Monday, October 31, 2016
Global cooling coming
From his study of climate cycles, prominent Russian climatologist Habibullo Abdussamatov can see signs that we are already on a cooling trajectory. His latest paper below
The New Little Ice Age Has Started
Since 1990, the Sun has been in the declining phase of the quasi-bicentennial variation in total solar irradiance (TSI). The decrease in the portion of TSI absorbed by the Earth since 1990 has remained uncompensated by the Earth's long-wave radiation into space at the previous high level because of the thermal inertia of the world's oceans. As a result, the Earth has, and will continue to have, a negative average annual energy balance and a long-term adverse thermal condition. The quasi-centennial epoch of the new Little Ice Age has started at the end 2015 after the maximum phase of solar cycle 24. The start of a solar grand minimum is anticipated in solar cycle 27 ± 1 in 2043 ± 11 and the beginning of phase of deep cooling in the new Little Ice Age in 2060 ± 11. The gradual weakening of the Gulf Stream leads to stronger cooling in the zone of its action in western Europe and the eastern parts of the United States and Canada. Quasi-bicentennial cyclic variations of TSI together with successive very important influences of the causal feedback effects are the main fundamental causes of corresponding alternations in climate variation from warming to the Little Ice Age.
Conservative groups: GOP must oppose Dems' 11th-hour "clean" energy push
Nearly 50 conservative groups are telling Republican congressional leaders to oppose extending $1.4 billion in clean energy tax credits that the White House and Democratic leaders want to see passed by the end of the year.
The free-market and conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks, Citizens Against Government Waste and Americans for Tax Reform, began the anti-subsidy push Wednesday with a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reminding them that the incentives "are a distortion of the tax laws for special interests in the renewable energy industry."
The $1.4 billion in expiring tax provisions include incentives for wind-power technologies, geothermal heat pumps, fuel cells and combined heat and power facilities. The measures also include proposals to extend renewable fuel infrastructure credits to benefit advanced forms of ethanol and other alternatives to gasoline.
Congress extended tax credits for solar and wind less than a year ago at a cost of $23.8 billion over the next decade when it passed a huge omnibus spending package in December. The additional tax credits were "wisely" left out of that package and should not be included in any proposed energy extenders package at the end of the year.
It's not just the expense, it's the consistent failure of the subsidies to achieve their goals, the letter said.
"Government subsidies, loans, mandates and tax policies regarding renewables have consistently failed to deliver on their promises of long-term job creation and economic viability," the letter said. "Americans deserve access to energy solutions that are affordable and reliable — ones that should be able to stand on their own in the marketplace.
"We encourage you to oppose efforts to use unrelated legislation as a vehicle to extend expiring tax provisions for renewable energy," it concluded.
The White House has made extending the left-out subsidies a priority in the lame-duck session of Congress, coordinating with the Democratic leadership for what one senior White House adviser called a clean energy "end game."
Many of the conservative groups signing the letter successfully derailed attempts to pass the additional clean energy provisions earlier this year in an intensive lobbying campaign pushing Republicans to oppose it.
Meanwhile, a coalition of energy efficiency advocates criticized the Environmental Protection Agency for picking winners and losers under a clean energy incentive program developed to augment its landmark climate regulations that are undergoing court review.
The coalition, led by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, "argues that energy efficiency should receive access to the same credits as renewable energy" through the EPA incentive program.
"Simply put, ACEEE and partners are seeking to put energy efficiency on a level playing field with renewable energy."
The program provides full incentives only for solar and renewable energy. The coalition argues that efficiency is much cheaper and more cost-effective than many other resources and would benefit consumers.
‘All the Wild Animals Are Going Extinct’ Says WWF. Yeah, Right. And I’m a Giant Panda
The world is on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020 says the WWF in a joint report with the Zoological Society of London. The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020.
The report analysed the changing abundance of more than 14,000 monitored populations of the 3,700 vertebrate species for which good data is available. This produced a measure akin to a stock market index that indicates the state of the world’s 64,000 animal species and is used by scientists to measure the progress of conservation efforts.
The biggest cause of tumbling animal numbers is the destruction of wild areas for farming and logging: the majority of the Earth’s land area has now been impacted by humans, with just 15% protected for nature. Poaching and exploitation for food is another major factor, due to unsustainable fishing and hunting: more than 300 mammal species are being eaten into extinction, according to recent research.
Pollution is also a significant problem with, for example, killer whales and dolphins in European seas being seriously harmed by long-lived industrial pollutants. Vultures in south-east Asia have been decimated over the last 20 years, dying after eating the carcasses of cattle dosed with an anti-inflammatory drug. Amphibians have suffered one of the greatest declines of all animals due to a fungal disease thought to be spread around the world by the trade in frogs and newts.
Rivers and lakes are the hardest hit habitats, with animals populations down by 81% since 1970, due to excessive water extraction, pollution and dams. All the pressures are magnified by global warming, which shifts the ranges in which animals are able to live, said WWF’s director of science, Mike Barrett.
What can we do to prevent this happening?
Well I can think two immediate steps we can all take.
One, whenever a WWF leaflet falls out of a magazine, make sure to rip the photograph of the snow leopard, tiger, panda or whatever into tiny pieces so as not to be taken in by the heartrending, vanishing-species-porn blurb emotionally blackmailing you into giving your hard-earned cash to what is essentially just a rapacious eco-fascist propaganda organisation.
Two, never ever visit London Zoo. Obviously it will be sad never to see the Lubetkin penguin pool again, nor to be able to quote Hamlet at the wolves in honour of Withnail & I. Also, if enough of us do it, I guess all the animals will have to be shot. But here’s the thing: like the WWF, the Zoological Society of London is little more than a front these days for grotesquely right-on, misanthropic, eco freaks who basically think that people like you and me are a cancer on the planet.
Why am I saying this?
Because we’ve been through exactly this “all the wild animals are dying and it’s all our fault” nonsense as recently 2014, when the WWF produced a similarly doom-laden report.
It was bunk then – for reasons I detail here – and it’s bunk now.
Yes, of course habitat loss is a problem for wildlife numbers; and yes, humans have undoubtedly been responsible for a number of species extinctions, especially from hunting animals or from introducing predators (eg cats, rats) to previously protected environments.
But the scary predictions on biodiversity loss and species extinction are in truth about as credible as the scary predictions about man-made climate change: they’re more about grabbing headlines, raising money and provoking action than they are about observed data. They’re just computer projections based on dodgy estimates and unreliable raw data.
Eco-freaks love to talk up extinction stories – even when, as in the case of the Aldabra banded snail the species isn’t actually extinct.
If so many species are really going extinct, where are the bodies?
There aren’t any because – barring recent sad examples like the Golden Toad of Costa Rica, driven to extinction by a chytrid fungus probably spread by wildlife researchers – these animals aren’t actually going extinct.
But of course that’s never going to stop media organisations like the Guardian (and indeed the Telegraph, CNN, the Independent, etc) typing up the WWF’s press releases like the dutiful little eco-warriors they are – and imprinting the lie in the heads of a million and one gullible fluffkins.
The Guardian’s version, alone, has been shared over 111,000 times.
So that’s at least 111,000 shrill, self-righteous eco-twerps bleating on to anyone will listen about how all the wild animals are dying and it’s all our fault based on some undigested propaganda they read in the Guardian. Great.
They told us that global warming would affect rice yields, and they were right!
Thailand: Rice farmers in some provinces have grown increasingly impatient and are imploring the government to help them after prices plunged to a 10-year low.
In Buri Ram, farmers say they are in deep trouble as rice prices have dipped well below cost to five baht a kilogramme. They have asked the government to help prop the prices to at least 10 baht per kg, their break-even level.
Millers are now paying them only 5,000 baht a tonne for the main crop they are harvesting, citing high humidity and impurities.
They claim the price is the lowest in decades, yet they have no choice but to accept it in order to repay debts and have money for daily expenses, harvesting equipment rentals, and school supplies for their children for the coming semester.
"We spent 70,000 to 80,000 baht to farm on our 35 rai this year. Although the output was good, it's questionable whether our income will cover the costs," said Prakong Hoopracone, 49, from Muang district of the northeastern province.
Somyot Singthongprasert shared her view, adding that if the government doesn't help them by propping up prices or controlling millers, he couldn't see how he could repay debts and meet daily expenses.
In Phichit province in the Central region, groups of farmers from three districts -- Muang, Taphan Hin and Bang Moon Nak -- gathered at the provincial hall to submit a complaint to the government's help centre. Deputy governor Piya Wongluacha accepted their letter.
The farmers said they were about to harvest jasmine rice but the price had dropped to 6,000 baht a tonne.
In Chai Nat, some farmers reportedly are putting their land up for sale because they can't bear to lose any more money on their crops.
Government spokesman Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd said on Saturday that the government was speeding up efforts to solve the problem, with the rice policy committee planning to meet on Monday.
But he dismissed some news reports as "half-truths", such as stories linking farmland sales to low rice prices.
"We've checked the facts and found that the people who are selling farmland right now are actually landlords who no longer want to rent it or those with no manpower to work the fields," he said.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha commended farmers who have switched to other crops or joined together to form community milling cooperatives, he added.
The junta's answer to the costly rice-pledging programme of its predecessor is a barn-pledging scheme.
Aimed at slowing down the market supply of jasmine and glutinous rice paddy, the programme involves having the state-owned Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives (BAAC) lend to farmers in the North and Northeast.
Growers are required to keep harvests in their barns and the bank will give them loans equal to 90% of the target prices, plus 1,000 baht a tonne as the storage cost.
In return, the government subsidises the interest for farmers, with a cap of 300,000 baht per household, or 20 tonnes of paddy.
For their part, the farmers keep the paddy until the time is appropriate to sell it. Farmers who don't have barns can join through cooperatives.
The government approved the programme in late October 2015. For 2015, the crops were limited to jasmine and glutinous paddy in the North and Northeast. The maximum pledged amount was 2 million tonnes for a maximum credit line of 26.74 billion baht.
The pledged prices were up to 13,500 baht a tonne for jasmine paddy and 11,300 baht for glutinous paddy, or 90% of the market prices at the time.
Critics said the cap at 2 million tonnes was less than a third of the 7-million-tonne output of the two varieties.
Because of the restrictions and higher rice prices at the time, 80,000 farmers pledged 450,000 tonnes for loans totalling 6.39 billion baht for the 2014-15 crop year, according to BAAC data as of March 31, 2015.
Rice prices around the world have fallen as a record crop is forecast for the 2016-17 harvest season, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in its latest Rice Price Update.
The FAO’s All Rice Price Index showed international rice prices in the first eight months of 2016 were 9% below the levels of a year earlier
The International Grains Council (IGC) also noted a sharp fall in export prices of Thai rice in August.
“The market in Thailand was weighed down by sluggish international demand and increasing secondary crop arrivals, while additional pressure stemmed from efforts by the government to offload state reserves through a series of auctions,” it said. “At $369 [a tonne], 5% broken rice was down by $43 month-over-month."
Billionaire crony corporatist schemes
Financing “green” companies and pressure groups, to get richer off taxpayers and consumers
Shady cash from Vladimir Putin’s Russian energy oligarchs and other rich donors is being laundered through Bermuda-based lawyers and middlemen to “green” pressure groups, lobbyists and spinmeisters – to promote “green energy” schemes that bring billions of dollars from government agencies (and thus from us taxpayers and consumers) to a cabal of billionaires and crony companies. At the epicenter are hedge fund millionaire Nathaniel Simons, his wife Laura and their secretive Sea Change Foundation.
“Investors” become even wealthier, as billions of dollars are transferred annually to environmentalists, scientists, politicians, bureaucrats and crony-corporatists in Renewable Energy & Climate Crisis, Inc. The alleged “urgency” of replacing fossil fuels with “eco-friendly renewable energy” (to prevent catastrophic manmade climate change) drives and excuses operations that define or barely skirt “corrupt practices.”
The arrangements are too convoluted to explain in one article. Even the US Senate’s “Billionaires’ Club” report, Environmental Policy Alliance’s “From Russia with Love” study, and articles by investigative journalists like Ron Arnold and Lachlan Markay (here, here and here) barely scratch the surface.
Washington is out of control. The IRS targeting conservative groups, Clinton Foundation and national security scandals, FBI pseudo-investigations and whitewashing, bureaucrats imposing $1.9 trillion in economy-crushing regulations that ruin families and communities – with virtually no perpetrators ever held accountable.
Here we are talking about radically and fundamentally dismantling the energy system that powers the American free enterprise, transportation, communication and healthcare systems … replacing it with expensive, subsidized, unreliable, land-hungry wind, solar and biofuel energy – and using vindictive government power to bankrupt and impoverish disfavored factions, while enriching favored allies.
Imagine the trillions of dollars required for the USA to accept the wind industry’s “vision” of 4,000,000 megawatts of electricity from 500,000 to 1,250,000 mega turbines in our Great Lakes and along our Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf of Mexico coasts. Picture the multi trillions required to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2027 and a “100% carbon-free economy” by 2050. Envision the potential billionaire profits!
As the investigators reveal, the billionaires’ green network transfers millions of dollars from individual, corporate and “charitable foundation” donors … through tax-exempt “educational” nonprofits that do not have to disclose donor names … to activist and pressure groups that work to influence elections, legislation, regulations, legal actions and public perceptions on energy and environmental issues. A lot of money originates with Russian and other foreign interests that want to protect their monopoly revenues.
Many wealthy donors and foundations that bankroll these operations also have venture capital firms that invest in “green” energy companies which benefit from the laws, policies, regulations and lawsuits – and from government contracts, grants, guaranteed loans, subsidies, feed-in tariffs, and mandates for energy systems, ethanol blends or wind and solar electricity. In turn, US money can end up in the coffers of radical Australian groups that block coal exports to India, thereby keeping its people mired in poverty.
Coal billionaire/climate activist Tom Steyer and other club members invest in for-profit prisons where inmates make ultra-low-cost solar panels. Warren Buffett funneled millions through his family foundation to the secretive Tides Foundation to pressure groups campaigning against the Keystone and Sandpiper Pipelines, thereby benefitting his railroad and tank car companies that haul oil. Others support North Dakota pipeline protesters who destroyed equipment, mutilated cattle and harassed local residents.
One of the most clandestine, devious arrangements involves firms owned or controlled by Nathaniel Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons. Tax records reveal that their Sea Change Foundation gives tens of millions a year to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food and Water Watch, US Climate Action Network, League of Conservation Voters, Center for American Progress, White House counselor John Podesta’s Progressive Policy Institute – and Sierra Club, which received millions from Sea Change for its “Beyond Natural Gas” campaign, to battle drilling, fracking, pipelines and hydrocarbon use.
The Simons regularly give millions to Sea Change. Other donors include the Gates Foundation, eBay’s Omidyar Network Fund, David Rockefeller’s personal foundation and the Walmart Foundation. Sea Change also gets money from hedge funds incorporated in Bermuda and headed by Simons’ father Jim, a major Democratic donor whose net worth is over $12 billion.
But much of Sea Change’s funding comes through Bermuda-based Klein, Ltd., whose sole purpose is to channel money covertly to Sea Change and thence to environmental advocacy and “educational” groups. Klein is a shell company that exists only on paper. Its only officers are employees of Bermuda law firm Wakefield Quin, its address is the same as WQ’s, and its registered business agents work for Wakefield.
A sizable portion of Klein’s funds come from the IPOC Group, an international growth fund owned by Russian minister of telecommunications and Putin friend Leonid Reiman; Spectrum Partners, a Moscow-based energy investment firm with major assets in Russian oil and gas; Rosneft, the Russian-government-owned oil and gas giant that is one of Wakefield’s largest clients; and other Russian companies.
Their motives are easy to discern. US fracking has battered Russia’s income, economy and ruble. One way to reverse this is to support groups that oppose drilling, fracking and pipelines – and support wind, solar and biofuel projects that Simons views as the foundation of a future “low-carbon US economy.”
That’s why Hillary Clinton told German bankers in 2013 that US energy development is “up against” Russian “oligarchs” who are funding “phony environmental groups.” She supports fracking, she claimed, while publicly saying her regulations won’t leave many places where the practice will be tolerated.
Nat Simons also runs venture capital firms Elan Management and its offshoot Prelude Ventures, which invest in “green energy” companies that benefit from policies that his Sea Change operations promote. At least seven companies in Prelude’s portfolio (including prison-labor solar company Suniva) have received bounteous federal funding from the Energy, Defense, Agriculture and Justice Departments, National Science Foundation and other agencies. Many WQ clients have ties to the Russian government.
Klein, Ltd. director and Wakefield Quin senior counsel Nicholas Hoskins is also a director in the IPOC Group and VP of a London-based investment firm whose president is a member of Putin’s inner circle and used to chair the board of Russia-owned oil company Rosneft. He also serves as director of a holding company with extensive shares in an oil company owned by Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev.
WQ senior counsel Roderick Forrest operates Medallion Investments and Meritage Investments, hedge funds owned by Nat Simons. Forrest and Hoskins are also tied closely to Spectrum Partners and Marcuard-Spectrum, Moscow-based firms with significant assets in Russian oil and gas.
All these subterranean networks and connections came to light thanks to tax records and the sources cited earlier in this article. It’s no wonder the Senate report called Sea Change “shadowy” and its operations “a deceitful way to hide the source of millions of dollars … attempting to effect political change.”
On the personal front, Simons commutes to work across San Francisco Bay on the “Elan,” a 54-ft, 1,550-HP, gas-guzzling yacht – and manages his household staff and 6,700-sq-ft home via Elan Household LLC. Ms. Baxter-Simons fired their 9-months-pregnant housekeeper after she requested maternity leave. But their planet-focused ethical star shines bright in environmentalist skies.
On this Halloween eve, it is truly frightening to grasp the extent to which America’s politicians, policies, laws, regulations, energy, economy, jobs and future are controlled by a cabal of stealthy billionaires – who receive billions from state and federal government agencies, and use those riches to become even wealthier, more powerful, and more in control of our lives, livelihoods, living standards and liberties.
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.
Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. 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
Posted by JR at 1:18 AM