Friday, March 28, 2014

A naive survey

James Lawrence Powell has recently updated his survey of academic journal articles concerned with climate.  And he concludes that: "10,883 out of 10,885 scientific articles agree: Global warming is happening, and humans are to blame".

I have probably said most of what can be said about all that on some previous occasion but perhaps a recap of the basics might still be useful.

His big mistake is to get his taxonomy wrong.  Taxonomy is the first step in science but not, apparently, for James Lawrence Powell.  He just does not realize that most climate skeptics would fall into his "believer" category!

The great majority of climate skeptics accept that a warming response to CO2 is a reasonable theory so they don't get detected as skeptics by James Lawrence Powell.  Where most climate skeptics differ from the hysterics is in estimating the magnitude of the warming effect.  Skeptics say that Greenies greatly overestimate and exaggerate any possible effects of CO2 buildup.

I myself can see theoretical grounds for expecting that CO2 buildup will have a warming effect but those same theoretical grounds lead me to believe that the effect will be so minute as to be probably undetectable.

And that is what we find.  CO2 and temperature each go their own merry way quite independently of one-another.  Temperature does vary at times in response to various natural causes (mostly solar) but a response to CO2 is not detectable.

The most glaring example of that is of course the temperature standstill of the last 17 years while atmospheric CO2 has  steadily been rising.  The two variables are clearly uncoupled.

Pumping out exaggerated cries of alarm is of course what Greenies do so the fact that they have chosen just about the most alarming figure possible for the influence of CO2 on temperature should surprise no-one. Reality eventually trashes most of their wild  claims however and this is no exception.

Just for a bit of fun, have a look at the graph below.  It is two excerpts from the temperature record.  The IPCC says that human influence did not begin until 1950 -- so temperature variations before that must be due to natural influences.  Yet the slopes of the  two graphs are virtually identical.  So if one can be all natural, why is the other not natural too?  -- JR

The full graph is here. AMO is a running index of North Atlantic temperatures from NOAA.

Greenies have won the war in Britain

 by Tim Worstall

I both know and like Nick Cohen but it's also necessary to call out this extremely strange argument he made in The Observer. He seems to think that "climate change deniers" have won the war and that therefore all is doomed. When, actually, here in the UK at least, the government has already put in place the mainstream scientific remedy for the perils of climate change. We've actually already solved the problem:

If global warming is not new, it is urgent: a subject that should never be far from our thoughts. Yet within 24 hours of the American association's warning the British government's budget confirmed that it no longer wanted to fight it. David Cameron, who once promised that if you voted blue you would go green, now appoints Owen Paterson, a man who is not just ignorant of environmental science but proud of his ignorance, as his environment secretary.

George Osborne, who once promised that his Treasury would be "at the heart of this historic fight against climate change", now gives billions in tax concessions to the oil and gas industry, cuts the funds for onshore wind farms and strips the Green Investment Bank of the ability to borrow and lend

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can't call us "global warming deniers " because "denier" makes us sound like "Holocaust deniers", and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

To take my standard position here: let's assume that the IPCC is correct and see where that assumption takes us. That assumption takes us to the standard economics of how to deal with an externality. Some version of either cap and trade or a Pigou Tax will solve the entire problem for us. And we even have things like the Stern Review (or, giving us slightly different numbers for a variety of reasons, the work of Richard Tol and William Nordhaus) telling us how much that carbon tax should be: $80 per tonne CO2-e.

So, if the climate change deniers, whoever they are, have won we should see that there's no cap and trade program and no carbon tax. But if we look up at the world that we actually inhabit, what is it that we do see? We see that the EU has a cap and trade programme. Emissions are limited, exactly as the standard economics of the problem tell us they should be. Here in the UK we also have a carbon tax: in power generation it's been done in the rather silly manner of a floor to the price for a carbon emissions permit but while this is inefficient it does do the job. We have raised taxes on petrol (the fuel duty escalator) by twice what that Stern calculation would tell us we ought to. We have Air Passenger Duty which is again above that Stern calculation. In fact, when you add up all of the various green taxes we already pay on emissions we find that we're considerably over the amount that Stern said would be the optimal Pigou Tax to solve the problem.

No, really: I get some very odd looks when I try to explain this to people but it is actually true. If we accept the IPCC, then again accept the Stern Review, we have already put in place all of the policies necessary to solve climate change as a problem according to both the IPCC and the Stern Review findings.

And I simply cannot work out at all how this is supposed to be a victory for climate change deniers.


Senators Should Know the Truth about Global Warming

Recently almost 30 Democratic United States Senators stayed up all night taking turns delivering speeches about the importance of climate change and getting lowering the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere.

The event was organized to try and raise public visibility of the issue in hopes of forcing Congress to pass legislation aimed at reducing carbon-dioxide emissions. “Sure we should use all of our resources, but what we really need is a comprehensive strategy that reduces CO2 emissions,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA).

While these Senators emitted lots of CO2 in the chamber for 15 hours, they are misinformed about the facts. Humans have been fertilizing Earth’s greenery worldwide, but not with nitrogen-based fertilizer that runs into the rivers and oceans with very negative effects. We have been raising the level of CO2, which has no negative effect on any plant or animal life.

There is no instance of CO2 being a pollutant; ask any chemistry professor. CO2 is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. The vapors you are shown bellowing from the various smoke stacks are not CO2, although some may be present. The colorful emissions the media shows you secretly imply they contain what is referred to as CO2 pollution.

Since CO2 is not a pollutant, what impact does it have? As we learned in the third grade, CO2 is what plants eat. The more of it they eat, the faster and larger they grow, including the food crops. It is also a mild greenhouse gas that helps warm the Earth somewhat. Most plants and trees also respond favorably to a modest warming. With more moisture in reasonably warm air than in cold, dry air, all three key ingredients are present: food, water and warmth.

This knowledge should start opening the eyes of Americans who have been deluged with propaganda from alarmist organizations that are trying to scare us that our planet is under attack by CO2.

Let’s examine and debunk some charges that these Democratic Senators and “warmist groups” make:

The rate and magnitude of recent warming is unprecedented. This is absolutely false. A number of peer-reviewed studies, including the journal Climate Dynamics, recently concluded that average global temperatures stopped warming a full 15 years ago. Looking farther back, there have been many periods of rapid warming before man’s measurable release of CO2.

The number and intensity of major hurricanes and tornadoes is rising. The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season was the first Atlantic hurricane season since 1994 to end with no known major hurricanes. Data published by Florida State University indicates global cyclonic intensity has been trending down for 20 years.

Droughts and floods are more frequent and intense. Again false. According to 106 peer-reviewed global drought and 47 global flood studies, this is not true.

Forest fires and acreage destroyed have intensified. The National Interagency Fire Center statistics of total wild land fires and acres destroyed from 1960 to 2012 concludes that there is no evidence to support this claim.

The rate of sea level rise is increasing. Global statistics refute this claim. Sea level is continuing its rate of rising 7 inches per century, unrelated to human contributions to global warming.

The oceans are becoming more acidic. This is grossly misleading. Mother Earth’s oceans are highly alkaline, not acidic, and there is no evidence human emissions can cause Earth’s oceans to become acidic.

Why has Earth been warming for 300 years, not just since the Industrial Revolution 150 years ago when CO2 begin to rise? Natural factors have been occurring over and over, long before the Industrial Revolution. Nothing new is taking place.

Climate models indicate that Earth is likely to warm to dangerous levels by 2100. All of these climate models are un-validated. They contain many assumptions that are not supported by actual observations.

Do not just take the word of this author, visit the website of former NASA scientists and astronauts that provide insightful analysis at Ask these Senators to provide you with the actual scientific data to support their statements. Please remember, un-validated models do not produce scientific data.

Doesn’t everyone want robust habitats and ecosystems, bountiful food crops, lush forests and grasslands? The good news is that it is already happening. Humanity has been running a real, worldwide experiment for a century and a half and it is paying dividends. Mother Nature is responding positively to our real-life, albeit inadvertent, actions that increase CO2 levels, and NASA satellite data proves that Earth has grown greener for at least the past three decades.


Analysis Shows Solar Modules Cause More Greenhouse Gas Emissions

It turns out that because of the emissions of extraordinarily potent greenhouse gases NF3 and SF6 and energy during the manufacture of solar modules, solar energy ends up being worse for the climate than burning coal (assuming the global warming hypothesis is valid).

A Swiss engineer has made a thorough analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the manufacture, transport and operation of solar panels. His conclusion:

Solar energy in Germany is climate killer no. 1!”

Ferrucio Ferroni writes here how China is the number 1 manufacturer of solar panels globally and that the production of solar panels there requires immense amounts of electricity, which in China is mainly produced by coal power plants. Moreover the manufacture of solar panels also involves substantial amounts of potent greenhouse gases that leak out into the atmosphere.

The result Ferroni writes:

The comparison on CO2 emissions of a modern coal power plant and that of a PV system shows that per kilowatt-hour of power produced, PV systems damage the climate more. This statement is true if the hypothesis of the IPCC is correct to start with.”

Ferroni writes that it is accepted as fact the coal power plants emit carbon dioxide. But what is little known is that PV systems also lead to the emission of considerable quantities greenhouse gases – not during their operation, but during their manufacture.

Ferroni writes that when calculating the climate impacts of PV systems per unit, it is first necessary to account for the energy used in their manufacture in China, which involves the processing of solar silizium. Silizium processing involves considerable amounts of chemicals and raw materials. Also the manufacture of peripheral systems and their subsequent transport of materials to Europe and North America and their modest outputs in many northern locations have to be taken into account.

In comparison, modern steam power plants using clean-coal-technology now reach an efficiency of 52%, which means they emit 846 grams of CO2 per kWh when powered with stone coal (heat value: 30 MJ/kg). Moreover, nowadays highly efficient filters keep dust emissions to a minimum.

Producing 1 square meter requires 300 kg of coal

The manufacture of the silizium for the panels is immensely energy-intensive. According to Prof. Jian Shuisheng of the Jiatong-University in Peking, one square meter of solar module production requires more than 300 kg of coal, which leads to more than 1100 kg of CO2 emissions.

Also the production in China of peripheral systems for PV systems, like frequency converters, batteries, copper cable, switches, instruments etc., require fossil energy. According to literature this is estimated to be an additional 13%. Thus so far the emission for one square meter of solar module now adds up to 1243 kg CO2.

Potent gases needed for manufacturing solar modules

According to Ferroni, the other huge drawback presented by PV systems are the nasty chemicals and industrial gases used for their manufacture. The production of solar panels in China entails nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), which are extremely potent heat-trapping gases that leak out during the process. NF3 has a greenhouse gas potency that is 16,600 times greater than CO2; SF6 is 23,900 times more potent. Reports show that these gases emitted annually into the atmosphere from the manufacture of solar panels is equivalent to over 70 million tonnes of CO2 in terms of greenhouse effect. In 2010 over 17.5 GW of rated capacity of solar cells were installed. Thus the emissions per square meter of solar panels comes out to be 513 kg CO2 – a huge amount!

Other chemicals in the production process

The manufacture of solar cells also uses other chemicals like (HCl), silizium carbide, and silver among others. The total alleged warming potential of these chemicals comes out to be an estimated 30 kg CO2 per square meter of PV module. Oddly (likely to avoid embarrassment) the solar industry has yet to release any detailed data on the warming potential and impacts of the chemicals used in their manufacture.

Emissions-intensive transport

Also the transport of the PV systems and modules represent a considerable source of emissions. Ferroni writes that the transport of the systems from China to Germany results in 23 kg CO2 per square meter of solar module, more than what is used to transport coal from South Africa to Europe.

In total 1809 kg of CO2 equivalent is emitted into the atmosphere per square meter of solar panel manufactured and transported.

Ferroni then calculates that over the entire lifetime of a solar panel (25 years) one square meter will produce a total 2000 kwh in Germany. But then there are losses from conversions and so the real value is closer to 1850 kWh.

Over the entire lifetime and taking all factors into account, Ferroni finds that each kwh of electricity produced by solar modules emits 978g of CO2. How does this compare to coal? Ferroni:

In comparison, a modern coal power plant emits 846 g CO2/kWh, i.e. about 13% less. As a result, under German conditions, PV modules are the no. 1 climate killers. By comparison a gas power plant is more advantageous because its CO2 emissions are about half as much: approx.: 400g CO2/kWh.”


End of the road for nasty, dirty rich environmental bullies

John Briscoe, a South African who spent most of his life working for the World Bank, has just been awarded the Stockholm Water Prize, regarded by some as the water equivalent of the Nobel. But after 40 years in the development business, he is angry at the way in which rich people tell poor people how to live their lives – and keep them in the dark. The sooner a BRICS Bank is up and running, the better, he says. What has made him so angry?

From his CV, US Senator Patrick Leahy looks like a nice progressive guy, for an American career politician. He supports organic farmers and renewable energy and has campaigned against landmines and cluster weapons. So why did this man from Vermont, a small, pretty state with a population considerably smaller than Limpopo’s Vhembe district, decide to tell Africans to stay poor; aggravate Southern Africa’s power shortage; and incidentally trash his own President’s plan to “Power Africa”?

The answer helps to illustrate the how American and European NGO politics impacts on poor people without effective voice. It also shows just how vulnerable Africa has been to foreign bullies. Fortunately, that era is coming to an end. And not a moment too soon.

A decade ago, Uganda was running out of electricity as the population and economy grew. Power cuts were becoming increasingly frequent and factories were finding it difficult to cope. The state power company and individual companies turned to dirty and very expensive diesel generators. The transport of diesel by tanker on the notorious Mombasa - Nairobi – Kampala road was profitable for some but many industrial users could not afford the high prices and simply shut up shop. Unemployment and poverty grew.

Uganda had an alternative. At Jinja, where the Nile river flows from Lake Victoria, the Owen Falls hydroelectric dam had been built in colonial times to capture the river’s power. The Ugandan government planned to build a further power station a few kilometres downstream, to double the power generated by the controlled flow.  But environmentalists, mainly from the USA and Europe, objected and started lobbying the development banks to stop the project. They alleged that the dam required would displace large numbers of people, destroy local cultures and damage the environment. They had little local support; their Ugandan associate, the “National Association of Professional Environmentalists” was famously documented by Washington Post reporter Sebastian Mallaby to have just 25 members. Mallaby commented that:-

“Time after time, Western publics raised on stories of World Bank white elephants believe them. Lawmakers in European parliaments and the U.S. Congress accept NGO arguments at face value, and the government officials who sit on the World Bank's board respond by blocking funding for deserving projects.”

There was a bitter exchange between Mallaby, the journalist who told the story and the California based International Rivers Network over the details. But a few years ago, when I visited the site where the Bujagali dam was finally being built, it was evident that just a handful of people had been affected. The reservoir is small, covering less than 400 hectares (including the original course of the river) since water is stored in the vast Lake Victoria. Aside from the foreign-owned white water rafting company which had to relocate, the main complaints were the inconvenience caused by the construction and the fact that not enough locals were being employed.

But the cost of delay can be documented. Electricity shortages and high energy prices were identified by the International Monetary Fund as a major drain on the economy. The resulting increase in unemployment and poverty has been measured; the increase in infant mortality caused by increased poverty is well documented. The available data suggests that perhaps 10,000 children died as a result of the delayed electricity project.

But Uganda is by no means the only place in Africa where countries have been prevented from using cheap, reliable and renewable hydroelectricity. Closer to home, the Zambezi River could be producing 10,000Megawatts more than is already generated at Cabora Bassa and Kariba. That could be supplying the regional power pool from which South Africa would also have benefited. But that capacity was not developed when it was needed.

The donors, on whom countries like Mozambique and Zambia depend, would simply not allow aid money to be spent on planning and developing water infrastructure projects. In the early 2000s, I sat through one particularly ill-tempered meeting in Europe where African water Ministers said that they needed funding to prepare infrastructure projects and their European counterparts simply refused to put that on the agenda for discussion. They wanted to talk conservation.

At the root of this conflict is a family of environmental NGOs that has been remarkably effective at stifling Africa’s hydropower development proposals even as they fail abjectly to influence their home countries’ environmental and climate change policies. The Germans, amongst the most vocal opponents of dam development, have increased their use of coal for electricity generation over the past few years even as they lecture Africans about the need to reduce CO2 emissions and prepare for climate change.

But the NGOs have targeted the World Bank and the wider family of regional development banks because they are gatekeepers for funds to poor countries. Even if they don’t lend all the money needed for projects, their involvement gives comfort to other financiers who don’t have the capacity to evaluate projects.

South African born John Briscoe, former Chief Water Advisor to the World Bank has documented the consequences of the attack on the Bank for investment in water:

“… poor developing countries without choices had to deal with the enormous transaction costs and processes which piled up in the Bank. ‘I am ashamed to even come here’ said President Museveni of Uganda, when he thought he was inaugurating the Bujagali dam in 2002. ‘I am not happy because a project that should have taken two years has taken seven years to start. All this hullabaloo has been a waste of time and a lack of seriousness... this was a circus’ (Reuters, 2002) (little knowing that the process would take another six years before the project was to be actually approved!).

In short, there was an impasse between the urgent needs for financing of infrastructure in poor countries, on the one hand, and an ever-more skittish set of institutions (with the World Bank, the iconic institution) unable and unwilling to make capital available for reasonable projects which should be built. Bank lending for hydropower fell by 90% in the 1990s.

Briscoe documented how the US government worked, back then, to ensure that its positions were adopted by an institution where decision-making is, nominally, the responsibility of its 180 country members. In the formal meetings of the Bank’s directors,

“… the rich countries did not contradict the views of the developing countries but did their talking in other ways. Immediately after one of these sessions the phone rang in the office of my Vice President. It was the US Executive Director who, uncharacteristically, had not said a word during the discussion. ‘If this is the position taken by the Bank, then you should know that it will be very difficult for the US to support the next round of IDA’. IDA is the concessionary tail which wags the hard-lending dog in the World Bank.“

More recently, it appeared that this approach was history. The World Bank reviewed its water policies and recognized that if they did not invest in water infrastructure, they would be failing in their job as a development bank. They recognized that hydropower, which uses the solar energy that drives the hydrological cycle, is an excellent way of producing cheap, reliable low-carbon energy. They also acknowledged that storing water in infrastructure like dams was important to allow poor countries to ensure reliable supplies of the water that they need for their development despite their unpredictable and variable climates.

The example of South Africa is frequently cited. Were it not for the dams that augment the Vaal’s flow during dry seasons, Gauteng and its surrounds would have just one tenth of the current water supply reliably available. The economy would close down and the majority of Gauteng’s people – who consume most of the stored water – would have to move elsewhere.  But while South Africa has dams in which it can store approximately 600 tonnes of water per person, the figure in many sub-Saharan African countries  is closer to 60 tonnes. Meanwhile, the USA stores over 6000 tonnes of water per person.

But Patrick Leahy, the Democrat from Vermont, first elected in 1974 and now his country’s longest-serving senator, has decided that he does not want to allow African countries to enjoy the benefits that he already has. He introduced a clause into the 2014 US budget, now passed into law, that instructs the World Bank (and the wider family of regional development banks in Africa, Asia and Latin America) not to allow Africans to build dams. He can do this because he is chairman of the foreign affairs sub committee of the Appropriation Committee, which draws up the US budget and sets conditions for its use. Although in June last year, President Obama had promised to help bring Power to Africa, his Vermont Senator had other ideas.  The clause he introduced into the law stated clearly that:

“The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director of each international financial institution that it is the policy of the United States to oppose any loan, grant, strategy or policy of such institution to support the construction of any large hydroelectric dam.” (Section 7060(c)(7)(D).)

So why should a good guy like this introduce into US budget legislation a provision that will keep poor people in poverty and stall African development?  The answer, it would appear, is that he has to keep his environmental constituency sweet. And he doesn’t have to worry about offending black voters, who might raise African concerns. The 2010 census found only 6277 African-Americans in Vermont, just 1% of the population. This is presumably why he was also able to help pass an agriculture Bill that made significant cuts to the food stamp programmes on which many poor - disproportionately black - Americans, depend. And Senator Leahy clearly worries even less about the feelings of the millions of people in Africa and Asia on whom he imposes his views. He certainly does not account to them.

The fact that most of Vermont’s electricity comes from the kind of large dams he opposes elsewhere just passes him by.  He is comfortable to abuse the US Treasury to carry instructions into the World Bank that override any internal analysis. His instructions will overrule the Treasury’s own staff let alone the World Bank and its members, simply to please his lobby group.

He can do this because the Banks work on a “one dollar, one vote” system that allows richer shareholder countries to veto policy and projects that they don’t like, regardless of the quality of the proposals. Yet Leahy knows that his own country’s aid programmes are seriously flawed. In 2012, he told the heads of his government’s USAID programme that,

“I have long voiced my concerns with the way a few large U.S. contractors and NGOs obtain the vast majority of USAID funding. Years ago I created the Development Grants Program, a small fund to support innovative proposals of small, mostly local NGOs. But USAID has done what it does too often – take a good idea and either fail to implement it or redesign it in such a way as to thwart the original intent.

“I hope you can tell us what you expect from the changes to USAID’s procurement process, because they need to fundamentally reform the way USAID does business. If these changes just end up shifting resources to big contractors in developing countries that is not the reform we seek.”

In 2007 I met a group of US Congressmen, the HELP commission, who were on a round-Africa junket to find ways to make their foreign assistance more effective. I asked whether they could they pool their resources with other donors - “SWAPs” – sector wide approaches are widely used to help both donors and recipients use external assistance more effectively. That would be a step too far they said, their big contractor lobbies were simply too powerful to fight.

The consequence was seen in another attempt to make US aid work more effectively. The Millennium Challenge Programme tried to go beyond normal USAID pork barrel process of appointing an American main contractor, who would then often appoint an American sub-contractor and then a local contractor (who would do all the work). But in Mozambique, they could only fund just over half of their intended projects, because their bureaucratic procedures added so much to the costs.

Yet the Help Commission report highlighted that a Principle underlying American aid should be that it “Supports the promotion of democratic principles and recognize that good governance and accountable leaders advance development.”

Accountability, like charity, it seems, should start at home but doesn’t go much further.

So, one reason that Leahy’s intervention was approved may lie in the fine print of the Power Africa proposals. The problem with the World Bank is that it insists on (relatively) objective tender procedures, under which companies from countries like China, Korea and India regularly wipe the floor with American competition. Power Africa will not allow such indignities. It will rather use traditional US institutions to extract as much business for themselves as they give help to poor countries.

This is where the BRICS and their bank comes in. A decade ago, the World Bank and its regional family were the only game in town. If poor countries could not get their support, they could not build dams. So many countries, faced like Uganda with power shortages, ended up burning dirty coal or expensive diesel to try and keep up with growing demand for electricity. Hydropower was simply off the agenda.

Then China got in on the act. As their trade with Africa and other developing regions has expanded, they have offered attractive deals to pay for the minerals and other goods that they are exporting. And, while this has been viewed with suspicion by many – particularly western – commentators, the basic rule is that China is willing to provide what it is asked for.

Help with dams is one area where they can offer obvious value. Over the past couple of decades, China has built hundreds of large dams to provide water for its cities and agriculture, for flood protection and to generate clean electricity – a high priority as the ongoing Beijing smog crisis is showing us. So, in their discussions with African and Asian countries, they offered to support dam building projects for hydropower as well as water supply and irrigation.

The response has been remarkable. According to the International Rivers Network, the leading anti-dam NGO (located, bizarrely, in California, whose economy would collapse without water from large dams) China is now financing and building over large 15 dams in 8 African countries and there are more to come. Chinese companies are also building projects financed by other parties as in Lesotho, where Sino Hydro, China’s leading dam construction company, won the billion rand contract to build the Metolong dam to supply Maseru, with finance from Middle East Development Funds. Brazil and India, also capable dam builders, are following suit. Because alternative sources of funding are now available, the World Bank’s effective ban on water infrastructure has just opened up the market to other players.

So this is another piece in the puzzle about Senator Leahy. People who think he is a nice guy will say that he is just starting a conversation about social and environmental protection in developing countries.  But that is not how it will be seen in Africa and Asia. Says John Briscoe:

“it reinforces a prevalent view that US policy towards the developing world is driven by politicians who are driven by extreme single-issue groups at home, and give little attention to the proven instruments – including infrastructure – which lead to growth and poverty reduction.”

The outcome is already clear:

“Africans and others are turning and will turn, with great appreciation, to the governments and companies of China and Brazil and potentially to a BRICs Bank, who understand that electricity is one of the keys to a better life, and who will help Africans build the infrastructure they need for economic growth and poverty reduction.”


Australia:  Pressure on cattlemen to be "sustainable"

They already are

SENATOR Ron Boswell has attacked the power of environmentalists to damage the prosperity of regional communities.

In a speech in the Senate today, Senator Boswell warned cattle producers to closely examine a campaign to force them to prove their environmental sustainability.

“The apparent growing power of environmental non-government organisations and corporations raises fundamental questions about the future role of government, science and rational resource management in Australian primary production,” he said.

Senator Boswell foreshadowed a Senate inquiry to examine the implications of an international campaign to develop sustainability criteria for beef production.

“This goes to the very essence of not simply who is running the Australian beef industry but who is running the country,” Senator Boswell said.

“Who determines how our primary industries are managed and how they are administered? Who decides how our resources are utilised and where they are marketed? Who determines the prosperity of our communities, our industries and our nation? Those are questions that must be answered.

“I believe this issue should be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport. Before I do that, I will discuss this further with my colleague, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.”

Senator Boswell said indications were that meeting basic sustainability criteria could cost Australia’s 77,000 cattle properties some $135 million in fees in the first year.

“I do not want to see Australian farming families burdened with more cost and more paperwork and more unnecessary environmental obligations to keep WWF in business and provide a marketing point-of-difference for the likes of McDonald’s,” he said.

Senator Boswell was referring to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), established by WWF and McDonald’s.

“On March 17, the GRSB published a document called the ‘Draft Principles and Criteria for Global Sustainable Beef’, which potentially could shape how Australian cattle producers are allowed to operate in years to come.

“We can call witnesses to the inquiry from the main players. We can thoroughly examine who will bear the cost of this sustainability scheme and who will enjoy the benefits.

“We can investigate what the implications are for rural and regional communities that depend on cattle and other primary production. Also the implications for Australia’s trade sovereignty and its ability to freely trade in primary products, products we already know to be sustainable.”

Via email from Sen. Boswell


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.  

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