Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

The die of rolling heads lands twice.

Posted: August 31, 2014 by tchannon in Politics

Significant news as the end of the political holiday season approaches.

  • BBC Trust chair chosen replacing Patten
  • EU president chosen replacing Rompuy

The news has been that all choices for the BBC chair was thwarted by Non! A poisoned chalice. Rona Fairhead, former managerial head of the Financial Times Group, involved with HSBC and various other things.

The accepter doesn’t seem notable, managerial journeyman. I assume a non-techie so this does not bode well for sorting out bias and spin.

EU presidency is a whole different matter given a number of thorny issues. Choosing a Pole is notable: Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk

This move seems to be addressing the UK threats of leaving the EU but is also from an ex-Soviet satellite. Poland have views on eg. fraking too. And a fluent German speaker.

I am sure there will be acres of opinion on the meaning of these appointment.

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Feds: California Fracking is Safe

Posted: August 30, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, Politics

Gas drilling rig [image credit BBC]

US gas drilling rig
[image credit BBC]


How much effort has to be put in by how many ‘authorities’ to determine whether hydraulic fracturing is an acceptable technique for recovering gas?

Surely the wisdom doesn’t vary that much from one region to another. While each federal state or country agonises over its decision, the industry as a whole continues to advance and make a big impact on the energy business worldwide.

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Biomass CO2 Emissions More Than Burning Coal

Posted: August 28, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, Politics

oldbrew:

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Bubble bursts for Britain’s biomass burning boom

Is there any good news? Yes – biomass subsidies are due to end in 2027.

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28457104

Back in May, I reported on a letter sent to Ed Davey by a group of American scientists, attacking UK subsidies for biomass plants. They pointed out that burning biomass could actually increase CO2 emissions, as well as causing other environmental problems.

DECC were so alarmed that they had to commission a report.

It seems that even the BBC, belatedly, have picked up on this problem. In July they reported:

Burning wood to fuel power stations can create as many harmful carbon emissions as burning coal, according to a government report.

UK taxpayers subsidise energy firms to burn wood to meet EU renewables targets.

But the report from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) shows sometimes much bigger carbon savings would be achieved by leaving the wood in the forests.

This suggests power firms may be winning subsidies for inadvertently making climate change even…

View original 887 more words

Heysham power station [image credit: Belfast Telegraph]

Heysham power station
[image credit: Belfast Telegraph]


Lurking in a NYT report on the recent shutdown of four nuclear reactors (three in the last week, one in June) for ‘safety checks’ is this sobering analysis:

‘The reactor problems highlight that most of Britain’s nuclear installations, which generate about 20 percent of the country’s electricity, are approaching the end of their lives. The four EDF reactors under investigation were commissioned in 1983 and are officially scheduled to be removed from service in 2019.’

Then comes the bombshell:
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The great diesel scandal

Posted: August 9, 2014 by Andrew in Incompetence, Politics

imageThe Western world is now well into the ‘Repent at leisure’ phase following years of hysterical reaction to the hypothetical threat that was “Global Warming”. The mantra of  ‘reduce CO2 at all costs’ is now coming back to haunt the tax payer. The solution, as always, is to tax the public to nudge them in the right direction, which just happens to be completely opposite to the previous direction nudged earlier; meanwhile politicians pretend that these new taxes are for our own good, no matter the side effects. The latest example being extra tax on diesels entering Central London.

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Pulled out of the hat

Pulled out of the hat


You might like this recent announcement from The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP).

***
On July 27, SEPP announced the winner of this year’s April Fools award at the annual meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness (DDP). Each year SEPP conducts its annual vote for the recipient of the coveted trophy, The Jackson, a piece of coal on a pedestal. Readers of The Week That Was are asked to nominate and vote for who they think is most deserving, following these criteria:

# The nominee has advanced, or proposes to advance, significant expansion of governmental power, regulation, or control over the public or significant sections of the general economy.
# The nominee does so by declaring such measures are necessary to protect public health, welfare, or the environment.
# The nominee declares that physical science supports such measures.
# The physical science supporting the measures is flimsy at best, and possibly non-existent.

There were 20 nominations representing 4 countries and the States of California and Vermont.
The votes have been tabulated.

[Drum roll]

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Propeller city [credit: BBC]

Propeller city [credit: BBC]

Breitbart London reports:

‘A Danish university has fired one of its professors who was critical of wind farms. Acoustics expert Henrik Møller, who is internationally recognised in his field, was ostensibly sacked because he did not generate enough revenue for the university, although some are questioning this explanation.’

Why are they questioning it?

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Heatwave time [image credit: BBC]

Heatwave time [image credit: BBC]


Piers Corbyn has made a weather forecast. Nothing new there, that’s his line of work. But this one has caught the attention of at least one organ of the UK national press [warning: loud headline ahead]…
Daily Express report

Reading the forecast, it clearly states the behaviour of the jet stream is the key factor. So what are the chances of showing any significant link between the behaviour of jet streams and small variations in atmospheric trace gases? They appear to be remote at present.

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UK solar PV companies want to go to court

Posted: August 4, 2014 by tchannon in government, Legal, Politics

(Reuters) – Four of Britain’s largest solar companies have requested a judicial review of a government proposal to halt a subsidy scheme for solar energy earlier than planned.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/04/uk-britain-solar-idUKKBN0G40N220140804

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Reposted in full from Reader Supported News

Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev
By Steve Weissman 25th March 2014

geoffrey-pyatt

Geoffrey R. Pyatt, is the current United States Ambassador to Ukraine. (illustration: AP)

If the US State Department’s Victoria Nuland had not said “Fuck the EU,” few outsiders at the time would have heard of Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, the man on the other end of her famously bugged telephone call. But now Washington’s man in Kiev is gaining fame as the face of the CIA-style “destabilization campaign” that brought down Ukraine’s monumentally corrupt but legitimately elected President Viktor Yanukovych.

“Geoffrey Pyatt is one of these State Department high officials who does what he’s told and fancies himself as a kind of a CIA operator,” laughs Ray McGovern, who worked for 27 years as an intelligence analyst for the agency. “It used to be the CIA doing these things,” he tells Democracy Now. “I know that for a fact.” Now it’s the State Department, with its coat-and-tie diplomats, twitter and facebook accounts, and a trick bag of goodies to build support for American policy.

A retired apparatchik, the now repentant McGovern was debating Yale historian Timothy Snyder, a self-described left-winger and the author of two recent essays in The New York Review of Books – “The Haze of Propaganda” and “Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine.” Both men speak Russian, but they come from different planets.

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Blackout_britain

Visit Cartoons by Josh and buy something

From RT.com

The UK risks sweeping electricity blackouts unless it increases the state’s capacity to balance infrequent supply from renewable energy sources, a prominent engineer who carried out government-funded research has warned.

While British authorities are under legal obligation to source almost a third of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020, they require immediately deployable gas-fuelled power stations to cater for inevitable lulls in sun and wind energy output.

Hugh Sharman, a British engineering consultant, was commissioned to work on a government-sanctioned report examining how UK authorities could sustain the nation’s energy demands in an era of mandatory renewable energy use.

Tendered to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last year, the research went unpublished.

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image

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

“CCS is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix” (DECC), and so say many other countries around the globe. Catch the CO2 and push it back underground. Just like waste water from fracking, but on an epic scale, so where are all the protests?

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Image

Image US Air Force

Under heading I didn’t know that there is a curious lack of sanctions so far on the stockpile of cold war era high thrust RD-180 and NK-33 rocket engines

Actually this is funny, Obama, Camaroon and the band pile onto Putin, in my view all damn silly, stop making trouble yet there we are US spy satellites, Mars stuff and goodness knows what else using Russian main engines.

“The Curiosity Rover, for example, departed for Mars atop an Atlas V for its …” madeinalabama site

And guess what there are long faces, talk of ‘we can design a new engine in 4 years given enough money’. Yeah right given only Soviet era perfected for that particular fuel combination.

Russian news site

Russia to Continue Space Rocket Engines Deliveries to US Despite Sanctions

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Whoa, what is going on?

GWPF have an amusing new story based on a Fox News article dated 20th July

In the run-up to the U.N. climate conference (COP20) in Lima in December, Peru’s government just rolled back environmental regulations in an effort to boost mining.

http://www.thegwpf.org/ahead-of-u-n-climate-talks-peru-slashes-environmental-regulations/

Reuters have a new story dated 23rd July

Peru’s Humala replaces prime minister amid political scandal

(Reuters) – Peru’s President Ollanta Humala said on Tuesday he is replacing his prime minister following an embarrassing political scandal that marks the start of his sixth cabinet and his third year in office.

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imageOwen Patterson was, until last week, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (UK). He lost his job in the reshuffle, apparently for a number of reasons, which will not be gone into here and now.

He has now written an article for the Telegraph newspaper. The GWPF to which Mr Paterson is to deliver the Annual Lecture, has produced a slightly abbreviated version Read Here. His article is directed, not at the Prime Minister and those within the Government that lobbied for his removal. The target is what he calls “The Green Blob”.

It is not very often that a Policy Maker expresses an opinion of their own, as they are bound by the rules of the Cabinet “Tent”. To express such strong opinion so soon is rarer still. It seems unlikely that Mr Paterson go quietly and even (pure speculation on my part) opens the possibility that he may eventually replace Nigel Lawson.

“You can judge a man by the quality of his enemies” said Oscar Wilde. They cannot resist gloating at his downfall. Friends of the Earth & George Monbiot, amongst many others were quick to react. While Greenpeace did not openly celebrate, a Press release earlier this year, shows how much they wanted to have him removed.

 

Australia repeals carbon tax

Posted: July 19, 2014 by Andrew in climate, Energy, Politics

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Note from the co-moderator. We welcome Andrew as a new Talkshop contributor.

The biggest story in energy and climate politics, by a mile this week, is the news that at 11:15 EST Thursday the Australian Senate voted 39-32 to repeal the Climate Tax.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Tony Abbott declared it a “Useless destructive tax, which damaged jobs, which hurt families’ cost of living & which didn’t actually help the environment”. Tony Abbott made removing the bill the key promise of his election campaign.

Not everything has run smoothly for supporters of the repeal. In the days before the Senate vote Clive Palmer, leader of the PUP with 3 key senators, stood next to Al Gore while apparently discussing an emissions trading scheme. He then prevented the first attempt to repeal the bill. After the vote Opposition leader Bill Shorten described Abbott as an “environmental vandal”. This comes on the eve of Australia hosting the G20.

The reaction has been global. The Guardian is not amused, Graham Readfern writes “Science denial, so-called “free market” ideology and the interests of the fossil energy industry are the termites chewing away at the base all efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions”.

Slate ” In Australia, as the Simpsons joke goes, the water goes down the toilet counterclockwise . Now with its government voting to repeal the country’s tax on Carbon – in the process killing it’s most significant means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – it seems that Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, is determined to take the country in the same direction”. While some on Twitter hope for other countries to punish Australia.

On the other hand The Wall Street Journal headline simply  reads ” Tony Abbot shows that climate absolutists have a problem : democracy”. There is an Emission Reduction Fund White Paper as consolation for the supporters of the bill, but the Abbott Government seems intent on further cuts to the Green gravy train.

Science minister replaced in UK cabinet reshuffle

Greg Clark, MP for Royal Tunbridge Wells, has been appointed minister for science and universities in the UK government’s latest cabinet reshuffle, following his predecessor David Willetts’ resignation.

Born in Middlesbrough, Clark studied economics at the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics and spent time working for a consultancy firm before entering politics. He was director of policy for the Conservatives for three successive party leaders: William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, before being elected as an MP in 2005. In opposition he spent two years as the shadow secretary for energy and climate change.

Chemistry World, Royal Society of Chemistry

My bold.

Giggle at RSC bothering with Royal in Tunbridge Wells.

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Drax powerstation, generating 7% of Britains needs, is being forced to convert to imported woodchips.

Drax powerstation, generating 7% of Britains needs.

(Reuters) – British power producer Drax won a legal case against the government on Monday as the High Court overruled a decision to drop one of the company’s coal-to-biomass conversion projects from a new renewable energy subsidy scheme.

The court decided the utility had fulfilled all of the key criteria set out by the government at the time of making its application to seek early investment contracts under the new scheme for two of its projects to convert coal units to biomass.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/07/14/uk-draxgroup-brief-idUKKBN0FJ1NM20140714

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The Spectator has a good analysis on the BBC climate reporting bias debacle which coins a new phrase – ‘Climate Correctness’. A few excerpts:

gagging-ordersIt is only a matter of time before Nigel Lawson — if he is allowed on the BBC at all — has to have his words spoken by an actor in the manner of Gerry Adams at the height of the IRA’s bombing campaign during the 1980s. In the case of Mr Adams, whose voice was banned from the airwaves by the government, the BBC stood up for free speech. But it is quite a different story with Lord Lawson. The BBC has effectively banned the former chancellor (and former editor of this magazine) from appearing on its programmes to debate climate change, unless he is introduced with a statement discrediting his views.

When people try to close down debate rather than engage with it, there is a pretty clear conclusion to be drawn: they lack confidence in their own case. The suppression of debate was shown again this week when Vladimir Semonov, a climate scientist at the Geomar Institute in Kiel, Germany, revealed that a paper he wrote in 2009 questioning the accuracy of climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was effectively censored by the scientist to whom it was sent for review.

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From Benny Peiser by email:

Europe’s Energy Security At Risk From Green & Russian Lobbies

Russian-bear-cartoonHow far will Russian President Vladimir Putin go to stop fracking in Europe? Tint his thinning hair an eco-friendly color? According to NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen, Russia’s myriad intelligence agencies are working directly with European environmental groups to fund anti-fracking campaigns. Putin is doing this to slow the spread of the U.S. shale revolution across the Atlantic so Russia can hold on to its monopoly of the European natural gas market. Europe’s energy insecurity – its dependence on Russian gas – has proven to be Putin’s favorite tool of geopolitical blackmail. Putin can continue to funnel rubles to Europe’s environmental activist groups and hope to slow the spread of the shale revolution. But Russian dominance of the European gas market is on borrowed time. –William F. Shughart II, Forbes, 4 July 2014

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