Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Climate change Professor Chris Turney and his followers ringing in the New Year in Antarctica

Australian climate change professor Christ Turney and his followers are still waiting to be rescued in Antarctica:

Passengers on a climate change research ship stranded in Antarctica are likely to ring in the New Year on the ice-trapped vessel – as a rescue helicopter on a nearby Chinese ship waits for the weather to clear.

The helicopter on board the Snow Dragon will be used after the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis failed to reach the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said today.
But the rescue attempt is on hold due to ongoing blizzard conditions.
“Weather conditions are unlikely to start improving until tomorrow and decisions related to carrying out the rescue may be made at short notice,” AMSA said. --

The 74 passengers on board include scientists and tourists and the 22-strong Russian crew.
Expedition leader Chris Turney said the last week had been “sobering” but morale was good.

Happy New Year 2014 to you professor and your co-passengers! We hope you all will soon be safely back home - perhaps a little bit wiser.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

With the IPCC almost forgotten R.K. Pachauri is now concentrating on something he is good at

Better as a bowler
"they call it the Patchy Greens... Lush green outfields.. nice strips... a kind of a place where every cricketer dreams of playing cricket..."

Now that only a handful of global warming zealots remain interested in the activities of the IPCC, Indian railway engineer R.K. Pachauri is finally able to concentrate on something he is good at:

A little known but fascinating facet of his character is the fact that Dr Pachauri is a keen cricketer with particular skills as a seam and swing bowler. His vision has led to the creation of TERI Oval (later known as Patchy Greens) —one of the finest and most scenic cricket grounds in India—which is now recognized as a venue for first class matches. Several International, national and indeed corporate cricketers enjoy visiting and playing at Patchy Greens. Dr Pachauri’s remarkable achievement of 600 wickets in corporate cricket for TERI is a milestone few can aspire to match in the foreseeable future.
Dr. Pachauri has been a driving force in not only developing interest in cricket in TERI, but also among various corporate who have participated in the tournaments conducted at Patchy Greens. Annually, the ground holds five to six corporate cricket tournaments and has been instrumental in keeping the interest among working professionals. Dr. Pachauri himself is a fitness conscious personality and plays for team TERI as its premier bowler.
He has bowling, mostly during power-plays, and has now brought 600 wickets in his corporate cricket career. He has been maintaining a  stunning strike rate of just 14 balls per wicket since the last two years and in the duration of less than two years he added 100 more wickets (from 500 to 600) to his tally. It is not only his swing which is difficult for the batsmen to handle, but his skill to read the batsman's mind that does the trick. Although, he is a non-interfering on the cricketing fields, but he is ready provide strategic inputs  to the captain and coach. Team TERI recently won the 8th Madhao Rao Scindia Cricket Tournament, the 16th D.G Phadkar tournament the Ist Krishna Maruti Tournament, and the 2nd Tiger Pataudi Cricket Tournament beating the leading corporate cricketing teams.    

We wish Dr. Pachauri a Successful New Year 2014 on the cricket field!


If Pachauri gets tired of bowling at the "lush green outfields", he can use another of the first class TERI facilities in Gurgaeon (although the local town planner does not seem to be quite so  enthusiastic about it):

Here, it runs a five-acre golf course as part of the 69 acres of institutional land it acquired from Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in 1985 to build a residential training facility for executives called Retreat. Work on the golf course began in 2005.
According to Gurgaon's district town planner Vijender Singh Rana, commercial activity through sports on institutional land is illegal. "HUDA gave this land to TERI for institutional or public and semipublic purpose," Rana said. "Though they have asked for change of land use (CLU) regularly from HUDA, permission cannot be given for any sporting activity. If TERI is selling golf course memberships, it is wrong." Rana said the conditions for use of institutional land were clear.
"If TERI uses it for its own purpose, there is no problem. But it cannot use it commercially and sell golf memberships," he said.
A TERI spokesperson denied it was making commercial use of the course. However, when MAIL TODAY anonymously contacted the course officials, they offered memberships for Rs.25,000.

Germany and the UK would benefit from a euro break up

In the long run Germany and the UK would benefit from a break up of the euro, according to the leading British research group the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR):

"Germany is forecast to lose its position as the largest Western European economy to the UK around 2030 because of the UK's faster population growth and lesser dependence on the other European economies," the report said.
"If the euro were to break up, Germany's outlook would be much better," it added. "A Deutsche Mark-based Germany certainly would not be overtaken by the UK for many years if ever."
The think-tank's chief executive claimed that Britain's economy would grow even faster if it left the European Union.
"My instinct is that in the short term, the impact of leaving the EU would undoubtedly be negative," Douglas McWilliams told the Daily Telegraph. “My suspicion is that over a 15-year period, it would probably be positive."

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Australian climate change professor who warned about melting East Antarctic remains trapped in thick ice

"there is an increasing body of evidence, including by the AAE members, that have identified parts of the East Antarctic which are highly susceptible to melting and collapse from ocean warming"

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition

The reality:

Chris Turney, the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (and Professor of Climate Change at the University of New South Wales) who, together with 73 scientists, tourists and crew is trapped in thick Antarctic ice, is still waiting to be rescued.

This is the latest tweet from Turney:


Still waiting. #spiritofmawson Alok Jha vine.co/v/h9tqx3bWgVx
Even the Chinese icebreaker which was supposed to rescue the professor and his team had to retreat:
Passengers aboard an ice-bound cruise ship trapped off the coast of Antarctica cheered Friday night when they spotted the Chinese ice-breaker Snow Dragon on the horizon.
"There's a lot of relief among the team and a lot of happy faces," said expedition leader Chris Turney in a video posted on YouTube.
However, the jubilance was short-lived.
The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles of the stranded ship but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, expedition spokesman Alvin Stone told the Associated Press. France's L'Astrolabe made it to the edge of the sea ice surrounding the ship, too, but also called off its mission for the same reason.
Turney, professor of climate change at the University of New South Wales, Australia, has been tweeting and blogging the adventure, and has become a minor celebrity of sorts. Using tools unimaginable to adventurers who explored the frozen continent a century ago, his reports recorded in howling blizzard winds show the enthusiasm and nonchalance of a real-life Indiana Jones.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Warmist filmmaker Randy Olsen trashes Gore's film and "green" documentaries

Warmist filmmaker Randy Olsen trashes Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and "green" documentaries in general:

The Gore movie cashed in on his personality and the question of where he had been in the six years since his failed US presidential bid. The same movie starring any NASA scientist would have lost money.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: That's a bold claim, how can you be so sure?
Olson: Because the movie itself, stripped of its celebrity element, was boring. There was almost no narrative structure to it. It failed to tell an interesting and compelling story.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But Al Gore presented dramatic nature scenes and frightening graphics. Didn't that create attention?
Olson: Maybe if you were one of the hardcore lefties who turned out for it in droves. But if it was so good, why don't you see it re-run on cable the way popular movies are?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: But Gore's film drew tremendous attention to the climate problem. Isn't that proof of science successfully communicating?
Olson: It made a ton of money which made some people think that suddenly the topic was unboring. Which produced a spate of climate documentaries that were all boring, and eventually resulted in an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker friend saying to me they all blend together -- all the same shots of melting glaciers, polar bears, carbon emissions ... blah, blah, blah. By 2008 another friend was at a gathering of indy film distributors in which they were saying, "no more environmental documentaries!", there's no audience for them. And by 2010 a producer friend of mine said, "Even the Green Channel doesn't want "green programming." --

SPIEGEL ONLINE: How could the public possibly still be interested in climate research?
Olson: I fear it's too late and that the brand has been ruined, but I hope it's not. The climate crowd did a lousy job communicating. Several reports have itemized the fact that over a billion dollars was spent on climate by the environmental side over the past decade. There is simply no excuse for the failure to communicate.

 Olsen is of course quite right in his criticism, but because he still believes in the religion of climate change/global warming, he rather naively imagines that "professional storytellers" could save the sinking ship:   

What is needed is "Narrative Training" involving partnering with people from the more visceral end -- media people, professional storytellers, actors, etc. As I did with my new book -- partnering with two actors. But academics like to just keep to themselves in their ivory towers. And the boredom continues.

Quote of the Week: Dan Hannan on why Prince Charles is not likely to admit being wrong about the end of the world

Quote of the week:

"Fifty-five months have passed since the Prince of Wales assured us that we had less than 100 months to save the world. Do you imagine that, when the 100 months are up, he will say: “I was wrong: maybe life is getting better after all”? Of course not: the whole point of the looming disaster is that it’s always just around the corner."

Dan Hannan, MEP

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dan Hannan on the Green Jobs Fallacy

In just one minute Conservative MEP Dan Hannan manages to destroy the myth of green jobs:

Copenhagen - European Green Capital 2014: Myth and Reality

Copenhagen has now officially been crowned European Green Capital for 2014 by the European Commission.
Frank Jensen, the city's social democratic mayor was celebrating the "win" in Brussels the other day:

“It’s a major pat on the back for all Copenhageners and the city’s green businesses who everyday do what they can to make Copenhagen a more green and sustainable city,” Jensen said in a press release.

Among the initiatives that swayed the independent jury in Copenhagen’s favour are the city’s efforts to increase the number of cyclists, become carbon neutral in 2025, and ensure Copenhageners better access to nature areas.

EU environment commissioner Janez Potočnik congratulated Copenhagen on the award.
“The rest of Europe could learn a lot from Copenhagen’s climate efforts and the high quality of life that Copenhageners lead. This prize reflects the fact that Copenhagen is making significant efforts to develop its urban space in order to deliver a more healthy and sustainable city for Copenhageners,” Potočnik said.

It is a well known fact, that Danes are very good in marketing (also themselves). They have obviously done a great marketing and promotion job with the EU Commission, as they were able to beat eleven who were also competing for the title.

But as somebody who has lived in Copenhagen a few years ago (and enjoyed it), I would agree with British journalist Richard Steed, who has lived in Copenhagen since 1998:

We love to create myth! And so too, it seems, does the European Commission, which has named
Copenhagen the European Green Capital of 2014. I am sorry, but if you think Copenhagen is one of the most litter-free and greenest cities in the world, I would recommend you visit Valbyparken. Head towards Kalveboderne and discover for yourselves the amount of rubbish by the side of the shore. It is simply embarrassing.  I feel sorry for the poor local swans who are probably some of the most toxic birds in Europe right now. Or does this simply not matter because it’s outside the city centre, and out of sight from the tourists? --

 I bet the European officials who voted for this didn’t consider that in 2014 this city would more resemble one big dirty building site than a harmonious, green and pleasant place to be.
Obviously Copenhagen didn’t award this accolade itself, but the council did nominate itself and produce a glossy multimedia brochure to showcase the city. Yet in my view, the city should be embarrassed by winning this award, and looking at the council’s meagre budget, I can only assume it’s not their top priority. Right now all they are doing is recycling the same old ‘green stories’ that we’ve all heard over and over.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Pardoning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky - A Bizarre Twist

Putin's pardoning of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia's richest man, is creating a huge amount of speculation. The fate of Putin's (former?) friend from his time in Leningrad, Igor Sechin, is an interesting "sideshow" in this affair:

In another bizarre twist, just after the prison service statement came out, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin was quoted by Russian news agencies as telling Putin in a meeting that the state-owned oil giant would be willing to give Khodorkovsky a job but that "all top-manager posts are currently filled."
Rosneft acquired most of the assets of Khodorkovsky's oil company Yukos after it was liquidated and sold off in pieces upon Khodorkovsky's arrest in 2003.

This bizarre twist is even more bizarre when we consider Sechin's background as the figurehead of the Siloviki, the network of current and former security service officers who run Russia's intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies and his role in the Yukos affair:

Their figurehead since Putin's arrival in the Kremlin in 2000 has been Igor Sechin, a long-time close Putin ally from St. Petersburg. Sechin managed to transfer a majority of the assets of Khodorkovsky's defunct Yukos oil empire to Rosneft, the government-owned oil company of which he is chairman.
Sechin has always insisted that the Yukos affair was not only "about tax offenses, but also serious capital crimes like murder, torture and blackmail." Such charges were intended to put Khodorkovsky behind bars for many more long years. Now it appears that Sechin's influence is waning.

Friday, 20 December 2013

A Single European Battery Charger - A Great Idea?

The EUSSR is alive and kicking:

Mobile phone makers will have to provide a standard battery charger that can fit any device, including smart phones, under a provisional deal on a new EU law reached on Thursday.
Provided the outline agreement gets endorsement from the European Parliament and EU member states, it would be implemented in around 2017, EU officials said.

If you think that is a great idea, think again:

no doubt a case could be made for it being a sensible idea. If we all have the same charger then we can use any charger: we’re not tied to one from the manufacturer of our particular phone.

However, there is a very large and incorrect assumption here. That technology is static. Something that simply isn’t true about technology of course.
For what is being assumed here is that by 2017 we’ll have the finest form of phone charger that we’ll ever have and that we can all standardise on just that one design. But, and here’s the catch, if we all standardise on that one design we’ll not have the market experimentation that provides us with those incremental improvements from innovation. For by standardising on one design we’ve made it impossible for anyone to experiment with that design. We have, in fact, set phone charging technology in stone and ensured that it will never change or advance.
And that’s not actually a very good idea. But then you weren’t expecting good ideas from the EU, were you?

Instead of innovation, the EU will probably end up with The European Centre for Battery Charger Standardisation Affairs (ECBCSA), with a few hundred bureaucrats toiling in a building just a little bit tinier than the new ECB skyscraper. The competition among member countries over who will get the new centre has probably already started.

Germany lost the bid for hosting the UN Green Climate Fund Headquarters. Maybe Angela Merkel will now submit the same design with "rooftop gardens" and a "sunken terrace restaurant" for the ECBCSA? :-)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

What makes Vladimir Putin "succeed at everything he does"?

German Der Spiegel has an interesting article about why Vladimir Putin seems to "succeed at everything he does":

In September, he convinced Syria to place its chemical weapons under international control. In doing so, he averted an American military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and made Obama look like an impotent global policeman.
In late July, Putin ignored American threats and granted temporary asylum to US whistleblower Edward Snowden, a move that stirred up tensions within the Western camp. The Germans and the French were also outraged over Washington's surveillance practices.
Since then, Putin has scored one coup after the next. In the fall, when meaningful progress was made in talks with Tehran over a curtailment of Iran's nuclear program, Putin once again played a key role.
And now, by exerting massive pressure on Viktor Yanukovych, he has persuaded the Ukrainian president to withdraw from an association agreement with the European Union that took years to prepare, just a few days before the scheduled signing at a summit of EU leaders. In doing so, he brought Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence, at least for now. --

"For Putin, all it took was 20 minutes with Obama on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg to avert a bombing of Syria and to lay the groundwork for a solution to the Syrian chemical weapons problem," says a senior Russian diplomat.
According to an unpublished, 44-page report by the Institute for Strategic Studies, the Kremlin's most powerful think tank, to which SPIEGEL has gained access, Putin's authority is now "so extensive that he can even influence a vote on Syria in the US Congress." The report praises Putin as the "new world leader of the conservatives."
The report's authors write that the hour of conservatives has now come worldwide because "the ideological populism of the left" -- a reference to men like Obama and French President François Hollande -- "is dividing society."

Of course the Kremlin's "most powerful think tank" is completely wrong about Putin being a "world leader of the conservatives". Their man is nothing but a corrupted authoritarian in charge of a mafia state.

The fact that the former KGB man now "seems to be succeeding at everything he does" has nothing to do with conservatism. No, it is wholly a result of the fact that the US now has the probably weakest and most incompetent president ever. With a strong leader in charge in the US, Putin would never have been able assert himself. And the weakness of the other western "leaders", Hollande, Cameron and Merkel above all, is making it even easier for Putin to "succeed".

Former DDR communist party youth organization member Angela Merkel today took charge of Germany's new (leftist and environmentalist) government

An FDJ (DDR communist party youth organization) badge.

Former DDR communist party youth organization member Angela Merkel today began her third term as German chancellor. Merkel, who is the leader of the CDU - the largest of the two social democratic parties now working together in the new government - was elected by 462 votes to 150 in Germany's lower house of parliament.

Merkel's CDU has long ago ceased to be a conservative party, although German media for some strange reason still insist on calling her a "conservative leader":

The 59-year-old conservative leader accepted the record result and thanked the country's politicians for their trust in her. No chancellor has ever received as many votes by parliament, even though at least 32 members of her own coalition didn't vote for her.

Merkel's new "grand coalition" government -- which partners her Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) -- now holds 505 of the Bundestag's 631 seats. The alliance came about after Merkel's CDU nearly achieved a parliamentary majority in the Sept. 22 federal election, but saw their coalition partners, the liberal Free Democrats, crash out of parliament by falling short of the 5 percent threshold needed to win seats.

The coalition agreement is a compilation of primarily leftist and radical environmentalist items which are not even remotely connected with anything a conservative government would be working for:

Their coalition agreement includes the SPD-backed introduction of a national minimum wage, the continued pursuit of the Energiewende, the country's transition to renewable energy, and a steady-as-she-goes approach to the euro crisis.

The CDU's Bavarian sister party CSU, which still includes a number of real conservatives, is almost fully marginalized in the new government.

Great news (and hopefully true): Microsoft planning to close Windows 8

One can only hope that this is true:

If you are tired of Windows 8 and 8.1, which pointlessly forced on consumers a touch-screen interface when most PCs lacked touch screens, take heart.
Even Microsoft has figured out that Windows 8 is a flop and plans to replace it by 2015, or, given the pending management change at the company, perhaps earlier. While Microsoft hasn’t announced this yet, it is being reported by tech website zdnet.com based on conversations with unnamed sources inside Microsoft.
It appears that Microsoft is developing new versions of Windows that will return most PCs to the traditional Windows user interface that relies on a mouse and keyboard. The touch-screen Windows 8 and 8.1 interface will be limited to tablet computers and smartphones, which is where it belonged in the first place.
A return to traditional Windows is good news for millions of consumers who have been vexed by Windows 8, and for a PC industry that has watched shipments fall more than 10 percent this year, partly because Windows 8 and 8.1 gave consumers no reason to buy a new computer.

I am one of the unfortunate customers who bought a computer with Windows 8 installed. The sooner Microsoft replaces the garbage called Windows 8, the better. And the people at Microsoft who brought us this totally useless interface should all be fired!

Chairman of BP: "I cannot understand how those who burn carbon get to do that without charge"

The Chairman of BP, Carl Henric Svanberg, has been discussing the future of energy  with the IPCCs Rajendra Pachauri and some other warmists  at the "Nobel week dialog" in Sweden:

There was a definite tension among the panelists at the Nobel Week dialog about what the future of energy might hold and how well we could predict that future based on current trends. For example, Carl Henric Svanberg (of BP and Volvo) noted that, while renewables are the fastest growing portion of the energy market, if you extrapolate out current trends, non-hydro renewables will only cover six percent of the world's energy needs by 2030.
And that's not good enough, Svenberg said: "We need to move fast, because time is not on our side." He was one of a number of speakers who called for a carbon tax to tilt the economic scales. In his case, Svanberg said, "I cannot understand how those who burn carbon get to do that without charge."

Isn't it amazing that a company which makes almost all of its operating income ($19.733 billion in 2012) from fossil fuels has a chairman, who openly promotes a tax "on those who burn carbon"!

Even Pachauri managed to sound less alarmist than Svanberg at the Nobel dialogue:

The IPCC's Rajendra Pachauri pointed out that, as recently as five years ago, some projections were still completely ignoring the impact that shale gas would have on the energy economy.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Quote of the week

 "To put a limit on the use of fossil fuels without adequate economically viable alternatives is to condemn the Third World to perpetual structural poverty."

Deepak Lal 
(in Poverty and Progress: Realities and Myths about Global Poverty)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The memory of late Nelson Mandela misused by groups of countries promoting dubious cash schemes

It is sad to note that the late Nelson Mandela's name is misused by propagandists of two groups of countries promoting schemes to get almost unlimited free cash from rich industrialized countries:

LDC Chair‏@LDCChairUNFCCC 2h
"It always seems impossible until it's done." World can truly honor by doing what seems impossible--agreeing 2 a bold climate deal.

What the Chair of Least Developed Countries means is that rich countries should pay almost unlimited compensation for "loss and damage" caused by non-existent human-made global warming.

CARICOM, representing 15 Caribbean nations and dependencies, is also misusing the memory of Nelson Mandela in an effort to force a number of "former slave-owning nation of Europe" to pay "reparations":         
The Executive of the CARICOM Reparations Commission met on December 9, 2013 in Jamaica at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies in order to define and set in train its plan of action.
It did so within the context of the global celebration of the life of Nelson Mandela, who, by his sacrifice and teachings, provided the world with a moral and ethical framework within which the diplomatic and political search for truth, justice, and reconciliation can be attained. The Commission affirmed its commitment to the principles inherent in the living legacy of Mr. Mandela.
The Commission affirmed the argument that Caribbean societies have been built upon transatlantic slave trading and chattel slavery, which have been declared by the United Nations as crimes against humanity. These societies are uniquely placed to advance the global cause of truth, justice, and reconciliation, within the context of reparatory justice for the victims and their descendants who continue to suffer harm as a consequence of these crimes.

The Commission called upon the former slave-owning nations of Europe - principally Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark - to engage Caribbean governments in reparatory dialogue to address the living legacies of these crimes.
The Commission noted that Caribbean societies also experienced the genocide of the native population, which was also declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations. The victims of these crimes and their descendants were left in a state of social, psychological, economic and cultural deprivation and disenfranchisement that has ensured their suffering and debilitation today, and from which only reparatory action can alleviate their suffering.


The slave trade was of course a very sad and shameful chapter in the history of a number of European countries. However also African rulers profited from it:

When Europeans first came to Africa in search of slaves, the African leaders themselves were eager to contribute. Initially, the slaves were war prisoners, criminals or people in debt. However, as the European demand for slaves grew, African leaders turned to new ways to find slaves. Wars were started for the sole reasons of taking prisoners to sell, and many were simply kidnapped (either by people from their own tribe, or from competing tribes). Some African rulers earned great profits by controlling the regional slave trade.

Will CARICOM also call upon some African countries to "engage in reparatory dialogue"?

I mention this only to show that this type of "loss and damage" and "reparation" demands could lead to similar actions by hundreds - if not thousands - of countries, nations, tribes and other groups in different parts of the world - a completely impossible and uncontrollable situation.

The groups of Least Developed Countries and the Caribbean countries should abstain from this kind of bogus financing schemes, and instead start working on e.g. promoting democracy, better governance and rule of law in their respective countries.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Sanity prevails in Scotland: Scottish Power cancels the Argyll Array, which was to be the world's largest offshore wind farm

Another huge blow to the wind energy lobby - and a victory for sanity: Scottish Power abandons its £5.4bn plan to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, the Argyll Array.

Scottish Power has abandoned a £5.4bn plan to build the world's largest offshore wind farm, after four years of planning, because it is "not financially viable" (NNoN: not even the present high level of subsidies was high enough):

The decision to abandon the Argyll Array was a great victory for the No Tiree Array group, which yesterday welcomed the decision by the developer, calling the plans an "environmental disaster for Tiree and the west coast of Scotland".

Here is the No Tiree Array press release:

Friday, 13 December 2013

Garry Kasparov: Putin is winning because of Obama's lack of leadership and weakness

Garry Kasparov, former world chess champion turned political activist, has written a must read article in The Spectator on why Russian dictator Vladimir Putin is winning the poker game of international politics:

 Although — as I will explain — his winning streak may not last, at least for the time being he has outplayed all his opponents, largely because President Obama and other western leaders have left the game wide open for him. Putin is now so confident that he is busy drawing up plans for a new ‘post-Assad’ Syria. He is sure he can retain his influence, whoever is in charge.
The West’s inadequate and vacillating response to the Syria crisis has made some people draw parallels with Munich in 1938 — and for once the comparison actually rings true. Even while Cameron and Hollande have been desperately trying not to look like Chamberlain and Daladier, they looked exactly like them. Meanwhile President Obama showed he could not keep his own promises. The consequences of his failure to enforce his own ‘red line’ on the use of chemical weapons will come back to haunt him long after this current impasse is over.

But it wasn’t just that Putin played his hand well. Both Obama and Cameron played a genuinely inept game. The Conservative party was disorganised and Obama’s argument about legal technicalities proved unconvincing. If you want people to authorise and approve of military action, you have to sound both convincing and capable. Persuading the American public to intervene in Europe in the 1940s was a tough sell for FDR. But he succeeded in selling it, winning the election and winning the vote in the House. That was leadership.
But the disaster of President Obama’s presidency is not just his lack of leadership but the fact that he shows such weakness. It is not only Putin who is watching and taking note of this. There are other players in this new Great Game waiting in the wings — the Iranians in particular, who will arrange their nuclear progress in accordance with the weakness they see.

Coal is king in Germany: Record imports of coal despite of Merkel's "progressive" energy transition policy

US coal mines are busy with exporting coal to Germany.
(image by Wikipedia)

Eco-fundamentalists are often praising Germany for its "progressive" energy transition policy. But the reality behind the façade is somewhat different: German coal imports are this year to hit record levels, 51 million tonnes, a 6.5% increase compared with last year. The share of coal in the total electricity production is 45%.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Swedes give a huge NO to the euro

The Swedes were smart enough to say no to the euro in a 2003 referendum. And now, ten years later, they are even more critical of the crisis ridden eurozone:

A whopping 78 percent of the electorate would choose to stay out of the eurozone if the country held a referendum today.

"Of those who replied in May 2013 that they would vote yes to the euro, about 67 percent would still vote yes, while about 21 percent now in November would vote no," Statistics Sweden said in a statement.

A slim 13.9 percent of men and 11.3 percent of women were in favour of introducing the euro currency in Sweden.

Baby It's Cold Outside: -135.8 (-93.222ºC) in Antarctica - Lowest Ever Temperature Recorded

It was cold on Antarctica also a hundred years ago: Photograph of Eric Marshall, Frank Wild and Ernest Shackleton at their Farthest South latitude, 88°23'S. Nimrod expedition 9 January 1909
(source: Wikipedia)

Yes, Baby It's Cold Outside:

There's cold, and then there's Antarctica cold. ... How does a frosty reading of 135.8 degrees (-93.222ºC) below zero sound?
Based on remote satellite measurements, scientists recently recorded that temperature at a desolate ice plateau in East Antarctica. It was the lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth --

"I've never been in conditions that cold, and I hope I never am," said ice scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo. "I am told that every breath is painful, and you have to be extremely careful not to freeze part of your throat or lungs when inhaling."
The -135.8-degree reading is "50 degrees colder than anything that has ever been seen in Alaska or Siberia or certainly North Dakota," he said.
"It's more like you'd see on Mars on a nice summer day in the poles," Scambos said from the American Geophysical Union scientific meeting in San Francisco on Monday, where he announced the data.

The record cold is if course something that warmists hate to see. That's why "ice scientist" Waleed Abdalati was quick to pronounce that it has "little to do with global warming":

The record for cold has little to do with global warming, because it is one spot in one place, said Waleed Abdalati, an ice scientist at the University of Colorado and NASA's former chief scientist.
Both Abdalati, who wasn't part of the measurement team, and Scambos said this is probably an unusual random reading in a place that hasn't been measured much and could have been colder or hotter in the past.
"It does speak to the range of conditions on this Earth, some of which we haven't been able to observe," Abdalati said.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Downton Abbey's Carson (actor Jim Carter) makes a fool of himself as Greenpeace Santa

"Dear children, regrettably I bring bad tidings,"
 "Melting ice here at the North Pole has made our operations and our day-to-day life intolerable and impossible, and there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas."
Jim Carter as Greenpeace Santa
Downton Abbey's Carson (actor Jim Carter) makes a complete fool of himself as Greenpeace's Apocalyptic Santa. Watch CNN's Jeanne Moos rip the organization's latest doomsday video:

Heartland Institute's Jim Lakely comments:

Radical left-wing organizations have long-enjoyed stenographic coverage in the mainstream media. So it certainly came as a shock to Greenpeace to see CNN rip into the organization for employing a decrepit Santa to advance lies that scare kids and adults alike about the climate.
CNN’s Jeanne Moos has for many years specialized in quirky human interest stories at the venerable cable channel. This week she ripped Greenpeace for its latest video featuring a disheveled and depressing Santa that makes Billy Bob Thornton’s iconic “Bad Santa” look as warm as the one from “Miracle on 34th Street.”
You see, says Greenpeace’s Apocalyptic Santa, if the ice doesn’t stop melting at the North Pole, “there may be no alternative but to cancel Christmas.” Worry not, kids. Arctic ice has actually increased this year by 533,000 square miles (and total polar ice is at highest point in about a decade), which Moos notes in her report.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The European Union's "vast empire of overseas officed staffed by highly-paid bureaucrats" exposed

A common sight: An EU "ambassador" shaking hands with a dictator.
Michael Arrion, Head of Delegation European Union is here smiling together with Rwanda’s Paul Kagame,
the "darling dictator of the day" according to the New York Times.

The Daily Telegraph has investigated the European Union's "vast empire of overseas offices staffed by highly-paid bureaucrats":

A Telegraph investigation discloses that the EU is operating 140 overseas delegations at an annual cost of more than £420 million.
The delegations – effectively embassies and consulates – help to oversee billions of pounds spent on EU projects around the globe.
The delegations can negotiate in trade and political talks as well as being involved in the EU’s huge overseas aid programme.
The body, called the European External Action Service (EEAS), was established in 2010 as a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty and is headed by Baroness Ashton, a Labour peer and the EU High Representative. The EEAS has 3,417 staff: 1,457 in Brussels and 1,960 in its overseas offices.
Critics accused the EEAS of being wasteful and either duplicating – or even competing with – Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
A Telegraph analysis shows 29 EEAS officials earn a basic salary, excluding benefits, worth £150,000 a year, more than David Cameron as Prime Minister.
With generous benefits added in – such as an expat allowance, household allowance and child allowance – it is estimated that about 500 officials can earn more than the Prime Minister’s basic salary. --
A senior diplomat on a basic salary of up to £114,000 will pay only about 15 per cent in tax.
Official figures supplied by the EEAS show that the largest single delegation is based in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and employs a total of 140 people, including staff and “local agents”.
Last week, the EEAS announced that at the end of the year it was shutting down one of its smallest offices in Vanuatu, an archipelago in the South Pacific 10,000 miles from Brussels.
The EU has spent in the region of £80 million there since it first opened an office as long ago as 1984 – prior to the establishment of the EEAS.
The Telegraph can disclose that the EU has funded such projects as a scheme to teach children cricket, costing £130,000, and spent more than a million pounds on wind turbines and biofuel plants that have not been built.
The responsibilities for the Vanuatu office will now be moved to delegations in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands.
Opponents have called for the EEAS to be dramatically scaled back, pointing out that the UK has a large and well-established network of embassies and consulates of its own.
Lee Rotherham, a former adviser to three Conservative shadow foreign secretaries and author of The EU in a Nutshell, said: “The EEAS is the FCO’s costly doppelganger, competitor, and usurper. Its aim and its unchecked destiny is to edge out the national diplomatic services.
“Naturally, as a creature of Brussels it has inherited its key flaws. This notably includes a lack of awareness that it is spending someone else’s tax money.”  

There is absolute no need for this "empire". The European External Action Service network of "embassies" should be scaled down to a maximum of ten (or even less), and the future of the Entire EEAS should be reconsidered.

Obama Gives Owners of Useless Wind Turbines License to Kill Bald and Golden eagles

"The bald eagle was chosen June 20, 1782 as the emblem of the United States of American, because of its long life, great strength and majestic looks."   

"The eagle represents freedom. Living as he does on the tops of lofty mountains, amid the solitary grandeur of Nature, he has unlimited freedom, whether with strong pinions he sweeps into the valleys below, or upward into the boundless spaces beyond."

Shame on Barack Obama for giving the owners of useless and ugly wind turbines a licence to kill US national birds, the symbols of freedom. But it is not a surprise - this administration has already long ago showed that it does not understand what the US as a society is all about:

Under pressure from the wind-power industry, the Obama administration said Friday it will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without the fear of prosecution for up to three decades.
The new rule is designed to address environmental consequences that stand in the way of the nation’s wind energy rush: the dozens of bald and golden eagles being killed each year by the giant, spinning blades of wind turbines.
An investigation by The Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. President Barack Obama has championed the pollution-free energy, nearly doubling America’s wind power in his first term as a way to tackle global warming. --

conservation groups, which have been aligned with the industry on other issues, said the decision by the Interior Department sanctions the killing of an American icon.
‘‘Instead of balancing the need for conservation and renewable energy, Interior wrote the wind industry a blank check,’’ said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold in a statement. The group said it would challenge the decision. --

Another AP investigation recently showed that corn-based ethanol blended into the nation’s gasoline has proven more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and worse than the government acknowledges. --

A study by federal biologists in September found that wind farms since 2008 had killed at least 67 bald and golden eagles, a number that the researchers said was likely underestimated. That did not include deaths at Altamont Pass, an area in northern California where wind farms kill an estimated 60 eagles a year.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Philosopher Alain Finkelkraut's devastating analysis of the multicultural society in France

German Der Spiegel's interview with the French philosopher Alain Finkelkraut is worth reading. Finkelkrauts analysis of the French multicultural society is devastating - and true:

Finkielkraut: I am pained to see that the French mode of European civilization is threatened. France is in the process of transforming into a post-national and multicultural society. It seems to me that this enormous transformation does not bring anything good.
SPIEGEL: Why is that? Post-national and multicultural sounds rather promising.
Finkielkraut: It is presented to us as the model for the future. But multiculturalism does not mean that cultures blend. Mistrust prevails, communitarianism is rampant -- parallel societies are forming that continuously distance themselves from each other.
SPIEGEL: Aren't you giving in here to the right-wingers' fears of demise?
Finkielkraut: The lower middle classes -- the French that one no longer dares to call Français de souche (ethnic French) -- are already moving out of the Parisian suburbs and farther into the countryside. They have experienced that in some neighborhoods they are the minority in their own country. They are not afraid of the others, but rather of becoming the others themselves.
SPIEGEL: But France has always been a country of immigrants.
Finkielkraut: We are constantly told that immigration is a constitutive element of the French identity. But that's not true. Labor migration began in the 19th century. It was not until after the bloodletting of World War I that the borders were largely opened.
SPIEGEL: Immigration has had more of a formative influence on France than on Germany.
Finkielkraut: Immigration used to go hand-in-hand with integration into French culture. That was the rule of the game. Many of the new arrivals no longer want to play by that rule. If the immigrants are in the majority in their neighborhoods, how can we integrate them? There used to be mixed marriages, which is crucial to miscegenation. But their numbers are declining. Many Muslims in Europe are re-Islamizing themselves. A woman who wears the veil effectively announces that a relationship with a non-Muslim is out of the question for her.
SPIEGEL: Aren't many immigrants excluded from mainstream society primarily for economic reasons?
Finkielkraut: The left wanted to resolve the problem of immigration as a social issue, and proclaimed that the riots in the suburbs were a kind of class struggle. We were told that these youths were protesting against unemployment, inequality and the impossibility of social advancement. In reality we saw an eruption of hostility toward French society. Social inequality does not explain the anti-Semitism, nor the misogyny in the suburbs, nor the insult "filthy French." The left does not want to accept that there is a clash of civilizations.
SPIEGEL: The anger of these young people is also stirred up by high unemployment. They are turning their backs on society because they feel excluded.
Finkielkraut: If unemployment is so high, then immigration has to be more effectively controlled. Apparently there is not enough work for everyone. But just ask the teachers in these troubled neighborhoods -- they have major difficulties teaching anything at all. Compared to the rappers and the dealers, the teachers earn so ridiculously little that they are viewed with contempt. Why should the students make an effort to follow in their footsteps? There are a large number of young people who don't want to learn anything about French culture. This refusal makes it harder for them to find work.
SPIEGEL: These neighborhoods that you speak of, have you even seen them firsthand?
Finkielkraut: I watch the news; I read books and studies. I have never relied on my intuition.
SPIEGEL: In the US the coexistence of communities works better. The Americans don't have this European adherence to a national uniform culture.
Finkielkraut: The US sees itself as a country of immigration, and what is impressive about this truly multicultural society is the strength of its patriotism. This was particularly evident after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In France, however, the opposite could be seen after the attacks on French soldiers and Jewish children in Toulouse and Montauban last year: Some schoolchildren saw Mohamed Merah, the assailant, as a hero. Something like that would be unthinkable in the US. American society is a homeland for everyone. I don't think that many children of immigrants here see it that way.
SPIEGEL: America makes it easy for new arrivals to feel like Americans. Does France place the hurdles too high?
Finkielkraut: France prohibits students from wearing headscarves at school. This is also for the benefit of all Muslims who don't want a religious cage for themselves, for their daughters and wives. France is a civilization, and the question is what it means to participate in it. Does this mean the natives have to make themselves extremely small so the others can easily spread themselves out? Or does it mean passing on the culture that one possesses?

Amazon, Deutsche Post and UPS planning to use drones for deliveries

Interesting postal delivery news:

Online retail giant Amazon sparked a marketing frenzy Monday in announcing a project to use flying objects more associated with warfare to deliver packages, maintaining it could be up and running within five years.
But Deutsche Post said on Thursday it too has a project that predates Amazon's, though the scheme is in its early stages.
"This is only a beginning," a Deutsche Post spokeswoman said, with the focus for now on using drones for home delivery of medicine.
Amazon on Sunday posted a video on its website showing a prototype. The body of the device is about the size of a flat-screen TV with eight small helicopter rotors lifting it in the air.
"I know this looks like science fiction. It's not," Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told US broadcaster CBS when revealing the project.
US media reported that delivery giant UPS is also researching drone home delivery.
The technology has been tested and proven to work, so it is not surprising that the likes of Amazon, Deutsche Post and UPS are planning to use it:
The head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, was killed by a US drone strike on Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials told Reuters anonymously. Senior sources within the militant group confirmed the death.
There might of course be slight a problem in the receiving end for certain customers: How to know whether it is your latest Amazon order arriving or a delivery from quite another type of US "company"?
This postman never rings twice.

Global warming?: "Worst (winter storm) to hit the United States in years"

This must be another serious consequence of global warming:

A deadly winter storm some forecasters say is the worst to hit the United States in years slammed the nation's midsection Friday, snarling travel and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers.
The line of ice, snow and freezing temperatures stretched from the Texas-Mexico border northeast to the Ohio Valley, with the most severe conditions near Dallas, then punching through Arkansas and western Kentucky, according to forecasters at AccuWeather.com.
Residents of large cities and small towns hunkered down against the storm. Many were without power as broad outages were reported through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, according to local utilities.
At the height of the storm, some 267,000 outages were reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, according to utility provider Oncor, but that number was down to about 208,000 by Friday afternoon.
More than 1,900 flights were canceled on Friday, according to online flight trackers.--

The National Weather Service said it expected the harsh conditions to continue into the weekend, with temperatures about 30 degrees lower than average in some areas.

And it's not better in Europe:

Icy winter storms with hurricane-force winds Friday lashed northern Europe, where the death toll rose to 10 while hundreds of thousands suffered power blackouts and road, rail and air transport chaos.

Friday, 6 December 2013

UNICEF UK blog: Minus-50 degrees Celsius in Mongolia due to global warming

"Please join our campaign to create A Climate Fit for Children"

Here is how a UNICEF UK blogger describers climate change/global warming in Mongolia:

In the last couple of weeks my winter coat has become necessary and I’m contemplating gloves. Yet any complaints I might have are put into perspective when I consider that for millions of children, winter is a time of threat.
When we think of climate change we often think of rising temperatures, but children are also affected in colder climates, experiencing harsher winters and declining water resources. In Mongolia some children can spend 3 to 4 hours every day collecting water, braving frozen rivers and wells, and hauling water containers over extremely long distances.
In western Mongolia in 2010, heavy snow, strong winds and extreme cold created crisis conditions in over half the country’s provinces. Temperatures fell to minus-50 degrees Celsius, and snow meant access to food, fuel, sanitation and basic medical care was even tougher.

Wouldn't it be better for UNICEF to concentrate on helping children in need instead of "creating climates"?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Integration of migrants in Europe: A Finnish example

There is a growing number of migrants in most European countries. Politicians and local officials are trying to integrate them, although it does not always seem to be easy. Here is one example which shows how "integration" should not be done:

Patrons of the Rantakylä swimming hall in Joensuu, northeast Finland are perplexed by the rules pertaining to special ladies-only swimming sessions. A local mother recently tried to take her three-year old son to the session but they were turned away and told that only women were allowed.

"It's related to migrant integration and has received a positive reception. About 50 – 70 customers attend the sessions every week, and that's about half of our total visitor numbers," explained Pentti Ryhänen, Joensuu city facility manager.

However the popular swimming session has also caused some bewilderment. Some believe that the city should not segregate swimming times based on gender. One local mother was taken aback by the strict enforcement of the segregation rule when she tried to take her toddler son to the swimming class.
"I thought it would not be a problem because he's such a small boy. However when we got to the ticket kiosk they asked whether the child was a boy or a girl and they turned us away. Naturally I was upset," the mother said.

Facility manager Pentti Ryhänen said however that there has been little negative feedback over the single-sex swimming session. He noted that that it should be clear that boys are not allowed, even if they are very young.
"Parents are free to attend other sessions with their sons," he pointed out.
Ryhänen said that immigrants have offered positive feedback about the ladies-only sessions to city authorities. They have also made proposals for developing the service.
"One proposal was that we should cover the windows of the swimming hall during these sessions so that no one can see inside. But we won't be doing that," he added.

Let's hope the windows in the Joensuu swimming hall will stay uncovered!

Australian warmist scaremongering: "Alice Springs would resemble the Sudan, Darwin will resemble like no place on earth"

"The world added roughly 100 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750."
"Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar" 
The Economist

No matter what happens in the real world, global warming alarmists are desperately trying to sell their scare stories. Here is an Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Melbourne University peddling his message of doom and gloom:

" a book published today paints a terrifying picture of a world that's four degrees warmer and recommends a dramatic increase in Australia's carbon reduction target.*

The book's editor is Associate Professor of Environmental Policy at Melbourne University, Dr Peter Christoff.*

ELEANOR HALL: What is the most frightening aspect for you of a four degree warmer world?

PETER CHRISTOFF: Oh look, that's a terrible question to which one only has to give a terrible answer. There are a set of compounding problems that emerge when you start moving towards four degrees. You start to see a world in which there are substantial extinctions.

The oceans have become warmer, are becoming more acidic. So there's a very significant chance of the collapse of significant marine ecosystems like coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef, for example, is probably doomed when you get to four degrees. There are very substantial problems with food availability planet-wide and in a country like Australia which used to be capable of producing a surplus of food, by four degrees, would probably be facing food security problems with a larger population, but also a hungrier population.

And then you have the issues of extreme weather events, floods, more intense storms, bushfires, all these things particularly in the Australian context, I think leave us with a shatteringly different sense of what Australian can and would be like.

ELEANOR HALL: The physical effects are one part of this. What could the changes in the resource availability then mean for security? Will it inevitably mean more wars?

PETER CHRISTOFF: The projections are at four degrees that you would have significant displacement of population. If you have mass hunger occurring, populations will move to try and find food. Most of those movements, and the projections go from 65 to 250 million people by the end of this century. Most of those movements are likely to occur with countries, but there would be also the prospect of people moving over their borders and looking for resources elsewhere.

And how the world begins to handle a problem of that magnitude I think is something that we can only begin to contemplate. One doesn't know whether it would lead to more conflict. It certainly would lead to problems. I don't think we can understand what a world that looks like the one that's being projected looks like or how we're going to react to it. It's beyond human experience.

ELEANOR HALL: This sounds like a doomsday scenario. Could humans adapt to a four degree warming of the planet?

PETER CHRISTOFF: Well, humans are an extraordinarily adaptable species but if you're looking at a population of seven billion people trying to adapt to a world in which there's less water and less food, one would have to say that the prospects for an adaptation that would leave life looking roughly like it does for many people at this point in time is virtually impossible.

So there are already billions of people living in poverty or in water-stressed and food-stressed circumstances. In a four degree world, their situation would only get extremely worse. And even in extremely wealthy countries like Australia, adaptation I think would be very, very difficult to countenance.

There would clearly be some form of adaptation, but it wouldn't be life as we understand it at this point in time.

ELEANOR HALL: You say that Australia could be one of the most vulnerable continents. Where do you expect to see the worst effects in Australia of a four degree warmer world?

PETER CHRISTOFF: There will be the extinctions of species. There'll be a very substantial impact on agricultural productivity. So the issues of food availability will change. We probably have the wealth and the resources to begin to deal with some of the issues of water availability and desalinisation plants and so on. Everyday life will be very substantially different. There are projections for example of what would happen to just average temperatures over time. So in Melbourne for example, we have something like nine or ten days over 35 degrees at the moment. By the time you get to 2070, that's about 26 days.

When you're looking at Alice Springs, the temperatures are 90 days over 35 degrees now, 180 by 2070. And then you get to places like Darwin, which would move from 11 days to 308. You end up with parts of Australia which are virtually unliveable. And the projections are for example, that while Alice Springs would resemble the Sudan, Darwin will resemble like no place on earth."

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Britain's climate change policies are a costly affair

The Cameron government's useless global warming/climate change policy is a costly affair:

Climate-change policies are expected to cost Britain more than £80 billion by the end of the decade, as critics warn that the global-warming industry is spiralling out of control.
Vast sums are being spent on initiatives ranging from climate-change officers in local councils to the funding of “low carbon” agriculture in Colombia at a cost of £15 million alone. Billions of pounds are also being added to fuel bills to pay for green policies.
The full cost is contained in a study published on Monday by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a think tank founded by Lord Lawson, the former chancellor.
Its analysis puts the cost to the British public of climate- change policies at £85 billion in the 10 years to 2021. More than half — about £47.6 billion — will have gone on funding green levies, such as subsidies for wind farms, added to consumer fuel bills.
A further £17 billion will have been spent by government departments and quangos, according to the study.

The rest — about £20 billion — will have gone to the European Union for global-warming initiatives.
Last month, the EU’s commissioner for climate action said that a fifth of the EU’s £805 billion budget from 2014 to 2020 would go on “climate-related spending”. Britain contributes about an eighth of the total EU budget.
Benny Peiser, the foundation’s director, who compiled the report, said: “The public has absolutely no idea how staggeringly costly and excessive the Government’s climate initiatives are. Even we were shocked when we discovered the astronomical funding streams and added them up.
“Britain’s climate policies combine to a mind-boggling amount of subsidies and departmental spending, which will drastically increase in the next few years.”

Unfortunately the UK is not the only country where the taxpayers have to pay for this madness. Time for voters to support parties/candidates who oppose it.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Norway Report

The next time you meet a Norwegian in a pub, ask him to pay for the beer. He should be able to afford it:

The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global, also known as the National Oil Fund has now reached the value of NOK 5000 billion, or USD 818 billion. This was announced Monday, 17 years after the Finance Department deposited the first NOK two billion in the Fund in 1996.

But don't wait for too long - even the owners of  the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund have their problems:

In only 12 years, the oil production in Norway will slow down, and so will the growth of the oil fund. Today's youth will have to pick up the bill.

"When the oil age is over we may have to cut down on our benefits. That could be painful, but it will most likely have to be done sooner or later. The rest of Europe, including our neighboring countries, are already cutting their spending, whereas we simply continue to expand systems that are not sustainable in the long run," says Chief Economist in Handelsbanken Knut Anton Mork.

The Economist has more on why wealth has its problems also in the land of the Arctic Arabs:

The oil boom led to a boom in public spending: since the 1970s the number of people employed in education has doubled and that in health and social services has quadrupled. The public sector continues to account for 52% of Norway’s GDP.
Oil wealth is bringing its own problems. The oil sector is monopolising the nation’s technical talent, with more than 50,000 engineers currently being employed offshore. Property prices are rising by nearly 7% a year. McDonalds charges $7.69 for a Big Mac, against $4.37 in America.

The fund is not without its problems, such as its size (it now accounts for 1% of all the world’s stocks), its leisurely approach (it was slow to exploit the opportunities offered by the 2007-08 financial crisis) and its penchant for blacklisting offending companies. But it is nevertheless one of the best-run in the world. The Norwegians have established a clear division between the finance ministry as owner and the central bank as manager. They are now trying to improve returns and diversify risks.

Norway's new conservative PM Erna Solberg is trying to manage the riches, but it's not easy:

ERNA SOLBERG, Norway’s conservative prime minister, is nothing if not ambitious. After defeating her popular Social Democratic rival, Jens Stoltenberg, in a general election in September, she beat the odds to cobble together a minority coalition at the end of that month. On November 15th she successfully negotiated an agreement on the budget for 2014.
Now she says she wants to wean Norway off its dependence on oil revenue and ease it towards a more balanced economy in which budget shortfalls are not plugged by the wealth flowing from the North Sea. It will be no easy task. The gap between Ms Solberg’s ambitions and actions was highlighted in the budget deal, which saw her depend a bit more on the country’s oil coffers than originally proposed—an extra 3.9 billion kroner ($640m). --

 It got a temporary fillip this week when new data showed the economy had grown by 0.5% in the third quarter instead of an expected 0.4%, but the currency has still dropped by about 10% against the dollar this year. Long gone seem the days during the financial crisis when the krone was regarded as a safe-haven currency.

The country’s weak economic fundamentals are the main reason for the krone’s fall, but there is growing concern that Norway could soon experience a big property crash. Property prices, particularly in Oslo and chichi ski resorts such as Hemsedal, have risen rapidly in the last decade. Peter Hermanrud, chief strategist at Swedbank First Securities, told a conference in Oslo recently that the property bubble could soon burst and that the government’s most likely response would be to cut interest rates and increase its spending from the oil fund—exactly the opposite of Ms Solberg’s stated ambition.

The dark clouds on the horizon do not seem to worry the locals too much, at least not this time of the year:

For the first time since the 1980s, the Norwegian Christmas shopping declined last year. This year, the trend has turned. Talking to TV2, trade organization Virke’s CEO Vibeke Hammer Madsen said that their forecasts for this year indicate an increase of 2.5% to 50.5 billion.
Virke also mapped the areas where most money is spent on holiday shopping. The shops in the Oslo area will sell for 10.900 NOK per capita, providing the highest average in the country. On the other end of the scale, one person in Østfold will spend 8350 NOK on average.

Merry Christmas (shopping) to you all up there in Norway! Enjoy your wealth as long as it lasts, but prepare for a time when you are not able to afford a Swedish butler anymore!