Sunday, April 17, 2011

Alexander Cockburn dumps on nuke loving greens and man made global warming

Acclaimed leftist journalist Alexander Cockburn at his home in Humboldt County, CA. I have been reading HotCock on and off for years but I did not realize what a posh English accent he has. He went to Oxford U so that is no mystery. Such an accent is quite close to an educated Australian accent so I found it very easy to follow. I hope American readers do too -- JR

An angry weather report from Georgia

It winds up

Windmills superfluous in Northwest

A useless "investment"

The Bonneville Power Administration wants to shut down Northwest wind farms this spring when hydroelectric dams are generating plenty of electricity as a huge mountain snowpack melts.

The Portland-based BPA may have to limit production from wind farms to free space in the regional power grid.

CO2 Drives Convection In The Earth’s Mantle

The oceanic crust is about six miles thick, and floats on top of gigantic convective cells originating over a thousand miles down in the mantle. The movement of these convective cells is what causes plate tectonics and earthquakes like the Japanese quake last month. Relative to the size of the sphere it sits on, the crust is thinner than an apple skin.

By some amazing new climate science principle, an increase of 0.0001 atmospheric CO2 concentration over the crust is affecting the speed of convection in the mantle thousands of miles below it.

(And they wonder why we think that climate science is the chosen profession among morons.)


Where the US Should Follow Europe's Lead

President Obama and environmentalists often say America should follow Europe’s lead on energy, climate and economic matters. Recent events suggest that we should listen more attentively to the Europeans.

Two brutal winters have awakened Europe to the fact that global temperatures stopped rising in 1998 – and that frigid days and nights pose far graver dangers to the elderly and poor than warm weather and moderate global warming.

Germany and the Netherlands were gripped by near-record lows this past winter. People suffered frostbite and some froze to death in Poland and Russia.

Barely twelve months after its Meteorological Office said the 2009-10 winter was the coldest in three decades, Britain endured its coldest December-January since 1683. Because the United Kingdom’s ultra green energy policies have driven heating costs into the stratosphere, British pensioners rode buses or spent all day in libraries to stay warm, then shivered all night in their apartments. Tens of thousands risked hypothermia, trying to control costs by bundling up and turning the heat down or off. Many died.

In Wales, a third of all children live in low-income households, and a quarter of all households were in “fuel poverty” – forced to spend at least 10% of their income on heating. Many parents had to choose between keeping their children warm and providing them with nourishing meals, welfare workers said. Many Welsh children couldn’t sleep at night because of the cold, damaging their health and grades.

This isn’t proof that the world is entering a global cooling cycle. But the absence of sunspots is the most prolonged in a century, and scientists say the reduced solar activity is reminiscent of the Maunder Minimum, between 1645 and 1715, when the Northern Hemisphere suffered through the coldest weather, worst storms and shortest growing seasons of the Little Ice Age.

The frigid weather, freezing families, record budget deficits, soaring unemployment – and complete failure of global warming computer models to predict anything other than “a warmer than normal winter” – have caused a meltdown in Europe’s longstanding climate and energy policies.

In fact, many Europeans increasingly recognize that businesses, hospitals and especially poor families absolutely need reliable, affordable energy – which wind and solar cannot provide.

The British government is looking into cutting subsidies, feed-in tariffs and other incentives for solar projects, to prevent the boom-and-bust seen in Spain and predicted for the Czech Republic. Wind turbines, small hydroelectric plants and biomass projects are also on the block, as the government attempts to revive the UK economy, raise its competitiveness, radically reduce rising debt burdens, and chart a more economically and politically realistic course.

United Kingdom manufacturers say “green energy” policies and increased penalties for using fossil fuels are raising their costs to intolerable levels, especially for energy-intensive industries. Manufacturing is “reaching a tipping point,” they say, “where companies that are internationally mobile will say ‘enough is enough,’” and simply move to Asia. Millions of jobs are on the line.

The Netherlands is likewise reducing its renewable energy targets and slashing wind and solar subsidies. More shocking, even in the wake of Fukushima, the Dutch are talking of approving their first new nuclear power plant in 40 years, because they can no longer afford to pay exorbitant fees for minimal amounts of renewable electricity (that is well below theoretically “rated” or “capacity” output).

Poland is racing to develop shale gas, using hydraulic fracturing methods developed by American companies to unlock trillions of cubic feet of methane for its homes and factories. Exploratory drilling is also underway, or about to begin, in Britain, Germany and other countries, as engineers evaluate the extent and economics of developing their own vast shale gas deposits.

In Slovakia, the government stopped issuing solar licenses barely six months after launching its program. After unaffordable subsidies were sharply reduced, new solar installations in the Czech Republic fell 76% (from 2800 MW in 2009 to 400 MW in 2010); in Spain they plummeted 98% (from 2800 MW to 69 MW between 2008 and 2009). Private investments in these government-supported programs also cratered.

France and other countries are taking similar steps, while also expanding coal-based electricity, to replace nuclear. “Austerity-whacked Europe is rolling back subsidies for renewable energy, as economic sanity makes a tentative comeback,” London Globe and Mail columnist Eric Reguly observed. “Green energy is becoming unaffordable and may cost as many jobs as it creates.” Or worse.

A new report from Scotland found that renewable energy kills 3.7 traditional jobs for every “green” job it creates. Wind power mandates also cost British energy consumers an extra $1.8 billion in higher electricity costs in 2009-2010. Rebellion is in the air, and belief in dangerous manmade global warming has plummeted.

European Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger put it bluntly. “If we go alone to 30% [renewable energy],” he said, “you will have a faster process of de-industrialization in Europe. We need industry, and industry means CO2 emissions.” Tougher climate and renewable targets will force industries to move to Asia, he added, and steel will likely be one of the first casualties. Europe can no longer afford to “prop up” renewable energy industries.

However, despite these changes in the Europe he extols so often, President Obama says this is America’s “Sputnik moment.” He wants the United States to “invest” in “the Apollo projects of our time” – spending countless billions of additional taxpayer dollars to “stimulate” renewable energy, high-speed rail, climate change “prevention” and other projects. His April 13 budget speech reiterated this commitment.

This is precisely the kind of business-as-usual our nation can no longer afford: politicians and bureaucrats deciding which energy technologies, industries and companies win – and which ones lose – on the basis of politics, rather than science, economics or technology.

It is time to follow Europe’s lead. We may not be able to do anything about the weather or climate. But we can, and must, implement policies that ensure we have the technology and money to adapt to whatever climate and weather changes might come.

Developing America’s vast domestic oil, natural gas, coal and shale gas deposits will generate millions of jobs and hundreds of billions of dollars in critically needed royalty and tax revenue. We must ensure that our energy policies generate revenues and create jobs – instead of requiring constant taxpayer subsidies and destroying two to four traditional jobs for every “green” job that government “creates.”

We need to do that, and can do it without hurting the environmental values we all cherish.

Any policies that shackle our ability to follow this new Europe-advised course will severely harm our nation’s future – and shackle blue-collar jobs, poor families and minority opportunities worst of all.


Bill Gates backs GM crops

EFFORTS to use genetically modified crops to fight malnutrition in Africa and Asia will receive a major vote of confidence from Bill Gates. The founder of Microsoft will today announce a huge investment in the development of improved varieties of rice and cassava.

Through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he will offer grants worth pound stg. 11.4 million ($17.7m) to projects that will enhance the staple crops, which are eaten by hundreds of millions of people, with critical micronutrients, some of which can be added only through genetic engineering.

An award of pound stg. 6.3m to the Philippine Rice Research Institute and the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute will allow them to develop strains of GM "golden rice", which is suitable for small-scale farmers. Golden rice is genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene, which is converted by the body into vitamin A.

More than 90 million children in Southeast Asia alone suffer from vitamin A deficiency. It causes 670,000 deaths and 350,000 cases of blindness among children worldwide each year. The funding will also support the nutritional, environmental and safety tests.

A second grant of pound stg. 5.1m will back the BioCassava Plus project in Nigeria and Kenya. It aims to add beta-carotene, iron and protein to cassava, a staple crop eaten by more than 250 million people in Africa. While cassava is a rich source of calories, it contains very few essential micronutrients, leaving people at risk of malnutrition.



Three current articles below

Federal solar scheme hits the poor

Inequity spurs grant rethink

SOLAR panel rebates could be slashed again after the Government confirmed it was still concerned the scheme was driving up electricity prices for the poor.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said he was deeply concemed about the equity of the program that some experts estimated was already costing families that couldn’t afford panels about $100 a year. That’s because the cost of the uncapped solar credits scheme that offers grants of about $6000 is passed on to consumers by electricity retailers, rather than being a cash grant in the Federal Budget. Electricity users pay again when a feed-in tariff scheme “pays” the solar householders who produce more electricity than they use.

Mr Combet has already said the rebates will be slashed from about $6000 to $5000 from July 1, prompting a stampede of customers. "It is a program that we inherited from the Howard government. And it was a thoroughly poorly designed, inequitable program,” he said. “We’ve progressively wound back the levels of assistance. I announced before Christmas a fluther wind»back to take effect from July 1.

“In the meantime, I’ve been watching closely the levels of demand that are still being created by this scheme. The thing that's appropriate for me is watch it very closely, to take steps to reduce the levels of subsidy, which I am doing

Mr Combet said the surging demand for solar roof panels was “not purely a function of a federal govemment level of assistance". “Various state govemments have what’s called a feed-in tariff. The NSW feed-in tariff led to a complete explosion in demand. “They’ve both contributed to very high levels of demand. As well as the high dollar, because it means that the solar panels being imported from China are relatively cheaper. So I am very mindful of that and I am watching it very closely, because I have been particularly concerned about the equity of that program. Because it is effectively a subsidy that is paid through electricity prices.”

For families who can afford it, the generous scheme can reduce the cost of installing solar panels from $10,000 to just $4000

The above article by Samantha Maiden appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 17 April

Government attacks fantasy environmental problems while real environment problems are virtually ignored

Senator Barnaby Joyce

I relax by taking a walk behind Red Hill onto the ridge that overlooks the city; the lights of our nation’s capital lay below with all their troubles resting before the next day’s frenetic activity. As you fly in, the Brindabella’s are sometimes dusted with winter snow that can be seen amongst the snow gums, ribbon gums, stringy barks, acacias, banksias and callistemon. If you are interested in botany or even if you are not, there are interesting walks around Parliament.

A local builder, Joel, took me for a walk out near Mt Stromlo to the top of Camel’s Hump. I could have been a million miles from work as we sat and had a couple of beers on what was a pretty cold afternoon, but a spectacular view.

It is very hard to go bushwalking in Canberra, or in Australia for that matter, and not be near a member of the Myrtaceae family. The ubiquitous eucalypt, angophora with its masses of white honey scented blossoms, the massive tallow woods which form part of the Corymbias, paper barked Melaleucas on your creeks, rivers and coasts, for the more inquiring, the leptospermums and for the smarty pants, the Metrosideros.

An introduced fungus has now placed our arboreal heritage at risk. The carbon sequestered by these plants will be severely hampered by what appears as a yellow fungus, yet this issue does not rate a mention in the carbon debate.

Uredo Rangelii is spreading from the initial sighting at Gosford in last year across the Myrtle (Myrtaceae) family of Eastern Australia. Myrtle rust as it is commonly known is part of the Guava Rust (Puccinia psidii) complex and both are similar in their DNA.

Guava rust was discovered in Brazil in 1884 and causes severe damage to Australian plants of the Myrtle family. The introduction of this fungus was not planned but that amounts for nought now that it is here.

The Federal Government’s concern for what could be a devastating environmental problem amounts to $1.4 million. I am sure they have stopped work at ANU to line up for that!

Do we have to hope and pray for a Dr Jean Macnamara coincidence, who while researching poliomyelitis in the US bumped into Dr Richard Shope researching Myxomatosis on rabbits?

Obviously we are hoping that a fluke of associated research like this by somebody else will bring a solution. While living carbon in trees dies the government says it is essential to sequestrate carbon.

The Government’s attention thus far is culpable. Whether you are a bush walker or a logger, a gardener or just conscientious this is an issue for you.

If we were clever we would be inspiring the acumen of diligent minds and motivated researchers to deal with a problem that is within our capabilities to fix. If our Government had started earlier we could have isolated this disease.

On a similar environmental front we now could isolate the great threat to apiarists and native honey bees from the Asian honey bee, another introduced pest marauding its way across our nation.

The Government is outraged by 400 head of cattle in the Alpine National Park but does nothing about the hundreds of thousands of deer, tens of thousands of pigs or thousands of brumbies.

Multiple billions of dollars are to be spent on something we cannot possibly affect, the temperature of the planet, while these other afflictions that we could deal with are running rampant. If we cannot stop a fungus in Australia it is highly unlikely that we have the acumen to change the temperature of planet earth. If a bee is beyond our control, is it then rather a large step to convince the globe that atmospheric recalibration is within Australia’s grasp. What is bad about a cow that is good about a feral pig?

If we see one day great swathes of our local environment effected by Myrtle Rust, then concerns about insolvable problems and the money expended chasing rainbows whilst a raging fire was burning at our back door will leave us all negligent.

We should target our research to tackling solvable problems at home, such as Myrtle Rust, rather than be lured into an absurd Wizard of Oz type multiple billion dollar carbon frolic.


Official meteorologists can (and do) forecast global warming but even amateurs can forecast local weather better

AN AMATEUR weather buff predicted what trained meteorologists did not, a flash flood that threatened lives in the Lockyer Valley, 90 minutes before it struck. Neil Pennell, a medical sonographer who monitors the weather as a hobby, told the Queensland Floods Commission he feels "considerable guilt" that he did not do more to warn people of the impending disaster.

Seventeen people died and 150 homes were damaged or destroyed when a wall of water rushed through the Lockyer Valley on January 10.

Mr Pennell, who lived in the nearby Fassifern Valley for most of his life, was watching the weather develop that day. At 1.10pm, under the username Buster, he posted on the Weatherzone online forum. "Those rain rates between Esk, Crows Nest and Toowoomba are truly frightening. I fear that there could be a dangerous flash flood very soon, particularly in Grantham. Am I overreacting?"

Half an hour later, Mr Pennell posted again: "I live in an area that is equally not used to being so saturated and equally not used to falls of that nature … I just know that 56mm in an hour right now here would produce a flood of frightening proportions and one likely to put lives at risk … I repeat my question … Does someone in Esk, Grantham, Toogoolawah need to know what's possible? Who do we tell?" Some time between 2.30pm and 3pm, the "inland tsunami" swept through Grantham.

In his submission to the commission, Mr Pennell said he is "carrying a burden for the shattered lives in the Lockyer Valley". He blames himself for not contacting the Bureau of Meteorology or the local police that day, believing they could have given locals at least 45 minutes' warning of the deluge.

Mr Pennell wants the commission to thoroughly investigate why "someone with my limited formal meteorology/hydrology experience could be made to sound like Nostradamus while the Bureau of Meteorology remained silent about the impending danger in the Lockyer Valley".

He argues that the fact the catchment was saturated and the upper Lockyer creek was already at minor flood levels meant it did not take much rain to cause the disaster.

The commission's first week of hearings focused on whether Wivenhoe Dam could have been managed better to prevent the city flooding. But Mr Pennell, whose own house in the Brisbane suburb of Rocklea was flooded, believes concern about the dam should be a "distant second" to the loss of life in the Lockyer Valley. "Grantham needs to be the number one focus of the inquiry. Things are one thing, people are another."

Mr Pennell was reluctant to discuss his experience. "I'm just a bit of a nobody," he said. "The only reason I [made a submission] is because what happened in Grantham is just beyond the pale. Those people weren't doing anything. They were just at home living their lives and the flood came to them."

The Floods Commission will hold public hearings in Toowoomba tomorrow and Tuesday.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: