Monday, January 31, 2011

QUIS MAGISTROS IPSOS DOCEBIT? (Who will teach the teachers?)

Obama's pet nut wants to "educate" people. Yet, no matter how hard they tried, nobody could educate Holdren. He has less scientific competence than most first graders. Note that he talks about "the science" without mentioning one single scientific fact. Some background on the amazing wit and wisdom of Holdren here

President Obama's top science adviser said there's a need to "educate" GOP climate change skeptics on Capitol Hill as the White House seeks to advance its green energy agenda. "It is an education problem. I think we have to educate them," said John Holdren, who heads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Obama, in his State of the Union speech last week, called for deriving 80 percent of U.S. power from "clean" sources by 2035, and funding increased R&D of green electricity and fuels by repealing billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks. But the effort comes as a substantial number of GOP lawmakers, such as House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Ralph Hall (R-Texas), are questioning climate science.

Holdren, asked about advancing Obama's agenda in the face of skepticism, said the scientific evidence of dangerous human-induced climate change is powerful. "The science of climate change is really very clear in its essentials," Holdren said on Platts Energy Week.

He said there is uncertainty about details, but noted that's always the case in science. What's plain, Holdren said, is that the climate is changing in damaging ways and that human activities - notably burning fossil fuels - are "overwhelmingly likely" to be the primary cause.

"Those points are clear in the science, and we need to talk with the members of Congress who aren't yet convinced of that to try and convince them," Holdren said.

Obama's Jan. 25 speech didn't mention climate change, greenhouse gases, or global warming explicitly, instead referring briefly to protecting the planet, while repeatedly framing green energy as an economic driver.

The careful phrasing comes after emissions-capping legislation collapsed on Capitol Hill last year.


New paper: Climate change is not caused by greenhouse gases

Dr. Noor van Andel, former head of research at Akzo Nobel, has a new paper out showing the available data to date contradicts the notion of greenhouse gas induced global warming or 'climate change.' He notes that while there have been extensive efforts to 'prove' the 'greenhouse' warming theory by bringing computer models and observations into agreement, this has been done "strangely only by adjusting the measurements instead of adjusting the models," in other words, via unscientific means. Dr. van Andel instead finds that ocean oscillations and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al best explain climate changes.

CO2 and climate change
Noor van Andel,, 17-01-2011.

Abstract: It is shown that tropical Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies are closely congruent to global temperature anomalies, and that over more than a century. When we understand the cooling mechanism over the tropical Pacific, and especially its CO2 dependency, we can draw conclusions for the global CO2 climate sensitivity.

It is shown that the cooling of the tropics, or trade wind belt, is by deep convection, i.e. by a few thousand concentrated tropical thunderstorms that carry all the sensible and latent heat swept up by the trade winds all the way on to the tropopause. The physics of deep convection have been formulated since 1958 and are based on sound thermodynamics and measurements on location.

The trends of the temperature in the high atmosphere in the last half century are very negative, starting on this height where the convection reaches. That means that more CO2 has a cooling effect rather than a warming effect. Cloud tops radiate much more intense than the thin air on this height. This is the cause behind the cooling, as much as the CO2 increase.

The cooling trend is quite in discrepancy with the “greenhouse-gas-induced-global-warming” theory, but is quite in accord with increasing deep convection. The adjustment of these temperature measurements to bring them more in line with the climate models leads to unphysical conditions and processes. The response of the upper atmosphere temperature on volcanic eruptions also fits in the deep convection theory, but not in the mainstream theory.

Not CO2 increase, but two other parameters are the cause of climate change: ENSO or El Ni¤o Southern Oscillation, a large change in the cold water upwelling along the coast of South America correlates well to short term climate change, and change in the intensity of hard, deeply penetrating Galactic Cosmic Radiation, well documented by 10Be deposits and 14C levels, correlates very well with long-term climate change including ice ages.

My conclusion is that climate changes are not caused by greenhouse gases.

A selected excerpt from the paper:

The global warming started in 1976 with the “big climate shift”, the trend stopped in 1999 but the climate stayed warm until 2010. We see that in the warming period 1079-2009 not only the warming trend at the surface is higher, but the cooling trend in the high tropical troposphere is more clearly enhanced. We see even a cooling trend 1979-2009 replacing a warming trend 1958-2009 at the tropical 500-800 hPa height. We could even conclude that more CO2 cools the climate, because it cools the upper regions where the deep convection reaches, increasing the effective lapse rate over the whole height with 0.35 K/decade, over 2 decades and 12 km that means 0.07*2/12=0.012 K/km, not much, but we see in the table that a 0.1 K/km lapse rate increase at SST -302K increases the convection top 1.5 km. So this CO2 cooling trend over 2 decades brings the convection top 1.5 km/0.1*0.012=180 m higher, which is not negligible.

This behavior has been a problem for many, as it contradicts the global-warming-by-greenhouse- gases theory. So there has been a large activity to bring models and observations into agreement, strangely only by adjusting the measurements instead of adjusting the models.

And from the paper's conclusion:

Our present climate is due to an increased length of the last interglacial period, more than 10000 years, due to a low level of GCR [galactic cosmic rays] that maintains a low cloud cover, a low albedo, more absorbed sunshine and a pleasant climate. In the very long run, we need not mind about CO2 or global warming, but instead about higher GCR activity and global cooling. There is no way we can influence GCR activity, originating in active black holes and imploding supernovae.


The Effect of Climate Change on Malaria in Western Africa

Discussing: Jackson, M.C., Johansen, L., Furlong, C., Colson, A. and Sellers, K.F. 2010. Modelling the effect of climate change on prevalence of malaria in western Africa. Statistica Neerlandica 64: 388-400.


The authors write that "malaria is one of the most devastating vector-borne parasitic diseases in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world," where they say it affects over 100 countries. Thus, it should come as no surprise that according to the World Health Organization, Africa carries the highest infection burden of any continent, with nearly 200 million cases reported in 2006; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that between 700,000 and 2.7 million people die annually from the dreaded disease (Suh et al., 2004). In addition, Jackson et al. report that "the African region bears 90% of these estimated worldwide deaths," and that "three-quarters of all malaria related deaths are among African children," citing Breman (2001) in this regard. As a result, they -- as well as many others -- opine that "malaria could be greatly affected by the influence of climate change," such as that associated with global warming. But is this really the case?

What was done

In an effort designed to shed some light on this important question, the five U.S. researchers linked reported malaria cases and deaths from the years 1996 to 2006 that they obtained from the World Malaria Report (2008) for ten countries in western Africa (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) with corresponding climate data they obtained from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center, after which they searched for transitive relationships between the weather variables and malaria rates via spatial regression analysis and tests for correlation.

What was learned

Jackson et al. report that their analyses showed that "very little correlation exists between rates of malaria prevalence and climate indicators in western Africa."

What it means

This result, as they describe it, "contradicts the prevailing theory that climate and malaria prevalence are closely linked and also negates the idea that climate change will increase malaria transmission in the region."


How BBC warmists abuse the science

Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, is an expert in genetics, not climatology

The timing was immaculate. Last Tuesday, across a two-page extract from the memoirs of Peter Sissons, the senior BBC newsreader, was the headline: "The BBC became a propaganda machine for climate change zealots - I was treated as a lunatic for daring to dissent."

The previous evening the BBC had put out a perfect example of the zealotry which had made Mr Sissons, as a grown-up journalist, so angry. Horizon's "Science Under Attack" turned out to be yet another laborious bid by the BBC to defend the global warming orthodoxy it has long been so relentless in promoting.

Their desperation is understandable. The past few years have seen their cherished cause crumbling on all sides. The Copenhagen climate conference, planned to land mankind with the biggest bill in history, collapsed in disarray. The Climategate emails scandal confirmed that scientists at the heart of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had distorted key data. The IPCC's own authority was further rocked by revelations that its more alarmist claims were based not on science but on the inventions of environmental activists. Even the weather has turned against them, showing that all the computer models based on the assumption that rising CO2 means rising temperatures have got it wrong.

The formula the BBC uses in its forlorn attempts to counterattack has been familiar ever since its 2008 series Climate Wars. First, a presenter with some scientific credentials comes on, apparently to look impartially at the evidence. Supporters of the cause are allowed to put their case without challenge. Hours of film of climate-change "deniers" are cherrypicked for soundbites that can be shown, out of context, to make them look ridiculous. The presenter can then conclude that the "deniers" are a tiny handful of eccentrics standing out against an overwhelming scientific "consensus".

Monday's Horizon exemplified this formula to a T. The scientist picked to front the progamme was Sir Paul Nurse, a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, now President of the Royal Society (which has been promoting warmist orthodoxy even longer than the BBC). The cue to justify the programme's title was all the criticism which greeted those Climategate emails leaked from Sir Paul's old university, East Anglia, showing how scientists had been manipulating their data to support the claim that temperatures have recently risen to unprecedented levels.

One of the two "deniers" chosen to be stitched up, in classic BBC fashion, was the Telegraph's James Delingpole. He has spoken for his own experience on our website. Still worse, however, was the treatment of Professor Fred Singer, the distinguished 86-year-old atmospheric physicist who set up the satellite system for the US National Weather Bureau.

We saw Nurse cosying up to Singer in a coffee house, then a brief clip of the professor explaining how a particular stalagmite study had shown temperature fluctuations correlating much more neatly with solar activity than with levels of CO2. This snippet enabled Nurse to imply that Singer's scepticism is based on one tiny local example, whereas real scientists look at the overall big picture. No mention of the 800-page report edited by Singer in which dozens of expert scientists challenge the CO2 orthodoxy from every angle.

The most telling moment, however, came in an interview between Nurse and a computer-modelling scientist from Nasa, presented as a general climate expert although he is only a specialist in ice studies. Asked to quantify the relative contributions of CO2 to the atmosphere by human and natural causes, his seemingly devastating reply was that 7 gigatons (billion tons) are emitted each year by human activity while only 1 gigaton comes from natural sources such as the oceans. This was so much the message they wanted that Nurse invited him to confirm that human emissions are seven times greater than those from all natural sources.

This was mind-boggling. It is generally agreed that the 7 billion tonnes of CO2 due to human activity represent just over 3 per cent of the total emitted. That given off by natural sources, such as the oceans, is vastly greater than this, more than 96 per cent of the total. One may argue about the "carbon cycle" and how much CO2 the oceans and plants reabsorb. But, as baldly stated, the point was simply a grotesque misrepresentation, serving, like many of the programme's other assertions, only to give viewers a wholly misleading impression.

Another came after Nurse had defended his old university's part in the Climategate emails. Inevitably he claimed that various reports had cleared the scientists involved of any wrongdoing, without mentioning that every one of the inquiries had carefully avoided the scientific questions at the heart of the row. (Yet another superficial parliamentary report last week, despite the heroic efforts of Labour MP Graham Stringer, was rendered meaningless by the same central evasion.)

Nurse then held up a copy of The Sunday Telegraph, showing the headline over one of my columns: "The worst scientific scandal of our generation". He implied that this referred only to Climategate, which would have been absurd. My article in fact explained how the emails merely shed further light on all the other ways in which the scientists involved have for years been finagling data crucial to the warmist case, by exaggerating the recent rise in temperatures and eliminating all the evidence that past temperatures have often, through natural causes, been higher than they are today.

Although Sir Paul presented himself as the champion of objective science, he frequently showed that, for all his expertise in cell biology, he knows little about climate. The fact that someone is an expert in one particular field - even if he is President of the Royal Society - gives him little more authority to pronounce on issues with which he is unfamiliar than a man holding forth in a pub.

Far from it being "science" which is under attack from all those experts who dispute the orthodoxy on global warming, the truth is the very reverse. It is the dissenters who are trying to speak for genuine science, against those who misuse its prestige to promote a cause which has too often betrayed the very essence of proper scientific method.

The fact that the BBC has been turned, in Peter Sissons' words, into a mere "propaganda machine" is scandal enough. But a far greater scandal is the way the authority of science has been hijacked to serve a fatally flawed belief system which threatens to inflict irreparable damage on the future of us all.

Is Met Office again playing games with its weather data?

Dr Benny Peiser and Dr David Whitehouse, of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), have written to John Hirst, chief executive of the beleaguered Met Office, asking for an explanation of a press release issued by his organisation on January 20 and headed "2010 - a near record year". This won headlines by claiming that last year was hotter than any other in the past decade.

When the two men examined the original data from which this claim was derived - compiled by the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit and the Met Office's Hadley Centre - it clearly showed 2010 as having been cooler than 2005 (and 1998) and equal to 2003. It emerged that, for the purposes of the press release, the data had been significantly adjusted.

Comparing the actual data for each year, from 2001 to 2010, with that given in the press release shows that for four years the original figure has been adjusted downwards. Only for 2010 was the data revised upwards, by the largest adjustment of all, allowing the Met Office to claim that 2010 was the hottest year of the decade.

I asked the Met Office to comment on what seems like yet another embarrassing example of juggling with the figures. It denied the charge and I shall report on its lengthily evasive reply, once the GWPF has had a more considered response from Mr Hirst.


Does a huge lapse in mainstream media reporting allow the global warming crisis to stay alive?

For most conservatives, some points about the idea of humans causing global warming are no-brainers: plausible doubt arises in quick glances through web sites like Marc Morano’s ClimateDepot, the SPPI blog, WUWT, and ClimateAudit. We don’t have to get down into the minutiae of science reports seen at those sites, it’s just obvious they contradict the supposedly ’settled science’. For seemingly comic effect, Al Gore and other limousine liberals dictate that we should limit our carbon footprint, but their mansions and jet-setting is not up for debate.

You’d have to have a fairly low IQ not to see the irony of greenies’ mansions & jets, and you’d have a lower one if you’re easily led to believe skeptic web site operators just ‘make stuff up’. The far-left loves saying Rush Limbaugh or Marc Morano fabricate doubt about global warming, as though each creates it out of thin air. These smears evaporate when anybody reads the content at Limbaugh’s, Morano’s, and other skeptics’ sites.

Our far-left friends fervently hope you follow the implied “nothing to see here, move along” instruction. My worry is we are letting another major fault in the so-called global warming crisis slip by, because some conservatives might think there is a little something to see.

That would be the near universal accusation of big industry corrupting skeptic scientists. Supposedly, they accept money from coal and oil companies in exchange for assessments intended to confuse the public about the science being settled. A bribe to make stuff up despite knowing better, in other words. When articles, books and op-eds describe various guilt-by-association situations of skeptic scientists and big coal & oil ….. gosh, it does sound a bit plausible, so maybe the topic should be avoided. Take the example where environmental writer Bill McKibben said this,
Six of the ten largest companies on earth are in the fossil-fuel business. Those companies have spent some small part of their wealth in recent years to underwrite climate change denialism: Jane Mayer's excellent New Yorker piece on the Koch brothers is just the latest and best of a string of such exposes dating back to Ross Gelbspan's 1997 book The Heat Is On.

Uh, oh, conservatives better not draw attention to that. Let’s re-frame the discussion by saying cap & trade is too expensive to contemplate during recessions.

I categorically disagree on two counts: we cede the moral high ground to the far-left who’d say conservatives are too cheap to save the planet, but more important, this completely fails to question McKibben’s fundamental assertion about a ’string of such expos‚s’. Al Gore himself provides a tidbit that begins to undermine that assertion, in his New York Times review of Gelbspan’s 2004 Boiling Point book:
Gelbspan’s first book, ”The Heat Is On” (1997), remains the best, and virtually only, study of how the coal and oil industry has provided financing to a small group of contrarian scientists who began to make themselves available for mass media interviews as so-called skeptics on the subject of global warming….documenting the largely successful efforts of companies like ExxonMobil to paralyze the policy process, confuse the American people and cynically ‘reposition global warming as theory rather than fact,’ as one strategy paper put it…

Wait, that was 2004. When Phil Radford talked about his 2009 promotion to head Greenpeace USA and who inspired him, he described Gelbspan in an April 2009 magazine interview:
Ross has been the lone voice, the moral compass, the beacon that has inspired countless people, me included, to demand our country and our future back from the coal and oil interests behind global warming.

So was there a string of exposes between then and Jane Mayer’s August 2010 New Yorker article? Hardly. As I detailed in my September 15, 2010 American Thinker article “Warmist Slander of Scientific Skeptics“, Mayer’s assertions about questionable funding of skeptic scientists relied on information from Greenpeace, Naomi Oreskes, Joe Romm, and the Center for Public Integrity. Each in turn cite Ross Gelbspan as the source for their information. That would then be the same old "exposes", replete with all the inherent problems I describe there and below.

So have others independently corroborated Gelbspan’s accusation? Sorry, no. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why I started in my research, because I was told by a Society of Environmental Journalists board member (deep within the comments section in this page) that:
Gelbspan was only the first of many to document payments by industry to a small group of scientists who consistently defend the interests of industry reliant on not controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Document? Or just repeat? Books such as James Hoggan’s & Richard Littlemore’s Climate Cover-Up, Mark Bowen’s Censoring science and Thin ice, Jeff Goodell’s Big Coal, Donald Brown’s American Heat, and others, along with magazine articles and TV programs, all directly cite Gelbspan’s “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” accusation or cite other references that themselves cite Gelbspan. However, as I noted in my July 2010 American Thinker article, “Smearing Global Warming Skeptics“, there are fundamental problems with him simply being the center of attention. He did not actually discover the memo he derives his accusation from, the memo is never seen in its full context (until I showed it), the memo seems to be nothing more than an interoffice set of PR instructions, and he is not the Pulitzer winner he is portrayed to be.

Think about the larger picture. This may not be simply a small matter of libel/slander of skeptic scientists - if an ordinary citizen like me was able to find all these problems, why didn’t the mainstream media find these? Why have they instead surged ahead with the idea the science is settled, in the face of such easily found giant red flags?

The new US House GOP committee chairmen aren’t just presented with a ‘witch hunt’ opportunity to score a few points on the ClimateGate scandal, conservatives everywhere now have an unprecedented opportunity to expose the far-left agenda once and for all. Yes, doctoring temperature data is bad, but when people pushing an ideology resort to portraying critics as villains using an unsupportable accusation, solely to distract us from seeing the IPCC’s highly questionable claims about humans causing global warming, we have a huge problem. When an entity as globally influential as the mainstream media fails to seriously question any part of it, and actually joins in on the push, then we have a monumental problem.


In China, the true cost of Britain's clean, green wind power experiment: Pollution on a disastrous scale

On the outskirts of one of China's most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across an immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn. Yan Man Jia Hong is a dedicated Communist. At 74, he still believes in his revolutionary heroes, but he despises the young local officials and entrepreneurs who have let this happen. `Chairman Mao was a hero and saved us,' he says. `But these people only care about money. They have destroyed our lives.'

Vast fortunes are being amassed here in Inner Mongolia; the region has more than 90 per cent of the world's legal reserves of rare earth metals, and specifically neodymium, the element needed to make the magnets in the most striking of green energy producers, wind turbines.

Live has uncovered the distinctly dirty truth about the process used to extract neodymium: it has an appalling environmental impact that raises serious questions over the credibility of so-called green technology.

The reality is that, as Britain flaunts its environmental credentials by speckling its coastlines and unspoiled moors and mountains with thousands of wind turbines, it is contributing to a vast man-made lake of poison in northern China. This is the deadly and sinister side of the massively profitable rare-earths industry that the `green' companies profiting from the demand for wind turbines would prefer you knew nothing about.

Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the city of Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five-mile wide `tailing' lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China's key waterways in jeopardy.

This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.

Rusting pipelines meander for miles from factories processing rare earths in Baotou out to the man-made lake where, mixed with water, the foul-smelling radioactive waste from this industrial process is pumped day after day. No signposts and no paved roads lead here, and as we approach security guards shoo us away and tail us. When we finally break through the cordon and climb sand dunes to reach its brim, an apocalyptic sight greets us: a giant, secret toxic dump, made bigger by every wind turbine we build.

The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds and your eyes water and a powerful, acrid stench fills your lungs. For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr Yan's village of Dalahai, and other villages around, breathe in the same poison every day.

Retired farmer Su Bairen, 69, who led us to the lake, says it was initially a novelty - a multi-coloured pond set in farmland as early rare earth factories run by the state-owned Baogang group of companies began work in the Sixties. `At first it was just a hole in the ground,' he says. `When it dried in the winter and summer, it turned into a black crust and children would play on it. Then one or two of them fell through and drowned in the sludge below. Since then, children have stayed away.'

As more factories sprang up, the banks grew higher, the lake grew larger and the stench and fumes grew more overwhelming. `It turned into a mountain that towered over us,' says Mr Su. `Anything we planted just withered, then our animals started to sicken and die.'

People too began to suffer. Dalahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unusually young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates rocketed.

Official studies carried out five years ago in Dalahai village confirmed there were unusually high rates of cancer along with high rates of osteoporosis and skin and respiratory diseases. The lake's radiation levels are ten times higher than in the surrounding countryside, the studies found.

Since then, maybe because of pressure from the companies operating around the lake, which pump out waste 24 hours a day, the results of ongoing radiation and toxicity tests carried out on the lake have been kept secret and officials have refused to publicly acknowledge health risks to nearby villages.

There are 17 `rare earth metals' - the name doesn't mean they are necessarily in short supply; it refers to the fact that the metals occur in scattered deposits of minerals, rather than concentrated ores. Rare earth metals usually occur together, and, once mined, have to be separated.

Neodymium is commonly used as part of a Neodymium-Iron-Boron alloy (Nd2Fe14B) which, thanks to its tetragonal crystal structure, is used to make the most powerful magnets in the world. Electric motors and generators rely on the basic principles of electromagnetism, and the stronger the magnets they use, the more efficient they can be. It's been used in small quantities in common technologies for quite a long time - hi-fi speakers, hard drives and lasers, for example. But only with the rise of alternative energy solutions has neodymium really come to prominence, for use in hybrid cars and wind turbines. A direct-drive permanent-magnet generator for a top capacity wind turbine would use 4,400lb of neodymium-based permanent magnet material.

The fact that the wind-turbine industry relies on neodymium, which even in legal factories has a catastrophic environmental impact, is an irony Ms Choi acknowledges. `It is a real dilemma for environmentalists who want to see the growth of the industry,' she says. `But we have the responsibility to recognise the environmental destruction that is being caused while making these wind turbines.'

Our current obsession with wind power, according to John Constable of energy think-tank the Renewable Energy Foundation, stems from the decision of the European Union on how to tackle climate change. Instead of just setting targets for reducing emissions, the EU told governments that by 2020, 15 per cent of all the energy we use must come from renewable sources.

Because of how we heat our houses and run our cars with gas and petrol, 30 per cent of electricity needs to come from renewables. And in the absence of other technologies, that means wind turbines. But there's a structural flaw in the plan, which this winter has brutally exposed.

Study a graph of electricity consumption and it appears amazingly predictable, even down to reduced demand on public holidays. The graph for wind energy output, however, is far less predictable.

Take the figures for December, when we all shivered through sub-zero temperatures and wholesale electricity prices surged. Peak demand for the UK on 20 December was just over 60,000 megawatts. Maximum capacity for wind turbines throughout the UK is 5,891 megawatts, almost ten per cent of that peak demand figure.

Yet on December 20, because winds were light or non-existent, wind energy contributed a paltry 140 megawatts. Despite billions of pounds in investment and subsidies, Britain's wind-turbine fleet was producing a feeble 2.43 per cent of its own capacity - and little more than 0.2 per cent of the nation's electricity in the coldest month since records began.

Wind power's uncertainties don't end with intermittency. There is huge controversy about how much energy a wind farm will produce. Many developers claim their installations will achieve 30 per cent of their maximum output over the course of a year. More sober energy analysts suggest 26 per cent. But even that figure is starting to look generous. In December, the average figure was less than 21 per cent. In the year between October 2009 and September 2010, the average was 23.6 per cent, still nowhere near industry claims.

Then there's the thorny question of how many homes new installations can power. According to wind farm developers like Scottish and Southern Electricity, a house uses 3.3MWh in a year. Lobby group RenewablesUK - formerly the British Wind Energy Association - gives a figure of 4.7MWh. In the Highlands electricity usage is even higher.

Last year, a report from the Royal Academy of Engineering warned that transforming our energy supply to produce a low-carbon economy would require the biggest investment and social change seen in peacetime. And yet Professor Sue Ion, who led the report, warned, `We are nowhere near having a plan.'

So, against the backdrop of environmental catastrophe in China and these less than attractive calculations, could the billions being thrown at wind farms be better spent? Undoubtedly, says John Constable. `The government is betting the farm on the throw of a die. What's happening now is simply reckless.'



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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