Saturday, April 21, 2012
Greenies are actively helping to destroy rainforests
They profit from it
The world’s pre-eminent environmental organizations, widely perceived as the leading advocates for rainforests and old growth, have for decades been actively promoting primary forest logging [search]. Groups like Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, World Wide Fund for Nature/World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Environmental Defense Fund actively promote industrially logging Earth’s last old forests. Through their support of the existing “Forest Stewardship Council” (FSC), and/or planned compromised “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” (REDD), they are at the forefront of destroying ancient forests for disposable consumer items – claiming it is “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”.
Rainforest movement corruption is rampant as these big bureaucratic, corporatist NGOs conspire to log Earth’s last primary rainforests and other old growth forests. Collectively the “NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs” are greenwashing FSC’s destruction of over 300,000,000 acres of old forests, destroying an area of primary rainforests and other old forests the size of South Africa (two times the size of Texas)! FSC and its members have built a massive market for continued business as usual industrially harvested primary forest timbers – with minor, cosmetic changes – certifying as acceptable murdering old forests and their life for consumption of products ranging from toilet paper to lawn furniture. Some 70% of FSC products contain primary forest timbers, and as little as 10% of any product must be from certified sources.
FSC has become a major driver of primary forest destruction and forest ecological diminishment. Despite certifying less than 10% of the world’s forest lands, their rhetoric and marketing legitimizes the entire tropical and old growth timber trade, and a host of even worse certifiers of old forest logging. It is expecting far too much for consumers to differentiate between the variety of competing and false claims that old growth timbers are green and environmentally sustainable – when in fact none are. While other certification schemes may be even worse, this is not the issue, as industrial first-time primary forest logging cannot be done ecologically sustainably and should not be happening at all. FSC’s claims to being the best destroyer of primary forests is like murdering someone most humanely, treating your slaves the best while rejecting emancipation, or being half pregnant.
To varying degrees, most of the NGO Old Forest Sell-Outs also support the United Nations’ new “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation” program (UNREDD, REDD, or REDD+), originally intended to protect Earth’s remaining and rapidly diminishing primary rainforests and other old forests, by making “avoided deforestation” payments to local forest peoples as an international climate and deforestation solution. Large areas of primary and old-growth forests were to be fully protected from industrial development, local communities were to both receive cash payments while continuing to benefit from standing old forests, and existing and new carbon was to be sequestered.
After years of industry, government and NGO forest sell-out pressure, REDD+ will now fund first time industrial primary rainforest logging and destruction under the veil of “sustainable forest management” and “carbon forestry”. REDD+ is trying to be all things to everybody – forest logging, protection, plantations, carbon, growth – when all we need is local funding to preserve standing forests for local advancement, and local and global ecology; and assurances provided REDD+ would not steal indigenous lands, or be funded by carbon markets, allowing the rich to shirk their own emissions reductions.
Sustainable forest management in old forests is a myth and meaningless catchphrase to allow continued western market access to primary rainforest logs. Both FSC and now REDD+ enable destruction of ancient naturally evolved ecosystems – that are priceless and sacred – for throw away consumption. Increasingly both FSC and REDD+ are moving towards certifying and funding the conversion of natural primary forests to be cleared and replanted as plantations. They call it carbon forestry and claim it is a climate good. Even selective logging destroys primary forests, and what remains is so greatly ecologically reduced from first time industrial logging, that they are on their way to being plantations.
Each of the named organizations’ forest campaigns are a corrupt shell of their former selves – acting unethically and corruptly – destroying global ecology and local options for advancement, for their own benefit. The rainforest logging apologists have chosen power, prestige and money coming from sitting at the old forest logging mafia’s table, gathering the crumbs fallen from the table to enrich their empires, rather than the difficult yet necessary job of working to fully protect rainforests and other primary forests from industrial development.
WWF, Greenpeace, and RAN are particularly culpable. With rainforests threatened as never before, RAN targets the Girl Scouts, Greenpeace supports Kleenex’s clearcut of Canadian old growth boreal forests for toilet paper, and WWF runs a bad-boy logger club who pay $50,000 to use the panda logo while continuing to destroy primary forests.
The only way this NGO old forest greenwash logging machine will be stopped is to make doing so too expensive to their corporate bureaucracies in terms of lost donations, grants, and other support – whose sources are usually unaware of the great rainforest heist. Ecological Internet – the rainforest campaign organization I head – and others feel strongly, based upon the urgency of emerging ecological science, and our closeness to global ecological collapse, that it is better to fight like hell in any way we can to fully protect and restore standing old forests as the most desirable forest protection outcome. Greenwash of first time industrial primary forest logging must be called out wherever it is occurring, and resisted by those in the global ecology movement committed to sustaining local advancement and ecosystems from standing old forests. There is no value in unity around such dangerous, ecocidal policy.
Despite tens of thousands of people from around the world asking these pro-logging NGOs to stop their old forest logging greenwash, none of the organizations (who routinely campaign against other forest destroyers, making similar demands for transparency and accountability) feel obligated to explain in detail – including based upon ecological-science – how logging primary forests protects them. Nor can they provide any detailed justification – or otherwise defend – the ecology, strategy and tactics of continued prominent involvement in FSC and REDD primary forest logging. They clearly have not been following ecological science over the past few years, which has made it clear there is no such thing as ecologically sustainable primary forest logging, and that large, old, contiguous, un-fragmented and fully ecologically intact natural forests are critical to biodiversity, ecosystems, and environmental sustainability.
A physicist's View of "The Precautionary Principle."
The first precaution should be against biased "science"
by Dr Gordon J Fulks
In all of these arguments of a political nature, what is overwhelmingly lost is the real science and hence the real truth as best we know it. Science has NOTHING to do with how many supporters you can count amongst those you deem worthy in the scientific profession. In 1905 Albert Einstein stood against the entire classical physics world with his new ideas on relativity. A few years later, a high school biology teacher from Seattle (Harlen Bretz) stood against the entire geological profession with his explanations of Pacific Northwest geology. And just a few years ago, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren stood against the entire medical profession to explain the real cause of peptic ulcers.
It is as Galileo said many centuries ago: "The authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual."
In truth most scientists who are paid to support Global Warming do and most who are not do not. That should not be difficult to understand.
Hence the fundamental issue for me is the survival of science as an objective profession. Continuous spin from highly political non-scientists does not help. And complicity among many scientists who want the government grants to continue is very destructive.
If the "Precautionary Principle" is to be applied, it surely needs to be applied far more broadly than Global Warming advocates imagine. That includes efforts to address the massive conflicts of interest evident in climate science today as well as the massive economic costs of proposed "solutions" to a non-problem.
The proper application of the "Precautionary Principle" involves taking all reasonable precautions without going to extremes. In automobile safety, for instance, that involves wearing a seat belt but not giving up driving altogether. In Global Warming it involves addressing all of the self-serving hysteria long before undertaking any "remedies" for what is objectively a non-problem.
EU Parliament shoots down Commission’s energy tax plan
Conservatives in the European Parliament delivered a setback for European Commission plans to erase tax benefits for diesel fuel, saying that a period of austerity and high fuel costs is not the time for such moves.
MEPS voted 374-217, with 73 abstentions, for an overhaul of the EU executive’s year-old draft energy taxation directive that would require members states to end their practice of taxing diesel fuel at lower rates than gasoline.
The vote also calls for changes to the Commission's proposed minimum carbon tax on emissions from households, farms and the transport industry not already covered under the EU’s Emissions Trading System, the EU's main tool to reduce carbon dioxide pollution.
The Parliament’s recommendations are non-binding. But they lay the groundwork for anticipated changes in the Council of Ministers, where Poland has already blocked moves to impose stronger emission-reductions obligations, and at a time when high fuel prices may tame the political appetite for higher taxes.
The MEP’s decision was seen as a win for consumers and the centre-right that led the fight.
The vote “is a great political victory for the EPP Group, which remained firm on its position. But it is first and foremost a victory for our citizens," said Luxembourg MEP Astrid Lulling, a member of the European People’s Party and author of the report adopted by Parliament.
Lulling’s report – which recommends 50 amendments - says the draft taxation directive would “have direct negative social impact” from higher prices for coal, natural gas, heating oil and diesel oil.
That is an assertion that was strongly rejected by Algirdas Šemeta, the EU Taxation Commissioner: "The Commission’s proposal does not seek to penalise diesel, but to tax fuels in a neutral way. All fuels would compete on the basis of their merits instead of tax advantages," he said after the vote.
Consumers already pinched
London MEP Marina Yannakoudakis (European Conservatives and Reformist Group) said the vote was a victory for consumers.
“In the middle of an economic crisis, families are feeling the pinch,” she said. “Does the EU really want to tax its citizens further just for driving their kids to school or for turning on the heating?”
Socialist and Democrats (S&D) leaders also expressed reservations about higher costs for diesel.
"We need to make sure that we have higher taxation for those emissions that are detrimental to the environment,” Hannes Swoboda, the S&D president, said in a statement.
“However, while we will follow this approach it must not lead to an increase of price for diesel. Diesel cars are less polluting and are important for reducing CO2 from our transport system,” the Austrian MEP said.
Environmentalists, however, said such arguments were hollow. Although diesel engines emit fewer greenhouse gases compared to their gasoline counterparts, they release higher levels of smog-causing nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter that aggravate respiratory problems.
“A majority of MEPs has today voted to include perverse incentives for dirty fuels under the EU's energy taxation system,” Belgian Green MEP Philippe Lamberts said yesterday.
Parliament’s recommendations also say that aid should be made available to low-income households and charities as energy tax exemptions are phased out, as proposed by the Commission. It also says industries already subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System should be exempt from a carbon tax.
The U.K. and Europe’s Fracking Fissures
There’s a large new row developing in British politics — with potential for another major row between Britain and the European Union. For the last few months the “Green Agenda” of the Coalition government has been unraveling for one reason after another: the resignation of the ultra-Green fanatic, Chris Huhne, energy secretary and Liberal Democrat, over his being prosecuted for (in effect) committing perjury to conceal driving offenses; a rebellion by 100 Tory MPs opposed to building vast numbers of inefficient “wind farms” that disfigure Britain’s green and pleasant land; the government’s proposal, now likely to be withdrawn, of a “tax on aspiration” that would compel householders making any improvements in their homes to install additional and expensive insulation too; and, yesterday, the publication of an official report proposing to allow the technique of “fracking” to release the shale gas that apparently exists in very large quantities onshore and offshore Britain.
This controversy has been slowly developing because, before it causes a breach between the U.K. and Europe, it has already caused one between the Tory and Lib-Dem partners in the Coalition. As well as being the most pro-European party, the Lib-Dems are also the greenest. Almost all the measures now being re-considered by the government are their own pet schemes. But the costs of energy are rising so sharply for households, partly as a result of these policies — and “fuel poverty” is growing so rapidly — that the Lib-Dems can’t effectively defend them. And backbench Tories, recovering their moxie, are anxious to push onwards from an energy policy rooted in Greenery to one directed to getting as much cheap energy as securely as possible.
And that’s where the shale-gas revolution comes in. According to the geologists (as reported by Reuters), U.K. offshore reserves of shale gas could be as big as one thousand trillion cubic feet (tcf) compared to the country’s annual consumption of 3.5 tcf. Such figures are hard to grasp, but they apparently mean that Britain would regain its earlier North Sea oil status of being one of the main energy producers in the world. It would liberate Britain almost uniquely in Europe — almost because Poland too seemingly has vast shale reserves — from dependence on Middle East oil. Other things being equal — and assuming, as I do, that the shale gas revolution has not been overblown — Britain can look forward to a future of cheap and secure energy supplies for the foreseeable future.
So the balance of opinion in Britain is now shifting against the green agenda. If shale gas can be “fracked” cheaply, then it will undercut such “renewables” as wind power, however heavily they are subsidized — and it will also undercut coal and nuclear power. This shift is very good for Britain, of course, but it cuts against some very large domestic vested interests — all the renewable companies, landowners who rent out their land for wind farms, the Green movement, and not least the ideological interests of one of the governing parties. So the shift is in its early stages, and it will be some time, maybe not until after the next election, that it is fully reflected in a rational British energy policy.
That’s if the matter is decided in Britain by such outmoded methods as elections. In a posting on The Economist website by their British political columnist, Bagehot, the suggestion is made that British ministers and civil servants are proceeding very nervously on what to do about shale gas because they fear it might provoke a major row between Britain and the EU over science, technology, and the environment because of the European Union’s “irrational” Green-washed attitude to science, energy and the environment:
France has already put in place a moratorium on fracking, they note. Other continental governments may follow, and British sources draw nervous analogies with European hostility towards genetically-modified crops, which have seen draconian controls imposed on all manner of GMO crops (often amid ugly rhetoric about “American corporations” launching a “foreign invasion” of Europe’s pure and ancient fields), regardless of the scientific data. That could spell another row between Britain and the EU, if European-level regulators were to put hurdles in the way of British shale gas exploitation.
My own guess is that the British will be lucky here. They have Poland on their side already; the other Eastern Europeans could probably be brought around to support the British position by pointing out that Gazprom is the Greens’ most important ally on energy policy. That might be enough to derail any attempts to by the European Commission to extend the French ban on “fracking” over the whole of Europe.
Suppose, however, that I’m wrong and that such a prohibition does make its silent way through the tortuous maze of EU policy-making. Why should a sane British government pay much regard to it? Such a ban would have no merit — see the “irrational” comment in Bagehot’s account of how the EU regards science and energy policy. It would greatly damage a key British national interest. (Nothing surprising there, of course, since the proposed “Tobin tax” on international transactions would damage the City of London and the key interests of no other EU member-state, but alarming all the same.) It would strengthen Gazprom and Middle East oil producers, neither of whom has Europe’s interests in mind. And it would further institutionalize a Luddite approach to science, technology, and economics within European policy-making structures.
The fact that major policy makers in Whitehall are genuinely worried by this prospect — and that Bagehot plainly thinks their anxiety reasonable — testifies yet again to the fact that the British are under what Digby Anderson calls a “spell” on topics associated with the European Union (as they also are with the National Health Service.) A spell is an irrational attachment to some policy or institution despite its foolishness and damaging effects. It renders the spell-bound unable to act even when faced by a life-threatening danger. It’s becoming quite a common ailment. And if you look at President Obama’s energy policy — namely, railing against oil companies and speculators to divert attention away from his refusal to allow either new prospecting or new supplies from Canada — you’ll see that it’s quite catching.
Global cooling hits Britain
With the hills blanketed in white and the sky heavy with snow, it looks like the perfect setting for a Christmas card. Except this photograph was taken yesterday, after wintry showers wiped out our fragile spring.
The mercury dropped to around -2c (28f) overnight yesterday on high ground, although most of the snow had melted by late afternoon as temperatures rose to 7c (45f).
After the driest March for 59 years, April could now see above-average rainfall, despite levels being close to normal for the last two weeks. They picked up on Wednesday, when gales and showers battered the Midlands, the South West and the drought-hit South East, with an inch of rain falling in a couple of hours.
The Met Office predicts the first two weeks of May are likely to stay ‘unsettled’, with the prospect of chilly weather, more heavy rain and, in Scotland, snow. Yesterday a severe weather warning for rain was in force for the East, South East and Midlands.
The mercury fell to -7C in Scotland last week and the rest of the country struggled to get above freezing.
Last night, the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for southern and eastern England today, with heavy downpours, hail and thunder likely for the second day running.
Jim Dale, a meteorologist at British Weather Services, told the Daily Express: ‘It’s likely that the first week of May will be poor.
But in spite of drought warnings, gales and storms yesterday hit the South West, South East and the Midlands as an inch of rain bucketed down in three hours. Hail and 50mph gales hit Cornwall, with trees felled and telephone and power lines toppled near Truro and some ferry services cancelled.
Australia: Conservative leader promises to get rid of carbon pricing scheme within six months of being elected to power
TONY Abbott has pledged to get rid of carbon pricing within just six months of the Coalition winning government.
The Opposition Leader said that if blocked in the Senate he would immediately call another election, a double dissolution, and invite the ALP to commit “suicide twice". “I won't reduce the tax, change the tax, or redesign the tax. I will repeal the tax," Mr Abbott said in Brisbane today.
The Coalition is maintaining its course to make the election scheduled for late next year a referendum on the carbon pricing scheme set to begin this July.
Mr Abbott ramped up his intentions to scrap the entire scheme if elected, and assured voters they would not miss out on pension increases and tax cuts to be funded by the scheme's revenue.
“There is no mystery to this. Essentially, all that it requires is the passage of the repeal bill through the Parliament," Mr Abbott said. “After all, what is done by legislation can be undone by legislation.
“I don't expect the Greens to support repealing the carbon tax. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine the Labor Party, beaten in an election that's a referendum on the carbon tax, committing suicide twice by resisting the new government’s mandate.
“If they do, there is a constitutional procedure designed for just this eventuality. It's called a double dissolution. I would not hesitate to seek a second mandate to repeal this toxic tax. Indeed, it would be my duty to do so."
Mr Abbott said that “because the electorate would double-punish the Labor Party for wilful obstruction, I expect that the repeal arrangements would be in place within six months.”
Mr Abbott dismissed the Government's argument that scrapping the scheme would cost voters extra welfare payments and tax cuts which it plans to fund from pollution penalties paid by major companies. “Well, the public aren't mugs. They know that a tax cut paid for by a tax increase is a con, not a cut," he said. “The only way that taxes can sustainably be lowered is if government spending is lower or if the economy is larger.
“The Coalition can deliver tax cuts without a carbon tax because we will eliminate wasteful and unnecessary government spending and because lower taxes and higher productivity will boost economic growth."
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Posted by JR at 2:13 PM