Sunday, May 05, 2013

Book burners:  Hitler's heirs are Green

From the Fahrenheit 451 department comes this indictment of California’s higher education’s “tolerance” for opposing views. When I first got the tip on this, I thought to myself “nobody can be this stupid to photograph themselves doing this” but, here they are, right from the San Jose State University Meteorology Department web page:

The caption from the SJSU website reads:

This week we received a deluge of free books from the Heartland Institute {this or this }. The book is entitled “The Mad, Mad, Made World of Climatism”. Shown above, Drs. Bridger and Clements test the flammability of the book.

I think Drs. Bridger and Clements have proved the point of the book quite well.


UKIP win freaks Greens in Britain

The Green Party was this morning celebrating a "positive night" following yesterday's local elections, securing gains across the country despite a headline-grabbing surge from UKIP.

The Greens secured two new council seats in Essex and also made gains in Bristol and Worthing. With fewer than half the number of councils being contested having declared a result, party sources said that they were confident of an increase on the 16 council seats they held going into the election.

However, the Greens' gains were overshadowed by those for UKIP, which by midmorning had secured 42 council seats across the country and commanded around a quarter of the vote.

Concerns are mounting among green groups that the UKIP surge could have a knock-on impact on energy and environmental policy, given that David Cameron is now under mounting pressure to tack to the right.

However, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has taken a vocally anti-green stance, slamming wind farm developments and questioning whether manmade climate change is happening.

Westminster observers are convinced that the growing popularity of UKIP is one of the main reasons some Conservative MPs have become more openly hostile to environmental policies.

Lib Dem Leader Nick Clegg this week gave an interview ahead of the elections when he admitted that battling with his Conservative coalition partners over green policy had dominated much of his time in recent months.


Europe’s Green Agenda Goes Up In Smoke

Environmentalists, businesses and carbon market investors were watching last week’s conclave of environment and energy ministers in Dublin closely, hoping to see a plume of white smoke emerging to signal that the ministers had agreed to step in with bold support for the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). But no such signal of support came.

The proposal by the European Commission to rescue the flagging ETS by delaying some allowances in the next trading period, rejected by the European Parliament by just 19 votes on 16 April, was not revived by the ministers. It would seem that the dire warnings from analysts, who have said that the EU’s flagship climate policy faces extinction unless the low price of carbon in the scheme is fixed, were not enough to sway the reluctant ministers. The price of carbon in the scheme is now under €3 per tonne of CO2 – far lower than the €30/tonne that it is estimated is needed to reduce emissions.

Reacting to the ministers’ lack of support, carbon market analyst PointCarbon last week revised its price forecast for the next ETS trading period, 2013-20, down by 45%, predicting an average price of just €6/tonne until 2020. “[At this price] the EU ETS will not bring about any additional greenhouse-gas reductions”, said Stig Schjolset, an analyst with PointCarbon. The low pricecould actually provide incentives to invest in coal-fired power plants.

Ministers came out of the meeting insisting that the ball is in the European Parliament’s court, as the proposal has been referred back to the environment committee to be amended in the next two months before a second vote. “They have to act first,” said Phil Hogan, Ireland’s environment minister. “The matter is for the European Parliament, not for the Council at the moment.”

But analysts as well as MEPs on the committee say that the proposal is unlikely to pass a second vote in the Parliament unless the Council comes out in favour. “What can the environment committee do?” asked Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout. “It’s a one-line change. Finding a compromise there is difficult. We need other dynamics in the other institutions.”

Running out of time

Ireland, which holds the presidency of the Council of Ministers, says that ministers and MEPs need time to digest the vote on 16 April. A Council working group will discuss the issue on 27 May. But with little prospect of another vote in the Parliament anytime soon, real movement is unlikely until the autumn.

Even if the proposal were passed by the end of the year, that would probably be too late. “While there remains the possibility that the proposal may come back to plenary for a new vote before summer, it remains unlikely that backloading will ever be implemented,” concluded Haege Fjellheim, an analyst with PointCarbon, on Monday (29 April). Backloading was supposed to begin this year.

While the Parliament vote was preceded by fierce lobbying against the proposal from energy-intensive industries, in the Council the lack of support is more political. A majority of member states support the proposal, but the German government has refused to take a position.


Clean technology investors shift focus to drilling

A decade ago, large investors in so-called clean technology had a straightforward goal: finance companies that would help eliminate the world’s dependence on oil, natural gas and coal.

But as profits from wind, solar, biofuels and other alternatives consistently fell short of expectations — and as the fossil fuel business boomed — things got complicated. Venture capitalists and other investment funds started stretching the definition of clean technology almost beyond recognition in an effort to make money while clinging to their environmental ideals.

Today, clean technology investment funds are not trying to replace the fossil fuel industry, they’re trying to help it by financing companies that can make mining and drilling less dirty. The people running these funds acknowledge the apparent hypocrisy, but defend a more liberal definition of clean technology.

“Oil and gas will be with us for a long time. If we can clean that up we will do the world a great service,” says Wal van Lierop, CEO of Chrysalix, a Vancouver, Canada-based venture capital firm founded in 2001.

Chrysalix still backs companies that fit the more traditional definition of clean energy — including Bridgelux, which makes more efficient light bulbs, and Agilyx, which turns plastic waste into fuel. But the firm, whose website boasts that it is “100 percent focused on clean energy” is a backer of MineSense, which helps miners operate more efficiently by assessing the quality of ore as it is being scooped. It also supports GlassPoint, which helps drillers extract more oil by using steam generated with solar power.

Environmentalists have mixed feelings. They welcome technologies that reduce the environmental footprint of oil and gas development. But they worry the newfound abundance of oil and natural gas — and all the money that can be made helping drillers — has distracted clean technology backers from what once seemed to be their main goal: to make oil and gas a thing of the past.

Mark Brownstein, who runs the energy and climate program at the Environmental Defense Fund, says “some don’t have the stomach for that and are simply going with the flow.”


More Evidence That Nobody Believes In Climate Policy

The Economist notes that far from pulling back from the oil and gas business, governments - allegedly concerned with climate targets - are actually expanding their fossil fuel businesses and that exploration activity is expanding across the board:

"Such behaviour, on the face of it, makes no sense. One possible explanation is that companies are betting that government climate policies will fail; they will be able to burn all their reserves, including new ones, after all. This implies that global temperatures would either soar past the 2°C mark, or be restrained by a technological fix, such as carbon capture and storage, or geo-engineering.

Recent events make such a bet seem rational. On April 16th the European Parliament voted against attempts to shore up Europe’s emissions trading system against collapse. The system is the EU’s flagship environmental policy and the world’s largest carbon market.

Putting it at risk suggests that Europeans have lost their will to endure short-term pain for long-term environmental gain. Nor is this the only such sign. Several cash-strapped EU countries are cutting subsidies for renewable energy. And governments around the world have failed to make progress towards a new global climate-change treaty. Betting against tough climate policies seems almost prudent."


Woe!  Australia has not "reported" to that great heap of corruption that is the United Nations

Just Greenies at work trying to impose their anti-human values on everyone else.  To them, no proof is needed that human activity is harming the reef.  That is just axiomatic to them -- they just  want to stop everything.  There's no such thing as a happy Greenie

THE Great Barrier Reef is set to be named as a World Heritage Site in danger by UNESCO next month.

A long-awaited assessment of the reef by UNESCO and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), released on Friday evening, says decisive action must be taken to avoid a listing in June.

The report claims the federal and Queensland governments have failed to improve water quality or halt coastal developments that could impact the reef.

Only one annual water quality report card has been published, in 2011, which covered 2009.  A second report card was due in early 2012, but it's yet to be delivered.

The report also says there's been no clear commitment by the either federal or Queensland governments to limit port developments near the reef.  Instead about 43 proposals are under assessment.

"The above-mentioned issues represent a potential danger to the outstanding universal value of the property," the report said.

"The World Heritage Centre and IUCN ... recommend that the committee consider the Great Barrier Reef for inscription on the list of World Heritage in Danger ... in absence of a firm and demonstrable commitment on these priority issues."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the Federal Government was committed to keeping the reef a great heritage area for the world.

"In the last couple of weeks I announced a $200 million reef rescue commitment," she told reporters in Melbourne.  "We are very committed and we'll continue to pursue those kind of commitments in the future."

But Greens Senator Larissa Waters called on Liberal and Labor to support a Senate bill which would adopt the World Heritage Committee's recommendations as law.

"The Newman and Gillard governments have continued to fast-track mega industrial ports alongside the reef," she said.  "Protecting the Great Barrier Reef must be beyond politics and all parties should support my bill."

World Wildlife Fund spokesman Richard Leck said UNESCO had put Australia in the sin bin.  "We will likely see a reef showdown this June," he told AAP.

The only other world heritage sites in danger that aren't in a developing country or an active war zone are the UK's Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City and Florida's Everglades.




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


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