Climategate 1.0/2.0 Did Not Begin With Climate: Revisiting Neo-Malthusian Intolerance

by Robert Bradley Jr. Master Resource
November 29, 2011

Michael Mann: “I gave up on Judith Curry a while ago. I don’t know what she thinks she’s doing, but it’s not helping the cause.”

Phil Jones: “I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process.”

The above emails are representative of the sickly fare of a group of physical scientists who set out to change the world from one of open-ended economic growth to one of economic constraint via international carbon planning. The good news is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gatekeepers have once again been exposed by the e-mail release of last week, now known the world over as Climategate 2.0.

Having consersations like this is way beyond the bounds of scholarship or decent inquiry. We have heard of market failure and government failure–we need the term academic failure to describe scientists behaving badly.

For students of neo-Malthusianism–alarmism in different dimensions that began with Robert Thomas Malthus’s An Essay on Population in 1798–Climategate 1.0 and 2.0 continue a trend line. To really appreciate the desperation of climate alarmists in the face of contimuing anomolies, theoretical and empirical, context is required. That context is the failed worldview of modern neo-Malthusianism, which has promoted fear after fear with an intolerant, smartest-guys-in-the-room, above-the-rules mentality.

Remember the “population bomb” where many millions would die in food riots? Well, obesity turned out to be the real problem.

Remember the Club of Rome’s resource scare? In 1972, 57 predictions of exhaustion were made regarding 19 different minerals. All either have been falsified or will be.

Remember the global-cooling scare promoted by, among others, the Obama administration’s science czar, John Holdren? (Yes, global cooling was a big deal, although it was not a “consensus.”)

And all of the above doom merchants were uber-confident and still are loath to admit they were ever wrong. Holdren, for example, has not disowned his prediction that as many as one billion people could die by 2020 from (man-made) climate change. That’s nine years, folks.

Climategate/Climate McCarthyism

Intolerance rules in the global warming scare. Read the new flaming emails from the principals of Climategate. Read about Joseph “Climate McCarthyism” Romm by his critics on the Left. Read the words of (non-Climategater) Michael Schlesinger, who lost his cool against New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin.

And of course there is John Holdren, now science advisor to President Obama, who graciously rejoined as follows when I asked him to critically review my essay evaluating his 2003 criticism of Bjorn Lomborg, “The Heated Energy Debate.” Holdren responded:

What exactly entitles you to the evidently self-applied label of ‘energy expert’? …. You are of course entitled to (verbally) attack me in any legal way you like, but please don’t then pretend in personal notes to me that we are colleagues, each doing our best to get at the truth…. [Y]ou appear to be … lacking both discernible qualifications in the real world and the ability to tell a good argument from a bad one. I want nothing further to do with you.

A strange intellectual dude.

Remember Julian Simon

Today’s Climategate is predictable with some of the same players at work–and many new ones as well. Remember how Paul R. Ehrlich treated his intellectual rival Julian Simon? The Stanford University biologist refused to debate Simon or even meet him in person. He insulted Simon repeatedly in print. Ehrlich even scolded Science magazine for publishing Simon’s 1980 breakthrough essay “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of Bad News,” with the words: “Could the editors have found someone to review Simon’s manuscript who had to take off this shoes to count to 20?” (quoted in Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource II, 1996, p. 612).

Here is the full story from chapter 11 of my Capitalism at Work: Business, Government, and Energy (pp. 272–73):

Science magazine in mid-1980 published an essay by Julian Simon that “raised the blood pressure of the scientific community a good twenty points,” one Malthusian environmentalist recalled. “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of False Bad News” presented official statistics to refute high-profile media scare stories. In so doing, Simon challenged the interrelated notions of a fixed supply of land, fixed and depleting resources, a growing inadequacy of food supply, an inverse relationship between population and progress, and a worsening environment.

Simon’s cherry-on-top was answering, Why do we hear phony bad news? Part of his explanation was “bad news sells books, newspapers, and magazines: good news is not half so interesting.” He asked, “Is it a wonder that there are lots of bad-news best-sellers warning about pollution, population growth, and natural-resource depletion but none telling us the facts about improvement?”

The provocative essay, published on the home turf of the neo-Malthusians, put Simon’s ideas in play. Princeton University Press rushed ahead to publish what became Simon’s signature book, The Ultimate Resource. The sustainability debate was finally joined.

A flood of dissent filled the offices of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in response to Simon’s cannon shot. Paul Ehrlich asked: “Could the editors have found someone to review Simon’s manuscript who had to take off his shoes to count to 20?” Paul and Anne Ehrlich, John Holdren, and John Harte in a reply challenged Simon’s contention that oil was not becoming permanently scarcer. “The fact is that OPEC’s price hikes and the ‘improved market power’ of coal and uranium both reflected a new reality based on emerging scarcity of oil and natural gas.” Record oil prices gave at least superficial credence to their depletionism, but Simon, like M.A. Adelman, would soon have the upper hand.

Simon designed The Ultimate Resource (1981) to irresistibly engage his opponents. Using The Affluent Society by John Kenneth Galbraith as his model, Simon sought to write a popular book that would influence academia via the general public. Thus Simon turned over his trump cards in the introduction.

Hold your hat—our supplies of natural resources are not finite in any economic sense…. If the past is any guide, natural resources will progressively become less scarce, and less costly, and will constitute a smaller proportion of our expenses in future years. And population growth is likely to have a long-run beneficial impact on the natural-resource environment.

Energy. Grab your hat again—the long-run future of our energy supply is at least as bright as that of other natural resources, though political maneuvering can temporarily boost prices from time to time. Finiteness is no problem here either. And the long-run impact of additional people is likely to speed the development of a cheap energy supply that is almost inexhaustible.

Twenty-three chapters and thousands of data points later, his book ended: “The ultimate resource is people—skilled, spirited, and hopeful people who will exert their wills and imaginations for their own benefit, and so, inevitably, for the benefit of us all.” This was Erich Zimmermann resurrected—but backed by a much richer empirical record within a wider framework. It was Zimmermann who had written decades earlier, “Freedom and wisdom, the fruits of knowledge, are the fountainhead of resources.” A science of expansionism, and the integration of “depletable resources” in the corpus of general economics, was at hand.

The Ultimate Resource, condensing and building upon Simon’s 1977 book, The Economics of Population Growth, offered a new way to view the world. Science historian Thomas Kuhn, two decades before, had explained the whirlwind that Simon now found himself in. In Kuhnian terms, Simon’s time-series data revealed a gaping anomaly in an entrenched neo-Malthusian paradigm. The process of normal science had now to give way to extraordinary science, a scientific revolution whereby a new gestalt came forth. Not surprisingly, the establishment, viewing the world in a preformed and relatively inflexible box, was intolerant of the new theory.

Paradigm shifts, Kuhn explained, overturn the established order. Emotions run high. The process begins with scientists … behav[ing] differently and continues with pronounced professional insecurity where years and perhaps lifetimes of work and writing are put at risk. If the paradigm is powerful and useful, with open questions answered, it prevails until only a few elderly hold-outs remain.

Simon’s shift of vision was not verifiable as in the laboratory sciences, where experimentation under controlled conditions can objectively settle matters. While taking into account physical laws, social science issues such as the costs and benefits of population growth offered plenty of wiggle room for scientists to interpret the data differently or hold out for new data. Julian Simon would practically have to go it alone until economists—a few, more, then many—joined him against an entrenched core of largely environmental scientists wed to Malthusian notions.

Is there a paradigm crisis with exaggerated climate science? Is this why, in Kuhnian terms, so many–far too many–scientists are behaving strangely and badly?

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Climate ‍Change Fraud

IBD Letter by Ray Wallace

‍Climate: The left’s proposed solutions for the world’s ills are based on the idea that carbon dioxide is a climate-heating poison that must be scrubbed from the global economy at all cost. Yet another study shows this is foolish.

The study in the journal Science found that global temperatures appear to be far less sensitive to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere than originally estimated.

This sounds prosaic, but it’s a bombshell — another in a long line of revelations showing the scientific fraud at the heart of the anti-global warming movement.

The study’s findings are simple and devastating. “This implies that the effect of CO2 on ‍climate is less than previously thought,” said Oregon State University’s Andreas Schmittner, the study’s main author.

Even with a doubling of CO2 from levels that existed before the Industrial Revolution, the study found a likely increase in Earth’s temperature only from about 3.1 degrees Fahrenheit to 4.7 degrees Fahrenheit.

That compares with the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on ‍Climate ‍Change‍’‍s 2007 report, which predicted an increase of 3.6 degrees to 8.6 degrees.

Coupled average global temperature hasn’t increased at all over the past decade — even though under all of the global warming models now in use, this is impossible — warmist ideology is crumbling. There is no ‍climate armageddon on the horizon.

But don’t expect global warm-mongers to admit this. As we’ve discovered from a new trove of emails sent by leading European climate-change scientists, there has been a vast, global green conspiracy to silence scientific opposition to the idea — even to the point of falsifying data and ruining others’ careers.

The left’s entire prescription for solving the world’s ills — ranging from population control to strict regulation of businesses to shrinking CO2 output are premised on the notion that carbon-dioxide is a poison.

Happily, the left’s pernicious, economy-destroying and false global warming ideology is collapsing under a growing body of evidence that the CO2 scare is a fraud.

Who says we have nothing to be thankful for?

Ray Wallace
Director, Business Development
3809 Church Road
Mount Laurel, NJ 08054

The Non-Green Jobs Boom

Wall Street Journal

So President Obama was right all along. Domestic energy production really is a path to prosperity and new job creation. His mistake was predicting that those new jobs would be “green,” when the real employment boom is taking place in oil and gas.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported recently that the U.S. jobless rate remains a dreadful 9%. But look more closely at the data and you can see which industries are bucking the jobless trend. One is oil and gas production, which now employs some 440,000 workers, an 80% increase, or 200,000 more jobs, since 2003. Oil and gas jobs account for more than one in five of all net new private jobs in that period.

The ironies here are richer than the shale deposits in North Dakota’s Bakken formation. While Washington has tried to force-feed renewable energy with tens of billions in special subsidies, oil and gas production has boomed thanks to private investment. And while renewable technology breakthroughs never seem to arrive, horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have revolutionized oil and gas extraction—with no Energy Department loan guarantees needed.

The oil and gas rush has led to a jobs boom. North Dakota has the nation’s lowest jobless rate, at 3.5%, and the state now has some 200 rigs pumping 440,000 barrels of oil a day, four times the amount in 2006. The state reports more than 16,000 current job openings, and places like Williston have become meccas for workers seeking jobs that often pay more than $100,000 a year.

Or take production in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale formation, which the state Department of Labor and Industry says created 18,000 new jobs in the first half of 2011. Some 214,000 jobs are now tied to a natural gas industry that barely existed in the Keystone State a decade ago. Energy firms are also rushing to develop the Utica shale in eastern Ohio, and they are expanding operations in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma, among other places.

Enlarge Image

Bloomberg News.
Good news? You’d think so, but liberals can’t seem to handle this truth so they are now trying to discredit the jobs that accompany it. The American Petroleum Institute recently commissioned a study by the Wood Mackenzie consulting firm, which estimated that better federal energy policy would create an additional 1.4 million jobs by 2030.

This has caused a fury on the political left, which complains that the study included estimates of direct and indirect jobs (such as equipment suppliers) but also “induced” jobs, or jobs created when oil workers spend their salaries at, say, hotels, restaurants or bowling alleys. It seems these claims rely on—drum roll, please—”multipliers” to produce estimates of knock-on jobs.

Liberals know all about multipliers, which are the central operating conceit of modern Keynesian economics. The entire public justification for the $820 billion Obama stimulus was the claim that every $1 of spending would have a multiplier effect of 1.5 or more and thus create millions of new jobs.

That looks like a joke now. But Democrats and liberals continue to cite the black-box multiplier claims of Moody’s Mark Zandi, who says the latest Obama jobs bill will create 1.9 million jobs. Some 750,000 of those jobs are supposed to appear merely from extending the payroll tax holiday for workers, giving them more money to spend on, say, hotels or restaurants or bowling alleys. All such multipliers are suspect, but the liberals can’t have it both ways and invoke them to justify government spending but then repudiate them for private business.

In any case the beauty of the oil and gas boom is that multipliers aren’t needed to predict job growth. It’s happening right before our eyes. And it stands to reason that if the Obama Administration dropped its hostility to oil and gas energy, even more jobs would be created as the industry invested to exploit other areas with new technology and production methods.

Yet earlier this month the Interior Department released a new five-year plan that puts most of the Outer Continental Shelf off-limits for oil drilling. And the Administration has delayed for at least another year the Keystone XL pipeline that is shovel-ready to create 20,000 new direct, pipeline-related jobs.

The Office of Natural Resources Revenue recently noted that federal revenue from offshore bonus bids (from lease sales) in fiscal 2011 was merely $36 million—down from $9.5 billion in fiscal 2008. The Obama Administration has managed the nearly impossible feat of turning energy policy into a money loser, pouring taxpayer dollars into green-energy busts like Solyndra. The Washington Post reported in September that Mr. Obama’s $38.6 billion green loan program had created a mere 3,500 jobs over two years. He had predicted it would “save or create” 65,000.

Mr. Obama nonetheless keeps talking about “green jobs” as if repetition will conjure them. He’d do more for the economy if he dropped the ideological illusions and embraced the job-creating, wealth-producing reality of domestic fossil fuels.

Noise regulations: Denmark accused of applying double standards to windfarm neighbours

Opposition to wind farms has been growing in Denmark. Because of this, the Danish energy company DONG had taken the decision to no longer erect wind turbines in the countryside, and to put them offshore instead. But wind farms at sea cost twice as much to build and to maintain, and the price of electricity for households is already, in Denmark, 100% more expensive than in most of Europe. So the new government elected in September wants to build more wind farms onshore, in spite of their adverse impacts on the health of neighbours.

To help placate angry country dwellers, noise limits are being reviewed by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and a public consultation is underway. But there is much controversy. Dr Mauri Johansson, a Danish physician specialised in community health and occupational medicine (now retired), accuses the EPA of manipulations to the detriment of the health of neighbours. He is not alone: a team of researchers from Aalborg University led by Professor Henrik Moeller, an internationally-renowned acoustics specialist, are also putting in doubt the work of the Danish government. They are themselves supported by Kerstin Persson Waye, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at Gothenburg University, Sweden. (1)

In a nutshell, under the proposed EPA regulations, for 33% of neighbours it will feel “as if a truck is idling just outside their homes”. Dr Johansson and Professor Moeller are at odds with their government, which claims against all evidence that “Denmark is leading the fight against low frequency noise from wind turbines.”

Canadian physician Dr Robert McMurtry, formerly Dean of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, and formerly Assistant Deputy Minister of Population & Public Health, at Health Canada, wrote a letter supporting Professor Moeller:

“Truth has become a casualty. Sadly there are many ill-consequences to the policies for the installation of industrial wind turbines (IWT), not the least of which are adverse effects on human health. I have met more than 40 people whose lives have been devastated when IWT became their bad neighbor. It is also clear that this is a global phenomenon and yet the denial by many of those in authority continues.” (2)

Support for the Danish and Swedish academic opposition to the new, lax legislation on wind turbine noise being concocted in Copenhagen has been coming from a number of noise engineers, acousticians, doctors, psychologists and nurses in the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc. who have expressed in conferences and in the media their concern about the failure of governments to address properly the wind farm health problem. To name a few: Dr Nina Pierpont, USA, author of “The Wind Farm Syndrome”; Dr Sarah Laurie, Australia, Medical Director of the Waubra Foundation; Dr Bob Thorne, Australia, Psychoacoustician; and Dr Carl Phillips, a Harvard-trained epidemiologist specializing in public health policy, formerly tenured professor in the School of Public Health, University of Alberta, who wrote about governments denying the health problem: “The attempts to deny the evidence cannot be seen as honest scientific disagreement and represent either gross incompetence or intentional bias.” (3)

Per Clausen, chair of the Unity Lists Energy Committee in the Danish Parliament, is concerned by the preferential (lax) treatment being applied to noise from wind farms. He understands that his government wants to speed up the deployment of wind turbines, but is opposed to applying double standards in favour of any industry, to the detriment of its neighbours’ health. (1)

European and North American wind farm health victims, represented by EPAW and NA-PAW, are concerned that the improperly-conducted, double-standard studies of the Danish EPA will be used as a model by governments world-wide. They remind the health authorities that the Australian Senate, after hearing evidence in a special public enquiry on wind farms, recommended that infrasound & low frequency noise issues be properly investigated. The above shows that this is not being done. A parallel may be drawn with the bogus tobacco studies conducted years back, which resulted in class action lawsuits.

Taxpayer-Subsidized Electric Vehicles Disappoint Consumers (Except Jay Leno)

By Paul Chesser

Last week NLPC reported about a Consumer Reports reviewer’s unpleasant experience driving the all-electric Nissan Leaf. Despite Liza Barth’s frequent range anxiety and endurance of freezing temperatures so as to avoid using the Leaf’s heater to preserve its power, she declined to give it a “thumbs down.” Instead, she seemed to chalk up the inconveniences (like “numb fingers and toes”) to her own inability to adapt to new technology, rather than calling the electric vehicle what it really is: a failure that is massively subsidized by taxpayers.

Last month another Leaf customer wrote about his experience, and as opposed to Barth’s presumed objective perspective, this driver went into his purchase with eagerness and enthusiasm. Now he calls his EV “my 2011 Nissan Solyndra.”

“I am ready to turn over a new Leaf – my own,” wrote Rob Eshman, editor-in-chief of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles.

Eshman explains that he went into the experience with the idea of doing his patriotic duty, after he watched a CNN interview with a descendant of Saudi Arabian royalty who said his country wanted to lower oil prices, because they don’t want Americans to seek alternatives.

“A viable set of alternatives to oil would deprive oppressive Middle East regimes of their single most important source of power,” Eshman wrote in an earlier column in June, about his actual purchase of the Leaf. “It would shrink the wallets of those who fund terror and who spread the most extreme forms of Islam. It would deprive many of Israel’s enemies of their geopolitical influence. It would help save us from the doom of climate change.”

So Eshman swung into action, contacted Nissan, and “arranged delivery of my Leaf.” Take that, Saudi prince!

Now, four months later, he rues the investment he made to help divest Americans from their dependence on Middle East oil brokers. As is the case with others, Eshman has found that the 100-mile range promised by Nissan (even to this day) – as Consumer Reports’ Barth also discovered – is a fantasy. His three most recent measurements showed he traveled less than 60 miles on a full charge each time.

“My life now revolves around a near-constant calculation of how far I can drive before I’ll have to walk,” Eshman wrote last month. “The Nissan Leaf, I can report, is perfect if you don’t have enough anxiety in your life.”

And just as Barth conveyed her own encounter with EV range anxiety, with extra road tolls and frozen feet, so also did Eshman tell about one representative experience:

My gauge said I had 82 miles available, and I decided that was enough to drop off my son at Camp Alonim in Simi Valley….

Alonim is 35 miles from our home. I drove below the speed limit on the freeway, windows down so I could keep the mileage-guzzling AC off. Nevertheless, by the time I arrived at camp, I had only 31 of the original 82 miles left. That’s been my experience day in and day out — the gauge reports a best-case scenario that lures me into magical thinking. I left Alonim and drove another 10 miles to Mission Hills. Reported miles: 82. Actual miles driven: 41. Now the gauge showed me having three miles to go.

Knowing that charging stations are as rare as monorails in L.A., I decided to pull off the freeway and drive very slowly to the closest Nissan dealership, where I could put in more juice. I called my office and told them I’d be late, as I had to charge enough to drive the next 20 miles. That would take two hours.

So not only does the Leaf require that drivers not adjust their climate settings so as to maximize range, but even with that, they should not trust their power gauges. Must be a pleasant ride during a Los Angeles summer, inhaling fellow travelers’ exhaust in 90-plus degree heat while at a standstill on I-405. And as to whether he thinks the Leaf is still economical, Eshman responded, “if you only drive 20 miles a day, is your gasoline bill high enough to justify the Leaf’s nonsubsidized cost?” In addition to the federal tax rebate of $7,500, Californians also receive from the state an addition $2,500 rebate (it was $5,000 until the money ran out) plus a $2,000 rebate for the installation of a charger in their home, plus insurance discounts and use of HOV lanes regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle.

Apparently the deception of the Leaf’s gauges is matched by Nissan’s dealers. Eshman discovered after signing the leasing papers that promises made about EV’s capabilities were a bit overstated. “The dealer told me AC uses 30 percent more power,” he wrote in June. “I’m seeing it’s more like 50.”

And then there are the chargers (slow, unless you have access to a 440-volt port), their availability (slim), and their cost ($6,000 for a 220-volt model, minus a couple thousand dollars from a taxpayer rebate). “The dealer proudly pointed out that my model comes with a 440-volt charging port,” Eshman explained. “‘Where can I find a 440 charger?’ I asked, all excited. ‘I think in Germany,’ he said.”

The defenders of EVs, particularly the Leaf, had strong words for Eshman in the comments that followed his piece:

“I’m sorry man, you must REALLY be driving it wrong.”

“The car is absolutely capable of 100 miles range if driven efficiently. I’d be happy to go for a ride with you and teach you these simple techniques.” (this was a salesman at a Nissan dealership)

“Like any alternative technology you must adapt to it, not the other way around.”

So while the strategy by Nissan and its dealers was to promote a vehicle as though under normal use would still get 100 miles, its California apologists – who all think taxpayers across the country should pay for their EV fetishes – pig-pile on dissatisfied owners for their “misuse” and wrongheaded expectations.

Perhaps the most disgusting aspect of the whole EV experience is that taxpayers are subsidizing cars and chargers ($2 billion and growing) for well-heeled, elitist buyers who can afford the Leaf or Volt without the help. After my last column for NLPC about the Leaf, a Los Angeles owner who works in the entertainment industry emailed:

“Why oh why would anyone NOT charge every night? To do otherwise is simply silly and self-defeating. The Consumer Reports tester should be duly chastised for being so foolish and unaware.”

And “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno – a car enthusiast who has an enormous garage full of vehicles at his disposal – says since he received his Chevy Volt semi-hybrid nearly one year ago, he has not added gasoline once.

“It’s my daily driver,” he told the New York Times. “It really is. I commute in it to work every day. My commute, and all my other daily running around, totals less than 35 miles.

“You get 40 miles free, as they say. Because of the way I drive it, it almost never kicks into gasoline mode.”

So congratulations to rich California liberals: You convinced Washington to make taxpayers cover the cost of your daily driving habits, none of which diminish Middle East oil imports, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or any other made-up societal problem you cite to justify this social engineering.

Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center.

EU governments did not do their homework on wind energy

It now appears that wind farms may have no benefits at all
According to the European Platform Against Wind Farms (EPAW), which represents over 500 associations from 23 countries, the National Renewable Energy Action Plans adopted by EU States in June 2010 have failed to answer two essential questions: how much will be saved in greenhouse gas emissions by the EU target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and how much will it cost Society to implement this policy (1). The Platform argues that it is a violation of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s Aarhus Convention on Human and Environmental Rights, which is a mandatory part of EU law. (2)

From a political point of view, remarks EPAW, it is nothing short of irresponsible that billions upon billions of euros of public money would be spent on “green investments” without first conducting feasibility studies showing the expected results in terms of CO2 saved. “After all”, says its CEO Mark Duchamp, “using less fossil fuels is the whole purpose of this pharaonic investment which, on the negative side, destroys 2 – 5 jobs for everyone it creates (3), stalls the recovery of the EU economy, threatens the existence of the euro, destroys the tourism potential of countless natural and cultural assets, causes losses in property value in the billions of euros, affects the health of wind farm neighbours (noise + infrasounds), is driving many species of birds and bats to extinction, etc.”

What is happening now, according to EPAW, is that the public is slowly awakening to the fact that wind farms may not be saving anything at all in terms of fossil fuels burnt and CO2 emitted. That’s mainly because the wind farms’ erratic production force fossil-fuel power plants, which are needed to back them up when wind is not optimal, to spend much more fuel working in stop-and-go mode – much like a car in city traffic as opposed to highway. “As a matter of fact”, recalls Duchamp, “in 2010 the Spanish government paid a little over 1 billion euros to these plants, to compensate them for the impact of wind and solar on their operation.”

The Platform draws attention to “the Bentek report” (4), which shows that wind farms, when increased emissions from back-up plants are considered, save much less CO2 and other gasses than what is claimed by the wind industry, governments, and green activists. Says Mark: “if you deduct from this much smaller quantity of savings the additional emissions caused by fossil fuels burnt to manufacture, transport, install, and maintain wind turbines and their power lines; if you consider that these come on top of fossil fuels burnt to build gas-fired or coal-fired power plants to regulate and back up the erratic and unreliable production of wind energy; if you deduct the CO2 released into the atmosphere by the oxidisation of peat in countries like the UK or Ireland; if you also deduct lost CO2 savings resulting from the vast quantities of natural carbon sinks (peat, forests, vegetation in general) that are being destroyed by the large footprint of wind farms; if you deduct the transmission loss of electricity produced far away from where it is consumed (about 9%); if you deduct all this from the meager savings evidenced by the Bentek study, then it is quite possible that the overall savings in CO2 and other gasses may in fact be negative – i.e. wind farms would cause overall use of fossil fuels, and CO2 emissions, to increase by a few percentage points. Indeed, a European study by Dr Udo concludes on this possibility (5).”

It is noteworthy, stresses EPAW, that the massive build-up of wind farms in countries like Denmark or Germany has not caused any measurable reduction in CO2 emissions or use of fossil fuels. In Europe, the Irish grid operator EIRGRID shows on its website real data on wind energy production and CO2 emissions, from which similar observations may be drawn. Dr Fred Udo, a distinguished engineer from CERN in Geneva, now retired, did a study based on Eirgrid data. His conclusions put in doubt the very usefulness of wind energy (5).

The North American Platform Against Windpower (NA-PAW) coincides. “In North America” comments her CEO, Sherri Lange, “studies on the efficacy of wind energy are notoriously absent from policy documents on that form of energy. As in other matters, our governments blindly follow influential lobbies, in this case Green Activism and Big Wind. This is not a proper way to determine policy.”

Contacts:
Mark Duchamp +34 693 643 736 (Spain) Skype: mark.duchamp
CEO, EPAW http://www.epaw.org
save.the.eagles@gmail.com

Sherri Lange +1 416 567 5115 (Canada)
CEO, NA-PAW http://www.na-paw.org
kodaisl@rogers.com

See references here: http://www.epaw.org/media.php?lang=en&article=pr3

Lawrence Solomon: Green Insurance Fraud

Lawrence Solomon: Green Insurance Fraud
Saturday, 19 November 2011 09:30
The insurance industry has been behind the global-warming-weather fraud since the 1970s

Your home insurance premiums — and the insurance industry’s profits — depend largely on the industry’s skill in making two types of investments: in the stock market and in marketing that scares the bejesus out of its customers.

The insurance industry, like most in these turbulent times, hasn’t done well of late in picking blockbuster stocks. But it has done brilliantly in picking blockbuster scares — all related to global warming. The upshot? The insurance industry wants more money to cover its poor stock picks. And more money again to cover future global warming risks. With the government’s blessing, insurers will now jack up your home insurance premiums by 10% to 15% in the coming year.

The insurance industry earned every dollar that it makes from global warming — its sharp-eyed marketers spotted the potential before anyone else. In 1973, Munich Re, one of the world’s largest insurers, warned that rising temperatures could result in receding glaciers and polar caps, shrinking lakes, and rising ocean temperatures, with carbon dioxide as the culprit.

“We wish to enlarge on this complex of problems in greater detail, especially as — as far we know — its conceivable impact on the long-range risk trend has hardly been examined to date,” Munich Re concluded. And enlarge on the problem it did. Munich Re enlisted others in the insurance industry and then methodically and relentlessly made its case to Greenpeace, other environmentalists and other industries that stood to profit.

The result was the greatest environmental scare success in history. By 1979 large numbers of scientists were on board, the World Climate Conference expressing concern that “continued expansion of man’s activities on Earth” may lead to climate change. By 1988, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s was born. By 1992, Maurice Strong and Al Gore held the Rio Conference and by 1997, the Kyoto Treaty was a reality.

Canada’s insurance industry also led. One year after Kyoto, the industry founded and has ever since funded the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, which it installed at the University of Western Ontario. This sciencey-sounding institute, which calls itself “an independent, not-for-profit research institute,” has as its executive director Paul Kovaks, formerly of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the industry’s lobby group. The institute’s board? Its chair’s day job is president and chief executive of Co-operators Group, while other directors include top dogs at State Farm Canada, Swiss Reinsurance, Lloyd’s Canada and Allstate Canada.

The main work of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, naturally enough, involves avoiding catastrophic loss reductions on the balance sheets of Co-operators, State Farm and its other corporate members. The research from this bought-and-paid-for operation has then justified higher insurance rates on the basis “that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is rising, contributing to an increase in claims and costs.”

Just this week, the institute’s Gordon McBean, also an author for the IPCC’s latest scary report, reiterated this view. “Where we have good data on the observations of the climate, you can show that there is an increased frequency of high-precipitation events,” McBean told CBC, adding that “analysis done by scientists shows that that change is related directly to the greenhouse gas — increasing — concentrations. In other words, it’s a part of the human-caused climate change.”

More scary stuff appears on the website of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, which blames climate change for extreme weather events that in turn lead to higher industry payouts and thus higher rates. “Protect Yourself From the Effects of Climate Change” one headline states, asking: “Are you disaster ready?” Readers then have a choice of seven climate-change threats to click on — hurricanes, severe storms, winter storms, wildfire and the like. The top climate change scare that the Insurance Bureau lists, bizarrely, is “Earthquakes,” which not even the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction blames on climate change.

Canadian insurers like TD Insurance claim “it’s a proven fact” that climate change is driving rate increases. This is true, not because the science justifies rate increases but because government regulators and many in the public accept the claim as valid. The actual facts, from those not associated with the IPCC, say quite the opposite, and emphatically so.

Last year, the American Meteorological Society published a peer-reviewed study that investigated insurance claims from extreme weather events. The study’s author, Laurens M. Bouwer of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands, examined 22 previous disaster loss studies involving extreme-weather-related natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, as well as small-scale weather events such as wildfires and hailstorms.

The conclusion: “The studies show no trends in losses … that could be attributed to anthropogenic climate change. Therefore it can be concluded that anthropogenic climate change so far has not had a significant impact on losses from natural disasters.”

In the face of overwhelming criticism of its climate change claims, even the IPCC has begun to backtrack. Its latest study uses a definition of climate change that concedes humans may contribute little or nothing to climate change: “Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.”

This is a far cry from the more common scary definition that blames humans for “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

The difference between the two definitions is not academic. If the insurance industry admitted that it has no reason to believe that anthropogenic climate change will drive future extreme events, we would all have extra money in our pockets.

Canadian PM eyes China after US pipeline delay

Source: International News

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday that he was looking at exporting more oil to China after the United States delayed a decision on a controversial pipeline.

President Barack Obama’s administration last week put off a decision on Keystone XL project after a major protest campaign by environmentalists, who say the pipeline would be prone to accidents and worsen climate change.

The conservative Canadian leader, taking part in a summit in Hawaii hosted by Obama said the pipeline decision had produced “extremely negative reactions” and that he discussed oil exports with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

“This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we are able to access Asian markets for our energy products,” Harper told reporters. “I indicated that yesterday (Saturday) to President Hu of China.”

The Harper government has pressed Obama to approve the 1,700-mile (2,700-kilometer) pipeline extension, which would stretch through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma before ending up in Texas.

Canada, the pipeline’s lead company TransCanada, and Obama’s Republican opponents say the $7 billion project would provide the United States with a stable source of energy from an ally and create thousands of jobs.

“I remain optimistic that the project will eventually go ahead because it makes eminent sense,” Harper said.

“This project is obviously what’s in the best interest not just of the Canadian economy but also of the American economy,” he said.

But environmentalists say an accident would be disastrous for aquifers in the US Great Plains and point to spills on an existing Keystone pipeline. The oil comes from tar sands, meaning it produces high levels of carbon emissions blamed for global warming.

The Obama administration, in ordering further study, cited particular concern about the pipeline’s planned route through the Sand Hills area of Nebraska, which has a sensitive ecosystem and shallow groundwater.

The State Department delayed a final decision until 2013, after next year’s presidential election.

Despite Paul Krugman’s Cheerleading, Solar Energy Has A Cloudy Future

By Lrrry Bell

Undeterred by recent green energy debacles, even the oft-cloudy Windy City plans to get into the solar subsidy scrimmage. On July 21, 2010, Chicago Mayor Daley took part in the dedication of an Exelon solar power plant in the West Pullman community.

Exelon received a loan guarantee of up to $646 million to help finance a 230 megawatt California solar power project near Lancaster, about 80 miles north of Las Angeles, which they expect to be in operation by late 2013. It will be built by First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will buy all of the power. Exelon has also announced plans to buy the Constellation Energy Group for $7.9 billion. Constellation owns five California solar projects which are much smaller than the Lancaster project.

So are U.S. solar business prospects really beaming? New York Times columnist Paul Krugman apparently thinks so. On November 8 he posted an article in the Seattle Times painting a very bright solar industry future, boldly proclaiming: “That’s right: Solar Power is Now Cost-Effective.”
“We’re just a few years from the point at which solar panels become cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal,” Krugman writes. He then goes on to say, “if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it’s likely that we would already have passed the tipping point.”

To support this, Krugman cites Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), using figures listed as “Advanced Coal with CCS”. Unfortunately he failed to understand or mention that CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) represents new cost requirements to reduce traditional air pollution from coal and capture the carbon emitted. Even then solar would be expected to cost 54% more than coal.
Krugman also assumes that a recent dramatic decline in solar panel costs will continue indefinitely. Here he ignores a larger global development.

First Solar, a Tempe, Ariz., company, is the largest U.S. solar maker that fabricates photovoltaic panels using a process that sandwiches a film of toxic cadmium telluride between panes of glass. Their system held market advantages until recently over Chinese-manufactured polysilicon-based cells found in 90% of panels sold worldwide, including those used to power small calculators.

The tables then turned as heavily subsidized Chinese manufacturers led by GCL-poly Energy Holdings Ltd. and LDK Solar Co. ramped up production last year, pushing the cost of the raw material down 90%. The price of polysilicon which had reached more than $400 per kilogram in 2008 dropped to less than $40. That development gutted profit margins across the industry, forcing companies such as First Solar to cut prices and struggle for solvency. The Bloomberg Global Leaders index dropped 55% last year, with First Solar shares plummeting 64%. First Solar ousted CEO Rob Gillette in October, liquidated inventory, and cut its 2011 earnings forecast.

And if this isn’t bad enough for U.S. suppliers, LDK has reported plans to triple its polysilicon capacity even though material prices are currently half what they were only a year ago. Bloomberg New Energy France reported that average solar module prices have slipped to as low as $1.10 a watt from more than $2 a year earlier.
H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, believes that “As America relies more upon green energy, it will be increasingly dependent on China’s good will.” Consider that in 2003 China produced only 1% of the world’s solar panels, and by 2009 grew its share to 38%. In 2003 U.S. production of solar panels accounted for 14% of the world total, but that share had fallen to only 4% by 2009. Over that same six year time interval world market production in all countries other than China fell from 85% to 58%.

Undeterred by recent green energy debacles, even the oft-cloudy Windy City plans to get into the solar subsidy scrimmage. On July 21, 2010, Chicago Mayor Daley took part in the dedication of an Exelon solar power plant in the West Pullman community.

Exelon received a loan guarantee of up to $646 million to help finance a 230 megawatt California solar power project near Lancaster, about 80 miles north of Las Angeles, which they expect to be in operation by late 2013. It will be built by First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. will buy all of the power. Exelon has also announced plans to buy the Constellation Energy Group for $7.9 billion. Constellation owns five California solar projects which are much smaller than the Lancaster project.

So are U.S. solar business prospects really beaming? New York Times columnist Paul Krugman apparently thinks so. On November 8 he posted an article in the Seattle Times painting a very bright solar industry future, boldly proclaiming: “That’s right: Solar Power is Now Cost-Effective.”
“We’re just a few years from the point at which solar panels become cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal,” Krugman writes. He then goes on to say, “if we priced coal-fired power right, taking into account the huge health and other costs it imposes, it’s likely that we would already have passed the tipping point.”

To support this, Krugman cites Estimated Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources reported by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), using figures listed as “Advanced Coal with CCS”. Unfortunately he failed to understand or mention that CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) represents new cost requirements to reduce traditional air pollution from coal and capture the carbon emitted. Even then solar would be expected to cost 54% more than coal.
Krugman also assumes that a recent dramatic decline in solar panel costs will continue indefinitely. Here he ignores a larger global development.

First Solar, a Tempe, Ariz., company, is the largest U.S. solar maker that fabricates photovoltaic panels using a process that sandwiches a film of toxic cadmium telluride between panes of glass. Their system held market advantages until recently over Chinese-manufactured polysilicon-based cells found in 90% of panels sold worldwide, including those used to power small calculators.

The tables then turned as heavily subsidized Chinese manufacturers led by GCL-poly Energy Holdings Ltd. and LDK Solar Co. ramped up production last year, pushing the cost of the raw material down 90%. The price of polysilicon which had reached more than $400 per kilogram in 2008 dropped to less than $40. That development gutted profit margins across the industry, forcing companies such as First Solar to cut prices and struggle for solvency. The Bloomberg Global Leaders index dropped 55% last year, with First Solar shares plummeting 64%. First Solar ousted CEO Rob Gillette in October, liquidated inventory, and cut its 2011 earnings forecast.

And if this isn’t bad enough for U.S. suppliers, LDK has reported plans to triple its polysilicon capacity even though material prices are currently half what they were only a year ago. Bloomberg New Energy France reported that average solar module prices have slipped to as low as $1.10 a watt from more than $2 a year earlier.
H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, believes that “As America relies more upon green energy, it will be increasingly dependent on China’s good will.” Consider that in 2003 China produced only 1% of the world’s solar panels, and by 2009 grew its share to 38%. In 2003 U.S. production of solar panels accounted for 14% of the world total, but that share had fallen to only 4% by 2009. Over that same six year time interval world market production in all countries other than China fell from 85% to 58%.

Solyndra, a famous casualty of the Chinese-orchestrated U.S. solar market collapse, had big problems long before it received a $535 million loan guarantee in 2009 to finance the first phase of an expansion plan to create a new photovoltaic solar panel manufacturing facility. According to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, the company had never turned a profit since the time it was founded in 2005. Solyndra’s auditor declared in a March 2010 amendment to its SEC registration statement: “…the company has suffered recurring losses, negative cash flows since inception and has a net stockholder’s deficit, among other factors, [that] raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a growing concern.” The company has since filed for bankruptcy, putting taxpayers on the hook to the tune of $390.5 million, 75% of the loan guarantee.

General Electric’s CEO and White House Economic Policy Council Head Jeffrey Immelt dismissed the political firestorm over Solyndra as an industry distraction. Speaking this month at a Columbia University New York event he said “I don’t care about Solyndra.” In the long run he expects GE’s thin-film cadmium telluride panels to beat China’s silicon panels on costs. He declared “GE is going to win. We’re going to invest what it takes.” To prove this point, GE has announced plans to build a new solar panel plant, the largest in the U.S., near Denver.
Perhaps…but whose money does he plan to invest? Ours perchance?

Take the Evergreen Solar Company as another example. After receiving $58 million in generous Massachusetts taxpayer subsidies it closed shop in the U.S., layed off its 800 workers, and moved to China. Similar to Solyndra, Evergreen should have been recognized as a perilous investment, having lost a cumulative $685 million with the majority of red ink on its books before grabbing the state aid. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who had extolled Evergreen as a “symbol’ of his state’s economic future, now says he plans to claw back some of that $58 million charity. Evergreen claims they don’t owe the state more than $4 million.
W. David Montgomery, senior vice president at Nera Economic Consulting, a New York firm, summed up the situation quite clearly in testimony at a November 2nd congressional hearing. “The fundamental flaw in attempting to spend our way into a green economy is that it creates enterprises whose continued existence demand continued government support.” Future loans, he said, “can only lead to a waste of taxpayer’s money.”

The economically-strapped U.K. has learned this painful lesson and is finding no alternative but to cut solar power subsidies by half. In February British Climate Change and Energy Minister Greg Barker recognized this necessity as part of “an urgent effort to keep the FITS [feed-in-tariff] scheme budget under control and reflect the plummeting costs of technology.”

As might be imagined, this news hasn’t gone down well at all with the solar industry. Speaking on behalf of the Solar Trade Association, its Chairman Howard Johns pleaded, “Such deep cuts to the tariff would kill the U.K. solar industry stone dead.”

Germany, the world’s largest solar power market, also plans to cut subsidies by a record amount next year in attempts to wean the industry off support. The decision is likely to spark a rush of installations as developers rush to lock in higher tariffs before new rates apply. Germany added a record 7.4 gigawatts of solar power in 2010, and sales also surged in weeks preceding two previous tariff reductions.

So how bright is solar’s global future? In the near-term that will depend upon how willing and able world governments are to prop up panel manufacturers with preferential tax breaks and other subsidies to make them affordable. In the U.S. the main federal subsidy currently pays for 30% of the cost for a residential system. Then when other subsidies are added, as much as 75% of the cost can be covered. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that electricity produced by solar is presently three times more expensive than power produced by natural gas.

Also consider that while solar is growing, it is doing so from a very small base. All of the panels now installed across the nation produce only about as much electricity as a single coal-fired plant (about 0.01% of U.S. electricity).
Regardless of whether or not solar ever becomes a big power player, it will certainly play an important role for a growing number of people who have few other options. This is most particularly true in developing countries that lack energetic fuels and power grid infrastructures, and which depend on distributed systems. They are also most useful in consistently sunny areas for those who can afford high upfront costs of rooftop panels, or who live in off-grid locations.

But those who are riding solar bandwagons on a sunny blue sky road to energy independence should beware. Storm clouds rolling in from China may well rain on their parade.

EPA’s Reliability Cover-up

Some 830,000 Connecticut customers are only now having their power restored after a snowstorm knocked out the state’s grid last month-but the Environmental Protection Agency continues to claim that its regulatory agenda won’t degrade U.S. electric reliability. The reality is that the EPA’s own staffers are-or used to be-worried, and their political superiors have erased the warnings.

In recent months, concerns have been growing that the agency’s torrent of new air-pollution rules will lead to blackouts or to the rolling outages that crisscrossed California and Arizona in September. Yet the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has continued its “who’s on first” routine to avoid its mandate to protect electric grid reliability, while the EPA is trying to rush out a new utility rule that on paper will reduce mercury and other emissions but is really designed to close coal-fired power plants.

Congressional and industry investigators have combed the EPA’s rule-making docket that contains hundreds of thousands pages of electronic documents. Many of these files are for some reason not “smart” PDFs (i.e., they’re unsearchable). But lo and behold, they uncovered one 934-page EPA draft that was circulated within the Administration sometime before the utility rule was formally proposed.

In a “What are the energy impacts?” section, the EPA concedes that it “is aware that concerns have been expressed by some, even in advance of this proposed rule, that this regulation may detrimentally impact the reliability of the electric grid.” The agency admits that what it calls “sources integral to reliable operation” may be forced to shut down-those would be the coal-fired plants the EPA is targeting-and that these retirements “could result in localized reliability problems.” The EPA insists that it knows how to balance “both clean air and electric reliability,” but all along in public it has denied that reliability is in any way at risk.

The draft document also “strongly encourages” the people who run the grid, like regional transmission operators and state regulators, to start planning “as soon as possible” for “potential retired units.” The EPA recommends “transmission upgrades, targeted demand side management strategies, and construction of new generation.” This helps to explain why even the EPA admits the utility rule is the most expensive it has ever proposed.

But here’s the kicker: This reliability section was gone when the EPA released its utility rule proposal in May 2011. Why did it vanish? Where did it go?

This matters because the draft report contradicts EPA leaders who have publicly portrayed anyone worried about reliability as an industry shill. More importantly, as a technical and legal matter, issues that are excluded from the Federal Register mean that the public is denied the opportunity to meaningfully comment on them.

For more than a year the EPA has claimed that it doesn’t need more time to finalize the rule, only to reverse itself and extend the deadline by 30 days to mid-December. But that still leaves barely any time for the White House regulatory office to review the utility rule, even as the EPA continues to rewrite major elements that supposedly resolve the reliability question but that no one outside of EPA has seen. The rule hasn’t been submitted, while White House regulatory flyspecking usually takes 90 days.

We hear the EPA’s overreach has created more than a few internal OMB critics while generating an internal Administration debate on whether to cashier or delay the utility rule, like the ozone rule earlier this year. Such adult supervision is long overdue, especially because EPA continues to stonewall.

On Wednesday Senators Lisa Murkowski and James Inhofe sent another letter to EPA chief Lisa Jackson, after Ms. Jackson refused to answer letters of August 3 and 16 and September 7 about reliability. The Senators modestly ask the EPA not to “impair electric reliability and affordability,” though they also ask “why and on what legal basis” the agency buried its own reliability announcement.

All of this may lack the allure of Herman Cain’s travails, but, with Congress deadlocked, these regulatory battles are the biggest economic story in town. The EPA’s campaign risks blackouts and will cause consumer rate increases and a load of pointless new business costs that deter hiring. At least some people are finally starting to notice.