27 June, 2011

Throwing Money to the Winds

From the UK’s This Is Money comes “Energy giants want billions for back-up to windfarms”, by Tom Mcghie:
Britain’s richest energy companies want homeowners to subsidise billions of pounds worth of gas-powered stations that will stand idle for most of the time.  Talks have taken place between the Government, Centrica, owner of British Gas, and other energy companies on incentives to build the power stations needed as back-ups for the wind farms now being built around the country.
It is understood 17 gas-fired plants worth about £10 billion will be needed by 2020.
The Energy Department has been warned that without this massive back-up for the new generation of heavily subsidised giant wind farms, the lights could go out when the wind dies down.  Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said renewables, such as large-scale wind energy, were intermittent and required back-up generation, a role gas was uniquely qualified to fill.  But as power stations that operate only intermittently would not be financially viable, Laidlaw said:  “The building of new gas-fired capacity must be incentivised so that gas can fulfil its role as a bridging fuel.”
To that end, energy companies are asking the Government for “capacity payments”. This ensures firms are paid a fee all year round for keeping a plant on standby.  [...]
Industry sources insist the Government has no alternative but to agree to the “capacity payments” for standby generation if it wants wind power, which also receives huge subsidies, to provide one-third of Britain's energy needs.  In winter, when the most intense cold period coincides with a high pressure front, most wind turbines do not work.
One industry executive said:  “Why would we build a power station—costing about £600 million—that is guaranteed to make a loss because it is not used most of the year?”
Scarcely a day goes by without more evidence to show why the Government's obsession with wind turbines, now at the centre of our national energy policy, is one of the greatest political blunders of our time.  Under a target agreed with the EU, Britain is committed within ten years—at astronomic expense—to generating nearly a third of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly through building thousands more wind turbines.
But the penny is finally dropping for almost everyone—except our politicians—that to rely on windmills to keep our lights on is a colossal and very dangerous act of self-deception.
Take, for example, the 350ft monstrosity familiar to millions of motorists who drive past as it sluggishly revolves above the M4 outside Reading.
This wind turbine performed so poorly (working at only 15% of its capacity) that the £130,000 government subsidy given to its owners was more than the £100,000 worth of electricity it produced last year.
Meanwhile, official figures have confirmed that during those freezing, windless weeks around Christmas, when electricity demand was at record levels, the contribution made by Britain’s 3,500 turbines was minuscule.  [...]
The point about wind, of course, is that it is constantly varying in speed, so that the output of turbines averages out at barely a quarter of their capacity.
This means that the 1,000 megawatts all those 3,500 turbines sited around the country feed on average into the grid is derisory:  no more than the output of a single, medium-sized conventional power station.  [...]
The second great lie about wind power is the pretence that it is not a preposterously expensive way to produce electricity.  No one would dream of building wind-turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy.  This comes in the form of the Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy scheme, paid for through household bills, whereby owners of wind turbines earn an additional £49 for every “megawatt hour” they produce, and twice that sum for offshore turbines.  [...]
The third great lie of the wind propagandists is that this industry is somehow making a vital contribution to 'saving the planet' by cutting our emissions of CO2.  Even if you believe that curbing our use of fossil fuels could change the Earth's climate, the CO2 reduction achieved by wind turbines is so insignificant that one large windfarm saves considerably less in a year than is given off over the same period by a single jumbo jet flying daily between Britain and America.
In Australia, unfortunately, the incompetent Gillard Government and the misanthracist Greens are committed to wasting thousands of millions of dollars on all sorts of airy schemes because their idiotic acceptance of the fraudulent conjecture of CAGW and their myopic, misanthropic neo-Malthusianism.
(Thanks to the Global Warming Policy Foundation.)

UPDATE I (9 July):  see the Institute for Energy Research’sBritain Evaluates Capacity Payments for Back-Up Generators to Wind Power”.

UPDATE II (12 July):  see David Derbyshire, in The Daily Mail, “The wind turbine backlash: Growing public opposition thwarts green energy drive”:
Plans to cover Britain with wind farms are being thwarted by a growing tide of public opposition.
Nearly half of all onshore wind farms in England and Wales are being refused planning permission, figures reveal.
The percentage of such developments being refused planning permission has risen sharply over the last five years.
UPDATE III (12 September):  see Christopher Booker, in The Daily Telegraph, “Wind farms: the monuments to lunacy that will be left to blot the landscape”:
Three separate news items on the same day last week reflected three different aspects of what is fast becoming a full-scale disaster bearing down on Britain.  The first item was a picture in The Daily Telegraph showing two little children forlornly holding a banner reading “E.On Hands Off Winwick”.
This concerned a battle to prevent a tiny Northamptonshire village from being dwarfed by seven 410-foot wind turbines, each higher than Salisbury Cathedral, to be built nearby by a giant German-owned electricity firm.  The 40 residents, it was reported, have raised £50,0000 from their savings to pay lawyers to argue their case when their village’s fate is decided at an inquiry by a Government inspector.
In the nine years since I began writing here about wind turbines, I have been approached by more than 100 such local campaigns in every part of Britain, trying to fight the rich and powerful companies that have been queuing up to cash in on the vast subsidy bonanza available to developers of wind farms.  Having been the chairman of one such group myself, I know just how time-consuming and costly such battles can be.  The campaigners are up against a system horribly rigged against them, because all too often – although they may win every battle locally (in our case we won unanimous support from our local council) – in the end an inspector may come down from London to rule that the wind farm must go ahead because it is “government policy”.

Awarmists Deny the Failure of Their Fraud

Prof. Bob Carter, in The Age, writes “An Inconvenient Fallacy”:
Now, just last week, we discover that the new Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, believes too that “scientific consensus … provides the best guidance we have for decisions that are informed and rational”, and that “the science is in on climate change”.
Wrong on both counts.  Where a scientific issue is involved, the best way to approach the formulation of public policy is not to base it on a contrived consensus of self-interested parties, nor to “ask the UN”, but to pay attention to the facts and keep an open mind.
Since 2007, then, the government’s chosen climate communicators have failed to confront the real climate change issue (which is natural climate hazard).  Second, and as opinion polls clearly show, they have failed to convince the public that a global warming crisis exists, or that a carbon dioxide tax will have any beneficial influence on future climate.  Labor's woe-is-me moment has clearly arrived.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet announced the government’s solution on June 16.  It is to spend $12 million on “informing” the electorate about the need for a carbon dioxide tax.
It is certainly true that voters need to understand better the most important facts relevant to allegedly dangerous, human-related global warming.  So let us list the five most salient facts the minister might try to communicate in his advertisements.
Fact 1.  A mild warming of about 0.5 degrees C. (well within previous natural temperature variations) occurred between 1979 and 1998, and has been followed by slight global cooling over the past 10 years.  Ergo, dangerous global warming is not occurring.
Fact 2.  Between 2001 and 2010 global average temperature decreased by 0.05 degrees, over the same time that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increased by 5%.  Ergo, carbon dioxide emissions are not driving dangerous warming.
Fact 3.  Atmospheric carbon dioxide is beneficial.  In increasing quantity it causes mild though diminishing warming (useful at a time of a quiet sun and likely near-future planetary cooling) and acts as a valuable plant fertiliser.  Extra carbon dioxide helps to shrink the Sahara Desert, green the planet and feed the world.  Ergo, carbon dioxide is neither a pollutant nor dangerous, but an environmental benefit.
Fact 4.  Closing down the whole Australian industrial economy might result in the prevention of about 0.02 degrees of warming. Reducing emissions by 5% by 2020 (the government's target) will avert an even smaller warming of about 0.002 degrees.  Ergo, cutting Australian emissions will make no measurable difference to global climate.
Fact 5.  For an assumed tax rate of $25 a tonne of carbon dioxide, the costs passed down to an average family of four will exceed $2,000 a year.
So the cost-benefit equation is this:  “Your family pays more than $2,000 a year in extra tax in return for a possible cooling of the globe by two one-thousandths of a degree”.  Remember, too, that [Prof. Ross] Garnaut’s recommendation is that the tax rate should be increased at 4% a year, which would result in a cost doubling in less than 20 years.
In the light of these facts, little wonder the government’s four horsemen of the climate apocalypse have been unable to convince the public of the desirability of carbon dioxide taxation.  Labor has indeed tried hard and valiantly, but it is time to admit failure and to adopt an alternative policy.
Voters now recognise that in the absence of an international agreement no action that Australia takes can “stop global warming”.   But natural climate hazard in Australia is so dangerous that nonetheless a need remains for a politically feasible, environmentally sensible and cost-effective climate policy.  That policy should be to prepare for and adapt to all climatic hazards, as and when they occur and whatever their cause.
See also Tim Blair:
A couple of comments from government climate change adviser Ross Garnaut and government chief scientist Ian Chubb last week hint at the irritation felt by those on the climate change panic team, many of whom are beginning to lash out in angry and amusing ways.
This is entirely understandable.  After all, it must be frustrating when you wade into a public debate armed only with the combined forces of the federal government, the United Nations, the European Union, thousands of activist groups, the vast majority of the media and general elite opinion worldwide, only to find your concerns broadly rejected.
UPDATE (28 June):  As of Tuesday morning, The Age still refers to Prof. Carter as a “climate change denialist”.

25 June, 2011

Judicial Knowledge

Lawrence Solomon, in the Financial Post, writes:
The justices of the United States Supreme Court this week became the world’s most august global warming sceptics.  Not by virtue of their legal reasoning – the global warming case they decided turned on a technical legal issue – but in their surprising commentary.  Global warming is by no means a settled issue, they made clear, suggesting it would be foolhardy to assume it was.
“The court, we caution, endorses no particular view of the complicated issues related to carbon-dioxide emissions and climate change,” reads the 8-0 decision, delivered by the court’s acclaimed liberal, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The court decision noted that the Environmental Protection Agency itself had “Acknowledg[ed] that not all scientists agreed on the causes and consequences of the rise in global temperatures,” before suggesting readers consult “views opposing” the conventional wisdom.  Specifically, the justices’ recommended reading was a superb profile of Princeton’s Freeman Dyson, perhaps America’s most respected scientist, written in the New York Times Magazine, March 29, 2009.
Freeman, an unabashed skeptic, believes that carbon dioxide, rather than being harmful, is both necessary and desirable, arguing that “increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”
Somewhat in the same vein, Justice Ginsburg notes carbon dioxide is necessary and ubiquitous, and thus shouldn’t be the target of indiscriminate attacks.  “After all, we each emit carbon dioxide merely by breathing,” she notes, repeating a point that Dyson couldn’t have said better himself.

23 June, 2011

The Friends of Carbon Dioxide

Following the farewell-speech of Sen. Nick Minchin, who advocated the foundation, “The Friends of Carbon Dioxide” has been established with a website.  Membership of the foundation is free, open to all, and entails little more than asserting one’s membership and exhaling carbon dioxide.

22 June, 2011

Sydney Morning Herald’s Stupidity

A poll asks: “Do you believe that man’s activities are affecting the world’s climate?”

The correct answer is, “Slightly, but not catastrophically.  Your point is what exactly?”
A poll, at Say “Yes” to More Taxes, asks whether the SMH’s idiotic question be deliberate.

18 June, 2011

Defrauding Schools, Teachers, and Schoolchildren

The Great TakingITGlobal/DeforestACTION Swindle

Here’s how the scam works:
kids want to save the forests
and cute animals;

so, get schools involved,*
recruit gullible teachers,
bank loads of money.

Kids raise donations
and provide advertisements
voluntarily §

(though anyone else
using unpaid child-labour
would be in trouble).

Best of all is this:
a registered NPO
pays no income tax!

raking it in globally—
profitable con.

*  see Enforced Donation in Addition to Indoctrination.
†  see, for example, here.
‡  TakingITGlobal provides an audited financial statement no later than that of 2008: the revenues [in Canadian dollars] for 2008 (excluding in-kind contributions and amortisation of capital contributions) were $1,623,029, whilst salaries, benefits and internships were $965,360; advertising and promotion cost $412,547; and travel cost $320,064.

§  At least Greenpeace (not
pays its collectors.

06 June, 2011

Say “Yes” to Increased Taxes

A new site has been launched to say “Yes” to a tax on carbon dioxide.