Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The new Lysenkoism

Trofim Lysenko became the Director of the Soviet Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences in the 1930s under Josef Stalin.  He was an advocate of the theory that characteristics acquired by plants during their lives could be inherited by later generations stemming from the changed plants, which sharply contradicted Mendelian genetics.  As a result, Lysenko became a fierce critic of theories of the then rising modern genetics.

Under Lysenko’s view, for example, grafting branches of one plant species onto another could create new plant hybrids that would be perpetuated by the descendants of the grafted plant.  Or modifications made to seeds would be inherited by later generations stemming from that seed.  Or that plucking all the leaves off of a plant would cause descendants of the plant to be leafless.

Lysenkoism was “politically correct” (a term invented by Lenin) because it was consistent with certain broader Marxist doctrines.  Marxists wanted to believe that heredity had a limited role even among humans, and that human characteristics changed by living under socialism would be inherited by subsequent generations of humans.  Thus would be created the selfless new Soviet man.

Also Lysenko himself arose from a peasant background and developed his theories from practical applications rather than controlled scientific experiments.  This fit the Marxist propaganda of the time holding that brilliant industrial innovations would arise from the working classes through practical applications.  Lysenko’s theories also seemed to address in a quick and timely manner the widespread Soviet famines of the time arising from the forced collectivization of agriculture, rather than the much slower changes from scientific experimentation and genetic heredity.

Lysenko was consequently embraced and lionized by the Soviet media propaganda machine.  Scientists who promoted Lysenkoism with faked data and destroyed counterevidence were favored with government funding and official recognition and award.  Lysenko and his followers and media acolytes responded to critics by impugning their motives, and denouncing them as bourgeois fascists resisting the advance of the new modern Marxism.

The V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences announced on August 7, 1948 that thenceforth Lysenkoism would be taught as the only correct theory.  All Soviet scientists were required to denounce any work that contradicted Lysenkoism.  Ultimately, Soviet geneticists resisting Lysenkoism were imprisoned and even executed.  Lysenkoism was abandoned for the correct modern science of Mendelian genetics only as late as 1964.

The Theory of Man Caused Catastrophic Global Warming

This same practice of Lysenkoism has long been under way in western science in regard to the politically correct theory of man caused, catastrophic, global warming.  That theory serves the political fashions of the day in promoting vastly increased government powers and control over the private economy.  Advocates of the theory are lionized in the dominant Democrat party controlled media in the U.S., and in leftist controlled media in other countries.  Critics of the theory are denounced as “deniers,” and even still bourgeois fascists, with their motives impugned.

Those who promote the theory are favored with billions from government grants and neo-Marxist environmentalist largesse, and official recognition and award.  Faked and tampered data and evidence has arisen in favor of the politically correct theory.  Is not man-caused, catastrophic global warming now the only theory allowed to be taught in schools in the West?

Those in positions of scientific authority in the West who have collaborated with this new Lysenkoism because they felt they must be politically correct, and/or because of the money, publicity, and recognition to be gained, have disgraced themselves and the integrity of their institutions, organizations and publications.

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is supposed to represent the best science of the U.S. government on the issue of global warming.  In January, the USGCRP released the draft of its Third National Climate Assessment Report.  The first duty of the government scientists at the USGCRP is to produce a complete picture of the science of the issue of global warming, which is what the taxpayers are paying them for.  But it didn’t take long for the Cato Institute to do the job of the USGCRP with a devastating line by line rebuttal, The Missing Science from the Draft National Assessment on Climate Change, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute, Washington, DC, 2012, by Patrick J. Michaels, Paul C. Knappenberger, Robert C. Balling, Mary J. Hutzler & Craig D. Idso.

Check it out for yourself if you dare.  Both publications are written to be accessible by intelligent laymen.  See which one involves climate science and which one involves political science.

All the climate alarmist organizations simply rubber stamp the irregular Assessment Reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  None of them do any original science on the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.  But the United Nations is a proven, corrupt, power grabbing institution.  The science of their Assessment Reports has been thoroughly rebutted by the hundreds of pages of science in Climate Change Reconsidered, and Climate Change Reconsidered: 2011 Interim Report, both written by dozens of scientists with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, and published by the Heartland Institute, the international headquarters of the skeptics of the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.

Again, check it out for yourself.  You don’t have to read every one of the well over a thousand pages of careful science in both volumes to see at least that there is a real scientific debate.

The editors of the once respected journals of Science and Nature have abandoned science for Lysenkoism on this issue as well.  They have become as political as the editorial pages of the New York Times.  They claim their published papers are peer reviewed, but those reviews are conducted on the friends and family plan when it comes to the subject of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming.  There can be no peer review at all when authors refuse to release their data and computer codes for public inspection and attempted reconstruction of reported results by other scientists.  They have been forced to backtrack on recent publications relying on novel, dubious, statistical methodologies not in accordance with established methodologies of complex statistical analysis.

Formerly respected scientific bodies in the U.S. and other western countries have been commandeered by political activist Lysenkoists seizing leadership positions.  They then proceed with politically correct pronouncements on the issue of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming heedless of the views of the membership of actual scientists.  Most of what you see and hear from alarmists regarding global warming can be most accurately described as play acting on the meme of settled science.  The above noted publications demonstrate beyond the point where reasonable people can differ that no actual scientist can claim that the science of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming has been settled or that there is a settled “consensus” that rules out reasonable dissent.

Indeed, 31,487 U.S. scientists (including 9,000 Ph.Ds) with degrees in atmospheric Earth sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and computer science have signed a statement that reads: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing, or will in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.” See here.  Some consensus.

Real science, of course, is not a matter of “consensus,” but of reason, with skepticism at its core.

The alarmist claims of the UN’s IPCC are ultimately based not on scientific observations, but on unvalidated climate models and their projections of future global temperatures on assumptions of continued increases in carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the burning and use of fossil fuels.  The alarmists are increasingly in panic because the past projections of the models are increasingly divergent from the accumulating actual temperature records.  Those models are not real science, but made up science.  And no way we are abandoning the industrial revolution as the Sierra Club is hoping based on model fantasies and fairy tales.

The Economist magazine, formerly in lockstep with the Lysenkoists, shocked them with a skeptical article in March that began with this lede:

“OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, ‘the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade. . . .’”

Reality is not complying with the alarmism of the UN’s global warming models, just as it refused to do for Trofim Lysenko.  Remember all that hysteria about melting polar ice caps and the disappearing ice floes for the cute polar bears?  As of the end of March, the Antarctic ice cap was nearly one fourth larger than the average for the last 30 years.  The Arctic ice cap had grown back to within 3% of its 30 year average.  (The formerly declining Arctic ice was due to cyclically warm ocean currents).  Global sea ice was greater than in March, 1980, more than 30 years ago, and also above the average since then.

Remember the alarm about the rising sea level?  Yeah, that has been rising, as it has been since the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago.  Just exactly as it has been, at the same rate.  And anyone you know that has been scared by this alarmist propaganda has been successfully played by whatever media the fool has been relying on.

Murderous recent winters in Europe are killing as well belief in alarmist global warming on the continent.  University of Oklahoma Professor and geophysicist David Deming reported in a recent column,

“The United Kingdom had the coldest March weather in 50 years, and there were more than a thousand record low temperatures in the United States. The Irish meteorological office reported that March “temperatures were the lowest on record nearly everywhere.” Spring snowfall in Europe was also high. In Moscow, the snow depth was the highest in 134 years of observation. In Kiev, authorities had to bring in military vehicles to clear snow from the streets.”

In the Northern Hemisphere, Deming adds, “Snow cover last December was the greatest since satellite monitoring began in 1966.”  That reflects similarly bitter cold winters in North America as well.  Despite claims by global warming Lysenkoists that soon children “won’t know what snow is,” on February 6, 2010, a blizzard covered the northeastern U.S. with 20 to 35 inches of snow.  Three days later another 10 to 20 inches were added.

The historical proxy record shows CO2 concentrations in the distant history of the earth much, much greater than today.  Yet life survived, and flourished.  Moreover, the basic science of global warming is that the temperature increasing effect of increased CO2 concentrations declines as those concentrations increase.  So stop worrying and enjoy the agricultural abundance in your grocery store.

A tip off regarding reality should have been apparent from the dodgy propaganda involved in changing the labeling of the problem from “global warming” to “climate change.”  Of course, Earth has been experiencing climate change since the first sunrise on the planet.  We are not going to abandon the workers’ paradise of capitalism because climate change will continue.

Another tip off should have been the effective admission by global warming alarmists that they cannot defend their position in public debate.  The day the theory of anthropogenic catastrophic global warming died can be dated from the time that one leading alarmist was foolish enough to debate James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, a video of which can be found on the Heartland website at Heartland.org.

Still another tip off should have been the practice of the alarmist new Lysenkoists to respond to dissenting science with ad hominem attacks.  That apparently reflects poor public schooling that never taught that an ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy, as Aristotle taught more than 2,000 years ago.  My how western science has fallen.

The basic science shows that global temperatures are just not very sensitive to CO2 itself.  Even alarmists will concede that.  Where they get their alarm is with the modeling assumption that the CO2 induced temperature increases will produce positive feedbacks that will sharply increase the overall resulting warming.  The better recent science indicates, however, that instead of positive feedbacks, the naturally stable Earth would enjoy negative feedbacks restoring long term equilibrium and stability to global temperatures.

Then there is the man caused, global warming, fingerprint that the U.N.’s models all showed would result in a hot spot of particularly large temperature increases in the upper troposphere above the tropics.  But the incorruptible, satellite monitored, atmospheric temperature record shows no hot spot.  That is further confirmed by modern weather balloons measuring atmospheric temperatures above the tropics.  No hotspot.  No fingerprint.  No catastrophic, man caused global warming.  QED.

The revival of western science requires that the new Lysenkoism be discredited.  That is going to require quite some work, given the extent of the infestation.


Climate Change: we really don't need to waste all this money

By James Delingpole

"Don't just do something: stand there!" Ronald Reagan was fond of telling overactive functionaries. The same rules apply to the climate change industry: trillions of dollars squandered, vast forces mobilised, public anxieties worked up to fever pitch – all to no useful purpose whatsoever.

That's why – belatedly: there really isn't much time left – I'm urging you to support this hugely worthwhile new film project being organised by Lord Monckton. The aim of the 50 to 1 project is to raise enough money to collate a series of interviews with the likes of Jo Nova, Anthony Watts, David Evans, Fred Singer and Vaclav Klaus, which will then be edited into a short, punchy film. It will demonstrate that no matter where you stand on the "science" of climate change the measures currently being used to deal with the "problem"  are hugely expensive and counterproductive.

Even if the IPCC is right, and even if climate change IS happening and it IS caused by man, we are STILL better off adapting to it as it happens than we are trying to 'stop' it.  'Action' is 50 times more expensive than 'adaptation', and that's a conclusion which is derived directly from the IPCC's own predictions and formulae!

There's so much rubbish out there on the internet produced by lavishly funded Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WWF activists, junk scientists, rent-seeking corporatists and EU- and UN-funded environmental bodies.

Time we hit back with the thing these eco-loons hate most: cold hard facts.


Science proves alarmist global warming claims nothing but hot air

By Chris de Freitas

Several aspects of Jim Salinger's op-ed "Climate hurtling towards a hothouse Earth" (Herald 24/5/13) are quite misleading.

It is true most climate scientists would agree that rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use could affect global climate. The basic physics is there to support this view. But there is no evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging. Output from computer models is not evidence unless model performance has been validated. So far, it has not.

The so-called evidence of minor human-caused climatic change can also be attributed to causes or processes other than those related to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

What is rarely mentioned by climate alarmists is the incontrovertible fact that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere has an ever-decreasing effect on global temperature. To illustrate this, compare covering a glass window with very thin paint. The first coat of paint cuts out some light, the second some more; but each subsequent coat has an ever decreasing effect on light shining through.

It is true, the warming effect of increasing carbon dioxide concentrations never reaches zero (saturation); but, for significant global warming to occur, increased concentrations must set in motion positive (or destabilising) feedback processes.

Such processes would cause temperatures to rise by some other mechanism. One such mechanism is increased evaporation caused by higher temperatures leading to rising water vapour concentration, which is by far the most important greenhouse gas. This would increase retention of energy from the Sun and lead to further warming, and so on.

To date, scientific evidence suggests that negative (stabilising) feedback processes prevail; possibly due to the cooling effect of increased cloudiness from water vapour increase. If true, this means it is unlikely higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will greatly influence global climate.

Negative feedback processes are played down by climate alarmists who assume climate is governed by positive feedback processes which they claim will lead to runaway global warming. Four billion years of global climate history shows that negative feedbacks prevail.

Climate warming does not confirm that carbon dioxide is causing it. The evidence would have to distinguish between human-caused warming and natural warming. This has not been done.

Climate is always warming or cooling. There are natural variability theories of warming. Much of the talk of "increasing evidence for global warming" is actually evidence of climate variability.

Whatever the cause of the current warm phase, its occurrence is not unprecedented. Global warming happened from 1850 to 1940, then cooling to 1979. During the Medieval Warm Period from 900 to 1200AD, the Vikings sailed in arctic waters that are now covered with sea ice, and farmed Greenland soil that is now too cold for agriculture.

From the results of research to date, it appears the influence of increasing carbon dioxide on global warming is almost indiscernible. Future warming could occur, but there is no evidence to suggest it will amount to much.


Over-population: Another non-problem

Lord Monckton

Dan Brown’s just-published pot-boiler, “Inferno,” assumes that because the world’s population has doubled over the past half-century its recent exponential increase will continue until the very survival of humanity is at risk.

Like everything else Brown over-writes, this is fiction. Fashionable, but fiction.

His hero, a tiresomely inept professor of symbology, galumphs through the tourist guidebooks of Florence, Venice and Istanbul unsuccessfully trying to halt the release of a mutant virus designed by a suicidal mad scientist to Save The Planet by rendering a third of humanity infertile.

That’s it. Save yourself the monstrous price of this trashy book and buy an ounce of silver instead.

Let us knock the “population explosion” myth on the head. The totalitarian types are as wrong about the supposed danger of too many children as they were about global warming, breathing other people’s tobacco smoke, eating too much salt, or catching bird flu.

There has been no global warming for two decades; the risk of lung cancer from passive smoking is statistically indistinguishable from that of breathing fresh air; if you eat too much salt the body excretes it harmlessly through the kidneys; and bird flu is for the birds.

This is the Age of Scares. To the racketeering governing class, Scares are profitable. One can spot a Scare by three nannying catch-phrases: the lazy “scientists say,” the propagandizing “raise awareness” and the bossy “we must.”

When the three catch-phrases are combined – “scientists raising awareness of [insert Scare du jour] say we must [end freedom and spend trillions on more taxes and still more regulations]” – that is the moment to hold your pocket-book tightly and run for cover.

Little more than a decade ago, awareness-raising scientists used to say there would be 16 billion people on Earth by 2050, compared with 7 billion today. The U.N. even celebrated the millennium by building a World Population Clock to raise awareness of how much scientists said we must spend.

Shortly before midnight on the last day of the old millennium, the World Population Clock broke down – as well it might. For scientists now say global population will peak not at the 16 billion to which that silliest of propaganda gadgets pointed, but at just 9-10 billion by 2050. It will plummet thereafter.

Not that you will find the startling fact of this drastic downward revision mentioned anywhere in Brown’s oeuvre. He was very careful not to raise awareness of it.

What did the mad scientists and the profiteering U.N. get wrong? They failed to study the real-world demographic statistics going back 150 years. Population figures from all nations reveal one crucial but very seldom stated fact.

The richer you are, the slower you breed.

In the world’s most prosperous nations, such as the United States, the indigenous population is declining. Only net immigration and breeding by recent immigrants is keeping the population trend up. In the Third World, by contrast, populations tend to double every 25 years.

It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that the only reliable way to stabilize the world’s population is to lift the standard of living of everyone on Earth above the poverty line.

Even India, whose program of enforced sterilization failed two generations back, and China, whose cruel one-child policy has likewise failed today, have now come to realize that freedom from poverty is also freedom from over-population.

Despite the malevolent efforts of power-mad totalitarians, mad environmentalists and authors of pot-boilers everywhere, the world’s population is getting richer. As we get richer, we have fewer children.

The reasons why richer populations have fewer children than poorer are well understood. They have little or nothing to do with profitable boondoggles such as “women’s education” or the widespread availability of abortifacient contraception.

Consider a village without electricity. Now add electricity. Suddenly, there are other things to do at nighttime than breed.

Consider a subsistence farmer. If he has many children, they will provide for him in his old age. Now add modern agricultural methods. Suddenly, he can make enough to provide for himself in his old age.

Consider Africa, the most infection-prone continent on Earth. Now add proper medical treatment. Suddenly, the pressure to over-breed to ensure racial survival vanishes.

In one respect, and in one respect only, over-population remains a dangerous possibility. If the crazed environmentalists succeed in their demands that the poor should not be lifted out of poverty, and that the rich nations should once again descend into the poverty from which they have lifted themselves, then the world’s population will continue to grow.

Brown’s dismal, half-baked thesis is that the Black Death, the rat-borne plague that killed a third of Europe’s population in the early Middle Ages, led directly to the Renaissance by making the survivors richer.

Yet the Renaissance happened despite the plague, not because of it. It happened because in Italy, and eventually throughout Europe, the governing class came to value the use of reason and learning.

Today, the world’s governing elites are less well educated – and accordingly more prejudiced – than at any time since the Renaissance. It is precisely because they know so little of what is true that they believe so much that is false.

Scientists say we must raise awareness that our leaders’ belief that over-population is a problem arises not because it is a problem but because those in power are as fashionably, profitably ignorant as Dan Brown.


Revealed: The EU's great green U-turn on policy that is sending energy bills soaring across the continent

The European Union is quietly taking steps to shred the ‘green agenda’ responsible for rocketing energy bills across the continent.

It is now urging members to restore Europe’s competitiveness by ‘fracking’ for cheap natural gas from shale, instead of pushing ‘renewable’ energy subsidies which cost consumers billions of pounds.

The policy shift was unveiled last week at a Brussels summit attended by David Cameron.

It comes as MPs prepare to debate the final stages of the Energy Bill when Parliament returns after its Whitsun recess.

In its current form, the Bill will see subsidies for windfarms and solar panels triple to £7.6 billion a year – thus increasing the cost of ‘green’ levies and taxes which already add £100 a year to the average household fuel bill.

But Tory MP Tim Yeo, who was paid a total of £245,000 in the last two financial years by green energy and transport companies, has moved an amendment which would increase this burden still further.

It would force the UK to set a binding target of cutting the carbon dioxide emitted by generating electricity by 90 per cent by 2030 – a goal many experts regard as impossible.  But Labour and at least 16 Tories and Liberal Democrats have pledged to support it, and it may well become law.

The EU’s about-turn has been prompted by news that electricity prices in Europe have risen by 40 per cent since 2005, while those in the US have fallen by 10 per cent.

The main reason for America’s cheap energy is its booming shale gas industry.

Many EU nations – including Britain – have their own vast reserves of shale gas, but fierce opposition from green activists has stalled efforts to extract it.

But after last week’s summit, EU leaders issued a statement saying ‘the supply of affordable and sustainable energy to our economies is crucial’.

They added that the EU would support ‘systematic recourse to on-shore and off-shore indigenous resources’ – a reference to shale.

Brussels observers say the summit reflected a shift away from policies aimed primarily at cutting emissions, and towards a drive for cheaper energy.

German MEP Holger Krahmer said: ‘The EU is starting to realise we achieve very little by setting targets for ourselves when the rest of the world won’t, while rising bills are plunging families into poverty.’

Ironically, Energy Secretary  Ed Davey will tomorrow urge his European counterparts to cut emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.


Renewable energy, a land guzzler

Surprisingly, this article is written by a researcher at The Energy and Resources Institute, TERI, which is the body led by the IPCC chairman, Dr Rajendra Pachauri.  Land availability is a big issue in India

Shilpi Kapur Bakshi

India is blessed with a variety of these clean renewable energy alternatives – biomass, solar energy, wind energy and hydro power. This has encouraged the Government of India to set ambitious targets for renewable energy.

However, India’s interest and efforts in promoting renewable energy may soon create newer sustainability concerns. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy appears to have overlooked the growing conflict between renewable energy and land.

Scarce resource

Land is an already scarce resource in India, with demand from farmers to industrial houses to service institutions and the Government. To this list another claimant has been added; many forms of green energy, especially solar, wind and biomass, rely on huge tracts of land in order to be viable. Setting up renewable energy plants can lead to both direct land transformation that comes with the setting up of the project, and land degradation created by pollutants from fuel and material cycles associated with running these plants.

The increased demand of land is met in many cases through the diversion of land from agriculture and the forestry sector. Indian farmers engulfed in poverty are forced to engage in distress sales or those who have been short-sighted have made it easy for private companies to acquire agricultural land for setting up renewable energy projects. The support extended by Government has also been a common cause.

In Himachal Pradesh, for instance, the hillside forests have been bearing the brunt of the desire to increase the potential of renewable energy.

In the last three decades, more than 6,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed for hydro power projects or for laying power transmission lines.

Land diversion

To put all this in perspective, for solar energy alone, India’s ambitious target is to produce 20GW of power by 2022. The aim was not just to provide an alternate renewable energy option but also to utilise large tracts of wasteland in hot sunny areas.

However, some of JNSM’s initial projects have shown that State governments have helped private companies acquire productive agriculture land to set up solar thermal and photovoltaic units. The dedication of land area near substations for solar cell installations might edge out other necessities that require land.

For example, the generation of electricity from photovoltaic solar panels or the solar tower requires vast amounts of land, and these panels must be built in specific regions in order to achieve maximum efficiency. Typically, a coal power plant requires 2023 sq. m of land per MW for plant installation, whereas the land area required per MW of installed solar power is around 20,234 sq. m.

Most of the wasteland, which could have been utilised to set up solar energy plants, is not connected with roads, and providing connectivity means huge infrastructure costs which inhibit companies from setting up plants there.

In context of bioenergy, the National Biofuel Policy in India has set an indicative target of 20 per cent ethanol and biodiesel in transportation fuel by 2017. The Planning Commission’s ‘Vision 2020’ report called for the plantation of non-edible oil-yielding plants in large areas of waste and degraded land.

Although the Government says no agricultural land or food crops will be diverted for production of biofuel, businesses often target productive farmland.

Instances of farmland, particularly that belonging to small farmers, being diverted for production of biofuel crops like jatropha are not uncommon. This and the possibility of increasing the use of oilseeds and other foodgrains for biofuel, could impact other goals like food security as productive tracts move away from foodgrains production to biofuel generation.

Policy required

For these reasons, there should be clearly defined policy and mandatory usage of Geographical Information System (GIS) for land use, land cover analysis and identification of wasteland for projects while mapping the renewable energy potential over different regions. The Government could also take into consideration renewable energy resource availability as well as land and water uses. This could further be integrated with other concerns on land acquisition.

As more land per square metre is required for every watt of solar and wind energy produced compared to fossil fuel energy, a policy mandating the dual use of land for such projects should be studied.

Indian Government agencies could draw from their own experiences and those of various other nations that have gone through these stages in their quest for non-fossil fuel-based energy.

At the same time, it is essential to prevent the misuse of the Urgency Clause in the Land Acquisition Act, restricting its application to exceptional cases.

The setting up of an independent and representative regulatory authority at the State level to ensure strict compliance of land use norms could be explored. Regulation could also be used not only to mitigate negative impacts and maximise opportunities, but also to strengthen property rights and greater community consultation.

Economic instruments like a tax on land being bought or claimed for renewable energy, similar to a carbon tax, could be applied. This tax could be calculated on the basis of loss of biodiversity, and possibly other factors, and would create an economic disincentive for increased land use.

Although this might have the effect of severely limiting the expansion of some forms of renewable energy such as biomass, it would also force companies to focus their efforts on discovering more land-friendly forms of biomass energy.

Subsidies on purchase of wasteland for setting up renewable energy plants may further incentivise the use of wastelands and lessen the diversion of land from agriculture and forestry.

No coal is all very well, but solar power should not take up productive land.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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