Thursday, December 06, 2012
Top UN Warmist has huge wealth transfer in mind
Talk about alignment of the stars! Barack Obama based his 2008 presidential campaign on the principle of “sharing the wealth.” He won, got reelected and now has, at least in his own mind, a flat-out mandate to extend his vision for wealth redistribution (and wealth destruction) planet-wide.
This week, as United Nations luminaries gather in Doha, Qatar, for the 18th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, the self-described “daughter of a revolutionary,” has presented her goals. The most important is a massive transfer of wealth – $100 billion a year – from soon-to-be formerly rich Europeans and Americans to UN bureaucrats who claim to represent the world's “developing” nations and Earth’s poorest citizens.
This astonishing concept is beyond surreal. It contends that the world already has enough wealth; that the developing world cannot or ought not generate any new wealth, certainly not from hydrocarbons, but rather should be content with receiving transfer payments monitored by the UN bureaucracy; and that the industrialized world should be put in an economic straitjacket, and yet charged $1 trillion per decade for climate change reparations and mitigation – on the premise that its carbon dioxide emissions have supplanted the many natural forces that caused extensive and repeated climate changes for eons.
Coupled with the underlying premise that wealth transfers are the only way to combat alleged planet-threatening, manmade global warming, is it any wonder that the entire Doha conference is like a bad dream (or horror movie)? Or that this ridiculous saga is taking place in the nation that boasts the world’s highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions?
Of course, the UN’s objective in Doha extends far beyond wealth transfers. It seeks a total restructuring of world political power, energy systems and economies – with the UN on top and nation states bowing before its ministers, just as a newly elected President Obama bowed before his eminence, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.
Just imagine: The gilded Lilliputians have gathered in Doha to strip the giants of their wealth, and oddly enough the giants (the EU and USA) are willing to be stripped naked, but only (apparently) if the emerging economic powers (including China and India) will follow suit and set their own economy-strangling carbon-cutting targets. We are witnessing Mutually Assured Destruction all over again! Except, of course, that China and very likely India will opt out of this charade, laughing all the way to the bank at this grand farce.
Despite 16 years of stable planetary temperatures, and growing evidence that prior projections of rapid warming were based on faulty modeling and outright disinformation, the mainstream media continue to hype the global warming cataclysm talking points.
Associated Press “reporter” Karl Ritter, for example, said the Doha battle “between the rich and the poor” is over “efforts to reach a deal to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C, compared to preindustrial times” – when Earth was emerging from the Little Ice Age. He cited a recent World Bank “projection” of an up to 4° C rise by 2100. Even worse, New York Times reporter James Atlas, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, warned that the Big Apple will likely sink beneath the sea in the next 50 to 200 years.
Both predictions must have been buried somewhere in Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the Energy Information Administration in 2011 forecast a 53% jump in world energy demand from 2008 levels by 2035. And the International Energy Agency predicted that the U.S. will be the world leader in natural gas production by 2015 and oil production by 2020, with Canada not far behind.
More to the point, despite Figueres’ blathering about increased investments in and reduced costs of “clean” energy, the fact is that oil, natural gas and, yes, even coal, will furnish much (if not most) of this expanding demand for energy. Expensive, subsidized, land-hungry, wildlife-killing, food-price-hiking “renewable” energy will remain a small niche player for decades to come.
It is not surprising that the bureaucrats at Doha are focusing on rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, given their catastrophic worldview that somehow fails to incorporate real economic progress for developing world citizens. They apparently see nothing wrong with the fact that most of the fossil energy production in Africa, for example, has contributed virtually nothing to constructing functional power grids, truck-worthy highways, or even air traffic routing that bolster trade, build local economies, lift families out of poverty, and help eliminate the wood and dung burning that kills millions from lung infections.
Instead, the energy is shipped overseas, to countries that don’t have enough indigenous energy – or to the United States, which refuses to develop its own vast hydrocarbon deposits.
And no wonder. Fossil fuel fired power plants in Africa do not fit the “Clean Development Mechanism” model that the UN devised – and foisted on poor countries – to enable rich nations to dump “clean energy” projects on the poor, while maintaining their own comparatively extravagant lifestyles and purchasing indulgences (carbon credits) to assuage their guilt.
Aside from the fact that someone (Al Gore, international bankers and their kin) will make a killing off any carbon trading schemes – and that the UN bureaucracy is seeking to pad its own employment rolls and pocketbooks – the sad reality is that none of the shenanigans at Doha (or at any previous or future UNFCCC dog and pony show) is likely to improve the well-being of the billions of humans in so-called developing countries one whit.
These people need cheap, reliable, abundant energy and the infrastructure it can support, in order to climb out of abject poverty, lengthen life spans grossly shortened by disease and malnutrition, and terminate the tyranny of neo-colonialists who, in the name of “preventing climate change,” continue to rule over them with iron fists.
By now, everyone knows that “global warming” or “climate change” or “weird weather” is nothing but a smokescreen for those like Figueres and Obama, who view economic growth as either evil or environmentally intolerable – and thus think taking from the rich and giving to bureaucrats who claim to represent the poor will even things out, and is the highest and best thing we can do.
A far better agenda for Doha would be encouraging the emergence of genuine leadership in the world’s poor nations (and its rich nations), to foster energy generation and infrastructure building, and unleash entrepreneurial instincts and wealth creation that truly enrich the lives and fortunes of their people.
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Chancellor confirms UK will chase US shale gas boom
The Chancellor today confirmed the UK will give chase to a US-style shale gas boom by consulting on what tax incentives to give the controversial fuel source and creating its own department, a new Office for Unconventional Gas.
The move will give certainty to developers in the UK including Cuadrilla Resources whose CEO recently suggested they would not wait forever to invest in the UK. However it is sure to be a bitter blow for environmental campaigners opposed to “fracking”.
Announcing the Government’s Gas Strategy in his yearly Autumn Statement today, Mr Osborne suggested shale gas would help British families benefit from low gas prices similar to those experienced in the States.
The Chancellor declared: “We are consulting on new tax incentives for shale gas and announcing the creation of a single Office for Unconventional Gas so that regulation is safe but simple. We don’t want British families and businesses to be left behind as gas prices tumble on the other side of the Atlantic.”
Contrary to demands from up to 300 protestors outside Westminster over the weekend to ditch a dash for gas, the publication of today’s Gas Strategy confirms unabated gas will “continue to play a crucial role in our generation mix for many years to come and the amount of gas we need to call on at times of peak demand will remain high”.
It adds DECC modelling suggests “up to 26 GW of new gas plant could be required by 2030 (in part to replace older coal, gas and nuclear plant as it retires from the system).”
Engineers said the Chancellor’s Statement gave “very welcome clarification” on the role of gas in bridging a “looming” energy gap in the middle of the decade.
Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at Imeche said: “It is sensible for the UK to invest in gas-fired power plants at this point in time as they are cleaner than coal, needed to back-up intermittent renewable energy sources and can be built quicker with much lower up-front costs than nuclear plants.
But he warned the UK must not become “over-reliant” on gas: “The UK’s off-shore gas reserves are dwindling and given that the contribution of shale gas will probably be limited to a few percent of future UK demand, we are unlikely to ever be self-sufficient in gas.”
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association added: “Gas has a vital role to play in a balanced mix, not just for generation but for heating our homes. The UK’s energy future must be affordable and deliver on climate change targets and this means a balanced approach that retains gas for many decades.”
Last month the gas market had a brush with scandal when a whistle-blower at an energy reporting firm alleged prices were being fixed, Libor-style, prompting the Government to begin an investigation into the gas market.
Experts believe global wholesale gas prices are the cause of recent rises in energy bills. The Chancellor’s argument goes that a national shale gas resource would counter external gas price increases.
However environmentalists claim George Osborne is “misleading” the public about the benefits of shale gas.
Greenpeace political director Joss Garman said: “The Chancellor is misleading people to position shale gas as the answer to UK’s energy woes. The impact of fracking in the US is irrelevant because energy experts say the US shale gas boom cannot be replicated here.”
Andy Atkins, Executive director of Friends of the Earth said “The big polluters must think Christmas has come early – but if bad Santa Osborne’s gas-fired energy strategy gets the go-ahead it will leave cash-strapped households and the environment with a thumping hang-over for decades.”
Britain’s Green Energy Investment Collapsing
Fundamental ideological disagreements within the government about renewable energy have turned away droves of potential investors in crucial new green electricity generators, according to damning new research.
Britain needs to attract tens of billions of pounds of private investment in low-carbon energy in the next decade, to ensure the lights stay on while meeting ambitious environmental targets.
But alarming new research shows that investment in essential industrial-scale wind, water, solar, biomass and nuclear power projects has more than halved in the past three years, in the face of government indecision over its green energy policy.
Furthermore, last week’s energy bill failed to provide many would-be investors with the reassurance they need to “pull the trigger” on key renewable energy projects, warns Michael Liebreich, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the researcher behind the report.
Experts blame the ideologically divided coalition for its failure to agree a coherent renewable energy policy and its, sometimes public, disagreements about low-carbon electricity subsidies and whether to introduce firm targets to reduce carbon emissions.
They say the resulting uncertainty has shaken the confidence of potential financiers who need a clear sense of their likely returns along with certainty that the government is in favour of green energy and won’t suddenly change its policy.
Michael Liebreich, head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said: “Yes, the coalition could have moved faster to eliminate uncertainty, especially in the past two months with the rise of the ‘dash for gas lobby’ and the sudden lurch to the sceptical which is very destabilising.”
Mr Liebreich is referring, in part, to David Cameron’s decision in September to replace pro-renewable energy minister Charles Hendry with John Hayes, a well-known opponent of wind power. Since his appointment, Mr Hayes has continued to voice his opposition to wind power – saying Britain was already “peppered” with onshore windfarms and that “enough is enough” - even though his stance contradicts the strategy of his boss, energy secretary Ed Davey, for whom the technology is key. Meanwhile, George Osborne, is set to announce formally place gas – a non-renewable, fossil fuel - at the centre of Britain’s energy strategy in his autumn statement tomorrow.
“Swapping out Charles Hendry seems pretty extraordinary, to be honest, if they want to attract investment,” said Mr Liebreich, adding that last week’s long-awaited and fiercely-negotiated energy bill was nonetheless a step in the right direction because it “establishes the principle of energy diversity and provides a good framework to achieve this.”
But although most experts agree that last week’s bill represents a progression, many are discouraged by the decision to drop a legally-binding target to make electricity generation almost entirely green by 2030. This was proposed by Mr Davey but later overruled by George Osborne and its removal has left many potential low-carbon investors unconvinced about the government’s commitment to renewable energy – although there is a possibility of an amendment to return it to the bill as it passes through Parliament.
Andrew Raingold, director of Aldersgate, an alliance of 50 major companies including Asda, BT, Marks & Spencer, Microsoft and Philips, is among those who argue that the energy bill doesn’t go far enough. “Delaying key decisions such as the decarbonisation target for 2030 risks damaging the UK’s future economic prospects and leaving the consumers over-exposed to the price and energy security risks of heavy dependence on imported gas,” Mr Raingold said.
Ditlev Engel, chief executive of the world’s biggest wind turbine maker, Vestas, was also critical of the bill, pointing out that its lack of clarity on green energy would also hit companies that supply what could be a burgeoning industry in the UK.
Mr Engel, who closed Vestas wind turbine manufacturing plants in the Isle of Wight and Southampton in 2009 and this summer pulled out of plans to set up a manufacturing plant in Kent, amid the lack of certainty, said last week of the energy bill: “The failure to establish a firm 2030 power sector carbon cap prolongs uncertainty to the supply chain where investment horizons extend well beyond 2020. This is a missed opportunity.”
His comments, in turn, come after a powerful alliance of companies including Siemens, Mitsubishi and Areva, the French nuclear giant, wrote to David Cameron, Mr Osborne and Mr Davey in October warning them that a lack of decision-making and threats to relax key green targets “have caused us to reassess the level of political risk in the UK.”
“We consider that a binding 2030 target for power sector decarbonisation would help reduce the political risk currently associated with long term UK industrial investment,” continued the letter, whose senders employ about 17,500 people in Britain and are planning “significant further development” which, they warned, was “critically dependent on a long-term stable policy framework”.
Although there has been a steady drum beat of warnings about the dangers posed to investment by what has been dubbed Britain’s “energy shambles”, the stark Bloomberg figures are the first to quantify the impact.
They show that investment in industrial-scale wind, solar, water, biomass and other renewable energy generators Such investment tumbled from a peak of $10.65bn (£6.6bn) in 2009, as potential backers felt increasingly confident that they would be eligible for significant subsidies, to $7.81bn in 2010.
The decline continued last year, as investment fell to just $5.0bn last year – less than half of its peak two years earlier – and is set to fall again in 2012 after just $3.63bn of cash was committed in the first nine months of the year, according to Bloomberg.
Nico Tyabji, also of New Energy Finance, said: “Investors have made clear to the UK government that policy uncertainty has undermined investment.”
The highest profile low-carbon energy project that has been put on hold because of uncertainty about government subsidy levels is the proposed £10bn power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset, which would be the UK's first nuclear energy provider for more than a quarter of a century. However, the investors, British Gas-owner Centrica and Edf, the French energy giant, will not finally commit to project until they have agreed a minimum price with the government for the electricity it will generate.”
By contrast, investment in small generators by households and small businesses such as farms, jumped to $3.80bn last year from virtually nothing in 2010 as people scrambled to take advantage of generous government subsidies for solar panels. However, investment in these small-scale generators has declined this year after the government suddenly and unexpectedly attempted to reduce solar subsidy levels, in a move that the High Court ruled was illegal and which further rocked the confidence of potential investors. The government has since succeeded in reducing the solar subsidies.
Last week’s bill more than triples of the amount that will be available for a key subsidy to support low-carbon energy generation from £2.35bn next year to nearly £10.0bn by 2021 - much of it to be funded by consumers, who will see about £95 a year added onto the average household bill as a result.
However, although such a substantial sum represents a step in the right direction, critics say that with no indication of how the pot will be allocated to different forms of power generation, and on what terms, investors are still in the dark.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was “misleading” to blame the figures solely on proposed changes to the nation’s electricity market when the financial crisis has hurt other infrastructure investment, in the UK and overseas. Furthermore, the spokesman insisted that the government’s plans will accelerate investment and attract new low-carbon investment.
Teacher: Hurricane Sandy a Result of 'Massive Theft of Atmospheric Commons'
Social justice activist teachers see natural disasters like the recent Hurricane Sandy as opportunities to bring their political agendas into the classroom. And they rarely miss an opportunity.
Writing for the far-left Zinn Education Project (named for the late communist professor Howard Zinn), Portland, Oregon high school teacher Tim Swinehart opined:
“Hurricane Sandy, and the superstorms that will follow, are not just acts of nature—they are products of a massive theft of the atmospheric commons shared by all life on the planet. Every dollar of profit made by fossil fuel companies relies on polluting our shared atmosphere with harmful greenhouse gases, stealing what belongs to us all. But if we don’t teach students the history of the commons, they’ll have a hard time recognizing what—and who—is responsible for today’s climate crisis.”
He goes on to blame the “massive theft” on private companies that pollute the environment, and complains that textbooks have a bias toward treating the buying and selling of land as “normal” and even “inevitable.” In other words, private ownership is bad. Do you see where this is going?
So what is his solution? To begin teaching students that there needs to be a renewed effort to reclaim “the commons” for the collective benefit of all and drive a stake through the heart of those that profit from the earth and its atmosphere.
Because of that profit-making – or “theft” – we’re now experiencing global warming, melting ice caps and more destructive storms like Sandy, according to Swinehart. So students should learn about “the culmination of hundreds of years of privatizing and commodifying the natural world,” he believes.
Another radical education organization, Rethinking Schools, wrote that the “climate crisis” is an “education crisis” and teachers must take action in the classroom and school districts must lend full support.
“We can do a lot in our individual classrooms—but not everything. We need our professional organizations and school districts to provide professional development that is cross-disciplinary and that deals forthrightly with the climate crisis. We need administrators and educational policy makers to recognize that ‘skills’ that can and must be taught in the context of a curriculum about things that matter, including the climate. We need our districts to demand curriculum materials, including textbooks, that are honest and that equip students to understand what’s at stake.
“For education activists this work is part of a broader struggle to critique and oppose the equation of academic achievement with scoring well on tests. That schools seem to be sleepwalking through the climate crisis is one indication of the overall lunacy of the data-chase that became institutionalized in No Child Left Behind and embraced with gusto by the Obama administration.
“The fight for a climate-relevant education is part of the broader fight for a critical, humane, challenging, and socially responsive curriculum. It’s work that belongs to us all.”
So they’re telling us that schools should ignore the academic development of students (as measured by comprehensive testing), and should instead focus on teachers leading students into the freaky and drug-stained world of left-wing protest on behalf of Marxist causes.
Never mind that their theory of global environmental change is not accepted by everyone, and their proposed solution – the banning of private enterprise – is largely rejected in the United States. They want the right to ram their ideas down our children’s throats.
Be on the lookout, parents, because the organizations that peddle these bizarre ideas have national reach, and they work to influence K-12 classroom teachers across the nation. Don’t let your unsuspecting child fall into their trap.
A fanatical and self-righteous green religion stalks Britain. Now it wants to evangelise the Third World
Charles Dickens must be turning in his grave. We have a government that tells struggling families here at home to buck up and shell out to build wind farms in the developing world. Here, there are mothers worrying about stretching a very limited budget to cover Christmas lunch, with turkey and trimmings, and presents that don't all come from PoundLand; but the Coalition doesn't worry about the hardships under its nose, concentrating instead on those who suffer in distant lands. Dickens would have recognised this instantly as Mrs Jellaby charity – the mother in Bleak House who is obsessed with charitable work for the missions, while her own brood is starving in her kitchen.
How did this tragicomic state of affairs come to pass? The Tories (some of them at least) got not God but Green.
Fanatical, self-righteous, and bent on evangelisation, the green religion stalks the land. Its priests preach apocalyptic visions of a future so bleak that ordinary mortals fear for our lives – even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Now, the green lobby want to spread the word to the Third World. Yes, let there be wind turbines across Africa, and low carbon farming across Colombia! And let it all happen with the British taxpayer footing the bill – to the tune of £2 billion!
You don't need to be James Delingpole or Nigel Lawson to feel uncomfortable with the rise and rise of the green lobby. Climate change is a huge debate, and no one can afford to be partisan: our children, and our children's children will suffer if we don't get this right. But while some cautious experts are taking their time to sift through the evidence (much of it contradictory) the green lobby is imposing its mission on this Coalition. The Lib Dems are true believers, and have been from the outset; but so too are a surprising number of Tories.
The result is Dickensian. George Osborne today as he reads out his Autumn Statement will remind listeners of another of Dickens's famous creations – Scrooge.
Climate change funds earmarked for Africa 'are going to corporations'
Climate change: British taxpayers’ money for climate aid is going to large businesses such as Walmart rather than going directly to help poor people, according to campaigners.
At the latest round of climate change talks in Doha, Qatar, the UK pledged almost £2bn over the next two years to help poor countries cope with climate change.
But the World Development Movement said the money is going to large companies rather than helping poor people likely to suffer from climate change.
A recent example was £385m, channeled through a World Bank project to promote clean energy in poor countries.
WDM say that most of the money went to private companies to build wind turbines or solar panels for profit.
Some £10m ended up going towards a 27-turbine farm in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, operated by the French energy giant EDF, to be paid back in 15 years.
WDM claim that all of the electricity is being used by Walmart, the owner of the Asda supermarket chain, rather than for local people. Also land owned by indigenous people was used without their consent.
The latest tranche of UK climate change aid spending, includes £150 million towards projects such as building more solar panels in Africa.
Alex Scrivener, the World Development Movement’s policy officer, feared the money would again go to private companies.
“While it is good that the UK government has reaffirmed its previous commitments on climate finance, it looks like it has continued to move in the wrong direction in terms of how to spend the money. Most of the money will be spent on projects that put big business rather than the poor in the driving seat. This means we may see more large-scale corporate energy projects which fail to boost energy access.
“The UK government is trying to present itself as being progressive on climate change by making this announcement at Doha. But this conceals a pro-corporate agenda which risks channelling money meant for the poor to benefit big business.
“The UK’s obsession with bringing in big business at all costs risks leaving projects that help poor people adapt to the effects of climate change without funds. These projects are often not profitable and are therefore not attractive to private sector investors. It is these vital adaptation projects that should be made a priority for support with UK public money.”
Greg Barker, the Energy and Climate Change Minister, insisted that public money will continue to go directly to help poor communities adapt to floods and droughts and other impacts from global warming.
But he said that channeling money through the private sector could ensure billions more cash is spent on helping the developing world to go green.
He pointed out that UK investors could make money from leading the way on providing low carbon goods and services, not only helping out own economy but those in developing countries.
The CBI estimate this sector could be worth £4 trillion by 2015.
Mr Barker said he was pushing for City of London to lead the way in providing the financial instruments such as pension funds, insurance and ‘green bonds’ that will fund low carbon projects.
The UK is leading a meeting of private sector investors in Abu Dhabi early next year to develop these low carbon goods and services in the City.
“For me this meeting (in Doha) is about an audacious land grab for global green goods and services market,” Mr Barker said.
Climate change aid is a key part of the UN negotiating process moving towards a deal in 2015.
Poor countries want $100bn per year of funding by 2020.
A source close to the UK negotiating team said the money announced in Doha was designed to encourage the rest of the world to come forward with climate change aid, especially in Europe.
“Basically we are saying to the French: we have upped our contribution, now up yours.”
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Posted by JR at 2:07 PM