Sanjeev Sabhlok's blog

Thoughts on economics and liberty

Help the Rich, Hurt the Poor: Case of Special Economic Zones by EAS Sarma

Note: I agree with much of what EAS Sarma is saying here. However, I don’t agree with his defence of labour laws.

(Extracts from Economic and Political Weekly May 26, 2007)

In a country where more than 100 million people in the rural areas have no land of their own and another 80 million house­holds own agricultural holdings less than five acres, it is unfortunate that the central and the state governments should rush into forcibly acquiring hundreds of thousands of hectares of arable lands in huge chunks and dole them out to powerful industrial houses and real estate dealers at throw-away prices.

Central to the SEZ scheme is the facile assumption that handing over thousands of hectares of land cheaply to promoters of industry and relaxing the laws of the land, including those that relate to the welfare of the industrial workers, protection of the environment, taxation, etc, would automatically promote industrialisation and solve the m1gging unemployment problem of the country overnight. Similar doles were tried out in the past, with not much success. What our rulers fail to recognise is that it is bad governance that lies behind many of our failures on the development front.

SEZ Impact
The basic principles of good governance are to involve the people in decision-making, enhance transparency in the functioning of the government, create a competitive environment, provide greater choice for the citizen in offering public services, minimise the element of discretion and ensure non-discriminatory treatment to all. Government’s policies should be in the direction of creating competitive markets, rather than promote private monopolies. Unfortunately, none of these essential requirements of good governance find place in the recent policies. On the other hand, many so-called “reforms” during the last few years have openly gone against these basic tenets. The case of the SEZs is an excellent example of this.

Decision-making on SEZs has generally been non-transparent. SEZs are imposed on the local people without any prior consultation. Whenever the displaced persons opposed the location of an SEZ, their dissent had been termed “anti-devel­opment” and crushed mercilessly with the iron hand of the state.

The process of selection of the pro­moters of SEZs is in itself highly non­transparent. There is not a single case of SEZ in which the promoter is selected through well-established competitive bidding procedures. This has provided enormous scope for corruption and political patronage.

SEZs displace people on a large scale. The displacement is both physical and occupational. In coastal states like Andhra Pradesh, some SEZs are located along the sea coast, cutting off fishermen’s access to the sea from which the latter eke out their livelihood. In many places, small agriculturists are thrown out of their home­lands and, along with them, those that depend on agriculture, such as artisans and rural workers have also lost their livelihood. The latter do not figure at all among the beneficiaries of the rehabilitation packages.

Government’s Stand
In the case of the SEZs and a host of other similar industrialisation schemes, it is strange to find the government reversing its role and acting as a broker on behalf of the industry. In this role, the government has not even hesitated to invoke its “right of eminent domain” and forcibly acquire land for the SEZs. In the past, the land acquisition law, which is indeed a draconian one, had been used to acquire lands for genuine public purposes such as schools, hospitals, etc. It had rarely been used to further private interest, as is the case now.

The rehabilitation packages announced by the states lack credibility, as there are thousands of families displaced by pre­vious projects still awaiting compensation payments. In some cases, those displaced in early 1970s are yet to receive compen­sation. In many cases, the true beneficia­ries are the absentee landlords, interme­diaries and touts that collude with the government agencies. The Andhra Pradesh experience has shown that the poor that were assigned government land were the ones that were deprived of those lands to benefit the SEZ promoters.

India’s SEZ Scheme
While China has followed a step-by-step approach and set up only six SEZs during the last several years, India has already set up 19 SEZs, approved another 234, accorded “in prin­ciple” approval for 162 and notified 19. China’s SEZs are larger in size, whereas the extent of an Indian SEZ seems to depend on the political clout that the promoter wields and the leverage he is able to achieve with bureaucrats and politicians. China has a well thought-out land-use policy that seeks to protect its arable land. India has no such policy.

SEZs are given open-ended tax conces­sions. The experience so far in the country with tax holidays for industry has not been sanguine. Apart from the direct revenue losses they have resulted in, they also have led to an uneconomic location of industrial units.

The labour laws applicable to the rest of the country have been relaxed for the SEZs. The existing laws are well ­intentioned and they promote worker wel­fare [Sanjeev: disagree – these laws need to be revised to ensure greater liberty of contracting]. Relaxing such laws exclusively for the SEZs shows the government’s lack of conviction in its own commitment to social justice. In going along with this, for the first time, the government has openly accepted the untenable contention that social justice inhibits economic develop­ment and, therefore, it could be conve­niently jettisoned off its agenda.

In some SEZs, the state governments are joint venture partners. In the case of some, special incentives by way of concessional electri­city and water tariffs have been offered. In almost all cases, valuable lands have been given away at concessional prices. In return for all these sops that run into thousands of crores, the promoters of SEZs are not willing to assume any kind of social responsibility. For example, they have no intention to reserve jobs for SCs/STs.

The employment opportunities that the SEZs would create are limited, compared to the number of poor farmers uprooted. The promise of jobs for the displaced is a hollow one, as none of the displaced families would be able to find even one of its members having the right kind of skills and qualifications required for such jobs. Even if we assume that SEZs do create some job opportunities, the benefit of such limited employment would get more than offset by the number of rural families permanently deprived of their livelihoods.

In the recent years, the industry has been lobbying for relaxations in the procedures for environmental clearances. The SEZ policy has some elements that relate to this. In the case of many SEZs already ap­proved, no detailed environmental impact assessment has been attempted. For ex­ample, the industrial units in an SEZ would not only drain surface and groundwater resources at the expense of the local com­munities, but also their affluents could pollute the local water bodies.

Forc­ible acquisition of land should be done away with. Decisions that involve displace­ment of people should not be taken with­out prior consultation with the local com­munities. Models of development with minimal dislocation need to be adopted in preference to those that indiscriminately displace people. The existing rehabilitation policy of the government is flawed, as it does not allow the displaced people to have the status of shareholders of projects. The government should recognise the inherent rights of the local communities to resources such as land, water, minerals, forest wealth, etc. All these call for a paradigm change in the attitude of the government.

Economic development, growth and industrialisation are the outcomes of good governance, not policies based on sops, subsidies and political patronage.


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Rupert Darwall’s works

Came across this author’s work through a video:

Turns out he writes on many issues that interest me.

Some of his works:

Essay: A Veneer of Certainty Stoking Climate Alarm (2017) PDF available

The Age of Global Warming: A History – PDF available

THE ANTI-DEVELOPMENT BANK The World Bank’s regressive energy policies – 2017 PDF

A longish podcast.

Excerpt: Exposing the totalitarian roots of the climate industrial complex

Some discussion of his works

The Nazi Roots Of The Global Warming Scare

Book review, ‘Green Tyranny’ by Rupert Darwall

Review at Independent Institute.

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The interview that Forbes took down because it provides peer reviewed PROOF that climate change has a DIFFERENT explanation.

I came across info that Forbes had removed an interview that it had published. That meant that there was something they are trying to hide. This is that censored interview. Details here.

More stuff about this scientist, here. He shows that solar variation is sufficient to explain observed changes. As far as I’m concerned, there are ANY NUMBER of alternative explanations that are more plausible than the CO2 one.

Interestingly, ALL attempts in history to censor alternative views have failed. I would not have taken the pain to search the internet to locate this article if it had not been removed by Forbes after publication. Thanks, Forbes, for making me take interest in this alternative hypothesis.

Global Warming? An Israeli Astrophysicist Provides Alternative View That Is Not Easy To Reject

The U.S. auto industry and regulators in California and Washington appear deadlocked over stiff Obama-era fuel-efficiency standards that automakers oppose and the Trump administration have vowed to roll back – an initiative that has environmental activists up in arms.

California and four automakers favor compromise, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the president’s position that the federal standards are too strict. The EPA argues that forcing automakers to build more fuel efficient cars will make them less affordable, causing consumers to delay trading older, less efficient vehicles. Complicating matters is California’s authority to create its own air quality standards, which the White House vows to end.

However the impasse is resolved, the moment looks ripe to revisit the root of this multifactorial dustup: namely, the scientific “consensus” that CO2 emissions from vehicles and other sources are pushing the earth to the brink of climate catastrophe.

In a modest office on the campus of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, an Israeli astrophysicist patiently explains why he is convinced that the near-unanimous judgments of climatologists are misguided. Nir Shaviv, chairman of the university’s physics department, says that his research and that of colleagues, suggests that rising CO2 levels, while hardly insignificant, play only a minor role compared to the influence of the sun and cosmic radiation on the earth’s climate.

“Global warming clearly is a problem, though not in the catastrophic terms of Al Gore’s movies or environmental alarmists,” said Shaviv. “Climate change has existed forever and is unlikely to go away. But CO2 emissions don’t play the major role. Periodic solar activity does.”

Shaviv, 47, fully comprehends that his scientific conclusions constitute a glaring rebuttal to the widely-quoted surveys showing that 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity – the combustion of fossil fuels – constitutes the principle reason for climate change.

“Only people who don’t understand science take the 97% statistic seriously,” he said. “Survey results depend on who you ask, who answers and how the questions are worded. In any case, science is not a democracy. Even if 100% of scientists believe something, one person with good evidence can still be right.”

History is replete with lone voices toppling scientific orthodoxies. Astronomers deemed Pluto the ninth planet – until they changed their minds. Geologists once regarded tectonic plate theory, the movement of continents, as nonsense. Medical science was 100% certain that stomach ulcers resulted from stress and spicy food, until an Australian researcher proved bacteria the culprit and won a Nobel Prize for his efforts.

Lest anyone dismiss Shaviv on the basis of his scientific credentials or supposed political agenda, consider the following: He enrolled at Israel’s Technion University – the country’s equivalent of MIT – at the age of 13 and earned an MA while serving in the Israel Defense Force’s celebrated 8200 Intelligence unit. He returned to Technion, where he earned his doctorate, afterward completing post-doctoral work at California Institute of Technology and the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. He also has been an Einstein Fellow at The Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.

In other words, he knows tons more about science than Donald Trump or Al Gore.

As for politics “in American terms, I would describe myself as liberal on most domestic issues, somewhat hawkish on security,” he said. Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s position on global climate change, he said, is correct insofar as it rejects the orthodoxy of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC’s findings and conclusions are updated every six years; the latest report, released this week, noted that deforestation and agribusiness are contributing to CO2 emissions and aggravating climate change.

In 2003, Shaviv and research partner Prof. Jan Veizer published a paper on the subject of climate sensitivity, namely how much the earth’s average temperature would be expected to change if the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is doubled. Comparing geological records and temperature, the team came up with a projected change of 1.0 to 1.5 degrees Celsius – much less than the 1.5 to 4.5 degree change the IPCC has used since it began issuing its reports. The reason for the much wider variation used by the IPCC, he said, was that they relied almost entirely on simulations and no one knew how to quantify the effect of clouds – which affects how much radiant energy reaches the earth – and other factors.

“Since then, literally billions have been spent on climate research,” he said. Yet “the conventional wisdom hasn’t changed. The proponents of man-made climate change still ignore the effect of the sun on the earth’s climate, which overturns our understanding of twentieth-century climate change.

He explained:

“Solar activity varies over time. A major variation is roughly eleven years or more, which clearly affects climate. This principle has been generally known – but in 2008 I was able to quantify it by using sea level data. When the sun is more active, there is a rise in sea level here on earth. Higher temperature makes water expand. When the sun is less active, temperature goes down and the sea level falls – the correlation is as clear as day.

“Based on the increase of solar activity during the twentieth century, it should account for between half to two-thirds of all climate change,” he said. “That, in turn, implies that climate sensitivity to CO2 should be about 1.0 degree when the amount of CO2 doubles.”

The link between solar activity and the heating and cooling of the earth is indirect, he explained. Cosmic rays entering the earth’s atmosphere from the explosive death of massive stars across the universe play a significant role in the formation of so-called cloud condensation nuclei needed for the formation of clouds. When the sun is more active, solar wind reduces the rate of cosmic rays entering the atmosphere. A more active solar wind leads to fewer cloud formation nuclei, producing clouds that are less white and less reflective, thus warming the earth.

“Today we can demonstrate and prove the sun’s effect on climate based on a wide range of evidence, from fossils that are hundreds of millions of years old to buoy readings to satellite altimetry data from the past few decades,” he said. “We also can reproduce and mimic atmospheric conditions in the laboratory to confirm the evidence.

“All of it shows the same thing, the bulk of climate change is caused by the sun via its impact on atmospheric charge,” he said. “Which means that most of the warming comes from nature, whereas a doubling of the amount of CO2 raises temperature by only 1.0 to 1.5 degrees. A freshman physics student can see this.”

Nevertheless, the world of climate science has “mostly ignored” his research findings. “Of course, I’m frustrated,” he said. “Our findings are very inconvenient for conventional wisdom” as summarized by the IPCC. “We know that there have been very large variations of climate in the past that have little to do with the burning of fossil fuels. A thousand years ago the earth was as warm as it is today. During the Little Ice Age three hundred years ago the River Thames froze more often. In the first and second IPCC reports these events were mentioned. In 2001 they disappeared. Suddenly no mention of natural warming, no Little Ice Age. The climate of the last millennium was presented as basically fixed until the twentieth century. This is a kind of Orwellian cherry-picking to fit a pre-determined narrative.”

Shaviv says that he has accepted no financial support for his research by the fossil fuel industry. Experiments in Denmark with Prof. Henrik Svensmark and others to demonstrate the effect of cosmic rays on cloud formation were supported by the Carlsberg Foundation. In the U.S. the conservative Heartland Institute and the European Institute for Climate and Energy have invited him to speak, covering travel expenses.

“The real problem is funding from funding agencies like the National Science Foundation because these proposals have to undergo review by people in a community that ostracizes us,” he said, because of his non-conventional viewpoint.

“Global warming is not a purely scientific issue any more,” he said. “It has repercussions for society. It has also taken on a moralistic, almost religious quality. If you believe what everyone believes, you are a good person. If you don’t, you are a bad person. Who wants to be a sinner?”

Any scientist who rejects the UN’s IPCC report, as he does, will have trouble finding work, receiving research grants or publishing, he said.

In Shaviv’s view, the worldwide crusade to limit and eventually ban the use of fossil fuels isn’t just misguided “it comes with real world social and economic consequences.” Switching to more costly energy sources, for example, will drive industry from more industrialized countries to poorer countries that can less afford wind turbines and solar panels.

“It may be a financial sacrifice the rich are willing to make,” he said. “Even in developed countries the pressure to forego fossil fuel puts poor people in danger of freezing during the winter for lack of affordable home heating. The economic growth of third world countries will be inhibited if they cannot borrow from the World Bank to develop cheap fossil-based power plants. These are serious human problems in the here and now, not in a theoretical future.”

For Shaviv, the rejection and closed-mindedness his minority view provoke may contain a silver lining. Just think of the acclaim that awaits if his research — and scientific reconsideration of the current orthodoxy — one day proves persuasive.


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What is the proof for the greenhouse gas theory?

This is a placeholder post and will be updated when I find time.

This theory was created well before later advances in physics. Its laboratory proof is virtually non-existent.

The first person to propose the existence of a planetary greenhouse effect caused specifically by atmospheric carbon dioxide was the Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius, writing in the 1890s. As the Oxford English Dictionary notes, the term itself was in circulation by the early twentieth century. The discovery of the atmospheric conditions of Venus, however, did much to bring the subject to the mainstream scientific and public attention.



Here’s the scamster Bill Nye’s “proof”

Here’s proof that his “experiment” is a pile of nonsense:

Al Gore and Bill Nye FAIL at doing a simple CO2 experiment

Someone sent me these papers to review:

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.7b00626
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.8b00373

DOI: 10.1088/0143-0807/35/2/025016

These papers do nothing whatsoever to prove the greenhouse effect.

Basically: “it is impossible to run a controlled experiment on Earth’s climate (there is no control planet), the only way to “test” the CAGW hypothesis is through models.”  [Source]

This is not a scientific hypothesis:

More CO2 will cause some warming.

It is arm waving.

This is a scientific hypothesis:

A doubling of atmospheric CO2 will cause the lower troposphere to warm by ___ °C.

Thirty-plus years of failed climate models never been able to fill in the blank.



Power Hour: Dr. Denis Rancourt on the True Physics of CO2


Nullifying the climate null hypothesis – Judith Curry∗

Her key point

Hypotheses about complex problems such as climate change are either implicitly or explicitly built upon a collection of subhypotheses that are related to each other in the context of a syllogistic paradigm or other type of logical analysis. The challenges of testing a complex hypothesis involving a causal chain was addressed by Curry et al.6 in the context of testing the hypothesis that greenhouse warming is causing an increase in global hurricane intensity. The central hypothesis was broken down into three subhypotheses that were each necessary for the central hypothesis to be true, and further comprised a causal chain. A null hypothesis was formulated for each of the subhypotheses, and evidence was presented for both the null and subhypotheses. The conclusion was that the evidence did not support the rejection of any of the subhypothesis, and hence did not support rejection of the central hypothesis


rather than trying to reject either of these hypotheses (regardless of which
is the null), there should be a debate regarding the relative significance of anthropogenic warming relative to forced and unforced natural climate variability


A video.

Vacuum Chamber Temperature Test Debunks Climate Crisis Claims

The Shattered Greenhouse: How Simple Physics Demolishes the “Greenhouse Effect”.
Timothy Casey

Alternative view to greenhouse effect – that atmospheric density causes heat (Nikolov-Zeller effect)

This has been confirmed. See this.


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