The Week That Was (July 26, 2008) brought to you by SEPP


Quote of the Week:

“As we speak, cars in Boston and factories in Beijing are melting the ice caps in the Arctic, shrinking the coastlines in the Atlantic, and bringing drought to farms from Kansas to Kenya.”  Barack Obama from his Berlin speech, July 24, 2008.    [See also satire ITEM #8 below]


Climatology vs Climatism: Climatology is a science. Climatism is an ideology. Climatologists are scientists. Climatists are social or political organizers who abuse climatology in the service of ideologues. Climatology was and still is an investigation of nature. Climatism is the exploitation of the fear of nature to gain power, wealth and social esteem. ..--- Anon


1.  UK’s Labour Party commits suicide because of GW ideology – and costs

2.  The APS Flap over its “official” Climate Statement

3.  The flap over The Great Global Warming Swindle

4.  Can Wind Power survive without subsidies?

5.  Al Gore's Doomsday Clock

6.  Fuel Costs will rise under any future President

7.  The demise of refereeing and peer-review in scientific journals

8.  The Coming of The Child: A satire



On Consensus: One climate consensus appears to be uncontested: There has been no warming since 1998,features,whatever-happened-to-the-climate-change-consensus

"Consensus, What Consensus?" <> [See also ITEM #7]


The alleged scientific consensus has never been in more disarray. [...] As the trickle of 'dissident' scientists becomes a stream, however, leading anti-alarmists, like S. Fred Singer, author of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, are describing 2008 as the 'tipping point', the year when the real science argument swings their way. If they are right, the UN and much of the Western news media will, alarmingly, be shown to have colluded in closing down an important debate, often by marginalising world-renowned scientists as 'cranks' and 'mavericks'. Both the UN and the media may soon be forced to jettison entirely the myth of a climate science 'consensus'. If nothing else, the fast-rising number of 'mavericks' demands it.,features,whatever-happened-to-the-climate-change-consensus


Climate Swindle film bruised egos, but no offence: So says Ofcom  British regulator Ofcom has rejected complaints that the popular polemical film, The Great Global Warming Swindle, misled viewers. The regulator said it was paramount that the public received alternative points of view - even if these were not endorsed by institutions or the major political parties. [See also ITEM #3]


MIT Prof Carl Wunsch, FRS, did complain -- but without cause: What he said on the program was scientifically correct.  His statements were not altered or edited in any way.  And they agreed with the skeptical views he has always expressed.  So what was his complaint about? He didn't like the general tenor of the program -- which was politically incorrect -- certainly in Cambridge, Mass.  I am disappointed in Carl.  He is much too good a scientist to be concerned about public opinion at MIT.

Sir David King complains   

See comment #19: [Former UK science adviser] King … doesn’t mind being misquoted by The Independent and the New Statesman when this exaggerates the dangers of anthropogenic GW, but when Fred Singer does it, he squeals like a stuck pig.


Uprising Against the Ethanol Mandate   [See also ITEMs # 5 and 6]

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to temporarily waive regulations requiring the oil industry to blend ever-increasing amounts of ethanol into gasoline. A decision is expected in the next few weeks.  Mr. Perry says the billions of bushels of corn being used to produce all that mandated ethanol would be better suited as livestock feed than as fuel.  Feed prices have soared in the last two years as fuel has begun competing with food for cropland.

His request … is backed by a coalition of food, livestock and environmental groups.  Farmers and ethanol and other biofuel producers are lobbying to keep the existing mandates.  Ethanol is under siege from other quarters. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, has introduced legislation calling for a freeze of the mandate at the current level, saying it “is clearly causing unintended consequences on food prices.” The measure is co-sponsored by 11 other Republican senators, including John McCain, the presumptive presidential nominee.

The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, testified last week that “it would be helpful” to remove a 51-cent-a-gallon tariff on imported Brazilian ethanol. If Brazilian ethanol enters the United States market, domestic producers argue, the industry will suffer.


In a new report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is critical of biofuels, saying further development will raise food prices while doing little for energy security. In "Wishful Thinking Is No Magical Energy Elixir" Cato Senior Fellow Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren, Cato senior fellow and editor of Cato's Regulation magazine, write: "Ethanol will not lead to energy independence. If all the corn produced in America in 2005 were dedicated to ethanol production (and only 14.3 percent of it was), U.S. gasoline consumption would have dropped by only 12 percent. ... Betting the farm on an industry that doesn't yet exist to produce a product that is known to be staggeringly expensive isn't the best use of tax dollars. The truth is that if ethanol has commercial merit, it doesn't need the subsidy. And if it doesn't, no amount of subsidy will bestow it."


The New York Power Authority stopped a 680 MW “clean” coal (CO2 capture) plant costing $1.6 Billion that would replace existing plants.  The Authority calculated electricity would be too costly to sell even with subsidies.  Apparently an additional of $175 to $200 million per year in subsidies would be needed.


EPA’s ANPR:  The carbon police lay out their plans for your future.


Angela Merkel calls her coalition partners 'unreliable'.  Criticising her Social Democratic predecessor's decision to phase out nuclear energy, which her government has stuck to, she said,

"We need to increase the lives of our nuclear power plants because they are safe and because we need them"  FINANCIAL TIMES 19/20 July 2008, World News


Nuclear is the answer: It’s Terrestrial energy  Why depend on the Sun?



A green miscalculation: The centre-left's influence is falling as it abandons progressive optimism for environmental zealousness.  By Benny Peiser, Financial Post, 27 May 2008


A series of disastrous election defeats have plunged Britain's Labour government into disarray. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown fights for survival, a political drama with momentous consequences is unfolding before our eyes. One of the last centre-left governments in Europe looks set to fall.

Many analysts of Labour's disintegration attribute the collapse of support to the current economic downturn, a perfect storm of global credit crunch combined with falling house and rising oil prices. In reality, the defeats Labour has suffered in recent elections mirror the deepening crisis now affecting almost every social democratic party in Europe. New Labour's pledge to evade the burden of high taxation has been broken.

In recent years, almost all of Europe's social democratic parties have lost in national elections. The collapse of support for Brown and his policies reveals a general decline of Europe's social democracy as a whole.

There are many good reasons for the deterioration of the centre-left's political influence and power. But perhaps one of the most crucial is the abandonment of their traditional core value of progressive optimism. After all, the left used to derive large amounts of its popular appeal from a firm belief in social and technological advancement, a political philosophy of societal optimism and hope. During the last couple of decades, however, it has eagerly adopted a green ideology that has replaced its confidence in future progress with the ever more intimidating prediction of climate catastrophe and environmental disaster, culminating in calls for economic sacrifices and collective belt-tightening.

In short, Britain's Labour Party has discarded its "progressive" principles for environmental fear-mongering and salvationist rhetoric in the expectation that voters would accept that only government control, central planning and higher taxes could prevent global disaster.

At the core of Labour's environmental philosophy and polity-making stands the notion that people in Britain and other industrialized countries consume too much energy derived from the burning of fossil fuels. For many years, Labour has chanted the green mantra that in order to prevent disastrous climate change caused by excessive energy consumption, Britons must make personal sacrifices in their lifestyle and behaviour. No other government in the world has employed the spectre of climate catastrophe as forcefully as Britain; no other administration has saddled taxpayers with a heavier burden of green taxation.

Eighteen months ago, Labour's David Miliband proposed the introduction of carbon "credit cards" that would be issued as part of a nationwide carbon-rationing scheme. He suggested the allocation of an annual allowance for basic needs such as travel, energy or food. Two days after Labour's disastrous defeat in the local elections, the whole scheme was hastily abandoned.

Motorists in the UK are paying the highest fuel taxes in Europe, an average of almost £900 [$1800] annually. In the name of climate change mitigation, the government has progressively increased fuel, road and car taxes. It has burdened companies with a so-called Climate Change Levy and introduced an emissions trading scheme -- costly policies that have had damaging effects on British competitiveness, energy prices and living standards. As a direct result, a record number of people, particularly Britain's poorest, oldest and most vulnerable, are increasingly falling on hard times. As many as five million households, more than 20% of the UK's population, are today living in "fuel poverty."

It is estimated that the economic burden of green taxes in Britain accounts for more than £20-billion annually. British companies have lost one million manufacturing jobs since the levy was introduced in 2001. And a recent government report has warned that any attempt to meet Britain's renewable energy targets would cost taxpayers some £75-billion, a price tag that would mean extra costs of more than £3,000 for every family in the UK.

Fundamental to the multi-billion government subsidies for solar and wind energy companies is a direct transfer of wealth and money from the poor to the well-off. By subsidizing green companies and their uncompetitive products, ordinary taxpayers are forced to foot the bill for green gadgets that have little if any effect on the climate but are making green businessmen richer at the expense of ordinary families.

Labour's foolhardy policies are shaped by the conviction that, in the words of Miliband, tackling climate change is "the mass mobilizing movement of our age." The principles of fairness and equality used to stand at the heart of centre-left governments. Protecting the interests of poor and disadvantaged members of society was essential to the popular appeal of left and labour parties. Those parties have substituted these ideals with an environmental program in which saving the planet for the generations of the future has taken priority over the principle of liberating the underprivileged and disadvantaged from poverty and restitution today. In effect, the Labour Party is gradually pricing the working and lower-middle classes out of their comfort zone. With these core voters counting the rising cost of green taxes, tariffs and restrictions, the Labour Party's chances of re-election are dwindling.

Labour's fundamental miscalculation has been to bank on the strength of the environmental movement and climate change anxiety in an attempt to "modernize" its agenda. Labour's climate policy, however, is now backfiring, turning into one of its biggest political liabilities. A recent survey suggests that more than 70% of British voters are no longer willing to pay higher taxes to fund climate change initiatives. In fact, two-thirds of those surveyed believe that the green agenda has been exploited in order to increase taxes.

Britain's Labour government may believe that its climate policies are saving the planet. But in the process they are destroying the foundations of the party.




Bureaucrats at the American Physical Society (APS) have issued a curious warning to their members about an article in one of their own publications. Don't read this, they say - we don't agree with it. But what is it about the piece that is so terrible, that like Medusa, it could make men go blind?

It's an article that examines the calculation central to climate models. As the editor of the APS's newsletter Physics&Society Jeffrey Marque explains, the global warming debate must be re-opened.

"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution. Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion," he wrote.

P&S invited both believers and sceptics to submit articles, and has published a submission by Viscount Monckton questioning the core calculation of the greenhouse gas theory: climate sensitivity. The believers are represented by two physicists from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  But within a few days, Monckton's piece carried a health warning: in bright red ink.

“The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions.”

Not so much Medusa, then, as Nanny telling the children what not to think.


Letter To Editor, Physics and Society (APS)                                                                July 18, 2008


I am encouraged by your editorial , which clearly recognizes that there is an ongoing scientific debate about global warming.  Indeed, the fundamental question is its cause: Is it mainly natural or human-related?  If natural, then policies to control human-related emissions of greenhouse (GH) gases make little sense.


How should a physicist approach this question?  Clearly, one must test the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) by comparing calculations of GH models against actual observations.  In the spirit of such a debate, I wish to comment on the APS Statement on Climate Change (adopted on Nov. 18, 2007 and appended below).  The Statement is rather disappointing -- more polemical than scientific.  It consists of three short paragraphs -- without any references, although it seems to regurgitate the conclusions of the UN-IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). 


The first paragraph begins with “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the earth’s climate.”  This statement is not useful unless one specifies how large the effect is.  No one denies the fact that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas but the ‘Climate Sensitivity’ (change in temperature resulting from a doubling of CO2) is in dispute.  It depends on such factors as the physical properties of clouds and the distribution of water vapor in the atmosphere – quantities that are poorly handled by current climate models.  While the IPCC gives a climate sensitivity of between 1.5 and 4.5 degC, analyses of actual data indicate that it may be only 0.5 degC or even less  This means that the likely temperature increase by 2100 might only be of the order of 0.5 degC – generally considered to be trivial and non-threatening. 


The second paragraph starts with “The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.”  This statement is delivered ex cathedra and somehow conveys an impression of infallibility.  The “evidence” referred to is not shown and no references are given.  The statement also lacks logic: By juxtaposition it implies that the very occurrence of warming provides the necessary evidence.  But this denies the innumerable occurrences of warming during geologic times that could not possibly be related to any human cause.


Further, the claim that “global warming is occurring” is meaningless unless one specifies a time interval.  For example, there has been some warming since the end of the Little Ice Age (around 1800) or since the cooling period that began in 1940 and ended in 1975.  But there has been no warming observed during the past decade (since peaking in 1998) or when compared to temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period (around 1000 AD).


In fact, we know of no evidence whatsoever that would support the claim of an appreciable human contribution to global warming and challenge anyone to produce evidence that can stand up to scrutiny.  On the contrary, there is strong evidence against any appreciable human contribution, based on a comparison of greenhouse climate models with actual observations – as published in refereed journals [Douglass, Christy, Pearson, Singer. IJC-RMS, Dec 2007 ] and described in the report of the Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change. 


The NIPCC is a group of independent climate scientists from 16 nations and has conducted a study of the available scientific evidence.  Our 2008 report “Nature – Not Human Activity – Rules the Climate” has been published in several languages and can also be accessed on the Internet.  I serve as the organizing chairman of NIPCC.  


Our conclusion thus is directly opposite to that of the IPCC, which had access to the same information but chose not to make the detailed comparison.  The NIPCC result means that carbon dioxide, while certainly increasing (from the burning of fossil fuels), has little relevance to climate change and is certainly not an atmospheric “pollutant.” Therefore all efforts to mitigate the emissions of CO2 are pointless, very costly, and ultimately counterproductive. 

The NIPCC result removes much of the rationale for biofuels and for the replacement of fossil fuels with so-called renewable energy sources like wind and solar.  It also argues against carbon capture and sequestration and against legislative efforts to control emissions by Cap & Trade and energy taxes.  In particular, there is nothing to support the APS Statement’s urgent call for “actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.”


(Prof.) S. Fred Singer

Fellow, APS


APS Statement on Climate Change

Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases



Andrew Bolt, July 21, 08


Ofcom, Britain’s media regulator, seems to have been too quick to damn the Great Global Warming Swindle, and too quick to exonerate one of Britain’s leading warming hysterics:

In the closing moments of the program a voiceover from the climate change sceptic Fred Singer claimed that the Chief Scientist of the UK had said that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the planet would be in the Antarctic and that “humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic”.

Sir David has never made such a statement. [He did make the first part—SFS]. It is thought that Mr Singer confused [actually, conflated—SFS] the comments with those made by the scientist James Lovelock, who infuriated many colleagues in the science community when he publicly questioned global warming.

Actually, Lovelock didn’t publicly question global warming, but claimed in fact: “Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”

But it turns out that that Singer didn’t really misrepresent King that much at all. Reader Paul in a few minutes of searching discovered some King quotes that Ofcom seems to have missed in 15 months of inquiry: “Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the Government’s chief scientist, Professor Sir David King, said last week.”

With such extreme and scientifically unsupported scare-claims like those, why is it that King and Lovelock aren’t being hounded that way that The Great Global Warming Swindle was for criticising such alarmism?


The rise of Climate Blasphemy: Today’s Ofcom ruling on The Great Global Warming Swindle strengthens the censorious force field around climate change experts

Brendan O’Neill, 21 July 2008


The blasphemy laws are dead and buried in Britain. Courtesy of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which passed into law on 8 July 2008, it is no longer a common law offence to speak or publish any contemptuous, reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous words relating to God, Jesus Christ or the Bible. Thank Christ (or whoever) for that. Yet just as religious blasphemy collapses under the weight of satirical operas … so a new form of scientific blasphemy is emerging to take its place.

You can say what you like about Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but say anything reviling, scurrilous or ludicrous about a climate change scientist and you will be punished. You won’t receive a literal lashing, but you will get a metaphorical one. Speak ill of a climate expert and you’re likely to be stuck in the stocks of the public media and branded as a fact-denying, truth-distorting threat to public morals.

Increasingly in the climate change debate, no dissent can be brooked. I mean none. That is why, from the thousands and thousands of hours of TV programming devoted to climate change issues last year – from news reports on the threat of global warming to the lifestyle makeover shows imploring us to Go Green – only one has been singled out for censure. The one that questioned whether climate change is occurring. “The Great Global Warming Swindle” by maverick filmmaker Martin Durkin.

Today, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) has published a lengthy document censuring Channel 4 for showing Durkin’s film on 8 March 2007. Yet what is striking about Ofcom’s ruling is that it slaps Channel 4’s wrists, not for any inaccuracies in Durkin’s film (of which, it is claimed, there are many), but for its “unfair treatment” of climate change experts.

Ofcom rejected complaints that Durkin’s film was factually inaccurate on the basis that it did not ‘materially mislead the audience so as to cause harm or offence’. Yet it upheld or partly upheld complaints by Sir David King (Britain’s former chief scientific adviser), Professor Carl Wunsch (of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, all of whom say they were treated unfairly by the film. Yet, as far as I can tell, King, Wunsch and the IPCC -- an extremely powerful body which, come on, is surely robust enough to deal with one TV documentary having a pop at it -- were simply submitted to the rough-and-tumble of testy journalistic debate.

Part of King’s complaint is that during a lively interview in The Great Global Warming Swindle one of its contributors, Professor Frederick Singer, said we had now reached the mad situation where ‘[T]he chief scientist of the UK [is] telling people that by the end of the century the only habitable place on the earth will be the Antarctic. And humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic.’

King says he didn’t say that. Well, not in so many words. [But he said] in a speech to the Climate Group in April 2004, The Independent on Sunday of 2 May 2004 reported: “Antarctica is likely to be the world’s only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked, the government’s chief scientist Sir David King said last week.”  King never complained about that report.

As for the second sentence in Frederick Singer’s contested interview – where he said “And humanity may survive thanks to some breeding couples who moved to the Antarctic’ – this actually refers to a statement by James Lovelock, who said in 2006: “Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.”  Channel 4 says that, given that David King is on record as saying Antarctica could be the “only habitable place on earth” and “the rest of the globe could not sustain human life”, it was not unreasonable to deduce that he, like Lovelock, was of the view that humanity could only survive if it started breeding in the Antarctic.

Maybe. Maybe not. That point is up for debate. But it is hard to avoid the conclusion that in Durkin’s film, King was simply paraphrased – and, yes, ridiculed – as part of a provocative, polemical interview. That kind of thing happens all the time.

Professor Wunsch complained that he was not told beforehand that the film was a polemic against global warming theories. That is unfortunate, but again it is quite common in journalism. Reporters frequently do not divulge their entire motivation when setting up interviews, because they know that if they did some interviewees would tell them to get stuffed.

Part of the IPCC’s complaint is that one of the film’s interviewees – Professor Philip Stott – said:  “The IPCC, like any UN body, is political. The final conclusions are politically driven.” I’m sorry, but that is simply legitimate political criticism, whether the IPCC likes it or not. Why is a UN body, which is staffed by hundreds of people and funded by millions of pounds and which has access to thousands of normally compliant journalists, complaining to Ofcom about a 90-minute documentary shown on Channel 4? What is it saying exactly? That no one may criticise it, ever?

Of course it is very serious when journalists willfully or maliciously misrepresent people’s views, and when they do they should be reprimanded. Yet paraphrasing, mocking, criticising and not giving the entire reason for your investigations… if all of these journalistic tactics were censured every time they occurred, there would be no TV reporting left. Certainly there would be no documentaries worth watching.

The Ofcom report sends a clear message: climate experts are off limits. You can get your facts wrong; you can even use questionable graphs – but you must not be ‘unfair’ to The Experts. It is striking how similar the new Climate Blasphemy is to the old religious blasphemy. It, too, is based on protecting named individuals from ‘scurrilous’ or ‘hurtful’ words. Those who commit Climate Blasphemy are said to have been duped or had their palms greased by wicked oil companies – the contemporary equivalent of saying they are possessed by the devil. And their utterances are said to threaten the survival of mankind – by giving people a green light to continue acting in an eco-irresponsible fashion – just as the old blasphemers were accused of jeopardising the saving of mankind with their warped, wicked words.

You don’t have to endorse Durkin’s film, or the ‘alternative’ climate-change theories that he and others have put forward (I, for one, do not), to be concerned about the censuring of anyone who challenges any part of the politics or science of climate change today. Rather, this is about upholding openness, scepticism and the right to question everything, in the world of journalism and in the world of science.

We’ve only just been liberated, far too late, from England’s archaic laws of religious blasphemy. Let us not submit so easily to the informal laws of Climate Blasphemy emerging all around us.


Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.



By Steven Milloy, July 10, 2008


Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens launched a media blitz this week to announce his plan for us "to escape the grip of foreign oil." Now he’s got himself stuck between a crock and a wind farm.  Announced via TV commercials, media interviews, a July 9 Wall Street Journal op-ed and a Web site, Pickens wants to substitute wind power for the natural gas used to produce about 22 percent of our electricity and then to substitute natural gas for the conventional gasoline used to power vehicles.

Pickens claims this plan can be accomplished within 10 years, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce the cost of transportation, create thousands of jobs, reduce our carbon footprint and "build a bridge to the future, giving us time to develop new technologies."  It sounds great and gets even better, according to Pickens. Don’t sweat the cost, he says, "It will be accomplished solely through private investment with no new consumer or corporate taxes or government regulation." What’s not to like?

First, it’s worth noting Pickens’ claim made in the op-ed that his plan requires no new government regulation. Two sentences later, however, he calls on Congress to "mandate'' wind power and its subsidies. Next, Pickens relies on a 2008 Department of Energy study claiming the U.S. could generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030.

Setting aside the fact that the report was produced in consultation with the wind industry, the 20%-by-2030 goal is quite fanciful. Even if wind technology significantly improves, electrical transmission systems (how electricity gets from the power source to you) are greatly expanded and environmental obstacles (such as environmentalists who protest wind turbines as eyesores and bird-killing machines) can be overcome, the viability of wind power depends on where, when and how strong the wind blows — none of which is predictable.

Wind farm-siting depends on the long-term forecasting of wind patterns, but climate is always changing. When it comes to wind power, it is not simply "build it and the wind will come." Even the momentary loss of wind can be a problem. As Reuters reported on Feb. 27, "Loss of wind causes Texas power grid emergency." The electric grid operator was forced to curtail 1,100 megawatts of power to customers within 10 minutes. Wind isn’t a standalone power source. It needs a Plan B for when the wind "just don’t blow."

This contrasts with coal- or gas-fired electrical power, which can be produced on demand and as needed. A great benefit of modern technology is that it liberates us from Mother Nature’s harsh whims. Pickens wants to re-enslave us with 12th century technology.

Then there’s the cost of the 20-by-2030 goal — $43 billion more than the cost of non-wind assets, according to the DOE — and this doesn’t include many billions of dollars more for additional transmission lines. Could the 20-by-2030 goal even be accomplished? According to Electric Utility Week on June 9, a DOE official informed attendees at a June wind industry meeting that reaching the goal would entail replicating the entire existing U.S. wind system (about 17,000 megawatts of capacity constructed over the past decade) every year starting in 2018.

The federal government subsidizes wind farm operators with a tax credit worth 1.9 cents per kilowatt hour — potentially making for a tidy annual taxpayer gift to Pickens based on his anticipated capacity. But all is not well in Wind Subsidy-land. Since Congress didn’t renew the wind subsidy as part of the 2007 energy bill, it will expire at the end of this year unless reauthorized. Subsidies are perhaps more important to the wind industry than wind itself. Without them, wind can’t compete against fossil fuel-generated power. As pointed out by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 9, "In 1999, 2001 and 2003, when Congress temporarily killed the credits, the number of new turbines dropped dramatically."

It’s little wonder that Pickens is waging a $58 million PR campaign to promote his plan. If it works, his short-term gain will be saving the tax credit and his wind farm investment.  In the long-term, he stands to line his already overflowing pockets with hard-earned taxpayer dollars. What will the rest of us get from this T. Boone-doggle? That’s anybody’s guess, but it probably won’t be cheaper energy, energy independence or a cleaner environment.


Steven Milloy publishes and He is a junk science expert, advocate of free enterprise and an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.



By BRET STEPHENS, WSJ, July 22, 2008


Al Gore gave a speech last week "challenging" America to run "on 100% zero-carbon electricity in 10 years" -- though that's just the first step on his road to "ending our reliance on carbon-based fuels." Serious people understand this is absurd. Maybe other people will start drawing the same conclusion about the man proposing it.

The former vice president has also recently disavowed any intention of returning to politics. This is wise. As America's leading peddler of both doom and salvation, Mr. Gore has moved beyond the constraints and obligations of reality. His job is to serve as a Prophet of Truth.  In Mr. Gore's prophesy, a transition to carbon-free electricity generation in a decade is "achievable, affordable and transformative." He believes that the goal can be achieved almost entirely through the use of "renewables" alone, meaning solar, geothermal, wind power and biofuels.

And he doesn't think we really have any other good options: "The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk," he says, with his usual gift for understatement. "And even more -- if more should be required -- the future of human civilization is at stake."

What manner the catastrophe might take isn't yet clear, but the scenarios are grim: The climate crisis is getting worse faster than anticipated; global warming will cause refugee crises and destabilize entire nations; an "energy tsunami" is headed our way. And so on.

Here, however, is an inconvenient fact. In 1995, the U.S. got about 2.2% of its net electricity generation from "renewable" sources, according to the Energy Information Administration. By 2000, the last full year of the Clinton administration, that percentage had dropped to 2.1%. By contrast, the combined share of coal, petroleum and natural gas rose to 70% from 68% during the same time frame.  Now the share of renewables is up slightly, to about 2.3% as of 2006 (the latest year for which the EIA provides figures). The EIA thinks the use of renewables (minus hydropower) could rise to 201 billion kilowatt hours per year in 2018 from the current 65 billion. But the EIA also projects total net generation in 2018 to be 4.4 trillion kilowatt hours per year. That would put the total share of renewables at just over four percent of our electricity needs.

Mr. Gore's argument would be helped if he were also willing to propose huge investments in nuclear power, which emits no carbon dioxide and currently supplies about one-fifth of U.S. electricity needs, and about three-quarters of France's. Britain has just approved eight new nuclear plants, and the German government of Angela Merkel is working to do away with a plan by the previous government to go nuclear-free.  But Mr. Gore makes no mention of nuclear power in his speech, nor of the equally carbon-free hydroelectric power. These are proven technologies -- and useful reminders of what happens when environmentalists get what they wished for.

Mr. Gore's case would also be helped if our experience of renewable sources were a positive one. It isn't. In his useful book "Gusher of Lies," Robert Bryce notes that "in July 2006, wind turbines in California produced power at only about 10% of their capacity; in Texas, one of the most promising states for wind energy, the windmills produced electricity at about 17% of their rated capacity." Like wind power, solar power also suffers from the problem of intermittency, which means that it has to be backed up by conventional sources in order to avoid disruptions. This is especially true of hot summers when the wind doesn't blow and cold winters when the sun doesn't shine.

And then there are biofuels, whose recent vogue, the World Bank believes, may have been responsible for up to 75% of the recent rise in world food prices. Save the planet; starve the poor.

None of this seems to trouble Mr. Gore. He thinks that simply by declaring an emergency he can help achieve Stakhanovite results. He might recall what the Stakhanovite myth (about the man who mined 14 times his quota of coal in six hours) actually did to the Soviet economy.

A more interesting question is why Mr. Gore remains believable. Perhaps people think that facts ought not to count against a man whose task is to raise our sights, or play Cassandra to unbelieving mortals.

Or maybe he is believed simply because people want something in which to believe. "The readiness for self-sacrifice," wrote Eric Hoffer in "The True Believer," "is contingent on an imperviousness to the realities of life. . . . All active mass movements strive, therefore, to interpose a fact-proof screen between the faithful and the realities of the world. They do this by claiming that the ultimate and absolute truth is already embodied in their doctrine and that there is no truth nor certitude outside it. . . . To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason. It is startling to realize how much unbelief is necessary to make belief possible."



By Lea Radick,


No matter which candidate is elected president in November, the energy policies proposed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will increase costs for the average American, but other changes may not be as readily visible, experts say.  Under McCain or Obama energy plans, the prospect of higher energy prices, higher deficits, and higher gas prices are attributed to the fact that both candidates have proposed to intervene in energy markets in part by mandating and subsidizing more expensive sources of energy.

While McCain and Obama support a shift away from dependence on foreign oil and promote the research and development of alternative transportation fuels, their approaches differ:

o   McCain seeks to enforce the existing fuel economy standard for motor vehicles (currently 25 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks), while Obama wants to double the fuel economy standard.

o   McCain touts new oil and gas drilling off U.S. shores as a viable solution to the fuel fiasco, but not in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; Obama opposes additional drilling in protected areas.

o   McCain proposes building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030; Obama believes the industry should first develop a safer means of disposing of nuclear waste before putting up new reactors.

Fossil fuels -- coal and natural gas -- are still the cheapest forms of energy available, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.  One year into a new presidency would have no effect on people's lives, Burnett said.  Neither (candidate) has a draft energy law to present to Congress.  They've got general ideas out there about what they want to do.



I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Voltaire (attributed)

By John Brignell


That’s what we used to call it – refereeing. The term “peer review” seemed to spring up and take over at about the same time as the rise of political correctness. It was a burden that most senior academics and some industrial engineers and scientists were expected to bear as part of their duty to their profession, and an onerous one it was too. It took up many hours of one’s week, with no recognition and certainly no payment. Many of us would now have a more comfortable retirement if we had devoted the time to fee earning.

The duties of the referee were mainly concerned with preserving the integrity of the institution and its publications, to identify provable errors and infelicities of expression. It did not involve rewriting an author’s paper, changing its slant or imposing an opinion.

The European tradition of refereeing was that it was to be done with a light touch, but that curious intensity that invades some American academic institutions often resulted in little short of a demolition job. There was something of a schism, one side thinking the other was idle, while in the other direction there were mutterings of “over the top”. For what was understood was that the process was corruptible. Many referees in their early careers had experienced coteries that attempted to take over particular small areas of disciplines to enforce their own views and theories. It was, however, only in the new era of Green politics that the threat of a universal censorship emerged.

It was always a difficult course to negotiate. There will inevitably be submissions that are just silly or even insane, such as the old perennial that ‘pi’ is exactly three. It is not uncommon for people to acquire a bit of jargon and go on to delude themselves that they are making a fundamental contribution to knowledge. Such delusions became institutionalised with the rise of fashionable nonsense under the name of post-modernism. This was just one of the enormous tectonic shifts that were taking place in society, the rise of the new left. At the same time political control was being established over science and research. In Britain it took the form of outright nationalisation of the universities, begun under Thatcher and completed under Blair. In America it was the founding of new public institutions, richly endowed with taxpayers’ money, such as Nixon’s EPA. They had the resources and therefore the patronage. A new self-sustaining political class had formed, insulated from the laws of science and economics, yet demanding sovereignty over both.  Science was no longer a democracy of scholars seeking after truth; it was now an instrument of political power and control.

The creation of the UN IPCC was a cataclysmic event in the history of science. Here was a purely political body posing as a scientific institution. Through the power of patronage it rapidly attracted acolytes. Peer review soon rapidly evolved from the old style refereeing to a much more sinister imposition of The Censorship. As [Prof. Edward] Wegman demonstrated, new circles of like-minded propagandists formed, acting as judge and jury for each other. Above all, they acted in concert to keep out alien and hostile opinion.

 “Peer review” developed into a mantra that was picked up by political activists who clearly had no idea of the procedures of science or its learned societies. It became an imprimatur of political acceptability, whose absence was equivalent to placement on the proscribed list. As global warming alarmism stumbles inevitably towards the later stages of Langmuir’s Laws, its defenders have become increasingly shrill. The pressure on science, both from external politicians and internal quislings, has become intense.

The question of whether science can ever recover its innocence is moot. After life as a harlot on the mean streets of political imperative, a return to the sanctity of the cloister looks out of the question. If so, humanity has forever lost a bright jewel in its culture.



Gerald Baker in the London Times on Obama


And it came to pass, in the eighth year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness. . . . .When he was twelve years old, they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders.. . . . .In the great Battles of Caucus and Primary he smote the conniving Hillary, wife of the deposed King Bill the Priapic and their barbarian hordes of Working Class Whites. . .. . And so it was, in the fullness of time, before the harvest month of the appointed year, the Child ventured forth - for the first time to bring the light unto all the world. . . . . As word spread throughout the land about the Child's wondrous works, peoples from all over flocked to hear him; Hittites and Abbasids; Obamacons and McCainiacs; Cameroonians and Blairites. . . . And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over [– and great was the joy and celebration among the polar bears. ]