Thursday, March 14, 2013
Climategate 3 coming up?
The person who released the first two batches of Warmist emails has now made a third lot available. The problem is that most of them are mundane and there are 200,000 of them. So it will be a huge sifting process to get anything out of them. It needs someone with a LOT of spare time -- which rules out most bloggers. Anthony Watts has a record of co-ordinating volunteer efforts so maybe he will do so this time too.
The cowardly carbon tax
“Taxes should hurt.” That is what then-Gov. Ronald Reagan of California said back in the late 1960s. And while these words seem curious coming from the man who lowered the overall income tax rates significantly and flattened the tax code during his eight years in the White House, they are as true today as they were when Reagan uttered them.
Reagan’s premise was simple. If the people are separated from the cost of government through hidden fees, inflation or taxes, then they mistakenly believe that the government services they demand are free. And who wouldn’t want free?
In fact, this is the whole secret behind Obama’s victory in 2012. America ran a $5 trillion debt on his first four-year watch, unemployment payments were extended to almost two years, record numbers of people are on food stamps, and we even give people “free” Obama cellphones, and this doesn’t even count the cost of new regulations.
Yet, the costs of this spending and regulatory spree have been hidden from Americans as it is has been paid through what liberal economist Paul Krugman called, “depression-like” economic growth.
The so-called “carbon tax” is designed to hide the cost of government from the people. By taxing carbon based energy sources at their origin, the tax would ripple through the economy, leading to higher prices for consumers, who would naturally blame the grocer, the energy company, utility, car-maker or just the seeming whims of others that cause prices to skyrocket.
The net effect of this is a furthering of the political disconnect between the taxes Americans pay and the size and scope of government.
But a carbon tax would be even more destructive than most can imagine, because it would have the perverse impact of destroying federal government revenue growth, rather than expanding it.
Today, places like North Dakota and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas are at the cutting edge of a national industrial resurgence solely due to the work and ingenuity of very smart people who figured out how to unleash massive amounts of natural gas and oil from shale deposits: the very energy sources that the carbon tax would make dramatically more expensive.
While we are seeing that lower energy costs are creating mini-manufacturing booms around the country — employing workers, creating wealth and expanding government tax bases — a carbon tax would act as a knife to the heart of the newly developing industries.
Rather than embrace the opportunity for a new American century that is being laid before us, carbon tax radicals would prefer to check off their 20th century, alternative energy bucket lists. And by making energy more expensive through the imposition of a hidden carbon tax, the American voter will never even be able to identify those responsible for assassinating their hopes and dreams for a better economic future.
Reagan was right, “taxes should hurt.” In a town known for avoiding accountability, few ideas are as cowardly as a hidden carbon tax allowing politicians to benefit from government giveaways while shrugging their shoulders when asked why the prices we pay for things have gotten so high.
Another "Green" firm totters
Shi Zhengrong, the former billionaire dubbed the "Sun King" for the meteoric rise of his solar company, Suntech Power, remains "upbeat and very positive", even as a possible debt default looms and the stock dives, according to the firm's chief technology officer.
Stuart Wenham, who has served as Suntech's main technology executive since the firm's founding in China in 2001, said Dr Shi was relaxed and confident during a meeting last week, even after he was ousted as chairman.
"How can you own 30 per cent of the company - much more than the next biggest shareholder - and not have a say in its future?" said Dr Wenham, who was co-supervisor of Dr Shi when he was doing his PhD at the University of NSW, and serves as director of its Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence.
This week may prove crucial for the future of Suntech, which is one of the world's largest makers of solar PV panels.The New York Times overnight reported that the company has almost run out of cash and will soon be partially or fully taken over by the municipal government of Wuxi, in eastern China, where it is headquartered.
Doubts of Suntech's future sent its New York-listed shares plunging another 24 per cent on Wednesday, extending this week's fall to more than a third.
The company earlier this week secured agreement with 60 per cent of bondholders to delay repayments by two months to May 15 on convertible debt totalling $US541 million ($525 million).
Some of the remaining 40 per cent of bondholders, though, say they aren't prepared to wait that long and may sue the US-listed company if repayments are missed this week.
"Every piece of information that I've looked at suggests they will default on Friday," James Millar, a partner at law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr in New York, told Bloomberg.
Suntech rose to prominence when it became the first Chinese solar company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2005. Its stock quadrupled by the end of 2007, valuing founder Dr Shi's stake at more than $3 billion.
Suntech's stock price and Dr Shi's status have since plummeted amid a global glut of solar PVs.
Dr Shi, who turns 50 on Monday, was ousted as Suntech's chairman seven months after being replaced as the firm's chief executive officer. He said he was "shocked" by his removal and warned the company needed a "viable business plan".
Concerns about Suntech's possible debt default caused its shares to resume their slide this week. At the current level, the stock is worth less than 1 per cent of its record close on Boxing Day 2007.
The company's strained finances were on display on Tuesday when Suntech revealed plans to shut its US plant in Arizona next month - just 30 months after its opening.
The company blamed the closure, in part, on the US government's decision to slap anti-dumping tariffs of 36 per cent on its solar cell imports from China.
The firm's best chance of survival is likely to be in the form of a bailout by authorities in China, as has happened to several other cash-strapped solar energy firms.
“There’s a general confidence amongst the biggest companies that the Chinese government really values the industry and will make sure that it is protected in some shape or form,” Dr Wenham said.
Two Chinese government advisors, though, told Bloomberg that the government would not rescue Suntech because the solar industry needs to consolidate after excessive expansion.
“The government won’t intervene and shouldn’t,” Li Junfeng, director of the climate-change strategic research division at the government’s National Development and Reform Commission said in an interview.
Meng Xiangan, vice chairman of the China Renewable Energy Society, a liaison between the industry and the state, said Suntech should “not rely on government assistance.”
Whatever the outcome of the debt repayments or state bailouts, Dr Shi is certain to remain active in the solar industry, Dr Wenham said.
"It's his passion - it's not a job or a career," he said. "It's his life."
Ten Good Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears: Polar Bears Are A Conservation Success Story
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. The devastating decades of uncontrolled slaughter across the Arctic, including the Bering Sea, finally came to an end. And so in honour of the International Polar Bear Day (27 February) – and because some activists are calling 2013 The Year of the Polar Bear– I have made a summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, with links to supporting data. I hope you find it a useful resource for tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears and celebrating their current success.
1) Polar bears are a conservation success story
Their numbers have rebounded remarkably since 1973 and we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago. Although we cannot state the precise amount that populations have increased (which is true for many species – counts are usually undertaken only after a major decline is noticeable), polar bears join a long list of other marine mammals whose populations rebounded spectacularly after unregulated hunting stopped: sea otters, all eight species of fur seals, walrus, both species of elephant seal, and whales of all kinds (including grey, right, bowhead, humpback, sei, fin, blue and sperm whales). Once surveys have been completed for the four sub-populations of polar bears whose numbers are currently listed as zero, the total world population will almost certainly rise to well above the current official estimate of 20,000-25,000 (perhaps to 27,000-32,000?).
2) The only polar bear subpopulation that has had a statistically significant decline in recent years is the one in Western Hudson Bay. A few others have been presumed to be decreasing, based on suspicions of over-harvest- of over-harvest of over-harvesting, assumed repercussions of reduced sea ice and/or statistically insignificant declines in body condition – not actual population declines.
3) Polar bears in the US portion of the Chukchi Sea are in good condition and reproducing well, while sea ice in the Bering Sea has rebounded from record lows over the last ten years – good reasons not to be worried about polar bears in the Chukchi.
4) A survey by the Nunavut government in 2011 showed that polar bear numbers in Western Hudson Bay have not declined since 2004 as predicted and all available evidence indicates that Hudson Bay sea ice is not on a steadily precipitous decline – good reasons not to be worried about Hudson Bay bears.
Even RINO congressmen are backing away from global warming now
Changing weather patterns and a slightly shifting political landscape have spurred a renewed interest in climate change action among congressional Democrats but not with the Republicans who once expressed concern about the issue.
GOP senators including John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska still say that man-made climate change exists and deserves a response -- a position that sets them apart from many in their caucus who say warming is not occurring or is driven only by natural causes.
But they don't talk much about the issue anymore, nor do they propose mandatory programs to deal with it.
"I am always concerned about climate change, and I would like to see an incentive-based way of addressing some of the problems of greenhouse gas emissions," McCain told E&E Daily last week at the Capitol. But he added that he had not thought much about the issue "of late."
And his "incentive-based" solution likely would bear no resemblance to the cap-and-trade bill he first proposed a decade ago with former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
"I've never thought that raising people's taxes was the way we should approach the issue," McCain said, dodging a question about whether he now views all cap-and-trade measures in that light. Instead, he said the federal government could help bring down emissions by facilitating the production and export of natural gas and its broader use in transportation, and by incentivizing nuclear power.
McCain and Lieberman's long-ago effort made a brief appearance in this year's State of the Union address, when President Obama offered it as an example of how Congress could address climate change in a "bipartisan, market-based" way.
"I'm always glad to be mentioned in the State of the Union," said McCain, when asked about his former rival's words. But although he and Graham have since visited the White House to talk about immigration reform, both senators said the topic of climate change didn't come up.
McCain, who faced a tough primary challenge before being re-elected two and a half years ago, hasn't been out front on the issue since his failed 2008 turn as the GOP presidential nominee. He joined Republicans in the 111th Congress in painting cap and trade as "cap and tax," even as close allies Lieberman and Graham went to work on a new bill.
But Graham, too, has changed his tune considerably on climate change since collaborating with Lieberman and then-Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) on cap-and-trade legislation.
"Cap and trade is dead," he told E&E Daily recently in a brief interview. "I think there's other ways to reduce carbon that are not so onerous to the economy."
Graham argued that U.S. EPA under Obama seems poised to implement a system akin to cap and trade through use of the Clean Air Act, but that would be a political mistake for Democrats.
"I think if they try to implement cap and trade through the EPA, a lot of Democrats would object," he said. Obama won't be running for re-election, but many of his Democratic allies in Congress will be next year.
"And if you use the regulatory system that way, you'd be running into trouble," he said.
The agency is in the early stages of crafting greenhouse gas rules for existing power plants, and some have urged it to consider adding flexibility mechanisms to those rules. But former Administrator Lisa Jackson and others stated repeatedly that cap and trade was not a model the agency was considering.
'Back on the reservation'
Graham left the cap-and-trade effort in April 2010, saying that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-Nev.) had not been sufficiently supportive.
But David Woodard, a political consultant for Graham's campaigns and political science professor at Clemson University, said Graham's transformation on the issue really started back home in the Palmetto State.
His work on the issue was a factor in the decision by three South Carolina county GOP parties to censure him (Greenwire, Nov. 11, 2009).
"That was something that was wrapped up in the Obama administration, and the conservative revulsion was against Obama and climate change, and immigration, and everything," he said.
His caution on climate change solidified, however, following the June 2010 primary defeat of former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), an incumbent Graham had backed who also had been active on climate change policy.
After that, Woodard said, "Lindsey Graham began to head back on the reservation."
In statements from that spring and summer, Graham occasionally rejected even the science of man-made climate change. A Mother Jones article from June 2010 quoted him as saying of man-made climate change: "I think they've oversold this stuff, quite frankly. I think they've been alarmist and the science is in question."
Woodard said all indications are that Graham will not face a tough primary challenge this year, in part because he has managed to get himself back in the good graces of the right-leaning Republicans of South Carolina. But he would be unlikely to spoil that now by revisiting climate change, he said.
Climate change not all bad for fish
The first sentence below is a bare-faced lie and an outright fraud. The writer is treating a prophecy as a fact
Coral reef fisheries will be hurt by climate change in the tropical Pacific, but it could help tuna fishing and freshwater aquaculture thrive.
Pacific Island countries have an 'extraordinary dependence' on fisheries and aquaculture, scientists say in a report on how changes to the atmosphere and ocean are likely to affect the food webs, habitats and stocks underpinning fisheries and aquaculture across the region.
'Maintaining the benefits from the sector is a difficult task, now made more complex by climate change,' they say in Nature Climate Change on Monday.
'We found winners and losers.
'Tuna are expected to be more abundant in the east, and freshwater aquaculture and fisheries are likely to be more productive.
'Conversely, coral reef fisheries could decrease by 20 per cent by 2050 and coastal aquaculture may be less efficient.'
The potential impact on invertebrates is 'still poorly understood' but is expected to be more moderate.
The report from Australian and other scientists around the world says the potential benefits to the region from an eastward shift in skipjack tuna should exceed the threats.
They suggest that maintaining livelihoods in the region will require some income-earning activities to switch from coral reef fish to pelagic fish, particularly tuna.
Pelagic fish spend much of their lives in open water away from the bottom.
'Ironically in an archipelagic region, many of the extra jobs are likely to come from farming freshwater fish,' the report says
But a potential increase in freshwater fisheries could be negated if industries such as mining, agriculture and logging continue to pollute waterways, raising temperatures.
The onus is on governments, communities and their development partners to implement a range of supporting policies, the scientists say.
Australia: Gas exploration regulated into oblivion in NSW
Coal seam gas company Metgasco says it is putting its northern New South Wales programs on hold, blaming recent State Government regulation changes.
The company is suspending its Clarence Moreton exploration and development program, which has been the subject of a series of community protests.
In a statement, Metgasco's company director Peter Henderson says it has not been an easy decision to make but was necessary because of the uncertainty surrounding regulation of the CSG industry.
A series of new regulations including a two-kilometre exclusion zone imposed around residential areas were announced last month.
The State Government is also introducing exclusion zones for critical industry clusters, such as for horse breeders and wine producers.
Mr Henderson says the changes were brought in without consulting the industry.
"The CSG industry in New South Wales endured an 18-month shutdown while the State Government reviewed the industry and put in place regulations it lauded as the toughest in Australia, if not the world," he said.
"Only five months after introducing these new regulations and confirming its support for the industry, the NSW Government has yet again announced new regulations, this time without any consultation with the energy industry."
Drew Hutton from anti-CSG group the Lock the Gate Alliance says he hopes it is the beginning of the end of CSG in the state. "Metgasco is reading the winds here," he said. "They're realising that the State Government is changing tack as a result of an enormous amount of pressure from the community and the Federal Government likewise with its adoption of a water trigger."
Metgasco's statement contained no references to yesterday's decision by the Federal Government to toughen environmental laws covering coal seam gas projects.
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
Preserving the graphics: Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility. From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site. See here and here
Posted by JR at 4:04 PM