Monday, November 16, 2020

New data casts doubt on Boris Johnson’s 2030 offshore wind plans

The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has today written to the chairman of the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons providing new evidence for their inquiry into the Net Zero target.The letter presents data from windfarm accounts showing that the wind industry has overestimated the technically accessible wind resource around the UK.

This new information shows that it will be necessary to introduce greater separation distances between wind turbines and wind farms, at greater costs.

This will force a move further away from shore, into much deeper water, and with a higher share of floating turbines, both increasing costs significantly.

The letter draws attention to evidence in the audited accounts of Burbo Bank Extension wind farm, recording payments made to another wind farm nearby, in compensation for reduced output caused by so-called “wake effects”. In effect, the Burbo Extension turbines have been taking the wind out of its neighbour’s sails.

The new evidence reveals that the industry has overestimated the density at which wind farms can be constructed, even at sea, an error that has serious implications for the Prime Minister’s aspiration for an additional 30 GW of offshore wind by the end of the decade.

GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser, said:

“Boris Johnson’s utopian wind ‘vision’ for 2030 was always going to be extremely expensive, but it now seems his plans may require spreading the wind turbines over a much bigger area, and in deeper water, with very significant environmental and economic implications. This is unlikely to be feasible, let alone affordable.”

Google Promotes Study That Climate Change Causes Cancer

Among the top items Google is promoting today under the search term “climate change” is a paper out of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) titled, “Climate Change Will Give Rise to More Cancers.”

As the title implies, the study claims climate change will contribute to “higher rates of cancer, especially lung, skin and gastrointestinal cancers,” because climate change will cause poor air quality and disruptions in the food supply.

However, there is no evidence climate change has had or will have any impact on cancer rates or treatment. In fact, scientific evidence shows that, by UCSF’s logic, climate change will reduce the number of people getting cancer.

Playing on the public’s justified fear of cancer to hype action against climate change alarm is shameful.

In particular, the study asserts climate change will cause an increase in cancer rates and a decline in cancer treatment for three main reasons:

* Climate change will cause an increase in wildfires, putting particulate matter and soot into the air, which, when breathed in will contribute to an increase in lung cancers.

* Climate change will disrupt food supplies resulting in malnutrition, which will contribute to increasing numbers of gastrointestinal cancers.

* Climate change will cause more “[e]xtreme weather events such as storms and flooding [that] can destroy or damage health-care infrastructure, reducing health care quality and availability … [as well as] interrupting service delivery by causing power shortages, disrupting supply chains, transportation, and communication, and resulting in staff shortages.”

Tackling each of these claims, in turn, the evidence shows wildfires have declined over the past century even as the earth has experienced modest warming.

As documented in Climate at a Glance: Wildfires, long-term data from the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) show wildfires have dramatically declined in number and severity in recent decades.

Reporting data on U.S. wildfires from as far back as 1926, NIFC documents that the number of acres annually burned recently is only1/4th to 1/5th of the annual acres burned in the 1930s.

Globally, the data on wildfires are just as clear. In his book False Alarm, Bjorn Lomborg observes:

“There is plenty of evidence for a reduction in the level of devastation caused by fire, with satellites showing a 25 percent reduction globally in burned areas just over the past 18 years … In total, the global amount of area burned has declined by more than 540,000 square miles, from 1.9 million square miles in the early part of last century to 1.4 million square miles today.”

Because there is no evidence climate change is causing an increase in wildfires or the air pollution they emit, there is equally no evidence climate change is causing more incidences of lung cancer.

Real-world data concerning crop production directly contradict the UCSF study’s claim that food supply disruptions will lead to more gastrointestinal cancers.

The evidence is clear food production is improving with modest warming and higher carbon dioxide concentrations.

Data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show yields of the most important cereal crops have increased dramatically over the past few decades, repeatedly setting new records.

As shown in the chart below, the FAO’s recent “Cereal Supply and Demand Brief” reports new global records are being set nearly every year for the production of the cereal crops (corn, wheat, rice, and similar crop staples) that comprise most of the global food consumption.

FAO Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, August 10, 2020.

Cereal grains include the Big Three food staples of corn, rice, wheat, and similar crops. Corn, rice, and wheat by themselves comprise 66 percent of global human food consumption.

Cereal crops alone make up nine of the 15 crops that provide 90 percent of humanity’s food energy intake. As shown above, the FAO reports cereal grain production set new records seven of the past 10 years.

Global warming lengthens growing seasons, reduces frost events, and makes more land suitable for crop production.

Also, carbon dioxide is an aerial fertilizer for plant life. Fruits and vegetables also benefit from longer growing seasons, fewer frost events, and from the fertilization effect of increased levels of carbon dioxide.

As a result, climate change-induced crop abundance has resulted in the largest decline in hunger, malnutrition, and starvation in human history.

Increasing amounts of nutritious food mean cancers related to diet and nutrition should decline as well.

Finally, data recorded by the U.S. government and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) presented in Climate at a Glance: Drought, Climate at a Glance: Floods, and Climate at a Glance Hurricanes, show that the number and severity of droughts, floods, and hurricanes have not increased during the past few decades of modest warming.

Concerning floods, the IPCC has said it has “low confidence” in any climate change impact regarding the frequency or severity of floods.

Concerning drought, the IPCC reports with “high confidence” that precipitation has increased over mid-latitude land areas of the Northern Hemisphere (including the United States) during the past 70 years, and it has “low confidence” about any negative trends globally.

Data also show, the United States is undergoing its longest period in recorded history with fewer than 40 percent of the country experiencing “very dry” conditions, and in 2017 and 2019 America registered its smallest percentage of land area experiencing drought in recorded history.

Data from the IPCC and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show no increase in the number or severity of hurricanes in recent decades. Indeed, NOAA reports, the United States recently went through its longest period in recorded history without a major hurricane strike.

America also recently experienced its fewest total hurricanes in any eight-year period.

Since the evidence is clear that climate change is not causing more extreme weather events, it must also be true climate change isn’t making it more difficult to treat people for cancer by disrupting medical supplies or disrupting travel to hospitals and clinics for cancer treatment.

The UCSF study is filled with alarming claims and speculation but short on facts. The available evidence indicates people have no reason to fear climate change is making or will make cancer more common or more difficult to treat.

People who fear cancer should instead fear that climate hucksters will try and use fear of climate change and false cancer links to divert money and resources away from direct cancer treatment and research, steering it instead toward climate research.

“Green Hydrogen” to replace “Black Gold”?

The harnessing of new energy sources has fueled technological advances and economic prosperity for mankind throughout history. The history of oil alone coincides with economic growth and improving living conditions for nearly two centuries.

History and human prosperity will not end with oil and other fossil fuels since energy development and innovation inexorably continues. In the not too distant future, it may be “green hydrogen” that will displace “black gold,” or at least make the world much less dependent on fossil fuels.

Hydrogen power comes from water by using electricity to split hydrogen molecules from oxygen molecules and stored in liquid form. “Green” hydrogen is so labeled based on the source of electricity coming from renewable energy, rather than from fossil fuels.

Still, liquid hydrogen is not a natural energy source; it must be produced and stored using other energy sources. It not only remains costlier than natural gas, it is less efficient in that it produces one quarter of the energy per unit volume. Liquid hydrogen also is highly combustible and its storage requires compression to 700 times atmospheric pressure and refrigeration to 253 degrees Celsius, according to Michael Liebreich, a New Energy Analyst at BloombergNEF.

How realistic is green hydrogen as a future energy source? Follow the money.

Environmental journalist Jim Robbins writes, a “green hydrogen energy rush is underway,” with investors, private companies and governments around the globe in pursuit. According to Grand View Research, the global green energy market is estimated to be valued at $787 million in 2019, and projected to grow more than 14 percent annually by 2027.

The European Union also is drafting plans to expand green hydrogen, including proposing that funds be used for electrolyzers and transport and storage technology.

In Germany, for example, along with other European countries, funding is being provided for electrolysis plants and other hydrogen infrastructure. In Spain the government in Madrid last month approved a ten-year, $10.5 billion plan to develop green hydrogen plants using renewal energy to produce and transport. Similarly, Great Britain last year approved a plan to invest nearly $15 billion to generate 4 gigawatts of offshore wind power to generate green hydrogen by 2030.

In Japan, a new green hydrogen plant just opened near Fukishima, which will be used to power fuel cells for vehicles and stationary sites. Then there is Saudi Arabia, which has been investing in green hydrogen to power future cities as part of its long-term plan to diversify its economy from being so heavily reliant on oil production. The company Air Products & Chemicals, a gas company based in the United States, for the last four years has been constructing a green hydrogen plant in Saudi Arabia to fuel the future city of Noem on the coast of the Red Sea. The source of the electricity in the Saudi project would come from wind and solar projects across the Arabian desert.

In the U.S., a green hydrogen power plant is being planned in Utah to replace coal-fired plants and produce electricity for southern California. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is contributing to the investment of the Utah plant. Also in California, the company SGH2 announced plans to build a green hydrogen plant that will use waste gasification instead of electrolysis, which the company believes will be a less expensive means to produce green hydrogen.

The largest planned green hydrogen project is planned in Australia, known as the Asian Renewable Energy Hub. The project will comprise 1,600 wind turbines and 78 square kilometers of solar panels to power 14 gigawatts of hydrogen electrolyzers.

Green hydrogen may not soon replace “black gold.” The cost remains comparatively prohibitive and renewable energy itself has limits in efficiency and placement options. Nonetheless, technology never stands still, and governments and industry around the globe are forging ahead.

Over time, the investment in green hydrogen and its spread will lower its price and increase its share of the energy market. That will make green hydrogen a growing source of energy that will make the world less dependent on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

Australia accused of discouraging electric vehicles

Australia could become a parking lot for the world's petrol vehicles unless drivers are encouraged to buy more electric vehicles, industry and experts say, as prices for the cheapest electric models here can be double what they are overseas.

This year an estimated 4400 electric vehicles were sold in Australia, a mere 0.6 per cent of total car sales in that time.

University of Queensland research fellow Jake Whitehead said Australia had become a "pariah" in the eyes of manufacturers of electric vehicles because there were no major incentives to encourage consumer uptake, while other countries set ambitious goals and generous incentives to drive the switch from petrol and diesel engines.

"We are down the path to becoming a dumping ground and my fear is it will become worse," Dr Whitehead said.

The US and EU and other markets set a quota for the volume of carbon dioxide that can collectively be emitted across the fleet of a manufacturer's internal combustion engine cars. This is not the case in Australia, meaning manufacturers could choose to run out their end-of-line petrol models here while they ramp up sales of electric vehicles in more attractive markets.

"Manufacturers are in a situation where they have to make a choice where around the world they send their limited production. Australia is a risky choice compared to the US and UK, where the vehicle is sold before it hits the dock," Dr Whitehead said.

The five cheapest electric models available in Australia cost between $44,000 and $64,000 and are expensive compared to the cheapest petrol models – which start at less than $15,000. The cheapest EVs in the UK and US sell for about $30,000.

The federal government is working on an electric cars policy that will focus on infrastructure like charging stations and support for research and development into new technology.

"We are backing a range of technologies, not picking one winner. This follows our 'technology not taxes' approach to reducing emissions," Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor said.

Many major manufacturers are planning to phase out petrol and diesel engines, and major markets including the UK, Japan, France and Germany will ban their sale between 2025 and 2030 – while the USA offers a $7500 tax rebate for electric vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Council said running costs are low compared to petrol cars with virtually no engine maintenance and electricity costs equivalent to less than 40 cents a litre of fuel.

South Australia this week said it would target electric vehicle owners with a road user charge to make up for the loss of fuel excise revenue, which contributes to road infrastructure. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrotet said he was considering bringing in a similar tax next year.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, which represents manufacturers of all vehicle types imported into Australia, "condemned" road user charges for only electric cars and called for a "sophisticated discussion" on long-term tax reform.

The chamber's chief executive Tony Weber said a new tax system to evenly distribute charges across all vehicle types could be based on road user and congestion charges.

"This seems to be a reactionary move by state government that focuses on revenue, where it needs to focus on all the costs and benefits of policies," Mr Weber said.

"(Electric vehicles) offer economy wide benefits, including improved health outcomes, and will make a major contribution to improving our environmental scorecard for the benefit of future generations."




No comments: