Friday, July 20, 2012

No Warming Since Kyoto Was Rejected Fifteen Years Ago

The US Senate unanimously rejected Kyot0 in 1997, and since then there has been no change in global temperature.

The lesson from this might seem obvious, but the woman below is having a tough time figuring it out.

"The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, warned on Monday that global warming will accelerate at a dramatic rate unless leaders reach a deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible"

The current rate of warming is 0.0 degrees per century. Imagine the disaster if that increased by a factor of ten. Our leaders tell us that we need to do much better than Kyoto, in order to slow down global warming even further.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Oregon county fears repercussions of radical anti-logging policies

In 1988, the booming timber industry in Oregon harvested 8,743 MMBF (million board feet) of wood. In 2010, the amount harvested was less than half at only 3,227 MMBF.

For comparison, in 2009, Oregon Business cited Bob Ragon, executive director of Douglas Timber Operators, as saying that over the last two decades Oregon and Washington states have lost 35,000 jobs in the timber industry.

Why? A restriction on logging due to the Endangered Species Act protection afforded the Northern Spotted Owl and hard economic times resulting from somewhat dwindling demand for timber have made it difficult for the industry to survive. But as restrictions on this industry abound from federal and state governments, counties in Oregon are learning the hard way that this industry is indeed vital to their way of life.

Sixty percent of forestlands in Oregon are owned by the federal government and the resulting government interference in the name of “protecting” forest land has diminished those county budgets that depend upon logging revenue.

Fox News reports that Oregon’s Lane County faces a $100 million budget deficit and recently released 92 inmates from its jail due to revenue shortfalls. This follows the elimination of 64 positions in the county’s Sheriff’s Department.

The fact that 54 percent of the county’s land is owned by the federal government makes it easy to see why the county is in such a fiscal disaster. The government doesn’t pay taxes on the land; therefore the county receives no tax revenue. And due to the protection of the Northern Spotted Owl, loggers are not able to harvest any timber, which was the main revenue source for Lane County.

However, in an attempt to give a reprieve to those in the logging industry during the spotted owl debate, then President Bill Clinton initiated a form of payout to loggers for not timbering the forest land. Lane County was receiving $50 million a year in timber payments. This year it will get $10 million.

Lane County is now home to loggers who aren’t allowed harvest timber and criminals who received a get-out-of-jail-free card. Not the ideal situation for a financially strapped county.

“We keep hearing from the mouths of Obama and his administration that job growth in the U.S. is a priority, yet at the same time they are destroying the timber industry and devastating entire communities of people who depend on this business for their livelihood,” says Bill Wilson, president of Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

Those in the timber industry have a special skill set and are able and ready to work. These are the workers who clean up the air by planting many more new and younger trees than they remove. They keep forest clean and healthy, which helps to prevent forest fires. They help maintain habitats where wildlife can thrive, including the endangered Northern Spotted Owl. These people care a great deal about the environment — it is their livelihood.

Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken told Fox News, that instead of Washington, D.C. telling “Lane County, you’re not important,” he’d like to see the U.S. Forest Service resume timber sales. “If we would just put the forest back to work,” he said, “I just think about the employment that would happen, let alone the revenue that would come into Lane County.”

There is an industry right in the backyard of Lane County that is ready and able to create much-needed revenue. But that land is being held up by bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile the cash-strapped county is letting its criminals walk out of jail because of this anti-forestry ideology and that is the real crime.


Japan to restart second reactor despite faultline concerns

Which will put a bomb under German policy

Japan will on Wednesday restart its second nuclear reactor after the Fukushima crisis closed the nation's atomic power plants, even as fresh concerns surfaced about the unit's positioning near a faultline.

The Ohi No.4 reactor, 370 km (230 miles) west of Tokyo is scheduled to be restarted at 9 p.m. (0800 EDT), according to the operator, Kansai Electric Power Co. It is expected to reach full criticality by 6 a.m. on Thursday (1700 EDT on Wednesday).

The No.3 reactor at the station was reactivated earlier this month, to help avert possible power shortages more than a year after an earthquake and tsunami wrecked the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, triggering a series of meltdowns.

All 50 reactors operating in the country were subsequently taken off line for maintenance and tests.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) said on Wednesday it would order a reassessment of geological data after seismologists said there were potentially active faults under Ohi and the nearby Shika station, operated by Hokuriku Electric Power Co.

The assessments will not prevent the restart of Ohi reactor No. 4, Jiji news agency reported, citing vice-trade and industry minister Seishu Makino.

The restarts have prompted street protests, with more than 100,000 people pouring through central Tokyo on Monday to denounce atomic energy.

The future of nuclear power poses serious problems for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ahead of an election that could come later this year, threatening to further dent his declining support and fracture his Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), already divided over a plan to double the sales tax.

One day after Monday's anti-nuclear rally, three members of parliament's upper house left the DPJ, citing opposition to the reactor restarts and the sales tax rise as well the possibility that Japan might join a U.S.-led free trade pact.

Opposition parties already control the upper house, which can block bills. The defections further weaken Noda's hand in talks with rival parties, which are pushing for a snap election.

In response to public criticism, the government on Tuesday said it would ban employees of electric utilities from speaking at public hearings being held around Japan on producing a post-Fukushima energy policy.

A spokesman for Kansai Electric said the company had received no order from NISA, but was ready to carry out a reassessment on Ohi if necessary.

Hokuriku Electric said in a statement on Tuesday that it stood by its findings that the fault line below the 19-year-old Shika reactor was inactive.

NISA said in April it was concerned about an active fault under the Tsuruga nuclear plant not far from Shika and operated by unlisted Japan Atomic Power Co.


Chevy Volt Costs Taxpayers Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Per Car

The Jurassic Press is missing much in their reporting on the $50 billion bailout of General Motors (GM). The Press is open channeling for President Barack Obama - allowing him to frame the bailout exactly as he wishes in the 2012 Presidential election.

The President is running in large part on the bailout’s $30+ billion loss, uber-failed “success.” And the Press is acting as his stenographers. An epitome of this bailout nightmare mess is the electric absurdity that is the Chevrolet Volt. The Press is at every turn covering up - rather than covering - the serial failures of President Obama’s signature vehicle.

The Press has failed to mention at least five Volt fires, myopically focusing on the one the Obama Administration hand-selected for attention.

The Press has failed to mention that the Volt fire problem remains unsolved. Is it the battery? Is it the charging station? Is it the charging cable? All of the above?

GM and the Administration don’t know. And the Press ain’t breaking their necks trying to find out.

In more recent news, the Press has almost as one hailed the June Volt sales increase. The Press has for the most part failed to mention how pathetic this “second-best sales month” actually is. And even when one Dinosaur does, the unwarranted enthusiasm is palpable.

GM sells 1760 Volts in June, double from 2011. Wow. Huge number.

The Press also fails to put this pathetic tally in perspective. The Chevy Cruze is basically a Volt without the dead-weight, flammable 400-lb. electric battery. Which makes it $17,000, rather than the Volt’s $41,000.

Chevy in June sold 18,983 Cruzes - more than ten times the number of Volts. And that’s down 1/3 from last June’s 24,648.

But that feeble Volt tally has the Press all revved up.

And speaking of the Volt’s ridiculous $41,000 sticker price:

According to multiple GM executives there is little or no profit being made on each Volt built at a present cost of around $40,000. Furthermore, the $700 million of development that went into the car has to be recouped.

Get that? GM makes “little or no profit” on the Volt.

So it makes perfect sense that GM would spend millions of dollars advertising it, does it not? No ideological or campaign intent there, eh President Obama?

Look, I get it, it’s fun. I just spent $1 million - of your money - advertising free air. On which my profit margin is just as good as GM’s is on the Volt.

Only my ads didn’t have a song, or a dance. We just aren’t as cool as the Volt.

I mean, it’s so cool - it can travel back in time to inspire the production of cars before it even existed.

I mean, it’s so cool - it can travel back in time to offer the exact same technology as a car from 1991. And the exact same electric battery range as a car from 1897. We’re talking retro-grade cool. But wait - there’s so much more.

(A)dd $240 million in Energy Department grants doled out to G.M. last summer, $150 million in federal money to the Volt’s Korean battery supplier, up to $1.5 billion in tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives, and some significant portion of the $14 billion loan G.M. got in 2008 for “retooling” its plants, and you’ve got some idea of how much taxpayer cash is built into every Volt.

Speaking of those “tax breaks for purchasers and other consumer incentives” - as of November of last year that tally all by itself was $250,000 per Volt sold.

And that excruciating pain is ongoing. Again, a Volt sold makes GM no money - but costs We the Taxpayers a $7,500 bribe - I mean “incentive.” Oh - and President Obama wants to jack that bribe to $10,000 per.

I guess it’s good news after all that Volt sales remain so anemic.

And with GM’s new 60-day return policy, it looks like you can buy a Volt and cash the $7,500 bribe check. Then return the Volt - and keep the $7,500 bribe cash. How’s that for Taxpayer coin stewardship?

Keep all of this outrageousness in mind when next the Jurassic Press joins with the Obama Administration in celebrating the Chevy Volt.

But it (allegedly) helps President Obama get reelected. And nothing would make the Press happier - and for that there’s (almost?) nothing they won’t do.


EU energy chief warms to offshore oil and shale gas

Europe is at a competitive disadvantage because of a reluctance to take risks on offshore oil drilling and tar sands, and a failure to fully explore its shale gas options, EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger says.

Speaking at an energy conference in Brussels on 17 July, Oettinger expanded on his recent call for Europe to add a fourth target - a 20% industrial contribution to GDP - to the EU’s three 2020 climate-related goals.

Asked by EurActiv how the industrial target could be met, Oettinger replied that the EU faced “three disadvantages” in competing with the United States: a greater dependence on imports of oil and gas, and correspondingly higher energy prices.

“In the US there’s a process to re-industrialise the country first by oil. Whoever rules in Washington, one gallon can’t be more than $4,” he said.

Washington also offers lower initial taxation.

“They accept some risks with offshore drilling for ‘own sources’ in the Gulf of Mexico and they accept [tar] sand oils and others,” the commissioner said. By contrast, “we import oil and have high taxation.”

The result is that Europe’s transport and industrial sectors are disadvantaged, Oettinger said.

Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, the Liberal vice chair of the European Parliament’s environment committee, described Oettinger’s words as “a very interesting quote from an energy commissioner who also has long-term targets for renewables”.

The EU is pledged to increase the share of renewable sources such as wind and solar in national energy mixes to 20% by 2020, as well as cutting CO2 emissions by 20% on 1990 levels, and making voluntary energy savings of the same amount.

But Europe’s industrial associations and the EU’s energy directorate are increasingly restive about the costs of climate action in a recession.

Offshore oil drilling

Brussels legislation to classify oil from tar sands as highly polluting is currently on hold. In October 2011, Oettinger’s energy directorate in the EU published a limited proposal to improve safety in offshore oil and gas drilling.

MEPs are currently fighting to get this strengthened by including considerations such as:

Delicate ecosystems and adverse weather conditions in the Arctic;
Extending the ‘polluter pays’ principle to include financial guarantees from operators covering all liabilities, in the event of accidents;
Expanding EU oversight of the regulation’s implementation through a reinforced mandate for the European Maritime Safety Organisation (EMSO).

“I think that the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster has shown that we are taking too many risks at the moment,” Gerbrandy told EurActiv. “It’s a very worrying development when Shell oil company is now planning to start drilling in the Arctic’s extremely vulnerable ecosystem.”

On 15 July, one of Shell’s Arctic ships – the Noble Discoverer – slipped its moorings in windy conditions and drifted to within 91 metres of the Alaskan shore, sparking environmental protests in Britain.

“We should be spending our money on further development of renewable energy instead of looking for the last drops of oil in the world in the most extreme places,” Gerbrandy said.

Shale gas

Shale gas is also a divisive issue in Europe, with states such as Poland and the United Kingdom incorporating it into their energy strategies, while Bulgaria and France have banned the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, over fears of earthquakes, freshwater contamination and other hazards.

Earlier this year, an EU report on unconventional gas in Europe found no need for further environmental legislation on shale.

But concerns about the warming impact of methane emissions from shale led the International Energy Agency’s chief economist Fatih Birol to tell EurActiv in May that it was “not the optimum path.”

For his part, Gerbrandy said: “I have the feeling that there are still too many uncertainties about the environmental cost to put our money on shale gas.”

But Oettinger argues that since the US used shale to reduce its dependence on cheap imports from Qatar and Nigeria, North Americans now pay roughly 30% of the European gas price.

“We are not really active in looking at which risks and options we would have with shale gas,” he added.


Underwriting Oettinger’s analysis is a concern that industry’s contribution to European GDP fell from 22% in 2000 to 18% in 2010. “We need more industrial production,” he said.

Because power prices in northern Italy were twice as expensive as in the US, the commissioner proposed “a clear energy price strategy to avoid an ongoing process of deindustrialising Europe”.

This was welcomed by the EU’s energy intensive sector, which has lobbied heavily for more support.

“We cannot deny that the cost of energy is too high in Europe and the tendency is to see it increasing,” David Valenti, a spokesman for the European steel association, Eurofer, told EurActiv.

“We also have to pay for renewables, and the carbon price that energy producers are passing on in their power prices,” he added. “These are all things that put us at a disadvantage.”


Shale gas rethink on the cards in France

SHALE gas is about to return to the government's agenda as ministers gets ready for an environmental conference next month - which is expected to start with a clean slate.

The conference, on September 14 and 15, will be preceded by meetings with environmental campaigners, local politicians, businesses and consumer groups to discuss the themes of the transition to new energy sources and preserving biodiversity.

An adviser to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Le Figaro "the idea is to say that shale gas exists," to accept that it is not the shale gas that is the problem but the method of extracting it.

Plans to drill for shale gas in large areas of the south of France drew wide-scale protests last year and led to the Fillon government banning the only known extraction method, hydraulic fracturing or fracking, as its use of toxic chemicals under high pressure was feared to be a danger to water supplies.

However, Ecology Minister Delphine Batho is opposed to reopening the debate saying: "France made a choice which, looking at current technology, is fully justified."

She was speaking after Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg said last week that the need to look at "France's energy self-sufficiency" meant shale gas could not be ignored.

Some politicians have suggested that, with the government looking to introduce new taxes on oil companies and trying to keep gas prices down, there could be a "give and take" agreement in return for approval to restart shale gas exploration, if not exploitation through fracking.

It is thought that there could be 5,000 billion cubic metres of natural gas locked in the shale deposits deep underground below France - but without exploration wells even that is uncertain.

In the US, where shale gas is being extracted using fracking, the cost of gas has fallen spectacularly and the thought of similar could drive France to look again at its "reserves".



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