Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The wind turbine backlash: Growing public opposition thwarts Britain's green energy drive

Plans to cover Britain with wind farms are being thwarted by a growing tide of public opposition. Nearly half of all onshore wind farms in England and Wales are being refused planning permission, figures reveal. The percentage of such developments being refused planning permission has risen sharply over the last five years.

According to data obtained by law firm McGrigors, in 2005 29 per cent were turned down by planners – rising to 33 per cent in 2009 and 48 per cent last year.

The increase in objections is partly the result of the volume of wind turbine applications being proposed by energy companies. Under European climate change targets, around a third of all Britain's electricity will have to be generated by renewable energy sources by 2020. The majority of that green power will come from 10,000 new wind turbines at sea and on land.

But according to McGrigors, 32 out of 66 applications for onshore wind farms were rejected in 2010. Britain has 305 onshore wind farms and 3,360 turbines.

McGrigors, a leading commercial law firm which represents wind farm developers, claims energy companies will become increasingly frustrated with local planners refusing to give the go-ahead to money-spinning turbines.

However, Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is sceptical of the Government's climate change policy, including its plans for building wind farms, said: 'The public backlash against wind farms is not surprising.

'It is the inevitable and inexorable consequence of a costly, unpopular and completely pointless policy that is butchering Britain's green and pleasant landscape without having any effect on the climate. 'These green projects are only viable because of multi-million subsidies supporting a few hundred wealthy landowners and a handful of energy companies.

'By opposing wind farms, a growing number of neighbourhoods and communities are protecting both their local environments and their purses from blind exploitation.'

Jacqueline Harris, a partner at McGrigors, said wind farm developers believe they are not getting a 'balanced hearing' at local level. She said: 'The feeling is that local authorities are too often prioritising local concerns. 'There is little willingness to consider the benefits of renewable energy generation in context.'

She added: 'Objections based around the visual impact of wind turbines are overriding the wider need to deliver energy security and mitigate the impact of climate change. The visual impact of wind turbines is a common complaint and often successful grounds for objection.

'This applies even where the benefits of the development greatly outweigh the downsides to a small but vocal minority. 'Even single turbines, which can generate enough electricity for a few thousand houses, are being rejected because of the visual impact on a handful of properties.'

The Government's Localism Bill – which gives more power to local communities over planning decisions – could make it even more difficult for the wind farm developers to push through planning permission. According to Mr Peiser, the Bill has 'helped to empower individuals, councils and communities to oppose and halt wind farms'.

A spokesman for Renewables UK, which represents the wind farm industry, claimed: 'Wind farms bring real economic benefits to local communities. 'Every refused wind farm planning application is a missed opportunity to secure employment and business benefits at a local level, and further deliver on our energy security and climate change targets.'


A World Food Crisis?

S. Fred Singer

Forecasting world famines has become a favorite pastime for some: from the Reverend Thomas Malthus 200 years ago and more recently Paul Ehrlich to the Club of Rome and the Paddock brothers in the 1970s—and of course, to Lester Brown, about once every decade. The latest catastrophic forecast comes to us from climate alarmists who focus on a world food crisis, supposedly as a consequence of global warming (GW). While there may well arise problems about world food, it is more than likely that a global warming—if it does take place—will increase food production rather than lower it. So rest easy: another crisis averted.

The main cause cited for a decrease is loss of soil moisture; but it should be obvious that any increase in global temperature will also increase evaporation from the oceans and therefore the total amount of global precipitation. GW is a perfect recipe for creating more fresh water, which according to the alarmists is badly needed. Of course, we cannot be sure where this precipitation will come down—but neither can the alarmists. Sadly, our climate models are inadequate to handle regional problems—and particularly bad when it comes to predicting precipitation.

Another reason for increased food production stems from the warmer temperatures themselves. Again, according to climate models, an increase in average global temperature points toward only a slight increase in the tropical zone—with the major increases in higher latitudes, where climates tend to be more severe. (That of course is a common problem when one deals with ‘averages.’) So it may turn out that Canada and Siberia will see increases in crop production because of longer growing seasons, warmer growing temperatures, and fewer frosts—but there will be little change at lower latitudes.

The final reason for improvements in agriculture stems of course from the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide—irrespective of its putative effects on climate. Carbon dioxide will continue to increase because of the burning of fossil fuels to create energy. The rate of future increase is not known with any degree of certainty; it depends on population growth, changes in economic activity, technology, and other factors.

But C02 is plant food and a natural fertilizer. Countless experiments conducted by agriculturalists in different nations have established that increased C02 levels not only speed up plant growth, of crops and forests, but enable plants to do better under stressed conditions of drought, pollution, and attacks by insects and fungi.

Economists tell us that the problem of world hunger has to do mostly with the distribution of food resources rather than the total amount of production. Ultimately, it becomes a problem of having money to buy the food that is needed and having money to establish the transportation systems necessary to bring food from farms into the urban areas that people have moved to and will be moving to in the future.

Economics also tells us that there is a considerable cushion: consumption of meat. As grain prices rise because of scarcity, so will the price of grain-fed animals. But a higher price of meat will dampen the expected growing demand and so release more grain for direct human consumption.

But aside from these economic factors, the total amount of food available to hungry people can also be increased by better protection of the resource itself. Genetic Modification (GM) is developing food varieties that are resistant to water shortages and resistant to pests; but some nations are still resisting even while their people go hungry. (Kenya has fortunately just dropped its ban against GM crops.) In the meantime, the judicious application of chemical pesticides can help in preserving the food resource. Of great importance also is the use of fumigants, like methyl bromide, to protect grains against vermin and fungus. Improper storage and spoilage in shipping imposes huge losses and creates economic inefficiencies.

The world has done quite well in avoiding the anticipated Malthusian catastrophe for the past 200 years—as population increased manifold—from about one to more than six billion. All indications are that population growth is slowing down and that levels will peak well below ten billion within the next few decades. There is every reason therefore to view the world food problem with optimism.


Poll: Warmist faith fading among Americans too

Three-quarters of Americans say natural disasters are on the increase, but fewer than ever believe the climate is heating up, a new poll finds.

And only half say they have prepared for calamity by stockpiling three days worth of food and water, Harris reports.

Seventy-six percent say hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes are becoming more frequent, and 31 percent say much more. Only 2 percent perceive a decline and 23 percent no change.

In the Northeast, 77 percent say a snow or ice storm is most likely to affect them, while 79 Midwesterners agree and 89 percent of them fear tornadoes.

In the South, 66 percent worry about tornadoes, 54 percent hurricanes and 50 percent drought. In the West, earthquakes are a concern for 66 percent. Only 11 percent across the country think a nuclear power accident would affect them.

Only 44 percent say they "believe the theory" that carbon dioxide emissions are warming the Earth, down from 51 percent in 2009 and 71 percent in 2007, but most movement has been into the "not sure" column.

The online poll of 2,163 adults was conducted June 13 through 20. Harris does not give margin-of-error figures.


The founding philosopher of the deep green movement was a Nazi

Most of the Green thinkers of Nazism are now forgotten but Heidegger is still honored -- as is his authoritarian proclivities

One of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, foundational to the academic left and deep ecology of the greens, was committed to Nazism.

The green Nazi/deep ecology connection in the life and works of Martin Heidegger have been routinely given a pass over the years by many western scholars who love his existential philosophy.

According to French professor Emmanuel Faye's latest book on Heidegger, the days of viewing his commitment to Nazism as something incidental to his life are now officially over.

In his book Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy in Light of the Unpublished Seminars 1933-35, French Professor Emmanuel Faye has exposed the real Martin Heidegger (1889-1976).

Western scholars have been so enamored with his existentialist philosophy that it has been very difficult for them to accept the fact that he was a real Nazi. Too many have been more than willing to overlook his Nazi past as something incidental to his worldview.

Environmental historians have been quick to cover for Heidegger because he is such a critical figure in modern green philosophy. Many of his views are consistent with what is today called deep ecology. Heidegger is known among environmental thinkers for later advocating an anti-technology "let it be" attitude toward nature after his so-called 'turning' from National Socialism.

However, Faye clearly shows that Heidegger's 'turning' from National Socialism is a modern myth built on outright lies and the later redaction of his earlier materials hidden under dense language and opaque existentialism.

Martin Heidegger is an unrepentant Nazi. Even years after the war, he spoke of the "inner truth and greatness" of National Socialism.

The idea that Heidegger temporarily strayed into Nazism only to recover himself later with a much more mature philosophy is simply untenable. According to Faye, it is far more likely that Heidegger managed to infiltrate much of the post-modern world with a more developed Nazi political 'philosophy.'

Although Faye does not discuss in detail the environmental leanings of Martin Heidegger, his brand of green existentialism is much more at the heart of the issue than most people realize. Heidegger has certainly hidden some of his Nazism in the modern green movement.

Existentialism is fertile ground from which to develop a deep ecological worldview. Existentialism often uses natural existence or 'being' to trump idealistic or religious thought that heightens itself above the natural world. Nature and its holistic interrelatedness is used to neutralize both philosophy and religious faith as incongruent to the existential realities of the real world. This also allegedly leads to a false, dominating view over nature, which has become especially superficial and unsustainable in the modern mechanized world.

Truth is not a matter of abstract doctrinal statements that unnaturally detaches people from the real world, but is self-defined according to one's own natural existence rooted in his particular environment.

For Heidegger, what needs to be done is to destroy western philosophy and its Judeo-Christian handmaid. Even after the war, Heidegger's philosophy was aimed point blank at the overthrow of traditional western philosophy/religion in order to save the planet.

With its transcendental emphasis upon mind, thinking and thought, both western philosophy and the Judeo-Christian worldview elevate 'rootless' rationalism and/or faith over the reality of natural existence.

As far as Heidegger was concerned, this has led modern, western man into an inauthentic lifestyle contrary to the natural world grounded in what Heidegger calls 'being.'

The main thrust of Heidegger's thought is thus to reduce all metaphysics or philosophy to the question of 'being' or existence, particularly German 'being.' [Dasein] In so doing, western man's alienating and destructive dominance over nature can be arrested.

Indeed, Heidegger went so far as to say that the motorization of the Wehrmacht in Nazi Germany's victory of France in 1940 was a "metaphysical act." This, of course, reduces philosophy to the realm of politics and power -- the epitome of Nazi existentialism.

Nazi Germany's conquest over France represented the victory of National Socialist ideology over the international values of the French Enlightenment that exaggerated human reason over Nature.

Heidegger is also important in understanding the ideological basis for Nazi technology even though National Socialism was a secular religion of Nature. Martin Heidegger did not become anti-technology per se until after the war when the Allies were in charge of the atom bomb. In the 1920's and 30's he spoke of the 'natural powers' of German technology that grows out of and is limited by Nature.

He thus believed in an Aryan sustainable technology rooted in the soil of Germany. Technology based on the globalist forces of the Enlightenment is inauthentic and locally destructive to the native German peoples (das Volk) since it has been uprooted by the 'liberal' Jewification of society.

That modern environmentalism has swept in behind the collapse of classic western philosophy and the fading of the Judeo-Christian worldview is thus no accident. It is part and parcel of the whole post-modern outlook that denies any transcendental truth or God that exists independent and outside of the natural world. Without such transcendental truths, all that is left is an amoral nature and its factual existence, and Martin Heidegger has been leading this particular charge since his early days in the camp of National Socialism.

Although Heidegger did not join the Nazi Party until 1933, he was very supportive of the movement from its inception. Heidegger's wife, Elfride, was a Nazi enthusiast going back as far as the early 1920's. She was very involved in the naturist Nazi youth groups of the time.

With inheritance money, she also purchased Heidegger's chalet in the upper reaches of the Black Forest called Todtnauberg. The chalet had beautiful nearby valley views topped off by the Alps in the distance. From this very chalet would come the inspiration for much of Heidegger's green existentialism.

Ironically enough, Todtnauberg means "mountain of death." In 1934, Heidegger signed an environmental petition called the "German Landscape in Peril." Other Nazi greens who signed the petition included Paul Schultze-Naumburg, Walther Schoenichen, Hans Schwenkel, Konrad Guenther, Werner Haverbeck, and Fritz Todt.

In those days, many German greens got caught up in what was called the Nazi "blood and soil" ideology developed by Himmler's SS where German blood rooted in German soil became the basis for protecting the homeland (Heimat) -- culturally, militarily and environmentally.

Former students of Heidegger also confirmed that he was a Nazi blood and soil environmental enthusiast throughout the much of the 1920's. Heidegger bragged about the Nazi naturist youth movement as one of the keys to a successful future.

Heidegger also believed that universal reason as practiced by modern philosophy since the Renaissance is contrary to the existential realities of blood and soil. Another student claimed that Heidegger was convinced that only a National Socialism dictatorship could oppose Marxism properly.

Heidegger advocated that violence, if not liquidation and assassination, against opponents was an acceptable solution to political problems. He openly proclaimed the Fuhrer principle, German racism and eugenics, Nazi collectivism, and was even promoted as rector to the University of Freiburg when Jewish professors were forcibly removed from their posts.

He was also anti-Semitic. He considered the Jews in the East unnatural nomads unworthy of their living space (lebensraum). Shockingly, many dead German soldiers on the battlefields of the Second World War possessed Heidegger's books in their rucksacks. Heidegger also proclaimed that the people of Germany should have an 'erotic' love for the Nazi state.

In June of 1933, Heidegger gave a speech at the Freiburg university stadium when a symbolic bonfire of un-German like books were burned. Even much of his later existentialism was specifically designed to do away with all inauthentic thought that elevated itself above its own natural environs.

The antipathy that radical greens have toward the foundations of modern culture -- whether religiously, philosophically, or even economically -- has become increasingly perilous. What is worse? Burning books or tearing down dams and choking off energy supplies and burning corn in cars? The latter may turn out to be far worse than the former if continued unchecked.

More than a few environmental historians have pointed out that since Heidegger did not believe in biological racism, he cannot be considered a genuine Nazi. Faye, however, strongly points out that in place of a fundamentalist view of Nazi blood, Heidegger taught a racial rootedness in the German soil that was ontologically or existentially based rather than biologically based.

This ontological en-rootedness only deepens the issues further. It provides a philosophical justification for German racism without it being tied to the fundamentalism of Nazi scientism. This, in turn, provides a broader foundation for Nazi doctrines to rest upon, pollinate and grow.

That such nuances have been used by scholars to disassociate Heidegger from National Socialism needs to be corrected and abandoned. Heidegger's fascism is built on environmental existentialism rather than biological scientism.

Indeed, in his Heidelberg courses he enlightened his audiences by saying that, "the Fatherland is being itself."


Australia: Greens 'derailing' resource projects that would help REDUCE CO2 emissions

Their kneejerk hostility to mining trumps all else

THE gas industry has demanded the Greens stop trying to derail coal-seam gas projects, which are crucial if it is to build up to $60 billion worth of new gas-fired power stations to meet Julia Gillard's plans for a clean energy future and back up unreliable wind energy.

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, representing firms such as Santos, said coal-seam projects in Queensland and NSW would provide a "great deal" of the gas needed to meet the expected 200 per cent rise in gas due by 2050 because of the price on carbon.

"The biggest constraint is ironically going to be the opposition to the development of coal-seam gas by the Greens," association chief executive Belinda Robinson said. "This is the party which has established itself on the moral high ground on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. "But it's also the party that poses the greatest threat to the development of the one fuel type that provides the greatest opportunity for significantly reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions."

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne has described coal-seam gas as a "disaster" for Australia, while protests from residents have flared in inner-western Sydney and the Hunter Valley, and legal action looms over a project in Queensland's Darling Downs.

The warning comes as figures compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator for The Australian reveal it would cost about $2.4bn to build the gas plants required to replace the 2000 megawatts of energy production from high-polluting coal plants that will be closed. There would also be annual running costs ranging from $585 million to $1.46bn by 2030.

The government plans to buy out and close high-polluting coal-fired plants, with the "polluting dinosaur" Hazelwood power station in Victoria expected to be among those to close. As well as replacing coal, gas will be crucial to backing up wind, which is notoriously intermittent.

When demand for power rocketed to its highest level in South Australia last summer, the state's 1150MW of installed wind power generation was only able to contribute 60MW of supply.

Treasury modelling forecasts that under a carbon price system, between $50bn and $60bn of gas electricity generating plants will be needed by 2050, with between $1bn and $9bn needed in the next nine years.

More gas will be used to generate electricity as it will become more profitable when the carbon price starts. But there are fears that although Australia has ample gas reserves, electricity generators will struggle to secure long-term contracts for gas supplies because of the surging Asian demand for liquefied natural gas.

On top of this, domestic gas prices are expected to rise as LNG is exported from the east coast after 2015, while the gas transmission industry has warned that its costs will rise because a carbon tax is likely to increase the costs of operating the compressors that move large amounts of gas over long distances.

While there have been 9420MW worth of gas generation projects publicly announced, new figures from AEMO show none has moved to the advanced or committed stage that means a project can proceed.

Ms Robinson said coal-seam gas supplies would have to grow if more gas-fired power stations were to be built. But she said the approvals processes for the projects were becoming more complex, despite previous criticism from the Productivity Commission about convoluted approval requirements.

She said the approvals process was "often a reflection or a response to the level of political opposition being brought to bear". "If we are going to do this, the Greens must be accountable and responsible for the decisions they take and the extent to which they oppose the coal-seam gas industry," Ms Robinson said.

The switch from coal-fired power to gas is expected to require investments in upgrading the pipelines that transport the gas from the south to the north of the country, and can transport gas back down from the coal-seam projects in the north.

Extra capacity will also be needed for the pipelines that feed gas to the big cities.


Filipinos swallow the bullsh*t whole

Couples required to plant trees before tying knot

Engaged couples in Gloria town in Oriental Mindoro are required to plant trees before they get married. Tree planting as a prerequisite to getting a marriage license is contained in an ordinance adopted by the municipal council beginning January this year, Councilor Rimando Recalde, the measure’s author, told the Inquirer.

Recalde said he thought of the ordinance because of the “alarming issue of climate change and global warming and many couples are not even aware of the need to keep a balanced ecology.”

He said the ordinance supports the municipal and provincial environment code as well as Republic Act No. 9003 or the Solid Waste Management Act of 2000.

The ordinance provides that the couple must attend the lecture on tree planting and solid waste management which is incorporated in the pre-marriage counseling (PMC) seminar undergone by couples seeking to secure marriage licenses at the municipal hall of Gloria, 65 kilometers from this city.



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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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