Posts Tagged ‘energy policy’

Why Bush Invaded Iraq.

Friday, May 15th, 2015

usa-politics-bush

There is quite a series of Republican politicians declaring that they would not invade Iraq if they knew then what they know now. JEB Bush is not the only one. Ted Cruz has made Talking Points Memo happy with a similar declaration.

Earlier in the week, Kelly asked Bush if he would have authorized the invasion, and he said he would have. On Tuesday, Bush told Sean Hannity that he hadn’t heard the question correctly and wasn’t sure what he would have done. Cruz, on the other hand, said he knows what he would have done.

“Of course not,” Cruz said in response to Kelly asking if he would have authorized an invasion. “I mean, the entire predicate of the war against Iraq was the intelligence that showed they had weapons of mass destruction and they might use them.

Of course, the “WMD” argument is a more recent addition to the story. Nobody talks anymore about why Bush was forced to invade in 2003. WMD were a small part of it. That is forgotten, of course.

Mr Speaker, thank you for recalling Parliament to debate the best way to deal with the issue of the present leadership of Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Today we published a 50 page dossier detailing the history of Iraq’s WMD, its breach of UN resolutions and the current attempts to rebuild the illegal WMD programme. I have placed a copy in the Library of the House.

At the end of the Gulf War, the full extent of Saddam’s chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programmes became clear. As a result, the UN passed a series of resolutions demanding Iraq disarm itself of such weapons and establishing a regime of weapons inspection and monitoring to do the task. They were to be given unconditional and unrestricted access to all and any Iraqi sites.

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The Energy Crisis in Africa.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

india-solar-power-2012-640x426

This is a powerful piece on the cost of environmental extremism to the world’s poor.

The soaring [food] prices were actually exacerbated (as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN confirmed) by the diversion of much of the world’s farmland into making motor fuel, in the form of ethanol and biodiesel, for the rich to salve their green consciences. Climate policies were probably a greater contributor to the Arab Spring than climate change itself.

The use of ethanol in motor fuels is an irrational response to “green propaganda. The energy density of biofuel, as ethanol additives are called, is low resulting in the use of more and more ethanol and less and less arable land for food.

Without abundant fuel and power, prosperity is impossible: workers cannot amplify their productivity, doctors cannot preserve vaccines, students cannot learn after dark, goods cannot get to market. Nearly 700 million Africans rely mainly on wood or dung to cook and heat with, and 600 million have no access to electric light. Britain with 60 million people has nearly as much electricity-generating capacity as the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, minus South Africa, with 800 million.

South Africa is quickly destroying its electricity potential with idiotic racist policies.

Just to get sub-Saharan electricity consumption up to the levels of South Africa or Bulgaria would mean adding about 1,000 gigawatts of capacity, the installation of which would cost at least £1 trillion. Yet the greens want Africans to hold back on the cheapest form of power: fossil fuels. In 2013 Ed Davey, the energy secretary, announced that British taxpayers will no longer fund coal-fired power stations in developing countries, and that he would put pressure on development banks to ensure that their funding policies rule out coal. (I declare a commercial interest in coal in Northumberland.)
In the same year the US passed a bill prohibiting the Overseas Private Investment Corporation — a federal agency responsible for underwriting American companies that invest in developing countries — from investing in energy projects that involve fossil fuels.

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Putin, Crimea and Ukraine

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

UPDATE: Michael Totten has an update on Crimea.

The new ruler is a former gangster whose street name was “Goblin.”

Lawmakers were summoned, stripped of their cellphones as they entered the chamber. The Crimean media was banished. Then, behind closed doors, Crimea’s government was dismissed and a new one formed, with Sergey Akysonov, head of the Russian Unity party, installed as Crimea’s new premier.

It if was a crime, it was just the beginning. Akysonov’s ascent to power at the point of a gun presaged all that has happened since — the announcement of a referendum on Crimean independence and the slow, methodical fanning out of Russian forces throughout the peninsula, ostensibly to protect Russians here from a threat no one can seem to find.

But here’s the most interesting bit: Aksyonov’s sudden rise as Moscow’s crucial point man in Crimea has revived simmering allegations of an underworld past going back to the lawless 1990s, when Akysonov is said to have gone by the street name “Goblin,” a lieutenant in the Crimean crime syndicate Salem.

Putin is dealing from a weak hand but Germany was near bankruptcy when Hitler invaded Poland. Holman Jenkins at WSJ, has a nice summary of where we are.

Vladimir Putin probably would not have spent 90 minutes on the phone with President Obama on Saturday if he intended to make a grab for eastern Ukraine. He would not have jawed twice on Friday and Sunday on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who subsequently doubted his grip on reality.

He is not going to try to annex the eastern Ukraine where Russian speakers are alleged to be crying for rescue from The Ukraine.

He is even using fake videos like the Palestinians have done before to make his argument. The Russian speakers are not buying.

The Russian speakers are only about 17% of the whole Ukraine population.

350px-Russians_Ukraine_2001

They are concentrated in the eastern portions which are also the poorest and least productive. Ukraine could do without them except for the precedent set.

Western leaders are a risk-averse, short-term-minded lot, but if their decisions are dictated by a conviction of Mr. Putin’s iron grip on Russia, they make a mistake. Many sanguine voices, in fact, already note how the U.S. shale revolution has weakened Mr. Putin’s hand. If Western leaders were so inclined, they might surprise themselves at how vulnerable Mr. Putin’s petro-dependency makes him.

Ukraine has signed contracts with western oil firms to explore what seems to be a large area of oil shale. This is a big threat to Russia’s sole export and prop of its declining economy.

Withdraw Europe’s support for pipelines Mr. Putin wants to build. These, by way of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, aim to reduce Ukraine’s leverage as transit path for gas exports that generate much of his regime’s income. Mr. Putin might like to shut off the gas but he can’t. He needs the money.

Get moving on the pending U.S. trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic trade partnerships, which grant member countries automatic approval of U.S. liquefied gas exports. The mere prospect of U.S. exports has already eroded Russia’s pricing power.

Let Exxon and other Western oil firms queuing up to explore Siberia and Russia’s Arctic know their efforts are not currently appreciated. A single caustic hearing on Capitol Hill should do it.

They could do as well in Ukraine.

Ukraine, with its control of strategic pipelines, moving toward energy independence and even energy competition with Russia (it recently signed shale deals with Shell and Chevron ) was not acceptable.

Most of all, “Putin lost Ukraine” would have been a powerful meme in the hands of his enemies, who are numerous and don’t actually care about Ukraine.

The West followed down his path, which bears passing resemblance to the petro-regime of Saddam Hussein, because Russia has nuclear weapons and Mr. Putin seemed preferable to chaos. The West may eventually get chaos anyway. Secretary of State John Kerry managed to put his finger on a truth. Mr. Putin knows no more about the true sources of 21st-century wealth and power than a swordfish knows about macramé. No, the Cold War is not returning. Russia does not have the heft to sustain a Cold War even against placid Europeans or a strategically listless President Obama. His current Western enablers just hope Mr. Putin self-destructs on somebody else’s watch.

The Russian speakers in east Ukraine are not convinced this is the right course.

But in Monday’s survey, 82% of his party’s loyalists rejected any such generosity. Even the adherents of the Communist Party, who tend to feel entitled to all of Russia’s former Soviet domains, said with a broad majority — 62% — that Russia should not jump into Ukraine’s internal crisis.

Putin’s captive media in Russia can convince Russians in Russia that the west was behind the coup in Ukraine.

Moreover, 45% blamed western influence for bringing people on to the streets of Kiev, where the “Euromaidan” protests that were originally in favour of further European integration later turned into a general condemnation of the corrupt regime.

The results are still in doubt.

Science and Politics

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

The usual theme on the left is that Republicans are opposed to science. Usually this is accompanied by some link to a GOP legislator talking about the Bible. A typical example is seen in this thread on Powerline, The original post refers to this article about the coldest temperature ever recorded.

A commenter says: “First of all, this is a bit of a joke. Mr. Hayward is not a scientist by any reasonable stretch. He has never done research on climate change; rather, if you read his blog writings, he represents an extreme ideological view which is not supported by fact. Any reputable scientist at NOAA would be embarrassed to debate someone like this. Scientists debate all the time in the literature. That is where ideas are tested against data. Mr. Hayward doesn’t participate in that debate, it is likely he is unable to. In fact, a debate against someone like Mr. Hayward would look great for his resume but (as I stated before) be embarrassing for a real scientist. You can see that we would never send such a debate request to one of our members. Sorry.”

That was from John Abraham (who, by the way, does not work for NOAA or accept money for his work on climate change).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Abraham_(professor)

Conservative peer-reviewed scientific thinking here: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44958.html

(We still think it would be cool to see Hayward flail in front of a real scientist. Maybe Hayward can contact NOAA himself…? Propose a debate…? All ya gotta do is call! Go for it! It would look great on your resume!)
http://www.boulder.noaa.gov/?q=node%2F4

The “Conservative peer-reviewed scientific thinking ” is, of course, a link to a Congressman saying something foolish. “Rep. John Shimkus is standing by a controversial comment that global warming isn’t something to worry about because God said he wouldn’t destroy the Earth after Noah’s flood. ”

Ha ha ha. Stupid Republicans.

I see no mention of the state of science in the Democrats’ public statements. For example:

Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson is worried that stationing more Marines on Guam could cause the island to capsize. Guess what party he belongs to.

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Iran wins. We lose

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

The announced “six month” agreement between the European nations negotiating with Iran, with the US included, and the Mullahs of Iran is an complete surrender to the Mullahs. I say the Mullahs since it appears that the people of Iran are no more part of the government than were the people of the Soviet Union.

I am not an expert on Iran so I will quote one:

This interim agreement is badly skewed from America’s perspective. Iran retains its full capacity to enrich uranium, thus abandoning a decade of Western insistence and Security Council resolutions that Iran stop all uranium-enrichment activities. Allowing Iran to continue enriching, and despite modest (indeed, utterly inadequate) measures to prevent it from increasing its enriched-uranium stockpiles and its overall nuclear infrastructure, lays the predicate for Iran fully enjoying its “right” to enrichment in any “final” agreement. Indeed, the interim agreement itself acknowledges that a “comprehensive solution” will “involve a mutually defined enrichment program.”

There’s more:

Tehran correctly assessed that a mere six-months’ easing of sanctions will make it extraordinarily hard for the West to reverse direction, even faced with systematic violations of Iran’s nuclear pledges. Major oil-importing countries (China, India, South Korea, and others) were already chafing under U.S. sanctions, sensing President Obama had no stomach either to impose sanctions on them, or pay the domestic political price of granting further waivers.

We are now in a position where we must trust the rationality of the Iranian Mullahs who have previously declared their willingness to die if they can eliminate the state of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu is not impressed.

“What was concluded in Geneva last night is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters. “It’s not made the world a safer place. Like the agreement with North Korea in 2005, this agreement has made the world a much more dangerous place.”

“For years the international community has demanded that Iran cease all uranium enrichment. Now, for the first time, the international community has formally consented that Iran continue its enrichment of uranium.”

What will happen now ?

We should be eager to see fracking decrease our reliance on middle east oil. The Democrat repudiation of the filibuster will allow anti-fracking regulations to be enacted by extreme Obama appointees who have been held up by the threat of filibuster. One example is this EPA official.

Confirming what many in the industry long suspected, a video surfaced Wednesday in which Al Armendariz, an official at the Environmental Protection Agency, promotes the idea of crucifying oil companies. Armendariz heads up the EPA’s region 6 office, which is based in Dallas and responsible for oversight of Texas and surrounding states. The former professor at Southern Methodist University was appointed by President Obama in November 2009.

He will be joined by others.

On Thursday, after five years of Republican filibusters holding back progress on environmental regulation, Senate Democrats began the process of restoring democratic accountability to their broken institution and eliminated the filibuster on presidential appointments (excluding the Supreme Court). The final straw for the Democrats, who’d been reluctant to invoke the so-called nuclear option: Republicans had refused to allow votes on three qualified, ideologically mainstream nominees to vacancies on the D.C. District Court of Appeals.

The “ideologically mainstream” nominees are closer to the above example than to mainstream as the rest of us understand it. The truth is better explained as:

“Many of us believe the D.C. Circuit is the most important court in the country for environmental health and safety protections,” says John D. Walke, director of the Climate & Clean Air Program at NRDC. “In 90 to 95 percent of Clean Air Act regulatory challenges, they are the only court to rule.”

We can only hope that an Iran-Iraeli war would find us with adequate energy sources in spite of Obama.

Craig Venter and biofuels

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Biofuels have gotten somewhat of a bad rep with conservatives because they are linked to Obama’s green energy boondoggles. Steve Hayward, at Powerline, thinks that success will be enough to turn the greenies against them. First they will be genetically engineered and will be developed by “Big Oil” partnering with entrepreneurs like Craig Venter who deciphered the human genome with private resources. He was in competition with the government funded “Human Genome Project.” My book review of Venter’s autobiography is here.

Venter does well in explaining his research and the article follows it well.

Venter said in an interview, “It’s pretty obvious that there’s nothing in the natural world to make the levels that are needed,” and he pointed to algae oil yield volumes needing approximately 20,000 gallons per acre equivalent of algae.

Venter and his research team, of course, in spring 2010, successfully created the first synthetic bacterial cell, which was controlled completely by a synthetic genome. Or as Venter explained it in his recent interview, as the first cell “to have a computer for a parent,” or “designed DNA on a living system.” Venter now says he has increasingly realized that a fully synthetic cell is the way to go to create competitive algae fuel. When it comes to tweaking naturally occurring algae cells, he says, “you’ll never get there with that. We need a fundamental change to how we approach all this.”

This will be enough to antagonize the Luddite Greenies who are ideologically hostile to genetic engineering. Some writers are already predicting problems.

Venter, the first mapper of the human genome and creator of the first synthetic cell (pictured above), said his scientific team and ExxonMobil have failed to find naturally occurring algae strains that can be converted into a commercial-scale biofuel. ExxonMobil and Venter’s La Jolla, Ca.-based Synthetic Genomics Inc., or SGI, continue to attempt to manipulate natural algae, but he said he already sees the answer elsewhere — in the creation of a man-made strain. “I believe that a fully synthetic cell approach will be the best way to get to a truly disruptive change,” Venter told me in an email exchange.

Venter made his remarks before a conference this week on the future of energy at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., and in subsequent emailed replies to questions.

When announced in July 2009, the Venter-ExxonMobil alliance of colossals attracted wide publicity. It called for ExxonMobil to spend up to $600 million if publicly undisclosed milestones were reached in the lab. The Wall Street Journal said the partnership might signal “a coming of age” for algae biofuel. Greenbang fretted that the alliance might actually prove “unholy,” but not Gigaom, which said it could be “algae’s big break.”

The terms of the alliance omit the fully synthetic approach that Venter is now advocating, so he is conducting “an ongoing dialog” with Exxon about a new agreement, he said. He appeared to suggest that such a new compact would require more Exxon investment.

If I were in charge of investing in alternate energy research, I would take what Venter says very seriously.

I assume that our skill set in this area has been one of the attractions for Exxon to work with us. Our success at building the first synthetic cell is only from last year and had not been achieved when we formed the agreement between SGI and Exxon. So I would say it is an ongoing dialog.

The future lies with algae and modifications of coal. Ethanol is a dead end. Venter is not the only one interested.

One of the dangers of using the synthetic algae cells is the fear that the cells could somehow be let loose on the outside world, which Venter admits could wreak havoc like turning the oceans into a sea of lipids. But Venter says that designing an organism that has self-destructive properties (it can’t live outside a lab, or it dies with a certain time period) could contain such an organism.

Algae oil company Solazyme, went public this year, and plans to commercialize its algae fuel in the coming years. Solazyme tweaks existing efficient algal strains and grows its designer algae in fermentation tanks without sunlight by feeding it sugar and then using existing industrial equipment extracts the oil. Solazyme’s stock is trading a bit under $10, way down from its IPO price of $18.

I would bet on Venter, first of all because he thinks in terms of private, profit making business. His record is pretty impressive and he has hired a lot of the world’s experienced scientists. I have previously written a number of blog posts on related topics, here, and here, and here, and here.

It’s interesting that the Titanic is being eaten by “Rusticles” that that are eating the iron in the hull. Bacteria that eat iron in an oxygen-free environment are only one of the marvels that are being discovered in the depths of the ocean and in hot vents in volcanic pools.

Lawyers and nuclear power

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

I thought this column, not authored by me, was so important that I am posting it here. I do not understand the eco-left. Do they expect us to live a cold and dark existence ?

By Carl From Chicago-

Due to a failure of our “de-regulation” initiative (I put it in quotes because we just re-regulated differently) with energy the United States has basically ceased investing in base-load power plants, which are comprised of 1) nuclear 2) coal 3) large-scale hydroelectric. Instead we have been generally just extending the lives of our existing assets and building natural gas fired peaking plants and letting our reserve margins erode.

While this has many impacts to the United States over the long term (in the short term we benefit from lower rates as we delay the reckoning of having to invest massive amounts in capital construction in the future rather than starting it now and spreading it out over many years) one other extremely bad negative element has not been adequately discussed. The United States is frankly losing any ability to construct or build nuclear or coal plants efficiently while China is using their scale and continued capital investment to refine construction techniques and standardize processes to build an industry that will be miles ahead of their US equivalent.

The December, 2010 issue of the magazine “The Atlantic” has an article titled “Why the Future of Clean Energy is Dirty Coal”. While I don’t share their focus on “clean” energy, they did have a section on the scale of investment in China that was staggering. From the article:

China is preparing, by 2025, for 350 million people that don’t exist now. They have to build the equivalent of the US electrical system, that is almost as much added capacity as the entire US grid – by 2025. It took us 120 years…As China meets its capacity, it is likely that the best technologies will be commercialized and applied here faster than everywhere else.
In addition to the scale of their investment, their specific investments are also growing more advanced:

For the last 30 years we have not been able to build a coal-to-gas conversion plant in this country… China has done many. That is what we need to learn from them, all that production and operating experience.
Why are they able to get so much done? Well for one thing they don’t have a lawyer and regulation plagued “system” that adds billions (literally) to the cost of a plant without necessarily improving its efficiency or safety; and it punishes new designs that might be INHERENTLY safer than older, operating designs by limiting the ability to move forward in the first place.

In America, it takes a decade to get a permit for a plant… Here, they build the whole thing in 21 months.

As discussed in many of my other posts, the “nuclear renaissance” in the US was an illusion, as is aptly summed up by the current state of ongoing nuclear construction projects in the USA from wikipedia:

As of September 2010, ground has been broken the Vogtle project and one other reactor in South Carolina. The prospects of a proposed project in Texas, South Texas 3 & 4, have been dimmed by a falling out among the partners. Two other reactors in Texas, four in Florida and one in Missouri have all been “moved to the back burner, mostly because of uncertain economics”.
Vogtle works only because Southern Company is a well capitalized utility, and South Carolina works only because SCANA (the utility in that state) has “old school” regulation that allows them to capture the costs of new construction in their rate base as they build it, which is how ALL of the existing nuclear plants in the United States were originally built. We have hope for Texas and in general I always support nuclear power but it will be an uphill battle.

According to this article, China has TWENTY FIVE nuclear plants under construction. While we are battling lawyers and regulators they are able to actually site, build, construct and start operation of brand new nuclear facilities, with designs that are significantly more advanced than the vast majority (existing fleet) of US reactors, which date to designs from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

China is learning lessons about large scale construction and operation of brand new designs while we are trying to extend the lives of our existing, ancient reactors and delivering hot air of plans that won’t materialize, such as the aborted plan to jump start construction in the US, a plan that I pointed out long ago won’t work for a variety of financial and regulatory reasons.

We are losing our ability to even compete. Our only hope is that China will be helpful to us in selling us the technology 20 years from now to build the next generation reactors when our existing fleet has completely broken down and we realize that betting on “alternative” technologies is a drop in the bucket when compared to base load requirements.

Copied from Chicago Boyz.

And Jerry Brown has big plans for “alternative energy” in California.

Cui Bono ?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

There is an ancient Roman proverb, Cui Bono ? This means, “Who benefits ? The meaning also implies that there may be subterfuge in the situation.

L. Cassius ille quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat identidem in causis quaerere solebat ‘cui bono’ fuisset.
The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, ‘To whose benefit?’

Who is George Soros ?

To read his foundation web page, he is a benefactor of mankind. His superficial biography is one of a young man who sought freedom in the west.

Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1930. His father was taken prisoner during World War I and eventually fled from captivity in Russia to reunite with his family in Budapest. Soros was thirteen years old when Hitler’s Wehrmacht seized Hungary and began deporting the country’s Jews to extermination camps. In 1946, as the Soviet Union was taking control of the country, Soros attended a conference in the West and defected. He emigrated in 1947 to England, supported himself by working as a railroad porter and a restaurant waiter, graduated in 1952 from the London School of Economics, and obtained an entry-level position with an investment bank.

How did he make his fortune ? The foundation web site doesn’t say. We know, though.

He attacked the currency of the country which gave him refuge.

George Soros gained international notoriety when, in September of 1992, he risked $10 billion on a single currency speculation when he shorted the British pound. He turned out to be right, and in a single day the trade generated a profit of $1 billion – ultimately, it was reported that his profit on the transaction almost reached $2 billion. As a result, he is famously known as the “the man who broke the Bank of England.

Soros is also famous for running the Quantum Fund, which generated an average annual return of more than 30% while he was at the helm. Along with the famous pound trade, Soros was also cited by some as the “trigger” behind the Asian financial crisis in 1997, as he had a large bet against the Thai baht.

He seems to do quite well by attacking national financial stability. Why should this concern us ?

His other biographical information tells us he is a “philanthropist.” What does that mean ?

The effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind, as by charitable aid or donations.

Where does attacking the national currencies of peaceful countries fall under that definition ? Philos is the Greek root for love and Anthropos is another root for man. Maybe we should call him a Philosoros.

Why does this matter ? Well, he is a major funder of the Democratic party and, especially, the left wing of the Democratic party. Some people are worried.

Why would a plutocrat with a history of currency manipulation be supporting left wing activists ?

One aspect of the Democrats’ policy positions is really puzzling. Why are they so adamantly opposed to domestic oil and gas production ? I know they are devoted to the global warming theory but they have not made any attempt to seek alternatives, like nuclear power. What is George Soros’ position on carbon dioxide and global warming ?

Well, he is on record supporting the Democrats’ position, even offering to donate a billion dollars and “I will also insist that the investments make a real contribution to solving the problem of climate change.” So there he is, on record.

Why then, is he the largest investor in Brazil’s massive offshore oil program ?

Petrobras, which until recently was little known outside oil circles, has launched a five-year, $174 billion project to provide platforms, rigs, support vessels and drilling systems to develop tens of billions of barrels of oil. Energy officials here project that Brazil — still an oil importer five years ago — will in the next decade have one of the world’s biggest oil reserves.

“It’s going to change the role of Brazil in the geopolitics of oil,” Petrobras’s president, José Sergio Gabrielli, said in an interview at the company’s headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. “We are going to become a much bigger producer.”

So, Brazil, unlike the US, is planning a massive drilling operation offshore. In fact, even if we belatedly decided to “drill, baby, drill” in our offshore oil fields, we could not do so as Brazil has long term leases on all the deep sea drill rigs for the next 10 years.

Who is the largest investor in this massive project ?

With a market capitalization of more than $220 billion, Petrobras is one of the world’s 10 biggest companies. Over the past two years, it has been the most frequently traded foreign company on the New York Stock Exchange, trade data show. Among investors bullish on Petrobras is George Soros, who last year made the oil company the largest single holding in his investment fund, according to Bloomberg.

Is this another of George’s ventures where he sells his country short, makes yet another fortune and retires to some small country that is safe and secure ? Are the Democrats that stupid ?

Yes, global warming is man-made

Friday, November 27th, 2009

UPDATE # 3: The IPCC chair says there is no problem. “Peer review” will save us. Full speed ahead to Copenhagen.

No surprise there.

UPDATE # 2: More chicanery. The raw data was dumped years ago and there is no way to check their work. This is not science.

UPDATE: Little Green Footballs blogger Charles Johnson, who became famous over the Bush TANG story (He was the first to demonstrate the fact that the alleged 1972 memo was written on a computer with Times New Roman font), has gone off the deep end on the climate data manipulation story and is attacking all the stories about data manipulation and falsification as “lies.” Charles is an expert by virtue of the fact that he is a musician. He seems to have gotten obsessed with creationism and this has led to his downfall on these other issues.

From his link, a comment explains it all:

Thanks, Gareth – NZC”S”C revealed yet again to be idealogues and propagandists with little knowledge of either climate or science; mere shills for the fossil fuel industry who fund them through the Heartland Institute.

And we know who funds the alarmists.

There is another comment that makes a much more sensible point:

Sorry CJ, this time your avoiding some troubling facts. If you haven’t go look at the code (I know your skilled in this area and you will see how bad this PhD quality code is to real SW that can endanger people). For those of us who stood by you on Rathergate, while your credibility was attacked by folks who don’t know why you made sense, you should realize there are some of us just as insightful and trained to detect bad assumptions, questionable massaging, unfounded theories on global climate.

The fact is the raw data across the globe (even the CRU raw temps) don’t show runaway global warming. It’s not just the emails (which you have been cherry picking, avoiding the hard ones where people tell others to illegally destroy data). It’s the code with hard coded overwrites. It is the deletion of data that tells a contradictory story, of cutting off the picture when it looks bad.

Honestly, I thought much higher of you than this.

BTW, to disagree with global warming does not make you a Palinista or Right winger. They can be right for the wrong reasons. Just like loving you family doesn’t make you an evil right winger – something else they have in common with all of us.

Whatever your issues forget them and look at the code and the data objectively. And realize Jones, Mann et al were persecuting people with differing theories and opinions. They were the ones acting like right wing purists – not us independents who just happen to be able to detect hundreds of problems with the current theories and the methods they use to hide the full picture.

Look at the entire picture, no matter how uncomfortable

This is an example of the fact that, unlike most left wing blogs, Johnson is still posting critical comments. We’ll see how he responds.

Unfortunately, he responds like a left wing blog:

re: #35 AJStrata

And I thought much more highly of you too, before learning that you’re a hardcore climate change denier who’s not above distorting and misrepresenting facts.

Oh well. He was right about the Bush story. I don’t know where this stuff came from.

It is now becoming clear that global warming is man-made. The cause is not CO2 but something simpler and more easy to explain. It was caused by the manipulation of data for the purpose of creating a fraud. When bankers and stock brokers do it, they go to jail.

Kiwigraph1

This is what the official New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research has posted as the unmistakable trend of temperature since 1853 in New Zealand.

Kiwigraph2

This is a graphic created from unaltered raw data, which is fortunately still available from their files. The raw data at the East Anglia CRU has been destroyed, making such a comparison impossible.

Straight away you can see there’s no slope—either up or down. The temperatures are remarkably constant way back to the 1850s. Of course, the temperature still varies from year to year, but the trend stays level—statistically insignificant at 0.06°C per century since 1850.
Putting these two graphs side by side, you can see huge differences. What is going on?
Why does NIWA’s graph show strong warming, but graphing their own raw data looks completely different? Their graph shows warming, but the actual temperature readings show none whatsoever!
Have the readings in the official NIWA graph been adjusted?
It is relatively easy to find out. We compared raw data for each station (from NIWA’s web site) with the adjusted official data, which we obtained from one of Dr Salinger’s colleagues.
Requests for this information from Dr Salinger himself over the years, by different scientists, have long gone unanswered, but now we might discover the truth.

At least the data was not destroyed as it has been at East Anglia.

What did we find? First, the station histories are unremarkable. There are no reasons for any large corrections. But we were astonished to find that strong adjustments have indeed been made.

About half the adjustments actually created a warming trend where none existed; the other half greatly exaggerated existing warming. All the adjustments increased or even created a warming trend, with only one (Dunedin) going the other way and slightly reducing the original trend.
The shocking truth is that the oldest readings have been cranked way down and later readings artificially lifted to give a false impression of warming, as documented below. There is nothing in the station histories to warrant these adjustments and to date Dr Salinger and NIWA have not revealed why they did this.

These people who committed this fraud (I agree that hoax is not the proper term as it is too benign) should be prosecuted. They were paid government funds to do research and they falsified it. Why ? That is still to be determined but there are several possibilities. They could have convinced themselves that the natural slight warming trend after the end of the Little Ice Age was more serious. They could be ideologically opposed to modern life and especially capitalism. Maybe they just thought that more funds for research would be forthcoming if a crisis was created.

Gold and the future.

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Here is a piece about the price of gold and the future of the economy that has the ring of truth. Of course, I am a pessimist.

The rise in the gold price above $1,100 per ounce last week is a pretty good indicator that something has changed. For 18 months, the gold price had been in a trading range topping out around $1,000. It has now broken out decisively from that range. The opportunity for the world’s central banks to change policy and affect the economic outcome has been lost. The world economy is now locked on to an undeviating track towards another train wreck.

At most times, the gold price is not an economically significant indicator. In 1980-2000, it declined irregularly from $850 to around $280, and movements in it seemed to have had little or no effect on the global economy. That’s what you’d expect; even at $1,000 per ounce, the global production of gold is only around $100 billion annually, which would put the entire world’s gold extraction industry only 17th on the Fortune 500. When Gordon Brown sold Britain’s entire gold reserves in 1999, at a price below $300 per ounce, it seemed a defensible decision. I went to a meeting in 2001 hosted by a diverse group which believed that the U.S. Treasury was conspiring to suppress the gold price, and my main thought was: why would Treasury bother?

The decline was, I believe, an indicator that inflation, at great cost, had been wrung out of the economy for decades. I bought gold at $405 an ounce in 1978 and sold it six months later for $810. Thereafter, it slowly declined. When Bill Clinton was elected, I bought gold shares and they made a nice profit his first year in office. After 1994, I sold them and made about an 80% profit on the deal. A few years ago, when gold had been slumping along around $300, I thought about buying again. I wish I had.

However, in relatively few periods, gold becomes of immense importance. When investors lose trust in conventional currencies, because monetary policy appears set to debauch them, gold is the immediately available safe haven. During such periods, gold’s former importance as a store of value becomes uppermost in the public mind, and its price becomes a major economic indicator.

Gold became important from about July 1978 to early 1980, during which period its price rose from $185 to $850 per ounce. For that 18 month period, the price of gold was the most important factor in day-to-day market fluctuations. The gold price, more than the inflation rate directly, moved markets and by extension moved monetary and to some extent fiscal policy in the major economies. Only after Paul Volcker took over at the Fed in late 1979 did M3 money supply begin to supplant it in investors’ analyses.

We now appear to be at the beginning of another such period.

I agree and am very worried about the future. Obama seems locked in a leftist ideology that nothing can change. He has no experience in the world, academia and “community organizers” being sheltered from reality. I wonder sometimes about his progress from college student to Senator and tend to be a bit paranoid about it. He really is a mystery man.

Ben Bernanke’s Fed is ignoring this. It insists that it will maintain interest rates at the current near-zero level for an extended period, regardless of what the gold price does. By this, it is ensuring that the present bubble in gold and commodities will play out to its full extent. Had the Fed begun to tighten gently during the late spring or early summer, when it had become obvious that the U.S. economy was bottoming out, but while stock markets remained subdued and gold remained within its 2008-09 trading range, it’s possible that it could have deflated the incipient bubble, steering the U.S. and global economies back on to a sustainable growth path. The U.S. Treasury would have had to cooperate by beginning to reduce the federal deficit, but at this stage with unemployment in the 10% range, there would have been no need for draconian action on that front.

With current Fed policy, gold is headed rapidly toward $2,000 per ounce, probably within six months. The forecasters who see such a price, but suggest it would take four to five years to get there, are ignoring history. Since gold was able to get from $185 to $850 in 18 months in 1978-80, there is no reason why it cannot get from $1,100 to $2,000 in six months now. What’s more, although 1980’s peak seemed madness at the time, and was equivalent to nearly $2,400 today, there is no reason why gold cannot go much higher if it is given another year or so to get there.

If I had a store of liquid funds available, I would buy gold now, even at $1100. Instead I have two houses and a child in college so my options are limited. Houses, even with mortgages, are probably better to hold than dollars for the next few years but they are not very liquid. I remember very well the survivalist mentality of the late 70s when people were stocking up dried food and other supplies for a period of unrest. If we get to 15% unemployment, and I think we will, those lessons may need to be learned again.

We only thought that Carter was the worst president ever. Who knew that the lesson would have to be learned again?

Read the rest of that piece. Here is another segment:

At some point, probably before the end of 2010, the bubble will burst. The deflationary effect on the U.S. economy of $150 plus oil will overwhelm the modest forces of genuine economic expansion. The Treasury bond market will collapse, overwhelmed by the weight of deficit financing. Once again, the banking system will be in deep trouble. The industrial sector, beyond the largest and most liquid companies and the extractive industries, will in any case have remained in recession – it is notable that, in spite of the Fed’s frenzy of activity, bank lending has fallen $600 billion in the last year. Unemployment, which will probably enter the second downturn at around current levels, will spike further upwards. The dollar will probably not collapse, but only because it will have been declining inexorably in the intervening year, to give a euro value of $2 and a yen value of 60 to 65 yen to the dollar.

In the next downturn, the Fed will not be able to cut interest rates, because inflation will be spiraling, as in 1980. Instead it will need to raise them while dealing with a profound crisis in the bond markets. Capital in the U.S. will become still more difficult to come by, and unemployment will approach 15%.

Maybe another 1994 Congressional turnover will save us but I think it may be too late.

UPDATE: We are now learning that some of the actions taken last year were unnecessary, which makes us wonder why they were taken.

In the fall of 2008 the New York Fed drove a baby-soft bargain with AIG’s credit-default-swap counterparties. The Fed’s taxpayer-funded vehicle, Maiden Lane III, bought out the counterparties’ mortgage-backed securities at 100 cents on the dollar, effectively canceling out the CDS contracts. This was miles above what those assets could have fetched in the market at that time, if they could have been sold at all.

The New York Fed president at the time was none other than Timothy Geithner, the current Treasury Secretary, and Mr. Geithner now tells Mr. Barofsky that in deciding to make the counterparties whole, “the financial condition of the counterparties was not a relevant factor.

Whaaat ??? Read the rest.

UPDATE # 2: The story of TARP and it isn’t pretty.