Category Archives: Global Warming

The Sultan of Spin

An article in yesterday’s Irish Times quotes Brian Motherway, the Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland making three outrageous claims about wind power in Ireland:

  1. Wind Power has saved Ireland more than €1 billion in imported energy costs – sort of wrong (these are weasel words)
  2. Wind Power has cut greenhouse gas emissions – sort of wrong (now I am being weasely)
  3. Wind Power has not added to customer’s energy bills – just plain wrong

Looking at point one, what is he saying? Has Ireland saved €1 billion? That is what it appears to mean, that is why it is worded that way. That is what spin is all about, appearing to mean one thing but actually saying something different. Looking at the mechanics of wind energy, wind turbines are at the best 25% efficient while gas, coal and oil are about 85% efficient and nuclear 92%. These figures all take into account down time for maintenance/breakdown etc. So we can be absolutely certain that wind power has not saved the tax payers of Ireland €1 billion. It is more likely that it has cost Ireland €1 billion (and some) in extra energy costs. Every Mega Watt of wind energy generated is heavily subsidised by the Irish tax payer. So while €1 billion may have been saved in imported energy it has cost substantially more than €1 billion to make that “saving”.

Point two. Has wind power cut greenhouse gas emissions? Not unless the wind turbine is more than 16 years old. This is because it takes 16 years to pay back the CO2 debt created when the turbine was built. The vast quantities of concrete required to build the enormous base of a wind turbine generates as much CO2 as the turbine will save in its first 16 years of life. The turbine will only become carbon negative in the final 9 years of its, average, 25 year life span. I too can spin.

Point three. Of this final point I can be utterly certain. How so? It is the note at the bottom of my gas bill that reads “Carbon Tax” levied at over 7% (on which I pay another 13.5% – double taxation) which goes to pay the subsidies on green energy, plus the Public Service Obligation (PSO) levy which I pay on my electricity bill. Airtricity kindly put a little explanatory note “The PSO levy is a charge relating to the costs of purchasing peat generated electricity and the output of renewable, sustainable or alternative forms of energy purchased under various government schemes…” For various government schemes read wind energy subsidies.

I shall be asking the Irish Times to print a correction of the article in their next edition – don’t hold your breath!


‘Thin Ice’ – Same old same old

Last night I attended the Irish launch of the new global warming propaganda film ‘Thin Ice’ . What interested me was the opportunity to question a panel of experts after the screening. All but one appeared well qualified and knowledgeable in specific areas of science, but the party was somewhat spoiled by the presence on the panel of one ‘Paul Price’. Paul came armed with a white board displaying what I can only describe as a rendition of Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph that had been fed on steroids. Judge for yourselves. He committed the cardinal sin of invoking the precautionary principle with regard to global warming. When I challenged him on this point he appeared not to know what I was talking about. Questions were asked behind the scenes by a senior academic as to why he had been included. I concur.

So, what did I think of “Thin Ice”? Well it’s begging for it isn’t it. Yes I thought the producer, Dr. Simon Lamb, was skating on thin ice with his approach to learning “the Truth” about global warming. Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear a scientist looking for the truth. That’s not what science is about – science is the search for error. The search for truth is theology – but let’s not go there.

At the end of the film Dr. Lamb exclaims that he was “impressed by… how carefully the scientists went about collecting their data excluding all possible sources of error”. Now come on, what scientist worth their salt would claim that they have ‘excluded all possible sources of error’ – none that I have ever come across. And so often it is not what data you produce it is how you present it that persuades people. For example, at the beginning of the film a Dr. Katie Dugger states that “the Antarctic Peninsula is a perfect example of where sea ice has disappeared and so have Adalie penguin populations – they really need the sea ice to do well”. What was the viewer to take from that Dr. Dugger ? Global Warming reduces sea ice, numbers of Adalie penguins decline, ipso facto global warming causes a fall in the numbers of Adalie penguins. Well no, not entirely, not according to NOAA (National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration) and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography who last year completed a 30 year longitudinal study which concludes that “the sea ice hypothesis” promulgated by Dr. Dugger fails.

Not only have Adalie penguin number fallen but so too have Chinstrap penguin numbers and Chinstraps don’t much like sea ice. And just to confuse things even more Gentoo penguin numbers in the same area are doing very nicely thank you. So what’s the real reason? It is the fall in the abundance of Krill (shrimp like crustacean) which just happens to be the favourite food of Adalies and Chinstraps. Gentoos prefer fish and squid. Why is Krill on the decline? The increase in the numbers of Baleen (filter feeder) whales and seals as a result of hunting bans. But NOAA could not leave it at that, they also had to blame global warming for helping to kill off the Krill. Now it is true that the winter temperatures around the West Antarctic Peninsula have increased by 5 degrees C in the last few years. But I’m sure that the active volcano discovered under the West Antarctic ice sheet in 2008 by the British Antarctic Survey had nothing to do with this. And one final thing about the Antarctic – the sea ice is at its greatest extent since the satellite record began in 1979. Today it is 14% about the average (1979 to 2008). Now Dr. Lamb, where is your exclusion of all possible sources of error?

 


Cognitive Dissonance & Global Warming

Whoa there tiger – heavy!

Perhaps Mark Twain had a lighter, more understandable explanation of what is going on at the moment in Global Warming circles.
“It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

As the prophecies begin to fail, the global warming glitterati are reacting to the ‘disconfirmation’ of their predictions with classic behaviour.

They renew their efforts to prosthelytise the world as the day of reckoning disappears, once again, into the middle distance. Being surrounded by lots of people who believe what you do – however bizarre – is very comforting.

They make ever more extreme claims. David Attenborough is a case in point, telling the world that Africa’s temperature had risen 3.5 deg C in the last 20 years. With the number of Polar Bears increasing, minimal sea level rise and the antarctic ice pack at an all time high. What else could he do?

To hear scienticians claim that their computer models had always predicted, that with Global Warming we would get more snow and the planet would get colder, is a sure sign they are in trouble. Queue scenes from ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.

As with any failing belief system, there will be some apostates. Perhaps the most well-known is James Lovelock, but he is a rare, though delightful, example.

In the end the only way we are going to stop the alarmists from further damaging the world’s economy, is to take away their grant money and tax payer funded subsidies. The chances of convincing them that they have been fooled are slim to none, and look, who’s that going past the window? Yes, you guessed it, Slim just left town.

Ref. ‘When Prophecy Fails’ published in 1956 – yes that’s right 1956


We burn corn not Witches!

During the Middle Ages climate change had a devastating impact on the world’s population. The Little Ice Age caused famine across the globe, and severely weakened citizens succumbed in their millions to the Black Death and other diseases. In an attempt to understand the problem the great and the good of the scientific and religious communities got together to come up with a solution. Sort of the Medieval equivalent of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The best idea it seemed was to burn witches. This practice continued for several hundred years and in light of the ending of the Little Ice Age around 1850 it could be claimed to have been something of a success.

Our own IPCC believes that if we could only reduce carbon dioxide emissions then we could end a 150 year rise in world temperatures. To those naysayers who would question the collective wisdom, the head of the IPPC (Ragendra Pachauri) has declared their methods “voodoo science” A campaign of burning 4% of the world’s corn production each year (in the form of ethanol), has been initiated, to mitigate a perceived 3% fall in world corn production due to excess carbon dioxide. Perhaps in a few hundred years we will see whether this has worked. Who know such methods have appeared to be effective in the past.

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IPCC 5AR – Unfalsifiable

One of the fundamentals of scientific research and the scientific method is the need for the falsifiability of a particular hypothesis. For example I might claim that for every 500 feet rise above sea level, the temperature falls by 1 degree C. This is easily tested. If the temperature instead increased by half a degree for every 500 foot rise above sea level then my hypothesis would fail.
Now, the latest report from the IPPC (5AR) claims that humankind is causing both global warming and global cooling ipso facto their hypothesis is unfalsifiable. This strikes at the very heart of the nature of the IPCC. It does not act in the manner of a scientific institution therefor its pronouncements on things scientific have no validity.
This smacks of desperation. In the face of 17 years of world temperature stasis, these charlatans have nowhere else to go.

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David Attenborough’s Legacy?

My interest in the environmental movement dates back to my childhood. Basically as far as I can remember. David Attenborough, Hans and Lotte Hass and Jacques Cousteau were the highlight of the single black and white BBC channel that was all that was available in our remote corner of Derbyshire. So it is with great sadness that I perceive that one of these pioneers of wildlife filming, namely David Attenborough, is beginning to tarnish his once sparkling reputation for factual reporting.
The rot started to set in some years ago when he buckled under the pressure of the BBC to tow the warmist line and drop in references in many of his transmissions to the ‘evidence’ of Global Warming. Just a few weeks ago he blotted his copy book (in my eyes) when he described humanity as a plague upon the Earth. Then to my utter amazement in the last episode of his wonderful series on Africa (transmitted in glorious HD and Dolby 7.1) he made the astonishing claim that Africa had warmed by 3.5℃ in the last 20 years. Oh David what has happened to you?
They say you should never meet your heroes. I think I have just got to close to one of mine. Where is the David of the stunning fact, the carefully researched data? I suspect he is just a little tired these days and is relying on some sloppy researcher, who as Leo Hickman of the Guardian opined (yes you heard it right – the Guardian) “You get the sense that they simply Googled “African temperature rise” and went for the first thing they found.”
Please David come back. Is there any chance of a Damascene road conversion as we witnessed with James Lovelock? I do hope so, there is still time.
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Wind Turbines Spin

You might think that this is a rather obvious statement, but that is not what I mean. Whenever statistics about wind turbine output or unit energy costs are given out by government or the renewable energy industry – there is always a large element of spin. Generation capacity is always given on the basis that the turbine is generating electricity 100% of the time. They have simply adopted the norm for the energy generation industry. The  same would hold true for a gas, coal or nuclear plant, so what is wrong with that? I’m sure you’re way ahead of me here. Yes of course, coal, gas, nuclear and hydro power plants average 85% output in one year. Germany estimates that it will get just 30% of its wind turbine capacity in actual power generated. Very naughty – just over a third of the power generated by conventional means. But it gets worse. That is what Germany estimated they would get. In actuality, over a ten year period all they got was 16%. That is why they are building 23 new coal fired power plants, that and of course the fact that wind generated electricity is 50% more expensive than the cost of conventionally produced energy. But here again that is not the whole story. When conventional backup power (remember wind power is only available 16% of the time) is included in the cost and when extra power transmission costs from disparate remote areas and power loss over long distances are taken into account the real cost is almost three times that of the most efficient new gas plants.
Just like any other information you get from politicians or vested interests, wind energy figures have been spun to death.

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