Tag Archives: Wind Power

Donald Trump has done more than all of his rich critics to reduce carbon emissions

How much have countries cut carbon emissions?
How much have countries cut carbon emissions?

I wanted to look at who has been doing the most to cut carbon emissions. Then we’ll look at whether the secular left supports the technologies that achieved actual cuts in carbon emissions. Then we’ll look at the technologies that the secular left supports, to see whether they achieve similar success. Then we’ll draw a conclusion about the environmentalism of the secular left.

Let’s start with the data on carbon emissions. As you can see from the graph above, the biggest offenders are China and India. These countries make a show about caring for the environment to shame America, but the truth is that they are the biggest polluters of all, and getting worse.

Daily Wire reports:

The United States led the entire world in reducing CO2 emissions last year while also experiencing solid economic growth, according to a newly released report.

“The United States saw the largest decline in energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 on a country basis – a fall of 140 Mt, or 2.9%, to 4.8 Gt,” The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported on Tuesday. “US emissions are now down almost 1 Gt from their peak in the year 2000, the largest absolute decline by any country over that period.”

[…]The IEA noted that 80% of the increase in CO2 emissions came from Asia and that China and India both contributed significantly to the increase.

So how was America able to do that? The answer is that they they adopted zero-emission technologies, specifically fracking and nuclear power:

[…][C]heap, natural gas, made available by fracking, has already made the U.S. the world leader in carbon emissions reduction. By allowing gas to displace coal as the leading fuel for domestic power generation, fracking has already done more to reduce emissions than the combined activity of all the environmental activists in human history. Renewables such as wind and solar, which still play only a minor role in generation, cannot operate without the flexible backup that gas provides for those times when the wind stops and the sun sets or goes behind a cloud.

Natural gas will help reduce carbon emissions in the short run. But nuclear is the only long-term answer if you’re worried about climate change.

It should be noted that the secular left opposes both fracking and nuclear power, and that’s because they’re either lying about their concern for the environment (possible) or they think that renewable energies like wind and solar can do the job. But can they?

Environmentalists burning helicopter fuel to de-ice wind turbines one at a time
Environmentalists burning helicopter fuel to de-ice wind turbines one at a time

Far-left NPR explains:

While most of a turbine can be recycled or find a second life on another wind farm, researchers estimate the U.S. will have more than 720,000 tons of blade material to dispose of over the next 20 years, a figure that doesn’t include newer, taller higher-capacity versions.

There aren’t many options to recycle or trash turbine blades, and what options do exist are expensive, partly because the U.S. wind industry is so young. It’s a waste problem that runs counter to what the industry is held up to be: a perfect solution for environmentalists looking to combat climate change.

It’s difficult to transport the blades. There are few landfills big enough to accommodate them. And no one has the expensive equipment to cut them down to smaller sizes. But wait! There are more problems.

My problems with wind and solar power are simple. They are extremely expensive, which raises the cost of electricity to consumers and businesses. They are extremely unreliable, and require constant maintenance and backup-support from traditional high-pollution sources. And most importantly, they mass murder birds, including protected birds, by the millions. That last reason along is enough to make me oppose them. I love birds!

Forbes magazine points out problems with the wind and solar power favored by the secular left:

In reality, solar farms require hundreds of times more land, an order of magnitude more mining for materials, and create hundreds of times more waste, than do nuclear plants.

And wind farms kill hundreds of thousands of threatened and endangered birds, may make the hoary bat go extinct, and kill more people than nuclear plants.

We can find out what happens when the secular-leftists get their way on energy policy by looking at France and Germany, where it’s already been tried:

Just contrast Germany and France. Germany has done much of what the Green New Deal calls for. By 2025 it will have spent $580 billion on renewables and related accoutrement, while shutting down its nuclear plants.

All that Germany will have gotten for its “energy transition” is a 50% increase in electricity prices, flat emissions, and an electricity supply that is 10 times more carbon-intensive than France’s.

[…]France spent $30 billion on renewables and saw the carbon intensity of its electricity supply, and electricity prices, rise.

France and Germany and every other real world situation prove that nuclear power is the only way to significantly, deeply, and cheaply decarbonize energy supplies, and thus address climate change.

The problem with nuclear is that it doesn’t demand the radical re-making of society, like renewables do, and it doesn’t require grand fantasies of humankind harmonizing with nature.

Nor does nuclear provide cover for funnelling billions to progressive interest groups in the name of “community-controlled renewable energy, local organic agriculture, or transit systems.”

The secular left opposes zero-emission technologies like fracking and nuclear, and there’s a reason for that. Those technologies reduce the cost of electricity. Which means that people can use as much electricity as they like. But the secular left doesn’t want people to have low-cost electricity. They can only NATIONALIZE the energy industry (i.e. – COMMUNISM) because people complain about the high costs of electricity. The secular left has already been pursuing this policy of raising the cost of education and healthcare with government subsidies and regulations, in order to convince voters that the only solution to (artificially) inflated costs is for government to step in and take control. In countries like Canada, this is the exact model they adopted, (e.g. Ontario Hydro under Kathleen Wynne), in order to raise the prices of electricity. That is their real goal.

We do not want this, because the seizing of private property, redistribution of wealth, and nationalization of industry are precisely the policies that lead countries like Venezuela and Cuba into long-term poverty. The secular leftists don’t care if the quality of your utilities, education and health care drop precipitously because it is run by the government. Their goal is for the elites to fly around in private jets with armed security, while the little people wait in bread lines for food, wait for health care for months, and are indoctrinated to love communism in college.

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.

Introduction:

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?”

Excerpt:

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?

Nope:

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.

Look:

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?

Wisconsin Health Board declares that wind power is a public health risk

From the Green Bay Gazette.

Excerpt:

Brown County health officials have declared wind turbines a public health risk, but they haven’t determined how to put their declaration into action.

The county’s Health Board this month declared the Shirley Wind Farm operated by Duke Energy Renewables poses a health risk to its neighbors in the town of Glenmore. Three families have moved out of their homes rather than endure physical illness they blame on the low-frequency noise the wind turbines generate, according to Audrey Murphy, president of the board that oversees the Brown County Health Department.

[…]Whatever happens, residents “are grateful to the Board of Health for reviewing the research and listening to the people of Brown County,” said Susan Ashley, who also lives in the Shirley area and who has helped rally opposition to the wind farm through the years.

Twenty families in the town have documented health issues since the wind farm started operated in 2010, Ashley said.

Duke Energy Renewables was not invited to the health board’s discussion and would have cited tests that determined sound levels from the wind generators were low and could not be linked to adverse health impacts, company spokeswoman Tammie McGee said. The company has not received any formal word about the board’s declaration, McGee said.

Dr. Jay Tibbetts, vice president of the Brown County health board and its medical adviser, said he knows of no science that proves there isn’t a link between health problems and the low-frequency noise the giant fans produce.

“There’s been nothing that’s debunked anything,” he said. “As far as what’s happening to these people, it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re in Shirley or Denmark, or Ontario, Canada. Forty people have moved out of their homes, and it’s not just for jollies. In Shirley, three people have moved out of their homes. I know all three. They’re not nuts. They’re severely suffering.”

People might not be able to hear the sounds the Shirley turbines produce, but Tibbetts said he knows of a teenager living in the area who can tell when the turbines are off or on without being able to see them. Area residents or former residents report headaches, nausea and other symptoms they say are brought on by the turbines, and those symptoms clear up when the residents move elsewhere for a time, Tibbetts said.

Previously, I blogged about how wind power is a threat to birds – even rare, protected birds.

Excerpt:

Wind energy facilities have killed at least 67 golden and bald eagles in the last five years, but the figure could be much higher, according to a new scientific study by government biologists.

The research represents one of the first tallies of eagle deaths attributed to the nation’s growing wind energy industry, which has been a pillar of President Obama’s plans to reduce the pollution blamed for global warming. Wind power releases no air pollution.

But at a minimum, the scientists wrote, wind farms in 10 states have killed at least 85 eagles since 1997, with most deaths occurring between 2008 and 2012, as the industry was greatly expanding. Most deaths — 79 — were golden eagles that struck wind turbines. One of the eagles counted in the study was electrocuted by a power line.

The vice president of the American Bird Conservancy, Mike Parr, said the tally was “an alarming and concerning finding.”

And this is not only something that Democrats know about – they are actually protecting these bird killers.

Look at this article from ultra-liberal PBS:

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.

In other areas, too, such as the government’s support for corn-based ethanol to reduce U.S. dependence on gasoline, the White House has allowed the green industry to do not-so-green things. Another AP investigation recently showed that ethanol has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

Under the change announced Friday, companies would have to commit to take additional measures if they kill or injure more eagles than they have estimated they would, or if new information suggests that eagle populations are being affected. The permits would be reviewed every five years, and companies would have to submit reports of how many eagles they kill. Now such reporting is voluntarily, and the Interior Department refuses to release the information.

Just because something is called green, it doesn’t make it good for nature.