|The Week That Was
January 10, 2004
1. New on the Web: PROF
RICHARD MULLER REVIEWS THE HOCKEYSTICK CONTROVERSY: Was the 20th century
really the warmest in the past 1000 years (and what's so special about
1000 years anyway?)
2. OIL CONSPIRACY THEORY TO EXPLAIN THE IRAQ OPERATION MAKES NO SENSE
3. KYOTO: CERTAIN COSTS, DOUBTFUL BENEFITS: Alessandro De Nicola sums
up the SEPP Briefing in Milan
4. THE COOLING WORLD: A FEARFUL LOOK INTO THE FUTURE FROM THE RECENT
PAST. With comments by Fred Decker
5. LOMBORG REDUX: Eco-warriors of the science labs can't see the truth.
With comments by Alister McFarquhar
6. CHICKEN LITTLE DISEASE IN CANADA: Worse than "Mad Cow"
7. GLOBAL WARMING 'BIGGEST THREAT': "MAD SCIENTIST" DISEASE
8. Meanwhile, BRITAIN SUFFERS FROM WIND PROBLEMS
9. IS WIND VIABLE? REFLECTIONS BY HOWARD HAYDEN
2. Oil Conspiracy Theory is Phony
Letter to Financial Times 1/4/2004
From Prof S. Fred Singer
Sir, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (FT Dec 22) regurgitates a discredited, politically
motivated conspiracy theory that is entirely phony. He attempts to link
the invasion of Iraq (and Vice President Dick Cheney) to America's need
for secure oil supplies. He argues that "with oil supplies and production
increasingly concentrated in the Middle East, and with growing competition
from other oil importers, Mr Cheney and associates believe the US has
a long-term strategic need to secure military pre-eminence in the region."
To avoid a "future struggle over scarce and vital petroleum resources,"
Mr Sachs, ignoring the existence of a well-functioning market for world
oil, would have us return to the Jimmy Carter era of synfuels, based on
oil shale and coal -- naturally, with politically correct schemes of carbon
sequestration (Dec 31). And he proposes all this with a straight face.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to show that his arguments are false;
a little economic reasoning will do just fine. The key fact, of course,
is that oil is a fungible commodity. Middle East oil producers cannot
embargo the US --- even if they decide to stop selling directly to US
companies. As long as they put their oil on the world market, US refiners
can purchase what they need at the same world price they pay now. Even
if an unfriendly regime takes over, the economics remains unchanged. So
there is no need to invest in a military presence in the Middle East to
In the worst case, the radicals might decide not to sell oil at all,
or even to destroy oil facilities. In that event, the world price would
rise - to every oil consumer, even in exporting countries. For example,
with Saudi exports stopped, the world price might jump to $70 a barrel
- at least until demand and supply readjust to the higher price. In the
US, gasoline would cost an extra dollar a gallon - not exactly a calamity.
Electricity prices would hardly rise. The price jump would ruin the economies
of developing nations and cause severe problems for China. Russia would
gain a windfall.
There is, of course, the separate issue of how the oil revenues are spent.
Will radical regimes that take over the oil resource spend more on armaments
and terrorism than is being spent now by "friendly" regimes?
Not if they follow a pan-Arab philosophy: With the resource as an Arab
patrimony; they would distribute the oil revenues fairly among the Arab
populations of the Middle East, including Egyptians, Jordanians, and Palestinians.
Such a scheme would also make the supply of world oil more secure.
S. Fred Singer
Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences (University of Virginia)
From a reader:
"With respect to Jeffrey Sachs (director of the 'Earth Institute`
at Columbia U), I know him personally. He has become a Paul Krugman wannabe.
My son concluded that Sachs was really off-base when he recommended that
Japan reduce its interest rates (they were already zero). On the other
hand, he might be brighter than I give him credit for: Columbia has given
him an 8-million dollar house in Manhattan to live in. As I have pointed
out, environmentalist control of the reward structure is a very powerful
From another reader:
"And another thing.
Freshman year at Harvard, Mr. Jeffrey Sachs stole my girlfriend.
He's a bum."
3. Kyoto: certain costs, doubtful benefits
By Alessandro De Nicola
Director of Adam Smith Institute, Milano, Italy
Article in Il Sole 24 Ore 12/13/2003
Presented at SEPP Briefing in Milan on Dec 9, 2003
The Kyoto Protocol was obviously the main issue debated at COP-9. The
Protocol provides for policies to lessen future CO2 emissions that are
said to lead to a warming of the Earth. It's widely known that there is
a large debate within the scientific community about causes, significance
and consequences of global warming. The US doubts the effectiveness of
the Kyoto Protocol's remedies and, on the contrary, fears negative outcomes
for economic growth if implemented. If that's how things are, decision-makers
and most public opinion are puzzled -- considering all models and theories
about climate change and the consequent draconian policies suggested.
Dubious of both skeptics and scaremongers, we have to appeal to some
prudent judgmental criteria that at least avoid logical pollution:
1) Property rights. If we could assign air, water and atmosphere
property rights to each person, the problem would be solved. Prices would
emerge and everybody would be able to negotiate his quota of clean air
with polluters (with financial derivatives used to cover risks). Unfortunately,
it would be too complex. Costs of transaction (information, assignation
and negotiation) would be enormous. So we have to resign ourselves to
some public regulation.
2) Markets. Anyway, sometimes markets work better than regulation.
For example, markets make polluting and expensive energies disappear.
Without public subsidies carbon use would not have endured so long in
North European countries (Mrs. Thatcher, challenging Cambridge's conformists,
was the first ecologist when in the 80's she withdrew subsides from the
coal industry). Moreover, market forces are spectacularly successful in
increasing efficiency and lessening energy per unit of output -- as shown
by the dramatic decrease of energy intensity during the last 20 years
in the free-market economies.
3) Time and technology. Regulation should be flexible and incremental
for efficient but highly polluting energy sources. First of all, because
of what economists define as "time preference". Five Euros today
have a higher value than the same amount in the next century. In fact,
not using money now implies an opportunity cost (we could have invested
it). And present remedies could become obsolete tomorrow because of technological
improvement. Today we would consider our ancestors mad if they had stopped
building railways because sparks caused fires.
4) The precautionary principle. Often people appeal to this principle
in order to assert that maybe climate is not changing but it's better
to be prudent (hence the Kyoto protocol). This statement is not logical:
By itself the principle has no meaning. Otherwise, in order to have no
accidents on motorways, we should fix the speed limit at 30 km/h. And
hairdryers shouldn't be sold: this way nobody would be struck by electricity
in the bath. The real question is: how much precaution?
5) Costs and benefits. The ecologist position is too uncertain and
should not be used to justify policies that lead to an excessive waste
of wealth. Is the climate really changing? Measurements tell us that this
statement is false -- or only partially true with reference to the last
20 years. Models used to forecast future climate are not considered reliable
by a large part of the scientific community. If the climate is changing,
is it due to anthropogenic emissions? No, the change seems mainly due
to natural causes. Is climate change on the whole bad? No, a warmer and
moister earth may have, particularly in some areas, positive net effects.
Can we do something and at which price? As the same supporters of the
Kyoto Protocol recognize the marginal costs of any policies are enormous
And so on.
6) Special interests. We should keep in mind that interests against
Kyoto are strong but dispersed while there's an influential bureaucracy
(from Nairobi to Geneva), thousands of paid diplomats and scientists,
countries which could get subsidies, and NGOs that form a (half)Invincible
Armada that has a vested interest in the fulfilling of its own prophecies.
In the US alone, financing for climate research runs up to two billions
7) Last golden rule. Before issuing a new regulation keep in
mind that it will lead to new problems and to yet another regulation to
solve these problems -- and so on indefinitely. Markets do not need to
be perfect to work better than governmental regulation.
4. The Cooling World
There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to
change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline
in food production -- with serious political implications for just about
every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon,
perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact
are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the
North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas
- parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia - where
the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate
so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.
In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two
weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated
at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature
around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree - a fraction that
in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most
devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more
than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in
13 U.S. states.
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance
signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather. Meteorologists disagree
about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific
impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the
view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest
of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists
fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic. "A major climatic
change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,"
warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, "because
the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved
are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century."
A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average
ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968.
According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated
a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter
of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes
that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S.
diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine
can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points
out that the Earth's average temperature during the great Ice Ages was
only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras - and that
the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward
the Ice Age average. Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the "little
ice age" conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe
and northern America between 1600 and 1900 - years when the Thames used
to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats
sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery.
"Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as
fragmentary as our data," concedes the National Academy of Sciences
report. "Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered,
but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions."
Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of
the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight
drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers
in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds
over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an
increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended
dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature
increases - all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
"The world's food-producing system," warns Dr. James D. McQuigg
of NOAA's Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, "is much
more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago."
Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national
boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their
devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive
action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.
They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such
as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting
arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve.
But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are
even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing
the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future
food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will
they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim
Reprinted from p. 64, Newsweek, April 28, 1975
Letter to the Editor, The Oregonian
From Fred W. Decker, Ph.D., Oregon State U , Corvallis
Why don't those alarmed by climate change attributed to greenhouse gas
effects point out how well scientists foresaw this January's cold weather
almost 30 years ago? An article "The Cooling World" (p. 64,
Newsweek, April 28, 1975) noted "ominous signs" that climate
had started "to change dramatically."
England's growing season had shortened by two weeks since 1950, reducing
grain crops. Equatorial temperatures had risen a fraction of a degree
"that in some areas can mean drought and desolation." The previous
April "the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded"
killed over 300 and destroyed property in 13 U.S. states. A U.S. National
Academy of Sciences (NAS) report warned of "economic and social adjustments
on a worldwide scale." Pessimists feared "famines could be catastrophic."
Read full details of those dire predictions of a return to the "Little
Ice Age", and compare them with alarmist predictions of climate change
in the media today. Whether warming or cooling, climate change predictions
always seem to prompt alarmists to advocate and even to litigate to take
extreme measures at once.
5. Eco-warriors of the science labs can't see the truth
By Barbara Amiel
(Daily Telegraph: 05/01/2004)
Last December 17, the Guardian published its Eco-gongs. The author of
The Sceptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, won an award that
cited his "scientific dishonesty" and described his book as
"not comprehending science". That citation came from a report
on Lomborg's book by the Danish Committee on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD).
Their condemnation followed an 11-page trashing of Lomborg's book in the
influential Scientific American.
In one of those coincidences that all journalists dread, the Guardian
published its put-down of Lomborg on the very day that the Danish Ministry
of Science, Technology and Innovation heavily criticised the DCSD's negative
verdict as "completely void of argumentation". Unsurprisingly,
the Guardian did not publish the news of Lomborg's reprieve.
Some topics leave readers somnambulant. Environmentalism is one such topic
for me although nature is not. The disappearance of hedgerows has left
a permanent sense of loss, a chronic pain as acute as an old bereavement.
A field of wild flowers with crimson poppies, or a solitary walk in winter
woods, are oxygen for the soul. Without some perfect peace, the best part
of oneself dies. But environmentalism, by and large, has nothing to do
with the science or aesthetics of nature any more. It has been elevated
to a faith. You either recite the creed or are excommunicated.
Lomborg's book analysed the science on which such articles of faith as
the dangers of global warming are based. He questioned the value of the
Kyoto treaty. He had come to these issues originally not as a critic but
as a believer. His motive was to understand environmental issues all the
better to see off their critics. But, he had found the critics more often
right than wrong. In writing his book, Lomborg, a paid-up Left-winger
and member of Greenpeace, committed a heresy and was duly apostatised
by the environmentalist movement.
There is little doubt that factors such as human population growth and
industrialisation harm the natural environment in which all living beings
have to exist. Concern about this is totally legitimate, but by the time
this concern became a "movement", its issues had already been
hijacked by socio-political ideologies. These ideologies ranged from Leftist
and anti-capitalist to the anti-humanist (people in the extremes of the
animal rights movement for whom making our own species the measure and
pinnacle of creation is seen as a fundamental error). It is no coincidence
that when one collides with committed environmentalists, they very often
wear anti-war buttons, for saving Saddam's regime has featured as prominently
in their agendas, if not more so, than the saving of rainforests.
From the beginning, the environmentalist movement attracted the sort of
people who preferred a Marxist or in any event a dirigiste system. They
are instinctive commissars, which made the UN their natural ally. They
want to tell you how to organise your rubbish, what to consume, and which
aesthetic responses are correct. They see nothing wrong in the belief
that your lifestyle choices should correspond with theirs. Many of the
American Sierra Club's various campaigns to stop snowmobiles or cross-country
motor bikes from having trails in the huge American wilderness, even when
all precautions are taken, seem based only on the notion that another
person's concept of outdoor enjoyment would interfere with the Sierra
member's idea of the correct outdoor experience.
In order to legitimise far-reaching socio-political agendas (including
transfer of financial resources to the Third World and the weakening of
capitalism) the Environmental Movement needed to be based on an apocalyptic
vision. Doomsday scenarios were the natural route. In a classic of its
sort, Leonardo DiCaprio's interview with President Clinton, just after
Earth Day 2000, summed up the environmental movement's line on what would
occur if we did not all change our ways according to their vision. Said
The polar ice caps will melt more rapidly; sea levels
will rise; you will have the danger of flooding in places like
sugar cane fields of Louisiana; island nations could literally be buried
there will be a lot of very bad, more dramatic weather events
will be more public health crisis
Doubtless, President Clinton believed what he was saying. He must have
heard it from scientists with very genuine qualifications. The scientists
that dismissed Lomborg's book had qualifications, too. The editor-in-chief
of Scientific American has a science degree, but he continues to give
speeches on "the
carefully packaged misrepresentations of real science (like global warming
This may make one wonder: how can the hard facts of science be distorted
to feed an ideology? And why? There is no Stalin to hand out an Order
of Lenin to today's Lysenko.
But if scientists are only human, so is science. In his book The Act of
Creation, Arthur Koestler argues that our belief that scientists proceed
from hard figures and measurements and are therefore free from prejudice
and emotion is a "blatant, popular fallacy
No discovery has
ever been made by logical deduction
the emotive game of the unconscious"
plays its role. The scientific mind, he contends, has "the unavoidable
component of competitiveness, jealousy, and self-righteousness in its
complex motivational drive."
Science and its practitioners can be as selective as history and historians.
This applies not only to the environmental scientists, of course, but
to their scientific critics as well. Each may try to support their positions
with bits of scientific scaffolding. But once you realise the need to
bring the same scepticism to science as to a political or theological
argument, you are halfway to a more informed decision.
Koestler raises another problem: the impenetrability of today's scientific
papers and reasoning. Who can actually read the evidence about global
warming and make an informed judgment? We live in a world of "two
cultures". The ordinary man is reluctant to admit that a work of
art is beyond his comprehension but proud to assert his complete inability
to understand the forces that make the stars go around or the principles
behind the turning on of a light switch. "By being entirely dependent
on science, yet closing his mind to it," Koestler writes, man "leads
the life of an urban barbarian."
In part this is because the current fashion is deliberately to make science
as dry, difficult and in-grown as possible. Galileo, Kepler, Pasteur and
Darwin were accomplished stylists who wanted the world to read their treatises.
Today's scientists have no such ambitions. The more technical the jargon,
the more accomplished they appear. Add the insanely torturous language
of the bureaucrat and schemes such as the Kyoto Protocol are unreadable.
It is no wonder that most people judge the value of Kyoto not on its merits
but according to their feelings about George Bush.
"I wandered lonely as a cloud," wrote Wordsworth. Not if he
were a modern environmentalist. He'd wander through his modalities and
processes pertinent, to find his daffodils figuring out their systematic
response strategies in Annexe Five. And then he'd get a rotten review
in Scientific American.
To: Letters Editor
Who can read the evidence about global warming and make an informed
judgment? asks Barbara Amiel (5 Jan 2004)
Doubts about global warming and any climate change due to human
activity have been published in scientific papers for several years. They
are in the public domain and quite comprehensible. The stance of the eco-warriors
is not due to ignorance of science as she says, but to their determination
to ignore it.
Their views express a political agenda of anti-capitalism and
anti-Americanism, as she implies. Their agenda is to slow growth and
development, to redistribute wealth, and to allow other cultures to
continue in traditional ways, complete with traditional diseases and poverty.
6. Chicken Little disease in Canada
Appeared in the Calgary Herald, Montreal Gazette, and the Peterborough
Dr. Kenneth Green, Chief Scientist and Director, Centre for Studies in
Risk, Regulation, and Environment, The Fraser Institute.
After being struck on the head by an acorn, Chicken Little ran to tell
the King that "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Thanks to
that charming fairy tale, Chicken Little has, ever since, been an icon
for foolish alarmism. Now, just in time for the New Year, (and with a
new Prime Minister to try to pressure), Canada's very own Chicken Little,
a "senior climatologist" with environment Canada has come out
with a laundry list of sky-is-falling hysteria. Environment Canada's David
Phillips says that nature is trying to give us a wake-up call, in the
form of unusually extreme weather events of "biblical" or "Hollywood
Discussing his list of Canada's worst weather events of 2003, Mr. Phillips
told CBC that "many scientists as well as average citizens"
are linking the recently "weird, wild, and wooly" weather to
climate change. "Even the weather astute Canadians will be no match
for what nature will throw at us," he opines. In other words
sky is falling! The sky is falling! Or is it?
There are two reasons why Canadians should ignore Mr. Phillips's doom
saying. First, no single weather event, or series of weather events, can
be linked to climate change, manmade or natural (though politicians just
love to stand in front of a weather disaster and posture about it). Consider
this quote from the website of the Pembina Institute: "Scientifically,
however, it is not possible to link one, two or three individual weather
events to climate change, since there's always a chance that the events
could simply have been natural coincidences. Climate is an average usually
taken over a period of 30 years. Events occurring over three or even 10
years are not spread over a period that's long enough to establish a reliable
trend." That's pretty straightforward and should certainly be known
to Canada's senior climatologist. Other climatologists clearly understand
this. As John Christy, a meteorologist with the University of Alabama
put it in testimony to the US Congress, "I want to encourage the
committee to be skeptical of media reports in which weather extremes are
given as proof of human-induced climate change. Weather extremes occur
somewhere all the time. For example, the U.S. temperature for last November
and December combined was estimated to be the coldest since records began
in 1895. That does not prove the U.S. or the globe is cooling or that
climate is changing unnaturally. What it demonstrates is that extremes
occur all the time." Second, abnormal changes in extreme weather
patterns are just not happening! Studies of recent weather patterns fail
to show a meaningful trend in extreme events. The "bible" of
climate change, the 2001 report of the United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change found no systematic changes in the frequency of
tornadoes, thunder days, or hail events in the areas where there's enough
data available for analysis.
Most recently, and more locally, Madhav Khandekar, a climatologist who
studied weather patterns in Canada's prairie provinces for Alberta Environment,
found that the evidence just doesn't back up the panic-mongering. Whether
it's rain, snow, drought, flood, extreme heat, or extreme cold, thunderstorms,
tornadoes, hailstorms, high winds, blizzards, or ice storms, Khandekar
shows that there is little or no evidence of either increasing frequency,
or increasing severity. In fact, Khandekar shows that many of these damaging
weather events are decreasing over time.
Other researchers, including Christy, have shown that the same is true
for the United States. Now, Canada's Chicken Little already has his own
Henny Penny in the person of Environment Minister David Anderson, and
I'm sure they're on the way to Paul Martin to shout out their dire warnings.
But the Prime Minister should understand two things: Anyone who claims
that extreme weather events are being caused by manmade global warming
is full of hooey in two dimensions. First, the evidence just doesn't reveal
any significant trends in extreme weather events. Second, nothing in the
theory of climate change links individual weather events -- even 10 years
of abnormal weather -- to manmade global warming. Let's hope the Prime
Minister has better sense than to fall for still another strident burst
of unsupportable climate alarmism.
7. Global warming 'biggest threat': Climate change is a far greater
threat to the world than international terrorism, the government's chief
scientific adviser has said.
Sir David King said the US had failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
And without immediate action, flooding, drought, hunger and debilitating
diseases such as malaria would hit millions of people around the world.
US President George Bush says more research is needed before he introduces
punitive carbon taxes on industry. But Sir David criticised the Bush administration
for relying too exclusively on market-based incentives and voluntary actions.
He told Science, the house magazine of the US scientific establishment:
"As the world's only remaining superpower, the United States is accustomed
to leading internationally co-coordinated action. But at present the US
Government is failing to take up the challenge of global warming."
In Britain, the number of people at high risk of flooding was expected
to more than double to nearly 3.5 million by 2080, Sir David said. And
damage to properties could run to tens of billions of pounds every year.
Britain was trying to show leadership by cutting energy consumption and
increasing the use of renewable sources, Sir David added. But the UK was
responsible for only about 2% of the world's emissions while the US, with
just 4% of the world's population, produced more than 20%.
The UK was asking the world's developed economies to cut greenhouse gas
emissions by 60% of 1990 levels by about 2050, under the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), Sir David said. But despite
declaring support for the Neck's objectives, the US had failed to ratify
the Kyoto accord for emission reductions and "refused to countenance
any remedial action now or in the future".
Sir David said climate change was the most severe problem faced by the
SEPP Comment: Wow! With advice like this, how can you blame the British
government for its insane energy policies.
8A. Windfarm blows house value away
Westmorland Gazette 09/01/04
A FURNESS couple have won a legal ruling proving that the value of their
home has been "significantly diminished" by the construction
of a windfarm nearby. Barry Moon and his partner Gill Haythornthwaite
live in the shadow of the wind turbines at the controversial Ireleth windfarm
near Askam. When they bought Poaka Beck House in 1997, the couple were
unaware the arrival of the windfarm was imminent. Previous owners David
and Diane Holding failed to tell the prospective buyers in spite of the
fact they had vigorously opposed the initial application for the windfarm
in 1995 and objected at the subsequent public inquiry in March 1997.
District Judge Buckley decided that this amounted to "material misrepresentation"
and ordered the Holdings to pay compensation of 20 per cent of the market
value of the house in 1997, £12,500, plus interest, because of damage
to visual amenity, noise pollution and the "irritating flickering"
caused by the sun going down behind the moving blades of the turbines
550 metres from the house. In so doing, he made what is believed to be
the first ruling of its kind relating to windfarms. He also made the Holdings
pay legal costs and a further £2,500 as compensation for "nuisance
News of the ruling comes as debate rages about West Coast Energy Ltd's
application to build Whinash windfarm on fells between the A6 at Shap
summit and Tebay. If it goes ahead, Whinash will be England's biggest
windfarm with 27 turbines, each 115 metres tall.
Miss Haythornthwaite said: "If this can prevent one windfarm being
built in an inappropriate place it will be worth it." Mr Moon said:
"The windfarm industry is about one thing only and that is profit.
People should know the facts for themselves rather than listen to the
industry's claims that there is no impact on property values."
8B. And from the Sunday Times -Scotland, Jan 4, 2004
The British Wind Energy Association admitted there was a potential problem
similar to those experienced in Spain and California: "Insects do
decrease the performance of the blades by committing hara-kiri on turbine
blades that can lead to a reduction of 20%-30% in output."
But A2SEA, a Danish company, has developed the first automatic wind-turbine
cleaner, which washes and waxes the blades. It was unveiled in Germany
in September and will be available for hire to the proposed Scottish schemes.
9. Is wind viable?
Howard Hayden, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut:-
"With the right subsidies, wind could become a viable energy source.
And, with the right subsidies, gasoline could be made free, and 2-carat
diamonds could be given away in cereal boxes.
How is it that wind, with a 4000-year head start, is such a small player
in the energy scene? Could it be - just possibly - that the answer has
something to do with physics instead of economics and politics? "
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