oil, are taken into consideration. As the USGS reports, the mean estimate for recoverable heavy oil from the Orinoco Oil Belt in Venezuela alone stands at a mammoth 513 BBO. The shale oil potential of Russia’s Bazhenov Formation in Western Siberia may well prove to be 80 times larger than America’s Bakken Formation. At present six of the world’s largest oil fields in Ghana, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Brazil and Venezuela (the Orinoco Field) all still await development—the last directly due directly to President Chavez’s anti-West politics.

A recent study by Leonardo Maugeri, a former senior executive with Italian giant ENI, confirms the global prognosis. Such is the positive nature of exploration, the impact of new technologies and the sheer weight of finds and prospective new resources, Maugeri states: “Contrary to what most people believe, oil supply capacity is growing worldwide at such an unprecedented level that it might outpace consumption. This could lead to a glut of overproduction and a steep dip in oil prices.” Maugeri further suggests that “capacity exists to increase the world’s 2011 production of 93 million barrels a day by as much as half, hitting, by 2020, around 111 million barrels a day—and rising.

You might have thought: great news for those around the world being forced into increasingly fuel poverty through having to pay for national green taxes to subsidize expensive, poor-generation, renewable projects. Not so it seems for social engineers like leading eco-activist and erstwhile Brit columnist, George Monbiot or ‘Moonbat’ to his critics. Newly convinced by Maugeri’s study, and already having recanted his views on nuclear power, Monbiot has now recanted also his alarmist views on peak oil, claiming “the facts have changed”. (Actually George they haven’t, rather you’ve just become acquainted with them.)

For the naive Monbiot, as for all peak-oiler scaremongers, rising oil and energy prices provided proof positive that oil scarcity was just around the corner, a fact, they said, presaging the end of industrial civilization as we know it. This was supposed to be the key ‘frightner’ for our technology-loving society to agree to subsidize ridiculously expensive, poor-production, renewable energy. What the Guardian’s Moonbat and his colleagues failed to understand, however, is a basic economic fact of energy life: high prices are also the market’s way of incentivizing new investment and greater human ingenuity. Necessity being the mother of invention, industry entrepreneurs duly came up with the goods, including the energy game-changer of the hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits. Once again, the ‘end-is-nigh-ists’ like all false prophets, shifted the prophetic goalposts. Instead of peak oil presaging social “disaster”, now the lack of a prospective peak for oil production quickly became the disaster.
“Peak idiocy”

So where did it all go wrong for peak-oil alarmists? Interestingly, for better ‘experts’ than Monbiot, it was their abject failure to understand either energy or the economics of energy. A double failure that led inexorably into a state which economist Mike Munger rightly terms: “peak idiocy”. Munger’s thesis bears repeating:
“Of all the idiotic things people believe, the whole “peak oil” thing has to be right up there. It is literally impossible for us to run out of oil. We have never run out of anything. And we never will.

If we did start to use up the oil we have ... three things would happen.

1. Prices would rise, causing people to cut back on use. More fuel efficient cars, better insulation on houses, etc. Quantity supplied goes up.

2. Prices would rise, causing people to look for more. And they would find more oil, and more ways to get at it. Quantity demanded goes down.

3. Prices of oil would rise, making the search for substitutes more profitable. At that point alternative fuels and energy sources would be economical, and would not require government subsidies, because they would pay for themselves. The supply curve for substitutes shifts downward and to the right.

Well put and accurate. And precisely the argument posited in Huber and Mill’s seminal book, The Bottomless Well, which states: “Energy supplies are—for all practical purposes—infinite”. So why don’t more allegedly informed pundits grasp the basic economics of energy? In a word: ideology. In this particular case, the ideology of the leftwing social engineer prepared to politicize any issue for their personal ‘higher’ purpose.

“The facts” were widely known well before the likes of George Monbiot and co were forced to admit the jig was up, with Moonbat lamenting, “We were wrong on peak oil. There’s enough to fry us all”. True—and on both counts. But a much more positive and factually-based perspective might conclude: “there’s more than enough oil, coming from much friendlier countries, that turbo-boost the economy and create millions of jobs for decades to come—and at a much cheaper rate, too.”

And which has the merit of more consistent “prophetic” insight? Depends on whether a vacillating Moonbat/Guardian-esque ideology trumps the intellect, I guess.



Three current articles below:

Industry taskforce points finger at carbon tax

A TASKFORCE comprising trade unions and manufacturers has cited the carbon price as adding to the pressures on the struggling industry sector in a report to government containing more than 40 recommendations, sources say.

The report by the manufacturing taskforce, a tripartite body established last year by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is believed to recommend a raft of measures ranging from creating a sovereign wealth fund, buying more Australian-made cars and giving tax breaks, to bolstering the export potential of the local food industry.

Ms Gillard established the taskforce to explore ways to help the manufacturing sector, which has been suffering from the pressures of the high dollar, high labour costs and other pressures of the mining boom.

Sources familiar with the report say despite the involvement of the Labor-aligned trade union movement - the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the Australian Workers Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Unions - the report cites rising energy costs caused by the carbon price as having an additional impact in an already competitive environment.

The body of the report calls for the effect of the fixed $23-a-tonne carbon price to be "ameliorated in the current competitive environment" for energy-intensive businesses and that the industry assistance provided for trade-exposed emitters be monitored and refined if necessary.

One recommendation says "energy prices directly impact on the competitiveness of Australian manufacturers and can be attenuated".

It suggests linking the carbon price scheme to international schemes, something already done, rationalising state and federal green schemes, a process also in train, and reforming energy markets, which Ms Gillard called for last week, and assisting business with implementing energy efficient measures.

The taskforce comprises Ms Gillard, senior ministers, the heads of the ACTU and the other unions, the Australian Industry Group and the chief executives of the companies OneSteel, Boeing, Holden and Kraft.

Today's report has been put forward by the unions, companies and the Ai Group, not the government, which will respond to it over time.

Sources familiar with its contents say the recommendations reflect the individual agendas of the participants as well as broader measures designed to help manufacturing as a whole.

One recommendation is the creation of a sovereign wealth fund which the AWU has argued previously would help take pressure off the dollar and create a savings pool for times of need.

It is also understood there is a recommendation for a full and independent inquiry into why small- and medium-sized businesses are struggling to secure capital, a problem that arose during the global financial crisis when access to credit dried up.

Other recommendations include skewing government purchases on cars further towards Australian-made vehicles, increasing the proportion of Australian goods and services that the Defence Department procures every year with its multibillion-dollar budget, and increasing the level of Australian content used in government spending on residential and commercial construction.

It also recommends an annual dialogue between the unions, government and business.

Chief executives of global companies have met and blamed the carbon tax for creating investment uncertainty.


Carbon pain registers for businesses

STRUGGLING small business owners are reporting a hit to their profits from the carbon tax - but are unwilling to pass increased costs on to customers because of the tough retail environment.

A national survey of 186 small firms has found 50 per cent are reporting carbon tax-related price hikes to power bills and other supplies. But only 33 per cent are making their clientele pay.

With many high street retailers experiencing slow trading conditions, a mere 8 per cent favoured the carbon tax, according to a News Limited survey.

And in more bad news for Prime Minister Julia Gillard, backing for Labor among small businesses has plunged.

Only 7 per cent said they would vote Labor at the next election. Eighteen per cent voted for the ALP at the 2010 federal poll.

About 66 per cent of the businesses surveyed - including bookshops, cafes, shoe stores, automotive outlets and other retailers - say they have absorbed the tax and have taken a hit to their profits.

Some businesses claimed the effect of the tax is so bad they may have to close some operations. "We have to consider closing one business down to keep the other business open because of the carbon tax," said Doug Cush, the owner of Bellata Gold Pasta, in the northern NSW electorate of New England.

Adrian Sykes, owner of the Autosmart vehicle cleaning products business at Rathmines, on the Central Coast, estimated a 5 per cent increase in wholesale costs with half a dozen suppliers lifting prices within a week of the carbon tax commencing.

"People are using the carbon tax as an excuse; there hasn't been enough time for there to be a real impact," Mr Sykes said.

Small Business Minister Brendan O'Connor is more upbeat and said business angst was dissipating. "The overall cost impact is negligible. Treasury has confirmed the cost (of carbon tax on energy) is 0.2 per cent to overall costs of business," he said.

Mick Carroll, who owns a plastics moulding firm in Victoria with annual revenues of about $1 million, has recently been told that his electricity rates are going up by 47 per cent from September 1.While the carbon tax is only responsible for some of this hike, Mr Carroll said he would find it hard to make further savings to offset the increase in his $2500 a month power bill. "I'm already to the bone in terms of our margins. This will be the final nail in manufacturing as I know it," he said.

The survey was conducted across 10 electorates in NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT, regions which are held by those who helped introduce the scheme.

These include Ms Gillard's seat of Lalor, Treasurer Wayne Swan's seat of Lilley, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet's seat of Charlton and the two NSW seats held by independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.

While worried about prices, small firms said the carbon tax has had only a marginal impact on cutting paperwork. But this has done little to allay concerns about the tax's impact.

One Canberra bookshop owner believes his prices will increase by "at least" $10,000 a year, mainly due to extra power and rent.


Furious fishermen protest Australian government plans to cut off their livelihood

HUNDREDS of angry fishmongers and trawlers rallied against Federal Government plans to introduce new marine parks yesterday, voicing fears of a dramatic increase in the proportion of imported seafood on Queensland plates.

Also in their sights were proposals to shut down significant sections of the Coral Sea to fishing.

The rally was organised by Hamilton seafood identity Kristina Georges, who operates Samies Girl Fresh Seafood Market.

Industry members descended on Shorncliffe to express their concerns.

Moreton Bay Seafood Industry Association net delegate Dave Thomson said recreational and commercial fishermen would be hurt by the proposed changes.

"I've been in this industry all my life and I'm 62 years old," he said. "It's just sad to see that the whole thing is getting eroded away. Eventually, it's got to stop. Let's just continue with the sustainable fishing that we've got. "They're trying to raise issues that aren't really there."

Mr Thomson said the "green push" driving the changes would lead to changes in importation levels. "There's going to be less local seafood available," he said. "Eventually, we're going to have to feed the place. I'm struggling to understand the actual reasoning behind it all."

Prawn trawler couple Sam and Steve Anderson attended the rally with the hope of sending a message to the Federal Government.

"That's the most important thing," Mrs Anderson said.

"There is going to be no fresh seafood, there's going to be no Australian seafood. Where are we going to get our seafood from? It's going to come from overseas."



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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