Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Denmark Cancels All Coastal Wind Farms, Delays New Built Until 2025

The Danish government has announced a new proposal to resolve the problem of the renewable energy tax (PSO) which the EU believes to be illegal and which has become markedly more expensive for businesses and citizens than planned.

Climate and Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt will cancel all coastal wind turbines which were agreed to be build in 2012 and promises to replace them with a new offshore wind farm in 2025.

The cancellation of the coastal wind turbines will save the country around 7 billion Krones ($1 billion). And when the new offshore wind farm will be constructed from 2025 onwards there will be ample budgets then.

“For me there is no doubt that an offshore wind farm located far out at sea will be a much better solution,” says Lars Christian Lilleholt who also believes in the visual benefit of offshore wind turbines which cannot be seen from land.

The government has long sought to postpone the coastal wind turbines and the minister has now pulled the plug completely on the controversial projects.

“When I think back on the energy agreement from 2012, it was a mistake that agreed to build the coastal wind turbines,” he said.


Scientists Find Global Warming Could Ruin The Smell Of Roses

A new study found global warming could make it harder for people to ‘smell the roses,’ as projected global temperature increases may mean flowers give off less of a scent than they do today.

“Increases in temperature associated with the changing global climate are interfering with plant-pollinator mutualism, an interaction facilitated mainly by floral color and scent,” Alon Can’ani, a PhD student at Hebrew University of Jerusalem said in a statement on his research.

Can’ani claims that this reduction in the smell of flowers — a main way they attract pollinators — could have a detrimental effect on ‘plant-pollinator mutualism.’

But Can’ani also says there is a way to stop this from happening, by manipulating certain genes within a particular flower. Gene manipulation of flowers could feasibly help flowers maintain the scent properties that make them targets of pollinators and keep flora healthy.

Plants use their scents not only to attract pollinators, but also as a defense mechanism. When a plants leaves are injured it releases a compound that alerts predators of herbivores to the scene; like calling in security. A predator gets a chemical signal that an herbivore in currently on the scene, and while the predator gets lunch, the plant lives to pollinate another day. A lesson in natural symbiosis.

A different study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, states the exact opposite. Its title: "Could global warming make our flowers smell nine times sweeter?"

“Over the past 30 decades, higher global temperatures have increased emissions of the compounds by 10 percent”, according to the study. “An increase in temperature of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius could lead to a further 30 to 45 percent increase.”


Runaway Venus

A difficult myth often faced by skeptics is the claim that the planet Venus is an example of a runaway greenhouse effect, even though the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is more than 90 times that of the earth. Often, people do not understand the influence of pressure on temperatures as described by the ideal gas law.

In discussing Scientism, Willie Soon and Istvan Marko bring up excellent comments by physicist Will Happer on the differences between Venus and the Earth. To make one point, Happer uses the analogy of a diesel engine.

Unlike a gasoline engine, a diesel engine does not require a spark plug or an ignition system. In a normal gasoline engine, after the fuel-air mixture is compressed to 6 to 10 atmospheres, a spark ignites the mixture. In a diesel engine the compression is far greater, between 14 to 23 atmospheres. The compression heats the air sufficiently to ignite the fuel when it is injected into it. Depending on the fuel, it may require a temperature of 210 to 260ºC (410 to 500ºF). At over 90 atmospheres, no wonder Venus surface is hot.


EU Green Lunacy: £1.25 Million To Save A Bird That Doesn’t Need Saving

Without the EU, the environment would suffer greatly: or so we are told by EU-funded organisations like the WWF and the RSPB.

So let’s briefly focus on just one of the invaluable conservation projects on which the EU thinks it’s important to spend our money.

As the Sunday Telegraph reported, the EU has funded a five-year £1.25 million project to encourage little terns to breed.

This involves getting schoolchildren to paint plaster of Paris bird models with the right grey, black and white colouring. The fake terns are then placed in pairs in appropriate spots during breeding season, with the male’s and female’s beaks pointing inches apart as if they were courting one another.

    Sue Rendell-Read, the manager in charge of the project, said: “We are using the decoys to try and get the little terns to nest in safer places on the beach. This may be areas within fencing, which we put up during the breeding season, or areas higher up the beach, which we know will be safer in the summer.”

    Ms Rendell-Read urged members of the public not to touch or steal the decoys, many of which have the name of the school child who painted it on the bottom.

Yes, that would be tragic, wouldn’t it? Why, the effect on tern breeding if these £1.25 million fake birds were to be removed would surely be incalculable.

I do however have a couple of reservations about this yarn.

The first, pretty obviously, is how, in heaven’s name, can so low-tech a project possibly cost £1.25 million? What are they painting these fake birds with: lapis lazuli and gold leaf? We’re talking about a total of 15 beaches’ worth of fake birds here. Even allowing for a generous 1000 birds per beach, that still works out at over £800 for something whose raw materials probably cost less than a pound.

And the second – which hasn’t been mentioned in reports so far – is: what are we even doing trying to save the little tern anyway?

Here’s what Birdlife International has to say on little terns’ scarcity:

"This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern"

The little tern, in other words, is about as much in danger of extinction as the Herring gull (aka “sea gulls”) or the London pigeon.

Yet just listen to this woman from the RSPB in the Sunday Telegraph:

    Emily Irving-Witt, the lead little tern warden for the Suffolk Coast, said: “Little terns are endangered and need all the help they can get.

    “Numbers are decreasing alarmingly so protecting their breeding grounds means saving them from extinction.”

Yeah, well I suppose if my job was “lead little tern warden for the Suffolk”, I too would be doing my damnedest to talk up the threat to little terns.

But quite how she feels it appropriate to bandy about terms like “endangered” and “extinction” I do not know. It’s the kind of emotive and dishonest language which gives animal conservation a bad name – though of course, it’s entirely the sort of thing we’ve come to expect of anyone even vaguely associated with the disreputable RSPB.

The little tern is not “endangered”, let alone anywhere close to “extinction.” It follows that every penny of that £1.25 million is money chucked down the drain.

Brexit campaigners are frequently put under pressure to justify the £330 million they have claimed that Britain chucks every week into the gaping maw that is the European Union. Sky News interviewer Faisal Islam had a go at Michael Gove about this and went at it repeatedly like a teenager faced with a particularly juicy but reluctant-to-burst spot. Whoever is masterminding the Remain campaign’s strategy appears to think that this is a major weak point. But it’s only a weak point if you believe the EU propagandists’ line that we receive more or less half of that money back in the form of EU spending.

Well perhaps we do but I’m not sure if that money were ours to spend as we wished we’d want to spunk £1.25 million of it on plaster of Paris little tern models.


Solar CEO Sentenced for Defrauding Gov’t Grant Program

Former business owner Joseph Samuel Kozicki was ordered on Wednesday to serve 15 months in federal prison for defrauding a U.S. Department of Energy grant program.

Kozicki served as chief executive officer for AA Solar, Inc. in March 2010, when his company sought and received a U.S. Department of Energy grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in the amount of $1,776,268.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Central District of Illinois, AA Solar sought funds to purchase and install equipment for a manufacturing facility in Danville, Ill. to make solar tracking systems.

Kozicki instructed AA Solar employees to provide officials with fraudulent invoices, quotes, or purchase orders. During the scheme, Kozicki made payments or withdrawals from AA Solar’s bank accounts for personal expenses. As a result of the scheme, Kozicki fraudulently attempted to obtain approximately $649,269 from the grant and successfully obtained $383,318 from the goverment.

AA Solar’s final two fraudulent payment requests were denied.

AA Solar sold only one or two of its solar tracking devices during its existence and did not provide the cash match of $1,985,000 required by the terms of the grant.

On May 26, 2015, Kozicki entered a plea of guilty to defrauding the grant program.

On June 1, 2015, U.S. District Judge Sue E. Myerscough ordered Kozicki to pay restitution in the amount of $383,318. The 80 year-old Kozicki was allowed to self-report in 30 to 60 days to the federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence.


Climate crazy Ontari-ari-ario’s no place to grow, but to get the hell out of

The latest news out of Queen’s Park is that Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals plan to deindustrialize Ontario. Of course they don’t call it that; they prefer the term “decarbonize.” But for an industrial economy, the government’s new climate action plan, leaked to reporters this week, amounts to the same thing.

The proposed scheme beggars belief. Having phased out coal-fired power, the province now plans to phase out natural gas, the only reliable alternative for non-baseload generation. Despite electric cars being extremely costly and unpopular, more than one in 10 new car sales will need to be electric, and every two-car household will have to own at least one electric car. All homes listed for sale will require a costly energy audit. Home renovations will have to be geared around energy efficiency as the government defines it, not what the homeowner wants.

Around the time that today’s high-school students are readying to buy their first home, it will be illegal for builders to install heating systems that use fossil fuels, in particular natural gas. Having already tripled the price of power, Queen’s Park will make it all but mandatory to rely on electricity for heating.

There will be new mandates and subsidies for biofuels, electric buses for schools, extensive new bike lanes to accommodate all those bicycles Ontario commuters will be riding all winter, mandatory electric recharging stations on all new buildings, and many other Soviet-style command-and-control directives.

The scheme is called the Climate Change Action Plan, or CCAP, but it would be more appropriately called the Climate Change Coercion Plan: the CCCP.

Reportedly there has been some pushback against this lunacy from within cabinet. While Environment Minister Glen Murray is driving it forward with enthusiasm, his colleagues with economic portfolios are expressing some reluctance. One imagines they have an intuitive sense the CCCP is misguided, but they struggle to say why.

Perhaps I can help. Even if one accepts mainstream climate science as interpreted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it does not imply that carbon dioxide emissions impose infinitely high costs and should be driven to zero. It only tells us that such emissions may impose modest external costs on other people that emitters should pay for. Nor does it tell us that those emission-related costs are greater than the costs of trying to stop climate change. In fact, the IPCC reports strongly suggest otherwise. Chapter 10 of the IPCC Working Group II report concludes that at low levels of warming (up to two degrees Celsius) the costs will be small relative to the impacts of other economic changes in peoples’ lives, and may well be negative (i.e., a possible net benefit from mild warming).

Translated into practical economics, we could assume that emitting a tonne of carbon dioxide causes a small amount of harm to other people: roughly between zero and 20-dollars’ worth. So emission-reduction policies that cost less than $20 per tonne to implement could be justified based on mainstream science and sound economics. Policies costing more cannot.

The Murray plan however is laden with policies that will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per tonne to implement — far more than the value of any environmental benefits they generate. They will drive away investment and employment, raise the cost of living and eliminate economic opportunities. No longer will Ontari-ari-ario be “A Place to Grow”; it will be a place to get the hell out of if you want a job and a decent standard of living.

For years, anyone trying to inject sanity into the climate debate was told it is forbidden to question the authoritative pronouncements of the IPCC. So it is worth quoting the IPCC verbatim on the economic issues here. After tallying up the projected effects of warming and the likely economic impacts, and placing them in the context of all the other social changes that are expected in the years ahead, it concludes, in Chapter 10, “For most economic sectors, the impact of climate change will be small relative to the impacts of other drivers (medium evidence, high agreement).” In Figure 10-1 it shows that modest warming is as likely to be a net benefit as a net cost. And in the Working Group I report, the IPCC marshals evidence that warming has been proceeding at a lower rate than expected so far this century.

Putting it all together, even if the Murray plan were to stop global warming in its tracks, the policies would do more economic harm than the averted climate change. But of course the CCCP won’t have any effect on global warming, because Ontario is responsible for such a tiny fraction of global emissions. The Wynne government repeatedly defends its bungling of the electricity sector on the grounds that at least it closed two coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, in 2015 alone, China approved construction of 155 new coal-fired power plants. CCCP is all cost, no benefits.

Adding to the insult, it includes a carbon-pricing scheme in the form of cap and trade. The economic logic of carbon pricing is that the market identifies the cheapest abatement options and weeds out the rest. Yet with revenues from its cap-and-tax plan, the government plans to subsidize the abatement methods the market rejects. In other words, the Liberals have selected the one use of funds that destroys the economic properties of the policy instrument.

The climate file has pushed deranged extremism into mainstream policy planning. Perhaps the would-be opponents in cabinet of this disastrous proposal self-censor out of fear of being labeled — gasp! — deniers. But realism is the opposite of denialism, and what is needed now is a huge, cold blast of realism.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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


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