Sunday, April 15, 2012

Greens as childish attention seekers

For half a century green activists have insisted that their historical moment – and a particular generation – are the planet’s last hope

Meteorology professor Scott Mandia. Photo appears on his blog with the following caption: "The Caped Climate Crusader: Battling the evil forces of global warming deniers."

The thing about green activists is that they’re drama queens. Nothing is ever just a problem – it’s a crisis. Nothing can ever be solved with a straightforward technological fix. Instead, billions of people must be bullied into changing their lifestyles – and scary new systems of global governance must be imagined.

Green crusaders don’t see themselves as doing their small part to make this complex world a bit better here and a little more sane there. Modest, steady, incremental improvement doesn’t interest them.

They yearn, instead, for high-profile roles on the world stage – clad in superhero costumes and accompanied by portentous music. The visions in their head as they fall asleep at night are of televised ceremonies in which medals are draped around their necks and a cast of thousands applauds their saviour-of-the-planet status.

The late comedian George Carlin famously compared the human-planet Earth relationship to fleas on the back of a dog. But green activists consistently imagine that their own navel is the center of the universe. For nearly half a century they’ve insisted that the turning point in human history just happens to be that very moment. They’ve declared – over and over – that whomever they’re speaking to (or about) is the last generation with any hope of averting disaster.

Back in 1970, 42 years ago, overpopulation was the environmental crisis du jour. The public was urged to have no more than two children, and newspapers reporting on a speech delivered by a voice-actor-turned-eco-activist quoted the actor as saying:

"we don’t have much more than a decade left. This generation will be the last one with a chance to do anything…By 1975 the United States will have exported its last grain of wheat. And by 1985…air pollution will be so bad…there will not be enough [oxygen] left to breathe and man will perish."

Fast forward two decades and David Suzuki’s 1990 book, It’s a Matter of Survival, told us (22 years ago) that we had “fewer than 10 years to turn things around” and that we were “the last generation on Earth that can save the planet.”

Two years later it was a specific year – 1992, when the Rio Earth Summit occurred – that was being described as “the last chance to save the planet”

Eight years later, in the year 2000, a UK newspaper ran the headline: If we don’t act now, it’ll be too late. The article, written by activist journalist Geoffrey Lean, interpreted recent flooding as a message from Mother Nature and included this overwrought statement:

"It may well be that our children and grandchildren, living in a much more inhospitable climate, will look back on November 2000 as the month when Britain, America and the world failed to take the last, best chance to bring global warming under control."

Eleven years have come and gone since Lean penned that screed. Does anyone now regard November 2000 to be an environmentally significant moment? Not in the slightest. He was writing total nonsense, but I suppose it made him feel important.

Two years afterward, in August 2002, the Environment Secretary of the Philippines was telling the media:

"There is precious little time to lose, and [the environment summit to which I am heading], may be our last chance to prove our worthiness as the stewards of the Earth…"

In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund histrionically declared:

"This generation of politicians is the last generation who have it in their power to secure the future of our planet…History will not forgive them if they fail to act."

In 2007 Rajendra Pachauri, the activist chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the New York Times that: "If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late…This is the defining moment."

That same year, science writer Fred Pearce published a book titled The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Man-Made Climate Change. According to the description on, there’s a “crisis confronting the planet.” Moreover, Mother Nature is a “wild and resourceful beast given to fits of rage” – whom human beings have now provoked “beyond her endurance.”

As the 2009 UN-sponsored climate summit in Copenhagen drew closer all that melodramatic language was recycled yet again. The UK Telegraph reported that economist Nicholas Stern regarded that event as the “last chance to save the planet” and the “most important gathering since the second world war”

Greenpeace Southeast Asia declared that the Copenhagen meeting “may be humanity’s last chance to avoid total chaos” and that the “year 2009 may be the tipping point in human history”

Similarly, the EU’s climate commissioner said Copenhagen was “the world’s last chance to stop climate change before it passes the point of no return”

As that summit got underway, 56 newspapers ran the same editorial in 20 languages around the world. This editorial claimed that “humanity faces a profound emergency” – and once again argued that the reputation of the current generation was on the line:

"The politicians in Copenhagen have the power to shape history’s judgment on this generation: one that saw a challenge and rose to it, or one so stupid that we saw calamity coming but did nothing to avert it."

Fourteen months later, in Feburary 2011, the middle-aged head of the Copenhagen Climate Council sounded rather like the actor quoted in the 1970 newspaper article when he explained to the Green Editor of the Huffington Post: "Your generation is the last generation who can…to a certain extent, influence their own future."

Today, the Rio +20 conference scheduled for June is still a few months off. But guess what? Already green activists are singing from the same tedious hymn book. According to conservation biologist Richard Steiner, the upcoming conference "may be our last best chance to deal seriously with the global environmental crisis before it is too late…

Sorry, professor, but we’ve heard it all before. Many, many times before, in fact.

Anyone who expects me to pay attention to these current dire predictions needs to explain why things are different this time. After the long list of faux ‘last chances’ that have come and gone why would I imagine that, suddenly, green activists know what they’re talking about?

Why would I imagine that my chain isn’t being jerked once again by a gaggle of self-aggrandizing, childish minds?

SOURCE (See the original for links)

One last shot at the statistical jiggery-pokery of "shaky" Shakun et al.

I have put up or linked to a number of articles which have shot holes on this last-ditch attempt by Warmists to save something from paleoclimate data but perhaps the comment from Germany below is also worth noting

Best-selling authors Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt and geologist Dr. Sebastian Lüning comment on Shakun’s recent “Nature” paper at their site.

One of the most hotly disputed points in the climate debate is CO2 climate sensitivity. The warmists would like to have everyone believe that CO2 is the primary climate driver in the climate system.

However, climate and geological data show it ain't so. More than 10 years ago a Swiss-French team published the results of an Antarctic ice core study in Science. The scientists, among them Thomas Stocker, were able to show that atmospheric CO2 concentrations lagged behind temperature by about 800 years. This has become a painful thorn in the side of the global warmists. Clearly it showed that CO2 reacted to temperature, and not vice versa.

Rather than admitting that the CO2 global warming hypothesis is broken, the warmists have chosen instead to try to get rid of inconvenient 800-year lag. With the IPCC 5th assessment report due to come out soon, the IPCC activists are scrambling to get their hands on a study that eliminates this 800-year lag and puts CO2 back in command.

Die kalte Sonne site writes how the IPCC is attempting to pull another Michael Mann-type history rewrite. In 2001, Man’s now bogus hockey stick was the graph celebre that re-invigorated the global warming movement. But with Michael Mann fading, the IPCC needs a new, young star, fresh with a PhD. They found him in Jeremy Shakun, lead author of a new study that claims to do away with the inconvenient 800-year lag and shows CO2 once again is the real driver.

Shakun claims that the Antarctic climate shown by the ice core reconstruction was a local artifact, and not global. Shakun and his team took temperature reconstructions from numerous locations scattered about the globe and averaged them out and suddenly, lo and behold, temperature lagged CO2. Science now settled!

Shakun and his colleagues claimed that during the last ice age CO2 concentrations surged 40%, which led to a temperature increase of about 3.5°C – precisely what the IPCC wanted to see. The media and warmist science community all breathed a sigh of relief – the climate catastrophe is coming after all. And without checking up, the mainstream media unleashed the news, e.g. Spiegel Online,, Stern.

But then came Willis Eschenbach, who quickly exposed the shortcomings of Shakun’s paper. Die kalte Sonne describes how he went about with his analysis at WUWT. Lüning and Vahrenholt write:

"It is a true mystery how anyone is able to discern temperature is lagging behind CO2 from such a massive scatter of data, as the title of Shakun’s paper (Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation“) claims."

With the Shakun story, Vahrenholt and Lüning see parallels to the Michael Mann saga:

"One can’t help but get the impression that all this is a renewed desperate attempt to salvage the beloved CO2-catastrophe model. Already in the case of the Hockey Stick curve statistical tricks as ad absurdum were used. When that failed, scientists very close to the IPCC tried to blame the Little Ice Age solely on volcanic activity.

The Shakun paper is simply the latest sequel. It plainly shows once again that the judges (IPCC report authors) should not judge their own deeds (scientific literature). What is taken as a given in the legal system is not even questioned in the politically sensitive climate sciences. All we can do is scratch our heads in amazement.”

Vahrenholt and Lüning add:

"And there are other interesting parallels to the Hockey Stick saga. Michael Mann was awarded his doctorate degree for his Hockey-Stick research, and then was put on the accelerated fast-track to professor and promoted to the IPCC top brass. Also Jeremey Shakun carried out his work, now published in Nature, as part of his doctoral thesis which he submitted in 2010 (see p. 64 in the doctoral thesist and p. 80 of the pdf). Originally the paper had been intended to be published by Science. Had it been submitted there, rejected, and then had more luck at Nature? And what is going to happen to Jeremey Shakun? Is he going to have an similarly rapid career climb like Mann did?”

Vahrenholt and Lüning write:

"Finally, it is interesting to note that Shakun’s co-author is Peter Clark, his PhD advisor who happens to be a coordinating lead author of the new IPCC report. Also co-author Bette Otto-Bliesner is also a lead author of the new report of the IPCC.”

and add:

"The stated task of the IPCC is neutral viewing and assessment of the scientific literature. How can neutrality be assured when IPCC members ultimately peer-review their own work?”

Looks like the IPCC is more broken and corrupt than ever.

SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)

Solar: Fake Energy Provided by Fake President

This is the year that the fake energy provided by our fake president finally collide and go boom.

So, get ready for a new round of green bankruptcies, as Europe trims back subsidies for solar companies and taxpayers lose their appetite for subsidizing green power.

“The mini-bubble resulting from the rush to cash in on solar subsidies in European and U.S. markets is ending, as feed-in tariffs drop in Europe while loan guarantee and tax credit programs tighten up in the U.S.,” says a new report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch according to

Germany is dialing back subsidies for solar this month by 29 percent with subsequent decreases each month, according to

Rasmussen has recently released a survey of voters that show a diminishing number of voters support subsidizing the production of the Chevy Volt.

Only 29 percent of likely voters agree with Obama’s latest proposal to include a $10,000 subsidy in the federal budget to support the purchase of every electric vehicle. The survey found that 58 percent oppose the plan, while 13 percent remain undecided.

And make no mistake, without subsidies solar, electric vehicles, wind power and other alternatives remain a chimera.

“Steven Cortes, CNBC contributor and founder of Veracruz Research, also sees solar stocks declining further and wonders about the impact of the recent natural gas boom on the sector.

“’As much as I love sun, I hate the solar space. This is not a real business, it’s a political construct,’” Cortes said on Fast Money Wednesday. “’And they can’t compete with natural gas at these levels.’”

According to the Associated Press the U.S. now has 2.433 trillion cubic feet in storage.

“That figure is 48.3 percent more than the five-year average, the Energy Department said,” reports the AP. “Natural gas fell 3 cents to finish at $2.27 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York. The price has fallen about 27 percent this year and is at the lowest level in a decade.”

Last week Abound Solar announced it would lay off half its workforce despite receiving a $400 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy last year. The rating agency Fitch’s hit Abound over failures to meet stated goals, old technology, calling the company “highly speculative” according to ABCNews.

Reports ABC:

"It remains way too early to determine whether Abound is poised to follow the trajectory of the best-known solar manufacturer to receive a sizeable government loan -- Solyndra, the California firm that filed for bankruptcy in September after having burned through the bulk of its $535 million federal loan."

Perhaps. However, there is an old saying in the market that the tape doesn’t lie. And the tape on solar companies is horrendous.

“Solar Trust of America LLC, which holds the development rights for the world's largest solar power project,” reported Reuters earlier this month, “on Monday filed for bankruptcy protection after its majority owner began insolvency proceedings in Germany.”

Although the Department of Energy was eager to approve Solar Trust for $2 billion worth of government loan guarantees, the company rejected the offer in a scramble to find technology that would actually allow their plant to work. Its amazing that at the time the Department of Energy was pushing a loan to the company, the company was realizing the equipment on which the loan was predicated wouldn’t work.

Once billed as the brains trust behind one of the largest solar projects ever- the Blythe Solar Power Project in California’s Coachella Valley- Solar Trust of America will end its government-sponsored Gong Show appearance with the tinny reverberation of failure that will echo for the whole industry.

“The Oakland-based company has held rights for the 1,000-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project in the southern California desert,” writes Reuters, “which last April won a conditional commitment for a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is unclear how the bankruptcy will affect that project. Solar Trust did not receive the loan guarantee.”

While Obama administration was denied the opportunity to throw money at Solar Trust- only by the grace of the company’s own good judgment- make no mistake, Obama’s policy of throwing money at other of these uneconomic, sunshine and blue sky investments, is responsible for the bankruptcy as much as any other factor; actually, probably more so.

So far, the administration has made $34 billion in loan guarantees to various green energy projects, many of them in a solar industry already rocked by over-supply and poor economics.

What solar needs now is fewer start-ups, less investment, not more. And everyone outside of the government central-failures understands this. The more money that’s been thrown at solar, the smaller the industry has become.

In the second quarter of 2008 First Solar (Symbol: FSLR) briefly touched $300 per share. Today it trades at $27.49. That equals losses of about $24 billion in market capitalization in just four years.

In April of last year Trina Solar LTD (Symbol: TSL) was trading just under $30 and is now trading at about $7.31. Earnings estimates have gone in the last few months from Trina losing about 17 cents per share for 2012 to losing about 63 cents per share.

The Guggenheim Solar ETF (Symbol: TAN) has also moved down from around $300 per share in mid 2008, until it trades now at $22.48.

And the fundamentals aren’t getting better for solar soon, because solar can’t compete with coal-fired or nuclear generated electricity.

“Fewer solar panels will be installed this year,” reports Bloomberg “as the first drop in more than a decade worsens a glut of the unsold devices that’s already slashed margins at the top five manufacturers, an analyst survey showed... Without government incentives, even record low prices for solar panels may not be cheap enough to encourage solar farm developers and homeowners to install them in the volumes needed to work through the glut, said Rozwadowski, the most pessimistic analyst in the survey. He expects installations to drop to 20.7 gigawatts.”

It’s important to note that the poor performance of the solar industry came at a time when government financial support has been at an all-time high world-wide. It only goes to show that politics and public policy are poor substitutes for free market economics.

Expect the solar industry to continue to crash and burn as government money continues to dry up along with public support. Because there is no amount of money fakery that can cover the mess our fake president has made of his fake pet industry: solar power.


President Obama is Working to Make Gasoline More Expensive

Paul Driessen

President Obama and Senate Democrats need to take Lemonade Economics 101.

Tell a ten-year-old that the federal government is going to make him pay 25 cents for every glass of lemonade he sells at his corner stand, and he will say he’ll have to charge an extra quarter per serving – or simply close up shop. He certainly won’t say he’ll lower his prices.

But President Obama wants us to think he can compel oil companies to lower the skyrocketing pump price of gasoline, by eliminating business tax deductions for certain major companies, and raising their cost of doing business by what he admits would be $4 billion a year.

In fact, regular gasoline averaged $1.85 per gallon when Mr. Obama took office. It is now $4.20 a gallon in much of the Washington, DC area, over $4.00 in many regions, and heading north as summer approaches. The impact on commuters, family budgets, vacation plans, and shipping food and other products has been horrendous, and is getting worse.

In reality, oil companies don’t get subsidies. They get tax deductions for exploration, drilling, refining and other business expenses. Eliminating those deductions is effectively a tax hike, and the companies will have to pass those tax hikes on to their customers – further increasing pump prices.

And yet Senate Democrats recently offered an amendment that would eliminate various tax deductions for five major oil companies, turn the supposed savings into subsidies for wind turbine, solar panel and electric car makers – and use any leftover crumbs to “pay down” our skyrocketing budget deficit.

The ploy needed 60 votes – but got only 51, despite the President’s vocal support. “Members of Congress,” he said, “can stand with big oil companies, or with the American people.”

However, the American people are no longer buying the partisan rhetoric. They increasingly understand that new taxes and restrictions on oil companies are not in their best interest. In fact, a recent Harris Interactive poll found that over 80% of US voters support increased domestic oil and gas production, to create and preserve jobs, lower pump prices and increase government revenues.

They understand that only 12% of what they pay for gasoline goes to oil companies for refining, marketing and distribution. Another 12% is state and federal taxes. Fully 76% is determined by world crude oil prices – and thus by global supply and demand, and confidence or fear about world events.

Americans understand that eliminating tax deductions for expenses incurred in producing and refining oil is the same as imposing new taxes. Those taxes would result in curtailed drilling and production, reduced royalty revenues, worker layoffs, still higher gasoline prices, and increased costs for everything we grow, make and transport with petroleum. Blue collar, poor and minority families would be hurt worst.

Every US business claims deductions for new equipment, facility depreciation, utilities, payroll, research and other expenses. This ensures that businesses, like individuals, recover their costs and get taxed only on their net incomes.

Five oil companies should not be singled out and punished as the sole exception to this rule.

Legitimate expense deductions are very different from subsidies. Subsidies amount to government taking money from individuals and profitable companies, and transferring it to politically favored companies and products that could not survive without perpetual support.

The system is even more insidious when the subsidized entities return substantial portions of their taxpayer largesse as campaign contributions to President Obama and other politicians who arrange the wealth transfers.

Other facts make the practice still more disreputable. “Alternative,” non-hydrocarbon energy is often justified by assertions that we face imminent manmade catastrophic global warming. In reality, as NASA scientists recently emphasized, virtually no empirical evidence supports hypotheses, assertions or computer model projections about melting polar icecaps, average global temperatures, storm frequency and intensity, sea levels and other natural phenomena.

Wind, solar and biofuel energy are also justified by claims that we are running out of oil and gas. In fact, America is blessed with vast proven petroleum reserves, and even greater undeveloped prospects that our government has made off limits. The natural gas and hydraulic fracturing revolution is merely a hint of the energy, jobs and revenues Americans could produce, if certain politicians would end their obstinacy.

Yet another “renewable” argument is that petroleum “keeps us trapped in the past.” In truth, we need to worry about the present, especially our depressing unemployment and unsustainable debt. Oil and gas provide 60% of America’s energy. By contrast, despite untold billions in subsidies, wind and solar combined still provide barely 0.60% – and are unlikely to do much better for decades to come.

Oil companies do make a lot of money, because they produce, refine and sell the enormous quantities of fuel and other petroleum products that are and will long remain the foundation of our economy. But they also pay billions in taxes and royalties – and produce real energy: abundant, reliable and affordable.


The wind industry is unsustainable

The $2-billion Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge area involved $500 million in outright subsidies, plus a subsidized loan guarantee of $1.1 billion for General Electric, plus production tax credits. At the whim of the winds, its 338 gigantic turbines will generate electricity for California, in wild swings between zero and their combined rated capacity of 845 MW – chopping up eagles, falcons, herons, bats and other protected species as they spin.

In 2010, GE generated over $5 billion in US profits – but paid no US income taxes, and no fines for the thousands of protected birds and bats that its Cuisinart wind turbines slaughtered.

By contrast, White House villain ExxonMobil (one of the companies targeted by the failed tax bill) earned $30.5 billion in profits that year, on revenues of $383 billion, paid $1.6 billion in US income taxes, and made combined lease bonus, rent, royalty, tax and other federal payments of almost $10 billion. When a few birds are killed on oil company property, companies pay substantial fines.

President Obama promised that he would “fundamentally transform” America and ensure that electricity prices “will necessarily skyrocket.” His Energy Secretary has said Americans should pay $8-10 per gallon for gasoline. His Environmental Protection Agency and Interior and Agriculture Departments have systematically foreclosed access to our nation’s oil, gas, coal and uranium resources.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chu’s Department of Energy recently awarded $10 million of taxpayer money to Philips Lighting for making an “affordable” light bulb – that costs $50 per bulb!

And it is working overtime to promote, subsidize and install thousands of onshore and offshore wind turbines that generate too much ultra expensive electricity when it’s not needed and too little when it’s most needed, require too much land and too many raw materials, kill too many birds, cost too much money, and require perpetual subsidies and exemptions from environmental laws that apply to all traditional forms of energy.

This “green” energy “future” is unsustainable.

Oil companies do make a lot of money because they produce, refine and sell enormous quantities of fuel and other petroleum products. But they pay billions in taxes and royalties – and produce real energy.

Wind, solar, algae and switchgrass companies take billions in Other People’s Money. They pay virtually no taxes, and provide virtually no usable energy, except in the minds and press releases of their promoters.

Expecting that higher taxes on oil companies will produce more oil at lower prices is like saying we will get cheaper bread, and more of it, by eliminating tax deductions for bakeries’ electricity and equipment.

American voters and consumers understand this. It’s time our elected officials and unelected bureaucrats did likewise.


Australia: Attack on "green" energy by NSW conservatives

THE NSW government's decision to withdraw support from clean energy schemes was criticised yesterday as a retrograde step that would threaten billions of investment dollars.

The Energy Minister, Chris Hartcher, has said the government would not be supporting green schemes that require a subsidy and is calling for the closure of the federal government's renewable energy target.

After the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal's draft determination for a 16 per cent rise in electricity prices, Mr Hartcher blamed federal Labor for forcing households and small businesses to foot the bill for its carbon tax and "costly green schemes".

He called for the closure of the renewable energy target - legislation that is supported by the federal opposition.

The NSW opposition spokesman for energy, Luke Foley, said yesterday the tribunal's determination found that green energy schemes had not contributed to electricity price increases. Power bills are forecast to rise between $182 and $338 a year from July 1.

Mr Foley said the state government had ended bipartisan support for the 20 per cent renewable energy target after calling for the target to be removed, despite adopting the target in its state plan released last year.

"The O'Farrell government has launched a relentless attack on renewable energy, with chilling investment signals sent by the government throughout its first year in office," he said.

"Solar in NSW has been stopped dead in its tracks. The draft wind guidelines are designed to chronically handicap the expansion of the wind industry.

"Renewable energy is already contributing to lower wholesale electricity prices. The Australian Energy Market Commission recently reported that new wind energy projects in Victoria will mean that increases to wholesale electricity prices in that state will be lower than in NSW. Rather than attacking wind farms, the O'Farrell government should require its own planning review to come up with a sensible and workable planning regime for the development of the wind industry in NSW."

The acting chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, said it was a "worrying sign that the NSW government would seek the removal of one of Australia's most significant energy policies without considering the impact this would have on investors who have put billions of dollars into clean energy projects in NSW. The renewable energy target is scheduled to run until 2030 and these projects would face collapse if it was removed."

A spokeswoman for Mr Hartcher said yesterday the government supports the increase in use of energy from renewable sources as a key component of its broader energy strategy. She said NSW Labor had set network charges for the five years to 2014 and was responsible for the failed solar bonus scheme.

"Labor and the Greens keep ignoring the truth, which is that green energy schemes are hurting consumers because they all need subsidies - and those subsidies are hidden in their electricity bills," she said.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre said yesterday rural and regional customers would be among the hardest hit by the electricity price rises. It has called for energy rebates that target people most at risk of poverty.

A senior policy officer, Carolyn Hodge, said rebate rates were uniform despite the fact consumers were charged different electricity rates.

"PIAC is particularly concerned about people in rural and regional areas who are paying approximately $600 per year more than the average Sydney household," she said. "Not all of the assistance available to vulnerable people has kept up with power prices."



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