Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is global warming pushing up the price of sushi?

Since there has been NO global warming for 18 years, attributing recent events to it is just careless journalism.  There may indeed have been warmer seas off Chile but fluctuating  ocean currents are the likely cause of that. If I remember  rightly, the El Nino/La Nina oscillation was first observed off Chile

Sushi prices in restaurants and supermarkets are tipped to soar after a sharp increase in one of the key costs of creating the Japanese dish.

A large proportion of sushi, which combines raw fish or vegetables with cooked vinegared rice, contains farmed shrimp, prawns or salmon.

The cost of the main feed for farmed fish has jumped by almost 50 per cent in two weeks to reach a record high, according to reports.  The feed, called fishmeal, is a brown powder made from dried fish bones and the trimmings of small marine species such as anchovies.

Rising sea temperatures led to a drop in anchovy catches in Peru, the world's largest exporter, pushing up prices. A tonne of fishmeal now costs $2,500, according to the Financial Times, up from $1,689 at the end of October.

Fishmeal prices have risen fourfold in a decade due to climate change and increased demand, with around four per cent more farmed fish being eaten every year.

The increased costs are expected to be passed on to diners as restaurants and caf├ęs serving sushi put up prices to maintain their margins.

The most popular sushi consist of raw, prawns, salmon and shrimp and rice. Most of the raw fish is farmed.

The growth of sushi, which has become fashionable in Britain and other western nations over the past few years, and the general popularity of fish this year led to global farmed fish consumption surpassing that of "captured" fish for the first time


Obama: ‘We Are Going to Contribute $3 Billion to the Green Climate Fund'

But where is he going to get the money from?

Speaking at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday, President Barack Obama vowed to contribute $3 billion from the U.S. Treasury to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund.
"We are going to contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund so we can help developing nations deal with climate change,” said Obama.

The Green Climate Fund says that it aims to promote a “paradigm shift” in the use of energy and in development.

“The Fund will contribute to the achievement of the ultimate objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),” the fund says on its website. “In the context of sustainable development, the Fund will promote the paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways by providing support to developing countries to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, taking into account the needs of those developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. The Fund will be guided by the principles and provisions of the Convention.”

This fund to which Obama intends to funnel $3 billion in U.S. taxpayer money lists among its board members Ziqian Liang, the deputy director general of the International Department of the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China. It also lists as board members Ayman Shasly, and international policies consultant with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia; and Jorge Ferrer Rodriquez, a minister counsellor with the Multilateral Affairs and International Law General Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba.

“We cannot forget the need to lead on the global fight against climate change,” Obama said in his speech at the University of Queensland.

“Here in the Asia Pacific, nobody has more at stake when it comes to thinking about and then acting on climate change,” Obama said. “Here, a climate that increases in temperature will mean more extreme and frequent storms, more flooding, rising seas that submerge Pacific islands.  Here in Australia, it means longer droughts, more wildfires.  The incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threated.  Worldwide, this past summer was the hottest on record.  No nation is immune, and every nation has a responsibility to do its part.”

Obama called on younger people to become climate change activists.

“But let me say, particularly again to the young people here:  Combating climate change cannot be the work of governments alone,” Obama said. “Citizens, especially the next generation, you have to keep raising your voices, because you deserve to live your lives in a world that is cleaner and that is healthier and that is sustainable.  But that is not going to happen unless you are heard.”

The Associated Press cited former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth who said that he did not believe Obama could get the $3 billion to give to this U.N. fund without the approval of Congress.

The AP reported: “It wasn't immediately clear where Obama planned to find the money. Sen. Timothy Wirth, vice chairman of the United Nations Foundation and a politician who has been on both House and Senate budget committees, said he doesn't see how the Obama administration can get the money without approval from a Republican Congress, which he said is unlikely to happen.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, who is the senior member on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a statement criticizing Obama’s pledge.

"President Obama’s pledge to give unelected bureaucrats at the U.N. $3 billion for climate change initiatives is an unfortunate decision to not listen to voters in this most recent election cycle,” Inhofe said. “His climate change spending priorities, estimated to be $120 billion since the beginning of his administration, were on the ballot, and Americans spoke.

“The President’s climate change agenda has only siphoned precious taxpayer dollars away from the real problems facing the American people,” said Inhofe. “In a new Congress, I will be working with my colleagues to reset the misguided priorities of Washington in the past six years. This includes getting our nation’s debt under control, securing proper equipment and training to protect our men and women in uniform, and repairing our nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. These are the realistic priorities of today.”


Luxemburg crook 'sacks' EU scientific adviser over her pro-GM views

Jean-Claude is widely believed to have facilitated dodgy tax avoidance deals while he was Prime Minister of Luxemburg.  He is under investigation over it

Jean-Claude Juncker fired Professor Anne Glover on Thursday as part of his plans to allow countries to ban GM crops even if scientific advice says the technology is safe.

“It’s a sad day for science, policy, politics and the public in Europe,” said Professor Colin Blakemore and the University of London.

Dr Roberto Bertollini, Chief Scientist and World Health Organization representative to the EU, attacked a decision that shows Mr Juncker’s “unwillingness to accept independent scientific opinion”.

“Ideology and vested interests continue to dominate the public debate in Europe and elsewhere irrespective of the attempts to bring knowledge and science based advice in the picture,” he said.

Mr Juncker’s final decision to sack Prof Glover came after France made it clear to him that her opinions on GM technology were unacceptable and that the post should be scrapped.

“She’s controversial because of her views on GM. Juncker doesn’t like the idea of GM crops being approved by the EU on scientific grounds. Even worse, she had upset the French,’ said an EU source.

As the former prime minister of Luxembourg, a country that along with France, Austria, Greece and Hungary, that has banned, and is opposed, to the use of GM crops on political grounds, Mr Juncker's personal views are well known.

On taking the post as commission president, despite opposition from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, Mr Juncker has announced plans to review EU rules on authorising biotechnology in order to allow countries to ban their use.

Mr Juncker has also come under intense pressure from France, MEPs, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and lobby groups to abolish Professor Glover’s post because of her views.

“The current chief scientific adviser presented one-sided, partial opinions on the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture, repeatedly claiming that there was a scientific consensus about their safety,” said a letter in July signed by Greenpeace and other green groups.

“We hope that you as the incoming commission president will decide not to nominate a chief scientific adviser.”

Last September, Mrs Glover incensed anti-GM countries, such as Mr Juncker’s Luxembourg, by telling a Scottish scientific conference that there was “not a single piece of scientific evidence” to support bans of biotechnology on safety grounds.

“No other foodstuff has been so thoroughly investigated as GM,” she said. “Opposition to GM, and the benefits it can bring, is a form of madness I don’t understand.”

Julie Girling, a Conservative MEP, accused Mr Juncker on going back on a commitment that Prof Glover’s job was safe that he had given to a meeting in the European Parliament in July.

“I fear Mr Juncker has caved in to the green lobby. They have been very vociferous,” she said. “He has reneged on promises he gave to us.”

Britain’s farmers have condemned Mr Juncker decision as “deeply troubling”.

“At a time when we need to address serious concerns around food security, energy security and the collective EU response to the threat of climate change; it is deeply concerning that the voice of science should be stifled,” said Meurig Raymond, the president of the National Farmers Union.

A spokesman for Mr Juncker denied that Mrs Glover had been sacked on political grounds.

“The post automatically ended with the old commission,” she said. “He is keen on having good quality scientific advice but he has yet to make up his mind how to organise it.”

Greenpeace have welcomed Mr Juncker’s decision to axe the post and claimed that Prof Glover had “ended up hindering” the provision of “wide-ranging and transparent scientific advice”.

“This is not about being for or against issues like GM food, contentious chemicals, nanotechnology or climate change,” said Marco Contiero, Greenpeace’s EU agriculture policy director.


Is Julie Borlaug a disgrace to her grandfather?

During her presentation at the Bayer CropScience Corn and Soybean Future Forum Julie Borlaug told the audience they are not doing a good job of communicating what they are doing to the broad general consuming audience. That raised a few eyebrows.

What she suggests is making message more personal and not so polarizing as we sometimes see with the GMO debate as a good example. Activists are using emotion to make their points and I think we need to get emotion in our messaging too. That doesn’t exclude including scientific information.

Mischa Popoff comments:

What??? Where does Julie Borlaug get off telling people they’re not doing a good job of communicating?

She’s the one who fails to speak out against tax-subsidized organic activists who want GMOs to be banned.

She’s the one who thinks the organic industry shouldn’t be criticized even though her grandfather openly criticized anyone who rejected science in agriculture!

And worst of all, Julie Borlaug let President Obama off the hook when he wrote a lukewarm letter of support for the science of genetic engineering without clearing up where he stands on GMO banning and labeling campaigns. Julie just let him off the hook! She didn’t ask him to clarify his comments, and in fact supported him in his calculated indecision.

Thomas Edison never “engaged” with the public over how great the light bulb was. The only reason people like Borlaug want to blame farmers is because she’s done such a horrible job of defending this new science from attacks launched by tax-funded organic activists. And why? Because she’s reluctant to offend organic activists. But sometimes being right requires offending those who are wrong.

Who seems to be winning the debate long term?

It’s impossible to say. Sure, we won Colorado and Oregon… but Oregon is already home to the 6th county in America to ban GMOs. Meanwhile, we lost Maui last Tuesday, and Vermont was a huge loss earlier in the year.

And however things go at the ballot box, remember that things were going great for DDT back in the 1960s. Rachel Carson never called for DDT to be banned. And yet in 1972 it was banned, resulting in over 1 million deaths a year – mostly children under the age of 5 – from preventable diseases like malaria and dengue fever in the Third World.

This is one debate where you simply don’t know if you’re going to win or lose until you’re at the finish line.



Five current articles below

Despite opposition from Greens and farmers, NSW is pushing to get coal seam gas extraction up and running  -- as it already is in Qld

THE NSW Aboriginal Land Council will miss out on a ­series of valuable mining licences as part of the Baird government’s coal seam gas revamp.

Resources Minister ­Anthony Roberts announced plans last week to reopen the CSG industry, which has been beset by safety fears and ­community protests, in order to boost gas supplies and lower household bills.

As a first step, the government is cancelling 16 pending gas exploration applications put on ice during chief scientist Mary O’Kane’s study of the CSG industry and its extraction methods.

Six of those applications ­belong to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council and cover exploration for conventional petroleum gas deposits and possible CSG extraction sites in the state’s far west.

Land Council chairman Craig Cromelin said losing the applications was a blow to indigenous communities, who had hoped to secure a jobs and cash windfall through mining.

“We certainly think we’re being unfairly treated,” Mr Cromelin said.

“If Aboriginal people are going to break out of the ­dependency system that exists we’re going to have to be given an opportunity to prove that we can make a fist of businesses like gas extraction.”

The Land Council, which had appointed a gas industry partner to help develop its proposed mining projects, wants the government to reconsider its plan to scrap its six applications. It is prepared to accept a ban on CSG mining if it can proceed on the basis that it would mine gas using other methods.

A spokesman for Mr Roberts said the Land Council would be able to reapply, should the land where it wants to explore become available again under the state government’s new CSG regime, which is expected to be formalised next year.

“New areas of exploration will only be released after an assessment of economic environmental and social factors,” the spokesman said.


Australian uranium shipments planned for 2015 as India ramps up nuclear power

Greenies LOATHE uranium and try to stop Australia exporting it

The uranium industry is hoping to make trial shipments to India next year as the nation makes plans to move to 25 per cent nuclear power by 2050.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Indian leader Narendra Modi have discussed the supply of Australian uranium for India's nuclear power plants.

It follows their signing of a safeguards agreement in New Delhi in September, overturning a long-standing ban on uranium exports to the subcontinent.

In his address to federal parliament on Tuesday, Prime Minister Modi said he saw Australia as a major partner in his country's quest to boost electricity production and address climate change.

"(We seek) energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt," he said.  "Clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power."

The pair discussed energy security and what Mr Abbott called Australia's "readiness and willingness" to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

"If all goes to plan, Australia will export uranium to India - under suitable safeguards ofcourse - because cleaner energy is one of the most important contributions that Australia can make to the wider world," Mr Abbott said.

The agreement is now being examined by the parliamentary treaties committee, which will close submissions on November 28.  There are also talks between officials on administrative arrangements.

Both the treaties process and the administrative arrangements must be finalised before Australian uranium producers can start exports to India.

Minerals Council uranium spokesman Daniel Zavattiero said the industry expected to start shipments next year.  "The industry position is things are moving okay," he said.  "We expect some point next year it will come into force and become operational, then we can start on shipments and sales."

Initial sales are expected to start on a small scale, but the outlook is strong.

The International Energy Agency estimates that while nuclear provides three per cent of India's power today, it will grow to 12 per cent by 2030 and 25 per cent in 2050.  India plans to invest $96 billion in nuclear plants to 2040, with 21 operating now, six under construction and 57 planned or proposed.  "It's very positive for us," Mr Zavattiero said.

The agreement stipulates India must only use the uranium for peaceful purposes that adhere to recognised international safety standards.  It is controversial because India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty despite possessing an arsenal of atomic weapons.

Australia has the largest share of uranium resources in the world but currently exports only 8400 tonnes a year, valued at over $820 million.


Western Australia's EPA gives green light for new iron mine

The Green/Left loathe ALL mines, for some obscure reason

Western Australia's environmental watchdog has given Rio Tinto the green light for a new 70 million tonne a year iron ore mine in the Pilbara, amidst growing concern about a global supply glut.

The state's Environmental Protection Authority has awarded conditional approval to the greenfields Koodaideri mine and infrastructure proposal, which was submitted by Rio Tinto subsidiary Mount Bruce Mining.

If approved by the state's Minister for Environment Albert Jacob, the mine is expected to produce as much as 70 million tonnes per annum of iron ore for a mine life of 30 years, Rio's Pilbara division is on track to export around 270 million tonnes in the 2014 calendar year, so the new mine would contribute a meaningful amount to the company's production volumes as well as sustaining pressure on the region's smaller miners.

A sharp fall in the iron ore price this year to around $US78 a tonne has put serious pressure on junior Pilbara iron ore miners, many of which are struggling to break even and are blaming Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton for flooding the market and causing prices to crash.

The project is part of Rio's long-term plans to grow its Pilbara exports to 360 million tonnes per year, with seeds for the growth sewn in November 2013 when Rio revealed its "breakthrough pathway for iron ore expansion in Australia".

That pathway proposed to build cheaper brownfields expansions at mines such as Yandicoogina and West Angelas, and delay an investment decision on new, more expensive greenfields mines such as Koodaideri and Silvergrass.

The company said that an investment decision on Silvergrass has been deferred to the third quarter of 2014 and the earliest decision on the Koodaideri deposit has been postponed to 2016.

Rio has been approached for comment about whether the EPA verdict will alter its plans to hold off on a decision to develop the mine.

EPA chairman Dr Paul Vogel has set 14 conditions for the development of the mine and surrounding infrastructure including strict rehabilitation and offset requirements and the creation of an exclusion zone to protect local species. The proposal was first brought to the EPA in 2012 and was assessed under the authority's highest level of scrutiny.

Dr Vogel said Rio had actively sought to avoid, minimise and rehabilitate environmental impacts through the proposal's design and had conducted numerous studies to address issues raised in the public submissions. Five public and eleven agency submissions were received during the comment period. The proposal is now open to a two week public appeals period before going to the Minister for a final decision.


Chinese Premier came bearing gifts, Barack Obama just attacked Australia over global warming

WHO would have thought it?  A US president comes to Australia with the specific intention of damaging the Australian government politically on climate change, while a Chinese president comes here with nothing but gifts.

Xi Jinping’s accomplished, well-considered speech to parliament yesterday contained no references to climate change and no implicit criticism of Australia. After all, there are other forums for that issue, China is not committed to any carbon emissions targets and why would you go out of your way to embarrass your host?

The contrast with Barack Obama was staggering. More than that, Xi was charming, respectful and helpful to all Australians he mentioned. He completed the free-trade agreement, which is a big win for both countries. But more generally his speech was one of reassurance and reasonable ambition.

Xi touched on some of the ­issues important to him and his government: China would remain a nation of socialism with Chinese characteristics. But he presented these values in a way designed to soothe and reassure. More than that, the substance of his message was one of reassurance more generally to the whole Asia-Pacific ­region. China was a peaceful country, he said, and repeated. China had suffered bullying and ­oppression. It would not visit these indignities on other nations.

Given how robustly the Abbott government has backed Japan’s strategic re-emergence, and protested against Beijing’s declaration of an air defence identification zone around the disputed Senkaku/­Diaoyu islands, as well as declining recently to join, at least for now, China’s new infrastructure bank, many analysts in Washington and Australia had expected some overt display of Chinese displeasure.

But the Chinese seem to value their relationship with the Abbott government, certainly to the extent that they would not embarrass their host by emphasising disagreements. Of course, the Chinese are being nice to everyone at the moment, including the Americans and even the ­Japanese. The question remains whether this will be the character of Chinese attitudes into the future.

But when China is being nice, everyone breathes easy.


China, US deal on global warming a load of hot air

ALMOST everything you’re told about Barack Obama’s “breakthrough” deal with China on global warming is a con.  But, God, listen to the spin.

President Obama told ecstatic students in Brisbane on Saturday that last week’s deal to limit carbon dioxide emissions would help save our Great Barrier Reef and “I want that there 50 years from now”.

Greens leader Christine Milne insisted it showed the Prime Minister Tony Abbott “is completely out of step with the rest of the world”.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it recognised “human activity is already changing the world’s climate system”, and “we most certainly need to address climate change as the presidents of China and the United States have done”.

Red China was going green, agreed the warmist ABC, since “the most concrete target is to have 20 per cent of China’s energy produced from renewable sources by 2030”.

Hear all that?  Every claim is actually false, fake or overblown, as so often with the global warming scare.  Here are the five biggest falsehoods told about this “breakthrough”.

First, Labor is wrong: this deal proves nothing about global warming. In fact, there has still been no warming of the atmosphere for 16 years, contrary to almost every prediction.

Forget the excuse that the missing heat is hiding in the deep ocean. NASA researchers last month said a new study had found the “waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005”.

Nor, incidentally, have we seen the biennial bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef predicted in 1999 by Australian alarmist Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Second, this is not a real deal.  China, already the world’s biggest emitter, is actually promising little more than what it always planned — to let emissions keep soaring until 2030 as it makes its people richer.  China will cap its emissions only in 2030 — the never-never — when its electricity supply is deployed and its population is set to plummet.

In exchange, Obama promises to cut US emissions by 26 per cent of 2005 levels by 2025.  But Obama’s term ends in two years and the Republicans who now control Congress say they’ll try to block his deal.  Republican Mitch McConnell, the new majority leader in the Senate, said he was “particularly distressed by the deal”, which “requires the Chinese to do nothing at all for 16 years”.

And, to add to the phoniness, the deal is neither binding nor enforceable.

Third falsehood? No, this deal doesn’t show the Abbott Government is out of step.  The Government’s own planned cuts to emissions — 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020 — are not wildly behind the US ones over a similar time span.

If anyone is out of step it’s Labor, since China and the US plan to cut their emissions not with a Labor-style carbon tax but with Liberal-style direct action policies.

Fourth falsehood: China did not promise to get 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources, as many journalists report.

The deal instead says that 20 per cent will come from “non-fossil fuels”, which in China’s case includes nuclear power.  Indeed, China plans to have at least five times more nuclear power by 2030, with Sun Qin, chairman of the China National Nuclear Corp, confirming earlier this year that “nuclear plants will play an important role in … raising the proportion of energy produced by non-fossil fuel”.

And the fifth falsehood?  The Greens and Labor don’t actually want us to follow the lead of the US and China at all.  Not when it comes to how those promises are meant to be delivered.

That’s because most of America’s cuts to emissions come from fracking, a technique that has given the US huge new supplies of natural gas, cheaper than coal and more greenhouse-friendly. But the Greens vehemently oppose fracking, and Labor wants it restricted.

As for China, it plans to have much of its non-fossil power supplied by nuclear plants and controversial dams like the massive Three Gorges project.  But, again, Labor and the Greens oppose nuclear power and fight new dams.

So without fracking, new dams or nuclear power, how could Australia possibly match the US and China?  How, given wind power is too unreliable and solar hideously expensive?

So what a con you’re being sold.  No, this isn’t a real deal.

To recap: China won’t cut emissions for another 16 years, and Congress will oppose Obama.  And reality check: Labor and the Greens actually oppose the technologies the US and China most rely upon to cut emissions.

Oh, and still the planet refuses to warm, for all Obama’s happy yammer.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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