The Week That Was
February 15, 2003

1. New on the Web: DR. DAVID WOJICK HAS ANALYZED SIX NATIONAL ACADEMY REPORTS AND LISTS THE MAJOR UNCERTAINTIES IN CLIMATE SCIENCE. Clearly, the science is not "settled" as some claim, and research is required to address these uncertainties


3. THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION OF NORTH ATLANTIC MAY BE STABLE AFTER ALL: Bad news for Rahmstorf, Stauffer, and other climate disaster mongers






2. Nuclear report from Europe: A mixed bag

BERLIN: 500 carefully chosen German and French students witnessed the meeting of Gerhard Schröder and Jacques Chirac. Chirac commented on his recent visit to Copenhagen where he saw a forest of windmills "useful but very ugly." He stressed that atomic energy has the great advantage of no air pollution or GH gas emission. Thunderous applause by the students, German and French. Surprise by German journalists. (FAZ 24.1.03)

STOCKHOLM (Jan 22) - A majority of Swedes now favour keeping nuclear power plants going, or even building new ones as electricity prices in the Nordic region have hit record highs, a poll by independent pollster Sifo showed.

The poll, done for the Svenska Dagbladet daily, showed 55 percent of 1,000 Swedes surveyed between January 13-16, favoured keeping nuclear power output at current levels or raising it, while 41 percent favoured gradual or quick shutdown.

Sweden decided in a 1980 referendum, which followed a disaster at the U.S. Three Mile Island nuclear plant a year earlier, that nuclear power is to be replaced with renewable sources of energy by 2010.

But the country still gets half of its power from nuclear plants as the new sources have not materialised. The rest comes from hydro-power facilities that depend on sufficient rainfall in the summer and autumn to gather water in reservoirs for use during the winter demand peak.

This year's dry summer and autumn made reservoir water levels low and relatively harsh winter weather has boosted demand for electricity, driving prices at the Nordic Power bourse Nordpool to almost five times the May 2002 and three times the average in December 2001.

"The opinion poll is rational. It is affected by what is going on - by issues of power supply and prices," the paper quoted Soren Holmberg, a professor of political science at Gothenburg University, as saying.

The energy crunch has fanned a discussion in Sweden on whether to close down Barseback-2, a nuclear power plant in the south of the country, scheduled for this year.

Energy-intensive industry sectors want the decision about the shut-down reversed and want the Barseback-1 reactor, taken off line in 1999, to be restarted, because rising electricity prices have already forced some firms to cut output.

Prices soar - reality hits! (Reuters)

How can Sweden possibly shut down 40% of its CO2-free electricity supply without using more fossil fuel? What will Denmark do if she can't import CO2-free nuclear power from Sweden? Burn more coal or face the prospect of blackouts? Or can Norway supply the shortfall from hydro? Denmark is withdrawing subsidies for more windpower in her own country because their high electricity prices are having an adverse effect on their economy. The UK is already being warned that electricity prices will soar to cover the cost of wind and other renewables. How will that affect the UK economy? Finland is to build a new nuclear power station to meet the need for rising consumption of electricity.

It must always be remembered that intermittent windpower still needs equivalent back-up of a secure supply of electricity - i.e. mainly fossil fuel or nuclear power.

The French cannot understand German opposition to nuclear energy. 75% of French support nuclear power, 10% want even more. The government is ready to give the go-ahead for the new "European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR), developed by Siemens and Framatom, to replace old reactors, beginning in 2015. France exports 10% of its electric power- and it is growing: "Europe is our new home-market." (Rheinzeitung 23.1.2003)

Giant electric utility RWE's CEO Kuhnt demands planning certainty for new powerplants and warns that coal plants are threatened by the proposed emission trading schemes. Coal plants produce 52% of Germany's electricity - and there are no available alternatives. Natural gas is limited. We are dealing here with large investments for new plants - of the order of 30 billion Euros (Handelsblatt 16.1.03)

Finally, a report from Britain:

Prof James Lovelock, of "Gaia" fame is a *senior patron of S.O.N.E (Supporters of Nuclear Energy). He has always made it clear that he supports nuclear power as being essential until man has discovered another SECURE source of energy that is fossil fuel free.

He has said many times that nuclear is the only source of electricity that will supply the needs of a modern society for the foreseeable future without plundering the planet for the finite resources of coal, oil, etc. So it is interesting that the "greens", who have held him on a pedestal since his book "Gaia" was published, do not listen to him on the energy issue.

One thing is quite certain, WINDPOWER cannot cause the closure of nuclear power stations. The UK was only able to meet its target for the reduction of fossil fuel emissions for the year 2000 thanks to the 20% + of nuclear power available. Windpower needs back-up at all times from either nuclear power or fossil fuel so it will NEVER be able to replace these SECURE sources of electricity

*Nine senior patrons of Supporters of Nuclear Energy address the Prime Minister:

"End the tokenism in energy policy by recognising that wind power, essentially the only available renewable source of energy apart from hydropower, cannot, even if it were economic, meet the predominant demand for continuous, reliable supplies of electricity."

Those who have signed it are Professor Sir Frederick Holliday, Professor James Lovelock, Dr J Dickson Mabon (former Energy Minister) Sir William McAlpine Bt, Lord Marsh of Mannington, Lord Parkinson of Carnforth (former Minister of Trade and Industry), Lord Tombs of Brailes, Lord Walker of Worcester and Viscount Weir.


3. Geologic data show no weakening of THC

About15,000 years ago, during the most recent deglaciation there was a sudden pulse of meltwater (MWP) from glacial melting that caused a sudden increase in sea level. At about the same time there was an abrupt warming, the Bølling warming. Kienast et al. find that the two events were synchronous and deduce that previous studies postulating a weakening of deep-water formation in the North Atlantic due to a massive discharge of fresh water needs to be revisited. So the fear of a slowing down or interruption of the thermohaline circulation of the North Atlantic may have to be revised.

Ref.: Kienast et al, Geology 31, 67 (2003)


4. AGU Council resolution on global warming creates mischief

From Glikson letter to CCNet 1/30/03

The unfortunate reality of global warming has been confirmed, among other, by the American Geophysical Union Council, stating "Present understanding of the Earth climate system provides a compelling basis for legitimate public concern over future global and regional scale changes resulting from increased concentrations of greenhouse gases..." (Eos, 1999, 80, p.454)"

Letter to CCNet from SFS 1/30/03

The truly "unfortunate reality" is that Glikson (1/30/03), like some others, has jumped to a conclusion not supported by observations. I was present at the AGU Council meeting that approved language proposed by a panel dominated by activists. In my objections I pointed to the global cooling (during 1940-75) while greenhouse gases were rising rapidly, and to the lack of any appreciable atmospheric warming in the past 20 years, as shown by weather satellite instruments and balloon-borne radiosondes. In addition, in past deglaciations the warming PRECEDED the rise in CO2.

My published reply ("Human contribution to climate change remains questionable." Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union 80, 186-187, 1999) deals with these and other problems in validating climate models with actual data. A further publication (Eos 80, 372, 1999) notes the absence in the climate record of "fingerprints" that would indicate a human contribution.

The IPCC conclusion that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on climate" is not supported by the evidence.


5. British agents say Al Qaeda built 'dirty bomb,' BBC reports
By Ed Johnson, Associated Press, 1/31/2003

LONDON -- British officials believe that Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network built a crude radiological device known as a ''dirty bomb'' in Afghanistan, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported yesterday.

British intelligence agents found documents that showed Al Qaeda members had built a small device near Herat in western Afghanistan, the BBC said, citing unidentified British government officials.

Britain's Foreign Office said yesterday the report bolstered suspicions that Al Qaeda wanted to develop a nuclear weapon.

''The evidence presented in the BBC report speaks for itself,'' a spokesman said. In Washington, a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said bin Laden was no doubt interested in acquiring a ''dirty bomb'' -- a conventional bomb capable of spreading radiation. But the US official said, ''we have no evidence to substantiate that he's built such a device.''

The British intelligence agents did not find the device and it has not since been recovered, the BBC reported. But scientists at the British government's weapons research facility in Porton Down concluded that Al Qaeda had succeeded in constructing a small ''dirty bomb'' in Herat -- based on documents and material uncovered by the British military and intelligence, the BBC said.

The scientists did not believe Al Qaeda had been able to develop a full-blown nuclear device, it said. The report did not say when the device was thought to have been developed or how much radiation it could spread.

British officials showed some of the documents -- including diagrams -- to the BBC, the report said.

As part of the operation, British agents infiltrated Al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and posed as recruits, the BBC said.

This story ran on page A15 of the Boston Globe on 1/31/2003.


6. BS Galore from the EU: Nuclear weapons and pollution linked to 65 million deaths
Alert from Bizarre Science:

Pollution from nuclear energy and weapons programmes up to 1989 will account for 65 million deaths, according to a European scientific committee headed by an adviser to the British Government.

In a word, BS. The increases in radiation involved are miniscule. Smaller, in fact that the natural variation from place to place. If the EU is going to attack the atomic energy industry based on such spurious reasoning, they should be calling for the evacuation of Norway.

Another thing about this figure is that the "deaths" will be indistinguishable from deaths from other causes.

Another point that should be considered is the number of lives SAVED by atomic energy. These include deaths prevented by not burning coal, and the deaths prevented by having reliable, base-load electricity available.


7. Memorable Quotes

'What we've got to do in energy conservation is to try to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, to have approached global warming as if it is real means energy conservation, so we will be doing the right thing anyway in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.'

Former Senator Tim Wirth, later Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs


In recent years, the little country Denmark has gained a certain amount of fame with its wind turbines. No, they don't get much electricity from them. They sell them to suckers."

Howard C. Hayden, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut, 2001



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