Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Is the Tesla bubble about to burst?

How long can they keep running in the red?  They're nice cars but if you want one maybe you should buy one now -- while they last

Add yet another problem to the list at Tesla Motors: lackluster growth.

Tesla announced on Sunday that it delivered 14,370 vehicles in the second quarter. That is well below its own forecast of about 17,000, which it gave in May. Although sales of its Model X grew significantly from the first quarter, its signature Model S sedan actually saw sales fall sequentially by more than 22%. That is surprising since Tesla said in May that Model S orders were strong. The company has now missed its own deliveries guidance for two consecutive quarters.

The electric auto maker has delivered fewer than 30,000 cars in the first half of the year, putting its full year forecast of 80,000 to 100,000 in serious jeopardy. Tesla says it expects to deliver “about 50,000” cars in the next six months. That isn’t impossible, but Sunday’s news is disconcerting. Since Tesla can’t successfully forecast deliveries more than two months out, it stretches CEO Elon Musk’s bold forecast of 500,000 deliveries by 2018 from improbable to farcical.

For its part, Tesla cited an unusually high number of vehicles in transit for the shortfall. The company says more than five thousand cars are to be delivered soon, which would have helped them clear the bar. But Tesla, which carries a market value in excess of $30 billion and has designs on disrupting the entire automobile industry, should be far enough in its development to be able to accurately forecast delivery times to customers.

For shareholders, this is merely the latest in a series of worries. For starters, the company continues to burn cash at an alarming rate, to the tune of $2.1 billion in the last four quarters through March 31. This means Tesla requires ongoing access to capital markets to function. Tesla has issued shares or convertible debt in every year since 2010.

That isn’t the end of it. A proposed merger with SolarCity, the other public company in which Mr. Musk is the largest shareholder, would exacerbate that cash burn, cause further stock dilution and raises questions about the firm’s corporate governance. Tesla’s reported earnings are heavily inflated by adjustments that don’t conform with generally accepted accounting principles. New competition looms on the horizon. And now, federal regulators are looking into two potential safety issues in Tesla vehicles.

Despite the litany of worries piling up, the stock remains priced for explosive growth in the near future. It fetches over 130 times consensus forward earnings, according to FactSet. Tesla’s shares, clinging to such a lofty valuation even as doubts have piled up, have been more dazzling than its vehicles.

Now, though, the bull case is running on fumes


Bees not so "threatened" after all

To listen to the Warmists you would think that there is only one species of bee and would think that it is at risk of being burnt to death by global warming.  There are in fact around 20,000 species of bee and all have their ecological niche.  Populations of European honeybees have had some difficulties in recent years but other species are thriving.  Below is a report on an Australian bee species

Flinders Biological Sciences PhD student Rebecca Dew and Associate Professor Michael Schwarz, together with Professor Sandra Rehan of the University of New Hampshire in the US, have found a rapid increase in the population size of the small carpenter bee (Ceratina australensis) from 18,000 years ago, when the climate began warming up after the last Ice Age.

Their findings, published in the latest Journal of Hymenoptera Research, show future global warming could be a good sign for at least some bees, which are major pollinators and are critical for many plants, ecosystems and agricultural crops.

“Our findings also match those from two previous studies on bees from North America and Fiji,” Ms Dew says.

“It is really interesting that you see very similar patterns in bees around the world. Different climate, different environment, but the bees have responded in the same way at around the same time.”

The small carpenter bee is found in sub-tropical, coastal and desert areas of Australia. The researchers spent almost two years conducting field analysis near Warwick in south-east Queensland, Cowra in central New South Wales, Mildura in north-west Victoria and West Beach in Adelaide.

Global warming has other potential effects on environment and ecosystems.

In another recent collaborative study between the Flinders School of Biological Sciences team,  previous Flinders research students Dr Scott Groom and Ms Carmen da Silva, Dr Daniel Silva from Brazil and Associate Professor Mark Stevens, from the South Australian Museum, showed that a bee species accidentally introduced to Fiji has become widespread and will flourish with continued global warming, perhaps even spreading to Australia and New Zealand.

“This bee, Braunsapis puangensis, is resistant to honeybee diseases and could well become an important ‘fall-back’ crop pollinator if honeybee populations continue to decline, which has become a major worry in many parts of the world, including Australia,” Associated Professor Schwarz says.

The findings, however, may not all be positive for bees globally, with other studies showing that some rare and ancient tropical bees require a cool climate to survive and, as a result, are already restricted to the highest mountain peaks of Fiji. For these species, climate warming could spell their eventual extinction.

“We now know that climate change impacts bees in major ways, but the challenge will be to predict how those impacts play out. They are likely to be both positive and negative, and we need to know how this mix will unfold,” Ms Dew says.

Ms Dew, who was previously awarded the prestigious J.H. Comstock award from the Entomological Society of America, is now investigating the populations of another species of native bee (Exoneurella tridentata) in arid areas of Australia.


Democrats Adopt a Fascist Party Plank

The Democrat Party’s totalitarian impulses have been formalized. In the final draft of this year’s party platform, the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee unanimously adopted a provision "calling on the Department of Justice to investigate alleged corporate fraud on the part of fossil fuel companies who have reportedly misled shareholders and the public on the scientific reality of climate change." In short, the attempt to criminalize dissent is now an official party plank.

The committee was led by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). "As Democrats, we believe that our country’s greatest strength is its people, and we’re committed to the values of inclusion and opportunity for all," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Apparently Wasserman Schultz is oblivious to her own hypocrisy. There is nothing remotely inclusive about such a "my way or the prosecutorial highway" take on science that is far from settled, despite all the orchestrated hysteria by Democrats and their media enablers. Yet if Democrats wish to prosecute fraud, perhaps they should start at the top of the so-called food chain, as in government entities, not corporate ones, who have pushed an agenda in lieu of scientific fact.

Take the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, for example. German Professor Dr. Friedrich Karl Ewert, a retired geologist and data computation expert, undertook a detailed study of NASA-GISS’s temperature data series, going all the way back to 1881 and involving 1,153 stations. He discovered NASA-GISS had tampered with raw temperature data to literally invent global warming. Between 2010 and 2012 NASA-GISS altered its own data sets to show a post-WWII warming that never existed. Moreover, apart from the continent of Australia, the planet has been on a cooling trend.

The agency is not an outlier. The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has also cooked the books on more than one occasion, including on ocean temperatures to make the nearly two decade warming "hiatus" disappear.

Earlier this year, at a "hottest year ever" press briefing, NOAA presented a graph ostensibly showing a 58-year long temperature record compiled by "radiosondes," which are mini weather stations with radio transmitters attached to helium or hydrogen-filled balloons that lift them to altitudes exceeding 115,000 feet. Yet NOAA’s graph showed only the last 37 of those 58 years. The omitted data? It revealed as much pre-1979 global cooling as post-1979 warming.

It also revealed NOAA’s willingness to defraud the public in pursuit of the leftist agenda.

And that’s when leftists bother pursuing data at all. Speaking to the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee, climatologist Michael Mann de-emphasized the need for climate science because global warming has become too obvious to ignore. "What is disconcerting to me and so many of my colleagues," he lamented, "is that these tools that we’ve spent years developing increasingly are unnecessary because we can see climate change, the impacts of climate change, now, playing out in real time, on our television screens, in the 24-hour news cycle."

That Mann would de-emphasize science is not surprising. That’s because his own contribution to environmental radicalism includes the now infamous temperature graph known as the "hockey stick." First published in 1999, Mann’s effort was to reconstruct the average northern hemisphere temperature over the past 1,000 years. His graph showed relatively steady temperature until the last part of the 20th century, when they allegedly began to rise dramatically — creating what looked like a hockey stick. Unfortunately for Mann, Canadian scientists Stephen McIntyre and Ross McKitrick found a fundamental mathematical flaw in the computer program used to produce the hockey stick. In short, data that accrued to the hockey stick was emphasized and data that didn’t was suppressed.

Just like the Democrat Party would suppress — and now officially attempt to prosecute — those who disagree with them.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the sun itself is not cooperating. On June 23, for the second time in just this month, the sun went completely spotless. The blank sun is a sign the next solar minimum is on its way, leading to an increasing number of spotless days, then weeks, then months reaching a solar minimum phase around 2019 or 2020. The last time the sun entered a long phase with no sun spots was between 1645 and 1715. The so-called "Maunder Minimum" coincided with the Little Ice Age that produced a series of extraordinarily cold winters in Earth’s northern hemisphere. Some scientists believe we will experience a similar scenario in the next few years.

Are they correct? More to the point, what gives them any less credibility than fascist-minded Democrats and their government collaborators at NASA and the NOAA, or the odious coalition of 16 Democrat attorneys general who are threatening legal action and huge fines against those who refuse to abide their version of so-called Settled Science™?

In a rare show of backbone, Republicans are fighting back. "If it is possible to minimize the risks of climate change, then the same goes for exaggeration," Republican AGs wrote in a letter to their Democrat counterparts. "If minimization is fraud, exaggeration is fraud."

Yet such fraud pales in comparison to a Democrat Party willing to formally embrace the prosecution of Americans' First Amendment protections. A Democrat Party that is clearly green on the outside, but red on the inside. "The draft platform we have produced in an open and transparent manner reflects our priorities as Democrats and demonstrates our vision for this nation," states Platform Drafting Committee Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). Those would be the priorities of suppression and/or prosecution, and the vision of an authoritarian state. Democrats? Fascists is more like it.


Federal Government Says a Farmer Broke the Law by Plowing His Land

Earlier this month a federal court in California ruled that a farmer plowing his land without a permit from the federal government is breaking the law. In 2013, the Army Corps of Engineers, without any notice or due process, ordered the owners of Duarte Nursery to cease use of their land for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act (CWA). The violation: plowing. The California court agreed with the federal government’s action, despite the fact the CWA specifically exempts normal agricultural activities like plowing from regulation.

This overreaching assertion of federal power is not an isolated incident. For decades, the EPA and the Army Corps have aggressively sought to stretch the bounds of the CWA. When Congress passed the CWA, the federal government was given regulatory authority over “navigable waters,” which the statute additionally defines as “waters of the United States.” While the word navigable may seem to have an obvious meaning to most Americans as bodies of water that can be navigated by watercraft, federal bureaucrats have identified these terms as a license for a massive regulatory land grab.

Asserting ambiguity, the EPA has tried to use the CWA language to claim control over essentially any water which eventually might find its way into a navigable waterway. They have asserted jurisdiction not just over logical sources like large tributaries of navigable waters or wetlands immediately adjacent to rivers but have tried to reach their regulatory arms to isolated puddles or dry stream beds which only see running water during large rainstorms. This overreach has been repeatedly struck down by the Supreme Court, most recently in 2001 and 2006. But these repeated rebukes have not stopped the regulators.

In June of 2015, EPA finalized yet another rule seeking to broadly define “waters of the US” under the CWA. Like its previous attempts, this rule goes well beyond any reasonable definition of “navigable waters.” The rule would require federal permits even for ditches and puddles, almost any water within the boundaries of the United States. This sort of excessive permitting requirement would impose new costs on virtually every American: not just farmers, but anyone who owns land.

Thankfully, this new rule has been put on hold nationwide for the moment by federal courts while its legality and constitutionality is challenged, but the danger remains. The bureaucrats have made clear with their repeated attempts at overreach using the CWA that they will not be dissuaded by the courts, even if this newest attempt is also struck down by the Supreme Court.

This saga shows the folly of broad grants of power to regulatory agencies. The bureaucracy cannot be trusted to use its powers with restraint. When the power of the regulatory state grows, the liberty of the American people diminishes. Reining in the power of the regulatory state should be a priority of all American citizens.


DiCaprio flies his LA friends 6,000 miles around the world so they can listen to his speech on GLOBAL WARMING

When Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio hosts a reception for a string of A-list stars, supermodels and wealthy philanthropists later this month, he will make an impassioned plea for more action to be taken on global warming.

But instead of holding the event in Los Angeles, where most of his guests are based, they will fly halfway around the world to the glitzy French resort of St Tropez – at enormous cost to the environment.

Last night, green campaigners were quick to criticise 41-year-old DiCaprio, who in February used his Best Actor acceptance speech at the Oscars to warn about the dangers posed by climate change.

The reception – the grand-sounding Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Annual Gala To Fund Climate and Biodiversity Projects – will be held on July 20 at the Bertaud Belieu Vineyards on the French Riviera.

Celebrities including Kate Hudson, Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kevin Spacey are all expected to attend, along with a host of international rock and pop stars, supermodels and tycoons.

And while a table seating 12 people at the gala costs up to £125,000, the real price will be paid by the environment.

If just one guest among the 500 invitees chooses to fly the 12,000-mile round trip from LA to St Tropez by private jet – a notoriously environmentally unfriendly way to travel – they will produce 86 tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas.

Even those who use a scheduled flight will be responsible for releasing seven tons of CO2 – leading green campaigners to ask why the event could not have been held in Hollywood or in St Tropez during May’s Cannes Film Festival, when many of the guests would have been there anyway.

Robert Rapier, an environmental analyst, said: ‘DiCaprio demonstrates why our consumption of fossil fuels continues to grow. It’s because everyone loves the combination of cost and convenience they offer.

'He believes that no sacrifice is necessary; just Government policies that can provide him with a solar-powered yacht or jet, or that give individuals low-cost renewable energy on a broad scale.’

One guest who attended last year’s gala said: ‘It’s basically a big party for Leo and his showbusiness friends and models. The models, of course, do not pay for tickets, and neither do the VIP guests – they get to have a nice big free party.’

The Mail on Sunday has learned that guests opting for the Grand Earth Protector Package – ‘prime dinner seating for 12 guests’ at a table near to DiCaprio – costs £125,000. The more frugal Earth Protector Package – seating 12 at a slightly more distant table – costs £82,000, while those content with social Siberia can choose the Ocean Steward Package, at a mere £58,000 for 12 diners.

The Titanic star – whose love of private jets is well known – has long been dogged by accusations that he fails to practise the carbon footprint-aware lifestyle he preaches.

In May, he flew by private jet to New York from France, where he had been attending the Cannes Film Festival, to receive a ‘green’ award – before flying back the following day.

The 8,000-mile round-trip churned 55 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. In the previous five months, he travelled more than 91,000 miles by plane during 18 separate trips.

Where private jets are used, the carbon dioxide emitted goes up hugely – between seven and 20 times, depending on the plane.

It is estimated DiCaprio has potentially emitted up to 418 tons of CO2 this year alone because of his globe-trotting. In contrast, the average American produces just 19 tons on flights each year.

In 2014, emails hacked from film studio Sony revealed the actor took six private flights in just six weeks, costing £138,000, though a friend insists most of his journeys were commercial.

DiCaprio – who sits on the boards of two eco-pressure groups – has previously made much of his support for environmental causes, with his foundation recently pledging more than £10 million to green projects at this year’s World Economic Forum.

In 2008 he made his own environmental documentary, The 11th Hour, which inconveniently tanked at the box office.

A source close to DiCaprio said last night that he would be flying to St Tropez on a commercial airline and not a private jet.


UK: It might seem bad now, but wait until the lights go out!

In view of the shambles engulfing our politics in all directions, it might seem appropriate that last Thursday MPs should blithely have accepted that, within a few years, our lights will go out and our economy will grind to a halt. What they allowed to be nodded through was something called the "Fifth Carbon Budget", committing us to an energy policy so insanely unworkable that it can only result in Britain committing economic suicide.

As I predicted and explained in more detail on May 14, what the MPs tacitly agreed to was that, between 2028 and 2033, we should cut our emissions of CO2 by a far greater amount than any other country in the world. We will put an end to any use of gas for cooking and heating. Sixty per cent of all our transport will be powered not by fossil fuels but by electricity. And to achieve this, we will double the amount of electricity we need (two thirds of which still comes from those same hated "carbon emitting" fossil fuels).

Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining

Much of this electricity, the Government fondly imagines (on advice from the fantasists on Lord Deben’s Climate Change Committee), will come from tens of thousands more lavishly subsidised wind turbines, solar farms, new nuclear power stations unlikely ever to be built and woodchips imported at vast expense from forests in North America.

Not one of the MPs who accepted this could plausibly explain what is to happen to all those electric cookers, heating systems, cars, cashpoints etc, when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. Furthermore, none seemed to notice that key ingredients in that make-believe scenario dreamt up months ago by the Climate Change Committee are based on assuming that by 2030 we shall still be in the EU, whose own energy policy is now falling apart in all directions, as Germany, Poland and other countries rush to build new coal-fired power stations.

Apart from the Global Warming Policy Foundation and 15 Tory MPs, including three former Cabinet ministers, almost no one seems to have pointed out that, whatever happens to Brexit, Parliament has now set us firmly on course for a disaster beyond all imagining.



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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