Archive for October, 2010

Cry for California


Pity California.  Tens of billions of dollars of deficits every year, businesses fleeing the state with the second worst business climate in the country, big spenders firmly in control in Sacramento, Democrat Jerry Brown leading in the race for Governor, Proposition 25, which would eliminate the 2/3 vote requirement for new taxes, ahead in the polls, and Proposition 23, which would save what’s left of California’s economy by delaying the economy-crippling cap and trade law, AB32, behind in the polls.  The perfect storm.

And what is AB32 really about?  Well, as the Aussies described their proposed and rejected cap and trade law, it’s a great big tax on everything.  Californians, desperately in the hole already because of government laws and regulations and high taxes, are about to be saddled with hundreds of millions in new taxes:

Less rosy still is a little-noticed and little-discussed draft report circulated last year by the California Air Resources Board’s economic and allocation advisory committee. In it, the panel seriously contemplates using some of the hundreds of millions of dollars the state hopes to collect in carbon “allowance fees” to pay the unemployment benefits of people thrown out of work by new regulations.  “Prop 23 is all about saving California’s economy

How much more greedy can one state government get, and how much more will the people of California willingly take?


Travel industry the "biggest enemy" the NRDC has


“[Roger] Dow [president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association] fears the next big problem for the tourism industry will be environmental policies that discourage people from traveling. Dow said he got that message in 2008 when he invited Michael Goo, the climate legislative director for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate center, to meet with the U.S. Travel Association policy committee.

“I think the board was a little stunned,” Dow said. “When we asked him to speak his mind about the industry, he said, ‘You’re the biggest enemy I have.’ They (environmentalists) aren’t as concerned about how travel works for the economy [as] they are about reducing carbon emissions.””  “Travel expert: Environmental policies loom as tourism threat

Going green to famine


“Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years …

Global wheat and maize prices recently jumped nearly 30% in a few weeks …  Last week, the US predicted that global wheat harvests would be 30m tonnes lower than last year, a 5.5% fall. Meanwhile, the price of tomatoes in Egypt, garlic in China and bread in Pakistan are at near-record levels.

“The situation has deteriorated since September,” said Abdolreza Abbassian of the UN food and agriculture organisation. “In the last few weeks there have been signs we are heading the same way as in 2008.

“We may not get to the prices of 2008 but this time they could stay high much longer.”

However, opinions are sharply divided over whether these prices signal a world food crisis like the one in 2008 that helped cause riots in 25 countries, or simply reflect volatility in global commodity markets as countries claw their way through recession.  …

But other analysts highlight the food riots in Mozambique that killed 12 people last month and claim that spiralling prices could promote further political turmoil.  …

“The food riots in Mozambique can be repeated anywhere in the coming years,” said Devinder Sharma, a leading Indian food analyst.  …

Mounting anger has greeted food price inflation of 21% in Egypt in the last year, along with 17% rises in India and similar amounts in many other countries. Prices in the UK have risen 22% in three years.

The governments of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines have all warned of possible food shortages next year …

[T]he UN’s food price index rose 5% last month and now stands at its highest level in two years.

World wheat and maize prices have risen 57%, rice 45% and sugar 55% over the last six months and soybeans are at their highest price for 16 months.

UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, says a combination of environmental degradation, urbanisation and large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors for biofuels is squeezing land suitable for agriculture.  …

“But the pressure on land resulting from these factors has been boosted in recent years by policies favouring large-scale industrial plantations.[“, he says.]

“According to the World Bank, more than one-third of large-scale land acquisitions are intended to produce agrofuels.””  “Global food crisis forecast as prices reach record highs

Latest UN CDM scam


Hot on the tail of the last UN CDM scam comes the latest scam:

BRUSSELS, October 18, 2010 – Incentives created by the UNFCCC Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) have caused a significant shift of adipic acid production from plants in industrialized countries to CDM plants in China and South Korea, a new study shows. This has led to “carbon leakage” – a shift in production that leads to an overall increase in emissions – and the issuance of 13.5 million offsets that represent phantom emissions reductions.

Background: Nitrous oxide, an unwanted by-product in the production of adipic acid, is also a very potent global warming pollutant. Adipic acid is used most commonly to make nylon, and producers in developing nations can earn carbon credits through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by installing and using equipment to destroy their nitrous oxide by-product.  …

Key Findings

The study shows that profits from CDM revenue are so large that they have, in some cases, subsidized adipic acid production costs to below zero, giving CDM plants a large competitive advantage. This has caused a shift in production from non-CDM plants to CDM plants.

“We have known for some time that these projects accrue tremendous profits through the CDM” said Michael Lazarus, a senior scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute and co-author of the study. “Our new findings show that these profits have evidently led to significant shifts in adipic acid production away from non-CDM plants to CDM plants, and strongly indicate that carbon leakage has occurred”.  …

“Assuming that the plants would have operated at the average global rate, we estimate that this shift in production resulted in about 13.5 million credits being issued in 2008 and 2009 that did not represent actual emissions reductions,” explains co-author Anja Kollmuss. “That is about 20% of all credits issued for adipic acid projects. These credits are bought to offset emission reduction requirements in the EU and elsewhere. They lead to an increase in emissions because the buyers of these offsets are then entitled to increase their emissions.”  “Industrial gas projects caused millions of phantom emission reductions, new study shows