Tag Archives: Solar Power

Freeman Dyson: the last 10 years have proven climate change models wrong

Apologetics and the progress of science
Apologetics and the progress of science

This interview with liberal scientist Freeman Dyson appeared in the UK Register.


The life of physicist Freeman Dyson spans advising bomber command in World War II, working at Princeton University in the States as a contemporary of Einstein, and providing advice to the US government on a wide range of scientific and technical issues.

He is a rare public intellectual who writes prolifically for a wide audience. He has also campaigned against nuclear weapons proliferation.

At America’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dyson was looking at the climate system before it became a hot political issue, over 25 years ago. He provides a robust foreword to a report written by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cofounder Indur Goklany on CO2 – a report published[PDF] today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

An Obama supporter who describes himself as “100 per cent Democrat,” Dyson says he is disappointed that the President “chose the wrong side.” Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, but it is not an insurmountable crisis. Climate change, he tells us, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?”


What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger. It’s clear now the models are wrong, but it wasn’t so clear 10 years ago. I can’t say if they’ll always be wrong, but the observations are improving and so the models are becoming more verifiable.

[…]It’s very sad that in this country, political opinion parted [people’s views on climate change]. I’m 100 per cent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.

Is carbon dioxide as bad as the politicians say?


To any unprejudiced person reading this account, the facts should be obvious: that the non-climatic effects of carbon dioxide as a sustainer of wildlife and crop plants are enormously beneficial, that the possibly harmful climatic effects of carbon dioxide have been greatly exaggerated, and that the benefits clearly outweigh the possible damage.

I consider myself an unprejudiced person and to me these facts are obvious. But the same facts are not obvious to the majority of scientists and politicians who consider carbon dioxide to be evil and dangerous. The people who are supposed to be experts and who claim to understand the science are precisely the people who are blind to the evidence.

[…]The scientists and politicians who have been blindly demonizing carbon dioxide for 37 years will one day open their eyes and look at the evidence.”

E. Calvin Beisner had more to say about beneficial effects of CO2 on agriculture in an article on the Stream.

He writes:

To call CO2 “carbon pollution” is not only bad chemistry and bad toxicology but also bad biology. Carbon dioxide is essential to all plant growth. The higher its concentration, the better plants grow. Below 170 ppm, plants die. At the roughly 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution, plants are “sucking air,” so to speak — barely getting enough. At today’s 400 ppm, plants grow much better — so much better that a study by researchers at the Technische Universität München found forests around the world growing up to 70 percent faster today than 50 years ago because of it. Earth is literally greening because of added CO2.

Plants will grow still better as CO2 concentration continues to rise. Thousands of empirical studies, as opposed to mere models, have found that, on average, for every doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, there is about a 35 percent increase in the efficiency of plant growth. Plants grow better in wetter and drier soils and in warmer and colder temperatures, widening their ranges and increasing their adaptability to climate changes, reducing the risk of biodiversity loss. They make better use of soil nutrients, better resist diseases and pests, and improve the ratio of fruit to fiber.

The consequence is more food for plant-eaters and eaters of plant eaters — i.e., for pretty much everything. Most importantly, it means more affordable food for the world’s poor.

A review of the refereed literature on the subject found “the … monetary value of this benefit amount[ed] to a total sum of $3.2 trillion over the 50-year period 1961–2011. Projecting the monetary value … forward … reveals it will likely bestow an additional $9.8 trillion on crop production between now and 2050.”

So honest, well-informed discussion of any policy — cap and trade, “carbon tax,” renewable mandates, etc. — to reduce CO2 emissions should first recognize the benefits of increasing its concentration in the atmosphere, not just for people but for all animals. Any rationale for reducing emissions must prove that they exact a cost that outweighs this benefit.

Ah, but being honest about the benefits would not allow our democratic socialist betters to have the platform they need to convince us to let them rule us, and control our lives down to the temperatures in our homes, what cars we drive and how much we can drive.


Federal court cripples Obama administration’s bird-killing green energy agenda

This is business as usual for the Democrat Party
This is business as usual for the Democrat Party

So, one of the quirky things about me is that I am a huge bird lover.

Birds are my favorite creatures, and I oppose anything that harms them. Well, it turns out that green energy schemes harm a lot of birds, whether it be solar power or wind power.

To get around this fact, the Obama administration decided to to allow green energy producers to get licenses to kill rare, protected birds – including bald eagles and golden eagles. Green energy scams are a useful way for the Obama administration to pay off their campaign bundlers with taxpayer money, as a reward for helping Democrats get elected. And if huge numbers of rare, protected birds have to die to do that, well, it’s no big deal.

Here’s the story from Bird Watching Daily. (H/T ECM)

It says:

The U.S. District Court in San Jose, California, today ruled that the Department of the Interior violated federal laws when it created a final regulation allowing wind energy and some other companies to obtain 30-year permits to kill protected Bald and Golden Eagles without prosecution by the federal government. The court decision invalidates the rule.

American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a plaintiff in the lawsuit, hailed the decision. “We are pleased that the courts agreed with us that improper shortcuts were taken in the development of this rule,” said Michael Hutchins, director of ABC’s Bird Smart Wind Energy Program. “The court found that important laws meant to protect our nation’s wildlife were not properly followed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, putting Bald and Golden Eagles at greater risk.”

The court wrote: “… substantial questions are raised as to whether the Final 30-Year Rule may have a significant adverse effect on bald and golden eagle populations.”

By the way, in case you wanted a reference for my claim that solar power also harms birds, this Scientific American article explains how solar power kills endangered bird species.

You might never have seen an Yuma clapper rail. Fewer than 1,000 are thought to still be sloshing about in cattail-thick marshes from Mexico up to Utah and across to California. But if you were lucky enough to spot one, you might chuckle at its oversized toes.

When officials with the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory saw one of these endangered birds last year, it was no laughing matter. It was dead. It was one of 233 birds recovered from the sites of three Californian desert solar power plants as part of a federal investigation. The laboratory’s wildlife equivalents of CSI stars concluded that many of the birds had been fatally singed, broken, or otherwise fatally crippled by the facilities.

233 doesn’t sound too bad, but the total death toll is much higher.

This Weather.com article puts the number of birds killed by solar power at thousands every year for just one solar power plant:

According to the Associated Press, up to 28,000 birds per year might be meeting an early death after burning up in the focused beams of sunlight, with birds dying at a rate of one bird every two minutes. The burned-up birds are being dubbed “streamers,” after the poof of smoke produced by the igniting birds.

A report by the USFWS states that most of the birds are dying from various levels of exposure to “solar flux” which causes “singeing of feathers.”

“Severe singeing of flight feathers caused catastrophic loss of flying ability, leading to death by impact with the ground or other objects,” the report states. “Less severe singeing led to impairment of flight capability, reducing ability to forage and evade predators, leading to starvation or predation.”

Solar power is actually worse than wind power, when it comes to killing birds, and that’s still going on, unchecked. When I look at the dead and injured birds in the pictures from these news stories, it just makes me sick.

Germany is further along the green energy road, how is it working for them?

Cost of renewable wind and solar energy
Cost of renewable wind and solar energy

This is from National Review, and I think it’s important for the young people to know, because they are the ones who think that green energy is a moral imperative that has no downside.


According to EU data, Germany’s average residential electricity rate is 29.8 cents per kilowatt hour. This is approximately double the 14.2 cents and 15.9 cents per kWh paid by residents of Germany’s neighbors Poland and France, respectively, and almost two and a half times the U.S. average of 12 cents per kWh. Germany’s industrial electricity rate of 16 cents per kWh is also much higher than France’s 9.6 cents or Poland’s 8.3 cents. The average German per capita electricity consumption is 0.8 kilowatts. At a composite rate of 24 cents per kWh, this works out to a yearly bill of $1,700 per person, experienced either directly in utility bills or indirectly through increased costs of goods and services. The median householdincome in Germany is $33,000, so if we assume an average of two people per household, the electricity cost would amount to more than 10 percent of available income. And that is for the median-income household. The amount of electricity that people need does not scale in proportion to their paychecks. For the rich, $1,700 per year in electric bills might be a pittance, or at most a nuisance. But for the poor who are just scraping by, such a burden is simply brutal.

The trouble with solar and wind power is that they are not consistent:

So, what has the German government accomplished for “the Earth” in exchange for the severe harm it has inflicted on the nation’s poorer citizens? It is claimed that Germany has replaced 30 percent of its electricity with renewable energy. If all you look at is capacity, that might appear to be true. Germany has a total installed capacity of 172 gigawatts (GW), and 65 GW of that is based on renewables. But neither wind nor solar power obtains an around-the-clock average of anything close to full capacity. Rather, these methods of electricity generation typically average at best about 20 percent of their full rated power. Thus Germany’s nominal 65 GW of solar and wind generation capacity is worth about as much as 13 GW capacity in conventional power plants. Of the 614,000 GW hours that Germany generated in 2014, 56,000 GWh came from wind and 35,000 GWh from solar, for an actual combined average power of 10.4 GW, or 14.8 percent of all electricity generated. About half of this, or 5.2 GW, has been developed since 2005.

Germany used to have safe, clean nuclear power with zero emissions, but they got rid of it:

However, in 2011 Germany had 20 GW of capacity in nuclear power plants, producing more than twice as much electricity as wind and solar do currently, at less than half the cost, with no carbon emissions whatsoever. But, using the rather improbable threat of a Fukushima-like tsunami as a pretext, the nation’s elites decided to shut them down; 8.3 GW have already been eliminated.

Thus, over the past decade, the total amount of carbon-free power that Germany has produced under its oppressive green-energy policy has actually decreased by 3 GW.

This makes me think of what happened to the wind farms in the UK during cold weather – they had to keep spinning using power from the main grid, to keep themselves from freezing! What a disaster. Green energy is just not ready for prime time. The more the government pushes it, the more the cost of electricity rises. Not good for the poor. Does anyone care how these “feel good” policies of the rich left affect the poorest people?

New $2.2 billion solar plant kills one bird every two minutes

From the leftist Washington Post: (H/T Barbara)

Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — “streamers,” for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair.

Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one “streamer” every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator’s application to build a still-bigger version.

The investigators want the halt until the full extent of the deaths can be assessed. Estimates per year now range from a low of about a thousand by BrightSource to 28,000 by an expert for the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group.

[…]Federal wildlife officials said Ivanpah might act as a “mega-trap” for wildlife, with the bright light of the plant attracting insects, which in turn attract insect-eating birds that fly to their death in the intensely focused light rays.

Federal and state biologists call the number of deaths significant, based on sightings of birds getting singed and falling, and on retrieval of carcasses with feathers charred too severely for flight.

The Associated Press had this to say this about wind power:

The Obama administration said Friday it will allow some companies to kill or injure bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years without penalty, an effort to spur development and investment in green energy while balancing its environmental consequences.

The change, requested by the wind energy industry, will provide legal protection for the lifespan of wind farms and other projects for which companies obtain a permit and make efforts to avoid killing the birds. An investigation by The Associated Press earlier this year documented the illegal killing of eagles around wind farms, the Obama administration’s reluctance to prosecute such cases and its willingness to help keep the scope of the eagle deaths secret. The White House has championed wind power, a pollution-free energy intended to ease global warming, as a cornerstone of President Barack Obama’s energy plan.

If it were up to me, I would just stick with clean natural gas and fracking, and build the Keystone XL pipeline. That would create a lot of jobs, and without wasting taxpayer money to reward Obama’s rich campaign donors who often own these green energy companies. But then I guess the White House would reply “but then who will kill all the endangered bird species unless we pay people to do it?”.

Are green energy sources like solar power and wind power good for the environment?

Green energy harms wildlife, especially birds
Green energy harms wildlife, especially birds

Investors Business Daily explains how green energy hurts birds, even rare, endangered species of birds.


What do you call an energy source that consumes vast tracks of open land and fries birds that cross its path? If you’re the president, you call it “safe,” “reliable,” “green” and worthy of massive taxpayer subsidies.

That, at least, is the case with the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station that covers a vast area of desert outside Las Vegas and, thanks to the generous support of the Obama administration, has officially opened.

The plant points hundreds of thousands of mirrors at three towers to boil turbine-spinning water. But the heat rays aren’t very friendly to the area’s birds, including falcons, hawks, warblers and sparrows that have shown up dead near the towers.

One of the inconvenient truths that global warming fanatics and renewable energy purists try to ignore is that wind and solar energy are not so environmentally friendly. At least, not if you care about wildlife and land preservation.

First, these energy sources are massive land hogs. Ivanpah requires more than 5 square miles of mirrors to produce enough electricity to light 140,000 homes. It would take roughly 3,600 Ivanpahs to supply all the country’s electricity needs, with mirrors covering New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Rhode Island and a chunk of Massachusetts combined.

Wind power is hardly much better. According to the Nature Conservancy, it takes 30 times the land for windmills to produce as much electricity as a nuclear power plant.

And their turbines amount to bird Cuisinarts. To keep wind farms spinning, the Obama administration recently issued permits letting them kill protected bald and golden eagles for 30 years, provided they take some steps to mitigate the slaughter.

People who friend me on Facebook know that I love birds very much and I keep them as pets – they are my favorite animal. So this just gives me another reason to be disgusted with the policies of the secular left. When you add this wholesale slaughter of birds to the fact that we could be creating many more new jobs by investing in traditional sources of energy at home, it makes me even more angry.