Tuesday, June 14, 2016
The left’s grand, green vision
How Hillary and Bernie will destroy 10 million jobs
Like a crazed serial killer, the liberal green groups are celebrating their “victory” of putting America’s major coal producers out of business — to say nothing of the tens of thousands of miners placed in unemployment lines. Several thousand more mining jobs were lost last month.
Now to get their next homicidal high, the leftists have turned their ambitions on the oil and natural gas industries. Here is how the Sierra Club spokeswoman, Lena Moffit, explains the grand, green vision:
“We have moved to a very clear and firm and vehement position of opposing gas. We oppose any new gas-fired power plants. We also have a policy opposing fracking.”
That’s an amazing admission given that natural gas is a clean burning fuel that is reducing greenhouse gas emissions and real pollutants too. Then she admitted: “We are doing everything we can to bring the same expertise that we brought to taking down the coal industry and coal-fired power in this country to taking on gas in the same way … to ensure that we’re moving to a 100% clean energy future.”
Wow, this is the agenda of lunatics. Scarier still is that the three most prominent Democrats in America aren’t far behind in this maniacal mindset of killing domestic industries. President Obama says we have to shift to a “keep it in the ground” strategy when it comes to all fossil fuels. Bernie Sanders is the sponsor of a Senate bill that would effectively ban all oil and gas drilling on federal lands.
Heavy Precipitation Under Global Warming Likely “Overestimated”
Max Planck Institute: Coupling of extreme extreme precipitation to climate warming weaker than feared
By Dr. Sebastian Lüning und Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt
(German text translated/edited by P Gosselin)
A warmer world with more precipitation? That is plausible as warmer air means a higher moisture and water vapor carrying capacity. The risk of droughts thus would be reduced. However, do higher temperatures lead to drastic increase in extreme rainfalls? Some scientists prematurely made up their minds and sold the media their personal opinion of settled science. Here they hide the fact that this is in fact heatedly debated within the science community.
Very recently a new paper appeared in the Geophysical Research Letters, authored by Yu Zhou et al of the Max Planck Institute for Physics of Complex Systems. The scientists found errors in the statistical processing of extreme precipitation data. Once corrected, the data show that extreme precipitation have even declined over the past 15 years. When accounting for the past 25 years, they found a much weaker relationship between extreme precipitation and temperature than that found by other groups.
Zhou et al conclude that the danger from extreme precipitation events as a consequence of global warming was strongly overestimated and that it must be corrected downwards.
In the future extreme rain may even become less. What follows is the paper’s abstract:
"On the detection of precipitation dependence on temperature
Employing their newly proposed interannual difference method (IADM), Liu et al. (2009) and Shiu et al. (2012) reported a shocking increase of around 100% K−1 in heavy precipitation with warming global temperature in 1979–2007. Such increase is alarming and prompts us to probe into the IADM. In this study, both analytical derivations and numerical analyses demonstrate that IADM provides no additional information to that of the conventional linear regression, and also, it may give a false indication of dependence. For clarity and simplicity, we therefore recommend linear regression analysis over the IADM for the detection of dependence. We also find that heavy precipitation decreased during the global warming hiatus, and the precipitation dependence on temperature drops by almost 50% when the study period is extended to 1979–2014 and it may keep dropping in the near future. The risk of having heavy precipitation under warming global temperature may have been overestimated.”
AG Accuses CEI of Wasting His Time in Ongoing Global Warming Subpoena Saga
Last week Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker filed his opposition to CEI’s motions for attorney fees and sanctions, the latest development in the global warming subpoena saga.
By way of background, at a heavily publicized press conference on March 29, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman unveiled a new and, in his words, “unprecedented” coalition—“Attorneys General United for Clean Power.” Its job would be to “use all the tools at our disposal” to push for progress on “the most consequential issue of our time”—the alleged crisis of climate change.
Al Gore had center stage at the press conference, but several other state AGs participated as well to pledge their cooperation. Their target was the ongoing controversy over global warming—in their view, the skeptics on this issue were engaged not in debate, but in deception.
A few days later, CEI was served with a subpoena from one of the participating AGs, Claude Walker of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The subpoena stated that, as part of Mr. Walker’s investigation of ExxonMobil under his territory’s racketeering laws, he was demanding a full decade’s worth of CEI’s work on climate change and energy policy—documents that would not only be incredibly burdensome for us to retrieve, but that would also reveal the identities of our supporters.
We immediately made it clear, both publicly and in a letter to Mr. Walker, that we regarded this as a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights, as well as those of our donors; their right to confidentiality, after all, is based on a line of Supreme Court rulings. Our view was shared by commenters across the political spectrum, and it was forcefully presented by our outside counsel, Andrew Grossman and David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler.
CEI refused to hand over anything, and we proceeded to file motions for sanctions against Mr. Walker in the DC court that had issued the subpoena. We argued that the AG had engaged in an outrageous abuse of the legal process.
Well, Mr. Walker withdrew his DC subpoena, but he made it clear that he would reissue it if he changed his mind, and that he was not withdrawing the underlying Virgin Islands subpoena that had started all this. We, however, are continuing to press forward with our motions for sanctions and attorney fees. When it comes to constitutional outrages like this, a prosecutor’s Emily Litella “never mind” ploy just doesn’t suffice, especially when that official continues to threaten further abuses.
Which brings us to Mr. Walker’s new filing, opposing our motions. It sets forth a number of legal arguments to which we’ll shortly be responding in court. But here’s the money line from that filing: “… CEI has wasted enough of VIDOJ’s and the court’s limited time and resources.”
Well, Mr. Walker has only himself to blame; when you abuse your authority to harass those whose views you dislike, there are going to be consequences. And when courts spend their time examining and sanctioning abuses, abuses which ultimately threaten us all, that is time well spent.
“Attorneys General United for Clean Power” is a misnomer. It should really be called “Attorneys General United for More Power.” And when that power consists of shutting down debate, we all have a duty to resist it.
UK: Another fracking melodrama
Claims that shale wells poison rivers are not all they seem
For the first time, American scientists have published a paper showing that wastewater from a shale-gas well and a coalbed methane site, disposed of by injecting it into a deep well, has reached a surface stream. This has led the UK group Frack Off to claim that the ‘favoured method of frack-waste disposal [is] causing environmental harm’.
Given the US’s 36,000 disposal wells, and the growing volume of wastewater surrounding them, the news came as a relief to greens, who have long been hunting for proof of surface-level contamination as a result of fracking. But what did the research, conducted by the US Geological Survey (USGS), really find? Concentrations of iron in the stream, which is within the Wolf Creek watershed, exceeded the 1mg/litre standard specified by West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection. Levels of naturally occurring radioactive radium were up to four times what uncontaminated (‘background’) sites showed. Levels of chlorine, bromine and other iffy elements were high, too. These elements, the USGS reported, ‘can potentially’ alter ecosystems: in the deicing of roads, for instance, increases in salinity (dissolved salt content) ‘are associated with disruptions in nitrogen cycling, likely due to alterations of microbial communities’. Thus, in the sediment around Wolf Creek, alterations in microbial communities brought about by shale wastewater ‘could’ impact nutrient cycling there.
A tentative judgement. Still, a second, parallel paper, again written (mostly) by USGS scientists, reported that, among fish and amphibians in the stream, endocrine-disrupting chemicals at receptors for the hormones oestrogen, androgen, progesterone, glucocorticoid and thyroid were at ‘equivalent authentic standard concentrations [sic] known to disrupt reproduction and/or development’.
Now, the first group of scientists couldn’t say how the contamination of the stream had happened. They admitted that it could have come from storage ponds and tanks, or from fuel and motor oil from vehicle deliveries. They conceded that the iron, chlorine and bromine could have come from past coal mining, coalbed methane, or from activities around conventional oil and gas production, rather than shale. Meanwhile, the second group of scientists noted that the water in Wolf Creek only merges with flows into the New River, a drinking water resource, five miles away from the endocrine disruption they found.
Altogether, the response followed the usual climate-alarmist formula. First, scientists find just enough debatable evidence to call for further research. Then, greens throw all nuance to the winds and reduce the research – in this case, two papers, 16 closely printed pages of enquiry and more than 100 references – to the headline phrase ‘environmental harm’.
It is this kind of green hysteria that continues to dog the development of fracking.
Greens claim that the exploitation of shale: adds to CO2 levels (especially through emissions of methane); takes too long to develop to make a difference to UK energy; causes earthquakes; contaminates the geological faults that are more prevalent in Europe than America; causes explosions; causes subsidence, and so lowers property prices; diverts money and attention away from renewables; distracts from necessary changes in consumption behaviour and energy efficiency; hits agriculture, the food chain, wildlife, recreation and tourism; promotes unacceptable levels of vehicle traffic and damages roads; prompts water shortages; hooks drilling companies up in opaque and corrupt arrangements with Tories and regulators; and merely benefits shareholders of Britain’s Big Six energy companies.
But wait, there’s more. Greenpeace discovered that 40 per cent of UK drilling licensees hold money offshore. Many drillers in the US, one critic chortled, are bankrupt – so in the densely populated, and thus more heavily regulated, UK, the costs of drilling will be prohibitive. At the University of Oxford’s Institute for Energy Studies, an expert ruled out mass commercial development of shale in the UK on account of today’s tumbling gas prices.
This alarmism rages on in the US, too. Researchers at Duke University, North Carolina, report that, since 2007, no fewer than 3,900 spills of wastewater have been reported around fracking sites in North Dakota, generally ranging from 200 to 10,000 litres each. As a result, in soil, groundwater and surface water around spill sites, both heavy metals and corrosive salts are, Duke proclaims, ‘remarkably persistent’.
Duke says these chemicals can be preserved in spill sites for ‘at least months to years’ – up to four years, in fact, in the case of two exceptional spills, each of 48,000 litres, that occurred in 2011. But the bigger problem is radium, especially when, in wastewater, it is spilt on to soil. Yet North Dakota environmental-health chief David Glatt says the state has cleaned up the vast majority of its spills, removing contaminated soil and flushing it with fresh water. So the threat from radium can be dealt with.
All spills are lamentable, and investment in new, better technologies is needed to stop them. But the culprits in North Dakota, Duke says, are mainly down to poor storage and pipeline infrastructure, not drilling. Moreover, US federal law requires water to be treated before it reaches domestic taps, and Duke did not test tap water for contamination.
Nevertheless, hysteria about shale mounts. In May, a shut-off sensor failed in a tank of oil and drilling wastewater (again in North Dakota) and the tank spilt bad stuff on to pastureland the size of an American-football field. When reporting the incident, Frack Off conveniently forgot to mention that huge vacuum machinery sucked the muck up, and waterways and drinking water were unaffected. Again, in May, Frack Off reported that young children were ‘particularly at risk’ from fracking chemicals, which bring lung problems and infections. What they failed to mention was that the study in question said this was only a potential risk.
Environmentalists’ never-ending and exaggerated objections to shale simply reveal a hatred of modernity. But the new, economic attacks on UK shale also reveal something else: rank hypocrisy.
The journal Nature recently reported that Europe has so far failed to build a commercial shale well. Indeed, geologists know little about shale-rock formations in Europe because there’s been less onshore drilling than in the US. Why? Well, EU member states from Bulgaria to France have, like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, enacted bans on fracking. As a result, ‘England is home to some of the few remaining attempts to tap shale gas in Europe. A handful of companies have applied for permission to drill… But environmentalists have put up a strong fight, and permissions have been slow to emerge.’ Indeed, as another expert from Oxford’s Institute for Energy Studies intones, no EU member state is in any position ‘anytime soon’ to drill the 50-100 wells necessary to confirm or deny the possibility of forging ahead with shale gas.
There we have it. Authorised and (quite often) funded by anti-modern sections of the establishment and the state, greens encourage already-wary governments to stop experiments with shale across the EU. Then wise universities such as Oxford proclaim that, in the EU, we know nothing about shale, so it can’t go ahead.
This sorry state of affairs provides yet another reason for Britain to leave the EU. Then, perhaps, we might acquire the can-do, high-tech approach of US frackers. That said, we can also learn from their mistakes and malpractice. Indeed we might, just this one time, take a cue from President Obama. For the 16 per cent of US oil and gas sites that are currently not obeying the rules, Obama is insisting they use infra-red cameras and other state-of-the art methods to cut methane leaks and end the burning off of excess gas (‘flaring’, which loses the US $10 billion worth of natural gas a year).
It’s time to for Britain to follow America’s lead. Let’s dispel the fracking melodramas and embrace new energy technology.
The Great British Wind Farm Scandal: These Are The Heads That Should Roll
by James Delingpole
Regular readers may be aware that I am not a fan of wind farms.
This is because, among other things, they kill birds and bats, hurt the environment, cause sleeplessness and sickness in humans, drive up fuel prices, enrich troughing rent-seeking crony capitalist scumbags, blight views, cause people to die in fuel poverty, harm property values, destabilise the grid, and inflate the cost of living – all while signally failing at the one thing they’re supposed to be good at, viz supplying us with the clean, abundant, eco-friendly energy which is going to save us all from “global warming.”
For anyone prepared to do their research – as opposed to take back handers from the renewable industry, mouth green platitudes or get frightened off by the wind industry’s super-aggressive lawyers – all this has been obvious for years.
Now, even the wind industry’s leading spokesmen have come half way to admitting how utterly crap and pointless wind energy is.
In England, we learned this week from the head of the wind energy lobby group Renewable UK, the wind levels are so puny and unreliable that turbines cannot generate economically viable quantities of energy.
How about that all you idyllic villages from Cornwall through Northamptonshire to the Fens and thence up north to the humpy Howgills and beyond who’ve had your views blighted, your peace disturbed, your property values trashed, your avian wildlife sliced and diced, your livestock frightened and your community cohesion disrupted by wind projects you never wanted, which you fought hard to prevent, but which were dumped on your doorstep anyway?
How does it feel to know that – having wasted all that time, money and heartache trying unsuccessfully to fight those greedy developers and selfish landowners through the biased planning process only to be overruled by some sinister Inspector Blight figure from the Planning Inspectorate – you’ve belatedly been vindicated by the wind industry itself?
Yes, Big Wind has finally admitted: all those bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes dotted hither and thither over the choicest parts of the matchlessly beautiful English landscape were entirely unnecessary. They’re sitting on those hilltops, turning or not turning as the case may be, making so little difference to Britain’s “energy security” or power supplies or carbon emissions reductions or economy that really they might just as well not be there.
And the most stupid thing of all is we’re paying for it.
This is a disgrace. A national scandal. I’m racking my brain for some equivalents.
In terms of corruption combined with wanton vandalism, it’s akin to all those cities, especially in the North, whose town councillors – in league with developers – allowed perfectly decent Victorian housing stock to be destroyed and replaced by ugly, soul-destroying tower blocks.
In terms of abuse of state power, it is even worse. Property rights are one of the bedrocks of liberal democracy. Arbitrary confiscation – whether literally taking someone’s home and land or reducing its value through state-mandated blight – is something you associate with banana republics and communist tyrannies. Part of the social contract that electorates in Western liberal democracies enjoy is that, in return for their tax money the state will attempt to act in the interests of the people it serves.
Furthermore it is understood by all that the state will only act against its citizens’ individual interests in matters of overriding national importance, such as national security or the need to build infrastructure such as motorways.
Usually – and correctly – people are paid compensation by the government for any losses imposed on them in the “national interest”. But before any of this takes place, one more thing is naturally understood by all: that the government has submitted whatever mega-project it is about to undertake – be it depopulating a whole village in World War II for use as an urban warfare training centre or flattening a swathe of countryside to build the M1 – to a proper cost benefit analysis. That is, one fully – and again quite reasonably – expects that when the state undertakes to do bad and expensive things to its people, it will have first taken steps to ensure that these bad and expensive things will ultimately result in more good than harm.
In the case of the Great Wind Con this manifestly hasn’t happened. Billions of pounds have been squandered, lives blighted and swathes of countryside ruined for a generation because of the lies, greed or incompetence of a fairly small group of people, some of whom frankly ought to be facing criminal charges for corruption, all of whose names ought to live in infamy for the damage they have wantonly inflicted on Britain’s landscape, people and economy.
Unfortunately it is often the way of British politics to let people go scot free for the disastrous cock ups they make while in government. I really don’t think we should. These tossers should be harried to the end of their days and then have their crimes engraved on their headstones as a salutary warning: ruin your country and we’ll ruin you.
Here are some of the rogues whose involvement in this grotesque and unforgiveable scam should never be forgotten.
* Ed Miliband – Britain’s first Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; failed Labour leader; unemployable gimp
Once said that opposing wind farms ought to be as “socially unacceptable as not wearing a seat belt”. As architect of the Climate Change Act – committing Britain to spending over £18 billion a year every year till 2050 pointlessly decarbonising her economy – he probably cost the British taxpayer more money, more pointlessly than any other politician in history.
* The European Union
Not that we’re exactly short of reasons to loathe the EU but here’s another: it was responsible for the renewable energy targets – 20 per cent of energy to come from renewables by 2020 – that gave UK politicians like Ed Miliband the excuse they needed to railroad though the policy.
* Bryony (now Baroness) Worthington – former Friends of the Earth activist; now in the House of Lords
Bryony effectively wrote the Climate Change Act for Miliband. It really is astonishing the leeway a minority interest campaigner from a hard left lobby group was given to create legislation that held the whole of Britain hostage to the anti-capitalist fantasies of a small group of green zealots.
* David Cameron – Prime Minister; leader of the “greenest government ever”
He could have put a stop to this. As a Conservative, he really should have done. Conservatives are not supposed to be the enemy of property rights nor of the countryside. But instead – perhaps under the influence of his hippy wife SamCam – he sold the pass and embraced green nonsense wholesale. During his Coalition government he handed over the Department of Energy and Climate Change to the fanatically green Lib Dems – the equivalent, as PJ O’Rourke might put it, of giving car keys and whisky to small boys.
* Chris Huhne; Ed Davey; Nick Clegg; Lib Dems generally
Huhne’s a perjuring spiv and jailbird; Davey’s thick as pigshit; Clegg is a revoltingly entitled, Westminster educated slimeball of a Euro creep. But let’s not dwell on the nice distinctions: the point is they’re all Lib Dems and therefore so ideologically wedded to the green project that they were quite incapable of subjecting its details to proper scrutiny. Like Dr Johnson said, “there is no settling the point of precedency between a louse and a flea.”
* Sir Reginald Sheffield Bt
Of all the toffs with their snouts in the green trough why pick on Sir Reg? Well because he’s the Prime Minister’s father-in-law and because ultimately some of the £1000 a day he makes just to have eight wind turbines sitting doing bugger all on his Lincolnshire estates will end up in Dave and Sam Cam’s pockets – and I really don’t think it’s right that they should benefit financially, at taxpayers’ expense, from policies they helped engineer.
* Toffs and landowners generally
Yes there are exceptions – the Duke of Northumberland, for one; my landlord in Northants being another. But generally the upper classes have behaved quite despicably in this matter. When the chips are down, it seems, they don’t give two hoots for the beauteous scenery they inherited by accident of birth. All that counts for them is the free money they get for having bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes on their estates. The Scottish toffs are by far the worst. But in England, special dishonourable mentions could go to Earl Spencer and the Duke of Gloucester, a member of the Royal Family no less: both have tried to host turbines on their lands, regardless of the protests of the poor sods who have to live with them.
* That revolting man from Fisher German Estate Agents
I forget the awful creep’s name but he worked for Fisher German and his speciality was to travel the length and breadth of my county advising landowners of the cash bonanza that awaited them if only they didn’t mind totally ruining their neighbours views and peace. Naturally, he was a very passionate advocate for wind energy – and was totally deaf to its shortcomings. As Upton Sinclair said: “It is hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” Obviously there are estate agents and land agents like that frightful man from Fisher German all over the country. May they all end up unemployed!
* The RSPB
Not only has Europe’s largest wildlife charity promoted wind farms but actually benefited from them financially – despite copious evidence of the damage bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes to the very wildlife the RSPB is supposed to save. That’s why they call it the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds.
* Greenpeace; Friends of the Earth; the WWF etc
These helped promote the climate change hysteria which lent policymakers the apparent moral justification for forcing renewable energy on their electorates. They have never apologised for the damage their junk-science propagandising has caused and they never will.
* Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
By no means is the RICS the only professional institution to have jumped on the green bandwagon regardless of all evidence. But let it stand for all those public and professional bodies which has been corrupted morally and intellectually in the green scam. My beef with the RICS is its complicity in playing down evidence that wind farms have a significant impact on property values. This was shameful.
Again there have been honourable exceptions. But certain sections of the acoustics industry – they know who they are but if I name them I dare say they’ll try to sue me – have quite deliberately gamed the system, covered up evidence, even lied at the behest of the renewable energy behemoth. Had these people done their job half the wind farms blighting our landscape would never have been permitted on health and safety grounds because they’re just too damned close to human habitations – and the damaging effects of infrasound and the noises caused by wind sheer have been known to the acoustics industry for years.
One of the more despicable aspects of this scam – and it just goes to show how corrupting money can be – is the way people who presumably got their various ecology and environmental sciences degrees because they loved nature ended up using their qualifications to help destroy it. You often encountered them at planning hearings, abusing their professional status by testifying that “Oh no, don’t worry. In our expert opinion this sensitively sited wind farm won’t remotely damage any wildlife” – thus undermining one of the main planks in the defence used by hapless local communities trying desperately to avoid having one of these monstrosities plonked in their neighbourhood.
Again not all of them. But it’s quite amazing how many of them acquiesced in this scam – only five of them, for example, voted against the Climate Change Act. Most loathsome of the bunch, though, are the ones who actively pushed for more stringent green or renewable energy policies and who have often ended up benefiting from their various green business interests. Former MP Tim Yeo; the slithy Lord Deben; Charles Hendry. Wherever it is these scumbags live I do hope that no one ever invites them to dinner and that everyone cuts them when they bump into them in the village Post Office or wherever. I certainly would. How they can live with themselves or indeed sleep at night is a mystery to me.
* Tony Blair
Well obviously. Almost everything that is wrong with the world can be traced, ultimately, to Tony Blair.
* Dale “Dog On A Rope” Vince
Let this deeply unpleasant man stand for all the rent-seeking troughers who have benefited from this Ponzi scheme of an industry which I’m quite sure Enron would dearly have loved to have invented. Dale Vince has made a multi-million pound fortune not by creating value but simply by being canny enough to milk the system. In an open market not one single wind turbine would have been erected in England (or anywhere else probably). They’re there purely because of the government’s regulatory fiat, which heavily incentivises people to build wind turbines not because they’re economically viable but because they’re politically useful. This is crony capitalism pure and simple. It’s ugly, it represents an abuse of government power and I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who make their money in this way. They don’t deserve a penny of it. I wish I could show my contempt by shorting shares in Vince’s company. But you can’t because he’s not publicly quoted. I wonder why.
* The BBC
Never once – so far as I can recall – has the BBC ever called into question the viability of or the need for these industrial blights on our landscape. It’s supposed to be impartial and to represent the interests of the whole country. Yet it has allowed itself to be captured by a narrow establishment with a vested interest in promulgating the renewable lie. This represents a betrayal of trust, an abuse of the licence fee and a failure of journalism.
* The media generally
Here is what ought to be – indeed is – one of the most scandalous wastes of public money in living memory. Why weren’t our journalists on top of this?
This list is by no means exhaustive. What it does, I hope, is show how easy it is for vocal minority groups – in this case green activists – to hold public policy hostage and also how depressingly easy it is to buy the support of theoretically reputable institutions and individuals with a flash of filthy lucre. Wind energy is so wrong in so many ways that it should have never been allowed past the planning stage. Unfortunately money talks.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this is the most disgraceful public scandals of our age. And I think it makes a nonsense of our belief that we are a country of great probity with an effective, honest political system. If we were as high minded and decent as we kid ourselves, then some of the parties I have named above would be facing hefty fines or a stint in prison – and certainly the confiscation of their assets to compensate all the people who have lost out as a result of their dishonesty or, at best, grotesquely misguided high-mindedness. Green loons will always be with us. But the very least we ought to be able to expect our scientists, politicians, economists, businessmen and journalists to do is to hold their wild claims to account rather than indulging their fantasy and impoverishing ordinary people as a result.
And the scandal isn’t over yet, either.
As Paul Homewood reports, the Government is preparing to break its promise to put an end to the subsidies we are forced to pay this pointless and undeserving industry. Under pressure, clearly, from the powerful vested interests involved in the renewable energy scam, the Government plans to redefine the meaning of the word “subsidy” so that the troughers in the wind industry can carry on troughing. How sad to learn that Andrea Leadsom, the Conservative minister who acquitted herself so brilliantly in the Brexit debate on ITV the other night, should be playing a leading role in promulgating this duplicity.
If Cameron’s administration had a shred of moral integrity it would be distancing itself from this scandal as quickly as possible by apologising for its mistakes and making amends.
I hope this piece will be shared around the world by all those groups – I know there are lots of you – from Canada to Australia, from Scotland to Kenya, striving desperately to protect their own special stretch of countryside from this vile, mendacious, conscience-free industry. One day, sooner rather than later, you will be vindicated by history. Wind energy – people will come to recognise – was one of the greatest follies of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. If only the bottom-feeders who have promoted it or profited by it got the punishment they all deserve!
Australia: NSW farmers stepping up tree felling even before land-clearing laws loosened
Greenies are always trying to restrict farmers' right to use their property as they see fit, making a nonsense out of freehold. So when the regulations ease up a bit, farmers have got to rush in and do whatever is needed to develop their property. There are plenty of national parks for wildlife preservation but Greenies always want it all
The state's farmers have lopped paddock trees at an accelerating rate in the past 18 months even before a new land-clearing law eases controls further, government data shows.
The new figures, which reveal the rate of clearing of paddock trees has more than doubled since November 2014, come as the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists wrote to all MPs to call for a reversal of "retrograde changes" planned in the new Biodiversity Conservation act.
NSW farmers used a new self-assessment code to remove 21,716 paddock trees – or more than 50 a day – over the past year and a half.
The rate, at an average of about 50 per day, was 140 per cent more than the average over the previous seven years, data from the Office of Environment and Heritage showed. Paddock trees, judged to be single or small patches of trees, make up 40 per cent of remaining woodland cover, OEH says.
Satellite monitoring by OEH would probably have detected even more clearing but the public has been left in the dark because the O'Farrell-Baird governments had failed to release a native vegetation report since 2013, Mehreen Faruqi, the Greens environment spokeswoman, said.
The Greens had also sought information on the number of applications OEH received and what if any compliance of the self-assessment codes they conducted, Dr Faruqi said.
"If almost 22,000 trees can be removed under the existing law, then it will be a disaster when new laws that further facilitate land clearing are brought in," she said, adding the latest tree-felling numbers were "the tip of the iceberg".
A spokeswoman for Niall Blair, Minister for Primary Industries, did not address the scale of tree clearing on farms, but said "the proposed Biodiversity Conservation package aims to reverse the decline of biodiversity in NSW because the current system isn't working".
"The NSW Government is currently seeking feedback on the draft reforms and stakeholders including environmental groups and farmers are encouraged to put forward a submission before June 28," she said.
Labor's environment spokeswoman, Penny Sharpe, said the figures "ring alarm bells on how far the current biodiversity laws have already been watered down".
"If these laws proceed in their current form, there will be a return to land clearing on a scale unseen for decades in NSW with catastrophic impacts on native animals, soil, water and greenhouse gas emissions," Ms Sharpe said.
The Wentworth Group was also scathing of the new proposals, warning that "key elements [of the new act] will substantially weaken existing protections" contained within the Native Vegetation and Threaten Species acts which will be replaced by the new Biodiversity Conservation act.
The group's criticism carries additional weight because one of the signatories to the letter is Professor Hugh Possingham, a member of the Biodiversity Review Panel that reviewed the existing legislation.
The proposed law contains three major flaws including a weaker set of codes that would permit more broadscale land-clearing, a lack of mapping of areas of high conservation value, and its $240 million plan to reward private landholders protecting native vegetation on their properties may end up as "a taxpayer subsidy to farmers to degrade land", the group said.
"The watering down of laws to stop broadscale clearing is driven by a small handful of property owners who believe they have the right to do whatever they wish, irrespective of the long-term damage this might cause to the rest of society," the scientists said.
Mark Speakman, environment minister, said he had noted the scientists' concerns.
"There are a range of diverse views on the proposed reforms," he said. "The draft reforms are designed to protect biodiversity and create the best possible outcomes for the environmental future of NSW."
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Posted by JR at 12:38 AM