Wind Power: High Environmental Costs, Limited Energy Delivered

Posted on June 14, 2017

H. Sterling Burnett

Even when environmentalists admit wind power is more expensive than conventional fuel sources—and they often lie and claim it isn’t—wind advocates argue its environmental benefits are worth the added costs.

A recent column by noted British science writer Matt Ridley in The Spectator puts lie to this myth. To the extent one supplants electricity generated by fossil fuels with wind-generated electricity, it does relatively little to protect the environment.

For all the bragging the wind industry does about the growth of wind power worldwide—and to be fair, due to huge subsidies, it has been growing at an impressive pace for a decade now—it still doesn’t amount to much as a share of power overall.

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2016 Key Renewables Trends, wind provided 0.46 percent of global energy consumption in 2014. This is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than one-fifth of all energy used. Even limiting the question to electricity, all renewable-energy sources combined provided approximately 22 percent of electric power worldwide in 2012, a share the Energy Information Agency expects to grow to about 30 percent by 2040.

The problem for wind proponents is despite all the subsidies and mandates and the use of its punier but even more expensive cousin, solar power, wind and solar together only make up less than 5 percent of all global electric-power use, an amount EIA estimates will grow to 14 percent by 2040. Since electric power is just 20 percent of total energy use, even in 2040, electric and solar power will provide a mere fraction of the world’s total energy supply. Hydropower and old fashioned biomass—which, for most of us, means burning wood for heat and cooking—dominate the renewable-energy supply.

The land, wildlife, and climate impacts of this push for wind are horrendous. Ridley points out IEA estimates world energy demand has been growing at about 2 percent each year for nearly 40 years, an amount of annual growth that is expected to continue for decades to come.

If wind turbines were to supply just the expected growth in energy demand for the next 50 years, wind turbines would need to cover an amount of land equal to Russia, the largest country on Earth, in terms of land mass—and that’s just to meet new demand not displace the huge amounts of fossil fuels we currently use.

But even that doesn’t tell the whole story. Because wind turbines must be placed where the wind blows fairly constantly and without obstruction, wind farms often gobble up particularly scenic land areas, such as the tops of mountains and other remote areas. These places are typically hundreds of miles from the growing urban areas that need the power, necessitating the construction of tens of thousands of miles of new power lines to transport the electricity from where the turbines are spinning to where the power is needed. Power lines, of course, also take up land.

Other power plants, by comparison, can be constructed next to existing power-line corridors or near the areas where the power is needed. In addition, because electric power is lost during transmission over great distances, not all the power generated by turbines reaches its intended destination, which means more turbines and land is needed to meet electric-power growth.

Too put this in perspective, two of the biggest wind farms in Europe have 159 turbines and cover thousands of acres, but together, they take a year to produce less than four days’ worth of output from a single 2,000 MW conventional power station that takes up 100 times fewer acres. A wind farm occupying 192,000 acres, approximately 300 square miles, would produce the same amount of energy as a single 1,000 MW nuclear plant that requires less than 1,700 acres, or 2.65 square miles.

Wind turbines have been rightly called the Cuisinarts of the air for their propensity to chew up thousands of migratory birds and bats every year. In the 1960s, Rachel Carson warned of a “silent spring,” when children would no longer hear whistles of song birds because they had been killed by modern pesticides. Carson was wrong about the cause of death, but if wind farms are built around the world in the numbers demanded by climate alarmists, she could well be right about the results. Millions more birds and bats will be killed in the future by spinning turbines built in the corridors through which birds and bats migrate.

And what do we get for all this death and destruction? Certainly not cleaner air or lower carbon-dioxide emissions.

Wind farms generate power only when the wind is blowing within a certain range of speed. When there is too little wind, wind towers don’t generate power, but when the wind is too strong, they must be shut down for fear of being blown down. Even when they function properly, wind farms’ average output is less than 30 percent of their theoretical capacity, compared to 85–95 percent for combined-cycle gas-fired plants. Additionally, the power wind farms produce is highly variable, ramping up and down quickly alongside gusts and lulls. This is problematic because the power grid needs a regulated flow of power to function properly.

Because of these two endemic facts about wind power, wind farms require conventional power plants to supplement the power they do supply. By building a 1,000 MW wind farm, you are essentially also requiring the presence of a 700 MW natural-gas power plant.

It should also be noted the production of steel and concrete needed to build massive wind farms require energy-intensive processes, emitting greater amounts of carbon dioxide than most other industries. In fact, wind turbines require more steel and concrete per unit of energy produced than any other source of electricity.

As Ridley recounts for The Spectator, wind turbines need about 200 times more material per unit of power generated than a modern combined-cycle gas turbine. That means a single two-megawatt wind turbine uses 150 tons of coal. Building and installing the 350,000 wind turbines every year needed to keep up with increasing energy demand would require using 50 million additional tons of coal per year.

By any measure, governments’ big push for wind power delivers very little in terms of energy or environmental protection. Wind power advocates are blowhards, and it’s time for governments to stop listening to them.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (hburnett@heartland.org) is a research fellow on energy and the environment at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

See more here: Wind power
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BLACK MONDAY FOR THE CLIMATISTAS

BLACK MONDAY FOR THE CLIMATISTAS

Most climatistas are going to call today “Black Monday,” because today has dealt a double-whammy of what Al Gore would call inconvenient news. First, an article out today in Nature Geoscience ponders the problem of why observed temperatures in the troposphere are not matching up with what the climate models have predicted. The lead author, Ben Santer, is one of the leading climatistas, so this article can’t be written off as “denier” distortions. (One of the co-authors is Michael Mann.) The complete article is behind a paywall, and while it is evident that the authors have done all the necessary contortions that essentially say “our models are just a little off” so as to convey a “nothing to see here” conclusion, the abstract can hardly be reassuring because it has to concede the problem:

Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming ratesBen Santer, et al.AbstractIn the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble. Because observations and coupled model simulations do not have the same phasing of natural internal variability, such decadal differences in simulated and observed warming rates invariably occur. Here we analyse global-mean tropospheric temperatures from satellites and climate model simulations to examine whether warming rate differences over the satellite era can be explained by internal climate variability alone. We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability. The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty-first century results is low (between zero and about 9%). It is also unlikely that this asymmetry is due to the combined effects of internal variability and a model error in climate sensitivity. We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.

 Second, one of the heroes of the climate fantasists is Stanford’s Mark Jacobson, who has been arguing for some time now that the U.S. can get to 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, and hydro) by the year 2050. His work is preposterous, and as I noted here once before, Jacobson is regarded as a joke by most of his Stanford colleagues. Some of them (along with heavyweight energy academics from Berkeley, MIT, and elsewhere—there are a total of 21 authors signed on) have joined a major article out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that thoroughly rubbishes Jacobson’s fantasies:

Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solarAbstractA number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Translated from the politesse of formal academic writing, this means: Jacobson is full of crap. If you need confirmation, just consider that Jacobson has responded by attacking his critics in ad hominem fashion, rather than their arguments, telling the MIT Technology Review that “They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates or fossil-fuels advocates. They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.” (By the way—who has been giving Jacobson “a lot of attention”? Actor Mark Ruffalo and activist Van Jones in particular  Not exactly a compelling rebuttal. And totally incorrect about the authors of the new PNAS study, many of whom (I know some of them) are totally convinced climateers and dedicated energy decarbonizers. They just don’t like B.S.

Cause of London Tower Fire Just Exposed – Media HIDING It

Angry Patriot website

TELEMMGLPICT000131902097-large_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqpVlberWd9EgFPZtcLiMQfyf2A9a6I9YchsjMeADBa08We have learned more details about the fire in the London Tower this morning. The mainstream media is still sitting here silent — it’s a shame!

It has come to light that the cause of 17 plus people dying in the high-rise fire might have EVERYTHING to do with environmentalists. “Green” regulations required an installation of a new type of cladding insulation; the government has been warning people not to use this stuff since 1999 because it is HIGHLY flammable. According to The Telegraph, Dr. Jim Glockling of the Fire Protection Association said, “It could be that this is the quest for sustainability trumping other concerns.

The new cladding created what is now being called a “chimney effect,” resulting in a fire that spreads so quick that there was virtually no way to stop it. Glockling was getting at a valid point. The Left has become SO obsessed with “going green” that they are putting tens of thousands of people at risk on a daily basis by using materials that are MORE LIKELY to result in a devastating fire.

It is repulsive to think that people believe the future of the air 500 years from now can be more important than the fact people may die because of THEIR regulations. Tragically, at least three children lost their lives due to this carelessness.

Mickey Parmasivan recounted his story, “About 12 floors up I saw three children waving from a window and then there was just an explosion, and they disappeared.” The Left are a group of DEEPLY disturbed individuals for being ok with this event; an event they claim happened in a pursuit of “for the greater good.”

The icing on this screwed up cake, of course, is the mainstream media’s silence on the issue. The media is not going to speak against this for two major reasons.

First, the Left would have to admit that “going green” resulted in the deaths of nearly 20 people, and put an unmeasurable number of others at risk for future fires. They would NEVER want to admit that maybe “going green” isn’t what it is cracked up to be.

The second reason is that they would have to admit that President Trump was right to be concerned about the Paris Climate Accord. If they are setting up standards like this, then they really ARE a threat.

Liberals are unwilling to admit that Trump is correct, even if they have to ignore the death of children. We feel terrible for the people involved in this story, and our prayers are with them always.

The media DOESN’T WANT ANYONE TO SEE THIS! PLEASE share this story on Facebook to get the word out, and as always, let us know what YOU think about this story!

Climate Science: Red Fish Blue Fish

Guest Commentary by Kip Hansen

 “Multiple scientific assessments have concluded that man-made climate change is real and poses risks to human health and the environment. Even so, Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, told Breitbart News on Monday that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change.

In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, Pruitt proposed setting up opposing teams to debate key climate science issues.

“What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt said.

Pruitt voiced support for a “red team-blue team” exercise to foster such a discussion. The red-blue team concept gained prominence in a Wall Street Journal commentary by Steven Koonin, a professor at New York University.

Koonin argued that such an exercise would subject the scientific consensus on climate change to a rigorous test. The red team would challenge consensus findings from scientific assessments, and the blue team would have the opportunity to respond.

“The outcome of a Red/Blue exercise for climate science is not preordained, which makes such a process all the more valuable,” Koonin wrote. “It could reveal the current consensus as weaker than claimed. Alternatively, the consensus could emerge strengthened if Red Team criticisms were countered effectively.””

—  EPA’s Scott Pruitt wants to set up opposing teams to debate climate change science. Washington Post —  7 June 2017 — by Jason Samenow

Why is this report almost entirely wrong?

The Washington  Post’s Jason Samenow is an experienced journalist.  He certainly is experienced in climate science communication.  According to his Wiki entry “Samenow worked as a climate change analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Division from 2000 to September 2010.  Samenow launched and oversaw the EPA’s public website on climate change. … In early 2004, Samenow established CapitalWeather.com, the Internet’s first professional weather blog.”  (apparently, while an employee of the Federal EPA.)

When Samenow’s weather blog, CapitalWeather.com, was absorbed by the Washington Post in 2008, Samenow came along and is now the Washington Post’s Weather Editor.

However, like other federal employees that have turned to the internet to express their views on climate science, Samenow is not a disinterested, unbiased reporter of the facts.  So, instead of journalism, we get advocacy and commentary where we should see news. 

What Does Samenow Get Wrong?

Nearly everything.   Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, did speak to Breitbart News on Monday but he did not say “that he would like to essentially re-litigate the science of climate change.”  Climate Science is not subject to “litigation” — not then, not now, not in the future — so it certainly cannot be “re-litigated” even if Pruitt desired that.

Of course, that is not what Scott Pruitt said.  What he did say is “What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,”  Pruitt voiced support for a “red team-blue team” exercise to foster such a discussion. He refers to Koonin’s Wall Street Journal editorial in which Koonin argued that such an exercise would subject the scientific consensus on climate change to a rigorous test. [see Judith Curry’s “A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science”].

Samenow repeats and doubles down on his original error with “In an interview with Breitbart’s Joel Pollak, Pruitt proposed setting up opposing teams to debate key climate science issues.”  The last thing Pruitt, or any sensible person for that matter, wants is to have opposing teams debate climate science.

The Washington Post author apparently has no idea what a Red Team Blue Team exercise would be for a scientific question.  Maybe he has confused with it Dr. Suess’s Red Fish Blue Fish. Maybe Samenow should have looked it up in the Wiki.  [If you don’t already realize why I say Samenow is clueless, you should read the Wiki, read Dr. Curry’s essay linked above and do a Google on Red Teams.] Samenow refers to the approach as re-litigation and debate.  It is neither.

”Samenow writes: “Historically, red teams have been called upon in military exercises as a way to introduce alternative ideas and, ultimately, strengthen organizational performance. But David Titley, a climate scientist at Penn State University and retired Navy rear admiral, said introducing a red team into climate science doesn’t make sense. “Science already has a red team: peer review.””

In case no one at the Washington Post reads their own Science section [here and here] depending on peer-review to ensure correct results is a fool’s hope.  Peer review is coming under increasing scrutiny, especially in fields that have strong indicators of publication bias and ideological bias, in fields where there is a strong and professionally-enforced consensus.   I needn’t point out here that climate science is one such field.

The Intelligence and the Tech Security worlds have been using Red Team’s for quite some time, and the approach has become quite sophisticated.

What Red Team Blue Team is meant to do in the Intelligence World is to obviate the influence of “group think” among intelligence analysts, who tend to be a close knit group.  According to Psychology Today: “Groupthink occurs when a group values harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation. It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus.”

In Intelligence, this has fairly recently led to a US President being advised to go to war, and doing so,  over the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction, which were figments of groupthink among America’s intelligence analysts.

In a scientific field, groupthink leads to studies that “go along to get along” — to publication bias where the ‘best journals” only publish papers that agree with the emerging consensus or the field’s opinion leaders, drowning out by volume any differing voices and pushing dissenting papers downline into less prominent, less prestigious journals, where they do not have any influence and are seldom, if ever, read.

And that’s what Climate Science needs — a remedy for the groupthink that has led to attitudes like that of Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who is quoted saying:  “The notion that we would need to create an entirely different new approach, in particular for the specific question around global warming, is unfounded and ridiculous…”.

So much for a search for better understanding.

# # # # #

Post Script:  I once made a suggestion at Climate Etc. that the whole field of Climate Science might want to hit the RESTART button.   A properly constituted Red Team would fit the bill to re-evaluate the field, discover misunderstandings, discover unknown unknowns, and direct future research to find the answers to known unknowns.

I’d like to see your comments, especially on the use of Red Teams in the real world, your professional lives.     –  Kip Hansen

More rational policies in our future?

Trump’s Paris decision challenges bad science, economics and energy politics behind treaty

Driessen – Rational policies in our future

In the wake of President Trump’s exit from the Paris climate treaty, reactions from other quarters were predictably swift, nasty, sanctimonious and hypocritical.

Al Gore paused near one of the private jets he takes to hector lesser mortals to say the action will bring “a global weather apocalypse.” Billionaire Tom Steyer got rich selling coal but called the President’s action “a traitorous act of war.” Actor-activist Mark Ruffalo railed that Trump has “the death of whole nations on his hands.” Michael Moore said the action was “a crime against humanity.” Former President Obama said it threatened “the one planet we’ve got” (to say nothing of what’s left of his executive orders legacy).

In truth, President Trump’s bold decision underscores the ill-informed science, economics, ethics and energy politics that have driven climate cataclysm caterwauling for decades. His exit decision, his insistence that NATO members pay their agreed dues for defending Europe, the impacts of widespread green energy poverty, and the hard economic and environmental realities of wind, solar and biofuel “alternatives” to fossil fuels will likely awaken other leaders – and persuade other nations to Exit Paris.

Of the 28 NATO members, only the US, UK, Poland, Estonia and Greece have met their defense spending commitments, leaving a shortfall of $134 billion a year and compelling the United States to shoulder over 65% of the alliance’s total defense spending. Germany and some other members have now grudgingly agreed to increase their payments, in response to President Trump’s request, Russia’s actions in Crimea, Georgia and elsewhere – and growing threats of Islamist terrorism.

In the wake of London, Manchester, Brussels, Paris, Orlando, San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Twin Towers and countless other attacks, it is ludicrous to claim supposedly manmade, allegedly dangerous climate change is the world’s biggest worry. It’s totally unrealistic to imagine that NATO members can pay their fair share for defending Europe and then pay what the Paris Treaty expects for the Green Climate Fund, while shackling their economies with job-killing renewable energy policies, and spending billions on welfare for unemployed workers and migrant families from the Middle East.

The Paris climate formula provides that GCF payments are to start at $100 billion per year, of which the US share would have been $23.5 billion. Former UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres has suggested that $450 billion a year by 2030 would be appropriate, Competitive Enterprise Institute energy and climate director Myron Ebell points out.

Ms. Figueres has also said the UN has “given itself” the task of replacing the free enterprise capitalism economic model with a global governance system. Her colleague Ottmar Edenhofer bluntly stated that the real goal of UN climate policies is redistributing the world’s wealth – in $450-billion-a-year increments.

Developing Countries and kleptocratic leaders demanded this windfall to join Paris. Their enthusiasm over staying in Paris is likely to reflect now-rich nation declining excitement about paying into the Fund, even though the treaty does not obligate DCs to reduce fossil fuel use or emissions until at least 2030.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gamely said she will now work “more than ever” to “save our planet.” A number of US cities and states pledged to remain committed to treaty obligations. How exactly will they do that? Will they pay billions into the Fund – and blanket their lands with enough wind, solar and biofuel installations to be completely renewable in three decades? Build more of the only CO2-free electricity sources that are reliable and affordable: nuclear and hydroelectric facilities?

Most of these national, state and local leaders oppose nuclear and hydroelectric as strongly as they detest fossil fuels – and the states and cities are already burdened by soaring electricity prices and government debt. Virtually none have considered the gargantuan costs of this “energy transition” – or the fact that total global adherence to the Paris Treaty would prevent an undetectable 0.2 degrees C (0.3 F) of warming by 2100. Their own self-aggrandizing efforts would prevent perhaps 0.01 degrees. (And that assumes carbon dioxide is the primary factor in climate change, instead of changes in solar energy output, cosmic rays, ocean circulation and numerous other natural forces that actually control Earth’s climate.)

The United States and world still depend on oil, natural gas and coal for 80% of their total energy needs. More than 53,000 US wind turbines still supply only 2% of the nation’s total energy; thousands of acres of photovoltaic solar panels supply barely 0.3% of US energy; corn ethanol from 40 million acres (equal to Iowa or to Austria and the Czech Republic combined) supplies just 5% of its transportation fuels.

Land and raw material requirements for wind turbines underscore the true impacts of renewable energy.

Between 2010 and 2015, global electricity consumption grew by more than 2 billion megawatt-hours (2,000 terawatt-hours). Meeting just this demand growth of 400 million mWh per year (not total global electricity demand) solely with wind energy would require installing some 100,000 new turbines every year (generating electricity 25% of the time), as nations continue to electrify their far-flung communities.

Thankfully, African and Asian countries are actually doing so by building “mere” hundreds of new coal- and natural gas-fueled power plants, to generate abundant, reliable, affordable electricity for their people. Converting the entire planet to constantly fluctuating, unreliable, expensive, subsidized wind power would require trillions of dollars, hundreds of millions of acres, and incalculable raw materials.

Industry and other data suggest that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 185,000 1.5-MW turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, up to 18 million acres, and 245 million tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths – plus fossil-fuel back-up generators for the 75% of the year that the wind is barely blowing and the turbines are not producing electricity.

Now consider where all these raw materials must come from, how they must be extracted from the Earth and turned into finished products, and how much (mostly fossil fuel) energy that requires. Concrete is made from limestone, silica, alumina, iron, clay, fly ash, gypsum and gravel. Steel requires iron, nickel, chromium, manganese, carbon and molybdenum. Fiberglass is composed of silica, other minerals and petroleum. These materials and copper are mined in countries all across the planet.

Nearly all rare earth metals come from Mongolia, and lithium for batteries (to store the turbines’ electrical output) from the Democratic Republic of Congo, under horrid to nonexistent environmental, health and child labor standards. Their toxic and radioactive wastes are turning vast areas into desolate wastelands.

Those are enormous impacts – and wind turbines require some 100-200 times more raw materials per megawatt of electricity actually generated than modern hypercritical coal or combined cycle gas turbine generators. Total energy inputs to manufacture, transport and install wind turbine components are also lopsided. Just imagine the land and resource needs if all electricity were wind-generated and all cars were electric. To call this “clean” energy, “sustainable” power or “environmental justice” is simply perverse.

Think back on the incredible energy technology advances since 1917 – from wood and coal in primitive stoves, furnaces and factories a century ago … to the coal and gas turbine generators, hydroelectric and nuclear power plants, high-tech transmission grids of today. Ponder the amazing advancements in medical, computer, communication and other technologies during the past century.

Imagine what wonders our Ultimate Resource – our creative intellects – could invent over next century, if we have the freedom and capital to do so. If misguided climate change, wealth redistribution, renewable energy and global governance demands do not shackle those opportunities. If we’d stop giving decision-making authority to people who have never been in factories or on farms (much less worked there), and think food comes from grocery stores, electricity from wall sockets, “clean energy” from magic.

President Trump has been vilified for challenging “accepted wisdom” on NATO, terrorism, climate change, and the ability of wind and solar to power job creation and economic rejuvenation in the USA and other industrialized nations – and to enable poor families worldwide to take their rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. History will prove him right.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Four Liberal U.S. Senators Attack Heartland, and We Reply

Joe Bast June 9, 2017

It is almost unbelievable how low our opponents stoop in their effort to demonize us and stop President Trump from repealing the worst parts of Barack Obama’s legacy.

As you may have heard, I was in the Rose Garden a week ago when President Trump announced the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Treaty. I was honored to be invited, and view it as a sign that our efforts for the past 20 years on the climate change issue have not gone unnoticed. But the left noticed my attendance as well, and so this week they tried to hurt President Trump by attacking me.

The Union of Concerned Scientists and other left-wing groups shivered and cried about my presence in the Rose Garden. Forget about them. More interesting was this letter to U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos signed by four U.S. Senators – Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Edward Markey (D-MA) – demanding to know if her department “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding as well copies of said correspondence, any information regarding discussions between Heartland and other White House staff members, and more.

The letter goes on to accuse The Heartland Institute of being a “notorious industry front group,” and worse.

Below is my reply to the four senators, going out in the mail today. I hope you don’t think it’s too timid.

We are not letting up on our efforts to spread the truth about climate change and other important public policy issues. Stay tuned for more news on that front.

START OF LETTER

June 8, 2017

To: Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Edward Markey (D-MA)
From: Joseph L. Bast, president The Heartland Institute

Re: Your recent shameful conduct with regard to our communications with the Trump administration

I was disappointed but not surprised by your letter dated June 7 sent to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in which you demand to know if her department “had contact with individuals associated with the Heartland Institute on climate, science, or science education issues,” and demanding as well copies of said correspondence, any information regarding discussions between Heartland and other White House staff members, and more.

For the record, The Heartland Institute has contacted nearly all members of the Trump cabinet. We have sent extensive information to more than 100 members of the administration explaining who we are, enclosing multiple publications (including books, policy studies, and videos) of most relevance to their positions, and offering to make our extensive network of some 370 policy experts available to provide further assistance. Some have gotten back to us.

We have published scores, possibly more than one hundred, commentaries and news releases and news stories calling attention to the new administration’s policy decisions, congratulating it when it has done what we believe to be the right things, and criticizing it when they have come up short.

Can any of you explain to me how this differs from the relationship the previous administration had with liberal advocacy groups? Can any of you explain why these contacts are illegitimate or against the public interest?

Your letter to Secretary DeVos describes The Heartland Institute as a “notorious industry front group.” This is false and defamatory. Heartland is a 33-year-old national nonprofit research and education organization with a broad funding base, a long history of taking positions at odds with “industry,” and has policies in place that protect its staff from undue influence from donors. All this is explained on our website in a section titled “Reply to Our Critics.”  Google it.

Your letter cites PBS Frontline as reporting “that the Heartland Institute is distributing factually inaccurate and scientifically illegitimate materials on climate change to upwards of 200,000 public school science teachers.” PBS Frontline is not qualified to make that judgment. And the number of public school science teachers is considerably less than 200,000. Didn’t anyone on your staffs fact-check this letter before it was circulated?

Our work on climate change is produced by a network of more than 200 highly qualified scientists, economists, and policy experts. It has been cited in more than one hundred peer-reviewed articles. The Chinese Academy of Sciences thought so highly of it, it translated two volumes of our work into Mandarin Chinese and published it as a condensed volume in 2013. Surveys and literature reviews show our views are supported by a majority of scientists in the United States.

Your letter goes on to claim that Heartland has “disseminated ‘alternative facts’ and fake science at the behest of its industry funders for decades.” You go on to comment on our funding from Phillip Morris, the Koch family foundations, and ExxonMobil, implying that our work may be “fraudulent.”

It is simply despicable that you would knowingly repeat such lies in an open letter like this. Shame, shame, shame.

The Heartland Institute’s research has been praised by scores of policymakers and our peers in the public policy research community. (See the document titled “Endorsements” linked in the “About” feature on our Website.) We are ranked one of the top ten conservative think tanks in the world. The Koch family has made exactly one gift to us in the past 20 years, of only $25,000 earmarked for a health care policy project. ExxonMobil stopped giving in 2007, before Heartland ramped up its work on climate change. Your claims are false, obviously intended to defame us.

But of course you know all this, because I’ve told you this before in response to previous libelous letters you’ve sent.
Frankly, your letter is a monumental misuse of your offices and a betrayal of the trust of your constituents. You should all be ashamed.

Happily, it now appears our work is informing the decisions of the Trump administration, conscientious members of the U.S. House and Senate, and governors and state elected officials from coast to coast. I understand this is bad for you, but it is good for the nation, for the environment, and for us.

I eagerly await your retractions and apologies.

Environmentalists are dead wrong

By Walter E. Williams

Each year, Earth Day is accompanied by predictions of doom. Let’s take a look at past predictions to determine just how much confidence we can have in today’s environmentalists’ predictions.

In 1970, when Earth Day was conceived, the late George Wald, a Nobel laureate biology professor at Harvard University, predicted, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.” Also in 1970, Paul Ehrlich, a Stanford University biologist and best-selling author of “The Population Bomb,” declared that the world’s population would soon outstrip food supplies.

In an article for The Progressive, he predicted, “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” He gave this warning in 1969 to Britain’s Institute of Biology: “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.” On the first Earth Day, Ehrlich warned, “In 10 years, all important animal life in the sea will be extinct.” Despite such predictions, Ehrlich has won no fewer than 16 awards, including the 1990 Crafoord Prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences’ highest award.

In International Wildlife (July 1975), Nigel Calder warned, “The threat of a new ice age must now stand alongside nuclear war as a likely source of wholesale death and misery for mankind.” In Science News (1975), C.C. Wallen of the World Meteorological Organization is reported as saying, “The cooling since 1940 has been large enough and consistent enough that it will not soon be reversed.”

In 2000, climate researcher David Viner told The Independent, a British newspaper, that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said. “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.” In the following years, the U.K. saw some of its largest snowfalls and lowest temperatures since records started being kept in 1914.

In 1970, ecologist Kenneth Watt told a Swarthmore College audience: “The world has been chilling sharply for about 20 years. If present trends continue, the world will be about 4 degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990 but 11 degrees colder in the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age.”

Also in 1970, Sen. Gaylord Nelson wrote in Look magazine: “Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian (Institution), believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.”

Scientist Harrison Brown published a chart in Scientific American that year estimating that mankind would run out of copper shortly after 2000. Lead, zinc, tin, gold and silver were to disappear before 1990.

Erroneous predictions didn’t start with Earth Day. In 1939, the U.S. Department of the Interior said American oil supplies would last for only another 13 years. In 1949, the secretary of the interior said the end of U.S. oil supplies was in sight. Having learned nothing from its earlier erroneous claims, in 1974 the U.S. Geological Survey said that the U.S. had only a 10-year supply of natural gas. The fact of the matter, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, is that as of 2014, we had 2.47 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas, which should last about a century.

Hoodwinking Americans is part of the environmentalist agenda. Environmental activist Stephen Schneider told Discover magazine in 1989: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. … Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” In 1988, then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, D-Colo., said: “We’ve got to … try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong … we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.

Americans have paid a steep price for buying into environmental deception and lies.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

In the future, people will marvel how hysterical mankind has been

Lubos Motl. Reference Frame

Daniel Kaiser Post

An interview with Richard Lindzen in Prague in mid May 2017

The U.S. president Donald Trump has turned his back to the international treaties to reduce emissions when he announced in the White House’s Rose Garden that the U.S. will leave the Paris climate treaty that 195 countries signed in 2015. We use this opportunity to unlock the full interview with one of the most famous climate skeptics among the world’s scientists Richard Lindzen which was published in Echo at the end of May.

In February, Lindzen organized a public letter to Trump signed by hundreds of scientists, urging the president to revoke the U.S. signature under the 1992 treaty signed in Rio which became a cornerstone for the subsequent Kyoto and Paris treaties. In these treaties, the countries-signatories pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to make sure that the planet won’t heat up by more than 2 °C relatively to the pre-industrial era.

In your memo, you recommend Trump to withdraw from the Climate Change Convention signed at the 1992 U.N. summit in Rio. Why do you focus on Rio and not the 18-months-old Paris treaty?

Because Rio seems to be the easiest way out. There exists an argument that to leave the Paris treaty [adopted in 2015; signatories-countries vow to realize their individual contributions to fight against the emissions, note by editors] would be more complex and it could take several years. [That’s the path that Trump chose, anyway, comment by LM.] The argument also notes that our exit must be approved by the other signatories. On the other hand, when you leave Rio, you also invalidate the commitments that were made in the subsequent 25 years and that includes Paris. The second simplest way out would be to classify Paris as a treaty that requires a ratification by the U.S. Senate where it would undoubtedly fail to collect the required 2/3 majority. And in that case, we could think of Paris as a treaty that hasn’t been signed by the U.S. at all. According to the U.S. constitution, all international treaties have to be approved by the Senate. Obama was working outside this framework and in fact, no one exactly knows whether his agreement with the Paris treaty has any legal power.

What are your estimated odds that Trump will behave as you advise him?

I see it as a 50-to-50 proposition. I think that we will be smarter in Fall 2017 or earlier. These days, it’s hard to understand the actual events in the U.S. Trump is complaining about fake news – and rightfully so. So far, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and a majority of the TV channels like to report things about Trump before it turns out that they aren’t quite right. So when they are telling us that Ivanka along with her spouse Jared Kushner or the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson want us to stay in the Paris climate framework, I am not sure that it’s true. Trump himself isn’t ideological, moreover, he doesn’t pretend to possess the scientific expertise. He may be inclined to decide in a way that minimizes the friction. But the most important fact could be his campaign promise to leave the climate treaties.

At any rate, last fall, people were voting for Donald, not Ivanka or Jared.

Yes, and he knows it. He has two candidates for his science adviser, William Happer and David Gelernter. Both are very intelligent men. Will was mentioning that he was discussing this issue with Trump and Trump was saying: You must understand that my daughter is young and doesn’t understand the issue yet. Who knows how these things will evolve…

Why would Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner be so involved in the efforts to keep the U.S. in the Paris climate framework?

They are young people, they have been brought up in the propaganda about the man-made global warming. Before her father decided to run for the White House, they were Democrats. If you’re growing up in the New York City in a certain social class, everyone around you is a believer. That was the case of many CEOs of big companies that I know. Their wives were insisting that they had to embrace this faith, otherwise these wives’ girlfriends would stop talking to these wives.

You have been heard as saying that the ordinary Joe has already seen through the panic about global warming while the educated people are more susceptible.

But that’s the case of many other topics. Orwell was an early thinker who noted that certain ideas are so silly that only intellectuals may believe them. Just look how the education system works. What does it mean for a student to be good these days?

To pass the exams and write a good thesis.

Maybe in your country. In America, to be a good student means to please his or her professor. In other words, the student must accept what the professor teaches and writes, without reservations. And when you disagree, you are a bad student. People who avoid the college don’t have to undergo this. They have the freedom to use their own brain to think. If you ask a regular working person in Boston, Paris, or anywhere, what he thinks about global warming, he will probably respond: I think that something is happening but I am not too interested in it. Almost no one will tell you: We have to save the planet. It would be hard to transmit this sentence through his lips because it would look too pompous to him. And he is intuitively right. Even the official proposals to stop the climate change publicly admit that even if they are realized, they won’t have a tangible impact. These efforts are returning us to the Middle Ages when people liked to do symbolic gestures to persuade God to look at us more mercifully. It is an irrational issue, except from the viewpoint of the people who make profit out of it. And it’s not just the producers of the solar panels or the pinwheels. In America, even utility companies are totally excited about the regulations introduced because of the climate. They have done the maths and they figured out that the regulations will bring them extra profits. The consumers will pay for the party.

On the other hand, the college-educated public ironically thinks that it is the climate skeptics like you who are being paid by the energy industry.

I wish! [Laughter.] The only big grant that e.g. ExxonMobil has ever donated to the research of the climate was its $100 million grant donated to Stanford – to promote the climate alarmism.

Payments that you have allegedly received from the coal company Peabody is sometimes being used against you.

Sure, they wanted an expert analysis needed in the court. Everyone gets paid for this work. More importantly, this money is so modest that it is negligible relatively to the funds flowing to the official climatology. Since 1988, the latter has been tens of billions of dollars, an amount so large that the climate science has basically been unable to absorb it so far. The field is relatively small and the tens of billions are going almost exclusively to support a pre-determined paradigm. Don’t believe the talk about thousands of climatologists who agree with the conclusions of the U.N. international panel. Have you attended a college? Have you ever met someone who studied climatology in your student environment? No? Almost no one has met a climate student. Sure, the U.N. is already importing people from Zimbabwe and Tanzania, but those aren’t real climatologists. But when you discontinuously increase the research funds, and on top of that, you develop the research on the impacts of the so-called climate change, you may study e.g. cockroaches and still be incorporated to the industry of climatology once you publish studies about the cockroaches’ prospects in the globally warming world. If 90% of the research funding for the climate were slashed, the discipline would actually benefit.

You are alternately living in Greater Boston and Paris so you must have noticed that the French president Macron has invited scientists from the U.S. to France who are – I am quoting – fighting against the darkness and obscurantism and who are afraid that their research will no longer be permitted.

If Macron were honest, he would have to think of people like me. In the past and up to this day, the only scientists who have been suppressed have been the doubters. When they classify you as a skeptic, you won’t get the grants, you face extra hurdles while publishing things. For example, I am a member of the National Academy of Sciences and these members are expected to be able to publish a scientific study. I submitted a publication in 2011 whose co-author was Korean scientist Mr Choi. In the committee that was deciding about the publication, one member was Mr Schellnhuber of Germany [Hans Joachim Schellnhuber was then a science adviser to Angela Merkel, comment by editors] and his argument was as follows: Look, this Lindzen wants his study to be reviewed by Chou but Chou is his co-author. That’s illegal. They didn’t publish our paper even though Choi and Chou are two different people. Afterwards, I even received apologies from other members of the committee who were disgusted – but that couldn’t have helped with the core problem.

Do you know a recent example in which climatology was demonstrably working in a government’s interest?

Sure. The Karl et al. study funded by NOAA (National Ocean and Atmosphere Administration) in Summer 2015, i.e. shortly before the Paris accord, had the goal to prove that the hiatus in global warming that has been taking place already from 1998 (or 1988 written in the original Echo interview, not sure what was meant, LM), didn’t exist. Using slightly different datasets, they reduced the temperatures measured in 1978-1998 and slightly increased the temperatures from 1998 through 2015, and that’s how a steeper curve was created. In newspapers, people could read predictable headlines: No hiatus has occurred in global warming! Of course the warming did take place but they hid an important detail: that the warming was far smaller than the predictions of all the climate models. And that was true even according to the modified datasets. That’s an example of elementary scientific dishonesty built on the silly assumption that every warming is dangerous, even if it were by a hundredth of a degree. Someone has paraphrased the logic as follows: When you eat 100 aspirins, you will die. When each of 100 people eats 1 aspirin, 1 person will die. [The original Czech interview says “100 persons will die” but that’s not what Lindzen meant. LM]

And according to you, is the world warming or not?

The climate is constantly changing, it has never stayed constant. We had a warming episode in 1978-1998, probably comparable to several tenths of a degree. I am using the word “probably” because when the measurement error is plus minus 0.2 °C, you may always modify your results to match a trend you find convenient. To deduce trends from changes comparable to tenths of a degree is nonsense from a statistical perspective. It is almost impossible to say with certainty that the warming has taken place. The international panel of the U.N. known as the IPCC acronym is claiming: The warming between 1919 and 1940 wasn’t caused by humans but the warming between 1978 and 1998 was. But their magnitude and shape was basically identical. It’s propaganda. You may always focus on small changes and scale the graph so that it looks dramatic to the naked eye.

What about the argument about the 10 hottest years in history that were uniformly recorded from 1998?

If 1998 is the warmest one in your dataset from the beginning of your measurements, and if the temperature stabilizes afterwards, then it seems logical that most of the following years will belong among the warmest ones. This argument says nothing about the trends. I think that this argument is abusing the people’s innumeracy. It’s a fact that since 1998, the Earth has basically seen no temperature trend. First, this 20-year-old hiatus wasn’t predicted by the IPCC models. Second, they aren’t even attempting to seriously explain it. Ex post explanations, e.g. that the heat was stored in the ocean and will emerge from the ocean sometime in the future, aren’t convincing.

If the official science is failing, how do you explain that the climate industry keeps on moving?

Environmentalists have attempted to spread several types of a panic since the 1960s: oxygen depletion, global cooling, coming ice age, acid rains… Global warming is the last one in the sequence. They have nothing else to try afterwards, so they will remain attached to global warming for as long time as possible. When this whole construct collapses sometime in the future and the fight against global warming will be moved to the dumping ground of history, people will marvel at a remarkable story showing how it was possible to make the whole mankind hysterical without any proper arguments. And how vulnerable science may become when it is exposed to such hysteria.

Does the history of science remember something similar?

To some extent, Lysenko’s anti-Mendelian theory of heredity in the USSR was similar. In America, there was a related excitement for eugenics in the 1920s. Eugenics returned to Germany later and in a much more extreme form. But even in the U.S. of the 1920s, it was enough to close the borders. The root of the panic was the idea that America was exposed to the pandemics of feeble-mindedness and you could have found scientists who were blaming this pandemics on the immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe, i.e. on you and the Italians. [Laughter.] What’s interesting is that while the research wasn’t subsidized by the government in those times, the public was scared and the government suggested that it was preferring certain results. And science managed to match that demand with its supply. In spite of the geneticists’ knowledge that it was bad science, they remained silent because they felt that it was very important for the public to appreciate the importance of their field.

What risks are facing the scientists whose theory collapses during their lifetime?

Nothing. Paul Ehrlich and his population explosion theory is a good example. Before 1980, famine would explode in the U.S. Nothing like that has ever taken place, of course, but Ehrlich remains a celebrated personality. In fact, he claims that the history has vindicated him. It’s similar with the people in the Club of Rome and their The Limits to Growth. It’s a silliness but they’re still harvesting applause. You can say anything and it doesn’t affect your reputation as long as you belong to a political movement. In that case, you may say: I have done quite some good work to help a good cause.

If Trump leaves the bandwagon of the climate politics, may it bring the demise of this world view closer?

It might. I don’t think that the end will be dramatic. What may happen is simply that the panic will cease to be profitable and profit seekers will have to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

Richard Lindzen. American atmospheric physicist from a Jewish family that fled Germany shortly before he was born in 1940. He was growing up in Bronx and studied at Harvard afterwards. Between 1983 and 2013 when he retired, he was a professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was an author of the seventh chapter of the 2001 IPCC report before he complained that the conclusions of that report were modified for political goals. His wife is French and both of them alternately live in Greater Boston and Paris.

Czech readers’ feedback: The article was shared thousands of times and attracted 160+ overwhelmingly positive comments. Observation by LM.

Did Trump cause the end of the world?

by Bob Livingston

Man-caused global cooling global warming climate change is not science. It’s a faith-based quasi-religion/money laundering scheme of hokum, balderdash and outright lies.

Look no further for evidence of this than the hyperbolic overreaction to Donald Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would not abide by the Paris accords.  Only those whose messiah had been slain or who had had their money bags ripped from their hands would overreact to such extremes

In the wake of Trump’s announcement, headlines screamed that by pulling out of the accord Trump was ushering in the end of the world. But even James Hansen, the so-called father of global awareness of climate change and former NASA scientist, called the Paris accord “a fraud, a fake… absolute bulls**t” in the wake of its signing in 2012.

Of course, the proponents of the theory of man-caused climate change have been predicting this doom and gloom for dozens of years, led, of course, by the globalist anti-American United Nations. In 1989, a U.N. environmental official posited that governments had a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control. At that point global temperatures would rise 1 to 7 degrees and polar ice cap melts would raise sea levels three feet, displacing millions of people and flooding arable land, he claimed.

This was just one of dozens of dire predictions made by climate alarmists and their collectivist central planning advocates over the last several decades.

It’s now 28 years later — and four days since President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. was pulling out of the Paris Climate accord — and, despite the caterwauling of the climatephobes, the streets have not become rivers, tornadoes and hurricanes are not obliterating large swaths of the country, the south is not blanketed in feet of snow, nor is a blazing sun turning the U.S. into another Sahara. Just like none of the predictions of catastrophe have happened since scientists in search of largess from the public trough began in the early 1900s promoting their theories of climactic eschatology.

Climate alarmism is home to the Marxists of old who lost their cause when the Soviet Union fell and they needed a new vehicle to promote their utopian central planning ideology. But it’s also a cause embraced by the banisters, Wall Street types and multi-national corporations that stand to profit immensely off the money-laundering schemes involved in it.

The Paris accord in and of itself was based on false science: that CO2 emissions are causing temperatures to rise – the temperatures are not, and there is no evidence that the emissions do so – that there is some magical ideal global temperature that needs to be maintained and we know what that temperature is, and that by reducing said CO2 emissions the atmospheric levels of CO2 will drop and temperatures will stabilize.

And the Paris accord was not a treaty. President Barack Obamaadmitted as much by refusing to bring it to the Senate for ratification. So the U.S. was not bound to it. Nor, apparently are other signatories. Germany, for instance, saw its total energy production rise by 1.6 percent in 2016 over 2015 and was likely to miss its Paris accord pledge of cutting CO2 emissions 40 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

The accord is a feckless central planning scheme that sought to expropriate the wealth of Americans and redistribute it around the globe for the banksters and crony green energy companies. The plan would have destroyed American sovereignty, rendering it subservient to Third World backwaters looking for handouts. It would have cost hundreds of thousands of American jobs, put a further damper on American manufacturing and, according to The Heritage Foundation, destroyed $2.5 trillion in gross domestic product by 2035. And it would have empowered American alphabet soup federal agencies to impose ever tighter restrictions on energy use by Americans as it met the ever changing reduction guidelines, escalating American energy costs.

It has already cost America $1 billion, which Obama contributed to a green energy slush fund called the Green Climate Fund without congressional authorization.

The Paris accord was not a “lawful” agreement, much less a treaty, despite the word changers’ and propagnadist’s use of the that word. Outside of Obama’s inner circle, the Green mafia, the banksters and cronies, and ignorant leftists, no widespread American support was evident – certainly there was no support for ratification by the Senate.

The new French President Emmanuel Macron snooted that the “treaty” was non-negotiable. That’s good news. There won’t be a temptation for some subsequent collectivist-minded U.S. president to sell America down the river again, as Obama did.

Macron also invited Americans to come to France to help “make our planet great again.” Evidently, Macron thinks that France, by virtue of its participation in the treaty, will be immune from the hyped effects of America’s pullout. Either that or he’s admitting it’s all just a hoax.

No, Trump did not cause the end of world with his decision to remove America from the Paris hoax. He saved America, her jobs and her energy sector. But he did destroy one of the biggest anti-liberty scams in world history.