Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Regulations, mostly Green, are destroying America's future
The Jetsons, a sci-fi fantasy family of the 1960s, lived in impossible luxury in 2062. Not only are we not nearing their living standards, we are going in the opposite direction. This column has wondered why, and a recent Supreme Court case has given us the answer. In one of its few good decisions of the recent term, the Court by a slim 5-4 vote struck down an EPA regulation whose costs were 1,000 times its benefits. It’s good to know imposing costs of 1,000 times the benefits is a no-no, but the myriads of regulations where costs are only 100 times, 10 times or even twice the benefits pervade the entire U.S. economy – and are leading us towards the Flintstones rather than the Jetsons.
The case, Michigan vs. EPA, concerned an EPA decision to regulate power plants directly, beyond the general requirements of the Clean Air Act of 1970, if they determined emissions (primarily mercury) from those plants posed a significant risk to public health. Thus the figure of $90 billion for benefits, bandied about in the media by friends of the EPA, included all the benefits from mercury regulation under the Clean Air Act – a dubious figure even under that definition, but of no relevance whatever to the further regulations proposed by the EPA. The new regulations, according to the Supreme Court ruling, imposed costs of $9-10 billion on the electric utility industry, while achieving benefits of $4-6 million – that’s million with an m. The cost/benefit ratio was thus in the region of 2,000 to 1.
Maddeningly, this Supreme Court ruling will in itself provide no benefit to the U.S. economy. Coming as it does three years after the regulations were imposed, it arrives only after most of the $9-10 billion of costs have been incurred, as utilities across the country have closed power plants in response to the EPA regulation.
Friends of regulation will no doubt claim that this was a rogue outlier, or (as many of the mainstream media have done) that the true benefit of the rogue regulation were a huge multiple of those claimed in the Supreme Court ruling. Both claims are implausible. The higher figure for benefits could be arrived at only by including the provisions of the Clean Air Act itself, and is any case highly likely to be spurious if examined closely. (A quick calculation: $90 billion claimed benefit divided by 11,000 claimed lives saved gives a value of $8.2 million per life, three or four times the value assumed in any reasonable actuarial calculation.)
The claim that the 1,000 to 1 cost to benefit ratio of this particular regulation is a rogue outlier is statistically highly implausible. Yes, it’s likely that the ratio was at the extreme of cost/benefit ratios produced by regulations as a whole, if only because 1,000 to 1 is a very rare cost/benefit ratio for anything. But it is vanishingly unlikely that the 1,000 to 1 regulation is one plucked from a population of regulations, the rest of which are close to 1 to 1 or even have a net benefit. Were that the case, the 1,000 to 1 cost/benefit ratio would be 25 or 50 standard deviations from the mean of all regulatory cost/benefit ratios, a deviation that only occurs one in the life of a million universes.
Statistically, it is much more plausible that the 1,000 to 1 cost/benefit ratio is only 3 or 4 standard deviations from the mean, and the population of regulations as a whole is full of 100 to 1, 200 to 1, 50 to 1, 10 to 1 and even 2 to 1 cost-benefit ratios. In other words, the entire population of regulations from the EPA (and we have no reason to believe the EPA to be especially egregious among government regulators) is likely to have costs a substantial multiple of its benefits.
When you look at the incredible density of regulations inflicted on the U.S. economy since around 1970, and more particularly since 2009, it’s clear that they should have a major economic effect. As this column has pointed out before, from the productivity statistics, the effect itself is clear, even if the causal link isn’t. The average annual rate of labor productivity growth in the United States from 1947 to 1972 was 2.88%. From 1973 to 2010 it declined by around a third, to 1.98%. Since 2011, the productivity growth rate has fallen still further, to 0.51% annually from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2015. If average productivity growth had been maintained since 1973 at the rate obtaining before 1973, we would today be 54% richer. The United States would be richer than Singapore, rather than having fallen to a level one third below Singapore’s per capita wealth.
This is not especially an anti-environmentalist point. The personnel restrictions generated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970 (another of Richard Nixon’s less stellar moments) and the various anti-discrimination acts generate huge costs, partly for employers attempting desperately to avoid the flood of frivolous lawsuits the legislation has generated. The licensing requirements of the FDA add enormously to the cost of developing new drugs, making the United States’ the costliest pharmacopeia in the world.
The CAFÉ fuel economy restrictions on automobiles have come close to destroying the U.S. automobile industry, by far the world leader in 1970. The recent restrictions on financial services appear to be generating mostly gigantic fines for trivial offenses such as manipulating LIBOR by a basis point or so. They have effectively closed the financial sector to new entrants, while in the long run enormously raising the cost of financial transactions. Even trivial tech improvements such as Uber are banned from various cities by their local governments acting in concert with taxicab companies. Finally, there is the disaster that is U.S. healthcare, more expensive than anywhere else in the world, and always liable to zap ordinary citizens with outrageously padded medical bills, which they have no hope of paying. And so the list goes on.
Further clear evidence of the recent intensification in regulation, and its pernicious effects is the decline in U.S. entrepreneurship since 2008. In recent years, the exit rate of new firms has exceeded the entry rate, something never seen before in the postwar economy. Part of this can be blamed on the Fed, whose extreme ultra-low interest policies stifle saving and thereby prevent many smaller new businesses from getting started. But there can be no doubt that the plethora of modern regulation plays at least an equally important role.
The left invented Gross Domestic Product, so they could include all government activities, however wasteful and even damaging, in national output figures, as though they were truly productive. This statistical legerdemain flattered historical periods such as the middle 1930s and the 1960s and early 1970s, when the U.S. government was increasing rapidly in size. Now they want to move away from GDP towards a measure of output that includes such things as cleaner air and water, and other measures that are merely evidence of compliance with left-devised regulations rather than anything tangibly benefiting the populace as a whole.
The objective of this will be to move further towards the regulatory state, impoverishing ordinary citizens and causing immense economic misery, while being able to claim that their new “Gross National Happiness” index is increasing at a rapid rate and that all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Global Warming legislation, ideally on a global scale where democratic forces are impotent, is likely be a key element in the move to the ultimate regulatory state in which all economic activity is controlled by Platonic Guardians – and non-Party members lead a miserable existence. Curiously, this was very much the Soviet dream, and was set out powerfully in George Orwell’s 1984. The success of regulation in the U.S. since 1970 and its effect on the overall economy indicate clearly that the dream never dies – and for the rest of us the nightmare too lives on.
The Commissar wears many hats – and if he comes in the form of a kindly environmental regulator, concerned about the level of mercury in the drinking water, he should be resisted as fiercely as if he bore a hammer and sickle.
New Little Ice Age Started: Climate Change with a Difference
by Professor Cliff Ollier
In the past decades we have been overwhelmed by books on Global Warming and its successor Climate Change. We have also been exposed to a large (though much smaller) number of books that take a skeptical view of these issues. book new little ice age
Here is a book with something new in the Climate Change debate: 'A New Little Ice Age Has Started: How to survive and prosper during the next 50 difficult years.' 
This book goes beyond global warming and the usual arguments against it. It does not deal with the details of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, simply noting that its amount has gone up in the past 60 years from about 350 to 400 ppm, while temperatures have not risen for the past 18 years. Clearly there is no correlation. Instead the arguments are assembled to show that a new ice is upon us.
On the scientific side he gets into the role of alignment of planets affecting gravity, cosmic rays (the link between solar flares and climate), and the relationship between volcanoes and climate (big eruptions cause T 250 New Concepts in Global Tectonics Journal, V. 3, No. 2, June 2015. www.ncgt.org cooling).
But this book is for the layman, so he does not use masses of facts and statistics, but rather anecdotal evidence. Instead of using satellite measurements to show the growing Greenland ice cap he recounts that a plane lost in World War II was discovered in 1989 under 87m of ice.
He goes on to show the fallacious science that has been used to blind the public to the reality, with discussion of the role of Climategate where climate scientists exchanged cynical e-mails discussing their fraud and manipulation very openly.
Lawrence Pierce describes the work of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) who publish their political Executive Summaries for politicians months before the actual Scientific Reports. They claim to use first class data but in fact use all kinds of nonrefereed reports from green agencies such as Greenpeace instead of scientific evidence.
Pierce has a few words to say on the disgraced ex-chairman of the IPCC, Dr. Pachauri, Al Gore’s misleading propaganda film, and Michael Mann’s infamous hockey-stick. Why does he do this? It turns out that the author is an ex lawyer who retired to grow grapes in British Colombia.
But the weather didn’t warm as he had been promised and the business failed. So he started his own investigation. Of course he found the pause in global warming. But more than this he found a completely different story. Carbon dioxide was barely a player, and the thing that has the best correlation with climate is the sunspot cycle. He describes the cycle using good diagrams and tables, and recounts the climatic history of the past few hundred years, with the Mediaeval Warm Period and the subsequent Little Ice Age.
As an aside Lawrence Pierce gives an account of Mann’s famous ‘hockey stick’ graph showing ever accelerating temperature increase (a onetime logo for the alarmists), the construction of which required the elimination of both the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age – which are incontrovertible facts. He describes the cold periods in the past starting roughly as follows: – the Oort 1000, Wolf 1250, Sporer 1400, Maunder 1645, Dalton 1780 - all related to sun spot minima.
And then comes the shocking discovery – we have already started our descent into the next Little Ice Age.
Solar Cycle 24 has started, and could be the Solar Cycle with the lowest recorded sunspot activity since accurate records began in 1750, so we are likely to have very cold weather for the next fifty to eighty years. Pierce points out that the minima are not times of permanent cold, but have great variation, with short hot spells and many storms.
In general life is good in the warm spells between little ice ages – the Roman, Medieval and Twentieth century warm periods, but harsh in the cold periods. He ties historical events to his narrative, such as Bonaparte’s attack on Moscow in one the very cold winters, the collapse of the Nordic settlement in Greenland, the Irish potato famine and many others.
We have come to accept the twentieth century warm as the norm, but the time of abundance is over. He sees the oncoming Ice Age as a real cause for alarm, and he asks why has it been kept from us? Why are our governments spending trillions to ‘avoid’ global warming when the real peril is just the reverse, and we have no plans to meet it. Lawrence Pierce feels cheated that the governments, scientists and journalists who he trusted have in fact completely misled him. Finally he writes about what to do about the coming cold.
Unfortunately this is a very parochial view and really tells people in Canada what to do. 35 out of 125 pages of the main text are devoted to this topic. But he pointed out that during the cold periods of previous little ice ages wiped out hundreds of thousands of people outside Canada by famine and associated war and disease. At present there are many countries, especially in the Middle East, who have booming population growth but are entirely dependent on buying food from elsewhere.
If the boundary of the wheat belt in the northern hemisphere moves 300 miles km to the south, they are in jeopardy. Guess what they will do. So if you believe his text you must make your own strategy to survive the hard times that are coming.
Using NOAA's cooked data, NASA says June tied as hottest month
by Thomas Richard
NASA announced on Wednesday that by using NOAA's recently altered temperature data, June 2015 was tied as the warmest June on record. goes 8 satelliteAs previously reported here, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reworked its climate data in order to eliminate the 18-year-and-counting pause in global warming. In early June, NOAA released a study saying that long-existing instrument biases have been masking rising sea surface temperatures. Once they "readjusted" the data, the current warming hiatus disappeared. Put simply, by cooling the past, NOAA made the the last two decades look warmer.
With the release of global temperature data for June, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has essentially changed how it analyses measurements by using the same sea surface dataset that was readjusted by NOAA. In using NOAA's highly controversial dataset, NASA can now say that global average temperatures last month tied June 2015 with June 1998 as the warmest on record. The global surface temperature anomaly for June was +0.78 degrees Celsius, which they say was driven by temperature inconsistencies in the Northern Hemisphere.
The June 2015 data released by NASA uses the same readjustments of global sea surface temperature records created by NOAA, which increases the rate of overall global warming (both land and sea) in the last 15 years. NOAA's dataset, known as the Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature version 4 (ERSST v4), reflects these readjustments and have now been arrogated by NASA.
More troubling is the fact that NASA and NOAA have joined forces to hide the global warming pause, even though there are more robust, accurate datasets available that clearly show it. One item of contention is that both agencies have essentially overlooked the satellite record dataset, which shows a global warming pause since 1998. Starting in 1979, orbiting satellites have been measuring the atmosphere five miles up and are accurate to within .001 degrees Celsius.
Satellite data show that the upper atmosphere is warming much less than global surface temperatures, even though computer models predicted the opposite would happen. Worse still, the satellite-derived measurements clearly show a global warming pause. The dataset are analyzed by both the U.S. firm Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and also the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Both the RSS and UAH datasets are unaffected by the issues that plague land-based measurements and ship- and buoy-based biases in sea surface temperatures. NOAA's re-adjustments to the climate's temperature record doesn't impact satellite measurements as they are not susceptible to such distortions.
Even the data from weather balloons agree with the satellite temperature measurements. They show much less warming then was predicted, and in the past 18.6 years have shown no statistical warming worldwide. The other major player in the global temperature measurement field is the UK Met Office surface temperature dataset, which also shows a global warming pause since 1998. Oddly enough, NASA announced on July 9 that the oceans slowed the global temperature rise by "trapping the heat," while simultaneously claiming temperatures haven't stopped rising.
NASA also said it has "eliminated GHCN's Amundsen-Scott temperature series" and will only be using the SCAR reports for the South Pole (Antarctica). The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) also announced it was using the readjusted NOAA ERSST v4 dataset. Unlike the UK Met Office and NCEI products, climate researcher Bob Tisdale writes that "GISS masks sea surface temperature data at the poles where seasonal sea ice exists, and they extend land surface temperature data out over the oceans in these locations."
Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) acknowledged two years ago that the "rise in Earth's mean surface temperatures had begun to slow since 1998, and since then everything from volcanic activity to solar output has been used to explain the pause." Currently there are more than 66 excuses to explain the global warming hiatus.
Critics argue all of this comes at a time when President Obama has shifted his focus to climate change ahead of the Paris Climate Talks, and that NOAA and NASA are using this new dataset of revised sea surface temperatures to push other countries into crippling regulations. Even EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted to Congress last week that all the new rules and regulations it is rolling out would only avert warming by .01 degrees.
Science or Selective Ignorance?
In an editorial published in Science magazine on July 3, Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief of the Science Journals, removed all doubt concerning the direction that this once prestigious journal is taking. censorship
In "The beyond-two-degree inferno", she wrote: "The time for debate has ended. Action is urgently needed."
Then, she strongly supports the contrived effort of the European Union to keep "global warming" below 2°C above the preindustrial level - a number for which we have no rigorous measurement or logic.
She advocates the political position of the Administration in forcing reductions in carbon dioxide emission (CO2) by stating "The United States has pledged reductions of 26 to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025..."
Of course, there is no such pledge by the American people and its representatives in Congress. The Administration's pledge is arbitrary and authoritarian. Ms. McNutt concludes with a description of the nine circles of Hell found in Dante's Inferno.
Ms. McNutt continues a trend established in the Science journals by Donald Kennedy (2000-2008), who declared while he is editor, Science would no longer accept articles contradicting the pronouncements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on global warming, later termed climate change, regardless of the empirical data presented.
The IPCC reports featured glaring deficiencies such as the falsely named distinct human fingerprint, a hot-spot over the tropics, which no one can empirically find; Mr. Mann's hockey-stick, based on sparse data, from which contradicting data was deleted; and global climate models, which greatly overestimate warming, as current measurements demonstrate. The logic behind this editorial policy can be described as selective ignorance. Please see links under Defending the Orthodoxy, including an excellent critique by Judith Curry.
16th Century Thinking: European scientific thinking of the 16th century was dominated by the re-discovery of the works of the Greeks. Their works in geometry and astronomy were very good, particularly considering the lack of precise instruments. Estimates of size of the earth and the moon, and the distance between them were quite accurate. However, they generally underestimated the size of the sun and its distance from the earth.
The concept of a heliocentric solar system was suggested by Aristarchus (died about 232 B.C.) and was accepted by some astronomers but eventually rejected, particularly by Ptolemy, a Roman, (about 150 A.D), whose system became the one widely accepted in the 16th century. During the 16th century, learning and written documents were extremely limited, and authority and consensus were dominate.
Copernicus disagreed with the Ptolemy concept of the solar system, but the work was not published until the year of his death in 1543. It was up to Galileo to earn the full wrath of the Greek scholars (often called Aristotelian scientists) that dominated science in the period. Galileo confronted the scientific models and assumptions of the era with observations from nature and experiments.
The most dramatic of these confrontations was proposing a heliocentric solar system, with an earth that orbited the sun annually, rotated daily, and titled on its axis. [Kepler proposed elliptical, not circular, orbits doing away with epicycles, and non-uniform speeds.] Using a telescope, Galileo identified spots on the sun, refuting the notion that it was immutable (unchanging). There are various versions of what occurred in the 17th century (until Newton) and the importance of various groups.
However, for the purposes of this discussion, one must note that Galileo was the first, influential astronomer of the Renaissance to propose that observations take precedence over authority and consensus of opinion as the objective standard in science. He incurred the full wrath of the scientific establishment of that time.
The Sun? Royal Astronomical Society published a study of a "new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's" 10 to 12 year solar cycle. "The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645."
"It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun's activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy."
"We found magnetic wave components appearing in pairs, originating in two different layers in the Sun's interior. They both have a frequency of approximately 11 years, although this frequency is slightly different, and they are offset in time. Over the cycle, the waves fluctuate between the northern and southern hemispheres of the Sun. Combining both waves together and comparing to real data for the current solar cycle, we found that our predictions showed an accuracy of 97%," said Zharkova.
Zharkova and her colleagues derived their model using a technique called 'principal component analysis' of the magnetic field observations from the Wilcox Solar Observatory in California. They examined three solar cycles-worth of magnetic field activity, covering the period from 1976-2008. In addition, they compared their predictions to average sunspot numbers, another strong marker of solar activity. All the predictions and observations were closely matched.
Looking ahead to the next solar cycles, the model predicts that the pair of waves become increasingly offset during Cycle 25, which peaks in 2022. During Cycle 26, which covers the decade from 2030-2040, the two waves will become exactly out of synch and this will cause a significant reduction in solar activity.
"In cycle 26, the two waves exactly mirror each other - peaking at the same time but in opposite hemispheres of the Sun. Their interaction will be disruptive, or they will nearly cancel each other. We predict that this will lead to the properties of a 'Maunder minimum'," said Zharkova. "Effectively, when the waves are approximately in phase, they can show strong interaction, or resonance, and we have strong solar activity. When they are out of phase, we have solar minimums. When there is full phase separation, we have the conditions last seen during the Maunder minimum, 370 years ago."
Since the period covered in the testing is only three solar cycles, 1976 to 2008, it is far too brief to draw any long-term conclusions. However, the accuracy in the testing is significant. Further, the cooling corresponds with predictions from some other solar scientists.
The short period of study understood, The Summary for Policymakers of Fifth Assessment Report (AR-5), Synthesis Report, of the IPCC also covers a relatively short period. Table SPM.3 presents "Contributions to observed surface temperature change over the period 1951-2010." Yet, the IPCC expressed 95% certainty in its work.
The total of natural forcings presented by the IPCC in this table covers a temperature range of about minus 0.1 ºC to plus 0.1 ºC. If the new report of the Royal Astronomical Society bears out, and we experience a cooling greater than 0.1 ºC, the IPCC and the climate establishment has significant problems.
EPA head: We don't need to justify our regulations with data
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy took a drumming yesterday when she refused to release the 'secret science' her agency used when drafting new regulations. mccarthy testimony Testifying before the House Science, Space and Technology committee, Rep. Lamar Smith (R) began the Q&A by asking McCarthy why she wouldn't release the studies and data in which her regulations are based. Rep. Smith told McCarthy that his 'secret science' reform act would make the data public without interfering in the EPA's primary job and maintaining the confidentiality of third parties.
Rep. Smith also quoted Obama's science adviser, John Holdren, saying "The data on which regulatory decisions are based should be made available to the committee and should be made public. Why don't you agree with the president's science adviser?" McCarthy replied that while she supports transparency in the regulatory process, the bill would make public the personal information of the people working on the science.
Smith reiterated that in his secret science reform act, personal information would be redacted but the underlying studies and data that are being used to justify costly regulations would be made public so that other scientists and the American people can review it. This is especially important as the EPA has a 60-day comment period after a new proposal is issued, but the science behind the new regulations is not included. Smith's new bill would rectify that issue.
McCarthy also said she "doesn't actually need the raw data in order to develop science. That's not how it's done."
Rep. Smith: "But why don't you give us the data you have and why can't you get that data you do have? Surely you have the data that you based the regulations on?"
McCarthy: "EPA actually has the authority and the need to actually get information that we have provided to you."
Rep. Smith: "You're saying you can't give us the information because it is personal and then you're saying you don't have the information. Which is it?"
McCarthy: "There is much information we don't have the authority to release."
Rep. Smith reiterated again that any personal information would be redacted and once again asked why she won't release this information after meeting all the criteria McCarthy used to justify not revealing the information. Rep. Smith reminded her that every other agency does this, so why can't the EPA simply redact this personal information and release the underlying science on which the EPA's regulations are based?
McCarthy stressed that the science is generated through the peer-reviewed process and not by the agency itself, prompting Rep. Smith to say that by not showing the American people and the Congress the studies and data they used to make new regulations, it looks like the EPA has something to hide. Rep. Smith said there was no good reason other scientists couldn't review the data, no good reason his committee couldn't review it, and most important, the American people can't review it.
Changing topics, Rep. Smith asked McCarthy about the Clean Power Plan, reminding her that after spending enormous amounts of money and implementing burdensome regulations, increasing the costs of electricity that would hurt the poorest Americans, it would only lower global temperatures 1/100 of a degree. "How do you justify such an expensive, burdensome, onerous rule that isn't going to do much good?…Isn't this all pain and no gain?"
McCarthy admitted the goal of the Clean Power Plan was to show strong domestic action which can trigger strong global action, e.g., getting other countries to follow our lead. McCarthy refused to say if Rep. Smith's analysis of the minuscule effect on global temperatures was correct, stating again it was more about leading on a global scale. She also refused to give Rep. Smith a timetable on when he could expect supporting documentation that he had been requesting for months.
Later in the hearing, Rep Dana Rohrabacher (R) was shocked that McCarthy did not have any idea what percentage of the atmosphere was made up of carbon dioxide (CO2). Stunned by this admission, Rohrabacher said, "You’re head of the EPA and you did not know? …Now you are basing policies that impact dramatically on the American people and you didn’t know what the content of CO2 in the atmosphere was… the justification for the very policies you’re talking about?"
McCarthy: "If you’re asking me how much CO2 is in the atmosphere, not a percentage but how much, we have just reached levels of 400 parts per million."
Rohrabacher: "I think I was very clear on what I was asking. I think it was very clear you didn’t know."
This is not the first time McCarthy has flunked knowing basic science. In a Senate hearing in March, McCarthy was unaware of climate data showing no increase in extreme weather. At that hearing, she was asking for additional money be dedicated to the president's controversial Clean Power Plan, an initiative to limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that are blamed for any type of bad weather.
As previously reported here, carbon dioxide levels reached a global level of 400 parts per million (ppm) in March, even though global temperatures have not risen for nearly 19 years. You can find 400 carbon dioxide molecules per one million parts of dry air. By volume, "dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.039% carbon dioxide (.04% in March 2015), and small amounts of other gases." Carbon dioxide levels vary between 390 and 400 ppm and change seasonally as more plant life is around to absorb it in the spring and summer.
SCOTLAND’S WIND FARMS CAUSE WATER POLLUTION
Anti wind turbine campaigner Susan Crosthwaite is calling for an immediate and full independent investigation into the pollution of surface and groundwater of ALL Scottish windfarm developments sited on River Basin Districts. scottish windfarm The construction of giant wind turbines has led to the industrialisation of water catchment areas damaging water quality and public health. She demands that relevant legislation be adhered to vigorously to ensure complete protection of Scotland’s reservoirs, lochs and private water supplies can be restored.
Commenting from her home in South Ayrshire Susan Crosthwaite said:
“Windfarm development in Scotland is clearly breaching The Environmental Liabilities Directive and the Water Frameworks Directive. Developers and government bodies have allowed these developments to proceed in the full knowledge that there are risks to surface and groundwater. Authorities such as SEPA, Scottish Water, Councils and the Scottish Government have failed in their legal duty to protect the water environment. Public authorities should ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of the scheme provided for by this Directive.
“People wonder how windfarms can possibly contaminate our water. Firstly, most are constructed on areas of unspoilt moss, heather and deep peat, often with associated forestry. Construction vehicles churn up the ground to make access roads and clear the forests (approximately 3 million trees were cleared at Whitelee). Trees are pulled up, and the churned up peat is washed into the river systems by heavy rain, releasing excessive carbon which the water treatment works are not able to deal with.
“The construction teams then blast quarries and ‘borrow-pits’ to provide rock foundations for access roads and turbine bases - six quarries with 85 articulated dump lorries ferried almost 6 million tons of excavated rock around the Whitelee site for roads and turbine foundations. These excavations allow access to the numerous faults (fractures) and dykes (intrusions) which crisscross Scotland and act as conduits for ground water. Chemical and diesel spills, therefore, have an immediate channel to the aquifer. It is also a great irony that anti-fracking campaigners make spurious claims about potential water pollution and then support the construction on industrial wind turbines, which are demonstrably causing widespread pollution to our water supplies in Scotland.
“The evidence of pollution discovered by radiologist Dr. Rachel Connor stems from her own experience of living close to Whitelee, the largest windfarm in Europe, and experiencing first-hand the results of drinking contaminated water. Evidence of pollution was discovered in monitoring reports which were a requirement for the Whitelee windfarm construction 2006-2009 and were brought before a Public Inquiry re a 3rd extension to Whitelee, where Dr. Connor underwent a 5 hour cross examination. (This material has not yet been ruled on by the Scottish Government.) It included a failure to monitor and test for instances of specific contamination related to chemical spill or diffuse contamination from dangerous chemicals- some of which may have come from 160,000 m3 of concrete which were used in turbine foundations and other areas.
“There was also evidence of contamination of private water supplies where springs had failed completely, boreholes had silted up temporarily and water quality was rendered unfit to drink. There is no effective protective mechanism for private water supplies if the local authority responsible for protecting the water supply has no mechanism to insist that a developer find, chart and protect the water source, and is subsequently not responsible for the hydrological environment upon which that water supply depends.
“Windfarm developments have not been monitored or assessed according to the legal requirements which under a European Directive require Member States to ensure the establishment of programmes for the monitoring of water status in order to establish a coherent and comprehensive overview of water status within each river basin district. It is clear that incidents and concerns have been reported by a Planning Monitoring Officer to the regulatory authorities but have not been investigated. Indeed Planning Monitoring Officers are not routinely employed and in any case, information from such officials may be difficult and costly for the public to access. Consequently developments proceed unchallenged.
“Wind farm construction has coincided with an increase in raw water colour at Amlaird and other Scottish Water treatment works. Scottish Water test results indicated high levels of colour, iron, manganese, coliforms, E coli and turbidity, but these were not investigated and resolved by the appropriate authority. The disinfection procedures meant that drinking water failed to meet European and UK regulatory standards leading to increased levels of Trihalomethanes – recognised by the WHO as possible human carcinogens
“Now Scottish Water test results from 2005 to 2014 for colour, iron, manganese, coliforms and e coli in Loch Bradan, Afton Reservoir and Penwhapple Reservoir – also show a deterioration in water quality associated with windfarm construction and pre-construction forestry clearance. This means that many people in East and South Ayrshire are drinking water below the Drinking Water Regulatory Standards. Where water quality has fallen consistently below regulatory standards, statutory authorities have not informed the public of the potential risks to their health despite an EC Directive that insists ‘Member States shall ensure the necessary protection for the bodies of water identified with the aim of avoiding deterioration in their quality in order to reduce the level of purification treatment required in the production of drinking water’.
“As Whitelee is Scottish Power Renewable’s flagship windfarm, the credibility of all their windfarm developments is based on the belief that their professed mitigation measures are successfully preventing any water pollution. How can the public be confident that this is the case if they do not constantly and consistently monitor all subsequent developments with results made easily available to the public?
“Arecleoch SPR windfarm consists of 60 turbines, operational since Autumn of 2011 This windfarm along with Hadyard Hill, Hadyard Hill Extension, Assel Valley, Millenderdale and Straid windfarms are all sited within the River Stinchar water catchment protected area. Tralorg plus the 5 ‘Straiton’ windfarms including Dersalloch are sited on the Girvan and Doon water protected catchment zones. None of these developments, according to the FOI, have been adequately monitored or assessed. Indeed failure to monitor the impact on surface and ground water before, during and after the construction of the 60 turbines at Arecleoch constitutes a direct breach of the water directives.”
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Preserving the graphics: Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere. But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases. After that they no longer come up. 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 or here
Posted by JR at 12:42 AM