Archive for the ‘News’ Category

VW ID.3 [image credit: Alexander Migl @ Wikipedia]


The car is about the same size as VW’s Golf model but weighs 200 kilograms more due to the battery, which has an 8 year guarantee. What is guaranteed is not clear. List prices for most versions are well in excess of 30,000 euros, but subsidies are on offer. Don’t all rush at once…
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Volkswagen ID.3 latest news

Even before the Volkswagen ID.3 goes on sale, it has managed to pick up an award – from carwow!

The ID.3 collected the Most Wanted award at the 2019 carwow Car of the Year awards, says Green Car Congress.

This award is given to the brand that has the most-read news story here on carwow – and the ID.3 scooped that accolade by some margin.

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Trump Order Confronts Big Tech Bias

Posted: June 11, 2020 by oldbrew in censorship, government, Legal, media, News

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Social media getting its wings clipped? Lawyers should do well out of it.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

President Trump finally issued an Executive Order targeting viewpoint discrimination by Big Tech social media companies. The Order grows out of Trump’s summit on this thorny issue last July. Topping the list of targets are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google, but there are many other possibilities.

This form of discrimination is very much uncharted legal territory. The chosen central concept for Big Tech wrongdoing is “censorship”, as the EO is titled “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship”. This choice in itself is a strategic legal decision.

The Order is basically a hunting license for federal agencies. There are two distinct parts. The first is basically laying out a number of legal arguments. If you are not familiar with the legal issues this may seem like empty rhetoric, but it is actually the opposite. The lawyers who wrote this order are preparing to…

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Drax power station [credit: drax.com]


The climate-obsessed BBC frames this as a hard luck story for a charity. But for energy consumers it will be the biggest gas power station in Europe if/when built, providing on-demand power to help replace the many coal-fired plants closed in recent years.
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An environmental charity has lost a High Court challenge against a government decision to approve a new gas-fired power plant, reports BBC News.

ClientEarth had argued the decision did not take enough account of environmental targets at the Drax power station near Selby, North Yorkshire.

But the judge Mr Justice Holgate, said the targets were outweighed by other “public interest issues” involved.

The charity is now considering an appeal against the decision.

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Heathrow airport


Coronavirus has obviously reduced the pressure on the airport for quite a while, at least. Restricting Heathrow capacity would mean some flights going somewhere else, but little likely effect on total air miles.
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The case will now be heard by the UK’s highest court as the airport tries to overturn campaigners’ earlier victory, reports Sky News.

Heathrow airport has been given permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against a block on its plan for a third runway.

Judges said Heathrow could appeal against a February ruling which said the government’s airports policy was unlawful as it failed to take into account climate change commitments.

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[image credit: beforeitsnews.com]


Postponed might be a better word than stops in this case. But maybe not so surprising in a country where the President has called wind turbines “fans”. So he’s definitely not a fan.

It sounds like a news report out of yet another dystopian novel: Mexico is halting grid connection for new solar and wind power projects, says Oilprice.com (via The GWPF).

In a world rushing to produce clean energy, Mexico has suddenly stood out like a sore thumb.

But, as usual, there’s more to the story.

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Loch Vaa, Scotland


Despite an unusually dry April in the notoriously rainy Scottish Highlands, an unpredictable local loch is now way above normal levels, baffling experts and locals.
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The level at a loch that mysteriously lost millions of gallons of water a year ago has risen to one of its highest in years, reports BBC News.

Loch Vaa, near Aviemore in the Cairngorms, is fed by a spring.

In May last year, its lease-holders reported the water level had dropped by 1.4m (4.5ft) for unexplained reasons.

However, after returning to normal levels later in 2019, it has now risen by an extra 2.5m (8ft), the highest level in decades.

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NASA claims humans now have 50 times more influence on temperatures than the Sun, according to this report. But they don’t link to any supporting evidence so we’re back to alarmist assertions and numbers pulled out of the sky, as usual.

NASA has shut down a spacecraft that measured the amount of solar energy entering Earth’s atmosphere for 17 years, more than three times the mission’s original design life, reports Spaceflight Now.

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment, or SORCE, mission ended Feb. 25 after the spacecraft labored through battery problems for years until NASA could launch a replacement.

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Predictable, as most other mass gatherings this year have been busy cancelling themselves recently for the same reason. It won’t be missed.

A key climate conference due in November is delayed over disruption caused by the coronavirus, reports BBC News.

The announcement was made in a joint statement from the UK and UN after a “virtual” meeting of officials.

Dozens of world leaders were due to attend the COP26 gathering that was set to run in Glasgow from November 9 this year.

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OCR software isn’t up to the job apparently. Let’s hope they don’t resort to data ‘adjustments’ after all the public’s efforts. Rain is a popular topic in the UK.

Scientists have been amazed at the public’s response to help digitise the UK’s old rainfall records, reports BBC News.

Handwritten numbers on documents dating back 200 years are being transferred to a spreadsheet format so that computers can analyse past weather patterns.

The volunteers blitzed their way through rain gauge data from the 1950s, 40s and 30s in just four days.

Project leader Prof Ed Hawkins had suggested the work might be a good way for people to use self-isolation time.

“It’s been incredible. I thought we might get this far after three or four weeks, not three or four days,” he told BBC News.

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One for the ‘planet on fire’ crowd to ponder, as the long solar minimum continues.
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Cold temperatures and a strong polar vortex allowed chemicals to gnaw away at the protective ozone layer in the north, says The GWPF.

A vast ozone hole — likely the biggest on record in the north — has opened in the skies above the Arctic. It rivals the better-known Antarctic ozone hole that forms in the southern hemisphere each year.

Record-low ozone levels currently stretch across much of the central Arctic, covering an area about three times the size of Greenland (see ‘Arctic opening’).

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Some say it could be a remnant of the Great Comet of 1843.
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Spaceweather.com

March 24, 2020: No one knows how big the icy core of Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) might be–possibly no wider than a few kilometers. One thing’s for sure, though, the comet’s atmosphere is huge. New images from amateur astronomers around the world show that ATLAS’s gaseous envelope has ballooned in diameter to ~720,000 km–about half as wide as the sun.

cometatlas_inset

“Comet ATLAS’s coma (atmosphere) is approximately 15 arcminutes in diameter,” reports Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, who took the picture, above, on March 18th. “Its newly-formed tail is about the same size.”

Other astronomers are getting similar results. 15 arcminutes = a quarter of a degree. Given Comet ATLAS’s distance of 1.1 AU on March 18th, that angle corresponds to a physical size of 720,000 km.

On the scale of big things in the solar system, Comet ATLAS falls somewhere between the sun (1,392,000 km  diameter) and Jupiter…

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Try not to weep. It will no doubt take place eventually, and hundreds of fuel-thirsty jets will descend on Scotland – or somewhere else – to discuss one more time how not to burn fuel in order to ‘save the world’, or something.

International climate talks scheduled for Glasgow in November have been thrown into doubt as the global clampdown on travel intensifies because of the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Financial Times (via The GWPF).

Government officials said it was increasingly likely that the annual UN gathering would be postponed given the fast-changing situation.

“Nothing is definite yet but from my vantage point I would bet on it being cancelled pretty soon,” said one Whitehall official.

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The MOSAiC crowd ignored the fact they would be in the Arctic at solar minimum, and a deeper than usual one at that. Here’s the result.

Sunrise's Swansong

In my last post I mentioned that the Russian icebreaker  Kapitan Dranitsyn had to battle thick sea-ice to resupply the Polarstern at the MOSAiC site. Contact was successful, and cranes began to  unload and load supplies that were hauled by tractor between the two ships.

PS1 polarstern-1-e1583402517868

A fresh crew of scientists relieved the crew that has been working there.

PS2 polarstern-unloading-2-credit-michael-gutsche

With temperatures down around -30ºC, the open water in the wake of the Kapitan Dranitsyn froze over swiftly. Men could walk on the new ice within 24 hours.

PS3 polarstern-and-icebreaker.1f7f58

By the time the transfer of men and supplies was complete the ship was frozen so fast it could not extract itself. The news is now that the Russians are sending a second icebreaker, the Admiral Makarov, to help the first icebreaker free itself. (Note the twilight in the above picture. The are located close enough to the Pole to see a very swift…

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That didn’t take long. Are these challengers aware the Heathrow decision was about a legal technicality, with the judges specifically saying they weren’t trying to halt the project?

A legal challenge against the construction of HS2 is to be launched by broadcaster and naturalist Chris Packham over claims the project is incompatible with the government’s net-zero carbon emissions target, days after the High Court ruled against Heathrow expansion, Construction News reports.

The move comes as Heathrow Airport warned that the government’s decision not to appeal its legal defeat last week – over a failure to comply with planning policy, as it did not take into account terms included in the Paris Agreement on climate change – could mean the scrapping of housing and roads plans.

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Climate paranoia has hit the UK courts big-time. It now seems illegal not to obsess over trace gases in the atmosphere, due to the Paris climate agreement.

Heathrow Airport’s controversial plans to build a third runway have been thrown into doubt after a court ruling, reports BBC News.

The government’s Heathrow’s expansion decision was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account, the Court of Appeal said.

Heathrow said it would challenge the decision, but the government has not lodged an appeal.

The judges said that in future, a third runway could go ahead, as long as it fits with the UK’s climate policy.

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You really couldn’t make this stuff up, except possibly in jest.

The Amazon boss and world’s richest man gives 8% of his fortune to fight the planet’s “biggest threat”, reports BBC News.

The world’s richest man said the money would finance work by scientists, activists and other groups.

He said: “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change.”

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H/T The GWPF

The UK government seems to have a bad case of climate derangement syndrome at the moment, in the run-up to the COP26 conference in Glasgow this year. How much economic damage could its futile attempts to reduce the supply of essential carbon dioxide (CO2) to the Earth’s ecosystems do?
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Homeowners could be forced to replace their gas boilers to ensure the UK meets its target to be carbon neutral by 2050, ministers are warning.

The Government will publish a White Paper later this year which will set out the “bigger decisions” that the UK has to make to meet the target, says the Sunday Telegraph.

Lord Duncan of Springbank, the Climate Change minister, said that the White Paper will consider whether the Government should ban gas central heating altogether from all homes.

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Abu Dhabi National Oil Company or ADNOC is the state-owned oil company of the United Arab Emirates


Any showboating climate protesters fancy a visit? ‘Keep it in the ground’ could be a hard sell in that part of the world.

The United Arab Emirates, a leading OPEC producer, announced Monday the discovery of huge gas reserves, saying the find would help the Gulf state achieve self-sufficiency, reports Phys.org.

The United Arab Emirates, a leading OPEC producer, announced Monday the discovery of huge gas reserves, saying the find would help the Gulf state achieve self-sufficiency.

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Lack of public enthusiasm for much-touted electric cars wasn’t overcome by these relatively low-cost offerings. Where they think a sales boom is going to come from is a mystery.

An all-electric car-sharing scheme in London is being scrapped next month in a setback to the capital’s ambitions to get more polluting vehicles off the road, says the Evening Standard.

French-owned Bluecity, which ran a fleet of distinctive red battery-powered cars, said its £5-per-half hour service was no longer financially viable after it secured deals with only three London councils. It will officially shut down on February 10.

A second car-sharing club, German-owned DriveNow, is pulling out of London at the end of next month. It operated 130 electric BMW i3 cars out of a total fleet of more than 700 vehicles.

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Whether any change in UK climate policy is linked to this manouevre remains to be seen.

In a surprise move, the woman appointed to run the crucial UN climate summit in Glasgow in November has been sacked, reports BBC News.

Claire Perry O’Neill, a former climate minister, had been assigned the post of “president” of the event, known as COP 26.

The British government has confirmed that the job will now be handled by the business department, BEIS.

In a tweet, Mrs O’Neill said she was “very sad” to lose the role, and went on to criticise the government.

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