The data underlying the famous “hockey stick” global warming graph has finally been found after having earlier been misplaced by leading climate researchers. The newly recovered data confirms the accuracy of the abrupt upward turn in readings characteristic of the “hockey stick” shape found in many global warming projections.
Up until now, however, the data on which the controversial graph had been based was presumed to be lost, so it was not known exactly which aspects of global warming the chart illustrated. Now that the data has been recovered, scientists can state with complete certainty that this updated chart accurately chronicles the past and future trajectory of the global warming crisis.
View the full-size graph by clicking HERE or on the small version shown below:
From the White House’s annual report of the Middle Class Task Force, released today by Vice President Biden:
Protecting Workers and Creating Middle-Class Jobs. Access to good quality jobs, with fair compensation and stable benefits, is a key factor in building a strong middle class. The Administration’s most immediate imperative in this regard is to do all we can to jumpstart job creation. Building on some of the successes of the Recovery Act, the President has outlined a program to quickly generate job growth in small businesses, clean energy, and infrastructure. In addition, the Middle Class Task Force is focusing on the following initiatives to ensure that we create good jobs that can sustain a middle-class lifestyle and that workers are treated fairly:
••Passing the Employee Free Choice Act. To level the playing field for workers who want to form unions, the Administration is committed to passing the Employee Free Choice Act. The loss of bargaining power has been a factor in both the stagnation of middle-class earnings and the divergence of wage growth from productivity growth. Restoring the right to pursue collective bargaining in a more balanced environment would help middle-class workers get their fair share of the gains as the American economy recovers.
That’s on page v of the Executive Summary, so it’s one of the premises the Task Force started with as opposed to key finding and recommendation for moving forward. So consider it just boilertrap and clap-plate.
(Hat tip: U.S. Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative)
UPDATE (2:40 p.m.): We jumped to post before reading through the whole report. On pages 23-24, the task force reaffirms and even elevates of the Administration’s support for the anti-democratic Employee Free Choice Act: “Over the course of this year, the Task Force will continue to promote the benefits of union membership and to amplify the President’s message of the importance of EFCA as a way to guarantee workers who want to organize a fair chance to do so.”
Forced unionization is NOT a means to a more prosperous, stable middle class. Organized labor will applaud a renewed push for the Employee Free Choice Act in an election year, but the politics here only add to the uncertainty that discourages business investment.
Feb. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Bayer AG slid as much as 4.4 percent in Frankfurt trading after reporting a bigger-than-forecast drop in 2009 earnings because of a slump at the German drug and chemical maker’s plastics unit.
Bayer, based in Leverkusen, fell 1.41 euros, or 2.9 percent, to 47.98 euros as of 10:06 a.m. The stock was the biggest loser in Germany’s benchmark DAX Index of 30 biggest companies, which gained 0.8 percent. Fourth-quarter net income increased 44 percent to 153 million euros ($208 million), Bayer said in a statement today.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and special items fell 6.6 percent, more than the company’s target of a 5 percent drop, as gains at the drugs unit failed to offset declines in plastics and crop treatments. The worst chemicals industry slump in 35 years drove 2009 earnings at the MaterialScience unit down 59 percent. Bayer aims to increase group underlying earnings toward 7 billion euros this year and sees revenue rising more than 5 percent.
“The guidance for 2010 for sales was okay, but adjusted Ebitda was below expectations -- though I think it’s conservative,” said Daniel Wendorff, a Frankfurt-based analyst for Commerzbank AG.
Bayer’s acquisition in 2006 of Schering AG increased the portion of sales from health care to 53 percent of the fourth- quarter total, making it the company’s largest and lowering the dependence on chemicals.
Fourth-quarter Ebitda before items rose 12 percent to 1.5 billion euros though sales slipped 0.6 percent to 7.87 billion euros. Ebitda before items for the full year fell to 6.47 billion euros as gains in the euro against other currencies wiped 2 percentage points, or 140 million euros, off earnings.
After spending 2.8 billion euros on reorganizing its businesses since 2002, acquiring or selling units valued at more than 43 billion euros, Bayer will “consider our restructuring programs completed as of the end of 2009,” said finance chief Klaus Kuehn in the text of a speech planned for later today. The company doesn’t plan more restructuring charges this year, according to Kuehn.
Fourth-quarter Ebitda before items at Bayer’s health-care unit, which sells the Nexavar cancer drug, Yaz contraceptives and Betaferon multiple sclerosis treatment, rose 5.4 percent to 1.15 billion euros. The unit will grow with the market through 2012, which means about 5 percent growth this year, Bayer said.
Earnings at the CropScience, which sells herbicides, seeds and seed hybrids, fell 8.8 percent to 166 million euros after a third-quarter loss. The unit will grow slightly faster than the market this year, Bayer said.
Earnings at Bayer MaterialScience surged to 203 million euros from 54 million euros. The unit will return to “pre- crisis” sales levels of more than 10 billion euros by 2012, and will “significantly increase” Ebitda before special items, the company said.
Bayer’s biggest German competitor, BASF SE, cut its dividend yesterday, saying chemicals growth in China and customers in Europe restocking inventories didn’t come quickly enough to prevent the first dividend reduction in 16 years.
Bayer said on Feb. 24 it will keep its dividend for 2009 unchanged, the first time the company hasn’t increased the annual payout to shareholders since 2003. It will pay 1.40 euros a share, or 1.16 billion euros.
Chief Executiver Officer Werner Wenning, 63, who has led Germany’s largest drugmaker since April 2002 and has spent more than 40 years at the company, will step down in October and be replaced by Marijn Dekkers, the former CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
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Behind a framework of scaffolding and walls of tarps, the north tower of Duluth’s iconic Aerial Lift Bridge is a receiving a much-needed paint job.
Workers began blasting off layers of old paint — stripping the bridge down to bare steel — last week.
“Everything is proceeding well. We are now working to coat the top third of the tower,” said Mike DeBuhr, industrial division manager of Rainbow Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that is painting the bridge.
The project should be finished by March 31 for the shipping season.
“We have to keep the bridge moving,” Aerial Lift Bridge supervisor Ryan Beamer said. “That means this has to be done in the winter, which is the most inopportune time.”
It took several weeks for Scaffold Service Inc. of St. Paul to enclose the bridge’s north tower within a 200-foot tall structure of scaffolding and tarps. Two 1.2 million-Btu fuel-oil heaters provide warmth.
“We’ve been able to keep the inside temperature anywhere from 55 to 60 degrees and above,” DeBuhr said. “So it’s been quite comfortable in there.”
Workers can apply the three new coats of spray-on urethane down to 20 degrees. Before they apply the new coating, however, they are stripping the tower down to bare steel, removing several layers of old paint and lead-based primer.
“You run into a problem if you end up with too many layers,” Beamer said. “Different materials expand and contract differently so the paint system will fail sooner.”
Working around the clock, two shifts of Rainbow employees in protective clothing are blasting the tower with iron grit. A vacuum system collects grit and the paint it strips from the steel. The system recycles the grit for further use. Paint chips go into barrels for shipment to a hazardous waste facility.
The tower’s old paint is coming off easily.
“It’s totally dead,” DeBuhr said. “What I mean by ‘dead’ is that it doesn’t have any adhesive value anymore. It’s not doing its job. It’s well past its service life, so it’s good they are doing this now.”
The tower was last painted about 1985. The bridge’s base and the underside of its movable span were painted in 1999-2000. The rest of the span and the bottom 30 feet of the towers were painted in 2008-09.
This year’s paint job is the first of a two-phase project paid for with $5 million in federal stimulus money.
“This year we’re working on the north tower. Next year will be the south tower,” Beamer said. “And I have my fingers crossed hoping that we may get money to paint across the top in 2012.”
‘Eddie the Eagle’ in Demand Two Decades After Calgary OlympicsShare Business ExchangeTwitterFacebook| Email | Print | A A A
By Bob Bensch
Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards has made a winning career out of losing.
The first British ski jumper to qualify for the Winter Olympics, Edwards finished last on both the small hill and the large hill in Calgary in 1988. With his thick eyeglasses, doughy physique and awkward jumping style, the former downhill skier was given his nickname by fans who felt he embodied the true Olympic spirit.
With the Olympics in Vancouver this year, he said he’s in increased demand. He makes television and radio appearances, works as a motivational speaker and is a product pitchman for U.K. energy company RWE npower Holdings’s Climate Cops program and car insurer Churchill. He said he’s in talks about a movie of his life.
“I’m still amazed I’m as busy as I am, because it’s been 22 years since Calgary,” the 47-year-old Edwards said in a phone interview.
The International Olympic Committee changed its qualifying rules after Calgary to require that athletes be ranked in the top half of an international competition. That effectively eliminated Edwards from reaching any further Games.
Edwards calls the decision, dubbed the “Eddie the Eagle Rule,” a “shame” because he felt he exemplified the Olympic ideal of competition.
“It really doesn’t matter, as long as you were the best sportsman for your country for your sport, you should be able to go to the Olympic Games,” he said.
Plasterer by Trade
A plasterer by trade with his own business in Gloucestershire, England, Edwards said he’s made a “pretty lucrative” living off his Eagle persona.
“It has been pretty good to me over the years and hopefully it will continue to do so,” he said, without being specific. “I don’t earn 20 million pounds ($31 million) like some of these athletes do, but I’ve had enough to live off, which is what I’m happy about really.”
Edwards ran into financial trouble in 1991 when he declared bankruptcy after mismanagement of a trust fund his money was placed into because of his amateur athletic status. He was able to recover some of the money after taking legal action against the trustees.
“If I had spent the money on sex, drugs and rock and roll, at least I could have said, ‘I had it, I lost it, but wow, what a time I had,’” he said. “It wasn’t a happy time in my life, but I learned from it and hopefully it will never happen again.”
Edwards says two memories from 1988 stand out for him.
The first was standing at the top of the 90-meter ski jump hill with a crowd of 90,000 at the bottom shouting his name. The other was when IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch mentioned him by name at the closing ceremony.
“Getting to those Olympics was my gold medal,” Edwards said. “I knew I was going to come last, there was no doubt about it. I just wanted to go there and do the best I could. I remember quite fondly and I wish I could do it again.”
While the rules and age make an Olympic return impossible, Edwards hopes the principles he stood for as an athlete last forever.
“It’s lovely when you win, but it’s more important to get out there and do the best you can,” he said. “That’s what I was exemplifying and hope that people remember Eddie the Eagle and the fact that I got out there and did the best I could.”
During the year all the players in the chain of value worked with
much shorter lead times – at times customers had just a few days’
intermediates in stock – and pricing for many raw materials went
from quarterly to monthly. In general, price fluctuations were
considerable in 2009. Lower demand, partly due to stock cutbacks
in the customer chain, led in parallel to a loss of volume of around
25% during the first quarter. Starting in the second quarter,
volumes recovered and for the year as a whole Perstorp’s pro forma
volume performance amounted to a fall of 9% compared with the
Development by geographic region was highly varied in 2009.
The US went into recession quickly, but its recovery began ahead
of other regions. Also South America’s resurgence was very swift.
Southern Europe proved more problematic, mainly due to an
overheated construction sector in countries such as Spain and Italy.
In northern Europe we have seen a steady recovery from the weak
start to the year. Asia was hit hard in the first months of 2009
but, as the world’s most dynamic market, revived well during the
second half of the year.
Turning to Perstorp’s products, basic polyols had a difficult start
of the year, but volumes returned later on. The market for Penta
is still challenging because of an unfavorable global supply and
demand balance. Due to the price fall for TDI, the year was
very difficult for isocyanates – a very significant product both in
terms of sales and margins. However, Perstorp now has a better
grip on the market and the curve is pointing upwards again.
Not all products were affected by the crisis. Specialty polyols
performed relatively well throughout the year. Formox noted
one of its best years ever and continues to win market shares
from competing technologies. The Food & Feed business was
unaffected. Potassium formate sold well as planned. The new
plant taken into use in the autumn makes Perstorp the world’s
largest producer of this product. The unit for the production of
caprolactones in Warrington, UK, is well equipped to continue
expansion. The new plant will be ready to begin production in
Currency effects boosted sales and margins during the year but
currency hedging produced an overall negative effect of around
SEK 100 m on operating results.
Effective March 1, 2010 or as contract terms allow, Dow Europe GmbH will increase the price of its epoxy products in Europe (including Turkey), Middle East, Africa, and Indian subcontinent. Details of the increase are as follows:
Dow sales representatives will be in contact with customers about the price increase.
Dow Epoxy is a leading global producer of epoxy resins, intermediates, and specialty resins serving a wide range of industries. This global business unit of The Dow Chemical Company and its subsidiaries operates nine manufacturing facilities, three main Research & Development centers, and in-region Technical Service & Development facilities strategically located around the world to provide customers with differentiated solution-based products and innovative technologies and services. Epoxy products from Dow are used in different market segments including coatings, civil engineering, structural and corrosion resistant composites, adhesives, electrical laminates and electrical castings/potting and encapsulation/tooling.
|Polyurethanes: Feedstock price slide halted in February |
With inventories generally long, notations for polyurethane feedstocks in Western Europe showed little change in February against January, the newsletter Plastics Information Europe (PIE, Bad Homburg / Germany; www.pieweb.com) says in its latest report. However, the downslide has been halted.
Although higher MDI production costs suggested a rise for the polymeric material in Q1, prices actually fell by EUR 25/t. The EUR 10/t decline for pure MDI was seen as a rollover, and concessions granted larger customers in January as a fleeting phenomenon, as February saw notations restored prices to the previous level. Polyols producers stuck rigidly to the numbers agreed earlier, PIE says.