The Week That Was
November 15, 2003

1. New on the Web: OUR IRREPRESSIBLE GORDON PRATHER TAKES ON THE MERCURY PROBLEM. [For the uninitiated: SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test and Lake Wobegon is said to be in Minnesota.]








2. Carbon Dioxide From Wind Power Projects
The concrete jungle overheats: News from Britain

"Estimates of carbon dioxide emissions from one of the world's growth industries have been grossly underestimated. Cement kilns contribute more to the world's output of carbon dioxide than aircraft and could soon be responsible for 10 per cent of the greenhouse gas. New calculations by an industry scientist reveal that cement manufacturers already produce 7 per cent of global CO2 emissions - almost three times previously published estimates - and that CO2 output is increasing faster from cement works than from any other industrial source.

The silence on cement manufacture as a cause of global warming contrasts with the growing concern over aircraft emissions, which are estimated to contribute a maximum of 5 percent. Last month at the Earth Summit in New York, the European Union called for a global tax on aircraft fuel. But proposals for an internal EU tax on energy, aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, specifically excluded the cement industry because its energy use is so high that it was thought a tax would damage it."
(Fred Pearce, New Scientist, 19th July 1997)

Commercial wind 'farms' are not sustainable. Their infrastructure is composed of concrete, steel, aluminum, etc, all obtained from finite resources. They industrialize vast tracts of unspoiled landscape - another finite resource.

Wind 'farms' produce their CO2 emission before they start to generate electricity! The manufacture, shipment, installation, and subsequent dismantling of these gigantic units create pollution. Commercial wind 'farms' use a huge amount of concrete in foundations for the turbines (some towers are made of concrete), service roads, and ancillary buildings. The ecological damage is irreversible

[In Britain,] Carno wind 'farm' has 56 x 600-kilowatt wind turbines spread over an area of 1500 acres. It cost about £30 ($50) million to build. 10,000 lorry loads of material were needed to build 12 kilometres of new service roads for Carno (Bonus advertisement in "Windpower Monthly").

That meant an average of about 30 lorry loads a day, with their massive CO2 emissions, going to the site for the whole of the 10-month construction period.

All this for an average, intermittent, unreliable 10-MW of electricity towards the UK demand for an average of 45,000 MW of a reliable supply of electricity!

Windpower requires matching back-up at all times from reliable and controllable fossil fuel or nuclear power; so no existing plant can close thanks to windpower.

Wind Turbines and Carbon Dioxide - a case study.

A large turbine in Gloucestershire saves less than the amount of CO2 produced by just one articulated lorry.

At Nympsfield in Gloucestershire a single 500-kW gearless Enercon turbine was commissioned in Dec. 1996. Its annual output is about 1.11 million kWh (Tilting at Windmills BBC 2, 2.2.99). Since the turbine generates not only during the day, when it might displace oil- or coal-fired generation, but also at night when mainly nuclear and gas generation are operating, it is logical to assume that it displaces a mix of fuels, rather than only coal or oil. Department of Trade and Industry figures indicate that the 1995 generating fuel mix produced an average of 620gm of CO2 per unit of electricity generated. Thus we can calculate that the Nympsfield turbine saved about 688 tonnes each year, or 0.078 tonnes per hour.

An articulated lorry travelling at 50 mph along a motorway produces 0.08 tonnes of CO2 per hour. Given the uncontrolled growth of road traffic, the erecting of turbines is a futile exercise. How many turbines would we have to build each year to merely to keep pace with traffic growth?

3. Build more oil rigs to enhance marine life

California governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, citing environmental concerns, pledged to oppose offshore oil and gas drilling. One of those concerns is the effect of giant oil rigs on marine "eco-systems."
But before he "Terminates" them, he should review a six-year study by experts from the University of California Santa Barbara's Marine Research Institute of the 26 existing oil rigs off the coast. It proves that--contrary to environmentalist assumptions--human industry can actually protect and foster marine life.
The report finds that "drilling platforms are important not just as collectors of marine life but as producers." Moreover: "In general, the rigs had more fish and more species of fish than the natural reefs." That's because "the relatively inaccessible rigs are serving as de facto marine refuges for these often depleted species, supporting a more normal assemblage of fish--young-of-the-year, juveniles, and large adults--than the reefs..."
Says the leader of the research team, Morton Love: "Ironically, some of these platforms may be more 'natural' than some of these natural reefs."


4. UK's Blair woos banks for emissions trading scheme

LONDON - Ten major investment banks sat down to an "environmental" breakfast with Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street this week to discuss a new European emissions trading scheme. Senior executives from Morgan Stanley, French bank Societe Generale, and Barclays Capital were among those invited to discuss an emissions trading market for the City of London, a Downing Street spokeswoman confirmed on Friday. One banker who attended said Blair wanted to discuss what the City of London could do to help with the climate change initiative. "There are a lot of emission rights which could be traded in the future when the new EU directive is put in place," he said. From 2005 onward, European Union companies in the power, iron, steel glass, cement, ceramic, pulp and paper industries will have to have "emission rights" or "carbon permits" to cover their carbon-dioxide emission each year. In Britain this will involve about 2,000 installations. Under an emissions-trading scheme, companies that cut emissions by more than they initially pledged, would be able to sell them on as "credits" to firms unable to meet required reductions. Britain has been running a voluntary emissions-trading scheme since April last year. But from January 1, 2005, a European emissions-trading scheme will come into force for all 15 member states, plus the 10 accession states. "This should be an attractive market for financial institutions to be involved in and with our experience of the voluntary scheme, London is ideally placed to be a base," the Downing Street spokeswoman said. The proposed UK scheme could mirror a similar exchange set up in Chicago. The Chicago Climate Exchange gives companies credits for cutting carbon dioxide omissions.


Story by Alistair MacDonald and Jane Merriman 27/10/2003 SEPP Comment: We see now why there is support for the Kyoto Protocol from potential traders of emission rights (like ENRON). Of course, they will only have value if there are caps on emissions, a la Kyoto or McLieberman.

5. New Books

"Politicizing Science," discussed in TWTW of Aug 23, 2003: Paul Grant's review was published in Nature on Oct 6, 2003 [Vol. 425, pp.663-664]

"The Discovery of Global Warming" by Spencer R. Weart (Harvard University Press, 2003. 228 pp. ~$25). An authoritative and well-written account, surprisingly fair to all sides of the debate and highly recommended.

"Challenging environmental mythology: Wrestling Zeus" (Wm Andrew and SciTech Publishing Companies. 207 pp.) Brief popular essays by physicist Jack Dini, ranging from chemicals to air pollution and global warming, to radiation. Very readable, with technical references.

"Eco-Imperialism: Green power, black death" (Free Enterprise Press and Merril Press. 2003. 179 pp. softbound. $15). Former Sierra Club member, geologist Paul Driessen explains how extreme environmental ideology kills poor people, esp. in Africa.

"Bioevolution: How Biotechnology is changing our world," By Michael Fumento (Encounter Books, 2003. $29, 510 pp.) Covers medical applications, agriculture, and even pollution control. Authoritative and readable.


6. New links to recommended web sites by Prof John Brignell by Robert Bidinotto by Michael Fumento by National Center for Public Policy Research


7. Enviro-extremist motto:

"An ounce of fear and passion is worth a ton of fact and logic"



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