Saturday, 16 February 2013

Please, Mr. Obama, no more Koreans!

This is what you get, when you choose South Koreans to lead international organizations:

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank:

The president of the World Bank on Saturday warned the finance chiefs of the world's leading economic powers that global warming is a real risk to the planet and already affecting the world economy in unprecedented ways.
Addressing the G20 finance ministers at their meeting in Moscow, Jim Yong Kim called on the world powers to ''tackle the serious challenges presented by climate change.''
''These are not just risks. They represent real consequences,'' said Kim, calling the lack of attention to the issue by finance ministers and central bank chiefs ''a mistake''.
He said failing to tackle the challenges of climate change risked having ''serious consequences for the economic outlook''.
''Damages and losses from natural disasters have more than tripled over the past 30 years,'' said Kim, giving as examples the $45 billion of losses from the 2011 floods in Thailand, whose effects ''spread across borders disrupting international supply chains.''
''Years of development efforts are often wiped out in days or even minutes,'' Kim said, asking the G20 to ''face climate change, which is a very real and present danger.''
Read the entire article here
Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General:

Scientists have long sounded the alarm. Top-ranking military commanders and security experts have now joined the chorus. Yet the political class seems far behind.

You all know the potential consequences. A downward global spiral of extreme weather and disaster. Reversals in development gains. Increases in displacement. Aggravated tensions over water and land. Fragile states tipping into chaos. 

Read the entire article here

US president Barack Obama nominated Kim to replace Robert Zoellick at the World Bank, and the Bush administration supported Ban's election as Secretary General.

When the head of another major international organization is to be chosen, please not a Korean again, Mr. Obama! 

Obama is a security threat

Just when it would be time to get tough with dictator Vladimir Putin, US president Barack Obama is preparing to "reach out" to him (once again)! No question about it, Obama is a security threat. 
The regime, meanwhile, has steadily escalated a campaign against the leaders of the peaceful, pro-democracy demonstrations that erupted in Russia in late 2011. For Russians, the cynical tactics are bone-wearyingly familiar: Transparently trumped-up criminal cases are being brought against the activists, with the promise of lengthy prison terms. Alexei Navalny, the founder of an anti-corruption organization, has himself been charged with corruption. Last week leftist firebrand Sergei Udaltsov was placed under house arrest ahead of his upcoming trial on charges of organizing an anti-Putin rally in May.
Some Russian analysts believe that the regime is well on its way to crushing the opposition movement, which attracted the support of much of the urban middle class. Others regard the repression as the death spasms of an exhausted autocracy. “There are classical criteria of a dying regime and its key signs are evident in Russia,” Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow office wrote recently, citing “the Kremlin’s inability either to preserve the status quo or begin changes.” Either side might be right, though our bet is with Ms. Shevtsova.
What’s strange is that the Obama administration would seek to undertake a major new piece of business with Mr. Putin without regard for this ugly climate. New U.S.-Russian nuclear warhead reductions, while welcome, are hardly urgent: The big challenges of nuclear weapons lie elsewhere in the world. At the same time, the survival of a pro-democracy movement in Russia is an important and pressing U.S. interest, just as Mr. Putin’s growing hostility to the United States threatens U.S. initiatives in the Middle East and elsewhere. Maybe offering Mr. Putin a new nuclear weapons deal is the best way to counter his noxious policies — but it is hard to see how.

Read the entire Washington Post article here

German warmist to the UN Security Council: Global warming could lead to war in India in 2033

The German Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has for years now been one of the main bastions of international climate alarmism. The fact that the UN Security Conuncil has accepted its director Joachim Schnellhuber as a speaker at one of its meetings, tells us a lot about the state of this once highly regarded body. Fortunately Russia and China, for a change, played a constructive role, and saw to it that it was an informal meeting: 

Imagine India in 2033. It has overtaken China as the most populous nation. Yet with 1.5 billion citizens to feed, it’s been three years since the last monsoon. Without rain, crops die and people starve.

The seeds of conflict take root.

This is one of the scenarios Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, presented today to members of the United Nations Security Council in New York to show the connection between climate change and global security challenges.

Either rich nations will find a way to supply needy nations suffering from damaging climate effects “or you will have all kinds of unrest and revolutions, with the export of angry and hungry people to the industrialised countries,” Schellnhuber said in an interview.

In the Marshall Islands -- site of US nuclear tests in the 1940s and 1950s and now being lost to a rising Pacific Ocean -- global warming has “threatened our very existence,” said Tony deBrum, minister-in-assistance to the president of the island state. In the future, the 68,000 inhabitants of the low- lying coral atolls could become stateless.

“Our roads are inundated every 14 days,” he told reporters in New York after the meeting. “We have to ration water three times a week. People have emergency kits for water. We can no longer use well water because it’s inundated with salt.”

Serious consequences

The Security Council session was evidence of the increased focus on the link between climate change and global security.

Climate change is a “reality that cannot be washed away,” according to notes prepared for diplomats at today’s session. “There is growing concern that with faster than anticipated acceleration, climate change may spawn consequences which are harsher than expected.”

Yet, today’s discussions were not held as a formal meeting of the council because China and Russia, two of the larger emitters of the greenhouse gases that scientists tie to climate change, raised objections, said two UN diplomats who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the subject. China was the largest gross emitter of carbon dioxide in 2011, followed by the US, the European Union, India and Russia, according to the European Commission’s Joint Research Center.

Read the entire article here

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Environment Canada's senior climatologist: "The swings in temperature have had nothing to do with climate"

Environment Canada's senior climatologist David Phillips appears to have a realistic view on the recent big temperature swings:

While some experts are pointing to climate change as a pivotal factor in weather fluctuations, Environment Canada’s senior climatologist says temperature changes are par for the course.
“There’s a difference between climate and temperature,” explained David Phillips in an interview.
“The wild swings in temperature have had nothing to do with climate. It’s about where the winds come from.”
The recent warming trend, for example, was caused by breezes blowing in from the southern United States.
“This thaw did not come out of our chimneys and exhaust pipes,” said Mr. Phillips. “It came out of Colorado.”

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Winter Olympic Games in Sochi : A new level of corruption and exploitation

Vladimir Putin, dictator of Russia, has visited Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has invited visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, due to be held in the southern Russian resort of Sochi on the Black Sea next February.
“We invite to Russia all those who love sports and fair uncompromising struggle,” Putin said at a ceremony to mark one year before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics on Thursday.
“In 2007, the International Olympic Committee [IOC] supported the Olympic dream of millions of Russian nationals,” Putin said. “We are doing everything possible to justify the confidence.”
The Russian president said he hoped the Sochi Games would take world sports to a qualitatively new level.--
Earlier Thursday, Putin called on Sochi 2014 Olympic organizers to redouble their efforts in one final push to stage the Games without a hitch.
Putin may be right about the Sochi games taking "world sports to a qualitatively new level" - a new level of corruption and exploitation. 
Human Rights Watch has just issued a damning report about the slave culture that has been established in Sochi:
 “Race to the Bottom: Exploitation of Migrant Workers Ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi,” documents exploitation of migrant workers on key Olympic sites, including the Central Olympic Stadium, the Main Olympic Village, and the Main Media Center. Workers told Human Rights Watch that some employers cheated workers out of wages, required them to work 12-hour shifts with few days off, and confiscated passports and work permits, apparently to coerce workers to remain in exploitative jobs.

“Like the athletes competing in the 2014 Winter Olympics, Russia has big hopes and dreams for its performance in Sochi as the host,” said Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. “But exploiting workers is a victory for no one, and Russia urgently needs to change course.” --
Workers consistently reported that employers failed to pay full wages and in some cases failed to pay workers at all. A group of workers employed on the Main Media Center, the central hub for journalists covering the Olympics, worked for months without wages, hoping to be paid. One worker from Uzbekistan, “Omurbek,” said that in December 2011 a subcontractor on the site offered him a job paying $770 per month.
“I worked for almost three months … for nothing. Nothing but promises, promises from them,” Omurbek told Human Rights Watch.

In a letter to Human Rights Watch, a subcontractor for the Main Media Center project who the workers said hired them, claimed that its workers are paid on time and in full.

Numerous workers on the Central Olympic Stadium site and on the Main Olympic Village site interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that employers withheld the first month’s wages. Workers received their first payment only after working for two months, and were told they would get the first month’s wages only after the employer decided they had completed the job. If they quit or were fired, they would not recover the first month’s wages.
“Athletes, journalists, and Olympic ticket holders in Sochi will watch the 2014 Winter Games in iconic modern sports venues, broadcast centers, and hotels,” Buchanan said. “But many migrant workers have toiled in exploitative, abusive conditions to build these shimmering façades and luxurious interiors.”

Although most migrant workers interviewed by Human Rights Watch signed employment contracts, most were not given copies. In some cases, workers were not given contracts at all.

In several cases documented by Human Rights Watch, employers retaliated against foreign migrant workers who protested abuses by denouncing them to the authorities, resulting in the workers’ expulsion from Russia. Cases like this highlight the vulnerable situation for migrant workers in Russia, particularly those without contracts to document their employment, Human Rights Watch said.
Human Rights Watch says that IOC intervention is urgently needed, but knowing the way IOC operates makes it highly unlikely that it will intervene in any meaningful way. 
And the HRW report is of course only the tip of the iceberg. There are already reports about a brewing mafia war involving prime property in Sochi. Russia's ranking as one of the most corrupt countries in the world will with 100% certainty make the 2014 Winter Olympic Games the most most corrupt games ever. 

European Union climate change madness: Europe's streetlights to be replaced with expensive alternative lighting

Finnish YLE TV exposes the cost of another EU global warming/energy madness: Traditional mercury vapor lamps used for lighting up public streets and highways have to be replaced by "alternative forms of lighting" by 2015.

The cost for replacing just one street lamp is between 200 - 300 euro (270 - 400 $). European cities and highways are still rather well lighted, so you can imagine what the cost of replacing millions of street lights will add up to.

This enormous waste of taxpayers' money goes on at a time when the European Union countries are in the middle of a serious recession and financial crisis, with youth unemployment exploding!

In 2012 the European Union flipped the switch on incandescent light bulbs in homes as it moved to implement a directive aimed at reducing energy consumption.
Decision makers in Brussels have since taken an equally dim view of mercury vapour lamps used for lighting up public streets and highways. The lamps will be phased out by 2015.
“Energy issues are one factor and the other is environmental,” explained Martti Halmela head of maintenance for the central Finland Economic Development, Transport and Environmental Centre (Ely-keskus).
But the switch over to alternative forms is lighting is likely to be rather costly for municipalities already under financial pressure.
For example Äänenkoski in central Finland must now replace 4,500 street lamps over a distance of 180 kilometres.
“The project is still in its initial phase. We have changed about 300 lamps, mainly on renovation sites. We have calculated that altogether we will spend more than one million euros,” said Äänenkoski maintenance manager Hannu Kaikkonen.
The cost of changing just one street lamp will run between 200 and 300 euros. Because money is tight, many local authorities have resorted to hoarding old backup lamps.
“We’ve quietly built up a stockpile, and we now have enough lamps for four years. That will buy us time to switch the lamps,” Kaikkonen revealed.

University of California professor: Death toll for global warming "perhaps billions"

University of California Berkeley professor of law Andrew Guzman is seriously competing with the likes of Bill McKibben and George Monbiot for the global warming number one scaremonger title. A fellow warmist has published this enthusiastic review of Guzman's book The Human Cost of Climate Change:

"Over time, I found myself putting together a story about how a seemingly modest increase in temperature of a couple of degrees is enough to make the seas rise, food production collapse, nations go to war, and disease spread virtually unchecked. It was becoming clear, in a way that I felt was not widely appreciated, that the consequences of these changes will be measured in the hundreds of millions of lives, if we are lucky. If we are unlucky, perhaps billions."
Yes, billions. Guzman anchors his doom-laden case in statistics. The 10 warmest years since 1880 have all happened since 1998, he says, and cites an estimate that the annual global death toll already sparked by climate change is 300,000.
The stealthy fatal force pans out most dramatically as glacier meltdown that pumps up the seas and swamps island nations such as Tuvalu and the Maldives. Global warming, too, is the cause of the flooding of Bangladesh, which has resulted in devastating water-borne diseases such as dysentery and diarrhoea.
Meanwhile, shrinking glaciers in the Himalayas and the Andes will desiccate rivers, robbing millions of people of fresh water, threatening key cities and undermining strained food production. The result of the bedlam may be that millions will be forced to migrate into cities or "climate-refugee camps", Guzman forecasts. Another possible knock-on effect is war. Already, drawn-out droughts in Africa's Sahel region have fuelled mass violence in Darfur, Guzman writes.
If the planet's predicament sounds horrendous, he says, it is. But he has a solution: cut carbon emissions by raising fossil fuel's cost.--
Still, with luck, this book will put him in the big league of global warming critics, among the likes of Bill McKibben and George Monbiot - if he sticks with the subject, which has more grunt than the topic of his previous books: international law.
His ecological broadside underlines that it is high time the media stops pretending there are two sides to the threat he addresses.
Another glowing "review" explains why the law professor chose to write the book:
Countless books exist on the scientific aspects of climate change, but not one on why people should care, said Guzman. So he decided to write for a popular audience, to engage them, to capture their imaginations in a way that would communicate the depth of the problem.
In the same article Guzman talks about the future for his children:
"I'm terrified for my children -- for everybody's children," he said. "The world they are going to inhabit when they're my age in 2050 is not a pretty place. If I have grandchildren, it'll be even worse.
For the sake of his own - and other - children, one must hope that professor Guzman will utterly fail in "capturing their imaginations". 

Oxford University launches programme to scare investors away from major energy companies

Former tory Secretary of State for the Environment John Gummer, now Baron Deben, who is the chairman of the UK Committee on Climate Change, yesterday celebrated a new low for the country's perhaps most famous academic institution, the Oxford University

The occasion was the launch of "a new research programme aiming to help investors identify assets that could be left 'stranded' by climate change, declining resources and the emergence of new green technologies."

This is how the Oxford University has chosen to describe the new research programme:

Asset stranding is currently little understood, but the implications are potentially very significant for polluting investments. The programme researchers, based at Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, aim to find out which assets and sectors are most at risk and evaluate how investors, businesses and policy makers can best respond to the challenges.
To mark the launch, Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, will give a lecture at the School, highlighting the need for businesses and policy makers to adapt to the new economic landscape. He said: 'Investors continue to deploy hundreds of billions of pounds into polluting and unsustainable sectors. In many cases these investments will not be worth what investors think.
'Climate change, scarcer resources, and new disruptive technologies will reduce value and strand assets. If investors better understand the risks of investing in these assets they will be attracted to greener alternatives and see them as better business propositions and safer places for their funds. The programme is doing the further research necessary to help underpin this vital transition.' --
The programme is being supported by Aviva Investors, Bunge Ltd, Climate Change Capital Ltd and HSBC Holdings plc, with non-financial partners including the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Trucost and WWF-UK.
The warmist Guardian, of course highly supportive of the new initiative, adds this:
A report published earlier this year by HSBC found current internationally agreed carbon targets could see oil and gas majors, including BP, Shell and Statoil, lose up to 60 per cent of their market value.
Similar studies from the Carbon Tracker group have warned that fossil fuel companies will be unable to burn much of their declared reserves if governments are to meet their stated aim of limiting global average temperature increases to under two degrees Centigrade. 
In reality, the new Oxford University "research programme" is nothing but a partnership with envirofundamentalist WWF to scare investors away from the major energy companies, which produce the fossil energy needed to keep the UK - and global - industry and trade going and make it possible for the society to function. 
Shame on Oxford University for allowing itself be used as a tool for envirofundamentalist propaganda!  

Monday, 11 February 2013

On taboos and political correctness in Germany (and Europe in general)

Focus magazine columnist Thomas Wolf has written a brief, but so true article on political correctness in Germany:

There are taboos in Germany. The person who is against the euro and makes it know publicly, will almost always have a hard time. Do-gooders of all colors denounce people with eurocritical opinions in talks shows as anti-European and revanchist.

Also the person who questions human caused climate change is not likely to find apologists. "Such people do not have any sense of responsibility for the future of our children" is the killer argument. And the person who thinks that the victims themselves are to blame for poverty and social problems, is callous and totally lacking solidarity. You are only allowed to reject Christianity. Because the Pope forbids the pill and priests live a celibate life. However, any criticism of Islam is forbidden. It would be xenophobic. 

When differing opinions are not expressed anymore, because their holders are castigated as immoral, every debate runs dry. 

Political correctness and taboos have created a climate without any alternatives in the German Federal Republic, which the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk describes in this way: "Whether you confess to social democracy or not, has for long ceased to mean anything, because there cannot really be any non-social democrats among us, the society is per se social democrat, and the person who is not, is either in a madhouse or abroad ..."

Wolf's and Sloterdijk's descriptions are, of course, not only applicable in Germany. Exactly the same taboos and political correctness prevent any meaningful discussion and debate in many other European countries. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Angela Merkel opts for fast-track fracking

Angela Merkel is finally beginning to understand the reality of the US led shale gas revolution:

Germany's governing coalition wants to quickly put an end to a virtual moratorium on the controversial shale gas extraction method of fracking in the country, SPIEGEL has learned. Officials want to have plans finished before the federal election this autumn.
The German government is planning to accelerate an end to a virtual moratorium on the controversial natural gas extraction method called fracking, SPIEGEL has learned.

Parliamentarians from Angela Merkel's governing center-right coalition of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, their Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union, and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) want to jumpstart the extraction of shale gas deposits in the country. As such, they have agreed on key measures for tapping virgin deposits ahead of this year's federal election in the fall.

The greenies will of course do their best in order to prevent any sensible shale gas policy, but one must hope that the main opposition party, the social democrats, understands the benefits of domestic shale gas production for Germany