Sunday, July 28, 2013

EU and China resolve solar trade row

The European Union and China have ended a row over solar panels, dampening fears of a looming trade war

Two of the world’s largest economies reached a deal to resolve the dispute over alleged “dumping” of solar panels in the European market, with a minium price agreed for panels from China.

The settlement was made on terms favourable to the Chinese.

Europe had claimed that China was using huge state subsidies to sell £18bn worth of panels at below cost prices, which is known as “dumping” them in the market, hitting domestic manufacturers.

The agreement between the EU’s trade chief and his Chinese counterpart comes before an August deadline which would have imposed punitive tariffs.

“We found an amicable solution,” EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said. “I am satisfied with the offer of a price undertaking submitted by China’s solar panel exporters,”

Shen Danyang, a Chinese commerce ministry spokesman called the deal a “positive and highly constructive outcome”.

However, some European manufacturers said the minimum price still constitutes dumping.

The agreement will allow Chinese businesses to export up to seven gigawatts per year of solar products without paying duties, provided that the price is no less than 56 cents per watt.

European solar panel manufacturers had been pushing for a minimum price of 80 cents or more.

EU ProSun, a trade association for EU manufacturers, said it will go to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg to challenge the deal.

The solar row was the largest of a series of trade conflicts between the EU and China.

Chinese officials are reviewing the production and import costs levied by some of the world’s largest drug companies and the prices set by international producers of infant milk formula.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has pledged to challenge abuses of market power.

Apple and fast food giant Yum! Brands Inc. are among foreign companies that have been forced to apologise this year to consumers in China after authorities began investigating their operations.

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline is currently under investigation in China over allegations of fraud.

The EU, meanwhile, is still threatening to launch an investigation into Chinese-made telecommunications network equipment.


China threatened to embargo French wine.  NOBODY crosses French wine-growers so the EU had to cave

Green cops coming

 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Buys 72,000 Rounds of Ammo

Not satisfied with last year’s purchase of 46,000 rounds of hollow point ammunition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently solicited bids for an additional 72,000 rounds.

A solicitation by the scientific agency posted on July 8 on the Federal Business Opportunities web site requested “56,000 rounds of .40 caliber 180 grain jacketed hollow points” and “16,000 rounds of .40 caliber frangible lead free rounds.”

The NOAA appears to have had an immediate need for the rounds as their requested response date was only four days later on July 12.

Jacketed hollow points (JHPs) are not practice rounds.

They are designed to expand (or “mushroom”) on impact and are more expensive than ball ammo used for practice.

As reported last August by Paul Joseph Watson, the National Weather Service, which operates under the NOAA, supposedly purchased 46,000 JHPs and 500 paper targets for various weather stations.

The Washington Times later reported, via a statement from NOAA spokesperson Scott Smullen, that last year’s ammunition request contained a “clerical error” and that the “solicitation for ammunition and targets for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement mistakenly identified NOAA’s National Weather Service as the requesting office.”

As Watson pointed out, this explanation still doesn’t explain why JHPs are needed for paper targets when they are obviously not practice rounds.

“You should always practice with what you’re going to use in real life,” Steven Howard, a former federal agent said in support of training with JHPs, in an interview with TribLive.

Yet with “defense load” JHPs costing at least one dollar a round for common service calibers, it is hard to imagine concealed handgun license holders and local police departments constantly spending that much money to stay proficient in shooting.

Even if costs are not an issue, local police departments may still have trouble procuring enough ammo for training due to the ammo shortage encouraged by our federal government, as Steve Watson reported back in May.

But in further response to Howard’s comment, bullet designs are not that significant in training as long as shooters use ball ammunition that is just as powerful as their defense load JHP, generating the same recoil and shooter reaction.

An expanding bullet means little to a paper target.

In regards to the quantity of ammo requested by the NOAA, why does the Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (FOLE) even need 56,000 JHPs, especially if the agency supposedly received 46,000 rounds last year?

Assuming that this latest solicitation is going directly to the FOLE for the agency’s own use and not somehow funneled into the Department of Homeland Security.

The FOLE is tasked primarily with enforcing fishing regulations, supporting scientific studies and protecting endangered marine species.

According to Smullen in a Fox News interview, the ammunition purchased is “standard issue” and will be used by 63 agents during training and qualifications.

That is the key point.

Sixty-three federal agents are armed with .40 caliber sidearms in order to enforce fishing regulations, “protecting the ecosystem” and “promoting marine conservation.”

As more regulations are added every year and more agents are hired for enforcement, more ammo will be purchased compared to the previous years.

This is true with the entire federal government as the cancer of tyranny grows and the roots of liberty decay.

As surreal as it sounds, the NOAA’s massive purchase of over 100,000 rounds of JHPs in the past two years follows the trend of other federal non-military agencies which combined have purchased conservatively 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition in little over a year.

In an interview with Breitbart, Jeff Knox, director of The Firearms Collective said that it’s the number of feds with guns that’s important, not necessarily the number of rounds.

“There are currently more than 70 different federal law enforcement agencies employing over 120,000 officers with arrests and firearms authority,” Knox said. “That’s an increase of nearly 30 percent between 2004 and 2008.”

“If the trends have continued upward at a relatively steady rate, that would put the total number of federal law enforcement officers at somewhere between 135,000 and 145,000.”

Knox said that’s a staggering number considering there’s only an estimated 765,000 state and local law enforcement officers.

“That means that about one in seven law enforcement officers in the country works directly for the federal government,” he said. “Not a local jurisdiction.”

The Second Amendment may simply suffocate under the weight of big government as ammunition manufacturers struggle to equip additional federal agents, leaving the ammo cans of the American people empty.


Drowning in Sea Level Nonsense

By Alan Caruba

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D) and forty members of Congress believe the sea levels are rising, that a panel should be created to determine what should be done, and, of course, to throw billions of dollars at a problem that does not exist. Politicians were eager to scare the public with the discredited global warming hoax and now they have found a new one.

In New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has proposed a $20 billion flood barrier system to protect the city from future hurricanes and rising sea levels. Well, hurricanes like tropical storm Sandy are real, but rare. Rising sea levels, however, represent no threat at all.

William Happer who researched ocean physics for the U.S. Air Force and is currently a physics professor at Princeton University notes that “The sea level has been rising since 1800, at the end of the ‘little ice age’”, a cooling cycle last from around 1300 to 1850. Far from heating up, the Earth entered a new cooling cycle around 1996 or so.

Harrison Schmitt, a former Apollo 17 astronaut, U.S. Senator, and a geologist, says “Predicting a sea level rise of seven feet over the next few thousand years would seem too risky a prediction on which to spend tax dollars” and that is surely an understatement. Wasting billons on “climate change”, however, is the new siren call of the Obama administration, but the National Research Council is warning, as Fox News reported, “that those kinds of subsidies are virtually useless at quelling greenhouse gases.”

In fact, as the amount of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas—alleged to “trap” heat—has risen and has had zero effect on the cooling cycle.

A recent article in the British newspaper, The Register, reported on a study by scientists in Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, that was published in “Nature Geoscience” that concluded there was no “scientific consensus” to suggest the rate of the seas’ rise will accelerate dangerously.

The notion of the seas rising, swamping coastal cities, and creating havoc is the stuff of science fiction, not science. This is why spending millions or billions on the assertions of some who have a real stake in keeping the public frightened is a very bad idea.

At the center of the global warming scare campaign is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its most recent report said that “no long-term acceleration of sea level has been identified using 20th-century data alone” but that does not discourage the IPCC from forecasting an increase due to global warming. This organization should be disbanded and, if I were in charge, many of its leaders would be in jail right now for fraud.

Who can you believe? One such person is Dr. Nils-Axel Morner, the former chair of the Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics department at Stockholm University in Sweden. He is the past president (1999-2003) of the International Union for Quaternary Research Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution. He has been studying sea level and its effects on coastal areas for more than 35 years. I cited his credentials because others making predictions lack the same level of authority.

Dr. Morner acknowledges that “sea level was indeed rising from, let us say, 1850 to 1930-40. And that rise had a rate in the order of 1 millimeter per year. (Emphasis added). Get out your pocket ruler and look at what one millimeter represents. It is small. It is very small. Not surprisingly Dr. Morner is very critical of the IPCC and its headline-grabbing doomsday predictions. He scorns the IPCC’s claim to “know” that facts about sea level rise, noting that real scientists “are searching for the answer” by continuing to collect data “because we are field geologists; they are computer scientists. So all this talk that sea level is rising, this stems from the computer modeling, not from observations. The observations don’t find it!”

A recent paper reviewed by CO2 Science finds that sea levels have risen from 2002-2011 at a rate of only 1.7 millimeters per year over the past 110 years, the equivalent of 6.7 inches per century. This is close to Dr. Morner’s assertion that, at most, there has been a rate of increase that tops out at 1.1 millimeter per year. The review concluded that there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.

Even so, in early July a scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Josh Willis, told Fox News, that “There is no question that the time to prepare for sea level rise is now…We will definitely see seven feet of sea level rise—the only question is when.” And who funds NASA?

Between the scientists trying to gin up more government money for their agencies and departments and the politicians trying to find a new reason to spend more money, the public is left wondering if the oceans are rising and whether that represents something worth worrying about. The answer is (a) yes, sea levels are rising in infinitesimal amounts and (b) no, we need to stop spending money based on such claims.

It’s not the sea level rise you should worry about. It is the rising levels of national debt and the deficit.


Free markets for sustainability!

by Tim Worstall

I expect we're all wearily familiar with the population prodnose. Those who comment (most often seen at Comment is Free but they do spread themselves around a bit), endlessly, along the lines that "this is the problem that cannot be mentioned, the rising population". And who then go on to suggest the compulsory sterilisation of anyone a little browner than they think people ought to be. With rather fewer fascistic overtones we get similar stuff from people like Johnny Porritt and the Optimum Population Trust. There's just too many people, too many of them are peasants who won't do what Baronets tell them to and it's all just appalling.

Very strangely indeed it's largely these same people who insist that there must be a plan to deal with this population thing. Despite the fact that population is one thing that free markets deal with very well indeed thank you very much. As Ron Bailey over at Reason points out:

The crucial point is that increasing economic liberty correlates with increasing life expectancies, and thus falling fertility rates. As data from the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index shows, average life expectancy for free countries is over 80 years, whereas it’s just about 63 years in repressed countries.

The causal chain is as follows: economic freedom increases wealth: increased wealth leads to longer lifespans. Longer life spans for women reduce fertility rates (I know, you might think it works the other way: but it doesn't). Therefore economic freedom reduces population growth.

And there we have it: we don't need grand plans to sterilise everyone a racist wouldn't like to bring home to mother for tea. We don't need to pressure the peasantry into doing what an Old Etonian thinks they ought to. We just have to leave people to get on with it themselves. People generally like economic freedom, they certainly like increased wealth and longer lifepsans and the end result of all three is that population growth falls, falls to below replacement rate and thus the gross population falls over time.

No plans, no pressure, no coercion, just free markets and the rule of law saving the planet. Great, eh? Now if only we could get the population prodnoses to understand this....


Global Warming Alarmists Seek to Restrict Air Conditioning

Goodbye, incandescent light bulbs that provide bright white light rather than the nauseating yellow of compact fluorescents. Goodbye, affordable coal-powered electricity under EPA’s current and upcoming carbon dioxide restrictions. Goodbye, muscle cars and SUVs under EPA’s soon-to-be tightened fuel economy restrictions. Is air conditioning next to go? Frighteningly, global warming alarmists are increasingly setting their sights on the air conditioners that make life in the summer time so much more pleasant.

Time magazine this week gave a prominent platform to the voices of climate intolerance, publishing an article by New York University sociology professor Eric Klinenberg saying it is “indefensible” for people to use air conditioning the way we do. Klinenberg argues that air conditioning requires too much electricity, the generation of which accelerates global warming.

“What’s indefensible is our habit of converting homes, offices and massive commercial outlets into igloos on summer days, regardless of how hot it is outdoors,” wrote Klinenberg.

Klinenberg also argued for laws requiring businesses to keep summer temperatures at their facilities above a government-dictated mandatory minimum.

Welcome to the Next Great Idea championed by global warming alarmists.


Dems’ recess game plan: Push climate message

The White House, congressional Democrats and their allies are plotting an August recess offensive to promote President Barack Obama’s climate change plan and head off Republican opposition.

The full-court press shows that liberals have learned from past August congressional recesses, when Republicans, aided by the tea party, out organized Democrats and managed to demonize cap and trade and blame them for high gas prices.

“The Democrats should seize the opportunity to contrast themselves with the nihilistic House Republicans by advocating solutions to these challenges — including climate change,” said Daniel Weiss, senior fellow and director of climate strategy for the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

The strategy is two-fold. First, liberals hope to better articulate the threats posed by climate change to the average citizen, including sea level rise, drought and wildfires. Second, they plan to call out Republicans in Congress who are skeptical about climate change science.

The president’s climate change plan includes a range of measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions, including new Environmental Protection Agency regulations for power plants.

Organizing for Action, the successor to Obama’s campaign arm, is planning a “national action” day Aug. 13, which will focus on climate change.

Ivan Frishberg, climate change campaign manager at OFA, said the group is organizing events in the states and districts of the 135 lawmakers it has labeled “climate deniers” as part of the action day. The events are aimed at “holding them accountable” for questioning climate science, he said.

“With these folks, it’s hard to get to a conversation about solutions when they deny the science,” Frishberg said.

OFA’s strategy is designed to show lawmakers who oppose measures to tackle climate change that there is support for the president’s plan.

“This is a chance for people at the grass-roots and the local level to say, ‘Yes, that’s what we want,’” Frishberg said.

The Obama administration has launched its own campaign to sell the climate plan, with the president dispatching key members of his administration — including newly confirmed EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz — to take part in “an aggressive outreach effort,” a White House official said in an email.

“[I]n the coming weeks and months you will continue to see the President, senior officials, and members of the Energy Cabinet, highlight the importance of this plan for our public health and our ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters such as floods, wildfires and hurricanes,” according to the official.

Starting next week, McCarthy will begin traveling around the country to discuss the importance of acting on climate change. The White House official said her schedule includes speeches, media events and meetings with outside groups — all of which will be promoted heavily on social media. And the official added that McCarthy will begin meeting with states soon to discuss the agency’s pending climate regulations.

Meanwhile, White House energy adviser Heather Zichal has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill this month, briefing Senate and House Democrats on the details of the plan and strategizing about how best to sell the president’s climate agenda.

Democrats who attended the closed-door meetings say Obama and his allies will focus on building support for the climate plan at the local level by explaining how communities will be affected by climate change.

“The public education [and] public information piece is critical,” Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), co-chairman of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, said last week after meeting with Zichal. “Not only does the public have the right to know, but it’s essential that they do know because inaction here can allow very bad things to happen.”

And Democrats in both chambers are organizing climate change events around the country during the recess.

A Democratic leadership aide said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are working with OFA and outside groups to promote the president’s agenda broadly, while Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer told POLITICO she is organizing a “climate trip” around California during the recess.

“I’m going to some of the communities that are experiencing wildfires due to climate,” Boxer said.

An official at one major environmental group said the green community will work overtime during the recess to tout the president’s plan. But the official declined to offer details because they are still being finalized. A coalition of environmental and local groups called the Climate Action Campaign has already launched a summer bus tour aimed at building support for the president’s plan that will snake through Nebraska, Ohio, Missouri and other states.

Other Democrats are already pointing to the devastating wildfires that have ravaged much of the Western United States as a symptom of a warming planet.

“The West is being devastated by wildfires,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters last week. “Millions of acres are burning — millions of acres have burned. … Why? Because the climate has changed.”

But Republicans are working on an August recess strategy of their own. Their plan focuses more on energy and largely avoids a discussion of climate change, though individual lawmakers are certain to go after the president’s plan on their own.

The House Republican Conference has distributed a 31-page August recess messaging guide to GOP lawmakers called “Fighting Washington for All Americans.” The document makes no explicit mention of climate change, but it encourages Republicans to hold events with constituents focused on “energy independence” and “reining in red tape.”

For example, it recommends that lawmakers set up a tour of an energy production facility.

“As Congress continues to debate an all-American energy plan, this event will feature the district’s own natural resources and highlight the innovation taking place at home,” the document says. “The Member will visit a local energy production facility, learn about the technology being utilized, and use the experience to promote a discussion on the jobs — and energy independence — that will be created by producing more domestic energy and promoting an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy solution.”

A Senate aide said Republicans in the upper chamber will most likely focus on energy and the Keystone XL oil pipeline during the recess.

While Republicans in Congress aren’t likely to specifically home in on climate change, some outside groups are preparing to take direct aim at the president’s plan.

The American Energy Alliance, for example, will criticize the president’s plan on Facebook and Twitter. And the group is considering organizing a digital or tele-town hall with its supporters that will outline what the group says are the negative consequences of the plan.




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 or here


No comments: