Record Heat a Sign of Global Warming or is it just Record Heat?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

It’s hot.  And dry.  The heat this year has been setting records. But is it a portent of things to come?  Is the global warming apocalypse upon us?  Or is it just hot (see What’s Behind The Record Heat? by Douglas Main posted 7/3/2012 on Yahoo! News)?

Heat is beating records around the country: the first five months of 2012 have been the hottest on record in the contiguous United States. And that’s not including June, when 164 all-time high temperature records were tied or broken around the country, according to government records…

The warm summer follows an unusually warm winter, which was the hottest and driest that the western United States has ever seen since records have been kept, said Jeff Weber, a scientist with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo…

The early heat waves of summer — following higher temperatures in spring and winter — could also be part of a pattern of climate change.

“It’s consistent with what we’d expect in a warming climate, but it’s hard to quantify any effect climate change might have on an individual event like this heat wave,” Crouch said.

While only one heat wave cannot by itself be linked to climate change, a significant increase in these types of events over time could be a hallmark of a warming planet. “An increasing frequency of heat waves —that’s one aspect of climate change you can point to,” Carbin said.

It’s been hot and dry.  We had a warm winter.  And are now suffering through a heat wave.  A lot of people like to say “See?” with all knowing condescension.  That it’s proof positive that the climate is changing.  Because hot dry weather is clearly a sign of global warming.  Even if a scientist from the Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, is not ready to say “See?” with all knowing condescension. 

So what’s happening in the rest of the world?  Is the rest of the world suffering from these unseasonably high temperatures and lack of precipitation?  Is there a pattern here?  Let’s see what’s happening in Britain (see IT WILL RAIN ‘TIL SEPTEMBER by Sarah Westcott posted 7/7/2012 on Express).

BRITAIN is facing its “worst ever” summer with cold wet weather ruining family holidays and blighting the Olympics, forecasters warned last night.

August is set to be a washout following a miserable July and the wettest June since records began – meaning summer is effectively over.

Well, cold wet weather is clearly not a hot, dry heat wave.  So, no, there is no pattern.  While the US broils in a heat wave the UK is cold and wet.  So global warming is not to blame for the current hot spell in the US.  Because, globally, it’s not warm.  It’s cold and wet in parts.  Unless warming both warms and cools.  Which is about as likely as finding a square circle.  (Which doesn’t exist, of course).

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The Maldives want to Tax Tourists to become Carbon Neutral

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The Maldives is an archipelago about 1 meter above sea level in the Indian Ocean off India.  It’s a tropical paradise that survives on tourism.  Now they want to tax their tourists to become carbon neutral.  Despite the fact that tourists fly in to these islands on big polluting airplanes (see Maldives eyes $100 million tourist tax for CO2 plan by Nina Chestney, Reuters, posted 7/7/2012 on MSNBC).

A voluntary tax on tourists who visit the luxury resorts and white sands of the Maldives could raise up to $100 million a year towards the country’s aim to become carbon neutral by 2020, President Mohamed Waheed said…

“We have proposed the idea of a voluntary fund for air travelers coming to the Maldives. Even if each tourist contributed $10, that’s $10 million (a year) for us and a substantial contribution to the carbon neutral program,” he told Reuters this week…

The Maldives is reliant on imported fuel, like diesel, to generate electricity, which is estimated to have cost its economy around $240 million last year.

I’m not sure how that math works.  The voluntary tax could raise up to $100 million.  Or $10 million.  Which means they have from 1 million to 10 million tourists each year.  Based on an approximate seating capacity of 500, that’s 2,000 to 20,000 roundtrips for a Boeing 747-400.  Or from 6 to 55 per day.  At the low end that’s a 747-400 landing or taking off every 2 hours each day.  That’s a lot of carbon.  Which they can’t get rid of.  Unless they give up their tourist industry.  And “75-80 percent” of their economy.

It has now embarked on a $1.1-billion plan to generate 60 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Around 50 percent would come from solar photovoltaic power and the remaining 10 percent from wind energy and biofuels, Waheed said.

The country is rapidly trying to introduce solar in the capital Male and three islands which make up the greater Male area, covering about a third of the population.

It has plans to install about 2-3 megawatts (MW) of solar in the Male area but it would probably need 40 MW to meet electricity demand.

Interesting.  They’re going to replace 50% of their electrical capacity with 2-3 MW of photovoltaic power.  Which is only about 7.5% of the 40 MW they want to replace.  Of course the capacity factor of what they’re replacing, diesel-generated electricity, is about 90%.  While they’ll be lucky to get a 30% capacity factor from their solar cells.  Reducing that 3 MW to 0.9 MW.  Or about 2.3% of that 40 MW they’re replacing with it.  Which means their diesel generators will keep running.  Or there will be nothing but romantic moon-filled and candle-lit evenings.  And cool ocean breezes.  Even in their hospitals.

Perhaps they could find something better to spend that $1.1-billion on. 

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The Energy Sector in the Canadian Economy masks the High Cost of their Public Sector

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The economic numbers in Canada are pretty good.  Even better than America.  And there is one reason for that.  Canada embraces the energy sector.  And they are bringing to market what all modern economies need.  Fuel.  And the economic growth in this one sector makes up for a lot of bad policy elsewhere (see Unions out of sync with economy by DANIEL FONTAINE posted 7/7/2012 on Vancouver 24 Hours).

If it were not for the extraction of natural resources such as oil, coal and natural gas, would Canada really be an economic powerhouse? Many leading economists remain skeptical.

Strip out raw material exports and Canada suddenly becomes just a middle-of-the-pack nation struggling with a serious productivity problem. That’s why this is not the time for any level of government to open up the wallet book and undertake a massive spending spree.

Unfortunately, the need to keep costs in check appears to be lost on a growing number of public sector unions in the Western world. That includes right here at home in British Columbia.

For example, unionized liquor store employees belonging to the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union are on strike this week demanding even higher wages and better benefits. This is despite the fact union officials openly admit unskilled employees in government liquor stores make starting wages and benefits well above similar jobs in the private sector.

The BCGEU argues that liquor stores are making Victoria lots of money; hence they deserve a bigger slice of the pie. But what they fail to acknowledge is that government makes profits off the taxes they charge on alcohol, not on who actually sells the product. Having public versus private sector employees sell liquor actually cuts into government’s bottom line.

FDR, liberal icon and America’s 32nd president, opposed government workers unionizing.  He was a fan of unions in the private sector.  But not the public sector.  Because there was a lot of political capital in attacking industrial fat-cats oppressing their workers to make a buck.  But the government pays their workers with taxes.  Meaning the greedy fat-cats oppressing these workers are the taxpayers.  And when you’re trying to grow the size of government it doesn’t help to attack the people paying those taxes.  Especially when you’re trying to raise their tax rates to pay those higher wages and better benefits.  For it just doesn’t sound right calling someone greedy when they refuse to enjoy their lives less so others can enjoy their lives more.

And it just can’t continue.  Forever granting higher wage and benefit packages.  Paid for with ever higher tax rates.  Because to generate tax revenue you need two things.  You need a tax rate.  And economic activity.  Higher taxes, though, reduce economic activity.  Which reduces tax revenue.  Keep doing this and you end up like the social democracies in Europe in the throes of a sovereign debt crisis.  Unless you are blessed with vast energy resources for export.  And your government embraces the energy sector to bring those resources to market.  Like they have in Canada.  The one truly bright spot in their economic picture.

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Some People Diagnosed with Dementia in the NHS wait up to a Year for Treatment

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

Now that the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare what can we expect from the new universal health care program?  Well, we could look at another universal health care program and see how they are doing.  And not just any.  But one of the best national health care systems in the world.  The UK’s National Health Service (see Report highlights ‘barriers’ to dementia diagnosis by Adam Brimelow posted 7/2/2012 on the BBC News Health).

Many patients face “shocking” delays for dementia diagnosis and treatment, according to a report by MPs and peers…

Its report says some people have to wait more than a year for an appointment at a memory clinic…

The inquiry was set up to examine big discrepancies in dementia diagnosis rates. Across the UK it is estimated that only 43% of people with the disease have a formal diagnosis…

The report says there is strong evidence to show the benefit of early diagnosis for people with dementia, their families, and also to the taxpayer…

It also identifies big variations in access to memory services. Some people reported having to wait more than a year for an appointment at a memory clinic, while for others it was just a few weeks.

And it says people often received no information or support following diagnosis…

Jo Webber, from the NHS Confederation, said dementia was one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS.

With an aging population dementia is a big problem.  And really something that shouldn’t have been hard to forecast.  You’d think a national health service that put people before profits would have been better prepared. 

Some wait for more than a year while some only wait a few weeks?  That doesn’t sound very universal.  Like a national health care program with universal coverage should be. 

The NHS is really not to blame.  The idea of national health care for an aging population is.  When you have more people leaving the workforce than entering it.  Paying ever higher tax rates to fund the health care for that aging population.  The NHS is busting at the seams.  A big chunk of the UK’s annual deficit is for the NHS.  Forcing them to do more with less.  Because they just don’t have the resources for more.  Which leads to rationing of services.  And wait times of a year or more.

So here is a peek into the future under Obamacare.  Just one side note.  The US population is approximately five times as that of the UK.  So we can probably expect five times the rationing.  And 5 times the wait times.  Meaning we’ll have even more people going without.  And waiting.

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The Chinese Economy suffers from High Corruption that is a Part of Communism

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The American Left likes to look at China as the way we should do business here in America.  Just like they looked at the Japanese in the Eighties and thought the same thing.  For the Left just hates laissez faire free market capitalism.  They want the government inserted into the economy in a big way.  For they believe that only then can we reach our true economic potential.  Despite what happened in Japan (their deflationary spiral and Lost Decade).  And what’s happening in China (see Chinese Corruption Comes in Staggering Sums by Angela Wang posted 7/2/2012 on The Epoch Times).

Corruption is a massive problem for the Chinese Communist Party, and it cuts both ways, as reflected in the Chinese phrase: “Oppose corruption and destroy the Party, don’t oppose corruption and destroy the nation.”

Lacking the legitimacy to rule conferred by elections and institutions like the rule of law, the Chinese communists must rely on an extralegal system of perks and benefits—also known as corruption—to keep their cadres in the system incentivized and at least minimally obedient. The unchecked power is increasingly getting out of control, however, and with the rise of the Internet and social media, the public is increasingly learning more—much to their anger.

So much for the dictatorship of the proletariat.  Guess Karl Marx got that wrong.  For here are communists accumulating private property through corruption.  So it would appear that communism has been nothing but a scam all along to allow the people at the top to accrue power.  And live very comfortably.

Communism is based on corruption.  It cannot work without corruption.  Because in communism it’s all about who you know.  That’s how you get ahead.  And that’s what liberalism is all about.  Who you know.  For the government loves to pick winners and losers in the economy.  Instead of letting the market do that.  As it does in laissez faire free market capitalism.  Under liberalism, as it is under communism, those who please the ruling elite do well.  While those who don’t do not do quite as well.  And the vast majority just get by.

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The Obama Administration says we’re Moving in the Right Direction Despite 30 Months of Bad Economic Reports

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 7th, 2012

Week in Review

The economic news is in.  And it’s not good.  Again.  But the Obama administration says that’s it important not to read too much into one monthly report.  Again (see Obama: 30 months of excusing bad jobs numbers by Byron York posted 7/6/2012 on The Washington Examiner).

The Obama White House says Americans should not “read too much into” the latest bad news from the jobs front.  Employers added just 80,000 new jobs in June — far fewer than needed for a healthy recovery — and the unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent.

Not long after the new figures were released, the White House sent out a statement from Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers.  Facing a bleak situation yet again, Krueger said, “It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”

If that sounds familiar, it is because that is what the Obama White House has said during month after month of troubling economic reports.  The White House has said it so often, in fact, that the Romney campaign has compiled a list of 30 — yes, 30 — examples, going back to November 2009, of the administration cautioning that Americans should not “read too much into” the latest bad economic news.

But when these ‘any one monthly reports’ repeat for some 30 consecutive months I’m thinking we can read a lot in these monthly reports.  When coupled with the rosy economic spin they put on (like the Recover Summer back in 2010) you can make but one conclusion.  The Obama administration doesn’t understand a thing about economics.  Which is why three and half years of their programs have resulted in nothing but ‘we shouldn’t read too much into these monthly reports’.

A failure period lasting some 30 months?  I think the real danger is if we don’t read too much into these reports.  For up to now there is a perfect correlation between these horrible economic reports and President Obama’s time in office.  Perhaps if we vote one out we can remove the other.  And get some better economic news.  Sometime following the 2012 election.

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