Sunday, 29 May 2011

Wind Up?

Here are the turbines that Artists Against Windfarms say, perhaps a little melodramatically, "will destroy the beauty of North Devon":

See anything?

No, neither could I this May from Codden Hill as the first turbines are going up.

The windmills are certainly visible from Crow Point, but far less obtrusive than the noise that can blow across from large roads like the A39 and the main Barnstaple to Bideford road. Maybe the Artists could campaign to get rid of those eye and earsores instead?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Dr Mountebank's Perpetual Motion Machine

Rob Dietz at think-tank CASSE highlights the work of a top economist whose "work has been highly influential among elite political and corporate leaders. Ronald Reagan is a prominent example. President Reagan once famously said, “There are no limits to growth and human progress when men and women are free to follow their dreams.” That’s a close paraphrasing of Dr. Mountebank’s conclusion to his magnum opus, Infinity and Beyond: The Magical Triumph of Economics over Physics ..."

Read the full hagiography here.

Can Banking Be Good?

With the end of the tax on bankers bonuses, government borrowing this April the worst on record and small business still being held to ransom by the financial sector, NEF and Compass are holding a Good Banking Summit today, in a perhaps forlorn attempt to inject some realism into the discourse. There don't seem to be any details online, but Ann Pettifor at Debtonation blog is one of the speakers, doing a bit of last minute publicity.

Loans & Lies: Bankers and Politicians Out of Touch

Back in the day the local bank manager was a key figure. Someone who knew his patch and the people and businesses in it, who would be a good risk and who wouldn't. Nowadays that's all out of the window, as David Boyle explains:

"Neither the politicians nor the bankers will admit it - in fact they collude in this - but the big banks are no longer able to lend effectively to the SME sector. It isn't that they won't, it is that they have consolidated beyond the point where they can. They have no systems, no local managers, which would allow them to. But until the politicians accept this, and the bankers admit it - which they do privately - we can't move on ..."

"A friend of mine who has a small business approached their bank for a loan last week. They were told they had three options, a loan to buy a car, a loan to go on holiday or to put it on their credit card. This is another symptom of the Big Lie. It is time someone in frontline politics had the courage to nail it once and for all."

Monday, 23 May 2011

Of Schemes and Schemers

Con + Insult = Consult

"There's funding available ..." Words to make any hungry consultant salivate, and as Private Eye reports in its latest issue in "REDD faces all round" the feeding frenzy is just beginning:

"There’s funding available from the World Bank to help countries draw up REDD plans, as well as assistance from some enthusiastic European nations. Most of this REDD-readiness money is ending up in the pockets of international consulting firms …"

Clever and complex schemes.


The new 'market', as many hipsters like to call it, in carbon credits is already creating fantastic global opportunities for business. Australian bureaucrats in charge of implementing climate change avoidance and mitigation have been warned of the "possibility of GST fraud on carbon credit trades under so-called "carousel fraud". The scam, which has operated overseas, involves the skimming of GST on the sale of carbon credits bought tax-free overseas." 

Sky Money

"The Netherlands' emissions trading authority has  [also] been the target of 'large-scale criminal activity, including fraud, money laundering and the financing of terrorism'. The Papua New Guinea "sky money" scam, involving the sale of worthless carbon credits, is also detailed in a spate of 2009 briefings."

And so it goes.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Fracking the UK

The Tyndall Centre report on potential shale gas extraction doesn't look too cheerful, pointing out that hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' consumes and pollutes huge quantities of water - a vital resource increasingly under stress already now. With Britain being a much more densely populated country than the USA all the impacts will be even greater on us than Americans are currently suffering.

Are you going to get fracked?

Check out this map from the British Geological Society.