Blowout Week 131

Once more the news is dominated by Brexit fallout, and so is this edition of Blowout, starting with protests from a segment of the UK community which seems to have a different perspective on the meaning of the word “democracy”.


CNN:  Thousands say ‘No’ to Brexit in colorful protest

They simply won’t take “Brexit” for an answer.

Tens of thousands of protesters angered by Britain’s historic vote last week to leave the European Union marched down London’s up-market Park Lane Saturday, many of them hoping that divorce from the bloc will never actually happen. They say they’ve been cheated by a campaign deceit and false promises, chanting “We are the 48%, no more lies, no more hate.” Organizers said around 50,000 people had joined the march by midday, and while the protest attracted all walks of life, millennials appeared to make up the bulk of the crowd. “The votes were called but people were told lies,” said 29-year-old Loveday Newman, wearing a T-shirt bearing a big red heart with “Europe” scrawled on it. “I understand it’s the outcome of a democratic vote but it’s still a democracy, and being part of that I hope we can contest the outcome. I hope we remain. I am European. Britain is just stronger in,” she said.

Following on from the potpourri of Brexit articles below are some selected non-Brexit news items that herald our eventual return to normal reporting, including OPEC oil output at record highs, global nuclear power growth the highest in 25 years, Germany to stay with coal, Sweden approves sale of Vattenfall’s German lignite plants, Diablo Canyon shutdown approved, renewables and the Australian elections, and last but not least, the rapid decrease in global satellite temperatures since the El Niño peak.

Guardian:  Brexit crisis, what crisis? The FTSE 100 is roaring ahead

After an initial slump in the first two trading days following the Brexit vote, the index of Britain’s top 100 companies regained all its losses by Wednesday and is now at its best level since last August. The remarkable rebound has surprised analysts, with Chris Beauchamp, a senior market analyst at the spread betting group IG, saying: “Of all the post-Brexit outcomes discussed across the City over the past few months, ‘buying frenzy’ was not one that was viewed as very likely.” Part of the reason for the recovery is the growing belief that article 50, the mechanism to trigger the UK leaving the EU, will not be triggered for months, whoever ends up with the prime minister’s job. So in some senses it is business as usual for the moment, and the City tends to take a rather short-term view of events. On top of that, the falls in the immediate aftermath of the vote convinced many investors there were bargains to be had.

Wall Street Journal:   Brexit, the Pound and Stock Prices: A Volatile Mix

Central bankers can still sway markets. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s strong indications Thursday of looser monetary policy to come sent stocks surging and the pound down. Foreign investors have two diverging forces to keep an eye on. In local terms, the U.K. is the winner: the FTSE 100 closed up 0.3% on June 29 from June 23, the day of the vote. By contrast, Germany’s DAX fell 6.3% over that period. But viewed through the lens of the dollar, things look different. The U.K. index has fallen 8.3%, German shares 7.8%. The movement in the pound is a big price cut for foreign investors. For U.K. shares, a positive factor is that big multinational companies should be given a boost, as foreign earnings are worth more in sterling; hence the large-cap FTSE 100 has fared much better than the domestically focused FTSE 250. Even so, the scale of the rebound in the FTSE 100 appears to rely on either the dubious assumption that Brexit is avoided, or an equally questionable view that the move won’t have broad implications beyond the U.K. The move in the euro has been more muted. The backdrop of weak eurozone growth and lackluster earnings makes it particularly vulnerable if a British exit causes more political contagion.

NBC:  Will Theresa May Become U.K.’s 2nd Female Prime Minister?

There is a very real possibility the United Kingdom will get its second female leader before the United States gets its first. The favorite to replace Cameron was widely seen as former London mayor Boris Johnson, until the face of the “Leave” campaign made the shock decision to withdraw from the race on Thursday. This left one clear favorite — Home Secretary Theresa May. Although the 59-year-old was on the losing side of the bi-partisan referendum, she kept a far lower profile than many of her pro-“Remain” colleagues. May became favorite for the leadership earlier on Thursday, after Johnson’s key pro-Brexit ally — Justice Minister Michael Gove — announced he would run against his collaborator. This saw several senior Conservative lawmakers defect from supporting Johnson to Gove’s camp, precipitating Johnson’s decision to withdraw hours later. May’s closet challenger is Gove, a man who man who once told the BBC: “I could not be prime minister, I’m not equipped to be prime minister, I don’t want to be prime minister.” That was just one of several occasions Gove assured the public he did not want the top job. He admitted as such when he announced his leadership bid, but said events since the referendum “have weighed heavily with me” and changed his mind.

Guardian:   Andrea Leadsom says next Tory leader must be Brexit supporter

The Conservative leadership contender Andrea Leadsom appears to have taken a swipe at the frontrunner, Theresa May, saying the next leader must be a Brexit supporter rather than someone “who is reluctantly following the wishes of the people”. Leadsom is reportedly odds-on to become May’s closest rival on the ballot paper that will decide Britain’s next prime minister, as Michael Gove fails to land significant backing from fellow Conservative MPs after he forced out Boris Johnson from the contest. According to Sky News research, May has the backing of 95 Tory MPs, while Leadsom has the support of 20. Crabb is ahead of Gove with the backing of 22 MPs to the justice secretary’s 18, while the final contender, Liam Fox, trails behind with the support of seven MPs.

Time:  What Brexit Means for Addressing Climate Change

The future of energy and environmental policy in the United Kingdom and the European Union has been thrown into question following the U.K.’s vote to leave the E.U. last week, despite promises from the current Conservative Party leadership that the country would deliver on commitments. “The UK’s role in dealing with a warming planet may have been made harder by the decision last Thursday,” said Amber Rudd, the U.K. Energy and Climate Change secretary, on Thursday at a conference on business and climate. “However we choose to leave the EU, let me be clear: we remain committed to dealing with climate change.” The most immediate question on the minds of advocates for action on climate change may be what Brexit means for the Paris Agreement on climate change agreed to last year by nearly 200 countries. The agreement requires 55 countries representing 55% of the world’s emissions to ratify the agreement before it can enter into force. The E.U. and its 28 constituent countries—which make up 12% of global emissions—were widely expected to adopt the agreement in unison, according to a CarbonBrief report. But … it remains unclear whether E.U. representatives will wait for the U.K. to formally depart before ratifying. If so, that could push back ratification months if not years later than expected.

Bloomberg:  New EU Clash Looms as Government in No Rush to Trigger Brexit

The two front-runners to succeed David Cameron as prime minister set the U.K. on a collision course with European Union leaders after both said they were in no hurry to trigger the mechanism that would start Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc. Michael Gove said the legal notification won’t be made this year if he becomes prime minister, echoing comments made by Theresa May. The foot-dragging sets up a clash with the 27 remaining heads of government, who said this week that the U.K. needs to move “as quickly as possible” to start the two-year Brexit process.“We control the timing of when we trigger Article 50, and we will do it when we’re good and ready,” Gove, the justice secretary in Cameron’s government, told reporters in London on Friday as he set out his bid for the leadership of the ruling Conservative Party. He said his government would conduct “extensive preliminary talks” before invoking the article, adding: “We need to make sure we have the best possible deal.” Launching her leadership campaign on Thursday, May, the favorite with bookmakers and the candidate with the most support among Conservative lawmakers so far, said the new government would need to agree on a negotiation strategy first, so “Article 50 should not be invoked before the end of this year.”

Independent:   Brexit cannot be cancelled or delayed, says Francois Hollande

France’s President has said the implementation of the Brexit can-not be cancelled or delayed as Eurosceptics “begin to realise” the benefits of remaining in the EU. Francois Hollande echoed comments made by some other European leaders who have called for the UK to start the process of leaving the EU immediately. “But the decision has been taken – it can not be delayed or it cannot be delayed or cancelled. Now we must take the consequences.” Speaking after a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron on the sidelines of the centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme, he told the AFP news agency: “Being in the European Union has its advantages and I think that is what the British are beginning to understand, what those who are tempted by the Brexit are going to reflect upon. “But the decision has been taken – it can not be delayed or it cannot be delayed or cancelled. Now we must take the consequences.”

Wall Street Journal:  Oil Rebounds from Brexit Fears

Oil prices rose Friday and chalked up their best week in more than a month on subsiding fears about the Brexit referendum’s impact on crude demand. Buyers are still coming back into the market, picking up oil along with stocks and other commodities as they take advantage of the selloff that pounded those assets after Britain’s vote a week ago to exit the European Union, brokers and analysts said. Many bank analysts have said Britain’s economy is too small and spinoff impacts will be too limited for an economic slowdown that could cut oil demand growth substantially. U.S. crude for August delivery settled up 66 cents, or 1.4%, at $48.99 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It finished the week with three winning sessions in the last four, pushing gains of $1.35 a barrel, or 2.8%, the biggest gains in one week since mid-May. Brent, the global bench-mark, rose 64 cents, or 1.3%, to $50.35 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe. It also had three winning sessions in the last four and weekly gains of $1.31 a barrel, or 2.7%—the largest since mid-May.

Intercept:   Conservatives in Chaos Over Brexit, but Labour in No Position to Pounce

Although the ruling Conservative Party is not required to call an election until 2020, most political observers expected Prime Minister David Cameron to be replaced by the leader of the campaign for a British exit from the EU, Boris Johnson, who would then want a fresh mandate from the public. That was the thinking, anyway, until an extraordinary sequence of events unfolded, starting with an announcement from Michael Gove, the Leave campaign’s ideologue, who was expected to run Johnson’s campaign to become the new leader of the Conservatives, and hence prime minister. Gove, the justice secretary, released a statement on Thurs-day saying that he did not think Johnson, his ally in the Leave campaign, was up for the job of running the country, and he wanted to be prime minister himself. Under normal circumstances, this kind of disarray inside the Conservative Party — with the resignation of a prime minister and a deep divide between the factions opposed to and in favor of EU membership — should present an opportunity for the opposition Labour Party. That party, however, has been busy with a civil war of its own. In the aftermath of the referendum, and driven partly by speculation that there might be an election soon, about 80 percent of the party’s members of Parliament have called for their leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to step down. Corbyn, who was accused of being lukewarm about the EU, has refused — pointing out that he was chosen not by his fellow MPs, but by a clear majority of the party’s members and paying supporters in a direct election held just 10 months ago. A poll of Labour members released on Thursday suggested that he would easily win a new vote.

Vox:  The UK Independence Party was central to the Brexit vote

The UKIP index, Conservative vote share, and UKIP vote share variables are all significant and positive predictors of a vote to leave the European Union. Importantly, the UKIP Demographic Favorability Index has the most substantive effect on increasing the Leave vote, while the percentage of the vote obtained by UKIP in the most recent council election has the second largest effect — an effect almost double the effect of the conservative vote share coefficient. Support for UKIP … does a far better job predicting Leave than does local authority sup-port for the Tories. If this referendum were about traditional Euroskepticism, then one might ex-pect the relationship between Conservative Party vote share and the Leave vote to be much stronger than the relationship between the Leave vote and measures of UKIP support. But the most fascinating finding is actually the interactive relationship between the UKIP index and the Labour share of local authority vote in the last election. The Labour vote share variable is significant and negative, but the interaction term is significant and positively signed. This essentially means that UKIP-friendly demographics provided Leave with an extra push in areas that have supported Labour in past council elections. Put another way, the arguments made by UKIP were more effectively deployed in Labour-areas that were older, whiter, less educated, and with higher levels of constituents employed in blue-collar occupations.

Australian Financial Review:  Merkel is not going to do Brexit any favours

As usual in European Union politics there has been a bewildering cacophony of opinions, from the hostile to the bizarre, about how to handle Britain’s demand to pull up the drawbridge and leave. Don’t pay too much attention to the usual provocative comments by the French, the self-serving European-ist rhetoric of the Brussels bureaucrats and the extended episode of Fawlty Towers playing out in the British Conservative Party. The only person worth listening to this week was German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel’s comments are rarely colourful but they really matter. Once again, after weathering the Greek debt crisis and the Syrian refugee drama, Merkel is the one who has the job of saving Europe. She runs the country that is the motor of the European economy. With her methodical manner, centre-right politics and pragmatic instincts she potentially can help make the best of this mess without destroying the crucial trade and political ties that bind the EU and Britain. Yet in the past week Merkel has staked out a position that is tougher than Britain might have been hoping for. “My only advice to our British friends is: Don’t delude yourself about the necessary decisions that need to be taken,” she told the German parliament. If you think Brexiters can change her mind look at how Merkel has forced Greece to go through five years of austerity as a condition for German bail-outs. The bright spot for Brexiters in Merkel’s statements this week was that she slapped down the other EU leaders who wanted to run Britain out of the EU tomorrow. “No need to be nasty,” she said.

Australian:  Brexit: Death of the European dream

The EU is in crisis. More importantly, Europe itself is in crisis. There is even talk of the death of Europe. Yet hope may lie in the very fact that Europe is not the EU, and the EU is not Europe. Europe is a region beset by crisis and stagnation. It is in trouble on multiple fronts. All of its troubles are exacerbated by the EU. If the EU could be diminished in an orderly way, Europe could prosper, and lead, again. Nothing is harder in international relations than arranging an amicable divorce. The only thing harder is perhaps reforming an organisation, which has be-come overweening and counterproductive, towards more modest aims and functions. And hard-est of all is putting a terminal organisation to sleep. Consider the two great European counter-models. Czechoslovakia decided it wanted to be what it always really was, two nations. So it became the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The bust-up had its elements of bitterness and many tense negotiations over resources, reciprocal obligations and the like. But it was well handled and the two nations have both prospered. By contrast, at the end of the Cold War no fiction was more widely held than the idea that Yugoslavia should remain a single nation. The result was the Balkan Wars and all the death and misery they entailed. The EU, of course, was completely impotent in this crisis, which was solved eventually by American power. So will Brexit look metaphorically (hopefully there will be no bullets anywhere) more like the velvet divorce of Czechoslovakia or the economic equivalent of the Balkan wars?

Guardian:  Hinkley Point C critics try to derail it amid Brexit vote turmoil

Britain’s flagship energy project, Hinkley Point C, is hanging by a thread as critics inside key backer EDF use the political turmoil from the Brexit vote to try to derail the already delayed £18bn scheme. Jean Bernard Levy, the EDF group chief executive, and the French and British governments, have in recent days insisted they are as committed as ever to a positive final investment decision being taken as soon as possible. But well-placed sources in Paris have told the Guardian that the already divided EDF board, which must make that decision, is in danger of fracturing further as former supporters of the project worry about Brexit. “The situation for Levy was already very delicate,” said one source. “But it has become a lot more difficult because there is so little certainty around the British government,” they added. “No one could know today which way a vote [of the board on Hinkley] would go.” Those arguing against the project say it is impossible to make any decisions when it is unclear who will be the future prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer and energy and climate change secretary.

Wall Street Journal:  France tells EDF to proceed with Hinkley Point despite Brexit

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday dismissed the questioning of Hinkley Point that arose following the Brexit vote. Hinkley Point would be beneficial for EDF, for the U.K. and for the French nuclear industry as a whole, Mr. Macron said on Tuesday. “Nothing indicates there is any British change on the project,” he said. Mr. Macron reiterated that the French government backs the project as it will create jobs in France and boost the different units of Areva, the beleaguered state-owned nuclear engineering firm being dismantled by the government after years of massive losses. He insisted EDF would likely make the final in-vestment decision on Hinkley Point during the summer.

Times of India:  Opec oil output hits record high in June on Nigerian rebound

Opec’s oil output has risen in June to its highest in recent history, a Reuters survey found on Thursday, as Nigeria’s oil industry partially recovers from militant attacks and Iran and Gulf members boost supplies. Supply from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries has risen to 32.82 million barrels per day (bpd) this month, from a revised 32.57 million bpd in May, the survey based on shipping data and information from industry sources found. Opec’s June output exceeds January’s 32.65 million bpd, when Indonesia’s return as an Opec member boosted production and output from the other 12 members was the highest in Reuters survey records, starting in 1997. The biggest increase in June of 150,000 bpd came from Nigeria, where output had fallen to its lowest in more than 20 years due to militant attacks on oil facilities, due to repairs and a lack of major new attacks since mid-June. Iran managed a further supply increase after the lifting of Western sanctions in January, sources in the survey said, although the pace of growth is slowing. Gulf producers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increased supply by 50,000 bpd each, the survey found. Saudi output edged up to 10.30 million bpd due to higher crude use in power plants to meet air-conditioning needs.

Paso Robles Press:  Diablo Canyon nuclear plant shutdown approved

The California State Lands Commission (CSLC) voted unanimously to approve the renewal of Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant lease on Tuesday, June 28. Through this decision, Diablo Canyon has taken the first steps toward completion of the decommission process. This is a direct result of PG&E’s joint proposal with the State of California, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Coalition of California Utility Employees, Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California and the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, to decommission the plant by 2025 and replace that technology with green house gas free energy generation technology.

Reuters:   Global nuclear power capacity grew fast last year: IEA

Global addition to capacity in 2015 hit 10.2 gigawatts, the highest growth in 25 years, the IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol told a nuclear conference in Paris. “We have never seen such an increase in nuclear capacity addition, mainly driven by China, and also South Korea and Russia,” he said, also noting growth in India. “It shows that with the right policies, nuclear capacity can increase,” Birol added. However, Birol said the sector was still facing some tough challenges which governments must tackle in order to meet the United Nations target of curbing global warming following the Paris climate agreement. Nearly 200 nations reached the landmark accord last December in Paris, to cut carbon dioxide emissions and limit global warming below 2 degrees Centigrade. To meet the 2 degrees target, the share of nuclear power, which, although opposed by environmental groups for its contamination risks, is clean in CO2 emissions terms, needs to increase substantially from 11 percent today to close to 20 percent by 2040, Birol said.

Washington Post:  The world has the right climate goals — but the wrong ambition levels to achieve them

Both before and after the Paris climate agreement, analyses by authorities including the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change found that countries’ promises to cut their emissions just weren’t ambitious enough to keep the world within the “safe” climate range that lies at the core of the Paris agreement. Such analyses suggested, again and again, that without more ambitious action on the part of individual countries, global greenhouse gas emissions would still rise in the future, and warming might peak at temperatures well above 2 degrees Celsius. Now, in a study in Nature, a large team of researchers reaffirm this troubling conclusion in a sweeping manner, by not only reexamining the individual country pledges — also known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs — but also conducting a meta-analysis of all the past analyses that have already determined that the Paris pledges fall short. And they, too, find after taking stock of all of this research that the current pledges are likely to leave temperatures at 2.6 to 3.1 degrees Celsius warmer than pre-industrial levels by the year 2100, assuming that the pledges themselves are adopted and only their unconditional parts are realized. Indeed, under the pledges, the full carbon “budget” that we have left to emit if we want a good chance of staying below 2 degrees Celsius of warming could be emitted by 2030, the research finds.

Planet Ark:  Germany waters down climate protection plan

Germany has abandoned plans to set out a timetable to exit coal-fired power production and scrapped C02 emissions reduction goals for individual sectors, according to the lat-est draft of an environment ministry document seen by Reuters on Wednesday. An earlier version of the draft document that was leaked in May had suggested that Germany should phase out coal-fired power production “well before 2050” as part of a package of measures to help Berlin achieve its climate goals. The new version, which was revised following consultation with the economy and energy ministry, has also deleted specific concrete C02 emissions savings targets for the energy, industry, transport and agriculture sectors.The document forms the government’s national climate action plan for 2050 and lays out how it plans to move away from fossil fuels and achieve its goal of cutting CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent compared to 1990 levels by the middle of the century. The original proposals met with hefty opposition from unions, coal-producing regions and business groups who said it would cost jobs and damage industry. Christoph Bals, policy director at environmental NGO Germanwatch, criticized the changes. “Seven months after the successful climate summit in Paris the government is capitulating to the interests of the fossil fuel industry and missing the chance to give the economy a modernization impulse by presenting clear plans,” he said.

Guardian:   How the London Array blows away the competition in green energy

At the widest point of the Greater Thames estuary, 12 miles north of the Kent coast and 12 miles south of Essex, lies the London Array – the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world. Completed in 2013, after 10 years of planning and construction, it covers an area of 40 square miles – roughly the same size of Bristol – and comprises 175 individual turbines laid out in neat rows like an enormous nursery flower bed. “Standing on a boat in the middle of the wind farm surrounded by these machines is awesome,” says Jonathan Duffy, the farm’s general manager. “Knowing the turbines around you are generating electricity for more than half a million homes from the breeze passing through is a great feeling.” Offshore wind is not only clean and increasingly cheap, it is also among the most popular energy sources in Britain, exploiting the wealth of a well-buffeted coastline without impacting on local landscapes. “When you com-pare it to other technologies, it’s a fairly sure bet,” says Duffy. “It’s a mature technology and it’s a very effective way of installing new power on to the grid.” Duffy hopes to constantly improve the plant’s efficiency, and last December, the plant broke its own output record, generating 369,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity in one month. “We have very good reliability,” says Duffy. “The turbines are designed for 20 years, but we may be able to revisit our calculations and extend their lives.” By 2036, larger and cheaper installations in British waters will probably have matched the output of the London Array but, with luck, those 525 blades will spin for many years more, harnessing the turbulent British weather for the common good.

US News & World Report:  Sweden backs sale of German coal mines to Czech group

Sweden’s Social Democratic government said Saturday it is endorsing the sale of state-owned Vattenfall AB’s four coal mines and mining assets in Germany to Czech investors, sparking harsh reactions from environmentalists. “The deal is of strategic importance for the company and that it is financially best option,” Enterprise and Innovation Minister Mikael Dam-berg said. “The value of selling is higher than to keep and continue operating the business.”He didn’t disclose details about the price. Climate minister Isabella Lovin of Sweden’s Environment Party told a joint news conference the government “had thoroughly investigated the deal but didn’t find any formal reasons to reject it.” In April, Czech energy company Energeticky a prumys-lovy holding, or EPH, signed an agreement to acquire the Swedish state-owned utility’s loss-making assets in Germany. EPH made the bid together with PPF Investments, a private equity group. The Swedish company seeks to shift its energy strategy. Vattenfall had made large write-downs on its operations in Germany. Environmentalists have called on Sweden’s government to stop the sale and dismantle the coal assets to prevent climate-warming CO2 emissions.

Guardian:  US solar power market hits all-time high

The US solar industry expects to install 14.5 gigawatts of solar power in 2016, a 94% increase over the record 7.5 gigawatts last year, according to a new market report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Revenues from solar installations also increased 21% from 2014 to more than $22bn in 2015.For the first time, more solar systems came online than natural gas power plants – the top source of electricity in the US – in 2015, as measured in megawatts, said Justin Baca, vice president of markets and research at the Solar Energy Industries Association. This year, new solar is expected to surpass installations of all other sources, said the US Energy Information Administration. The rise of solar energy use, especially by homes and businesses with panels on their roofs, is gradually transforming the electricity industry. For more than a century, power plant owners and utilities have controlled the energy delivery service, and some of them enjoy a monopoly. “We were just a tiny little speck 10 years ago, and now we are really up there with the major established generating technologies,” said Baca. “It’s amazing.”

SeeNews:  New Renewable Energy Target review feared if Coalition wins in Australia

The Australian renewable energy sector is preparing for a possible blow if the Coalition wins the election on Saturday. A tweet this morning by The Australian Solar Council says there are “rumours of a push for another review of the Renewable Energy Target [RET] after the election”. Green energy publication Renew Economy quoted John Grimes, head of the not-for-profit organisation, as saying that conservative politicians have already tried to “destroy” the RET and they will try again. In early 2014 the Australian government appointed global warming skeptic Dick Warburton as head of a planned review of the RET scheme, which at that time called for 41,000 GWh of large-scale renewable energy generation in 2020. After many months of uncertainty the RET was cut. In June 2015 the Australian government and the Opposition reached a compromise deal and cut the target to 33,000 GWh. The RET review resulted in a period of stagnation for renewables investments. The market has been slowly recovering in the past year, but Renew Economy says concern is mounting that big utilities and coal power generators in the country will push for another review.

BBC:  Australian election too close to call

Australia’s election is too close to call and the final result may not be known for some time as counting continues in tightly run seats. It is unclear if the ruling Liberal-National has won the 76 lower house seats it needs to form a ruling majority. If it has not, it will need support from minor parties and independents to hold on to power. The Labor Party will not gain enough seats to form government. But it has improved strongly on its 2013 election result of 55 lower house seats, making particularly strong gains in Tasmania and New South Wales.

Roy Spencer:  Global average satellite temperatures continue to fall at near-record rates

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2016 is +0.34 deg. C, down 0.21 deg. C from the May value of +0.55 deg. C. This gives a 2-month temperature fall of -0.37 deg. C, which is the second largest in the 37+ year satellite record…the largest was -0.43 deg. C in Feb. 1988. In the tropics, there was a record fast 2-month cooling of -0.56 deg. C, just edging out -0.55 deg. C in June 1998 (also an El Nino weakening year). The rapid cooling is from the weakening El Nino and approaching La Nina conditions by mid-summer or early fall.

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45 Responses to Blowout Week 131

  1. Since Roman times no one has succeeded in building an empire in Western Europe that endured for more than a few years or decades. And the two that did briefly exist (Charlemagne, Napoleon) both terminated at or around the western boundary of either the Slavic lands or the Russian Empire. (The Mongols hit more or less the same boundary going the other way.)

    The EU is the most successful European empire-building attempt so far, having endured for almost 60 years since the six-country common market was established in 1957, having swallowed 22 more countries since then and like its predecessors terminating at the western boundary of the enduring Russian Empire. But as the bottom right image shows, European history has a tendency to repeat itself. Is Brexit the first step in another historic repetition of a collapsing European empire?

  2. PhilH says:

    Brexit is a bit of a distraction from continuing energy news, eg this week it was announced that a SunPower X-Series mono-crystalline solar panel has been officially tested at a record 24.1% efficiency, beating the 22.8% record of one tested just 4 months earlier:

    Also, recently the University of New South Wales said it had hit 34.5% efficiency with a multi-junction mini-module without concentrators:

    • robertok06 says:

      These two new records don’t change a bit the essence of this ilarious technology…. intermittency kills it as a large scale substitute of baseload power stations.
      Not even at 0 $/Wp would it work as planned.

  3. Javier says:

    Several climate researchers at both sides of the divide, like Kevin Trenberth, and Bob Tisdale, believe that global warming has been taking place in big step ups followed by periods of climate stability.
    (see figure 1)
    They identify the last two step ups as the big Los Niños of 1986-88 and 1997-98.

    So the big question is if after the likely coming La Niña the global average surface temperature will settle 0.2-0.3°C above the “Pause” average or will reinstate the “Pause”

    If the jump fails to materialize and the “Pause” is reinstated, the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis, with all its models, is going to be in deep trouble.

    If the jump does take place we still have a problem, because ENSO is believed by everybody to be a natural phenomenon that does not depend on CO2 increase.

    • Javier:

      The evidence that global mean temperature has been rising in ENSO-induced steps since the mid-1970s and not in parallel with GHG emissions is, I think, convincing. An unexplained feature, however, is that warming occurs only if the El Niño transitions into a La Niña. Niños by themselves don’t seem to do anything.

      The rest of your comments are spot on. You can be certain that the AGW proponents are watching the satellite record, praying that it doesn’t show any more cooling.

  4. Daffodilleak says:

    Nice Round up Mr Andrews…
    Yup all empires fail, history repeats, Eu has all the pillars of a hard tyranny with a high-tech overlay control grid – as Orwell predicted, not through a crystal ball, but through seeing their plans…

    And to see the smurfs in London protesting in favour of despotism and a failed/failing economic model, just shows how far we’ve fallen…

  5. John Oneill says:

    An ’empire ‘ where information travels at the speed of a horse, even if on good roads, is not necessarily a good predictor of one where it travels at the speed of light. Anyway, you Euros need a good few hundred years and a lot of acreage to catch up with Rome – their borders reached the Sahara, the Nile and the Euphrates.

    • The Roman Empire was more a Mediterranean empire than a European empire. Large areas of Northern Europe remained unconquered by the Romans, particularly those occupied by the Germanic tribes, whose descendants now run the EU. Arminius saw to that.

      And I did say “since Roman times”.

      • euanmearns says:

        And how about 1942?

        • At its maximum extent the German zone of conquest – no way can it be considered an empire – lasted for a couple of months before it started to contract. Paradoxically, the lasting impact of the German invasion of Russia was to extend the Russian Empire 1,000 km to the west. And this extension lasted for less than 40 years before it too fell apart and began to be gobbled up by the EU Empire.

  6. Leo Smith says:

    legal challenge to referendum: parliament has to vote exit. if they vote it down it will crash the market and divide the nation. will they do it?

    Invest in popcorn futures

  7. Cheshire Brough says:

    An interesting debate at this point would be, ‘The effect of climate change and resource depletion on the rise and fall of European empires’. Any thoughts?

  8. Owain Griffiths says:

    Ok Roger, you’re all for leaving the EU, a lot of the people protesting were the younger generation who actually voted to remain and who will have to live with the consequences. You know, the one’s who can’t afford housing (as previous generations didn’t build enough), who won’t get gold plated pensions, who will have to fund your generation’s retirement.

    • Owain: Please don’t put words into my mouth. I never said that I was “all for leaving the EU”. Not having lived in UK for over 50 years – and having been denied voting privileges because of it – it’s impossible for me to say which way I would have voted. Moreover, my retirement here in Mexico (I retired 10 years ago) is being funded partly by US Social Security payments but mostly by my own resources, so what happens in UK will have little or no impact on my situation. I am, in fact, probably about as close to impartial on the Brexit issue as you can get in these polarized times.

    • A C Osborn says:

      Owain, after working non stop for 40 years and paying in to my pension to fully fund it and into the National Insurance to fund my Old Age Pension and the National Health Service as well as paying taxes to build all the Schools, Colleges, Roads and Hospitals that your generation enjoy today I take great offence at your disparaging remarks.
      You would do well to read some history of what it was like coming out of the war years.
      No phones, televisions, cars or University Education for us, leave school at sixteen and work.
      if you want a future build it yourself instead of blaming us oldies that rebuilt Britain and gave you everything you have today.
      As for housing, you can blame Margeret Thatcher for that.
      If you think that the EU is so good just wait another year or two to see what you wanted to “remain” in.
      Look up TTIP, ESM and the CETA, EU Army, EU Border Patrol.

      • OpenSourceElectricity says:

        Hmm – war is 71 years over now, so either you’re well above 85, or your parents generation was the one which really rebuild britan (and the other european states) while you came into the post war boom, allowing you to remain constant in work for 40 years. Which does not diminiish your contribution, but you should not claim preivious generation merits for yourself unless you are not really that old (which is not impossible, but very rare among internet users, which tend to be >10 years younger.

        And also true is, that what you paied in the pension funds in most states was spent for earlier generations, while the younger generation today pays for you a level of pension they will never get when they retire. Accept the facts. here.

        Beside this, it is everybodys democratic right to demonstarte against anything. Otherwise the ones who wanted to vote leave also would have to respect the decision of 1975, which they obviously didn’t.
        And if the young people who want to stay within the EU persuade the british poulation better that this is a good idea than the gouvernment does so far, and maybe this leads to the election of a gouvernment that tells it vill not leave, and maybe to another referendum, this is also democratic. Another question is, if this will happen. But it is the peoples right to fight for this. This is how democraty works.

        I find it very astonishing, that mr. Johnson and mr Farrage run away from the responsibility to handle the outcomes of brexit. Playing with fire and running away when the hous is ablaze?

        • Euan Mearns says:

          I find it very astonishing, that mr. Johnson and mr Farrage run away from the responsibility to handle the outcomes of brexit. Playing with fire and running away when the hous is ablaze?

          Farrage is not running away, since he is not in government or parliament (to be honest I can’t even recall if he is in the UK parliament) he has no role to play. He will remain as an MEP until the deed is finally done.

          But the political paralysis else where is a bit worrying to behold. I am unsure if Britain is best served by the next prime minister being on the leave or stay side. But of the 5 candidates, 3 are from the leave side, and so the absence of Boris likely makes little difference. But I am astonished that having led the UK out, that he scarpered at the first sign of a challenge.

          My money is on Andrea Leadsom. A very smart lady, so long as she has no financial skeletons in her closet. Evidently, the first round of voting is already under way.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            He is running away, obviosly. He is not member of the UK-parlament since he did not win his seat (result of local majority deciding in UK), but he is the one who pushed things in the way it is now and now has to tell how things should go on, which means now it is his duty to be in lead of UKIP and tell how things should be resoved. From this he is running away. What fairy tales he tells now in TV does not change this.
            It is quite obvious that he hsas no idea how things should go on realistically which he has started. Which is why he runs away from the weight of responsibility.

        • A C Osborn says:

          I did not state that they had no “right to demonstrate”, I questioned their beliefs as stated.
          You are completely correct that my Parents made the largest sacrifices and contributions to the UK immedieately after the war as I am only 69.
          However I & my siblings continued that contribution, we also suffered in terms of what we had and could afford.
          We lost our House when it was bombed in the war and I spent the first 7 years of my life in a 2 roomed Nissen Hut.
          What I am saying is our generation had a different outlook on life, nothing was taken for granted, it had to be worked for, earned and saved for and we did not think the world owed us anything.
          But we did believe in what we were doing.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            And why do you think it is much different for todays young generation? You also did take some things for granted then, which were common for everyone, maybe you were not aware of this, e.g. to have enough to eat, not to freeze to death etc.
            Life is better now, sure, luckily. but also remain aware that the younger generation pays your pension, keeps the infrastructure running for you, and expands it, improves economy further etc. They also have their worris, e.g. about old age which will be poorer for them than for you, simply by mathemanthics, if not unexpected things happen.
            So accept their believes as it is usual in democratic societies. Accept that other people have different opinions. Discuss with them, try to convince them, but also sometimes accept when they have the better arguments or do simply not like to be convinced. It is their right.

          • A C Osborn says:

            As it is mine.

  9. paolo pulicani says:

    Where have those nice Britons gone?

    Who are you and what have you done with those Britons I used to know and like so much? Have you no idea how disruptive uncertainty is for our countries, for business? Forgive me, of course you do – it’s you British who taught us that. The single market, for heaven’s sake, the EU’s largest and most formidably lucrative business venture, was very much down to you. It was your Lord Cockfield who worked out a plan, and if your then prime minister Margaret Thatcher had not used all her force to push it through in the face of reluctant protectionists on the continent, it might never had happened.

    Trade is your thing, after all and here it was: full freedom of movement for capital, goods, services and people. Yes, for people, including for eastern Europeans, not long after the Berlin Wall came down. That happened because you British insisted on uniting the whole of Europe, the sooner, the better, while the French, the Italians and others all held back for as long as they could.

    They were so worried that the eastern European workers would come storming in their millions to the west, taking our jobs, pushing our wages down. But you insisted. Openness, inclusiveness, freedom – we have come to associate that with you. And you have, or had, such a way with words. You’re so gifted at persuasion, winning us over with your thoroughly prepared and elegant arguments. In the end, all agreed to do the enlargement your way. Except for the instant freedom of movement for all. The rest of the EU wanted to be able to restrain eastern Europeans for another seven years. Most of us did. You kept true to your word and did not.

    You also have such a way with people. Your politicians are well schooled in parliament, aspiring to hold their own in any heated debate with their opponents. For decades, you have applied the brakes in the EU and watered down proposals to suit you. (Thanks by the way. You have never been an easy partner but the less-than-perfect compromise that is the EU has been improved by your hard work in Brussels.)

    And your Foreign Office comes better prepared than anyone else with numbers and facts, closely following what is going on in other countries, and sometimes managing diplomatic acrobatics that stun others into a deal. How on earth did Thatcher talk the others into giving one of the richest countries billions of pounds’ worth of a rebate to its EU fee? Permanently!

    On top of that, things were usually accompanied with a joke, with some little aside, often with yourself as the butt of the humour. Or always politely ignoring rudeness or stupidity in others.

    Maybe that’s why we like – or liked – you so much. It is remarkable that so many European countries feel that they have a special relationship with the UK. Perhaps you were not aware, but my people, the Swedes, feel that there is a complete understanding between us. The Danish and, for that matter the Norwegians, feel the same. Ask the Germans whom they feel closest to and they will point to you. The Dutch, for their part, basically believe they are part British.

    In Lithuania, the mayor of the capital, Vilnius, launched a campaign before the referendum with the slogan “Hug a Brit”, desperate to keep you with us. People in Poland and the Czech Republic have been in tears since the referendum, saying they lost their best friend and ally. When we Europeans get together and a Briton walks into the room, there’s a sigh of relief. Finally, some pleasant small talk to make a meeting go smoothly. The gruff Germans are useless at it, the French are too stuck up to waste time on any of us, the Scandinavians tend only to look at their smartphones.

    And all those different version of cool you had – James Bond, Mr Darcy, Helen Mirren, Adele. You made the Olympics feel warm and welcoming for everyone. You even had us foreigners rooting for your athletes; the happy cheering from your audience won us over.

    And then. To be perfectly honest, we could not for the life of us understand what David Cameron was doing calling a referendum. He and almost every other British politician have for years trashed every single thing we have done together as the EU, in front of his home audience.

    Yes, it’s been odd watching that particular performance after each summit, but we wrote it off as some peculiar aspect of British politics. After all, none of us feel that we are the EU. We are Swedish, Dutch, German and French. So we weren’t taking the attacks personally. Also, it’s certainly not uncommon for other European politicians to blame the EU for this or that.

    So plain and sheer madness, we thought, calling the referendum. However, since it was the British, masters at politics and diplomacy, we believed there must be a clever plan behind it all.

    Sadly, it did not turn out that way. The referendum debate was followed with absolute horror from our side. How can British politicians lie so unashamedly? After all the compromises and offers of opt-outs awarded from the rest of us, more to the UK than any other country, how can they claim lack of control? Why are they still offered a microphone and not simply laughed off the stage?

    Watching this unfold, the Leave vote still shocked and saddened us, but it didn’t surprise us. Neither did the losses on the financial markets, Scotland preparing to leave the UK, businesses freezing all recruitment and looking to move to the continent. We could see this all coming. But the racist attacks on people in your country, this, we never expected to see. It’s gone too far.

    But now you really must let us in on the secret: what is your clever Brexit plan? When is one of your leaders going to tell us that this whole thing – farce, tragedy, political mayhem and utter destruction of any democratic values – was a way to… what? We can’t wait to find out. Because it is extremely painful and really scary to watch the sturdiest pillar of democracy and political stability (congratulations, you have the only majority government in the EU together with Malta)smashing itself to pieces like this.

    Watching British politics at this moment has had the astonishing effect of making the EU, for perhaps the first time ever, feel a warm and cosy place. Don’t expect any Frexits, Swexits or other exits soon. I hate to be rude, but everyone is much too frightened of turning into you, right now.

    Some are even worrying that whatever you have caught is contagious. I’m afraid no one will be able to side with a British politician for some time, for fear of opening up a path for mad populist parties in our own countries. Yes, we liked you a lot. But we might have to learn to avoid you from now on.

    • Ylva Elvis Nilsson is a political journalist based in Stockholm

    • OpenSourceElectricity says:

      A very good text, describing the mood in europe outside UK very good, also in germany.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      Paolo, is this your own writing? I’m a bit confused by the reference to Ylva Elvis Nilsson. Its an interesting perspective.

      I hate to be rude, but everyone is much too frightened of turning into you, right now.

      If the best reason for staying is fear of leaving then we have made the right decision. You paint a picture of Europe being like a prison camp.

      There are multiple things one needs to understand in order to understand the vote:

      1) The UKIP / Nigel Farage phenomenon had The Tories running scared.
      2) The Labour Party system of electing their leader is totally broken and Labour basically did not show up for the fight.
      3) The UK is bust and living standards are falling and many may have voted leave believing the EU is to blame – and part of that may be true.
      4) Immigration (not an issue for me) is a serious issue for many. Evidently the biggest issue in the poll. Europe should have given Cameron more during his pre-poll negotiation.
      5) Most Brits simply don’t know how the EU works, including me. So when you hear us saying this and that about Europe and its wrong, its because we are ignorant on such matters.
      6) The issue was far too complex for ordinary people to understand and cast an informed vote. For many they simply saw immigration as a serious problem and voted on that single issue ignoring all the rest. On this basis the poll should never have been held.

      IMO Europe needs to be totally reformed into two separate entities. 1) A Europe wide free trade area and cooperation area with a loose political alliance. and 2) The hard core monetary and political union. The current system with the UK opting out of many things was becoming unworkable. If there was a Europe-wide vote on these two options, how do you think it would turn out?

      • OpenSourceElectricity says:

        It would turn out as a vote about thel local gouvernment working good or bad, because information about Euroe is scary few in all countries.
        I have the feeling this is because the european parlament has not the neccesary rights to start new lawa. To much is concentrated on the gouvernments, which usually discuss behind closed doors, and make various kinds of queed deals to win their next local elections. If there is a problem in the EU it’s the european council. The initiatives should come usually from the parlament, and mabee with a 2/3 vote from the council, and the council should have the veto right if it things interests of member states are too much endangered. This could reduce the number of qeer deals behind closed doors (which are often streamlined again by the parlament, but who takes a notice of this as long as no politician in tha parlament can go to the public with new plans he has? MAking some useful law out of a quuer document to start from is, urgently needed, but no journalist will ever notice this. It’s not suuitable for headlines – proposals for new laws are suitable for headlines, but this is denied to the EU parlament.
        And no, the text above does not show the EU as a kind of prison. It just shows the britons are seen as friendly, a bit queer neighbors who are welcome at the table, or at least they were so far. And it shows that so far the EU was a bit more a project of the brain, not of the belly, mostly due to the lack of headlines which were not made from the local gouvernments about EU topics, but from the EU parlament itself.
        But so far local gouvernments always look that they get the headlines, not someone from EU, so they can always use EU as scapegoat, for everything which is neccesary, but not welcome, and present themselves as “big man” when they can show something which is welcome, although this was never their own Idea, but was developed by EU.
        This game worked so far because the Idea of the EU was so positive that it did not get damaged by this kind of game for decades, but this is over now.

      • Alistair Buckoke says:

        I agree with most of what you are saying, but not the bit about an imposed political union. Ireland makes a useful test example here. Most would agree that Ireland will eventually be united, but there is little possibility of that right now. There is much cooperation and many economic ties between north and south, and this very much helps to create an atmosphere of reconciliation, but there is simply too much recent bad history to allow anything other than a slow progress towards fuller cooperation. The union of Ireland will come about because of a single Irish market and when a clear majority of all of the Irish feel ready for it. Undoubtedly, if NI decided to adopt the Euro this would be an important turning of the cog towards a single Ireland, but really no more than that. It is surely the single market which is the most important instrument here.

        For many across Europe 1945 was not that long ago. Conflict in the Balkans is more recent. History, constitutional traditions and intellectual traditions are very varied across Europe and are very deep rooted. As I have suggested these ‘tribal’ realities simply cannot be airbrushed out and have to be accepted and worked with. The best medium for doing this is just the marketplace.

        The whole idea of a dominant inner club of European countries who make up all the rules (and often to suit themselves) and impose conditions on the others is part of the problem we are faced with. There are also many fault lines within this inner club which we are not encouraged to see. More fundamentally, are there clear reasons for thinking that imposed political union really complements the effectiveness of the single market as a long term political instrument?

        • A C Osborn says:

          Very nicely put.
          Their aims of “ever closer union” are quite frightening as they wish to control all aspects of our daily lives, virtually removing any control from National Governments.

    • Kees van der Pool says:

      “The Dutch, for their part, basically believe they are part British”.
      Very much so, even after leaving the Netherlands forty years ago.

  10. A C Osborn says:

    I am amazed that you think what goes on in the EU is Democratic and yet believe that a Referendum is not.
    All of the current political upheaval in the UK can be laid at the door of David Cameron, a Europhile of the first order, who promised the people of the UK that he would lead us whatever the outcome of the referendum.
    Who threw his toys out of the pram when his scare campaign did not work and he lost and then promptly resigned.

    • OpenSourceElectricity says:

      Well, where do you think the EU is not democratic? I do not judge the Referendum, but I react alergic if elected parlaments and gouvernments are called “undemocratic”, and if non existed decision processes are assumed for the EU.

      • A C Osborn says:

        At 8:44am you go on to explain some of the “democratic” issues with the EU.
        Unlike a Nation’s Government all of whom represent their peoples interests and swear allegiance to the state or head of state as they do in the UK, the EU Presidents, Council & the Committee members swear an oath to the EU.
        This means that the will of the people no longer comes first and the nation’s peoples cannot vote out those EU Presidents as they can their own Government.
        If you have any doubts about the affect of this I suggest you read the EU document on the ERM, the bodies and people working for the ERM and the decisions they make are placed above any Law, Court or Government in the world, no matter what they do in pursuit of the aims of the ERM and the EU.
        I also suggest that you read the Canadian/EU trading treaty, the CETA that is about to be signed.
        This treaty goes way beyond simple trading, it covers all the things proposed by UN Agenda 21 & Sustainability.
        The same basic structure is proposed for the TTIP, should it ever be agreed upon.
        The proposed EU Army will co-opt and take over control over the various Nation State’s armies, who will no longer have control over them.

        I could go on, but there is not much point.

        • A C Osborn says:

          I should have mentioned one other thing, I suggest that you read the quotes made by Jean-Claude Juncker if you think the EU is or wants to be democratic.
          Just a couple of examples.
          “Monetary policy is a serious issue. We should discuss this in secret, in the Eurogroup […] I’m ready to be insulted as being insufficiently democratic, but I want to be serious […] I am for secret, dark debates.”
          “There can be no democratic choice against the European treaties”

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            YEs in such topics he might be on the same line as your UK gouvernment. Is your UK Gouvernment undemocratic because of this?
            Juncker can loose his job as easy as your primeminister. He must be appinted by the Council (THe members gouvernments) and be elected by the parlament.
            So is your UK Primmenister a undemocrratic dictator? I guess not. If so, you can find Juncker more or less sympatic etc, but still he’s elected as democratic as your primeminister in UK.
            Mr Farage, as member of the parlament which elected Juncker, could have found enough other members to vote against Juncker, as it seems he didn’t manage or did not want.

        • OpenSourceElectricity says:

          Wrong in so many places. As you might know you can not vote against your prime minister in UK. You can only vote for your parlament, which then elects or throws out your primeminister without any conttributuion of you. IT is the same with EU council and EU parlament with the EU Comission.
          And as your primeminister swears an Oath about UK, and not scotland, it is also naturall that the comission is bound to the EU and all of the people living in it. For the local interests of one nation there exists the local gouvernment.
          And naturally as UK law breaks scottish law wherever the UK gouvernment is responsible, it would be useless if common Rules of the EU would not have to be considered by the local gouvernments. But the connection is much more loose. The EU produces “just ” guidelines which allow the national gouvernments to adopt the lays to local needs while keeping law in general fair to everybody who lives in or outside the singe state, and predictable.
          E.G. in UK you claim that the EU has ordered the installation of Smatrt meters in every house till a specific date. Which is wrong. Your own gouvernment ordered this. The EU required to install smart meters where it pays out economical. This is why germany only installs smart meters in those places where it pays out most, and even that is more than required by EU. 10% of the installations done now in germany would have been by far enough to cover the EU requirements, to install smart meters in the places where they really pay for their costs.
          But who reads what is written in the EU regulations, if gouvernment tells that this or that law was required by EU exactly as they made it….. And then people accuse EU for the stupidity of their own self elected gouvernment – not only in UK, it happens everywhere. It’s so easy for the national politicians.

          • A C Osborn says:

            With your rose tinted view of the EU and my diametrically opposite one we will have to agree to disagree.

          • OpenSourceEnergy says:

            @AC Osborn – sure if a siple list of legal facts is already rose tinted in your view, we surely disagree.
            If you see a specific poit where you think I am wrong, mention it. I alsways like to learn from different kinds of view.

          • A C Osborn says:

            Your understsnding of how the EU works is different to my understanding, you think it like the UK Parliament and I think it is nothing like it.
            Where we do agree is on how the different Governments implement the various rules and laws.
            For instance the French do not have to introduce them, as MR Junker says it is because they are “French”
            If you think that the Eurozone and the ERM are Democratic then I am sorry I just cannot agree.
            The ERM removes democracy completely.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            @ OC Osbourne,

            well if you ignore the facts thet the EU parlament is elected, and Junker is proposed by the elected european gouvernments in the EU council and then elected by the palament, while Cameron and his successor will be proposed by the conservative party and then elected by the parlament, which was elected like the EU parlament, then discussion becomes difficult.
            Please explain why the british parlament is democratic and the EU parlament is not? The only difference I see that the EU parlament is also eleced by non-british citicens. So please explain, otherwise I would have to think that for you democratic means that only british citicens are allowed to vote, and alle other europeans then have to obey british orders.
            I hope this is not what you want to tell me.

            About Junkers talk – you always cite some irrelevant talk, and not the texts of the laws. If you would do so would do so you would see that introduction of smart meters is only required where they are prooved to be economical reasonable.
            I know the weak economy of smart meters in germany in detail, and I can deduct from the numbers that in the baseload only french power generation the economics will be again weaker.
            So I understand Mr. Junker is not happy with the outcome, and because of this ranting about the french, but what happens is still well within legislation, and economical reasonable.
            I have doubts from the nubers I have that the british solution in this point is economical reasonable, but thet’s the UK gouvernment’s busines.
            Naturally if your newspaper etc. print “We briitains are forced to install smart meters by EU while France is allowed to go without them” because your politicians tell this to the newspapers to cover their faults, and no journalist ever checks if there is any truth behind this claim.
            After reading the regulations I would prropose the headline” UK gouvernment forces british customers to install smart meters useless in todays market, although EU does not require this”.
            This would point the finger at the real bad guy in the game.

            About ERM – if you mean the “European Exchange Rate Mechanism” – this is history since 1998, or do you mean ERM II, in which the danish crown is the only member?
            OR do you mean the euro and the european central banc, which is in large part a carbon copy of the Bundesbank, to keep the greedy politicians fingers off the currency?
            What is your critics to it? That it is not required to follow detailed orders of the british gouvernment like the bank of England? Tell me what you think how it should look like, I am curious about it.

          • Euan Mearns says:

            OpenSource, take it as read that most Brits do not understand how the EU functions. I think the problem lies in the number of powers Bruxelles is trying to acquire. There may be a form of democracy underpinning everything but Brits see a European behemoth acquiring powers and making decisions that affect us that we may not agree with. Sure, that is the way all democracies must work where the minority needs to follow the will of the majority. But I guess Brits on average have decided that they no longer want to go where Europe leads.

            We have a similar problem in Scotland which is a strong socialist country at heart but destined to be forever ruled by Conservatives in London which has led to the annihilation of the Labour party in Scotland and the rise of Nationalism. But at least in the UK, the Central Government has done all it can to divest powers to the Scottish Parliament. Europe should do the same. Try and get rid of all the powers they don’t really need. Of course you may find out that is everything.

            But underpinning all this is disaffection of the population. And lack of retribution on those who make mistakes. Here I’m thinking Tony Blair and the Bankers.

            The Chilcot report on Iraq has pushed Brexit out of the headlines. We are in fact where we are today because of the illegal Iraq war that led directly to the disintegration of the Middle East and 1 million refugees in Germany – that will have weighed on the UK vote (recall the UKIP poster). And also because Tony Blair caused the Labour party to change the way they elect their leader, leading directly to Jeremy Corbyn who, along with Labour, did bot show up for the Brexit campaign.

            Politics in this country is currently in a state of chaos. The LibDems committed suicide by entering the coalition with the Tories last time – they are the most pro Europe party. I’m not sure they showed up for the campaign either. And a prominent and well-liked pro-European Lib Dem called Charles Kennedy resumed heavy drinking after the last election route and died as a result. He alone could have made a difference to the Brexit vote.

            The Labour party is in process of committing suicide with the way they elect their leader where the party membership and the trade unions have a disproportionate say that can be at odds with the parliamentary party that represents the people.

            The way the Tories do this is subtly different in that the parliamentary party has chosen two from five candidates. These are presumably two candidates that are acceptable to the parliamentary party. But yes, 150,000 Conservative party members are now going to elect our next Prime Minister. But I’d expect a general election to be called to provide a mandate for whoever wins and for the proposed course of action over Europe.

          • OpenSourceElectricity says:

            @ Euan, I completely agree with you in most places.
            At some points I do not agree. Power only is transfered to the EU if each and every gouvernment of the member states agerees to it – so if EU is responsibble for something which you think should be handeled oln member states level, ask your gouvernment how this could happen.
            If the right tasks are on EU level- this is always worth a discussion, as well as if they are located on nations, states, countys or city level.
            Maybe comming from a nation, founded by 16 stats, which really are full blown states, some even with citicenship which remains inactive as long as the federation exists, this question are too “normal” for me to be too much of a worry. Maybe this questions, and the problem that there are always many answers from different kinds of vews, and the acceptance of the fact that some placing of responsibility “just somehow happened” during the cours of history, is more usual when there have always been several level of states sharing tasks.
            Which tasks should be in the EU – there the problem arises that logic often comands other topics than feelings and pride.
            E.g. Border control. PRactice shows that a failing border control in greece causes problems to many states, but as long as the greece did nothing about it it did not pose any problem to greece other than buying some bus tickets to the next border for those with too few money. So this sounds like a task for the comunity. But many people especially in UK don’t like to see it there.
            Or to remain on the topic of this blog – international interconnectors – there is sure a benefit that someone takes care that when UK builds new interconnectors to belgium and similar, there are at the same time new intorconnectors being built towards belgium to feed the interconnetctor to UK. Same with road and railroad networks. It might not be visible for you on a island, but without some environment for coordination it happened often enough thar highways or railroads ended at the border with a tiny countryside road.
            About other things I am not so sure. E.g. if labor standards must be the same everywhere? If people can move freely, and would mobve more freely than they do, they could simply vote by foot if they don’t like their labour conditions.
            On the other hands, many companies work in many countries, for them it is more easy to avoid faults if conditions are similar everywhere. But I would see this point less important.
            A general election in UK would most likely be not bad, but I agree no party is at the moment in really good shape in UK. And what if the outcome of this election is that there are 52% Pro EU members of parlament elected? Then you have two votes of the people in contradiction.
            One benefit brexit has for sure, no matter how things will go on: suddenly a lot more people look how the EU really works what is fact what is fairy tale. And how they would wish the EU to be. In and outside UK.
            And I agree with you – I’d think that this “forum” – it is a blog, but with a lot of discussion – should be home for really well informed people. So the not knowing how decisions in EU work is really a bit frightening. Here information how EU works seems to be a bit more widespread, although general ignorance about politics is far from being rare. But it then extends to all areas of politics.

  11. Alistair Buckoke says:

    With the dust on Brexit starting to settle and after a week of a remarkable rally in share prices though now the first signs of a decline, now seems the time to start thinking about where we go from here, assuming that it is possible to see past Tory sociopathy. As a committed but by no means uncritical Remain voter, it now seems to me productive to see Brexit as a (drastic) critique of Project Europe, and one hopes that other critical political movements in many countries of Europe will follow suit. Ironically, the strongest hand here is in France, with Marine Le Pen as a serious contender for office. For me, the aim must still be renewed UK membership or part-membership of a reformed Project Europe, rather than just walking out.

    While acknowledging that nationalism has been a key factor in the Brexit vote (and nb the Scottish Government), there seems little sense in dwelling on this motivation other than to observe that the ignoring of people’s need for identity and belonging by the EU establishment is probably pushing back true political union rather than bringing it forward. A widespread sense of citizenship of the United States of Europe is not yet a serious reality at all, and it is unrealistic, impractical and politically destabilizing to think this can be encouraged through just being allowed to happen, without significant consequences. A European personal identity must be a very long term goal, and can really only evolve.

    Rather than apparently dissenting political movements themselves it is more the mindset they are opposed to which needs to be focused on. It is supremely ironic that an EU political culture which unrelentingly promotes an ideal of the Open Society should itself be far from open. The Open Society of Bergson and Popper is fundamentally set against authoritarianism, and the European historical context makes this ideal fully understandable. However, the political implementation of this ideal has become in many respects too close to that to which it is opposed. And then there is the question as to whether the Open Society is actually compatible with political objectives anyway.
    EU political structure is overly complex and opaque to member state electorates, and does not yet have a clearly perceivable elected body which is seen to be the decision making body of the EU wide government. Policy is not clearly signposted enough, and is not fully justified enough in ways which are accessible to member state electorates. Economic activity remains excessively bound by rules and regulations, and these have often existed to protect the interests of specific member states. Relations between member states often appears to have a competitively hierarchical character, rather than one of support of open market conditions. There is the issue of subsidies affecting the ability of the world outside the EU to fairly trade with the EU bloc, one that particularly affects the developing world. The EU is open to its own members but not to anyone else, it seems.

    The combination of public promotion of ‘elegant’ principle and the frequently visible impracticality of that principle or consequent excessive human or economic cost, requiring much behind-the-scenes fixing and negotiation, also conspires to create a political culture which is intrinsically dishonest, and is increasingly seen as such.
    Skeptics of renewable energy are familiar with projects being driven by principle (and cash) rather than realism, and we have seen the corrupting and socially damaging effects of large subsidies. Close involvement of EU governments with energy companies is commonplace, and the resulting effects of ‘economic pressures’ on government policy and action are not questioned enough. Proper democratic process has too often been a casualty.

    In the summer of 2015 it was clear that the Greeks had not helped their own cause in the predicament they found themselves in, but it also became clear that if they were to remain in Europe they would be placed on the altar of progress towards EU political goals. It was never properly asked if those goals might be better achieved in the longer term by allowing member states with economic difficulties to use their own currencies alongside the pan-European Euro, as a temporary measure, while remaining in the EU. Basket cases such as Italy now wait in the wings, still not recovered from 2008. It is perhaps the inability of the EU to properly deal with the causes and effects of economic downturns which is the most serious failing, and this is all due to adherence to what appear to be principled political goals. The foregrounding of systemic principle seems more like rationalist ideology than the atomization of decision making to the level of the individual which is supposed to characterize the Open Society.

    Eighteenth century attitudes have been raised before on this blog. It is not difficult to see that figure in colourful frock coat, silken hose and powdered periwig as being typically French, though not exclusively. Rather than German economic muscle, it is the rationalism and modernism often identified with the French which leads the aspirations of the European project. It is the contention of this piece that this modernism is out of date, and needs to be replaced with a much greater sense of accomodating and working with human realities and human needs, and a willingness to admit and learn from mistakes. A more fundamentally open political culture such as this would be better placed to guide and develop a future reality of a true Open Society.

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