Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
This article below from treehugger.
Global Oil Demand Reaches Record High: 86.6 Million Barrels a Day!
As the world recovers from recession, industry worldwide is getting the ol' bounce back in its step. And that bounce, of course, requires a hell of a lot of oil. More oil than at any point ever before in history, in fact. Yes, the International Energy Agency has released its projections for this year, and they've found that the oil demand will hit a whopping 86.6 million barrels a day--up 2% from last year, and 100,000 more barrels a day than the previous record set in 2007.
This is not, as you can imagine, a good thing. As demand grows, guess what else will? The prices! And the report takes this into consideration:
oil prices could stifle world economic growth if they were allowed to rise too far. "Ultimately, things might turn messy for producers if $80-$100 per barrel is merely seen as the new $60-$80, stunting economic recovery while prompting resurgent non-oil and non-OPEC supply investment," the IEA report said.
Nice. In related news, the US Military has issued a report of its own--and it's even more alarming. Here's a snippet, via the Guardian:
The US military has warned that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact ... the cost of crude is predicted to soon top $100 a barrel.
"By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 million barrels per day," says the report, which has a foreword by a senior commander, General James N Mattis.
Here's another important segment: "
While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions, push fragile and failing states further down the path toward collapse, and perhaps have serious economic impact on both China and India."
Let's see here: oil prices that hover above $100 a barrel, those high prices stifling economic growth, drastic worldwide oil shortages in less than five years, which in turn causes unrest and disorder in fragile nations--and we still have politicians arguing in favor of the status quo energy policy!
Has it ever been clearer that weaning our dependence on oil should be a top priority?
More on peak oil Australia
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
This article from seven news
Population growth must be slashed to protect human health and wellbeing, a Harvard University health professor says.
Dr Aaron Bernstein, who also works as a pediatrician, says population growth and climate change are the two biggest threats to the future of life on earth.
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on Tuesday, he said the discovery of new medicines often depends on healthy ecosystems, which continue to be destroyed.
Dr Bernstein gave the example of a recently extinct species of gastric-breeding frogs, that were unique to Australia.
The chemicals used to gestate spawn internally could have led to a cure for peptic ulcer disease, affecting more than a million Australians and 25 million Americans.
"With loss of individual species we foreclose upon the discovery of new medicines," he said, noting that one third of the world's species were forecast to be extinct by 2050.
Dr Bernstein said three-quarters of emerging diseases, including respiratory ailments, were the result of damaged ecological systems.
"Ecological barriers that once kept these infections at bay have been broken, opening the door to their passage of the human population, he said.
Over the past 50 years one fifth of the earth's topsoil and agricultural land has eroded, along with 90 per cent of marine fisheries and a third of forests, he said.
Over the same period the population has tripled to 6.5 billion people.
Dr Bernstein said to protect ecosystems, as the global population soars towards nine billion, policy makers need to cut carbon and population growth.
"We must do everything possible to further limit the growth of the human population," he said.
Dr Bernstein didn't suggest how to achieve this, saying it is up to policy makers in each country.
But he said the local debate on population, forecast by Treasury to reach 36 million by 2050, needs "careful consideration" by government.
On the issue of climate change, he suggested a carbon price be set to "drastically alter people's consumption habit".
Dr Bernstein also weighed into the genetically modified (GM) food debate, saying it should be part of the global solution to climate change.
He says he has no health reservations about the food source, that billions of people in poorer countries will depend on in the coming years.
And he said it's crucial GM crops, including drought resistant varieties, are freely available."Genetic resources cannot be held as high profit enterprises when they are critical to the health and nutritional status of people in the developing world," he said.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
This article is from the Australian Conservative
“A growing number of Muslim men and their multiple wives are exploiting a loophole to get taxpayer handouts,” the Herald Sun reported last month.
“Polygamy is illegal in Australia, but a Centrelink spokeswoman said it was not the welfare agency’s job to police polygamy laws.”
Multicultural relativists preach that while all cultures are equal and should be tolerated, accorded respect and even celebrated, all citizens must obey the host country’s laws. It was one of the deceptions multiculturalists used as they entrenched this left wing ideology in Australia.
In reality, as the ideology took root, the concept that all are equal before the law was abandoned in favour of lax policing and “culturally sensitive” sentencing.
But, it seems, in this case, claiming welfare for multiple wives is within Australian law – if the polygamy occurs outside of Australia.
But, returning to the Herald Sun story:
A 2008 report by the Islamic Women’s Welfare Council of Victoria “found Centrelink payments had encouraged polygamy in a small section of the Islamic community.
“‘Community workers who have provided support to women whose husbands took another wife religiously, said that women blame the availability of Centrelink benefits … since one or the other wife will be claiming it, relieving the husband of the responsibility of supporting two families,’ the report stated.
“Centrelink general manager Hank Jongen admitted the agency was making payments to people in multiple-couple relationships.
“‘There’s nothing preventing them from being in more than one ‘member of a couple’ relationship at a time,’ he said. ‘In these cases, Centrelink pays each person the relevant income-tested payment at the partnered rate.’”
Australian Conservative reported in July last year that a Muslim woman phoned in during a legal advice segment on 774 ABC Melbourne asking what she could do about her husband who, she said, has married another woman in Pakistan and returned to Australia with his new wife.
The answer from the radio station’s regular legal expert amounted to: not much, short of divorce.
The woman explained that the local mosque encouraged Muslim men to take as many wives as possible in order to build the Islamic population in Australia.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
This article from The Age.
THE federal government will consider slashing Australia's annual migration intake to help tackle concerns about traffic congestion, housing, hospitals, water and the environment.
Just months after declaring himself in favour of a ''big Australia'', Prime Minister Kevin Rudd yesterday warned of ''legitimate concerns'' with population growth and appointed Agriculture Minister Tony Burke as Australia's first Population Minister.
Mr Burke has been given a year to develop the country's first population plan, including a review of immigration levels.
The announcement came as another boatload of asylum seekers - the 102nd to be intercepted since Mr Rudd took office - was placed in detention at the Christmas Island facility, which has reportedly reached capacity.
Mr Rudd denied the new strategy was a smokescreen to divert attention from the recent boat arrivals, saying the idea for a population plan had come after ''extensive deliberations of the cabinet over the last month''.
He said population growth must be monitored: ''Particularly its impact on urban congestion, its impact on the adequacy of infrastructure, its impact on the adequacy of housing supply, its impact on government services, its impact also on water and agriculture and on our regions.''
Mr Rudd's change of heart followed the release last month of Treasury's Intergenerational Report, which predicted Australia's population would swell from about 22 million to 35.9 million in 2050, with overseas migration by far the biggest contributor.
Australia's growth rate is now twice the global average, even outstripping that in some developing nations including the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Figures from the Bureau of Statistics show that last financial year net overseas migration added a record 298,924 people, while natural increase (births minus deaths) added 157,792.
Victoria's population, estimated at 5.44 million at June 2009, is growing faster than the national average, with 27 per cent of all immigrants in 2008-09 choosing to set up home here.
The majority moved to Melbourne, where population growth outstripped all other capital cities for the eighth year in a row, compounding pressure on the city's public transport network, roads and housing market.
Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison dismissed Mr Rudd's announcement as a diversion to cover his failure to control boat arrivals. ''Effectively what he has announced is a plan for a plan after the next election,'' he said.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Australia needed a serious debate on population.
''It's very hard to have a sustainable population strategy if you can't control our boat arrivals. You can't have a population policy without having a border protection policy,'' he said.
The Future Eaters author and former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery welcomed the move, but said the Government should create an independent board to set medium and longer-term targets that would take into account the environment, social issues and the economy.
Greens leader Bob Brown said the new strategy must be matched with action. ''The major parties' population growth plan is outstripping Australia's infrastructure, environmental capacity and affecting quality of life.''
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Saturday, April 3, 2010
From Israel national news
According to the official, United States diplomats have encouraged Arabs to protest in parts of Israel's capital in order to pressure Israel to evacuate neighborhoods. The US administration does not recognize Israel's claim to key parts of the capital, including much of eastern and northern Jerusalem as well as the Old City and City of David.
The US recently sharply criticized Israel for allowing construction in Ramat Shlomo, a Jewish neighborhood of northern Jerusalem.
It was not clear whether the PA official who spoke to WND saw the Obama administration officials as supporting peaceful rallies, or the violent riots that are much more common in the city. Riots have been particularly common in recent days, following the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem and PA leaders' subsequent claims that Israel is threatening the Al-Aksa mosque.
On release, the proposed Australian history curriculum, similar to the English document, was warmly received by commentators and the media, especially The Australian newspaper.
Many argue it represents a welcome return to history as a discrete subject, the end to the culture wars in areas like black armband history and that it imparts a rigorous and impartial knowledge of significant historical events, ideas and people.
The ex-communist and historian, Stuart Macintyre, strongly defends his new creation as balanced and impartial and argues that critics have failed to analyse the history curriculum in any detailed way.
Chris Pyne, the shadow Commonwealth Minister for Education, disagrees with this favourable reception and criticises the history curriculum for privileging indigenous and Asian content and perspectives to the detriment of Australia’s Anglo-Celtic tradition, the debt we owe to Western civilisation and the importance of our Judeo-Christian heritage. In an opinion piece in the SMH (22nd March), Senator Brett Mason also criticises the proposed curriculum for lacking balance when he states:
Indeed, the Curriculum contains 118 references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, culture and history (with Grade 5s studying “White Australia” and Grade 9s Aboriginal massacres and displacement).
But there is only one reference to Parliament, and none to Westminster or the Magna Carta, the aspects of our political and cultural heritage that have made Australia perhaps the most peaceful, successful and prosperous democracy in the history of humanity.
Chris Pyne and Brett Mason (the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Curriculum Standards) are correct to express misgivings about the new curriculum. Concerns about the history curriculum include:
Read more of this article at the Australian Conservative