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Railway Service in Europe Seriously Disrupted by Floods

July 22, 2021 (EIRNS)–The Trains.com website comments that portions of the rail network in Western Europe could be out of service for months or years in the wake of flooding that has left hundreds dead across a swath of western Germany and Belgium. Rail service has been suspended after the floods, which saw rivers running three yards higher than previous records in some cases and destroyed homes and businesses. See report here.

In Belgium, most rail lines south of Brussels saw disruption, with many in the hilly Ardennes region seriously damaged. The high-speed rail line connecting Brussels with Cologne in Germany was briefly closed, but as this goes through hills and over valleys, it was not seriously damaged. Services restarted over the weekend. The older rail lines that follow river valleys, often no more than a few yards above the river, fared much less well. Several routes are so badly damaged that reconstruction is expected to take until late August; less damaged routes reopened July 19.

In neighboring Germany, where the scale of destruction and loss of life has been greater, some rail lines, again built following river valleys, have been completely washed out. In total, German national railroad Deutsche Bahn has reported that 600 kilometers (more than 370 miles) of tracks and 80 stations are impassable.

The worst affected route along the valley of the Ahr River from Remagen to Ahrbrück has seen around 12.5 miles of its 18-mile length destroyed by flood water, with all seven bridges destroyed where the line crossed from one side of the river to the other.

In the Ruhr region, the main station in the city of Hagen was flooded and closed, along with rail lines through the city, as were those in the nearby city of Wuppertal. The flood waters knocked out power and telecom services in many areas. In the city of Bonn, the electronic signalling center controlling the main rail lines along the Rhine valley was unable to function, due to flood damage. Countries neighboring Germany have also seen flooding, with the south of the Netherlands hit with large-scale disruption to rail and road travel. As the weather system moved on, flood waters have affected Switzerland and by last weekend the rain had moved east to Bavaria in Germany and the neighboring Czech Republic, with the rail line between Dresden and Prague shut down July 18 as the Elbe River burst its banks. The Elbe alley was the scene of massive flooding in August 2002, which closed the rail line for three months.


Top Renewable Energy Co. Fails

Leading Renewable Energy Company Abengoa, Once the Cat’s Meow, Fails

March 5 (EIRNS)–A leading renewable energy firm, Abengoa SA, which has been the darling of the City of London and Wall Street financiers, and green Malthusians, filed for bankruptcy, on Feb. 23. The Spanish company has carried out projects in the United States, and in 2010, it received a large United States loan guarantee from the Barrack Obama-Joe Biden administration to build a solar energy plant in Arizona. This is the second largest bankruptcy in Spanish history, according to the El Pais newspaper, and has global implications. This represents a snap shot of the significant vulnerability of a planned $40 trillion green speculative bubble in “renewables,” even before it is built.

This will be the third failure of Abengoa; having cooked its books in 2015—it was later found out—in order to present a picture of functionality, it collapsed in 2016 (wiping out almost all the value of its stockholders). It restructured its debt in 2018, and was in the process of attempting to restructure its current 6 billion euro/US$7.3 billion debt load, when the Spanish regional government of Andalusia unravelled a larger bail-out package by withdrawing its part of the package: an offer of a 20 million euro loan to the failing Abengoa.

The July 5, 2010 GreenTechMedia reported that in 2008, Abengoa ‘negotiated with the Obama-Biden administration, along with Energy Secretary Steven Chu, that the U.S. government would extend to Abengoa a $1.4 billion U.S. federal loan guarantee—a very large sum at that time for renewables—to build a “250 megawatt “Solana solar concentrating power plant near Gila Bend, 70 miles southwest of Phoenix, Arizona. It would be a parabolic trough plant, that would supposedly be able to store some of the solar rays in the form of thermal energy. But the trick was that the plant would generate about 38% of its rated capacity, meaning that it would generate almost two-thirds below what its rated capacity said.

Abengoa also built in Hugoton, Kansas a hybrid biomass plant, which would convert 350,000 tons of biomass/year into 25 million gallons per year of liquid fuel. Abengoa opened this plant in October 2014; the plant shut down operations in December 2015. Abenoga sold the plant, which cost more than $110 billion to build, to another company for $43 billion.

It has not been made known what will happen to the $1.4 billion Obama-Biden loan guarantee that was made to Abengoa.

It should be noted that many solar and wind turbine companies survive only through U.S. government tax breaks and subsidies. According to the America’s Power organization, solar and wind have received $82.1 billion in tax subsidies just between 2010 and 2018.

The failure of Abengoa is a cautionary tale of what may unfold from a $40 trillion geen speculative bubble. That would take down the energy and electricity generating process, and slash agro-manufacturing processes, and human population. It would also, through its insanity, collapse financially.


Winners in New `Global Minimum Corporate Tax: Tech Giants, London `Offshore’

Winners in the New `Global Minimum Corporate Tax: Tech Giants, London `Offshore’

July 7 (EIRNS) – The Financial Times on July 3 reported that the City of London financial center had succeeded in winning an “exemption” for its banks and other financial firms – and those of Wall Street and Frankfurt – from the new “global minimum corporate tax” agreement ballyhooed by the U.S. Treasury at the time of the G7 finance ministers and heads-of-state meetings. The minimum tax scheme, considered a U.S. priority, is actually being negotiated and planned under OECD auspices.

A ZeroHedge column on July 1 had already noted that “while Washington likes to talk about the new framework as a foregone conclusion, there’s plenty of reason to doubt that it will ever be implemented. One reason is that countries like Ireland, Singapore, Indonesia and island tax havens like Bermuda all oppose the new scheme.” It could be expected that London would play this card.

In what was portrayed in financial media as hard bargaining between “the United States” on one side and “the UK and France” on the other, financial corporations got a “carve out” or safe haven from the minimum tax; and in exchange, the UK agreed to eliminate in stages its “digital services tax”, which has no American counterpart. France agreed to do this as well, on behalf of continental European countries’ tax authorities.

So while some nations may be hurt by the agreement – for example, Ireland and Russia, which currently have corporate tax rates below 15% — the Silicon Valley tech monopolists will come out just as sales tax-free worldwide, as they have always been in the United States; and the City and Wall Street banks will be subject to the 15% minimum corporate tax only in their home bases, and not in all the other places they operate in. That is to say that “London offshore” tax havens will still be tax havens.


Mexico Seeks Energy Security

Mexico Stands Firm: Texas Shows We Are Right To Put Energy Security Before Profit

March 3 (EIRNS)—In the middle of the Texas energy crisis, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador asked leaders of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) to brief the nation on how that crisis proves that his policy to restore national energy self-sufficiency and a  national electricity grid regulated by the government, fed by all energy sources, emphatically including fossil fuels, is urgent, and its opponents are dead wrong.

The climate mafia has launched war against AMLO’s “vision of energy sovereignty” and mandate for fossil fuels to be used before subsidized and unreliable wind and solar. “No other G20 country has such abnormal or retrograde energy policies as this government. It’s not going to advance us toward our climate goals,” one leading climate activist told the London Guardian in mid-February. International energy “investors” are preparing lawsuits against AMLO’s new Electricity Law to drive out the speculators, which was passed by the Chamber of Deputies last week and is expected to pass the Senate shortly. Rating agencies are preparing to lower Mexico’s credit rating, if it becomes law.

The CFE team, led by its chairman, Manuel Bartlett, who has been outspoken against the wind and solar energy frauds, detailed how the selling off of Mexico’s public sector electricity generation and distribution to a bunch of unregulated international speculators under the previous two administrations were the cause of the blackouts in Mexico when the cold wave hit, as happened in Texas. The officials pointed to the absurdity that Mexico, an oil producer with plenty of its own natural gas, now found itself with 64% of its national electricity powered by natural gas imported from Texas. Mexico was knocked out when the cold wave hit because the pipelines from Texas froze, and after that Texas stopped all export of natural gas because its wind and solar “renewables” failed, they
reported.

The CFE managed to cover 75% of the gap from the loss of natural gas imports by activating 11 hydroelectric plants, coal plants fed by mines which the López Obrador government had recently reopened, diesel supplied by the state oil company PEMEX at low prices, existing reserves of natural gas and purchase of some shiploads of the latter—at the wildly-high speculative prices on the international markets. Officials stressed that they could only do these things because under the energy sovereignty policy, thermoelectric plants which were under-utilized, nonetheless were maintained, against just such an emergency.

López Obrador then drew the lessons out: What just happened in Texas makes clear that it is not possible to give equal treatment to private foreign companies, he stated. The state needs to control the energy production and national electricity grid as an integrated whole. Under the previous governments, the energy sector was being taken apart, sold off in pieces, and looted. “It is important to recognize that these two public companies [Pemex and the CFE] do not have profit as their purpose, but to guarantee electricity service, and at fair prices, also, because we are going to continue fulfilling our commitment to not increase electricity prices, even with the speculation and increases in gas prices which are occurring in Texas and the United States.”


U.S.-China Diplomacy: Needs to Aim for Unity

China to Biden Team: It Is ‘Evil’ To Try and Prevent Any
People’s Right To Pursue a Better Life.

March 3 (EIRNS)—China’s Global Times responded strongly to a report issued March 1 by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which accused China of undermining U.S. national interests through coercive and unfair trade practices and promised to use all available tools to pursue “strengthened enforcement” of China’s existing trade obligations. In other words, as the Global Times yesterday took due note, “the Biden administration has repeatedly said it is reviewing the previous administration’s China policy, but recent messages emanating from Washington suggest that the new administration is keeping the hardline stance against China. The Trump administration’s strategic goal of containing China will be inherited, and only the means of dealing with China may be adjusted.”

It is “understandable” and even “reasonable” that Washington would seek to maintain its leading position in technologies, and to protect its intellectual property rights, the editors of this official daily correctly assert. China does not protest U.S. policies towards China which aim at promoting U.S. development and increasing U.S. strength, but containment smacks of the “barbaric geopolitical games” of the 19th and early 20th century.

“We are in the 21st century…. Be they Americans, Chinese, Latin Americans or Africans, all people have the right to pursue a better life…. [P]olicies targeted at preventing China’s continuous development and even pushing China’s economy backward are evil. They pose a direct harm to the interests of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, depriving the natural right of the Chinese people to seek a better life….

“Restricting China from the perspective of intellectual property rights protection is different from jeopardizing China’s scientific and technological research and development capabilities. The former is part of the intellectual property rights protection regime, while the latter is an evil result of the geopolitical mentality.

“China has 1.4 billion people, more than the West combined, and much more than the population of the major Western countries combined. China’s development is the grandest project of the global human rights cause, and China’s development needs a relatively friendly international environment, including fair conditions for trade and technology exchanges…. It is malicious to take tough measures to suppress the ability of developing countries, and to tell large countries like China that ‘you deserve to be poor’….

“This kind of malicious policy cannot be followed up in a broad and lasting way in the 21st century. We hope the U.S. ruling team can see clearly the general trend, stop talking about human rights when it is trying to deprive the sacred rights of 1.4 billion Chinese people…. At last, we have to say that such evil is doomed to failure in the 21st century.”

{Source: “Policies Containing China’s Development Malicious: Global Times Editorial” https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202103/1217096.shtml }


Yemen: Crime Against Humanity – Change It!

Yemen Donors Conference Raises Even Less Money for Yemen Humanitarian Relief than Was Provided Last Year

March 2, 2021 (EIRNS)—The UN donors conference which convened yesterday to raise funds for relief efforts in Yemen, cosponsored by Sweden and Switzerland, failed to raise even half of the $3.85 billion that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appealed for. Pledges amounted to a total of $1.7 billion, even less than the $1.9 billion that was donated in 2020. Guterres called for countries to “consider again what they can do to help stave off the worst famine the world has seen in decades.” Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, who is on a week-long visit to Yemen, also called the outcome of the conference “disappointing,” warning that the lack of funding would cause huge cuts to Yemen aid. “The shortfall in humanitarian aid will be measured in lives lost,” he said.

The Saudis pledged $430 million; the U.S. promised $191 million, reportedly a decrease of $35 million from last year. The reduction in aid is attributed to the pandemic, corruption allegations, and concerns the aid might not be reaching its intended recipients in territories controlled by the rebels.

The Houthi leadership dismissed the conference, saying that such donor meetings only aid the aggressor countries and not the people of Yemen. “Conferences help aggressor states to identify themselves as obliging, not hostile or aggressor states which must end the siege and aggression,” said Houthi spokesman Mohammad Abdul-Salam, reported Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. He stressed in a twitter posting that stopping the aggression and lifting the blockade is the biggest help Yemen can ever receive. “The best services that the Saudi-led coalition provides to Yemen are nothing but daily airstrikes, brutal siege, the blockade of oil products and the closure of Sana’a International Airport, and the human consequences thereof.”


Great Leap Backwards: the Green Deal

UK Proposes Climate Change Have UNSC Veto

March 1 (EIRNS) — In typical “snow is black” fashion, the United Kingdom is attempting to declare the “fake news” Climate Change hoax as the biggest threat to global security, today. To argue their case, London resurrected the 90 year-old serial Malthusian Sir David Attenborough, who addressed the UN Security Council on Feb. 23. Although the virtual meeting was opened with a keynote by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, it was clearly organized by the UK — which held the rotating chair of the UNSC during February — and was intended as a primer for the COP 26 Climate talks, now (re)scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November, 2021.

Chaired by Boris Johnson, who presented the issue as “a matter of when, not if,” the central feature was an 8 minute video by Attenborough, who — speaking as a member of the “public” — likened the crisis to that of World War Two (“the Great War that took place during my youth”). Unlike WWII, however, {this} crisis is one “which should unite us,” said the voice from the crypt, since the threat is not rising global fascism, but “rising global temperatures!” Growing threats of wars, collapsing food supplies (from both land and sea), all was the product of our species’ failure to address Climate Change. “No matter what we do, it’s too late … and the poorest among us are(now certain to suffer,” Sir David told the united global security representatives. Climate Change is, he said, “{the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced}” and only by recognizing this can we unite to avoid the worst. [emphasis added]

Also addressing the ministers was young Sudanese “activist” Nisreen Elsaim, who has been chosen as chair of the UN Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. A very well-briefed Elsaim gave “on the ground” affirmation to the destruction that the elders had warned of.


Great Leap Backwards: the Green New Deal

How Much of U.S. Must Be Covered by Windmills and Solar Panels To ‘Decarbonize’ the Nation?

Feb. 27 (EIRNS)—According to a 345-page study called “Net-Zero America,” released on Dec. 15, 2020 by a team from two environmental centers at Princeton University, land-based windmills and solar farms might have to cover some 231,660 square miles of U.S. territory by the year 2050, for the U.S. economy to be net-zero in emitting “heat-trapping gasses.” Think of it: An area slightly larger than the combined states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, covered over by inefficient energy technologies from the 14th century which have a well-proven track record of failing when most needed.

City of London weekly The Economist carries a 3,500-word monster article this week, discussing the ins-and-outs of “Decarbonising America: Joe Biden’s Climate-Friendly Energy Revolution,” promotes the Princeton study, and particularly its most solar- and wind-dependent proposal.

The study details five different “pathways” through which to reduce the U.S. economy to net-zero emissions, and brags that it is the first study to lay out options with great “granularity,” by which they mean, proposing very specific ideas for every geographic area of the country (e.g. maps showing where solar and wind farms might be located around different cities). Barack Obama’s anti-science advisor John Holdren explains in his Foreword to the study, that the intent of detailing the “multiple plausible and affordable pathways available” for decarbonizing the economy, is to induce Americans to fixate on discussing details of what kind of energy technology should go where (Rhode Island or Washington, D.C. would have to be covered with solar panels, in order to provide enough electricity for people to live and work there; but then, they couldn’t live or work there), and drop all debate over how the entire scheme itself means economic suicide and Malthusian population reduction. As Holdren puts it, with this report, “the societal conversation can now turn from ‘if’ to ‘how’ and focus on the choices the nation and its myriad stakeholders wish to make to shape the transition to net-zero.”

EIR has not read every “granular” detail of the study, but its summary reports that all five “pathways” assume that the share of electricity from “carbon-free sources” will have to roughly double from around 37% today to 70-85% by 2030, and reach 98-100% by 2050. Wind and solar power are to be the dominant source of energy in all their scenarios, with wind and solar farms providing about half of all U.S. electricity by 2030—up from 9% in 2019. Miles and miles of new transmission lines would be needed to shift the unreliable electricity supply around; the Princeton crew estimates that high-voltage transmission capacity would have to jump by 60% over the course of the coming decade. Naturally, we will have to pay through the nose to kill ourselves; the study authors estimate at least $2.5 trillion in additional capital investment will be needed over the next decade. See EIR’s special report, https://larouchepub.com/special_report/2021/green-new-deal/index.html.


Great Leap Backwards: the Green Deal Swindle

Soaring European “Carbon” Market Encourages London, but Worries Remain that U.S Is Not Securely on Board

Feb. 25, 2021 (EIRNS)—London’s The Economist magazine on Feb. 24 hailed the 60% surge in prices on the European carbon-emissions trading market since last November as a sign that the market is finally “Coming into Its Own,” as it headlined its report. The European market is far-and-away the biggest carbon trading operation in the world. The Economist points to the entry of some 230 “investment funds” into the trading—speculators like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and big hedge funds—as signalling that the market is “joining the financial mainstream.” And they are entering, because “carbon seems like a one-way bet.” The European Union’s Dec. 11th order to increase the required cuts in emissions by 2030 to 55% of 1990 levels, instead of “only” by 40%, combined with the entry of the big speculators, sent emission “allowance” prices soaring, with bets that the price will rise (“long positions”) doubling since November.

The Economist has spent much of the past week, however, in various articles, including a monster piece of over 3,500 words, ruminating about how to ensure that the United States joins the murderous decarbonization frenzy in the way it must, if London is to have a shot at imposing this scheme upon the entire world. “While few question Mr. Biden’s sincerity to turn things round, America’s ability to keep to its word on climate change looks vulnerable to the next Republican election win,” one article warned. Another reminded readers that the U.S. Congress has not passed any overall climate legislation since 2009, which forced Barack Obama to impose the desired messages by executive orders, which, however, were then overturned by President Trump. If Biden is unable to impose a sufficiently aggressive decarbonization program, no matter how strong John Kerry is, The Economist warns in its typically British way, the United States will lack “the license to persuade, shame, and where appropriate, bully” other countries—such as China.

While it presents many a suggestion, scenario, and order as to how to handle U.S. politics to secure London’s goal, the rag’s controllers make clear that they are pinning their hope of cracking opposition, on tightening the cut-off of financing to any who don’t play ball. Republican business donors being squeezed by “asset managers,” can be lined up behind “Biden’s” net-zero carbon plans. A January statement of support for a “durable climate policy” with “well designed market mechanisms” from the American Chamber of Commerce, once considered “an implacable adversary” to the Green fraud, is viewed as another hopeful sign that pressure from the corporate sector might break Republican and conservative Democrat opposition.


G20 Matera Summit: Long on Rhetoric, Short on Solutions

Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of 20 and representatives of UN agencies met today in a one-day summit in Matera, Italy, hosted by Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio as Italy is currently the rotating president of the group. Several of the ministers appeared in person, but China’s, Russia’s, Brazil’s, and other ministers attended virtually. The major emphasis of the summit, whose unimaginative title was “People, Planet, Prosperity,” was combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as food insecurity, famine, poverty, disease, and promoting “sustainable development,” and “sustainable” health systems–especially for Africa. Di Maio said in the closing press conference that the G20 has a special responsibility to help Africa to emerge from a “difficult period.” This must be done in such a way, he said, that people won’t feel the need to leave their countries and migrate to Europe.

The “Matera Declaration on Food Security, Nutrition and Food Systems,” announces a number of initiatives for addressing the developing sector’s most urgent problems, but all are couched in terms of “sustainability,” respecting biodiversity and gender equality, and adapting “agriculture and food systems to climate change.” The statement ends with a call for a “global mobilization” to solve these problems, while it presents none of the solutions that might actually yield results. This document cries out for the Schiller Institute and LaRouche Organization’s programmatic proposals for building a global health system, bankruptcy organization of the global financial system, and reconstruction of the world’s economies with major infrastructure projects.

During the conference itself, there was much rhetoric about “multilateralism,” loudly advocated by Secretary of StateTony Blinken, who had the audacity to say that the U.S. is leading the multilateral effort for vaccine distribution, to which Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi tweeted in response that “multilateralism is not a high-sounding slogan, let alone gift-wrapping for the implementation of unilateral acts.” In his public statements, Wang called for an end to the “zero-sum game” in foreign relations. For example, he said, in fighting the pandemic it is to everyone’s benefit that those nations which have vaccines and vaccine capacity lift their export restrictions. Forget about ideology, and get to work on stabilizing vaccine production and supply lines, he said. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ignored that advice when he complained that Russia and China are only using their “vaccine diplomacy” for political leverage in the countries they aid. “We must openly discuss the fact that we do not think much of their vaccine diplomacy,” he harrumphed.

Michele Geraci, former Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, said in an interview with CGTN that there is a lot of talk about multilateralism, but if it means that 200 nations do their own thing, and there is retrenchment, this doesn’t work. It hurts production, people-to-people contact, international education, etc. What is needed is real collaboration, he insisted.

Di Maio and other Italian participants pointed out that in terms of protecting health, Rome is home to a number of international food organizations–World Food Program, Food and Agriculture Organization, etc.–and that they and Italy will host the July 26-28 World Pre-Summit of the Food Systems meeting that will be held at the UN in September. As this news service has pointed out, the Rome affair in July is terribly organized as a gathering of “stakeholders” — women, youth, climate, and biodiversity groups, etc. — and that its solutions are nature-based, not focused on ending famine. This is precisely the World Economic Forum/Davos model announced by Charles Schwab last January.


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