Saturday, 26 October 2013

UK Department of Energy & Climate Change censors its own infographics on wind energy land use

This is the infographic the UK Government doesn't want you to see:

(Hinkley Poin C is the new nuclear power plant to be built in Somerset)

The Telegraph reports that the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) quickly deleted the infographics from its website after the Renewable Energy Association called it "unhelpful".

Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality exceeds all expectations: 707 views worldwide on YouTube!

Al Gore's 24 Hours of Reality extravaganza took place on October 22. Anybody noticed?

On YouTube it has been a whopping success: A total of 707 views worldwide!

Congratulations Al!

Here is the Climate Reality statistical breakdown:

24 Hours of Reality: Asia
  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago
24 Hours of Reality: South America Finale
  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago
24 Hours of Reality : Europe Finale
  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago

    24 Hours of Reality: Africa

  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago
24 Hours of Reality: North America Finale
  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago
America & Caribbean
  • by Climate Reality
  • 2 days ago


Friday, 25 October 2013

Greenland ends ban on uranium mining

This is good news for Greenland:

Greenland's parliament has voted to end a decades-long prohibition on mining for radioactive materials like uranium, further opening up the country to investors from Australia to China eager to tap its vast mineral resources.
The move will not only allow the mining of uranium deposits, but also of rare earths, minerals used in 21st century products from wind turbines to hybrid cars and smart phones and that are currently mostly extracted by China.
With sea ice thawing and new Arctic shipping routes opening, the former Cold War ally of the West has emerged from isolation and gained geopolitical attention from the likes of Beijing and Brussels thanks to its untapped mineral wealth.
"We cannot live with unemployment and cost of living increases while our economy is at a standstill. It is therefore necessary that we eliminate zero tolerance towards uranium now," Greenland Prime Minister Aleqa Hammond was quoted as saying by local newspaper Sermitsiaq during the debate.
Hammond's government won the heated debate by 15-14 votes.

Read the entire article here

The friendless Obama

Germans are sour about the "news" that Barack Obama's NSA has monitored Angela Merkel's phone:

The Democrat, who prefers to spend his evenings with his family or alone in front of his computer, has made it no secret in Washington that he does not want to make new friends. That maxim especially applies to his foreign diplomacy. Unlike his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama is loved by the people of the world, but much less by their heads of government. On the heels of recent revelations that US spy agencies might have monitored Chancellor Merkel's cell phone, the complaints about Merkel's "lost friend" Obama are misplaced. Obama doesn't want to be a friend.--

So much non-diplomacy is new among US presidents. Reagan wooed Margaret Thatcher. George H.W. Bush confided in Helmut Kohl as Bill Clinton did in Tony Blair. George W. Bush, who many thought was an isolationist, could count on a whole team of "buddies," such as the then-prime minister of Spain, José Aznar, and the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. He even entertained them at his ranch in Texas.

Merkel was also invited there, and in return Bush ate a dinner of wild boar in her German electoral district. The chancellor has from time to time said that she values such trans-Atlantic closeness.
That is over. "Coolness has its price," Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl wrote in 2010, adding that Obama appeared to have no genuine friend among world leaders. But what for? He has the NSA.

The fact that the US spies on leaders of other countries should not come as a surprise for Germany, or any other country. That's what intelligence gathering organizations are for.

However, Gregor Peter Schmitz of Der Spiegel is right about the friendless Obama. But what made him think that "Obama is loved by the people of the world"?

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Ban Ki-moon visits world famous Copenhagen Tivoli Gardens - "Fairy tale like experiences for all ages"

UN Secretary General  Ban Ki-Moon and his travelling circus earlier week visited the world famous Copenhagen Tivoli gardens as guests of the Danish government:

"The Tivoli Gardens - fairy tale like experiences for all ages"
(official UN photo)

Oh, yes, while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Danish capital, the busy Secretary General also found some time to deliver his standard "tipping point" warning:

"The world is at a 'tipping point,' and how it produces, distributes and uses energy will determine if sustainable development succeeds."

Ban's UN speechwriter had written an almost poetic end line for his boss's Copenhagen "keynote speech":

“With focus, resolve and ambition, we can lower the global thermostat and raise the level of economic opportunity for all – from the poorest households to the largest enterprises.”

Ban made the statement at the launch of the Sustainable Energy for All Energy Efficiency Hub at the UN City in the Danish capital.

The Danes were perhaps lucky to have Ban as the keynote speaker. Had it been the UN's climate boss Christiane Figueras, tears could not have been avoided ...


The UN Green Climate Fund reports "huge progress": The search for a logo continues

Global warming has stopped, but the huge UN climate bureaucracy continues like nothing would have happened. The fact that the UN Green Climate Fund so far has been able to raise only $ 7.5 million  of its promised US$100 billion per year for climate finance by 2020 does not seem to bother the army of climate bureaucrats, who are full of praise for their "achievements":

"The huge progress we have made on the Fund's business model framework during this Board meeting moves the Fund much closer towards operationalization".

Zaheer Fakir, Green Climate Change Fund Co-Chair

The "huge progress" Mr Fakir was talking about was apparently this:

"Calling for nominations from developing countries of national designated authorities (NDAs) or focal points that will help ensure that country ownership and a country-driven approach are core operational principles of the Fund"

(Green Climate Fund press release on June 28)

The most important concrete issue the UN climate bureaucrats are dealing with seems the be the logo of the Green Climate Fund:

At the Paris (where else?) meeting in June the Green Climate Fund Board made a decision about the "constitution of a logo selection panel to judge the outcome of the Fund's international logo competition".

After a number of meetings (in Paris or some other inspiring venues?) the Panel and the Board were apparently not pleased with the "outcome":

"The Fund's Board decided in October 2013 (decision B.05/09, see Annex) to contract a professional designer who will design the logo of the Fund and requested the Fund's Secretariat to issue a call for tender"

This call for tender supersedes and replaces the logo competition which was previously announced by the Fund, and which did not deliver a result meeting the Board's expectations.

That competition is now cancelled by the Board, as allowed for under the competition's terms and conditions."

Which means that the ground breaking work carried out by the Green Climate Fund enters another decisive stage: The search for the missing logo continues!

Following the decision of the Fund’s Board from October 2013, the Secretariat is seeking to contract a professional designer who will design the logo of the Fund.

The tender is open to any professional designer who would be able to work as an independent consultant with the Fund.

Individuals wishing to respond to this call are invited to do so by 3 November 2013. Responses should be made by email to: logo(at) following the instructions from the Terms of reference downloadable below.
No doubt, the question of the new logo will keep the Green Climate Fund secretariat and Board busy for at least another year, with a number of meetings in Paris (or similar locations). The most important item on the next Board meeting will probably be, whether the 7.5 million so far raised, will cover the cost of the logo ...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Don't cry for me Christiana!

Costa Rican-born UN climate boss Christiana Figueres should consider a career in movies. The ability to captivate audiences through tearful performances, like the one at a climate conference in London, is a highly rated asset in Hollywood. However her tears in London do not yet quite qualify her for an Oscar:

Speaking to the BBC on the sidelines of a climate conference at Chatham House in London, Ms Figueres became tearful when she reflected on the impact that climate change might have on coming generations.

"I'm committed to climate change because of future generations, it is not about us, right? We're out of here," she said.

"I just feel that it is so completely unfair and immoral what we are doing to future generations, we are condemning them before they are even born."

"We have a choice about it, that's the point, we have a choice. If it were inevitable then so be it, but we have a choice to change the future we are going to give our children."

Christiana's London appearance was not a first for her. You can watch another of her tear acts here.

Monday, 21 October 2013

The cosy relationship between the IOC and Putin's mafia state

Killy on Putin:
"When he plays sad tunes on the piano at the end of an evening with 10 ministers singing along, that's not hum-drum."

"Putin has staked his reputation on the smooth hosting of the winter games. Based on the planning, it either speaks to how little he values his reputation, or more likely, that beneath the steely glare and martial arts muscles, he’s being exposed as little more than a thuggish front man for a kleptocracy.
According to a detailed report issued by Russian opposition leaders in May, businessmen and various consiglieres of Putin have stolen up to $30 billion from funds intended for Olympic preparations. This has pushed the cost of the winter games, historically far less expensive than their summer counterpart to over $50 billion, more than four times the original estimate. That $50 billion price tag would make them the most expensive games in history, more costly than the previous twenty-one winter games combined. It’s a price tag higher than even than the 2008 pre–global recession summer spectacle in Beijing."

Dave Zirin in The Nation

An interview in the French weekly Journal du Dimance the head of the Coordination Commission for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, former alpine skiing star Jean-Claude Killy says something about the cosy relationship between the IOC and Vladimir Putin's mafia state:

Former alpine skiing star Jean-Claude Killy said Sunday he enjoys "a very interesting relationship" with Vladimir Putin, saying the Russian president does not deserve the criticism levelled at him.
"I've developed a very interesting relationship with him," the triple Olympic champion said in an interview with French weekly Journal du Dimanche.
"I've worked with him for seven years, which has given me an opinion that is a little different from the one that is widely circulated," said Killy, head of the Coordination Commission for the 2014 Winter Olympics to be held in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Killy, 70, said "everything is going marvellously well" in his dealings with the Russian strongman. "You can get ahold of him in a minute just by calling his chief of staff."
"The Putin I know is not the one described in the newspapers, where you see real 'Putin-bashing'," he told the paper.
"I have no reason to follow the crowd; I trust what I see. When he calls me from Moscow at three in the morning his time to wish me a happy birthday, I find that nice."
He added: "When he plays sad tunes on the piano at the end of an evening with 10 ministers singing along, that's not hum-drum."
The run-up to the Winter Games to be held in Sochi from February 7 to 23 has been marred by controversy, notably over a law against "gay propaganda" that Putin signed in June.

Killy's praise for the dictator does not come as a surprise. Already in September this extraordinarily naïve and subservient man gave his stamp of approval to Russia's controversial law banning gay propaganda and the preparations for the games:

THE International Olympic Committee has dismissed concerns over Russia's law banning gay propaganda, saying it doesn't violate the Olympic charter.

Jean-Claude Killy, chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission, gave his stamp of approval during a news conference on Thursday at the conclusion of the commission's 10th and final visit to Sochi before the 2014 Winter Games, which begin on February 7

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay rights organisation in the US, condemned the IOC's assessment of the Russian law.

"If this law doesn't violate the IOC's charter, then the charter is completely meaningless," HRC president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "The safety of millions of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Russians and international travellers is at risk, and by all accounts the IOC has completed neglected its responsibility to Olympic athletes, sponsors and fans from around the world."

He noted that Mr Killy spoke a day after gay rights activists were arrested outside the Moscow headquarters of the Sochi Olympics organising committee for protesting the law.

Mr Killy said the IOC commission was pleased with the ongoing construction ahead of the games, which with a total cost of $51 billion will be the most expensive Olympics in history.

Killy began kowtowing to Putin already in 2008. Here is a transcript from Putin's (then Prime Minister) webpage:

Jean-Claude Killy (in translation): Thank you very much for the invitation and the meeting.

It is indeed a great honour and a great pleasure for me to work on this exciting project on behalf of the International Olympic Committee.
You told your counterparts that it was perhaps the chance of a lifetime to do a job like that. But for us, the International Olympic Committee, it is also a unique opportunity.
Vladimir Putin: I know you have made some remarks about document and information scheduling. We discussed them yesterday.
My colleagues must have informed you that we have prepared a special computer programme to follow progress on each facility. The programme will also give an overall view of the whole project, enabling us, the International Olympic Committee, and you as its representative to monitor the general picture and particular activities daily and even hourly.
Jean-Claude Killy: I am glad, because I think it is the utmost in organisation.
Vladimir Putin: It will be a success, I am sure.
Jean-Claude Killy: We are also absolutely sure.


No wonder Killy and the IOC do not see anything wrong with the planning of the Sochi Olympics. They quite obviously rely on the "hourly" information from Putin's "special computer programme" - "the utmost in organisation".

(image by Wikipedia)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

French president Hollande gives up his summer residence - Will other political leaders follow suit?

One must admit, that our political leaders often have a tough and difficult job, particularly in times of austerity. On the other hand, in a historical perspective, elected (not to speak of unelected) heads of state and prime ministers have been rather good at creating an environment for themselves, which makes it a little bit easier for them to endure the hardships of the job.

Authoritarians and dictators are of course in class of their own in this regard. Take e.g. Russia's Vladimir Putin, who's presidential perks include 20 palaces and other luxury residences, 58 planes and helicopters, several yachts and a collection of watches worth many times his annual salary.

But even in western democracies, presidents and prime ministers usually enjoy a rather opulent lifestyle, which does not go along very well with the austerity measures they prescribe to ordinary tax payers.

The Brégançon fortress, the French president's former summer residence.

That is why this decision by French president François Hollande is a clever symbolic move:

"François Hollande has given up the Riviera fortress that has served as a retreat for French presidents since Charles de Gaulle, in the name of austerity.
The Brégançon fortress, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean, will from next year be thrown open to the public as one of France's national monuments, Mr Hollande's office said."

Will David Cameron follow suit by giving up his summer residence Chequers? Or how about Angela Merkel selling off her second residence in Bonn?

Or would e.g. the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, who is known for his rather modest lifestyle, be prepared to get rid of his official summer residence, which is described as a "mini-Versailles" on the president's official website?:

Kultaranta, the Finnish president's "mini-Versailles".

"The President of the Republic's summer residence, Kultaranta, stands in beautiful 54-hectare grounds in Naantali on the southwest coast. As well as the granite-built house, the complex includes numerous outbuildings and greenhouses, and a well-tended park

Kultaranta park is a kind of mini-Versailles. In the middle is the 'Medallion', surrounded by a carefully trimmed fir hedge. Inside is Kultaranta's famous rose garden, which has 3,500 bushes. The scent and colour of these roses are at their peak in the middle of the summer, when the President and family and their guests come to Naantali for the holidays. The parkland to the north of Kultaranta is in practically a natural state, though a few sandy pathways have been built there, and the woodland is kept in good condition.
Kultaranta has about 1000 square metres of greenhouses. The garden supplies the President's household with both flowers and vegetables all year round.

Midsummer, the great summer festival, is a special time at Kultaranta: the President is sure to have arrived by then, and the great Midsummer bonfire on a nearby islet is an event enjoyed by the whole Naantali area.
Tourists are denied access to the house at Kultaranta. It is the President's 'summer villa', a place where he/she can be undisturbed."

(images by Wikipedia)