Posts Tagged 'Big Business'

Business, the EU, ‘reform’ and the Age of Ignorance

And the Europlastics are at it again…

A survey of more than 1,000 business leaders, from companies of all sizes and sectors, has found overwhelming backing for plans for an in-out referendum on Britain’s place in Europe, with 66% in favour, reports the pro-EU Daily Mail.

The story goes on to add that a total of 56% of those surveyed feel that ‘meaningful change’ of the UK’s relationship with Brussels requires treaty change and a relationship based simply on trade against 23 per cent who don’t. 

This shows us once again how EU membership (a purely political issue concerning sovereignty and decision making) is being mixed and confused with membership of the Single Market (a purely economic issue concerning trade).  By conflating the two, the Europhiles maintain the lie that we have to swallow the politics in order to benefit from the economics.  Once again there is no discussion or examination of the other opportunities that would available to the UK if it left the EU, which could be far more beneficial.

With UKIP having departed the field where the EU membership battle is being fought – and focusing itself on ignorant immigration pledges, train lines and water usage in urinals and toilets, rather getting the UK out of the EU – the Mail turns for comment to its usual useful idiots, who still push the false option of EU reform and perpetuate the lie that our involvement in the EU (in all its previous guises) was only ever intended to be about trade.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Business for Britain, said:

It will come as a surprise to many that a nationwide and representative poll of business leaders finds a clear majority support EU treaty change and a return to a trading relationship.

The reason is clear – most business leaders think the costs of the Single Market outweigh its benefits. Now that business has spoken, the pressure is on the Government to get a better deal from Brussels and make life easier for Britain’s job creators.

There it is… ‘return to a trading relationship’ says Elliott.  A relationship that never existed.  Yet of course the truth must never be allowed to get in the way of an agenda.  If Elliott was serious about ‘reform’ he would explain that we got to this stage because the European project has only ever been about legal and political union. Economics and trade were used merely as strategic enablers, helping along the political aims while concealed in plain view.

Adding to Elliott’s misinformation, the Mail adds comment from Alan Halsall, co-chairman of Business for Britain and chairman of Silver Cross Prams, who said:

Business has, until now, been poorly represented in the debate on Britain’s EU membership. My own experience is one of overregulation combined with protectionism, even within the  Single Market, and we have therefore focussed on trading with the fast-growing markets in the Pacific region.

I often wonder why there aren’t more business people calling on the Government to make fundamental changes to our EU membership.

This poll demonstrates that I and hundreds of thousands of other UK business people are not alone in wanting to see a much better deal from Brussels.

Horse. Dead. Flogging.  The usual rubbish from the usual suspects.  The aim was always political so what need was there to engage business?

Then comes a classic illustration of the failure of business or the media to connect the dots or acknowledge the reality of how EU membership stops the UK from making international trade agreements, as the EU decides for the UK what the agreements will be and who they will be with:

The poll finds that British business is increasingly looking beyond Europe for new trade and would like the Government to do so too. By 58 per cent to 21 per cent British business leaders want to see the Government focus on the emerging economic powers like Brazil, China and India rather than the EU for future trading links.

Our trading links are dictated and controlled by the EU.  The government does not have the power or right to do anything.  With this being the case, why are these Europlastics banging on about reforming ‘Europe’ and its political project, when leaving the EU – perhaps adopting the Norway Option – would make the UK an independent nation state with autonomy that can free itself of the inward looking EU focus they say is holding them back?  Such stupidity.

The questions remain.  Why do these Europlastics continue to pursue the failing approach of shackling this country to a ‘middle man’ that only passes down to us for implementation decisions that have been made at a global level without our input and influence? 

How can they talk of being more outward looking, yet argue in favour of a settlement that means the UK still going without a seat at the real top table, and not having a voice on the committees and organisations where global decisions affecting trade across the globe with the very ’emerging economic powers’ British business is increasingly trying to build stronger ties with, are made?

We are clearly living in the Age of Ignorance.

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Richard North in Daily Mail’s RightMinds

There is nothing like having a substantial platform in a mass readership entity to convey an important perspective on an essential topic. But thanks to the RightMinds section in the Mail, that is what Dr Richard North of EU Referendum has secured in order to carry a vitally important message to the wider public.  If you’ve not already seen the piece it is well deserving of a few minutes of your time.

Continuous Insurance Enforcement, bureaucracy and big government

In these times of austerity it must be reassuring for the likes of Ed Miliband and his band of big state, champagne Fabians to see that this (supposedly) cost cutting government continues to generate work for itself in order to cause inconvenience to law abiding car owners.

The latest example is the recent change to insurance requirements for those car owners who choose to keep their taxed vehicles off the public highway, known as Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE).

If for example a driver has a car he uses on, say, a seasonal basis – such as a soft-top or classic car – and the vehicle is properly taxed, the law has been changed to force the driver to keep that vehicle insured.  Whereas common sense would dictate that if a properly taxed vehicle is off the road for a period of time there should be no need to have motor insurance for it, the government has decided otherwise.  The thinking behind it is to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road.  The reality is that this could turn otherwise law abiding motorists an even larger cash cow and significantly increase the bureaucratic overhead required to monitor and enforce the new law, at taxpayer expense naturally.

Drivers who wish to keep their vehicles off the public highway for a period of time often don’t bother with the trouble of completing a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) and sending back their tax disc for a refund of unused duty.  That means the Treasury benefit from a bit of extra money and there is less bureaucratic work required of civil servants.  Now however they must complete a SORN and return the tax disc, or they must by law pay insurance premiums even though their vehicle is off the highway and not an accident risk to anyone.  Not having insurance on such a vehicle because it is plainly unnecessary is no longer acceptable.

What the government has done is not only counterproductive, it also undermines case law dating back to 1777 that enshrine the fundamental principle of insurance cover.  It is ably explained by Tony Bridgland writing in Insurance Age magazine:

In 1777, a ship was due to sail from England to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Under her insurance, it was warranted that she would make the voyage in convoy. But she was late in arriving at the assembly point, and the convoy sailed without her and she sailed alone.

This meant that, because the warranty was not satisfied, the insurers carried no risk.

In Tyrie v Fletcher, Mansfield ruled that the premium should be returned. In short, they could not charge for a risk they had not run.

This became one of the main principles of modern insurance, and still is.

So what we have is an example of hyperactive, interfering government tearing up long standing insurance and legal principles so that motorists are being charged for a risk they are not running.  True, they can avoid this, but only by declaring their vehicle off the road and claiming back their unused duty, then at more inconveience to themselves, having to present at the Post Office (assuming it hasn’t closed down) with all documentation to get a new tax disc later – not even being able to make use of the online mechanisms to get the disc.  As the sole commentator to the piece observes:

If you are a crim who thinks nothing of risking a £200 fine, 6 points and the car being scrapped when you take it on the road, the risk of a further £100 fine through the post is not going to get you quaking in your boots, is it?

The only people being put out and paying extra to service the administration of this change are the law abiding.  The people the government claim they are targeting will continue their law breaking regardless, in all probability not even having tax in the first place let alone insurance (and in many cases not even having a licence) and on the rare occasions they are caught will take the slap on the wrist as the price of doing business and carry on as if nothing has happened.  The answer is our money being spent on police traffic patrols instead of cash generating speed cameras.  Speed cameras don’t identify dangerous vehicles, dangerous drivers, or catch those without licences, tax or insurance.

And we wonder why we end up with ever more laws, pay ever more in tax and have ever less to show for it.  Be sure of one thing, if big government claims to have the answer then it is a bloody stupid question.

How to defeat Mehdi Hasan

After his bombastic performance on Question Time last week and his ill-tempered Twitter exchange with Archbishop Cranmer, it seems there is a way to shut up Mehdi Hasan, the  Senior Editor (Politics) at the New Statesman magazine.

You just need to counter with facts that which he casually denies when he lets ideological fervour over take him.  It was laughable that in my exchange with him on Twitter earlier today he said it was ‘not true’ that Barclays bank sought private money instead of a taxpayer funded bailout during the banking crisis…

Notice how Hasan tries to move the goalposts after his fallacy is exposed?  The fact is it’s true that Barclays took funding from the Middle East – at quite a rate of interest I might add – rather than take money from the government on Gordon Brown’s terms.

But while the banks that took taxpayers’ money should pay it back without delay, it is arguable that as a private company Barclays should alter its bonus arrangements for employees when it has no debt to repay the taxpayer.

As for the indirect benefits of the bailout of other banks, it was not just the banking sector that benefited. So should other private companies that have benefited from the recapitalisation of the banks also stop paying bonuses?  Hasan doesn’t say – but then, he wouldn’t as his attempt at political point scoring doesn’t lead him to think in such depth.  If you read tweets perhaps you might like to…

You’re resigning? Not unless we can pay you £97,000!

What kind of utter moron agrees to employ an executive on terms that give six months’ pay in lieu of notice as a ‘minimum contractual entitlement’ when that executive voluntarily resigns from their position?

What kind of moron then agrees to pay that executive thousands of pounds to cover the cost of their ‘legal and tax advisors’ when they have voluntarily resigned?

It’s all so easy when you’re using tens of thousands of pounds of other people’s hard earned money.

This is the perverse reality for the poorly served the people of Northern Ireland, who have stood by powerless as the resignation of Northern Ireland Water Chief Executive and convicted thief Laurence MacKenzie, has turned into a lottery jackpot for him.

Thousands of MacKenzie’s customers have had to endure an absence of running water since before Christmas, and thousands more have suffered serious interruptions to their supply on a rota basis. Yet the first person to get any money after this fiasco is the man whose responsibility was to ensure adequate investment in the water infrastructure and who failed miserably. And it’s all thanks to NI Regional Development Minister, Conor Murphy who signed off the payments.

And worse of all, it is not even an undeserved compensation payment for being shown the door because he and the Northern Ireland Executive state it was his decision to leave. In the real world where people resign they work their notice period and leave with nothing. But in the bubble of the old boys network that makes up the executive and political community in the UK, they agree lavish contract terms that defy reason or logic and ensure a big fat payoff regardless of performance or the manner of their departure. It is a naked abuse of their position and a misappropriation of public money, but the people are powerless to hold these thieves to account.

MacKenzie should be paying the price for his failure. Instead he is cashing in at the expense of his long suffering customers. And it’s all sewn up, nice and legal like, thanks to the parasites who help each other slither into positions of power in our public bodies and the law.

There has to be a reckoning.

The wind power money train rumbles on

A lovely piece of spin from New York as the custodians of the Empire State building have announced a deal to buy nearly 55 million kilowatt hours of renewable electricity a year to meet 100% of the building’s power needs.

Malkin Holdings have chosen the Green Mountain Energy Company to supply all its electricity from its portfolio of wind farms as part of the company’s latest effort to reduce the iconic building’s carbon footprint.

The electricity that flows into the building might have been generated by nuclear or coal power. It’s just that, as in the UK, you can choose who you buy from. As Green Mountain Energy produce electricity from wind Malkin can claim to be powering the Empire State building through wind power alone. There is no direct grid connection from Green Mountain Energy to the Empire State. The cost of making one would be prohibitively expensive and cause huge disruption to lay. But never mind that.

So what is behind Malkin’s move? A desire to save the planet and safeguard the environment from all that evil CO2? Worry not, Malkin have kindly explained the reasons:

Malkin president Anthony E. Malkin said the company’s trailblazing measures would allow the building to attract good tenants and charge higher rents.

“Clean energy and our nearly 40 per cent reduced consumption [..] gives us a competitive advantage in attracting the best credit tenants at the best rents,”  he said. “Our program of innovation at the Empire State Building shows simple, replicable, non-proprietary steps for other landlords to follow to be more energy efficient, cleaner and greener.”

And increase their profits. Driving up the rents of the tenants will result in the additional costs being passed on to the customers who buy their goods and services. But at least Malkin make more money out of it. It’s the green way.

As for Green Mountain Energy, they do not seem very popular with their customers, as the comments on this piece and here and here susggest.

Wind turbines: generating power or something else?

It’s always nice to see that the objective of wind energy companies is to generate electricity. After all, there could not be any other motivation for being in the generation industry, could there?

One Idaho wind company has a plan to get more green for each gust.

Idaho Winds LLC, representing eight local wind farms, has petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve its unconventional plan to sell renewable energy credits in California.

In its Dec. 15 request, Idaho Winds proposed to sell wind energy and related renewable energy credits to a third party. The catch was Idaho Winds would instantly buy the power back, leaving just the credits, which the third party would sell to a California utility.

In essence, no energy would be sold — just California credits for wind power sold in another state.

Consumers must be so pleased to see one of the reasons the cost of their energy is rising rapidly.

The UK’s energy policy in a nutshell

On his Telegraph news blog, James Delingpole poses the question: ‘Huhne: the final nail in the coffin of Cameron’s lousy coalition?’ He bloody well should be, but as much as we wish it was the case it is just a little too hopeful.

However, this does not detract from the outstanding clarity of Delingpole’s explanation of the multiple problems with this pathetic government’s energy and climate change policy. The public are being fleeced and deceived into accepting ‘solutions’ in order to ‘save the planet’ from a ‘problem’ that a) is unproven hypothesis and b) we as a country have no influence over in any case.

We can’t even describe this as nonsensical. It makes perfect sense. Corporations and big business investors are getting rich at our expense as our energy bills head north towards £2500 a year. Not a penny of public money is being put into proven and reliable nuclear power, instead it is being spent by the billion on unreliable and inefficient wind turbines that are not even close to economically viable without huge subsidies from our wallets and energy bills. The miniscule amount of electricity they produce must be purchased at excess cost and this is why our bills are rising.

Despite sufficient evidence to call into question the basis for such a policy, the politicians like Cameron and Huhne press on regardless. They have an agenda and it has nothing to do with serving our interests. In fact it dramatically increases the chance of the lights going out. Little wonder more and more people are getting to the end of their teather and coming to terms with uncompromising courses of action.

Cancun – another nail in our economic coffin

“We’re talking about a [combined] reduction in emissions of 13-16%, and what this means is an increase of more than 4C.

“Responsibly, we cannot go along with this – this would mean we went along with a situation that my president has termed ‘ecocide and genocide’.”

These were the words reported by the BBC of Bolivian climate change conference delegate Pablo Solon. Do you notice the casual yet earnest way this man states as fact that CO2 emission reductions of 13-16% means global temperatures will rise more than 4C? It is not fact. It is a piece of guesswork based on flawed computer models that have failed to accurately project anything. The whole thing is about money.

Yet people who rely on the BBC and other mainstream media for their information, and are not aware of the significant body of scientific dissent from the supposed consensus, will accept such unsubstantiated comments as facts and as is intended, panic and press for a ‘solution’. This is what the climate change lobby, the pressure groups, the corporates and the governments want because they can then execute their political and financial – not environmental – plans. Plans such as the carbon trade and climate change fund that will leave ordinary people in the western world poorer, people in developing countries deceived and the corporates and their big business investors even richer than now.

The agreement in Cancun brings the UN’s plan to assume hegemonic control over the political structures of the world much closer. It takes another step towards the dismantling of democracy and places more power in the hands of the unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in the supranational bodies that seek to control us. A global ruling elite is cementing its power in full view of a world of uncomprehending people who have been conned into believing this is being done for their own good.

And what of the environment? Around the globe climate will continue its natural cyclical changes, sometimes warming and sometimes cooling. Doomesday prophecies of catastrophing warming will not materialise. If anything the new cooling phase signalled by Joe Bastardi will destroy the credibility of the warmists, whose narrative will smoothly move on to ‘human overpopulation’ and ‘natural resources’ as the new justification for taking our money, undermining democracy and eroding our liberty. No wonder the BBC and its fellow inspid media parasites do all they can to keep inconvenient facts off the airwaves.

African lambs to the climate change slaughter

East African businesses will need to adopt mechanisms that mitigate carbon emissions or face the risk of being shut out from trading on the global scene, reports The East African – a newspaper covering Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Just consider some of the observations made in the piece:

“Those that will not limit their carbon emissions face the prospect of their products being boycotted.”

And here we were being told that billions of pounds of our money was being sent to developing countries to help them deal with the impacts of climate change. The reality is big business is aiming to cash in from measures being imposed on the very poorest who can least afford to adapt to the changes being forced on them.

Where funding is required it sometimes goes to the African nations for them to spend with the multinationals. Africa is therefore just the middle man in a transaction that sees public money redistributed to the fabulously wealthy and powerful corporates. To see how this is being perpetrated just consider this:

He [Dr Godwell Nhamo from University of South Africa] said countries like Kenya and Tanzania will have to deal with the massive imports of carbon emitting cars from Japan through appropriate policy. Others are old discarded computers, some of which were finding their way to learning institutions as donations.

In other words stop buying what you struggle to afford now, and only accept low carbon technologies meaning the rejection of donations of technology or paying for it at significant cost. Africans are even losing control of the rewards generated by their own natural resources:

Experts attending the workshop at the East and Southern Africa Management Institute in Tanzania also noted that trade in carbon credits from forests on the continent had become attractive, but cautioned that if not well managed, communities might not reap much from it.

“Multinationals will end up taking most of the benefits like in Congo River Basin where benefits to communities are insignificant,” said Dr Nhamo.

Small wonder we see so many corporates lining up to espouse their climate change credentials. Small wonder people like Al Gore manage to earn an incredible fortune from the measures imposed on others. Small wonder that despite the exposure of flaws and falsehoods the powerbrokers continue their seemingly inexplicable climate change mantra. There’s too much money at stake for the whole thing to be allowed to derail.

Feed-in energy tariff discussion on BBC Five Live

A great return on investment!  Such was the message a short while ago on BBC Five Live as a discussion took place about the use of renewable energy

The discussion became positively gushing when listeners, who do not read EU Referendum and other sensible sources of information, were treated to the ‘revelation’ that by fitting photovoltaic solar panels to their roof at a cost of around £9000 they can benefit from payments worth up to £1000 per year guaranteed for 25 years.

The subtext, as voices became progressively more excited, was clear – Money for nothing! Free money! Fill your boots! Just as it was back in April.  As the presenter and his colleague and guests made clear, fitting solar panels to your roof will only save you around £100 per annum from your own domestic energy costs. That is smaller than very small beer and certainly makes no economic sense for the size of the required installation costs. However, it all becomes worthwhile when you understand that if your solar panels feed surplus power into the electricty grid, the tariff you are paid will generate a healthy return on investment. From an outlay of around £9000 you could reap up to £25000 in tariffs over the course of 25 years.

It goes without saying of course that there was no scrutiny or questioning of the source of the money to pay for this.  It should be no surprise to hear that it comes from you and me, those people who are energy consumers rather than energy generators feeding power into the grid.  We keep being told by the likes of Chris Huhne, and various other parasites who suck at the quango teat, that the era of cheap energy is over.  That is because the cost of our electricity is being driven up dramatically by huge taxpayer and consumer funded subsidies for inefficient energy sources, EU targets on the use of expensive and unreliable renewable energy, and by wheezes such as these lucrative feed in tariffs that make money for:

a) the well off who can afford to chuck £9000 or so into fitting photovoltaic panels to earn feed in payments
b) companies cashing in by fitting the panels on roofs for free in return for keeping the feed in tariff generated

This is the kind of insanity that passes for visionary forward thinking in the bubble of remote and insular politicians and their ilk.  This is the kind of insanity that increases the number of less well off people driven into fuel poverty, as they fund profits for companies and the well off who can afford to cash in on such financial lunacy.  But don’t expect those in the parallel universe inhabited by the BBC to give that a moment’s thought. They just wants us to bask in the faux virtue of paying more to get less in order to ‘save the planet’.

Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme will hurt business

This blog has previously discussed the government’s money hoover that is the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) which was recently renamed as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, that is due to come into force in April this year.

Many businesses will be adversely impacted financially, while the largest corporates that are already covered by the EU’s emission trading scheme that enables them to make money from CO2 emission trading, are exempt.  Adding weight today to the argument of impending financial damage is accountancy giant KPMG, which is:

[…]warning finance directors that more than two-thirds of organisations will be hit with financial penalties following the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

With just 20 days to go before the start of the CRC, the Big Four Firm is warning finance directors they risk severe financial penaltities and reputational damage, if their organisation fails to comply.

The Accountancy Age piece goes on to explain that KPMG believes the biggest risk to companies is incorrect reporting of their carbon emissions, from which they could incur substantial fines and severe reputational damage.  This UK version of a carbon cap and trade scheme risks doing serious financial harm to businesses already struggling in difficult economic circumstances.

Regardless, the government is pressing ahead with what is a massive transformation that sees business incurring costs over and above the expense of what amounts to a carbon tax.  I make no apology for repeating yet again that this economic vandalism is being carried out of the basis of a theory that hypothesises CO2 is causing global warming.  There is only correlation, no evidence of causation.  The net effect of this smash and grab raid on company bank accounts and the cost of compliance, reporting and administration is an increase in the cost of goods and services to the ordinary consumer in the street.

We have departed from an age of reason and logic and entered an age where a belief system, shown to be a tissue of assertions impervious to evidence, holds sway.  The real aim of this concerted effort is financial redistribution and an increase in the power and control of the state over its population.  Some argue this is actually the embryonic development of a system of global governance, tied together with a common currency – carbon.

Regardless, the impact will be borne most by those who have least, and no one in the political class has any interest in scrutinising this disturbing activity or protecting the interests of the people they are supposed to represent.  This is the state we’re in.

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When it comes to climate science economists are still dismal

What never ceases to amaze me is the number of economists who have transformed themselves into world authorities on climate science and psychology.  Moreso than any other specialism, economists seem to possess a curious certainty that the climate is changing and that man is causing it.  It seems that tired of being specialists in what is known as the dismal science, many economists are trying to position themselves as actual scientists.  All too often the result is the kind of unthinking fanaticism and intolerance usually found in a religious convert.  A case in point is this ill-mannered rant by Jeffrey Sachs in yesterday’s Guardian.

Like many others of his ilk, Jeffrey Sachs had an eye to the main chance and jumped onto the passing climate bandwagon with the intent of pursuing a political agenda.  It is because Sachs’ interest is in political outcomes that his abusive op-ed is devoid of any coherent scientific argument.  It is  nothing more than a lazy rehash of tired and discredited claims designed to fill some column inches.  The thrust of Sachs’ piece is that people sceptical of anthropogenic (man made) global warming, or AGW, are horrid creatures doing the bidding of nasty lobby groups:

The global public is disconcerted by these attacks. If experts cannot agree that there is a climate crisis, why should governments spend billions of dollars to address it?

The fact is that the critics — who are few in number but aggressive in their attacks — are deploying tactics that they have honed for more than 25 years. During their long campaign, they have greatly exaggerated scientific disagreements in order to stop action on climate change, with special interests like Exxon Mobil footing the bill.

Sachs’ first paragraph hits the nail square on the head.  That is the root of the argument of the rapidly growing counter consensus.  But, you may wonder, what on earth does Sachs mean by this claim of tactics honed over 25 years?  It all becomes clear two paragraphs down.  It is just the latest variation on the theme of playing the man and not the ball:

Today’s campaigners against action on climate change are in many cases backed by the same lobbies, individuals, and organisations that sided with the tobacco industry to discredit the science linking smoking and lung cancer. Later, they fought the scientific evidence that sulphur oxides from coal-fired power plants were causing “acid rain.” Then, when it was discovered that certain chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were causing the depletion of ozone in the atmosphere, the same groups launched a nasty campaign to discredit that science, too.

It isn’t just pathetic, it is sad in its juvenile desperation.  Many AGW sceptics are frustrated that governments and organisations, such as preening Sachs’ own Earth Institute, fight a faux battle against CO2 while ignoring the real environmental damage caused by a range of different types of pollution and destruction of natural resources such as the rainforests.  As for Sachs’ argument that climate change will hit poor people more than the wealthy, people should ask themselves how the expensive ‘solutions’ proposed are any different.  The cost of the solutions will still be disproportionately borne by the poor.  But of course, they are beneficial for the industrial vested interests that Sachs supports.  As always, follow the money when people try to enforce changes on the rest of us.

What is noticeable about the piece is that is maintains a theme consistent in other such polemics, arguing simply that we must trust the science.  This continues despite the science being steadily discredited as every act of scrutiny throws up evidence of unsupported claims, or data manipulation, or inaccurate record keeping, or arbitrary adjustments or wildly overstated projections based on flawed computer models.

While asking Guardian readers to trust the science, Sachs is careful not to cite any specifics.  The reason is clear.  Sachs knows that any specifics will be scrutinised and there is a high probability that what he asserts will be similarly discredited, destroying his argument and whatever credibility he thinks he has.  So it is that the AGW campaigners are now restricted to crude generalisations and implorings that the underlying science is sound – when it is anything but – and repeated attempts to undermine their opponents with ad homines attacks rather than arguing points of science.  The game is up but they will not go down without a fight because money, power and influence are at stake, so the battle continues.

It seems almost ironic that we should describe Jeffrey Sachs as a ‘dismal scientist’.  The description of economics as a dismal science is generally attributed to Thomas Carlyle who gave economics that nickname in response to the assertions of Thomas Malthus, who predicted that starvation would result as projected population growth would exceed the rate of increase of food supply.  Sachs’ Earth Institute concerns itself with, among other things, overpopulation of the planet.  The parallels between Sachs and Malthus are extraordinary and the description of Sachs as a dismal scientist could not be more fitting.

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EU carbon emissions down, tractor production up…

From the desk of the Supreme Council for Official Information at CleanTechnica.com we have this official announcement… Reuters: Cap and Trade Worked in EU:

It’s official. The EU trading system got carbon emissions down. It’s one thing when renewable energy writers on blogs like this say cap and trade has transformed Europe.

We regularly cover the huge wind and solar industries created there – the results of Europe’s early adoption of the Kyoto Accord and subsequent EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and Europe’s resulting 13% greenhouse gas reduction.  We have covered the indirect results before (like how the US now gets hand-me-down clean energy technology from Europe).

But now it’s official. Cap and trade in Europe is a success. Reuters said it.

Well, if Reuters said it then it must be true.  You could knock me down with a gentle gust of CO2.  No doubt the article was directed at ‘lawmakers’ in the United States, where President Obama’s vision of a cap and trade utopia is struggling to catch on as various Representatives question not only the potential economic impact, but also the basis of claims that man’s CO2 emissions are warming the planet.

No matter.  The fact is in her excitement to say she was right all along and her desire to exhort this great news to the masses, Susan Kraemer has conveniently left out one crucial little factor in the reduction of carbon emissions.  The recession.

As far back as nine months ago the New York Times, which has been desperately trying to argue that cap and trade works to support the Obama position, pointed to falling carbon emissions in the EU as proof.  But even it was forced to concede that the overwhelming bulk of CO2 emission reduction was as a result of the recession.  The NYT’s Green Inc. blog was somewhat more honest in its assessment of the reality.  Growth has not exactly taken off since then.

What Susan Kraemer and her friends are not considering is what happens when European economies pick up and business activity results in more emissions.  Factoring in economic recovery will result in a very different picture, which is why it has been carefully left out.  This is the climate change equivalent of the old Soviet propaganda machine declaring tractor production being up, while people struggled to purchase the basics.

With the cap in place and some companies being rather more equal than others, only when the economies move up through the gears again will we see the real impacts on consumers of price increases as carbon credits increase in value or companies are forced into expensive re-engineering of their plant.  What is certain it that we consumers will pick up the tab, and all for the sake of a theory.

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‘The skeptics will accept it because it is cheaper’

That is the opinion offered by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates returning to the theme of his backing for the development of Traveling Wave Reactors or ‘TerraPower’.  Gates, according to AFP, has broken from philanthropic work fighting poverty and disease to take on what he believes is another threat to the world’s poor – climate change.

He was speaking to a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference audience ‘packed with influential figures including the founders of Google and climate champion Al Gore’.

TerraPower is not a new idea, however no plant has ever been constructed even though it’s been kicked around by scientists since the 1950s.  The idea of using depleted uranium as a power source is excellent but there has not been sufficient interest in the concept previously because of the cost.  But things are different now because the idea is being pushed hard by Intellectual Ventures, an organisation founded in 2000 by Bill Gates’ former chief technology officer at Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold.  Gates and Microsoft are, unsurprisingly, investors in Intellectual Ventures.  It just so happens that IV created a startup company in 2009 called TerraPower, to realise the Traveling Wave Reactor dream.

Since Myhrvold’s outfit got serious about this energy source, Bill Gates has been banging the drum to generate interest… and investment.  When Gates visited China’s state nuclear power technology corporation (SNPTC) last November,the write up was notable for the absence of the words ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’.  But it comes as no surprise that a hardcore energy venture in need of large sums of money is swiftly metamorphosed by Gates from a purely energy initiative into a climate change one when the platform at the TED Conference put him in front of people such as Al Gore.  Gates is smart enough to know he had to position this energy idea in a climate change, zero carbon context.

After all, when it comes to accessing large sums of money the only benefactor in town is the taxpayer funded climate change club, doling out billions of pounds, dollars and euros of our hard earned taxes to all manner of projects, research programmes and advocacy groups.  Gates and Myhrvold want part of that action to move their TerraPower business venture forward and make them richer still.

Gates was certainly careful to press the right buttons at TED.  He was clearly mindful of the pressure on the climate change industry from the steady stream of exposés about unsupported claims, data manipulation, excluded material that enables scientists to ‘hide the decline’ in temperatures.  Fighting off the sceptics is priority one for the climate change industry, so Gates skilfully sent the message that supporting his prospect will see the sceptics roll over, meaning the money train will be able to continue unmolested.

The interesting thing here is that the climate change industry is changing tack and believes they way to mute dissent from AGW sceptics is to focus on cost:

Gates dismissed climate change skeptics, saying terrapower would render arguments moot because the energy produced would be cheaper than pollution-spewing methods used today.

“The skeptics will accept it because it is cheaper,” Gates said. “The might wish it did put out CO2, but they will take it.”

It seems that in the climate change bubble there’s a feeling that the concepts of good science, honesty and the recognition of the difference between theory and fact are not important to AGW sceptics.  The issue is whether man is affecting the climate or not.  The drive for cheap energy is a sensible goal irrespective of climate change matters.  But Gates has made it a climate change issue for no other reason than to open up the flow of taxpayer funded investment into TerraPower’s coffers.  Love the technology idea, hate the deceitful approach.

Because money is the primary driver of climate change claims and proposed solutions, these people seem to think that everyone else has the same motivation for the stance they take on the subject.  This is why multi billionaire Gates is sending up his test balloon, to see if those on the other side of the AGW argument can be bought off.  It is cynical and illustrative.  Also, as EU Referendum points out, such is the power of prestige and mutual admiration among the super rich and super powerful who stand to benefit from policies that punish the rest of us, Gates can make his unsupported claims without being drowned in a wave of derision.

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Sir David King circles the climate change wagons for vested interests

The bogus claims and subsequent actions of Rajendra Pachauri and the IPCC have caused so much embarrassment for vested interests, the big businesses that are looking to cash in on the back of claims that mankind’s emissions of CO2 are causing significant global warming, they are prepared to cut Pachauri and the IPCC adrift in order to continue the money train.  For evidence, see today’s Telegraph and an op-ed by the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University, and UK’s former chief scientific adviser, Professor Sir David King.

The piece really has to be seen to be believed.  Here are some of the key highlights of his piece:

  • The IPCC 2007 report has ‘sloppy referencing’
  • The IPPC’s objective ‘runs against the normal spirit of science’
  • ‘In science, people are supposed to rock the boat. If someone challenges your findings, you make measurements, check the arguments, and see if they might be right.’
  • UEA emails suggest ‘certain members of the IPCC felt that the consensus was so precious that some external challenges had to be kept outside the discussion’
  • ‘That is clearly not acceptable.’

But for sheer chutzpah this comment by Sir David King really takes the biscuit:

‘Moreover, this leads to the danger that people will go beyond the science that is truly reliable, and pick up almost anything that seems to support the argument. The dodgy dossier saying that all ice would vanish from the Himalayas within the next 30 years is an example of that. When I heard Dr Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, declare this at Copenhagen last December I could hardly believe my ears. This issue is far too important for scientists to risk crossing the line into advocacy.’

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can find no example of Professor Sir David King coming away from Copenhagen and saying the claims about the Himalayan glaciers was dodgy, much less that he couldn’t believe his ears when Pachauri said it.  For some reason Sir David King seemed perfectly comfortable with people accepting what Pachauri had said.  In fact, King wrote an op-ed in the Independent on 20th December 2009 titled ‘There is a way ahead after Copenhagen: The climate change talks show, at least, that the world takes the issue seriously. Now we need a truly global carbon-trading scheme.

Of Pachauri’s unbelievable claim, which would underline the need for the kind of action Sir David is advocating, there is not a single word.  How very convenient.  Indeed, there’s certainly no evidence of Sir David King ‘rocking the boat’ as he says scientists are supposed to.  But King continues:

‘However, it’s not all the IPCC’s fault. Climate scientists have been forced into this corner by a disastrous combination of cynical lobbying and a misguided desire for certainty. The American lobby system, driven by political and economic vested interests in fossil fuels, seeks to use any challenge to undermine the entire body of science. The drive for consensus has come to some extent because the scientific community (me included) has become frustrated with this willful misuse of the scientific process.’

The message here is clear.  Political and economic vested interests in fossil fuels are to blame for scientists seeking ‘certainty’.  This is bad.  But what of the political and economic vested interests Sir David King advocates for big business when he argues for carbon trading based on the ‘certainty’ than man is warming the planet through CO2 emissions?  Following that, his attempt to equate the certainty of theory about the effects of cigarette smoking on human lungs with the theories about the effects of CO2 emissions on the planet is priceless.

King wilfully disregards the fact that we know infinitely more about the human body than we do about the way this planet’s climate regulates itself and varies over time.  This is the same kind of scientific distortion he claims to be railing against, but he distorts because it suits his agenda. Evidence and data that he claims is robust has been shown by unadjusted version to be questionable.  He is denying the evidence in an attempt to distance the vested interests he supports from the exposure of scientific failings that would destroy their agenda.  The IPCC and Rajendra Pachauri are being set up to take the fall.  Trust the scientists and blame the mouthpieces, is he mantra.  And you can see why he is arguing for this in the rousing climax to this rant:

‘Enough already. Instead of vainly trying to pretend that the waters are not rising, let’s get on with the opportunities for innovation and wealth creation that this climate challenge brings. We in the UK have a fantastically strong science base, but in the past few decades manufacturing has fled our shores and we have been steadily losing our ability to capitalize on science. Now is the time to turn that around. We know that we need to decarbonise our economy, so let’s do it. Let’s work to create a new, smart manufacturing sector in this county that is fit to tackle the carbon challenge while stimulating our economy back into growth.’

Innovation – big business.  Wealth creation – big business.  Strong science base – keep the grants coming, from our tax pounds.  Decarbonise – lucrative carbon trading for big business.  Smart manufacturing – big business, funded by our tax pounds.  Find for me, if you will, one word in Professor David King’s objectives where the key driver is about protecting the planet, reducing harmful pollution, or managing our natural resources better.  It’s not there because the motivation is, as it always was, making money.  Just how is that in the spirit of science?

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Carbon Reduction Commitment shows money, not CO2, driving climate change policies

If anyone still doubts that the government’s climate change policies and initiatives are about servicing the financial interests of big corporate companies, rather than reducing those evil polluting CO2 emissions, then consider this.  This information concerns the government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment or CRC (recently renamed the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme) that is due to come into force in April this year.  A fascinating piece on Climate Change Corp explains what it is: 

The scheme is compulsory for large organisations using more than 6,000 MWh/year of half-hourly metered electricity, which translates to roughly £500,000 in electricity bills, and is aimed at encouraging these large organisations to reduce their fixed source energy consumption.

Companies will have to start buying carbon allowances to cover their carbon emissions, and that will involve measuring and recording energy use and calculating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (not including transport emissions).

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is the UK’s very own cap and trade scheme.  Now bear in mind that many large corporates are allocated carbon allowances that they can trade.  Under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, businesses and organisations will need to buy allowances.  If they have a shortfall of allowances then, as I understand it, they can buy more of these credits from big corporates who are selling their excess allowances that were given to them for free.  Hardly a level playing field.  Needless to say, as the launch date nears the flaws in this latest Labour act of economic vandalism are starting to emerge.

Want to guess who is taking the hit?  Yep, small and medium size British businesses.  Want to guess who benefits?  Yep, the large corporates and overseas businesses.  Want to guess what the likely CO2 reduction will be?  Yep, right again, hardly anything.  Now think about this carefully.  If you believed that CO2 was a major problem because by emitting this trace gas mankind is causing worrying damage to the climate, is the CRC Energy Efficiency Schemethe way you would rectify it?  Clearly not.  So what is the motivation behind this legislation if not the vested interests of the big corporates and their political friends?  After all, how do any of the following implications of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme deal with climate change?

  • ‘The CRC levy will punish firms who have made the move to use specialised datacentres to manage their data in order to take advantage of the security, availability and power efficiencies they provide’ – link
  • ‘Far from persuading everyone to reduce their emissions, the UK’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) will actually make it more expensive for some companies to move to a more efficient IT option, according to the managing director of a UK hosting company.’ – link
  • ‘Loopholes in the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) energy saving scheme could mean that global emissions actually increase, according to IT services firm Morse […] Instead of encouraging firms to adopt more energy-efficient in their power-guzzling data centres, some organisations have already bypassed the scheme by opening up new data centres offshore in countries with less stringent regulations. The result is no improvement to global emissions and a detrimental effect on UK job prospects.’ – link
  • ‘But according to Liam Newcombe, secretary of the British Computer Society’s datacentre specialist group, one of the legislation’s key flaws is that participants only purchase carbon credits under the scheme based on their own levels of in-house carbon emissions, not those generated by outsourcing providers on their behalf […] As a result, he is concerned that organisations will be provided with a ” perverse incentive” to outsource their IT infrastructure, potentially to overseas operators, to avoid additional charges imposed by the CRC. “I’m already aware of a couple of organisations that are very interested in managing their CRC league table positions by outsourcing their IT assets,” Newcombe said.’ – link

It is clear that money is driving climate change policies and initiatives in the UK.  CO2 is being used as the scapegoat for the imposition of massive increases in costs for all but the biggest businesses.  This would not be the case if CO2 was a threat and mankind could affect warming or cooling of the globe.  Small wonder the supposed scientific basis for all these changes is being exposed as nothing more than a con trick founded on manipulated data, flawed computer models and unsubstantiated theories.

Small wonder also that the IPCC Chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, spends more time flitting between board rooms of major organisations and managing the large business portfolio this scam has enabled him to develop.  What we are seeing is the mechanism for bringing about massive global wealth redistribution at the expense of our own economy and prospects, while centralising governance in a few key supranational entities that sidestep democracy in order to exert control over the general population.  The climate change game is up.  It is time for the great rip off to be closed down.

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Cameron’s closed mind on climate change clouds judgement

David Cameron once described himself as the Heir to Blair.  Given the messianic self delusion Tony Blair demonstrated during his years in office (and again before the Chilcot inquiry last week) and his unshakeable belief that he was always right, regardless of what the evidence might show, Cameron’s self affixed label looks ever more appropriate now.

Cameron has justified that Heir to Blair moniker this week as we learn from the Daily Telegraph today that the Tories have hired Lord Stern (he of the Stern Report on climate change) to help create the Conservative vision of a bank designed to channel public and private money into funding green business plans and technologies.  This has happened just days after it was shown that Stern’s report was altered after publication because a number of the claims Stern made in it were simply not backed by scientific evidence.  Stern also stands accused of misquoting work to suggest a firm link between global warming and the frequency and severity of disasters such as floods and hurricanes that has not been proved.  In other words it contained bogus information.

Regardless of this David Cameron has decided to establish a close working relationship with Stern.  It seems curious to climb into bed with a man whose report not only engaged in baseless scaremongering, but is now being discredited as a result of long overdue scrutiny of its reasoning and conclusions.  Is this really the sort of company an aspiring Prime Minister should be keeping if he wants people to have confidence in his judgement?

On taxation, the EU, reform and funding of the NHS and now climate change, Cameron is doing the opposite of what informed opinion suggests needs to be done.  If Cameron was a rat, he would be the one to join a sinking ship.  But at least we can understand what is behind Cameron’s zeal.  Once you get beyond the photos of the great man patting huskies on snowy wastes, the Telegraph provides all the insight required:

The Tories have argued that Britain lags behind European, US and Asian rivals in tapping the market for green goods and services. They say this market could be worth about £1 trillion.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the money train at the heart of this scam continues to rumble along, powered by its CO2 whipping boy, while real pollution of the environment and harmful deforestation continue unchecked in the name of progress.  One wonders how much Cameron stands to gain from it.

Update: There is an important update to this story here.

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Climate change and Big Oil

When climate change activists launch their regular assaults on sceptics they often claim the sceptics are funded by big corporations with vested interests in promoting fossil fuel use.  They mean ‘Big Oil’.  They suggest that huge sums are diverted to sceptics to help them sow confusion and spread misinformation.

But as with so many of the claims made by the climate change activists who argue that mankind’s CO2 emissions are cooking the planet, the truth is very different.  Big Oil isn’t on the side of the sceptics.  Big Oil is on the side of the warmists in this debate.  If you want proof of how these supposed sworn enemies are actually working hand in glove with one another, Canada’s National Post very kindly published it back in January:

“The debate about climate change is over and we need to take action,” says Gerry Ertel, Shell Canada’s climate change expert.

Maybe this is an error of some kind?  No, it seems there’s more…

As for Shell, he’s proud that his company acknowledged the reality of climate change many years ago, and has been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on measures such as reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, increasing energy efficiency and working with governments.

It looks pretty clear that Shell is part of the ‘consensus’.  Now, why could that be?  Like so many big global corporations, Shell would not seem to have much in common with environmental activists and global warming campaigners.  There has to be some reason why Shell is so committed to reducing the emissions released by the very product they go out of their way to sell.  We don’t have to read too much futher to see what the motivation is:

Cap and trade is one of the five essential actions needed by Canada and the world to forestall the worst effects of increasing global temperatures caused by CO2 emissions, Ertel says.

Good old emissions trading.  The path from thin air to incredible riches.  While Ertel argues that cap and trade sets a firm greenhouse gas reduction, and that the market figures out the most cost-effective way to get there, the fact is the number of credits available means companies like Shell can actually emit more CO2 and sell credits to make extra cash on the side.  Governments know this, the IPCC knows this and the corporates certainly know this.

That’s why all the agreements that are made at soirees like Copenhagen are all about money and how business can cash in, and nothing to do with actions mankind can supposedly effect to stop the climate from changing.  The climate is not an issue, it’s just the contrived excuse that’s used to enable corporations to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers and consumers.  That’s why claims that Big Oil (to use the main example) is behind the sceptics are complete rubbish.  It’s simply not in Big Oil’s interest for this money train to come to an end.  In fact Big Oil’s interest is in more flawed science, scaremongering projections and international agreements to come to pass, because there is big money to be made from this carefully crafted international ponzi scheme.

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