CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS DENOUNCE MISREPRESENTATIONS FROM THE WIND INDUSTRY

The World Council for Nature (WCFN) and Save the Eagles International (STEI) object to misrepresentations spread by the wind industry, in particular those appearing in the CBC article of June 27th on the Campobello Project (1). It is indeed incorrect to say that some wind turbines cannot kill birds or bats because they move too slowly. The turbine in question in the article, to be erected in the path of eagles and ospreys on Campobello Island, NB, has blades moving at 226 km/h at the tip. A 2-ton blade travelling at that speed will kill these living treasures, and any other birds or bats that happen to fly too close to the rotor. The windpower spokesman quoted in the article also argues that cats and buildings kill more birds than do wind turbines. But the question being asked by WCFN and STEI is: do cats and buildings kill eagles and ospreys? – They don’t, but wind turbines do (2).

Blade speed:

The first wind turbine to be installed on this small island in the Atlantic Flyway, where many thousands of birds stopover during their migrations, is an Aeronautica 47-750. According to the company’s specifications published on Internet (3), this turbine has 23.5-meter long blades with a tip speed of “62 – 63 m/s at full load”. In plain language, this is an optimal speed of 223-226 km/h:

63 meters per second x 60 seconds = 3780 meters per minute x 60 minutes = 226,800 meters per hour, ie 226 km/h

Says Mark Duchamp, who speaks for both WCFN and STEI: “Brian Kuhn, spokesman for Associated Wind Developers, was spreading misinformation when he said “the turbine’s propellers move too slowly for birds to crash into them” (1). Kuhn also pretends that birds crash (stupidly) into wind turbines, whereas the truth is that they get whacked by blades coming from above their heads, or under their bellies, at 226 km/h. Clearly, the blades do the killing. “Birds crashing into wind turbines” is a wording frequently used by agents of the wind industry and, like the term “wind farm”, has been carefully crafted to project a misleading image of harmlessness for the industry.”

The cats-and-buildings-kill-more-birds argument:

WCFN and STEI do not deny that domestic cats, buildings, cars, telecommunication towers, power lines, and other man-related hazards are responsible (for the moment) for more bird deaths than are wind turbines. But this is an invalid justification, explains Duchamp, because:

– Nobody should be allowed to kill eagles “because power lines kill more of them”. It is completely absurd, and a measure of the sophistry being used by the wind industry to excuse their killings.

– Windfarms cause more power lines to be built, often in sensitive natural habitats, decimating more endangered birds like (for instance) great bustards in Spain (4).

– In a world where so many birds are being killed because of human activities, with their numbers dwindling as a result, wind turbines are the legendary drop that spills the glass. They already are (spilling the glass) for some endangered species such as the Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle (6), the Great Bustard (4), etc. Save the Eagles International has warned the international community about this threat (7).

– Bird species that found a haven far away from the usual man-made hazards are now being invaded by wind turbines in their own natural reserves (e.g. IBA’s and national parks, as on Campobello Island). It is irresponsibility bordering on madness, or more simply, a perverse form of pork-barrel politics – perverse in the sense that it doesn’t benefit communities, but harms them instead.

– Cats and buildings mostly kill common birds, like sparrows, finches, thrushes, etc. whereas wind turbines and their power lines kill eagles, falcons, cranes, and other rare birds.

– Cats, cars, buildings etc. don’t kill bats, but wind turbines do: millions of them yearly (5), whose dwindling populations are of conservation concern. It so happens that bats are attracted by turbine vibrations, and/or by insects attracted by their lights. This will have dire consequences on agriculture, causing an increased use of pesticides, with more bird deaths and higher food prices as a result.

– The number of wind turbines throughout the world, if the industry has its way, will be multiplied by 10-20 times. Wind turbines will be omnipresent. Hundreds of thousands of kilometers of new high-tension lines will be built just for them. These are as deadly to birds as are the windfarms themselves, especially to large birds like eagles, geese, cranes etc. There won’t be any safe place for bird life. Many bird and bat species will become extinct as a result, with unfathomed consequences for the conservation of the natural world as we know it, and things that depend on it like our agriculture.

Conclusion:

When asked why bird societies have not warned the world about these dangers, Mark replied: “ornithologists need an income like anyone else. The tragedy is that they can only get one from the wind industry or the government, and of course they can’t bite the hand that feeds them. On the other hand, WCFN and STEI have no financial ties with anyone. We are unpaid volunteers, so we can tell the truth.”

Contact:
Mark Duchamp +34 693 643 736
President, Save the Eagles International
http://www.savetheeaglesinternational.org
Chairman, World Council for Nature
http://www.wcfn.org

REFERENCES

(1) – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/story/2012/06/27/nb-birds-wind-turbines.html

(2) – Eagles killed by wind turbines: http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=3071

– Ospreys killed by wind turbines: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/?page_id=843

(3) – Specifications of wind turbine Aeronautica 47-750:

http://aeronauticawind.com/aw/library/Spec_Sheet_Norwin750-54_new.pdf

(4) – 40 to 60 great bustards killed by the power lines of the Villasilos windfarm, Spain.

This compares to a previously estimated population of 260 individuals, immatures included, for the whole province of Burgos. The Villasilos area being the principal habitat in the province for these 10-14 kilo birds, where most of them show up at one time or another, the windfarm is actually acting as an ecological trap, a population sink for this endangered species. This is how “carefully” the wind industry places its windfarms. – STEI

http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/?page_id=947

(5) – 6-18 million birds and bats killed yearly by 18,000 wind turbines in Spain:

http://www.seo.org/2012/01/12/seobirdlife-presenta-una-nueva-guia-para-la-evaluacion-del-impacto-de-parques-eolicos-en-aves-y-murcielagos/

(6) – The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is being driven to extinction by windfarms:

http://www.iberica2000.org/Es/Articulo.asp?Id=4382

(7) – Wind turbines already driving some species to extinction: http://savetheeaglesinternational.org/

Economists without calculators

By Robert Bryce, NRO

Last week, just before the opening of the U.N.’s Earth Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro, the New York Times ran an op-ed that decried the rapid rise in carbon dioxide emissions during the two decades since a similar meeting was held in Rio.

The authors of the article — Christian Azar, a professor at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, and two economists from the Environmental Defense Fund, Thomas Sterner and Gernot Wagner — claimed that the world needs to “kick its addiction to fossil fuels” and that renewable energy provides the road to salvation because “the seeds of an environmental revolution are being sown.”

The authors’ solution was a familiar one: a carbon tax and/or a cap on carbon dioxide emissions. Never mind that the failure of the meeting at Rio shows, yet again, that a global carbon tax or emissions cap stands absolutely no chance of being implemented. Further, let’s ignore the claim that we have an “addiction” to hydrocarbons, which remain the cheapest, most abundant, most reliable source of energy for billions of people all over the world.

Instead, let’s consider the issue that Azar, Sterner, and Wagner — along with nearly every other proponent of “green” energy — refuse to consider: scale. A simple bit of math shows that even with the rapid expansion that solar-energy and wind-energy capacity have had in the past few years, those two sources cannot even meet incremental global demand for electricity, much less make a dent in the world’s overall demand for hydrocarbons.

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Between 1985 and 2011, global electricity generation increased by about 450 terawatt-hours per year. That’s the equivalent of adding about one Brazil (which used 485 terawatt-hours of electricity in 2010) to the electricity sector every year. And the International Energy Agency expects global electricity use to continue growing by about one Brazil per year through 2035.

How much solar capacity would be needed to produce 450 terawatt-hours? Well, Germany has more installed solar-energy capacity than any other country, with some 25,000 megawatts of installed photovoltaic panels. In 2011, those panels produced 18 terawatt-hours of electricity. Thus, just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand, the world would have to install about 25 times as much photovoltaic capacity as Germany’s total installed base, and it would have to do so again every year.

The scale problem is equally obvious when it comes to wind.

At the end of 2011, the U.S. had 47,000 megawatts of installed wind-energy capacity. (Only China, with 62,000 megawatts, had more.) In 2011, all the wind turbines in the U.S. together produced about 120 terawatt-hours of electricity. Thus, just to keep pace with the growth in global electricity demand by using wind energy, we would have to install about 3.75 times the total current installed wind capacity in the U.S. every year. That means that global wind-energy capacity would have to increase by about 176,000 megawatts each and every year.

That would be an enormous challenge, given that between 2010 and 2011, global wind-energy capacity increased by just 41,000 megawatts. That’s a record increase, and one that advocates of renewable energy are quick to laud. But those same advocates refuse to acknowledge the energy sprawl inherent in wind energy, nor will they admit the growing backlash against the wind industry.

Let’s consider the extent of the energy sprawl if wind energy were to supply that 450 terawatt-hours per year of incremental electricity demand.

The power density of wind energy is roughly two watts per square meter, or about five megawatts per square mile. That means that by the end of 2011, the U.S. had covered a land area of about 9,400 square miles, just slightly smaller than the state of Maryland, with wind turbines. Therefore, to keep up with the growth in global electricity demand by using wind energy alone, the global wind industry will need to cover a land area of some 35,000 square miles — about the size of Indiana — with wind turbines. And it will have to do so every year from now through 2035.

That metric’s still hard to grasp, so let me put it another way: In order to merely keep up with the growth of global electricity use, the wind industry would have to cover 96 square miles every day with wind turbines. That’s an area about the size of four Manhattans.

Glib economists might suggest that such a feat could be achieved, but that ignores another key question: Where will we put all those turbines?
If you think offshore wind is the answer, the costs will easily be double those on land. But placing more turbines offshore is meeting stiff resistance, and putting them on land isn’t easy either. The backlash against wind energy is global, and it’s growing. Europe alone has more than 500 anti-wind groups. In the U.K., where fights are raging against industrial wind projects in Wales, Scotland, and elsewhere, some 285 anti-wind groups have been formed. In May 2011, the BBC reported that some 1,500 protesters descended on the Welsh assembly, demanding that a massive wind project planned for central Wales be halted.

One of the biggest issues for wind projects is noise. Numerous studies have demonstrated the deleterious health effects caused by the low-frequency noise and infrasound generated by large wind turbines. The Canadian province of Ontario has been Ground Zero for the fight. According to Beth Harrington, a volunteer spokesperson for several Ontario-based environmental groups, about 40 families in Ontario have been forced out of their homes due to wind-turbine noise.

In January the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the province’s biggest farm organization, called for a moratorium on new wind-project developments, saying that the push for wind energy had “become untenable” and that “rural residents’ health and nuisance complaints must be immediately and fairly addressed.” Last July, Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal examined the noise issues related to large-scale wind projects and concluded that “the debate should not be simplified to one about whether wind turbines can cause harm to humans. The evidence presented to the Tribunal demonstrates that they can, if facilities are placed too close to residents. The debate has now evolved to one of degree.”

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Several countries are establishing minimum setbacks to keep wind turbines from being built too close to residential areas. In February, John Kelly, a member of Ireland’s Seanad, introduced a bill that will require large new wind turbines to be at least 1.5 kilometers from any residence. In mid-2011, the Australian state of Victoria responded to the public uproar over wind-project siting by announcing that it would enforce a two-kilometer (1.25-mile) setback between wind turbines and homes. Earlier this month, in the U.K., the Lincolnshire county council imposed an identical setback from homes, and the council’s leader, Martin Hill, told a local newspaper that “enough is enough . . . Not only are these things spoiling our beautiful countryside for future generations, they could also seriously damage our tourism industry. Who wants to spend their holiday looking at a 400-foot turbine?”

Hill went on to ask “who wants to live next door” to a wind project. “People enjoy living in Lincolnshire because we have a great way of life, not because the landscape’s blighted by wind farms.”

Here in the U.S., about 140 anti-wind groups have been formed. And an analysis of public records and newspaper clippings shows that more than three dozen cities in eight states have passed ordinances that either ban or restrict construction of large-scale wind projects. Indeed, people in rural areas around the world are complaining about being “blighted by wind farms.” That can be seen by looking at newspaper stories from Missouri, Oregon, New York, Minnesota, Taiwan, Ireland, and New Zealand.

There’s a wealth of easily web-searchable information on the wind-turbine noise problem, including this long report from the Australian Senate. If Azar, Sterner, and Wagner wanted an individual account of the problem, they could have read about Samantha and Carl Stepnell, who were forced to abandon their home in rural Australia due to infrasound produced by a large wind project built near their 4,200-acre farm.

Alas, rural landowners appear to be of little concern to the economists from the Environmental Defense Fund and their Swedish co-author. Instead, they claim that the “solar and wind revolution is just beginning.” Had they bothered to use a calculator, they could have seen that their “revolution” is a thoroughly inadequate response to a global issue.

Op-ed writers are welcome to their own opinions, but not their own facts. It’s well past time for a real debate — using actual numbers — about global energy policy. But the chance for that debate is only harmed by glib claims about an “environmental revolution” that can occur only if we make energy much more expensive.

— Robert Bryce is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

What is happening to the climate?

There is a widespread belief that the increase in carbon dioxide concentrations has caused the world to warm steadily. We are constantly told that this warming will continue and it will be disastrous. Before we accept these statements we should analyse the recent temperature records and the history of past climatic changes.

“Climate change”–more properly referred to as “man-made global warming”–is based on an unproven hypothesis that man-made carbon dioxide causes global warming. The evidence is that CO2 levels have increased steadily but there has been no significant warming of the world for the last 10 to 15 years. This proves that carbon dioxide does not cause dangerous warming.

All the climate models supported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a steady rise in temperature of 2° to 6° per century caused by increasing concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They were wrong: all 5 leading temperature records–both surface and satellite–show that temperatures over the last 10 to 15 years have been essentially constant. The figure shows the temperature record from the Hadley Centre in the UK. It shows that there has been no warming over the last 10 years and an insignificant amount of warming over the last 15 years.

 

 

CO2 driven warming happens immediately and there is no mechanism that could delay the effect. It is claimed that lack of warming is due to “natural effects” yet none of the IPCC scientists can explain exactly what these large natural causes are. If the models were any good, their predictions would be accurate. According to the IPCC “… the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” Doesn’t that pretty much say it all? 

The alternative–and much simpler–explanation is that the climate has natural cycles and that we are just over the peak of a cycle and, probably, at the beginning of a decline. Nicola Scafetta, a research scientist at Duke University in the USA, has analysed past climatic cycles and made a model that without any tuning has accurately replicated temperature changes over the last hundred years. It also predicts that cooling is imminent. Don Easterbrook at Western Washington University in the USA and other scientists have carried out similar analyses with similar results. Most of these studies have been ignored or dismissed by the scientists associated with the IPCC.

Studies of sunspot cycles strongly support imminent global cooling. They show that a long sunspot cycle is always followed by cooling. The last cycle lasted 12.5 years and the previous one, 9.5 years. This tells us that about 1° of cooling is to be expected during the current cycle.

Dr Jim Renwick and Dr David Wratt, of NIWA who are lead authors for the IPCC have corresponded with me and appear to accept that the world has not warmed for about 10 years. It appears they do not know why the world is failing to warm in line with the model predictions. Yet they still tell the government that man-made global warming is real and dangerous. Instead of publicly admitting that the world has not warmed as predicted they divert the discussion to other effects that, they claim, demonstrate warming. But the temperature records still say it isn’t happening.

The only rational conclusion is that there is no convincing evidence supporting the hypothesis that man-made carbon dioxide causes dangerous global warming. CO2 is a harmless gas that promotes plant growth and reduces desertification. In spite of this, trillions of dollars have been squandered on renewable energy, emissions trading schemes and carbon trading schemes. Policies that subsidise renewable energy have increased the price of electricity in many countries while the push for biofuels has increased the cost of food in poor countries. The money would have bailed out Greece and Spain with plenty to spare or, better still, it could have been used to provide electricity and clean water for millions of people in developing countries.

Policies based on the belief that CO2 causes dangerous global warming are a huge man-made disaster.

Bryan is a founder member of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and an electrical engineer. He and his wife are part owners of a hydro station that earns windfall profits from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Carbon tax final straw in a lethal energy plan

Alex Moran, Herald Sun 29th June, 2012

On Sunday the Australian carbon tax will be implemented. This tax is the latest and most lethal of the suite of carbon-reduction measures delivering crushing blows to businesses and households.

We already have the cancer of the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target.

This requires an increasing proportion of electricity to be supplied from high-cost wind and solar generators. As well as dotting unsightly giant windmills around the countryside, wind and solar renewable facilities are hopelessly uneconomic.

The RET presently adds 6 per cent to consumers’ electricity bills and the scheme is only halfway to its goal.

On top of this, taxpayers are carrying the additional taxation weight of about $3 billion a year to finance green schemes and subsidies to exotic energy developments. None of this spending will ever prove worthwhile.

And the Government has also created a $10 billion green-energy bank to fund business proposals that private-sector banks and venture capitalists have rejected. The taxpayer will pick up the costs of its failures.

The carbon tax builds on these injurious policies by adding 40 per cent to the wholesale price of electricity.

This crushes the profitability of many of Australia’s most productive businesses, especially exporters and those facing import competition, which are unable to raise their prices to cover additional costs.

Half of the carbon tax revenue goes to handouts to the less well-off voter and half goes to preventing the most adversely affected businesses from immediately going broke.

Brown-coal electricity generation, aluminium, concrete, steel, glass and many other such types of industry cannot survive without the antidote of these subsidies.

And supplementary life support now being offered to aluminium smelters such as Port Henry, already demonstrates that planned levels of assistance are insufficient.

In addition to taxing firms out of business, Canberra’s carbon-reduction policy is also offering the owners of the Hazelwood Power Station cash to close it down. Carbon-emission policies have already prevented Hazelwood from rolling over its bank loans and forced a bailout by its owners.

The carbon tax and buy-out of Hazelwood are policies designed to force the closure of some of our most productive firms.

The coal-based power stations have given households and industries the world’s lowest-cost electricity.

But the Government needs these and emission-intensive businesses such as aluminium smelters to shut down in order to meet its carbon-policy goals.

Indeed, an equivalent effect to buying and scrapping Hazelwood would be to immediately close down all Australian aluminium smelters rather than watch its policies force their slow death. Although this would have an even greater adverse effect on national productivity and incomes, for the Government the overwhelming concern is unpleasant publicity on job losses.

And there lies the rub! Once confronted by the effects of the electricity bill-boosting and industry-slaying monster it has created, an alarmed Government rushes in with additional funding to delay the closures caused by the very policies it has introduced.

The world will not end on Sunday. Commerce will continue, energy will still be available.

But the carbon tax will introduce a new, more potent poison into the economy inflicting incalculable damage on living standards.

EPA’s new CAFÉ mileage standards kill

They will prevent many families from buying cars – and leave more grieving for lost loved ones

By Deroy Murdock

Washington taxes and regulations keep yanking money from Americans’ wallets. Now EPA is preparing to make prices for cars and light trucks rise beyond the reach of low-income drivers. That’s bad enough. But from there, things grow deadly.

At fault is a regulatory regime known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy, and commonly called CAFÉ standards. Congress mandated these mileage rules in 1975, during a seemingly decade-long energy crisis. Washington has periodically hiked CAFÉ standards in an ongoing effort to boost automobile efficiency.

Lacking magic wands, car manufacturers spend money to obey these laws. And then – surprise! – up go sticker prices. Now EPA is using its self-proclaimed authority over carbon dioxide to justify tough new mileage standards, on the ground that they will reduce global warming and thus improve human health and welfare.

The National Automobile Dealers Association calculated on April 12 that a Chevrolet Aveo, the most affordable vehicle it studied, would climb from $12,700 to $15,700 by 2025, because of the rules. This $3,000 hike (in 2010 dollars, and without factoring in the costs of carrying a three to five-year loan) would prevent 6.8 million humble drivers from qualifying for loans to finance their purchases.

“Fuel economy improvements must be affordable,” New Mexico Ford dealer Don Chalmers told journalists at the estimate’s unveiling. “If my customers can’t buy what I’ve got to sell, there are no savings at the gas pump and there is no environmental benefit.”

Is this what Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson calls “environmental justice?”
Team Obama is fueling these anticipated price hikes by boosting CAFÉ standards from 35.5 miles per gallon in 2016 to 54.5 MPG by 2025.

As they have for 37 years, car companies will follow these new rules by making cars thinner and lighter, and made more from plastic and aluminum than from crash-resistant steel. Smaller, slighter vehicles get better mileage. But that hardly matters when a car smacks into a sycamore or cement wall, tumbles down a slope, or slams head-on into another vehicle.

That’s when even the most eco-conscious drivers would trade lower MPG for protective layers of thick steel. That’s real health and welfare.

The laws of physics are stubbornly impervious to Obama’s green slogans, no matter how abrasively he shouts them. (And note that the President and many Administration officials get chauffeured around in big limousines that are anything but low-mileage.) The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety concluded in 2007 that “None of the 15 vehicles with the lowest driver death rates is a small model. In contrast, 11 of the 16 vehicles with the highest death rates are mini or small models.”

“Fuel-standard lethality is as obvious as a smashed windshield,” J.R. Dunn observed in The American Thinker. He chillingly has detailed the mayhem that CAFÉ standards have unleashed.

According to the Brookings Institution, a 500-lb weight reduction of the average car increased annual highway fatalities by 2,200-3,900 and serious injuries by 11,000 and 19,500 per year. USA Today found that 7,700 deaths occurred for every mile per gallon gained in fuel economy standards. Smaller cars accounted for up to 12,144 deaths in 1997, 37% of all vehicle fatalities for that year.

How many deaths have resulted? Depending on which study you choose, the total ranges from 41,600 to 124,800. To that figure we can add between 352,000 and 624,000 people suffering serious injuries, including being crippled for life. In the past thirty years, fuel standards have become one of the major causes of death and misery in the United States — and one almost completely attributable to human stupidity and shortsightedness.

Focus briefly on the tears and tombstones behind these casualty figures. Most of these injuries involved major pain and hardship. Nearly each one of these CAFÉ-caused deaths featured crying loved ones, a casket, and someone inside it who probably made people smile just days earlier.

The only good news here is that road deaths have fallen lately, but for other reasons.

Says Dr. Soumi Eachempati, Chief of Trauma Services at Manhattan’s Weill Cornell Medical Center: “I feel the recent decreases in fatality data are due to many safety measures including better airbags, more states having seat belt laws, higher seat belt compliance, more strict drunk driving laws, better trauma care, better EMS, more traffic congestion in certain areas, and what some feel are safer road conditions.”

But rather than leave bad enough alone, Obama and company clamp down, ever harder. Strengthening CAFÉ standards by 53.5 percent by 2025 likely will yield deadlier cars. Airbags will do only so much while surrounded by materials that recall aluminum or vinyl siding.

Before Washington sends additional Americans to early graves, Team Obama should step off the gas pedal and ponder the physicist who wrote Traffic Safety. Dr. Leonard Evans was perfectly clear: “CAFÉ kills, and higher CAFÉ standards kill even more.”
______________

New York commentator Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. A version of this article originally appeared on National Review Online.

Yale study finds that consumer benefits from shale gas exceed $100 billion

Mark J. Perry

It’s been well-documented now that falling prices for natural gas (see chart above) and the resulting drop in utility rates have saved consumers billions of dollars (see CD posts here and here).

A new study by researchers at Yale University, “The Arithmetic of Shale Gas,” provides some additional evidence of the consumer benefits of shale gas using a cost-benefit approach (where consumers include residential, industrial, commercial and utility customers) here’s an excerpt:

“The Henry Hub spot price in 2008 was $7.97 per mcf and in 2011 was $3.95 per mcf (see chart above) so that the difference in price over three successive years was $4.02 per mcf. Gas production in 2008 was 25.6 tcf so that the surplus to consumers by the price reduction from shale gas equaled $102.9 billion.

This very large amount of consumer gain—over $100 billion—from the new technology induced price reduction in gas is the elephant in the room. It comprised a substantial majority of total expenditures on this fuel nationwide. In past years those expenditures were limited by the higher costs of production of gas produced from vertical wells. These were in part producer surplus but most were the costs of sustaining well operations in the old technology. Even so it is startling to acknowledge that consumer benefits from the technology of shale gas drilling and new gas production can be expected to exceed $100 billion per year, year in and year out as long as present production rates are maintained.”

The authors then account for the possible environmental costs to society and compare that to the consumer-savings of $100 billion per year:

“How then do we extrapolate individual disaster scenarios across an entire industry to determine the social cost of possible contamination from fracking in order to deduct it from the consumer surplus of $100 billion for each year? We consider that the reported instances of contamination from fracking relate, at most, to an extremely limited minority over hundreds of thousands of wells. Assuming the worst—that the accidents occur in one year; that the cleanup requires a new water well at $5,000; and that one hundred spills occur at $2.5 million per spill given then that the industry drills 10,000 new wells per year. The cost of frackwater contamination is $250 million. Economic benefits, as estimated in as limited methodology as is reasonable, exceed costs to the community by 400-to-1.”

And they also estimate the consumer benefits of switching from oil to natural gas:

Replacing 1.0 million bbls per day of crude oil with the 6 billion cubic feet (bcf”) equivalent of natural gas, would generate approximately $25.6 billion ($70/bbl*1 million bbls*365 days) of consumer surplus for the US economy over one year.”

Note: There are also gains to shale gas producers from increased production, and while those are less than the gains to gas consumers, they are significant and are estimated be multi-billions of dollars per year.

Science held hostage in climate debate

The broad theory of man-made global warming is acceptable in the purely qualitative sense. If humans continue to fill the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, there can be little doubt that the average temperature of the world will increase above what it would have been otherwise. The argument about the science is, and always has been, whether the increase would be big enough to be noticed among all the other natural variations of climate. The economic and social argument is whether the increase, even if it were noticeable, would change the overall welfare of mankind for the worse.

Attempts to resolve the arguments are plagued with problems, a lot of which are inherently insoluble. There are many aspects of the behaviour of the natural climate system and of human society that are unpredictable in principle, let alone in practice. But perhaps the biggest of the underlying problems, and it is common to both arguments since it inevitably exists when there is large unpredictability and uncertainty, is the presence of strong forces encouraging public overstatement and a belief in worst-case scenarios.

From the social and economic side of things, one might take much more notice of the global warming scare campaign if it were not so obvious that many of its most vociferous supporters have other agendas. There are those, for instance, who are concerned with preservation of the world’s resources of coal and oil for the benefit of future generations. There are those who, like the former president of France, Jacques Chirac, speaking at a conference on the Kyoto protocol in 2000, look with favour on the possibility of an international decarbonisation regime because it would be a first step to global governance (the president’s actual words were “For the first time, humanity is instituting a genuine instrument of global governance”.) There are those who, like the socialists of the 20th century, see international action as a means to force a redistribution of wealth both within and between the individual nations. There are those who regard the whole business mainly as a path to the sort of influence which, until now, has been wielded only by the major religions. More generally, there are those who, like the politically correct everywhere, are driven by a need for public expression of their own virtue.

Of course there is nothing wrong, or at least not much that is wrong, with the ideals behind any of the above agendas except perhaps the last couple on the list. But the battles over them should be fought in the open and on their own merits rather than on the basis of a global warming crusade whose legitimacy is founded on still-doubtful science and on massive slabs of politically correct propaganda.

It is generally assumed that climate scientists themselves are more or less united on the matter and are not pushing a global warming barrow because of their interest in some other agenda. Certainly this is the story the activists would have us believe.

To the extent that there is such a thing as normal science, it relies upon accurate observations to verify its theories. Accurate is the operative word here. Climate research has to rely on spectacularly inaccurate data from information on Earth’s past climate. Even though there are vast amounts of atmospheric and oceanographic data to play with, together with lots of proxy information from tree rings and ice cores and corals and so on, abstracting a coherent story from it all is something of a statistical nightmare. It gives a whole new meaning to the old saying “lies, damn lies and statistics”.

Suffice it to say that climate science is an example of what Canadian educator Sue McGregor calls “post-normal science”, in which “the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent”. In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid subconscious cherry-picking of data to suit the popular theory of the time. Even Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were not immune from the problem. In their case they were of sufficient genius (and were sufficiently lucky!) for their theories ultimately to trump the inaccuracy of the observations they had selected. Other scientists are rarely so prescient or so lucky. In the modern era, the problem is compounded by the existence of vastly complex computer models that can be tuned, again more-or-less subconsciously, to yield the desired result. From theory to observation and back again – if we are not careful, the cherry-picking can go round and round in an endless, misleading loop.

But the real worry with climate research is that it is on the very edge of what is called postmodern science. This is a counterpart of the relativist world of postmodern art and design. It is a much more dangerous beast, whose results are valid only in the context of society’s beliefs and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. Postmodern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately manipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the policies of the government of the day.

There is little doubt that some players in the climate game – not a lot, but enough to have severely damaged the reputation of climate scientists in general – have stepped across the boundary into postmodern science. The Climategate scandal of 2009, wherein thousands of emails were leaked from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England, showed that certain senior members of the research community were, and presumably still are, quite capable of deliberately selecting data in order to overstate the evidence for dangerous climate change. The emails showed as well that these senior members were quite happy to discuss ways and means of controlling the research journals so as to deny publication of any material that goes against the orthodox dogma. The ways and means included the sacking of recalcitrant editors.

Whatever the reason, it is indeed vastly more difficult to publish results in climate research journals if they run against the tide of politically correct opinion. Which is why most of the sceptic literature on the subject has been forced onto the web, and particularly onto web-logs devoted to the sceptic view of things. Which, in turn, is why the more fanatical of the believers in anthropogenic global warming insist that only peer-reviewed literature should be accepted as an indication of the real state of affairs. They argue that the sceptic web-logs should never be taken seriously by “real” scientists, and certainly should never be quoted. Which is a great pity. Some of the sceptics are extremely productive as far as critical analysis of climate science is concerned. Names like Judith Curry (chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta), Steve McIntyre (a Canadian geologist-statistician) and blogger Willis Eschenbach come to mind. These three in particular provide a balance and maturity in public discussion that puts many players in the global warming movement to shame, and as a consequence their outreach to the scientifically inclined general public is highly effective. Their output, together with that of other sceptics on the web, is fast becoming a practical and stringent substitute for peer review.

Climate science has transformed itself from a research backwater a few decades ago into one of the greatest public-good scientific cash cows ever devised. In Australia, for instance, there is a separate federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency specifically devoted to implementing (buying?) the social change required to limit global warming. The livelihood of many of the climate scientists within the CSIRO and elsewhere is now dependent on grants from that department. It is not a situation conducive to sceptical outlook and balanced advice. When a tendency toward postmodern science is mixed with a single, generous and undoubtedly biased source of money, it is not surprising that things can go very wrong very quickly.

This has all come about largely because government laboratories these days are required to earn a goodly fraction of their operating income from external sources – this even when their activity is public-good research for which there is not a private market. The requirement inevitably encourages the emergence of activist-scientists who are not overly concerned about sliding into the realm of postmodern science.

In the particular case of CSIRO for instance, the encouragement starts with a formal mission statement to the effect that CSIRO seeks to achieve “a profound and positive impact on the most significant challenges and opportunities facing Australia and humanity”. Good stirring stuff of course, except that “impact” can get translated to “influence” in the reviews of its scientific programs, and the mission statement can be interpreted as justification for devoting a large fraction of overall scientific resources to the business of creating a market for one’s scientific advice.

As one organisation after another jumps, or is pushed, into producing public assessments of the climate change issue, we see the same small group of activist-scientists in the background. We see them providing briefings to federal and state politicians. We see them as primary advisers to supposedly independent organisations such as the Australian Academy of Science. We see them involved in programs to introduce school children to the dangers of a carbon footprint. Generally we see them in what agricultural science used to call extension activities – although in the case of climate change much of the extension effort is devoted to convincing the various audiences that there is indeed a problem worth doing something about.

No doubt these scientists genuinely believe in their own perception of the climate change story. But why do mainstream scientists go along with the inevitable overstatement associated with the activism business?

One factor is a form of loyalty to colleagues. Another, bearing in mind the singular nature of the funding source, is the need to eat. But mostly it gets back to the uncertainty of the science. The typical climate researcher is reluctant to go public with contrary opinion not backed by something very close to real proof. And there is very little real proof on either side of the climate change story. Contrary opinion in an era where postmodern science is almost respectable can be dangerous to a research career.

The bottom line of all this is that deliberate understatement of the uncertainty of the science allows overstatement of the climate change problem. In the early days of the debate – back in the ’70s and early ’80s, before the whole issue became highly politicised – scientists were quite happy to admit to the uncertainty.

As a consequence, there was a philosophy around the traps at the time to the effect that, if nations really wanted to do something drastic and expensive about global warming, then the sensible course would be to take only those actions which would also be worth doing for other reasons. Improving the efficiency of transport would be sensible for instance. Burying vast quantities of carbon from the smokestacks of power stations would not.

That philosophy soon got lost in the politics. It is mildly encouraging now, perhaps as a result of the Climategate scandal, that we are beginning to see a new generation of climate scientists look again with a properly jaundiced eye at the question of uncertainty and how it might be assessed.

It is not surprising that society’s opinion on what to do about climate change is highly polarised. There are passionate and vocal supporters on both sides of the argument as to whether global warming will be disastrous.

It is a bit surprising that what seems to be a roughly 50/50 split of public opinion is not at all a reflection of the much vaunted consensus of the climate science community. Perhaps this says a lot for the commonsense of the person in the street. In any event, the complexity of the issue, and the vast scale of the resources required to solve the problem (if there is a problem), make it difficult for middle-ground argument to be heard.

All of which makes it very hard for politicians to make sensible decisions on the basis of some reasonable balance of probability. One can but wonder at the prescience of former US president Dwight D Eisenhower in his farewell address to the nation in 1961:

“Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

Suffice it to say that there is a need for politicians to have access to a real diversity of advice on the science of climate change. In this country, and in most Western countries, the sources of advice are highly inbred.

It would seem important also that any political and economic action on the matter of global warming should be flexible enough to be changed, or indeed discarded, should there be a significant shift in scientific or public perception. In terms of practical politics, the government of the day needs to give itself future wiggle room by making it clear to everyone that it is indeed making decisions on the basis of a fluid balance of probabilities, rather than on what activists insist is a scientific and economic certainty.

Garth Paltridge is an emeritus professor with the University of Tasmania, a visiting fellow at the Research School of Biology at the Australian National University and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science. He is the author of The Climate Caper: facts and fallacies of global warming, Connor Court, 2009. He was a chief research scientist with the CSIRO division of atmospheric research.

The Australian Financial Review
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Obama’s Hope … And Climate Change
Investor’s Business Daily

Election ’12: President Obama plans to make climate change his top priority for his second term. No, that’s not from The Onion, a humor publication, but the left-leaning New Yorker. What planet does this president live on?

‘Obama has an ambitious second-term agenda,” wrote Ryan Lizza in this week’s New Yorker. “The President has said that the most important policy he could address in his second term is climate change,” supposedly to “improve the world.”

So forget about the abysmal jobless numbers above 8% for over three years, or the $15 trillion deficit that threatens to turn the U.S. into Greece. No, amid those very real calamities, climate change is more important.

If this isn’t a sign of a president out of touch with reality, what is? If climate change is Obama’s “most important” policy issue, then neither the Tea-Party-led victories around fiscal discipline – such as the Wisconsin vote, nor the West Virginia primary, here 40% of Democrats chose a jailbird to protest Obama’s anti-coal agenda, made a dent on him.

Like a madman doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, it can only mean Obama intends to double-down on his green agenda if re-elected.

Already no president has ever spent money on “climate change” as he has. The Congressional Budget Office reports that since 1998, $99 billion has been spent among 14 agencies on “climate change.” Of that, $35 billion was earmarked from the 2009 stimulus.

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The top agency charged with enacting the Obama green agenda – the Department of Energy – has seen its budget soar from $24 billion in 2009 to $38 billion in 2012, the Office of Management and Budget estimates.

But the public doesn’t share the love.

Poll after poll since 2009 shows the public considers climate change dead last in importance. In 2012, Pew Research Center reported that 86% of the public considered the economy a top priority, and 82% considered jobs in that slot. Global warming ranked dead last at 25% – and that represented a 13% decline from 2007.

The issue failed even among environmentalists, according to a 2011 Gallup poll, who ranked global warming dead last at 51% in a 2011 poll of concerns.

That coincides well with the fact that climate change is rapidly being exposed as junk science – glaciers aren’t melting as claimed, but data are being fudged and contradictory findings repressed in multiple incidents.

Has Obama learned nothing? The economy topped the voters’ list of concerns in 2009, but Obama bulled ahead with health care reform anyway. Now this.

The one thing that can be concluded from this policy priority is that on the environment, Obama is planning more of the same – and the voters be damned.

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And Obama’s henchman are at work selling the big lie:

Dem senator: ‘Bogus’ to say humans not causing climate change
By Pete Kasperowicz

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said on the Senate floor Thursday that the debate over whether humans are causing climate change is over, and that it has been shown conclusively that human activity is leading to global warming.

“People say there are questions about the theory,” he said. “No, there are not.

“The argument that the jury is still out on climate change is a false and bogus argument,” he added. “The jury is not out. In fact, the jury is in, the effects are obvious, they surround us every day, and we need to take action.”

Read more on The Hill’s E2 Wire blog.

Europe Concedes Defeat: Developing Nations Reject Green Agenda

Source: GWPF

Nick Clegg, Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister, has admitted that the Rio+20 deal is “disappointing.” He blamed China and other developing countries that have huge reserves of coal and want to continue using fossil fuels to grow, for failing to back plans for the green economy. “The political significance of Rio is that the G77 nations are antagonistic to our European ideas on the green economy,” said Mr Clegg. He said Europe can no longer take the lead in such international negotiations because power is shifting “from West to East”. –Louise Gray, The Daily Telegraph, 22 June 2012

The “failure” of Rio+20 is a cause for celebration, even if you can’t afford the champagne and foie gras that ecocrats served themselves as their hopes for “Sustainia” retreated into the policy fog. The high priests of the new green world order crave cash, but calls for humanity to fork over for Gaia’s “services” are falling on deaf ears. The Rio+20 text was originally sold as promoting “The Future We Want.” However, the “We” in question was always a self-selected group of UN bureaucrats, alarmist NGOs, corporate rent-seekers and main chancers whose interests were sharply at odds with those of ordinary people. Rio+20’s failure should be celebrated as The Future We Avoided. –Peter Foster, Financial Post, 22 June 2012

Protest erupted in the Rio+20 conference centre on Thursday as civil rights groups carried out a “ritual rip-up” of a negotiating text that they condemn as a betrayal of future generations. “We were promised leaps and bounds but this agreement barely moves us forward by inches,” shouted Cam Fenton, a Canadian in the Major Group of Children and Youth, as protesters ripped up a giant mock text that they called “The Future We Bought”. “World leaders have delivered something that fails to move the world forward from the first Rio summit, showing up with empty promises at Rio+20,” said Miariana Calderon, a young woman from California. “This text is a polluters’ plan, and unless people start listening to the people, history will remember it as a failure for the people and the planet.” –Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 21 June 2012

So the world is left debating sustainable development, a nebulous concept at best. At the 1992 Earth Summit, the “Agenda 21” document set out how sustainable development was to be implemented across the world. It was described to me by Brazil’s environment minister at the time as an “NGO fantasy,” which is what the world’s largest gathering of leaders will be discussing in Rio this week. –Rupert Darwall, Financial Post, 20 June 2012

Climate science has transformed itself from a research backwater a few decades ago into one of the greatest public-good scientific cash cows ever devised. The livelihood of most climate scientists is now dependent on government grants. It is not a situation conducive to sceptical outlook and balanced advice. –Garth Paltridge,The Australian Financial Review, 22 June 2012

The Harper government’s confrontation with the opposition parties over Bill C-38 was the parliamentary manifestation of an epic clash between two titanic constituencies. In one camp are resource extraction entrepreneurs seeking less fettered access to the treasures of Western and Northern Canada. They look to Asia for investors and customers. The rival camp are rentiers from Central and Atlantic Canada who are economically and ideologically aligned with their counterparts in Western Europe and the US Northeast. They want to preserve the wealth within their realm. They favour neo-corporatist and quasi-autarkist. –William Kay, Environmentalism is Fascism, June 2012

If the IPCC wanted to provide ammunition for climate change skeptics, they just handed over an entire arsenal. They are now saying the IPCC never had the best scientists in the field, they picked them based on how diverse it made the IPCC look. Obviously this could have advantages for people other than obscure female scientists in Brazil. I can write a blog post saying something important and it could be included in an IPCC report in 2013. Unfortunately, since 2001 the prestige of being cited by the IPCC has dropped a lot. –Hank Campbell, Science 2.0, 20 June 2012

Governments’ inability to address energy poverty in Southeastern Europe is increasing the threat of deforestation, as illegal timbering is seen by needy people as their only chance for survival through harsh winters. Until the governments in the countries address energy poverty which touches large parts of the population, the region will face the threat of massive deforestation, experts told EurActiv. –EurActiv, 22 June 2012

As budgetary pressures continue to dictate the political reality, the Golden State has decided to hand over the management reigns of six major state parks to private companies. Turning parks over to private enterprise is what most California Democrats would consider a thought crime; if Republicans did it they would be denounced as the worst kind of villains, turning poor little Bambi over to Halliburton. But despite deploying every liberal nostrum known to man, despite all those wise ‘green jobs’ initiatives and all that ‘smart growth’, California is an economic and budgetary basket case. And so it has no choice, and it is privatizing the administration of some of its public parks because there isn’t any money to do it the Rube Goldberg California state government way. In deep-blue California, it’s privatize or close. –Walter Russell Mead, The American Interest, 21 June 2012

Rio+20 is greatest threat to biodiversity

99% of species and humans are ill served by the 0.1% UN and environmentalist elites
Paul Driessen and David Rothbard

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is underway in Rio de Janeiro. This time, 20 years after the original 1992 Rio “Earth Summit,” thousands of politicians, bureaucrats and environmental activists are toning down references to “dangerous man-made climate change,” to avoid repeating the acrimony and failures that characterized its recent climate conferences in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban.
Instead, “Rio+20” is trying to shift attention to “biodiversity” and alleged threats to plant and animal species, as the new “greatest threat” facing Planet Earth. This rebranding is “by design,” according to conference organizers, who say sustainable development and biodiversity is an “easier sell” these days than climate change: a simpler path to advance the same radical goals.
Those goals include expanded powers and budgets for the United Nations, UN Environment Programme, US Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies, and their allied Green pressure groups; new taxes on international financial transactions (to ensure perpetual independent funding for the UN and UNEP); and more mandates and money for “clean, green, renewable” energy.
Their wish list also includes myriad opportunities to delay, prevent and control energy and economic development, hydrocarbon use, logging, farming, family size, and the right of individual countries, states, communities and families to make and regulate their own development and economic decisions.
Aside from not giving increased power to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats and activists, there are two major reasons for stopping this attempted biodiversity-based power grab.
1) There is no scientific basis for claims that hundreds or thousands of species are at risk
Up to half of all species could go extinct by 2100, asserts astronomer and global warming alarmist James Hansen, because of climate change, “unsustainable” hydrocarbon use, human population growth and economic development. At Rio+20 activists are trumpeting these hysterical claims in reports, speeches and press releases. Fortunately, there is no factual basis for them.
Of 191 bird and mammal species recorded as having gone extinct since 1500, 95% were on islands, where humans and human-introduced predators and diseases wrought the destruction, notes ecology researcher Dr. Craig Loehle. On continents, only six birds and three mammals were driven to extinction, and no bird or mammal species in recorded history is known to have gone extinct due to climate change.
The massive species losses claimed by Hansen, Greenpeace, WWF and others are based on extrapolations from the island extinction rates. Some are just wild guesses or rank fear-mongering, with nothing remotely approximating scientific analysis. Other extrapolations are based on unfounded presumptions about species susceptibility to long or short term climate shifts – fed into clumsy, simplistic, non-validated virtual reality computer models that assume rising carbon dioxide levels will raise planetary temperatures so high that plants, habitats, and thus birds, reptiles and animals will somehow be exterminated. There is no evidence to support any of these extinction scenarios.
Indeed, there is no empirical evidence to support claims that average global temperatures have risen since 1998, or that we face any of the manmade global warming or climate change cataclysms proclaimed by Hansen, Gore and others.
2) The greatest threats to species are the very policies and programs being advocated in Rio.
Those policies would ban fossil fuels, greatly increase renewable energy use, reduce jobs and living standards in rich nations, and perpetuate poverty, disease, death and desperation in poor countries.
Today, over 1.5 billion people still do not have electricity, or have it only a few hours each day or week. Almost 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Millions die every year from diseases that would be largely eradicated by access to reliable, affordable electricity for cooking and refrigeration, clinics and hospitals, clean water, sanitation, and businesses and industries that generate jobs, prosperity and health.
Opposition to large-scale electricity generation forces people to rely on open fires for cooking and heating – perpetuating lung diseases and premature death, from breathing smoke and pollutants. It also destroys gorilla and other wildlife habitats, as people cut trees and brush for firewood and charcoal.
Wind turbines slice up birds and collapse bat lungs, exacting an unsustainable toll on eagles, hawks, falcons, and other rare, threatened and endangered flying creatures.
Turbine and solar arrays cover and disrupt millions of acres of farmland and wildlife habitat, to provide expensive, intermittent power for urban areas. They require backup generators and long transmission lines, and consume millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass, polymers and rare earth minerals – extracted from the Earth, often in countries whose pollution control regulations and technologies are substantially below US, Canadian, European and Australian standards.
Corn-based ethanol requires tens of millions of acres, billions of gallons of water, millions of tons of fertilizer and insecticides, and enormous quantities of hydrocarbon fuels.
And yet, President Obama told Ghanaians in 2010 that poor, electricity-deprived, malnourished Africans should rely on biofuel, wind and solar power – and not build even gas-fired power plants.
Hunting, subsistence living and poverty are among the greatest risks to species. Denying poor families access to reliable, affordable electricity is a crime against humanity
The Rio+20 biodiversity and sustainability agenda means artificially reduced energy and economic development. It means rationed resources, sustained poverty and disease, and unsustainable inequality, resentment, conflict, and pressure on wildlife and their habitats.
Simply put, 99% of humans and wild kingdom species are being ill served by the 0.1% UN and environmentalist elites gathered in Brazil, and purporting to speak for mankind and planet.
Our Creator has endowed us with a world rich in resources, and even richer in intelligent, hard-working, creative people who yearn to improve their lives and be better stewards of our lands, resources and wildlife. The primary obstacles to achieving these dreams are the false ideologies, anti-development agendas and suffocating regulations being promoted at the Rio+20 Summit.
If we can eliminate those obstacles, the world will enjoy a rebirth of freedom and opportunity, voluntarily stable populations, and vastly improved health, welfare and justice for billions. We will also bring far greater security to Earth’s wondrous multitudes of wild and scenic areas, and plant and animal species.
That would be an enormous gain for our planet and people.
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Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Washington, DC-based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death; David Rothbard serves as CFACT’s president.

Green Fury As Britain Welcomes Rio Summit’s ‘Epic Failure’

Green NGOs and charities claim that the text produced by the Rio+20 negotiators from 193 countries is so weak as to be almost worthless. Jim Leape, international director general of WWF, hoped that today’s document would be renegotiated: “It’s pathetic. It’s appalling. If this becomes the final text the last year has been a colossal waste of time.” Friends of the Earth are even stronger in their disapproval, calling the plans “an epic failure”. But in a briefing to UK journalists Ms Spelman argued that the text was as good as any outcome agreed by 193 countries could be – and she expects it to now be rubber-stamped by the world leaders. –Tom Whipple, The Times, 20 June 2012

The head of Greenpeace International said the NGO is moving to a “war footing” after negotiators at the Rio+20 sustainable development conference watered down proposals to protect the world’s oceans. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International’s executive director, said there were so many fudges in the draft agreement that Greenpeace now had no other option but to change its strategy and start planning waves of civil disobedience. When asked if he was prepared to die for the cause, he responded: “Yes. I feel a very deep sense of that.” –Jo Confino, The Guardian, 19 June 2012

Environmental pressure groups have written off the Rio+20 summit beginning today as “pathetic” and a “colossal failure of leadership”. Expectations were already relatively low for the summit, which is not being attended by senior world leaders. But after the negotiating text which the 130 world leaders will discuss was released the mood of environmental campaigners dropped still further. “It’s the last will and testament of a destructive 20th century development model,” said Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s international executive director. Jim Leape, the director-general of WWF, said “weak words” had been replaced with “toothless language”. –Alex Stevenson, Politics.co.uk, 20 June 2012

For the Conservatives, there is a political bonanza to be had from a re-think on costly green energy. Switching off subsidies for wind farms puts clear blue water between the Tories and the Lib Dems. And if played right, it could put Mr Cameron on the side of a global energy revolution that promises to keep the lights on, lower the cost to voters, and energise his electoral prospects when he most needs it. –Benedict Brogan, The Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2012

George Osborne’s new-found scepticism gave his backbenchers permission to step up their efforts against wind farms. Earlier this year, a letter to Mr Cameron drafted by the MP for Daventry, Chris Heaton-Harris, and signed by more than 100 Tory MPs put Downing Street on notice that it faced a major rebellion if it failed to address the issue. Cabinet ministers in recent days have fallen over themselves to assure Mr Heaton-Harris that he has won. His well-marshalled campaign has demonstrated the power of the backbenches and in particular the 2010 intake. He has not only improved his prospects of a ministerial job, but he has also demonstrated that in this Government, power lies increasingly with backbenchers. –Benedict Brogan, The Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2012

Natural gas, including non-traditional shale gas, should play a major role in cutting greenhouse gases, protecting forests and improving the health and living standards of the world’s poor, the co-head of a U.N. sustainable energy program said on Monday. “You can’t save the forest if you don’t have gas,” said Kandeh Yumkella, co-head of the initiative, told Reuters. “It’s one of the solutions we need to reduce deforestation and reduce the two million people who die every year because of indoor air pollution because they use firewood.” –Jeb Blount, Reuters, 18 June 2012

The foundations of some 1000 offshore wind turbines are crumbling. Danish companies face law suits over the liability and the yet unknown bills for repairs. A large brawl in the wind industry is underway. Serious design flaws in the foundations of some 1000 offshore wind turbines are now leading to lawsuits against and financial losses of several Danish companies. However, there is no overview of the problem, its economic scale and who will have to foot the bill. –Jakob Skouboe, Boerse, 4 June 2012

1) Green Fury As Britain Welcomes Rio Summit’s ‘Epic Failure’ – The Times, 20 June 2012

2) Ready To Die: Furious Greenpeace Moves To ‘War Footing’ At Rio+20 Summit – The Guardian, 19 June 2012

3) U.N. Sees Natural Gas As Key To Improving Environment, Helping Poor – Reuters, 18 June 2012

4) Benedict Brogan: Wind Of Change Sweeping Through Tory Party – The Daily Telegraph, 19 June 2012

5) Foundations Of 1000 Offshore Wind Turbines Crumbling – Boerse, 4 June 2012

6) Renewable Energy Threatens To “Ruin” Germany: “A Tsunami Of Costs” – No Tricks Zone, 19 June 2012

7) The 2012 Annual GWPF Lecture By Professor Fritz Vahrenholt – The Global Warming Policy Foundation