Sun, 2014-09-28 23:18Brendan Montague
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The Day Thatcher Met Hayek - and How this Led to Privatisation

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher meets free market economist Friedrich von Hayek at IEA. She appoints Lord Lawson and they direct privatisation of British energy interests.

Thatcher arrived at the humble offices of the Institute of Economic Affairs in Lord North Street, a short walk from the Houses of Parliament, flushed with victory in the Conservative party leadership battle.

Ralph Harris ushered into the boardroom for a private audience with Friedrich von Hayek, the architect of her success.

The economist had recently been awarded the Nobel Prize, the highest honour for any academic, in part due to the consistent support of the institute.

Sun, 2014-09-28 23:16Brendan Montague
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David 'Go Green' Cameron's Top Donors Financing Climate Denial

David Cameron faces a major party rebellion over climate change, with Conservative funders giving money to climate denialists and calling for a party rethink on its policy of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

DeSmog UK has identified five generous Tory donors, including two members of the House of Lords, who have together provided the party with £3.6 million while simultaneously bankrolling Lord Lawson’s climate denial charity, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

The revelations come as Cameron returns from the UN summit on climate change in New York, during which he claimed to have kept his promise to deliver the “greenest government ever”.

The Tory leader risks splitting his party further apart if he challenges climate deniers among his grassroots, while failing to champion climate action leaves him vulnerable to attack from both Labour and his Liberal Democrat coalition partners.

Sun, 2014-09-28 11:00Chris Rose
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Global Warming Pollution on the Rise, CO2 Set to Hit 40 Billion Tons in 2014

Atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions, the main contributor to global warming, are set to rise again in 2014 – reaching a record high of 40 billion tonnes, according to a new report.

The latest annual update of the Global Carbon Budget (GCB) shows that the projected rise of 2.5 per cent in burning fossil fuels and cement production this year follows a 2.3 per cent increase in 2013, a then record high of 36 billion tonnes.

The GCB said the 2013 emissions were the highest in human history and 61 per cent higher than in 1990 (the Kyoto Protocol reference year). In 2013, the GCB added, coal burning was responsible for 43 per cent of the total emissions, oil 33 per cent, gas 18 per cent and cement 5.5 per cent.

Sun, 2014-09-28 07:00Mike G
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Arctic Madness: Shell and ConocoPhillips Plead With US Govt to Avoid Standards For Arctic Spill Preparedness

Two oil companies planning to drill in remote Arctic waters, Shell and ConocoPhillips, are pleading with U.S. regulators not to make them follow new guidelines proposed by the Interior Department that would require the companies to keep emergency spill response equipment close at hand and prohibit the use of chemical dispersants.

The precise details of the new rules for Arctic drilling operations have not been made public as an inter-agency review of the Interior Department's proposal is still being carried out.

But records of meetings with officials at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is currently reviewing the new standards, show that Shell is vigorously contesting rules that would require the company to keep on hand the necessary equipment for emergency response in the event of a blowout, such as containment systems and a rig to drill a relief well.

Shell says that keeping a rig on standby would cost the company an additional $250 million a year.

Both Shell and ConocoPhillips are taking issue with another of the proposed rules, a potential ban on the use of highly toxic chemical dispersants in favor of booms, skimmers, and other physical equipment to contain spilled oil.

In a presentation to the OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Shell argued: “A 100 percent mechanical requirement leads to increasing costs and environmental impacts — less recovery of oil — as operators enter plays with higher daily worst-case discharges.”

Studies have shown that while dispersants can help prevent oil from washing ashore and may protect surface-dwelling sea life, it can have serious impacts on marine life living below the surface.

Sat, 2014-09-27 22:57Brendan Montague
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How the Neoliberal Dream Became the Reality of Thatcherism

The finest triumph of the Institute of Economic Affairs was winning Thatcher to free market economics. That story is told here. Their second, decades later, was seeding climate denial.

An excitable Keith Joseph met with Ralph Harris of the Institute of Economic Affairs and his deputy Arthur Seldon at one of his favourite Westminster restaurants, Lockets, in February 1974.

Joseph was at the time a member of the Shadow Cabinet and the third most influential politician in the Conservative party. He had invited his close friends from the IEA to lunch so he could get their clearance to set up a rival free market think tank.

The Centre for Policy Studies would be overtly political and use the methods of the Socialist Fabians to win the battle of ideas in favour of radical liberalism within Britain's natural party of government.

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