News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Definitely no drought in the Bronx, tarp on the field, Rangers at Yankees



































7/23/14, "And the field is getting soaked as grounds crew having trouble with the tarp," Erik Boland twitter. Rangers at Yankees, 2-1 Yankees in the 5th.







7/23/14, Struggles with tarp at Yankee Stadium, photo Jim McIsaac Newsday via Erik Boland twitter 















7/23/14, "Field still not covered and I'm guessing the rain might stop before crew is able to move water soaked tarp," Erik Boland twitter. Rangers at Yankees, 2-1 Yankees in the 5th.







130 UN-backed environmental groups call for end of capitalism to save the planet but demand that capitalist economies send them cash-RTCC, Daily Caller

7/23/14, "130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism," Daily Caller, Michael Bastasch

"Environmentalists have declared that global warming can’t be stopped without ending the “hegemonic capitalist system,” saying that cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are “false solutions.”

The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system,” [point 46] reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, [English translation] presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

“To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system,” the declaration adds.

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.

But environmentalists surprised U.N. officials by offering up a declaration that not only seeks to end capitalism, but one that also opposes U.N.-backed efforts to fight global warming — namely, cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs.

Climate-change news analysis site RTCC reports that it’s unclear which groups signed onto the declaration, adding that it runs in the face of the “green economy” solutions to global warming backed by rich nations
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But many poor countries, like Venezuela, do not support a “green economy” solution to global warming, instead, arguing that rich countries should give poor nations cash payments and technology transfers.

Rejection of cap-and-trade and forest conservation programs also fly in the face of U.S. and European environmental groups, which back programs to limit and price carbon dioxide emissions. In the U.S., environmentalists rallied behind the Environmental Protection Agency proposals to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new and existing power plants — a plan that would force the shutdown of coal-fired power plants.

Climate disruption is the greatest challenge facing our generation,” Michael Brune, the director of the Sierra Club, said in a statement in June. “Until now, power plants have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, driving dangerous climate disruption, and fueling severe drought, wildfires, heat waves and superstorms.”

The EPA’s plan to cut emissions from power plants has been attacked by the coal industry and Republicans who say it will harm the U.S. economy without doing much to help the climate.

“EPA is setting up our states to fail our local economies to fail – to deliver on the president’s promise that electricity prices will skyrocketall for immeasurable so-called climate benefits,” Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter said in a Thursday hearing on the EPA’s new rule. ”This rule is all pain and no gain.”

The environmentalists who support the Margarita Declaration may have also been pleased to hear that Australia repealed its two-year-old carbon tax — though Australia is still a free-market economy.

Australia’s conservative coalition government has been bucking the so-called climate consensus since their electoral wins last fall. Not only did Australia send no high level diplomats to the last U.N. climate conference, but they also plan to cut global warming and green energy programs by 90 percent over the next four years." via Rush Limbaugh

=======================

Margarita Declaration on Climate Change in English

"Ensure funding from developed countries" that recipient
 countries may spend as they choose. (Item 54)
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======================= 

Among international groups in attendance:

WWF
Friends of the Earth
Climate Action Network

-----------------------------

Climate Action Network Board of Directors includes representatives of:

Greenpeace USA
Oxfam America
Oregon Environmental Council
Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program

Environment Maine 
Center for Biological Diversity
Sierra Club
East Michigan Environmental Council 

World Wildlife Fund
National Wildlife Federation
Union of Concerned Scientists
NAACP
Natural Resources Defense Council

=========================

7/23/14, "Venezuela Climate Summit Calls for End to "Green Economy,"" RTCC (Responding to Climate Change), Sophie Yeo

"UN-backed event ends with unusual call from civil society groups to end capitalism."





The declaration also conflicts with the UN’s own schemes to tackle climate change.
It says carbon markets are a “false solution” to the problem of climate change and brands a UN-backed forest conservation scheme “dangerous and unethical”.
The forests programme, called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Land Degradation (REDD), was first introduced into UN proceedings in 2005 at the request of the governments of Papua New Guinea and Costa Rica.
- See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/07/22/venezuela-climate-summit-calls-for-end-to-green-economy/#sthash.Tdqx1BJ6.dpuf
UN-backed event ends with unusual call from civil society groups to end capitalism  - See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/07/22/venezuela-climate-summit-calls-for-end-to-green-economy/#sthash.Tdqx1BJ6.dpuf
Venezuela climate summit calls for end to “green economy” - See more at: http://www.rtcc.org/2014/07/22/venezuela-climate-summit-calls-for-end-to-green-economy/#sthash.Tdqx1BJ6.dpuf

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

EU countries reliant on Russia for uranium, nuclear energy and natural gas aren't eager for sanctions-BBC

7/21/14, "The EU's nuclear links with Russia," BBC, Andrew Walker

"Following the loss of the Malaysian airliner last week, European leaders are once again wrestling with the question of how to respond to Russia over its role in the Ukraine crisis. 

They are reluctant to get tough, much more so than the United States. 

The EU could easily end up doing itself a lot of economic harm, most obviously if Russia were to respond by turning down the gas. Russia is a very important oil exporter too, though that is a more liquid market - to coin a phrase - where it is not so hard to find alternatives if you fall out with one major supplier. 

But there is also a significant role in Europe's energy sector for Russian nuclear supplies and the potential for significant disruption in the EU. 

Nuclear energy is an important source of electricity in the EU. 

Some countries are planning to phase it out, notably Germany. But even so, projections last year from the European Union see more than a fifth of EU electricity coming from nuclear power plants up to the middle of the century. 

About half of EU states have some nuclear power - though there is a marked variation between countries.

In France, which is the world's biggest producer and user of nuclear power, 75% of total electricity generation is nuclear. In the UK, the figure is 18%, while Italy is the largest EU economy to have none. 
 
Russia comes into this picture at several points. First, it is an important supplier of the raw material for nuclear fuel, uranium.

There is an international market for uranium, so there are alternative sources, but Russia accounts for 18% of EU supplies (behind Kazakhstan and Canada), so switching is not that simple. 

Second, there is the business of enrichment to make the uranium suitable for power generation - and 30% of this work is done by Russian companies.
There is another potential source of vulnerability, too. The EU has a significant number of older, Russian-designed nuclear reactors - 18 in all. 

This is a reflection of past political relations with the Soviet Union. 

Finland, which was never formally part of the Soviet bloc but did have a close relationship, has two - and all the reactors in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary are Russian-designed. Hungary also has an agreement for two more to be built. 
 
These reactors account for a significant part of many of these countries' electricity needs - more than 50% for Slovakia and over 45% for Hungary. The fuel for a reactor also has to be supplied in a form - called a fuel assembly - that meets the specifications of the particular reactor, and for Russian-designed reactors the fuel comes from a Russian company, TVEL

So anything that disrupted the supply of the fuel assemblies needed for these countries' reactors would be a serious problem for them.
 
A recent document produced by the European Commission put it like this: "There is no diversification, nor back-up in case of supply problems (whether for technical or political reasons)."

The Commission went on to argue: "Ideally, diversification of fuel assembly manufacturing should also take place, but this would require some technological efforts because of the different reactor designs."

Other EU countries, including the UK, are not exposed to this specific risk.

There are some technical features of nuclear power that do ease any supply worries. A nuclear plant is only re-fuelled occasionally - typically every 12 to 24 months for modern designs. And if a scheduled re-fuelling is missed, the plant can continue to operate with declining output.

Compared with coal or gas it is also easier to store large amounts of fuel needs, as the volume of material is much smaller. 

There are plenty of reasons for EU countries to be wary about tighter sanctions against Russia. The need for nuclear supplies is only one of them.

The British group Open Europe has done some analysis of official statements about the issue, attempting to rank countries according to how hawkish or dovish they are on sanctions

Although it certainly does not prove anything about the respective governments' motives, it is striking that none of those with Russian-designed reactors are strongly hawkish

Apart from the Czech Republic, they are all at least slightly to the dovish end of the scale and one of them, Bulgaria, is the most dovish of all, according to Open Europe's measure. 

It is worth repeating one point. Gas is the big issue for commercial relations between Russia and the EU-but nuclear matters too."




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Sunday, July 20, 2014

No drought in Atlanta, tarp on the field Phillies at Braves









7/20/14, "Atlanta Braves grounds crew members work to cover the infield at Turner Field during a rain shower in the sixth inning of a baseball game against Philadelphia Phillies in Atlanta, Sunday, July 20, 2014," ap. Final 8-2 Braves, after rain delay of one hr. and 39 min.




























7/20/14, "Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (38) leaves the field as play is stopped for rain during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, Sunday, July 20, 2014, ap. Final 8-2 Braves after one hr. and 39 min. rain delay. "Kendrick struggles again in Phillies' loss," AP via GreenwichTime.com, George Henry



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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Australia still has carbon dioxide taxation, Prime Min. Abbott merely doing a 'repeal and replace' with even more expensive programs for imaginary CO2 terror, which even if it existed could only be cured by China. Abbott wants 'green army' and global climate treaty. Yet another politician who's either a con artist, criminally insane, or both

7/19/14, "Australia Still has Carbon Taxation," American Thinker, by Sierra Rayne

"As some conservatives celebrate the repeal of Australia's carbon tax, a dose of caution is warranted: Australia still has carbon taxation on its agenda. This repealed legislation is apparently going to be replaced by the multi-billion dollar "Direct Action" climate change policy that Prime Minister Tony Abbott has long been promoting. Thus, one form of carbon pricing gets replaced by another form of carbon pricing, neither of which is acceptable.

Many critical thinkers about climate science got excited over Abbott's public statement that the "science behind climate change was 'crap'"? A little -- more accurately, a lot -- premature that enthusiasm was. Here is what Abbott's government said during the past couple days about climate change policies after the Senate finally voted to repeal the carbon tax:

"The government said it would now achieve the 5% target through its as-yet-unlegislated Direct Action competitive grants policy, which the environment minister, Greg Hunt, insisted was a 'policy for the long term.' While the prime minister hailed the demise of the 'useless, destructive [carbon] tax' and promised that the Coalition would 'never do anything that damages the economy,' he repeatedly refused to rule out ever introducing a carbon price in the future."

So Abbott repeatedly refuses to rule out carbon pricing in the future, and in the meantime his government will saddle taxpayers with government funding for emissions reduction efforts. In other words, the hated price on carbon still exists.

In April of this year, Abbott's government released its white paper on a climate change plan for Australia:

"Environment Minister Greg Hunt has unveiled the white paper on the central component of Direct Action, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Mr Hunt also revealed an extra $1 billion will be allocated to the fund in the May budget, in keeping with the initial policy costing released in the 2010 election campaign. 

He says the ERF will buy the lowest-cost carbon abatement schemes to reduce emissions through reverse auctions, and encourage 'practical ways of reducing emissions where every dollar is spent on actually purchasing real means of decreasing Australia's overall emissions.' 

'I want to re-affirm today the Government's clear, strong support for the science underpinning climate change, recognition of the need for both domestic and global action, and our commitment to the 5 per cent target as we go forward,' Mr Hunt said."

To be clear, Abbott's government does not in any way dispute the need for emissions reductions, and it is willing to spend massive quantities of tax dollars to do so. This is still a price on carbon, and potentially a more expensive, less efficient, and more economically damaging approach than the alternative market-based mechanism Abbott's government seems to loath.

Abbott's Environment Minister "says the ERF [which replaces the carbon tax] will focus on 'practical actions such as cleaning up waste coal mine gas, cleaning up wasteland fill gas, cleaning up methane, energy efficiency on a significant scale, whether it's industrial, commercial or residential'. But he said the price per tonne of abatement was market sensitive and would depend on the auction process." Wait a minute, "the price per tonne of abatement was market sensitive"? That sounds just like carbon pricing, and since the taxpayers are paying for the costs, it's still a carbon tax.

The details in the Abbott government's ERF white paper raise a number of red flags. The ERF says it is committed to "ensuring there is no net increase in the administrative burden on industry." Note that it is not committed to a reduction in "the administrative burden on industry," just no net increase. According to the white paper, the ERF "is a practical policy that will reduce Australia's emissions at low cost, without adding to household and business energy costs." A key point here. The new policy may not add to energy costs, but it is silent on the fact it will unavoidably add to other costs.

The ERF white paper also claims it "will help reduce Australia's greenhouse gas emissions while delivering valuable co-benefits to Australian businesses, households and the environment. For example, households and businesses will save money by improving their energy efficiency." Energy efficiency only saves money if the money spent on the energy saving device/strategy costs less than the energy saved. In general, if the energy-saving devices provided a favorable return on investment, why would households and businesses need any government financing to make the transition?

Governments get involved in these energy efficiency programs primarily because the options are not otherwise financially favorable. Thus, when we consider the total costs of these programs -- where the increased tax bill is also factored in -- they often do not save money. Instead, they cost money. If the initiative was already an off-the-shelf money winner, the private sector would be doing it. Once the argument gets trotted out that the government must be involved, you can be sure the program isn't a net money winner.

Further proof that Abbott's government still has a price on carbon comes from the following white paper admission: "The overriding objective of the Emissions Reduction Fund will be to reduce emissions at lowest cost... the Emissions Reduction Fund will identify and purchase emissions reductions at the lowest cost." Reduce emissions at lowest cost? By definition, that is carbon pricing. And the ERF will purchase reductions? That sounds like crony capitalism. A government program cannot identify the best value emissions reduction purchases better than the free market. How can Australian taxpayers be assured the ERF won't be purchasing emissions reductions from politically well-connected individuals at artificially high prices?

The white paper further reiterates what Abbott and Hunt have been publicly saying about their position on anthropogenic climate change, and it isn't skeptical in the least:
"The Government accepts the science of climate change. The world's leading scientific organisations, including Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and the Australian Academy of Science, have found that the Earth's climate is changing as a result of human activities and that further change is projected.
Climate change can only be effectively mitigated if all major economies take coordinated action to restrain emissions.
Australia will work towards a new international agreement to be agreed in late 2015 that will establish for the first time, from 2020, a common platform for all countries to take serious, coordinated global climate action that is economically and fiscally responsible. The agreement must be one where all major economies, including Australia's key trading partners and competitors, play a real part in controlling their emissions through comparable global action."
This logic from Abbott's white paper is absolute nonsense:
"While there is a menu of approaches, their impact on societies and economies can be vastly different.
For example, carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes operate by increasing costs associated with the emission of greenhouse gases. Typically these costs are reflected in prices and flow through to higher prices for households and businesses. In Australia, the Government believes that there is a better way to reduce emissions than by imposing taxes or emissions trading systems that increases energy costs for businesses and households.
For Australia, an incentive-based approach that directly purchases emissions reductions and rewards practical and positive action is a better way to achieve the 2020 emissions reduction target than an approach that raises prices for all Australians. That is why the Government is repealing the carbon tax and replacing it with the Emissions Reduction Fund. Rather than increasing prices and eroding Australia's competitive advantage, the incentive-based approach adopted through the Emissions Reduction Fund will invest in Australian businesses, reducing their energy costs and increasing our productivity as a nation."
A market mechanism for carbon pricing is bad because it increases costs for individuals and businesses, but a system whereby the government buys emissions reductions using tax dollars isn't carbon pricing and won't increase costs for individuals and businesses? Nonsense. By definition, if the government is paying for it, it uses tax dollars and will necessarily increase the costs of living and doing business
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The ERF claims that "importantly, businesses will no longer have the burden of paying and complying with the carbon tax." No, instead they will have the burden of paying taxes to the government so the government can pay for carbon emissions reductions. Wait a minute, isn't this carbon taxation via carbon pricing? Sure is, as shown by the fact that "the Clean Energy Regulator will apply a benchmark price -- which is the maximum amount it will pay for emissions reductions."

The ERF "will also provide a guarantee to businesses about the quantity and price of Australian Carbon Credit Units that can be sold to the Government." A price guarantee for carbon credit units sold to the government of Australia? That sure sounds like a price on carbon, and since the government is buying the credits with tax dollars, we have more carbon taxation.

How about this provision from Abbott's plan?

"In order to enable an appropriate return within 5 years, it is possible larger projects with greater abatement potential will require a higher cost per ton abatement...The Government recognises that some projects may deliver large volumes of emissions reductions and the Emissions Reduction Fund should provide incentives for such projects. The Government will retain discretion to enter out-of-auction contracts for major projects which can deliver emissions reductions above 250 000 tonnes of CO2-e per year, on average, or 1.25 MtCO2-e or more over the contract period. To enable this, the Clean Energy Regulator will be given the flexibility to use different types of procurement and tendering processes."

In other words, we will bypass any semblance of a free-market approach and just use tax dollars to buy emissions reductions with government "discretion." Sounds like a recipe for potential financial disaster and corruption.

Abbott also wants to create a taxpayer-funded "green army" of 15,000 people. This will also use tax dollars, and further add to the carbon tax burden in Australia.

Overall, Tony Abbott's plan is as follows: create and maintain a government bureaucracy to use Australian tax dollars for greenhouse gas emission reductions. That is carbon pricing

That is carbon taxation. Both live on down under."

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Comment: Abbott could've stood with the people, could've realized great financial rewards after leaving office, but he dropped the people like a hot potato. There was nothing forcing him to sell out, but that's what he did.







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Thursday, July 17, 2014

US utilities scrambling for coal, imports on pace to increase 26% in 2014, New Hampshire just bought huge coal shipment from Russia-Bloomberg

7/16/14, "Hungry U.S. Power Plant Turns to Russia for Coal Shipment," Bloomberg, Mario Parker

"When New Hampshire's largest utility needed to rebuild coal supplies after the past frigid winter, it turned to Russia rather than Appalachia in the U.S. Northeast or Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. 

The Doric Victory, a bulk carrier the length of two football fields, transported the fuel almost 4,000 miles (6,436 kilometers) from Riga, Latvia, last month to Public Service of New Hampshire’s Schiller power plant in Portsmouth, a 150-megawatt facility that’s produced electricity since 1952.

Utilities in the U.S. are scrambling for coal, on pace to increase imports 26 percent this year, as railroad bottlenecks slow deliveries and electricity demand climbs with an improving economy. Russia, the world’s third-largest exporter of the fuel, will boost shipments 3.9 percent to 106 million metric tons this year, IHS Energy forecasts, part of President Vladimir Putin’s plan to expand Russia’s role in the global coal market. 

“Everyone’s aware that a number of plants have low stockpiles, so you hear Russian coal and they say, ‘Oh wow, people must really be desperate,’” James Stevenson, Houston-based director of North American coal at IHS, said in a July 8 telephone interview.

The New Hampshire utility declined to disclose the amount of coal that it purchased from Russia. U.S. bill of lading data show that 38,500 metric tons of steam coal were delivered. 

Russian Coal

A shipment of coal was contracted from Russia that met our operational and economic needs,” was all the utility was willing to say in an e-mail. 

U.S.-Russia relations are at a post-Cold War low after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea. The U.S. and European Union have imposed sanctions on companies and individuals tied to Putin’s inner circle and are considering further penalties. 

The Russian fuel appeals to power producers because it emits less sulfur than other coals, making it easier to comply with environmental rules, and has a high heat content, meaning it can produce more power per measure of fuel, Stevenson said. 

In 2012, Putin pledged to spend $120 billion in public and private funds to expand Russia’s coal mining capacity and boost exports through 2030. The country has the second-largest reserves behind the U.S., government data show. 

Russia's abundant supply of natural gas, also used to generate electricity, gives it the ability to flood the seaborne coal market, the U.S. Energy Department says. Exports from Russia have swelled 94 percent from January 2010 through May, data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

Coal Burning

U.S. utilities burned 30 million tons of coal inventories in the first quarter, EIA data show. March was the coldest for the month since 2002 in the contiguous 48 U.S. states, according to the National Climatic Data center, boosting power demand. In spring, an increase in oil and ethanol transport clogged the railways and slowed efforts by power generators to rebuild supply. 

Some utilities have as little as 20 days of reserves, Bill Davison, vice president of thermal coal sales at Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR), said last month at a conference in New York

Tennessee Valley Authority temporarily idled the Bull Run plant in May to rebuild supply, Vince Stroud, the company’s director of coal origination, said last month in an interview at the IHS McCloskey Coal USA conference in New York. 

Rail Service

Power producers have placed an emphasis on reliability of supply, whether it’s domestic or imported, as they try to increase inventories and navigate spotty rail service, said Frank Kolojeski, director of marketing at Exporting Commodities International Inc., a brokerage in Marlton, New Jersey

“A lot of companies were reluctant to go out and buy spot coal because they weren’t sure it would get delivered,” he said in a July 2 telephone interview. 

The U.S. imported 34 million tons of coal in 2008, a year in which the fuel accounted for 48 percent of electricity generation, government data show. Foreign purchases tumbled to 8.9 million tons by last year as coal’s share of electricity consumption dropped to 39 percent while gas use gained.

Coal buyers, producers and shippers responded to shrinking imports by idling or reallocating equipment, Kolojeski said. 

“Everybody had been used to five years of dormancy,” he said. All of a sudden there was a surge in demand. It caught everybody off guard.” 

In December days of coal supply fell below 60 days for the first time since summer 2011, according to the Energy Department’s statistical arm. 

Rising Imports

In the first quarter, the most recent period for which data is available, U.S. imports ballooned 71 percent to 2.4 million tons, EIA data show.

Companies in the U.S. are finding bargains because the world is currently oversupplied, Stevenson said. “In some ways the Russian coal was a bird in the hand,” he said. 

Thermal coal is used to generate electricity, while the metallurgical variety is needed to forge steel. 

Coal at the Australian port of Newcastle, Asia’s benchmark price, is down about 17 percent this year at $69.65 a metric ton. Coal for delivery next year to Northwest Europe is down 11 percent at $77.50. 

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, prices have increased 5.3 percent to $60.50. 

The global seaborne coal market may rise 4.6 percent this year to 997 million metric tons and could reach a record 1 billion tons, the Englewood, Colorado-based information company, estimates. Indonesia is the biggest seller of coal, followed by Australia, according to IHS. 

Colombia accounted for 67 percent and Indonesian coal made up 23 percent of U.S. imports in the first quarter, according to EIA. In the lower 48 states, the most foreign shipments have flowed in through Tampa, Florida, followed by Boston, the EIA data show. 

“If you are on the Atlantic Coast, you have a chance to buy imported coal,” Stevenson said. “If you’re a utility you have to act now and throughout the second half of the year in case there’s a colder winter than last year.”"




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Australia Senate votes to repeal carbon dioxide tax per Tony Abbott election vow. Average family will save $550 per year, retailers say will boost current low consumer confidence-Bloomberg

"Australia votes to repeal carbon tax," BBC
"New senators were sworn in this month."
 
7/16/14, "Australia Scraps Carbon Price as Abbott Meets Election Vow," Bloomberg, Jason Scott

"Australia's Senate voted to scrap the nation’s price on carbon, fulfilling a key election pledge by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and leaving the nation without an approved mechanism to tackle emissions. 

The repeal bill was passed 39 votes to 32 in the 76-member upper house today, dismantling a law introduced by the previous Labor government that initially charged polluters A$23 ($21.50) per ton of greenhouse gases emitted.
 
Repealing the carbon price may put Australia, which is hosting the Group of 20 nations summit in November, at loggerheads with President Barack Obama who is seeking to form a worldwide agreement to combat climate change. Australia, the world’s biggest emitter of fossil fuels per capita, hasn’t backed U.S. calls to add the issue to the G-20 agenda when leaders meet in Brisbane. 

“Abbott campaigned so hard for so long to get rid of the carbon tax, which has been pretty unpopular with voters, that the repeal will be seen as a big victory domestically,” said Zareh Ghazarian, a Melbourne-based professor at the Monash University School of Political and Social Inquiry. “In international diplomatic circles, it’s a different matter. It may cause discomfort to the government during Obama’s visit later this year.”

The repeal will save the average family A$550 a year through lower electricity prices and make Australian companies more competitive, Abbott said in an e-mailed statement after the vote. December electricity futures in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, slipped 2.2 percent to A$31.55 per megawatt hour as of 12 p.m. in Sydney, the lowest in a week.
 
The benchmark SandP/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent, heading for the highest close since June 2008. 

The repeal was “widely anticipated” and “should be reasonably neutral” to the stock market, Matt Riordan, a Sydney-based portfolio manager who helps oversee about $7.5 billion at Paradice Investment Management Pty., said by phone. 

Today’s vote to repeal the carbon price comes a week after the government’s second bid to abolish the mechanism was blocked in the upper house. Clive Palmer, the mining magnate whose party Abbott has to deal with in the Senate to pass legislation, on July 10 said his three Senators wouldn’t support it without amendments that force energy companies to pass on savings to consumers
 

While repealing the carbon-price mechanism is a victory for Abbott’s Liberal-National coalition, his government may still struggle with other climate change measures in the Senate. 

Palmer has said his Palmer United Party will vote against Abbott’s Direct Action Plan, which includes a A$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund to encourage companies to cut greenhouse gases through taxpayer-funded grants. 

Palmer has also said his three PUP senators will block plans to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corp., which helps fund renewable energy projects, and the Climate Change Authority, which provides advice on the carbon price and emissions reduction targets. 

“Australia now has no formal mechanism in place to reduce emissions,” Kobad Bhavnagri, the Sydney-based head of Australia research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said in a Bloomberg television interview today. 

The carbon price came into force in July 2012. It was fixed at A$23 per ton of greenhouse gases emitted in its first year, rising every year until it was due to shift to a market-set mechanism from July 2015. 

Labor and the Greens party, who held the balance of power in the upper house before new senators were sworn in this month, rejected the government’s first attempt to scrap the carbon price in March. The opposition will campaign in the next election, due to be called by 2016, to reinstate an emissions-trading system, Labor leader Bill Shorten said today. 

“Tony Abbott has made Australia the first country to reverse action on climate change,” Shorten said in an e-mailed statement. “History will judge Tony Abbott harshly for refusing to believe that action is needed on climate change.” 

Australia, the world’s 12th-largest economy, will still be able to meet its promised 5 percent reduction in emissions by 2020, the government says. 

Business groups welcomed today’s repeal, with the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association saying it would remove a cost for liquefied natural gas exporters that international competitors don’t face. 

The Australian Retailers Association said it would “assist the sector to overcome pressures from excessive costs and be a boost to current low consumer confidence.” 

AGL Energy Ltd. shares dropped 3.2 percent to A$15.27, poised for the biggest one-day fall since May 2013. The Melbourne-based company said the repeal will reduce earnings before interest and tax by about A$186 million in the 2015 financial year as it loses government subsidies for its Loy Yang coal-fired power station and lower wholesale electricity prices crimp earnings from renewable energy and gas generation assets. The repeal would increase the plant’s long-term value, it said. 

Obama discussed climate change with Abbott when they met in the White House on June 12 during the Australian prime minister’s first trip to the U.S. since winning the September election. 

The [US] president is seeking state-by-state limitations in the U.S. on carbon-dioxide emissions to limit the effects of man-made global warming and has proposed cutting power-plant emissions by 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels."





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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Experts say NY Gov. Cuomo in error to say 'NY didn't get tornadoes' until now. NY State has had at least 417 since records began in 1950, and no reason to connect NY tornadoes to alleged excess CO2 or man caused global warming-Syracuse Post-Standard

7/15/14, "Cuomo says 'we don't get tornadoes' in NY, but we've had at least 417," syracuse.com, Glenn Coin

"Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters last week that the rare deadly tornado that struck Madison County on July 8 was part of a "new normal" of extreme weather.

"We don't get tornadoes in New York, right? Anyone will tell you that," Cuomo said at a news conference July 8 in Smithfield, where the tornado struck. "Well, we do now."

In fact, we always have

Since the federal government started keeping a tally in 1950, New York has had at least 417 tornadoes. That's an average of seven per year.

"For him to say we don't get tornadoes in New York was incorrect," said Scott Steiger, a SUNY Oswego meteorology professor. "He didn't do his homework. Severe weather has happened in New York for a long time."

New York has averaged seven tornadoes a year since 1950. The number was about five a year before 1990, and has been about 10 per year since then. 

The increase could be because more tornadoes are happening or simply that more are being reported.

"Are we seeing more events or are we just knowing more about the events that we didn't know about before?" asked Bill Bunting, operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. "I would say probably we don't know, but a lot of it's the reporting."

Bunting said that smart phones and social media have made it easier for people to send evidence of tornadoes to researchers. The National Weather Service, for example, confirmed a tornado on Sunday after being sent pictures and video over Facebook.

"In my 29 years with the National Weather Service, it's become a lot easier for us to become aware of events," Bunting said.

The weather service has confirmed eight tornadoes in New York so far this year.

Even if more tornadoes are hitting New York, it's not clear that's because of climate change

Tornadoes are caused by a complicated set of factors, including thunderstorms loaded with moisture, and wind shear in the upper atmosphere.

While climate change would be expected to increase the instability of those storms, Bunting said, it might also be expected to reduce wind shear.

"The evidence that looks into whether or not severe thunderstorms or tornadoes will increase in a warming world is inconclusive," he said.
 
Because the numbers of tornadoes is relatively low in New York, and because so many can pop up at the same time, the statistics fluctuate widely from year to year.

There were just four tornadoes in 2012, but 23 the year before.


Tornadoes are spawned from heavy thunderstorms that sweep across the region, so they tend to come in batches. The Smithfield tornado was the strongest of five that struck New York on July 8. On May 31, 1998, New York had 13 tornadoes.

New York's tornadoes tend to be less intense and long-lasting than those on the plains. Tornadoes are rated on the Enhanced Fujita scale from zero to 5. New York tends to get storms from EF-0 to EF-2. The Smithfield tornado was at the top end of an EF-2, with wind speeds of 135 mph. The biggest one in New York this year was an EF-3, which hit May 23 in Warren County.

The last death from a tornado in New York before last week was September 2010, when one person was killed in Queens."

"You can search our database for all New York tornadoes since 1950:

Search tips:

- Want to see all the tornadoes? Hit search without entering any search terms.
- If second search turns up nothing, make sure you cleared search terms in earlier search.
- You can search for the county or community two ways: Either enter the county or the community name. Or you can use the dropdowns."




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Wealthy Democrat Colorado Congressman Polis anti-fracking ballot measure might increase Republican turnout

7/14/14, "Colorado Dems Fear Anti-Fracking Ballot Measure Will Increase Republican Turnout," Breitbart, Warner Todd Huston

"Some Democrats in Colorado are feeling vulnerable for this 2014 election cycle, and it isn't helping that one of their own is pushing anti-fracking ballot measures that Democrats fear are poised to rouse Republicans to the polls.

In 2008, Colorado began to "turn blue" with a famously concerted effort proclaimed the "Colorado Model" by which progressives systematically targeted the state with big government policy proposals that began to beat back the GOP primacy in the state. 

The Democrats at last overstepped with their massively strict anti-gun policies, which resulted in the 2013 recall elections that toppled no less than the president of the state's Senate, Democrat John Morse, and another Senator who backed the anti-gun measures. 

Since then the GOP has looked poised to take back some political territory, and the 2014 elections promise to bring them gains. With Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper and Democrat Senator Mark Udall in tough races, something like this could help turn the tide away from their re-election efforts. 

So, with the "nail-biting" elections everyone expects this year, Democrats are cross with Congressman Jared Polis who is pushing several anti-business and anti-energy ballot initiatives that he hopes will put restrictions on fracking for oil and gas in the state. 

Polis lives in a district that has a lot of support for the idea. Four of the larger cities there have already passed local ordinances banning fracking. However, the idea is not popular statewide, and the ballot measures Polis backs are causing other Democrats some amount of heartburn. 

As Time reports, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper "has spent the better part of the last month trying to come up with a legislative compromise so he could call the state legislature back into a special session" to come up with some compromise bill that would make Polis's initiatives moot. However, the Gov. is fighting a ballot measure deadline of August 4, and getting the legislature to act before that seems remote. 

It is also reported that several Democrats have tried to twist Polis's arm to get him to drop the ballot initiatives, thus far to no effect. 

Democrats fear these ballot measures could be a Republican "turn out machine:"
“The concern among many Democrats is that the ballot initiatives that we’re talking about are very, very appealing the farther left you go; troubling at the center; and on the right, they are turn out machines,” says Steve McMahon, a Democratic strategist and Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign manager. “If you’re in a safe district, you’re not concerned. But if you’re a Democrat that has to win statewide these things look a lot different.”
An important force behind Colorado's economic turnaround has been the oil and gas industry, but here is a very rich Democrat Congressman in a very safe district making an enemy of the biggest force set to bring prosperity back to the state. It is something that Democrats think is the perfect issue to rouse Republicans.

The Colorado Petroleum Association characterized these ballot measures as a "gun to their head" in that instead of trying to craft legislation with input from the industry and the public alike, Polis is just trying to ram through ballot initiatives based only on his ideas and those of his left-wing supporters. 

Showing what a hot-button issue it all is, opponents of the Polis-backed ballot measures have thus far raised more funds to fight the measures than the supporters of the move for restrictions. 

Even as the energy industries in Texas, North Dakota, Canada, and other nearby areas are booming, heavy political restrictions in Colorado have kept the Centennial State in the back of the pack for enjoying the sort of benefits it might from fracking and other means of extracting fossil fuels. Polis's ballot initiatives would further hamper an industry that is going great guns all around Colorado. 

With the pressure that these ballot measures could bring to Republican voters to get out and vote, Democrats are running scared. Already Senator Mark Udall is neck-and-neck in the polls with challenger, Republican Cory Gardner. Incumbent Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper still leads his GOP opponent, Bob Beauprez, but only by some 5 percent – not a big lead for an incumbent. 

These ballot measures could help bring Republicans to the polls for candidates down ballot, too. With Republicans under funded, this can only help the GOP. Still, only one House seat, Representative Mike Coffman's, seems a safe Republican seat in House races. But no one expected the recall efforts to topple two state Senators, either."

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Comment: This article perfectly describes the non-existent Republican Party as engineered by the Establishment--its prospects only look good by default. As long as the Bush/Barbour crowd is around, the US will have only one functioning political party, the Democrat.




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Congressman wonders if Border Patrol Agents have same access to environmentally protected areas as illegals do

7/14/14, "Congressman Asks: How Many Migrants Crossing Through Designated Environmental Areas to Avoid Border Patrol?" Breitbart, Tony Lee

"Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R) wants to know if federal environmental protection laws are making it easier for illegal immigrants to unlawfully enter the country.

After touring a detention center on Saturday where illegal immigrant children are being housed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Rep. Bridenstine asked the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) if Border Patrol agents are banned from lands protected by environmental protection laws--lands that illegal immigrants may be using to enter the United States.

In a letter to Kenneth Wolfe, the deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs at HHS, Bridenstine asked the percentage of illegal immigrant children coming across the border in areas where the Obama administration has denied Border Patrol agents "access due to (1) federal environmental laws and (2) other federal laws." He requested that HHS provide him with answers by July 18. 

As Breitbart News has been reporting, at least 57,000 illegal immigrant children have crossed the border since October of last year, and federal officials believe at least 150,000 more will do so next year.

Bridenstine also noted in a statement that the border crisis is directly related to this administration’s "failed policies and refusal to enforce the law" and that Obama's "$3.7 billion spending proposal will not stop the crisis."

"Solving this is a matter of national security and national sovereignty," he said. "We must secure the border and dissuade people from making, or sending their children on, this dangerous journey."

Bridenstine also mentioned that he was "impressed with the professionalism and compassion of the people who work at the HHS facility, as well as the Lawton/Ft. Sill community.""

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7/14/14, "The Conservatives Who Deserve Blame for the Border Breakdown," American Thinker, John T. Bennett

"The conservative commentators who advocated a “path to citizenship” after the 2012 election bear partial blame for the current wave of illegal immigrants from Central America. Many of those who advocated for amnesty following the 2012 election are now complaining that people indeed came expecting that amnesty. 

But there is also an unbelievably bad policy at the root of the problem.

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 is the awful piece of legislation that is allowing tens of thousands of illegal aliens to be released and remain in America while awaiting “deportation hearings” that we all know are a sham.

It is not ironic at all that that a law intended “to combat human trafficking has facilitated human smuggling. It is not ironic because this is precisely the outcome we should expect from immigration policy designed by multicultural elites. Our inept and corrupt political class, with their utter disregard for our sovereignty, simply does not seem to care about the consequences of the laws they pass.


Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sources told ABC news that, reportedly, “more than 80 percent of these children will find permanent homes in the U.S., with either family or foster homes and not be sent back to Central America.” In fact, the number of Central American illegals who are deported is closer to zero. According to one high-ranking Border Patrol official, “Currently only three percent of apprehensions from countries other than Mexico are being repatriated to their countries of citizenship, which are predominantly located in Central America.”

Every single Congressperson and Senator, from both parties, voted in favor of the 2008 act. The act is a Trojan horse full of the “disadvantaged,” a group overwhelmingly prone to vote Democrat. Rick Green with the Oklahoman newspaper has a detailed write-up on the 2008 act. He zeroes in on the key provisions:

 
"[T]he 2008 act mandates the current, often lengthy, procedures under which the young people are given temporary housing and an array of services while a parent or sponsor is sought in the United States pending deportation hearings, which are often delayed because immigration courts are backed up with pending cases."
 
When a parent or sponsor is found, the illegal aliens are released."

After a year or two there is a deportation hearing. As Byron York writes, “Even if, after two or three years, a hearing judge finally orders removal, many illegal immigrants just ignore the order. No one makes them leave.”

The 2008 act has the effect of amnesty; it allows illegal aliens to disappear into America and not face deportation unless they decide to comply with a toothless legal order. Even if illegal aliens intended to comply with our laws when they first arrived -which is unlikely because they broke our laws to come here in the first place- they will probably not voluntarily comply with a toothless order after they’ve assimilated into the welfare system. The common sense alternative is expedited deportation with no release into the United States. Congress should have made that change already.

Who is to Blame? 


Many Republicans are blaming the president’s amnesty rhetoric for encouraging the current wave of Central American illegal immigrants. The fact of the matter is that the entire Congress in 2008 opened the gate, and then both the president and pro-amnesty Republicans gave illegal aliens the green light.

The 2008 act tore a hole in our border for Central American minors. So why didn’t the influx occur sooner? Customs and Border Patrol numbers show an increase from 2009-2010, but a much larger spike occurred from 2012-2013.













Source: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

The green light was turned on beginning in 2012-2013. In 2012, Obama granted temporary amnesty to specified categories of illegal aliens, which was certainly a green light for further illegal entry. A leaked Border Patrol memo reveals that the recent illegal aliens from Central America came to the U.S., in their own words, “to take advantage of the ‘new’ U.S. law that grants a free pass or permit.” But another segment of the American political system also filled the news with a similar message about crumbling borders: The bountiful post-2012 election pandering by certain Republicans and conservatives must have also played a role in the current wave of illegal entry."...

[Ed. note: In April 2014 "Republican" Jeb Bush told illegals it was "an act of love" for them to break our border].


(continuing): "In 2013, Republicans like Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham were calling for amnesty. In 2013 McCain said Hispanics “should be ours,” arguing that amnesty would bring in Hispanic votes.

He was joined in this delusion by many commentators: Charles Krauthammer, Sean Hannity and George Will all advocated amnesty. They were eager to pander to Hispanics, despite the fact that no conceivable Hispanic voting scenario would have resulted in a Romney victory."...


[Ed. note: Millionaire Romney's campaign knew in spring and summer 2012 that Obama was running a heavy schedule of attack ads against him on Spanish radio and television. The campaign said it couldn't respond because it didn't have the "resources."]

(continuing): "With all the post-election pandering, the message sent to the rest of the world was that one American political party wants open borders and the other party wants to give amnesty. Today, McCain and others act surprised that, with a “path to citizenship” dangled in front of them, many illegal immigrants answered the call. They should have known what their ill-conceived rhetoric would induce foreign citizens to do.

However the blame is apportioned, the latest breakdown of our border started with the 2008 act named after William Wilberforce. With a name so full of historical and emotional hype, perhaps it is to be expected that politicians wouldn’t think for even a moment about the actual legislation. The act contained a massive carve out, allowing for the effective dismantling of our border as far as Central American minors are concerned."...

[Ed. note: William Wilberforce was British and campaigned against slavery in the late 1700's and early 1800's]. 

(continuing): "If we cannot be the world’s police force, then surely we cannot be the world’s orphanage and charity. Politicians from both parties would gladly force the American taxpayer to foot the bill for their borderless welfare state. Only public pressure and the credible threat of an electoral revolt prevent the next reckless piece of social engineering. 

The conservatives who encouraged illegal immigration with talk of amnesty need to mend their errors by calling for expedited deportation and a border fence."

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