CFACT Europe

  • Eurovision – Government Hooliganism

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Photo EBU

    The peculiar, but by now a sort of fancy kitsch, the Eurovisioncontest, is on again. This time in Baku, the not so democratic Republic of Azerbaijan. (Use the link to check out some of the songs. Montenegro has some, well interesting, lyrics.)

    This has raised some concern over the possible PR, the, no doubt nasty regime, might get. As the same discussion is going on concerning soccer, let me say that I’m generally reluctant to boycotts, and specifically those carried out by government. Boycotting private companies, as was the case with the hysteria over French wines and nukes some years ago, is both stupid and insulting. And even not boycotting governmental monopolies might be a good idea. If I got clearance, naturally out of the question, to operate freely as a journalist in North Chorea, it would be more than stupid to refuse to use whatever electricity, phone services or lodging there is, on the ground that it’s run by a communist regime. Hey, everything is. If it’s running at all, that is.

  • No Paper Moon

    by Einar Du Rietz It’s here again, the Super Moon, or more correctly the same old moon, but a bit closer to Earth than usual. Got a glimpse yesterday, and admit it’s impressive when the skies are clear enough. As with all weather phenomena, it’s easy to find speculations. This year, however, I’ve only found articles in […]

  • Sound Environmentalism – Not Green Hooliganism

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Constructive Environmentalism CFACT Style

    Many years ago, when I was working for an environmental information department at a large company, I was intrigued to discover that a colleague, putting together a data base with information sources, had created a sub category called “Anti Environmental Groups”. At a closer look, this turned out to be a listing of think tanks with a scientific, free market oriented approach to environmental issues (no doubt CFACT would have been on the list, had she found us). She claimed she couldn’t come up with any alternative name. Should be added that she was a very skilled and reasonable working mate, but apparently tricked by the mainstream propaganda in those days. As the main listing included both WWF and Greenpeace, a better division could have been between reasonable, militant and violent groups. No such luck.

    The history and rhetorics of the radical green movement is not a sunny one, sometimes just ridiculous, on occasion rather sound. More often downright scary.

    Peter C. Glovergoes through some of the often forgotten rethoric on the barricade, in a splendid article in The Commentator.

  • Happy Earth Day Humans

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Only weeks after the peculiar, entirely symbolical and possibly dangerous Earth Hour gimmick, it’s now the 42’nd Earth Day. Hard to be against the Earth, but I’ve never understood the tendency to use these events to suggest an ongoing conflict between the earth and humanity.  

    CFACT International President David Rothbard comments:

    “Celebrate them all, we should. But as faithful followers of CFACT know, today’s environmentalism (at least the kind that gets all the attention) isn’t so much about reveling in the beauty of nature and its amazements as it is in using this lofty matter to hammer away at human productivity, prosperity, and plenty. Saddest and ironic of all, of course, is that people prospering is the very thing that helps us steward the environment the best.”

     You might add that without humans, there wouldn’t be an Earth Day, or that without human action, in the form of development and exploitation, there would be no humans. Ecological nostalgia is sometimes tempting to some, but I believe we all realize that if time travel was possible, none of us would survive even minutes in a prehistoric era.

     So, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate the innovations that increasingly is making it possible to lead a life even in areas still ridden by hardship. Not of prehistoric proportions, but at least with meagre possibilities to adjust housing and clothing to the weather, choose what we eat, or even have access to fresh drinking water.

    Today’s sunny news is that Brittish scientists now have shown that hidden groundwater resources wating to be exploited in Africa, may amount to a hundred times the more shallow wells being used today.

  • Must See: IKEK4 Video Footage

    Last November’s 4th International Climate and Energy Conference (IKEK4) in Munich , Germany, co-hosted by CFACT and CFACT Europe, was without any doubt one of the highlights of the international struggle for more science and less politics in climate research. We could see many new faces among the panelists, speakers and participants from all over the world, as well […]

  • They Don’t Want To Hurt You – They Just Want Your Money

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Might appreciate some real support - not corruption and stupidity

    The heroic boy scouts collected money, went to a village in deepest Africa and helped develop a well. A few month later, excessive use had dried it up and the final result was an extension of the desert.

    Examples of unintended consequences (and sometimes plain stupidity) in development aid are numerous, some probably myths by now. Distributing loads of pork to Muslim countries. Rushing factory building until the installation collapse on top of people. The literature is also quite extensive. A useful introduction, or summary may be this.

    Important to remember is that humanitarian catastrophes are seldom, if ever, caused by real villains in these cases, hence the words unintended and aid. Wars, planned famine and genocides are indeed orchestrated by evil, but they are never intended by the do-gooders.

    The problems occur both with voluntary help and government programs, though the latter, for natural reason, tend to be more dangerous. As a matter of fact, lot’s of people working with government aid are smart, caring people, but often trapped in the system. One such hazard is the idea, launched some decades ago, and implemented in some countries, to legislate allocation of a minimum level of GDP to the foreign aid budget. Both the government, and the associated authorities are then forced to spend the annual funds.

    Some countries try to make the best of the situation, for example by allocating funds to emergency help rather than budget support. Pouring money into a corrupt countries state budget most often leads to, in the less evil scenario, the money going straight into a Swiss bank account, or, which is worse, into buying weaponry used against neighbours or the country’s own population. On the other hand, budget support can also be the only way to boost investments in infrastructure. An alternative to building governmental roads and airports is of course to let private companies both develop, build and own. Such investments tend, if they are even allowed, however to be quite risky for the entrepreneur, facing the constant threat of both war and plain nationalization. The only simple solution, if not sufficient, seems to be to, to the extent possible, minimize governmental aid and let the not so small private, international networks do the job.

  • More Hot Innovations

    by Einar Du Rietz Few things make me as happy as innovative solutions to environmental, and thus human, problems. The most recent innovation that caught my eye was the prototype for Ezystove, an an ultra simple stove, now being tried in Namibia. Production will probably take place in Namibia and Kenya, and the idea is […]

  • The Earth Hour Worked

      Astoundingly enough, the Earth Hour, closing down all lights for one hour, yesterday, had immediate effect. The very next morning, spring temperatures were gone and replaced by a healthy return of winter. Says Dr April Cool from the University of Zaventem, Belgium, occasional advisor to both CFACT Europe, various international bodies and the Balkan Kingdom […]

  • The Hours

    by Einar Du Rietz

    A bit confused. As every year. Rather used to working and traveling across time zones, but the daylight saving time switch somehow doesn’t really get along with my head. At least no heart attack, though they are reported to be more frequent in connection to the switch. And all the farmers, and their cattle, sigh once again.

    Sincerely hope too, that niehter I, nor anyone else, will be injured during the upcoming, annual Earth Day, but that might be too much to hope for. The stupidity is on again. I write about it every year, apparently to no avail, as it’s still on.

    No one, at least no one serious about it, even among the enthusiasts claim that cutting all lights for one hour, would do anything to save energy, or the climate. At best it could disrupt the electricity flow and cause more severe power failures. If that is the goal.

  • The Hockey Season Is Not Over

    by Einar Du Rietz Opinion polls in general, and instant polls on the Internet in specific, ought to be handled with a fair dose of doubt. On top, just the fact that a bunch of people say this or that, does not mean they are right. But I cant resist giving you this account (from […]

  • Ladies – Fight Back

    by Einar Du Rietz Intended another story, but some issues just make me tired. Like the tiny news piece yesterday in the local paper, informing us that the local community – in a basically monopolized health care market – would no longer provide so called Laughing Gas, to women giving birth. The reason given was […]

  • Scary Monsters

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/iceberg-628x353.jpg

    During my years in the climate debate, I’ve been called all sorts of things. Climate Hater, Weather Denier, to mention a few. Apparently all climate realists are now also “Anti-Science”, and according to Robin McKie, writing for the Observer, though this article  was found in our fanzine The Guardian, people are getting scared. “Most scientists, on […]

  • A Little Ice Age Anyone?

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/iceage-628x353.jpg

    QED, mild winter is over. Freezing cold and snow falling on Oslo and Strasbourg, as well as – last time I checked – Athens. Weather should not be confused with climate cycles, but observations are necessary to make scientific assessments. As even the IPCC has now admitted that there has not been any global warming for quite […]

  • Cuddle Up

    by Einar Du Rietz

    To no surprise, the real winter cold enfolded most of Europe. Again.

    In parts of Europe, people have died. Travelling is out of the question, as trains are stranded and the roads are dangerous. How comforting then to be able to enjoy the heating at home, cook  up a warm soup, or even venture outside in solid armour, buy a paper around the corner and escape into an even cosier corner with a hot drink.

    That’s because, regardless of the extreme weather, where I am, energy works. In many places it doesn’t. As half of the nuclear plants here are down, rivers frozen and – quite naturally – all windmills are standing still, it’s a blessing to be able to, at least partly, trust that different forms of energy will somehow find their way into my hide out.

    A private energy market is simply a necessity on days like this.

  • Sunny News?

    by Einar Du Rietz One of the major news of the week has, strangely, been that we are subject to a solar storm. Beautiful to watch the following weather phenomena, but not dangerous, as it’s not strong enough to penetrate the atmosphere. Good so, but an enlightening reminder that the planet’s best friend – and […]

  • You Win Again

    by Einar Du Rietz The most famous bet in the environmental debate is probably the one between the Late Julian Simon and alarmist Paul Erlich in 1980, over predicted shortage in natural resources. As much as the story still amuses me, it also serves as a constant reminder of the optimism we all deserve more of. […]

  • What Good Is Experience If You Learn Nothing

    by Einar Du Rietz Denmark, taking over the rotating EU presidency has outlined its priorities for the next half year. Not surprising, really, but still awkward. Reports Euractiv: “Environment Minister Ida Auken called for making energy efficiency legally binding, dismissing concerns that weak economies and the eurozone debt crisis would trump the environment in EU policy […]

  • Happy New Constructive Year

    Dear Friends of CFACT Europe,

    thank you for following us. The attention around both our site and other activities has indeed grown over the past years. The only regret is that there has not been time to answer all comments properly. Let me take the opportunity however, to compliment on the Durban Poem, submitted by one of our friends.

    At the same time, it’s worth noticing that the hysteria in the climate debate has decreased simultaneusly. Remember December of Copenhagen. What remains now is basically the fancy, regular meetings and the fuzz over quite too much tax money for the delegates to play with.

    But environmental – and political – problems remain. Pollution, starvation and misery prevail, wherever common decency and private property is replaced by reshuffling of tax money, expropriation and hasty legislation.

    CFACT Europe remains devoted to sound science and decency, not only in the climate debate. During the year, we have been represented at joyful events, such as the Annual Liberty Ball in Brussels, and more solemn occasions such as the the funeral of the late Dr Otto von Habsburg, in Vienna.