Library filed under Pollution
REPORTS on the global-warming debate have now become part of our daily diet of news. Actors, musicians, politicians, columnists and even the occasional climate scientist all weigh in on how soon planetary disaster will strike, who's to blame and what we should do about it. With claims that manmade warming is anywhere from an undeniable fact to a hoax, anyone can be excused for feeling a little bit confused. The media is, almost by definition, most interested in extreme views on the issue, so reporting seldom reveals that broad scientific uncertainty still exists. In fact, a silent majority of scientists still think that global warming could end up falling anywhere between a real problem and a minor nuisance: They can see reasons for it going either way. Call them the global-warming moderates.
As Democratic leaders in Congress prepare to put climate change legislation on the agenda, some in the utility industry are arguing that it will take decades of investments and innovation to get substantial reductions in their emissions of greenhouse gases. Electric power companies, which emit about one-third of America’s global warming gases, could reduce their emissions to below the levels of 1990, but that would take about 20 years, no matter how much the utilities spend, according to a new industry study. The report, prepared by the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit consortium, is portrayed as highly optimistic by its authors, who will present the findings on Thursday at an energy conference in Houston.
Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment. Also, it's an undignified slapstick that people don't wait for the full report in May 2007 but instead respond, in such a serious way, to the summary for policymakers where all the "but's" are scratched, removed, and replaced by oversimplified theses. This is clearly such an incredible failure of so many people, from journalists to politicians. If the European Commission is instantly going to buy such a trick, we have another very good reason to think that the countries themselves, not the Commission, should be deciding about similar issues.
Q: Why should we be leery of the IPCC’s report -- or the summary of the report? A: Well, because the report is the end product of a political agenda, and it is the political agenda of both the extreme environmentalists who of course think we are destroying the world. But it’s also the political agenda of a group of people ... who believe that industrialization and development and capitalism and the Western way is a terrible system and they want to bring it down. They couldn’t do it by attacking energy because they know that would get the public’s back up very quickly. ... The vehicle they chose was CO2, because that’s the byproduct of industry and fossil-fuel burning, which of course drives the whole thing. They think, “If we can show that that is destroying the planet, then it allows us to control.” Unfortunately, you’ve got a bunch of scientists who have this political agenda as well, and they have effectively controlled the IPCC process.
Obviously, there are other ways in which the Lewis wind farm electricity can be managed so as to effect some small reductions in carbon emissions, but a figure of 600,000 tonnes per annum (your report, 6 February) is clearly absurd. The only long-term benefit of the Lewis wind farm will come at the end of it's 20-year lifetime, when, with the Beauly to Denny pylon line in place, the newly industrialised area of Barvas Moor will be the ideal site to place a 1000MW "clean energy" nuclear plant.
Mark Twain once complained that a lie can make it half way around the world before the truth gets its boots on. That's been the case of late in the climate change debate, as political and media activists attempt to stigmatize anyone who doesn't pay homage to their "scientific consensus." Last week the London Guardian published a story headlined, "Scientists Offer Cash to Dispute Climate Study." The story alleges that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative-leaning think tank in Washington, collected contributions from ExxonMobil and then offered climate scholars $10,000 so they could lobby against global warming legislation.....Here are the facts as we've been able to collect them. AEI doesn't lobby, didn't offer money to scientists to question global warming, and the money it did pay for climate research didn't come from Exxon......One can only conclude from this episode that the environmental left and their political and media supporters now believe it is legitimate to quash debate on climate change and its consequences. This is known as orthodoxy, and, until now, science accepted the legitimacy of challenging it.
Why did you petition to become an intervenor in this matter before the NH SEC? With New Hampshire’s recent reinstatement of PILOT agreements and legislative efforts to a Renewable Portfolio Standard, the regulatory groundwork is being laid for more wind facilities to enter the state. Yet, New Hampshire, like many states, has no consistent regulatory process in place for reviewing these projects to ensure our environmental, societal, and economic interests are protected. The work the NH SEC has agreed to undertake in reviewing this application is precedent setting. How the committee approaches its review and the weight it places on arguments presented by all sides will impact other developments in the State as pertains to renewable energy projects. There are a multitude of conflicting issues at play when considering any wind project. My commitment to this process is to help provide, to the best of my ability, valuable and timely information that will assist the Committee in making an informed decision on this application.
While everyone concedes that the Earth is about a degree Celsius warmer than it was a century ago, the debate continues over the cause and consequences. We don't deny that carbon emissions may play a role, but we don't believe that the case is sufficiently proven to justify a revolution in global energy use. The economic dislocations of such an abrupt policy change could be far more severe than warming itself, especially if it reduces the growth and innovation that would help the world cope with, say, rising sea levels. There are also other problems -- AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example -- whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.
All we have on which to pin the blame on greenhouse gases, says Dr. Shaviv, is "incriminating circumstantial evidence," which explains why climate scientists speak in terms of finding "evidence of fingerprints." Circumstantial evidence might be a fine basis on which to justify reducing greenhouse gases, he adds, "without other 'suspects.' "However, Dr. Shaviv not only believes there are credible "other suspects," he believes that at least one provides a superior explanation for the 20th century's warming. "Solar activity can explain a large part of the 20th-century global warming," he states, particularly because of the evidence that has been accumulating over the past decade of the strong relationship that cosmic-ray flux has on our atmosphere. So much evidence has by now been amassed, in fact, that "it is unlikely that [the solar climate link] does not exist."
To those who think that the installation of a wind plant, whether it be 4 turbines or 40, in what will become known as “formerly the beautiful seaside resort town of Eastham, Gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore” will cut down on the carbon dioxide load, please think again. According to an investigation by the New York Times (12/28/06), wind power generates a big problem: it is unpredictable and often fails to blow when electricity is most needed, for example, on the hottest days when there is peak demand for air conditioning. According to Williams Bojorquez, director of system planning at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, “power plants that run on coal or gas must be built along with every megawatt of wind capacity.” That is because, when the winds don’t blow, the grid must buy electricity from the next cheapest source of power, otherwise there would be rolling black-outs. Frank P. Prager, managing director of environmental policy at Xcel Energy, which serves eight states from North Dakota to Texas and states it is the nation’s largest retailer of wind energy, says that the higher the reliance on wind, the more an electricity transmission grid would need to keep conventional generators on stand-by - generally low-efficiency plants that run on natural gas or coal and can be started and stopped quickly. A study by Elfam, Denmark’s largest utilities company, in March, 2005, found that wind plants had not reduced the country’s carbon dioxide emission levels, because it has to be backed-up by conventional energy. A report by the Royal Academy of Engineers in Britain around the same time suggested that a conventional power station produces higher emissions when it is turned down to make room on the grid for wind-derived energy, and then ramps up when the wind power is insufficient.
The sun's increased irradiance over the last century, not C02 emissions, is responsible for the global warming we're seeing, says the celebrated scientist, and this solar irradiance also explains the great volume of C02 emissions. "It is no secret that increased solar irradiance warms Earth's oceans, which then triggers the emission of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So the common view that man's industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations." Dr. Abdussamatov goes further, debunking the very notion of a greenhouse effect. "Ascribing 'greenhouse' effect properties to the Earth's atmosphere is not scientifically substantiated," he maintains. "Heated greenhouse gases, which become lighter as a result of expansion, ascend to the atmosphere only to give the absorbed heat away." The real news from Saint Petersburg – demonstrated by cooling that is occurring on the upper layers of the world's oceans – is that Earth has hit its temperature ceiling. Solar irradiance has begun to fall, ushering in a protracted cooling period beginning in 2012 to 2015. The depth of the decline in solar irradiance reaching Earth will occur around 2040, and "will inevitably lead to a deep freeze around 2055-60" lasting some 50 years, after which temperatures will go up again.
In a sign that US electricity companies are recognising that the Democratic-controlled Congress will seek to impose aggressive climate change initiatives, six companies, including Exelon, one of the largest utility companies, on Wednesday endorsed a bill that would reduce their projected emissions by 25 per cent below projected levels by 2020.
The European Commission has set out a comprehensive package of measures to establish a new Energy Policy for Europe to combat climate change and boost energy security. A ten-point action plan sets out a series of ambitious targets on greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy, along with proposals to create a more competitive energy market across the economic bloc, and includes a report on the implementation by the Member States of the internal market for gas and electricity as well as the results of an enquiry of the state of competition; a plan of for priority interconnections to create a European grid; proposals to promote sustainable power generation from fossil fuels; a roadmap and other initiatives to promote renewables, and; an analysis of the situation of nuclear energy in Europe. Based on the three central pillars of: a true internal energy market; accelerating the shift to low carbon energy; and energy efficiency, the mainstay of the new policy is a core objective for Europe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 with the aim to increase this target to a 30% reduction by 2020 and 60-80% by 2050.
Your view: Is carbon offsetting a con? Holidaymakers are being misled by companies who guarantee to repair the damage flights do to the atmosphere, according to the first independent study of a fast-growing market. The report claims it is not possible to state categorically that buying any "carbon offset" — as Tony Blair did grudgingly last week to counter the global warming potential of his family's New Year break in Miami Beach — will neutralise the damage that flying causes to the atmosphere.
In theory, the idea is simple. The consumer pays a third party to remove a quantity of carbon (in the form of a greenhouse gas) equal to what he or she emits. But how voluntary carbon offsets actually work is unclear at best, and potentially fraudulent at worst, say experts. The problem: No current certification or monitoring system has any teeth, and there is no easy way to confirm that offsetting companies are doing what they promise. Now, various organizations are scrambling to provide standards for what experts call a fragmented market with a product of drastically varying quality.
Government's own figure for saving of the UK's CO2 emission by renewable power generation, mainly wind, is just 9.2 million tonnes per year by 2010. This is less than the emission from a medium sized coal fired power station and more to the point is less than four ten-thousandths (0.0004) of global total CO2 emission and stands no chance of altering atmospheric CO2 concentration, still less deflecting climate change.
The European Union should cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by at least 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels as part of a new energy policy to fight climate change, the EU’s executive Commission said on Wednesday. The Commission called on developed nations around the world to cut emissions of gases blamed for global warming by 30 percent by 2020, saying the EU would go beyond its unilateral target if others followed suit.
Cow flatulence last night became the latest battleground in the fight for the green vote with farmers fearing they could be hit by a new levy.Politicians hit out at the levels of bovine emissions - which now account for about one million tonnes of methane a year in the UK. Whitehall officials are now preparing to get bids to analyse the financial benefits of a scheme which would see farms buying and selling "credits" for the amount of gas their herds produce.
County officials estimated that, in addition to spending $5 million in the next five years to improve energy efficiency in its public buildings, Arlington will spend more than $400,000 in the coming months to plant 1,200 trees, buy more wind-generated power, hand out more than 2,000 fluorescent light bulbs at fairs and other events and provide free energy audits of more than a dozen homes. County officials want to give residents who buy hybrid cars a break on their personal property tax — an unusual perk for a Virginia community. Cost estimates on the tax break are not available. The tax break would require approval from the Arlington County Board, but other elements of the plan, such as distributing light bulbs, can go forward without board permission.
Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.