Saturday, June 09, 2007
- Paul Ehrlich, 1969 in Ramparts.
Perhaps one of the more extreme example of "environmentalist" lunacy. In fact not only is pollution not getting worse we actually far less of it. This is not surprising both because a richer society can afford to spend more on cleaning up & because improving technology is, by definition, going to produce less pollution. If it doesn't produce a given amount using fewer inputs & thus less waste, then by definition it isn't high tech. By economic common sense nobody is going to replace current technology with it - except when, as with making people use paper bags instead of plastic ones, the "environmentalists insist on it).
Since there is less pollution if "environmentalists" really believed in what they say then the would be very happy & singing the praises of new technology. On the other hand if they are actually Luddites flying false flags then they will have invented new "pollutants" like CO2 to scare us with.
I have previously asked the Green Party & various commentators, online & elsewhere, to name a single "environmentalist" catastrophe story which has, over time, turned out to be fully true. NOBODY has yet produced one. When you have a 100% record of dishonesty it unsurprising that we have this from the Times on pollution in Britain today:
Levels of a group of toxic chemicals polluting gardens and fields have fallen to their lowest point for more than 100 years, a nationwide survey has revealed.
Emissions of dioxins from factories and power plants have been stemmed so effectively by bans and caps that contamination levels in soil have fallen for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.
The most comprehensive survey of toxic chemicals polluting Britain’s towns and countryside has revealed that carcinogenic dioxin levels have fallen by 70 per cent since the late 1980s.
Friday, June 08, 2007
First, the Coming Ice Age theory was hardly the work of a "few popularizers." I actually took the picture used on Stephen Schneider's Genesis Strategy cover at a AAAS meeting: it shows him and Margaret Meade. She was then President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Stephen got her endorsement for the book (and her picture for the inside book cover picture) to show the consensus on the coming disasters. There were AAAS sessions. Gus Spaeth, then Chairman of a White House Council, gave a speech which included dangers of reglaciation of the US (he was concerned that the glaciers would spread stored nuclear waste). You will not remember those days, but I do. We were doomed, and Ice and Overpopulation were part of the National Malaise that was bringing in The Era of Limits.
Second, what those graphs show is the difficulty of trying to establish trends in cyclical data. Look at them. Look hard. Depending on the starting and end points you can make any trend you like. The eleven year cycle is long known. The warming trend from about 1800 to present is also long known. Since a great deal of the warming that has so many alarmed now took place during the 1800-1875 period before CO2 levels rose much, it is difficult to attribute that warming to human activity. It may have done, but it's not easily proven.
Warming releases CO2 from the sea: I am sure you know this. Just put a carbonated drink out at room temperature. Whether warming causes CO2 or CO2 comes about as a result of warming isn't all that clear. In any event, CO2 is a rather lousy greenhouse gas. There are far more efficient ways to warm the earth.
My point, which I repeatedly make, is that until we know what the hell is going on, it is absurd to spend the money we could be spending to find out what is happening on "remedies" when we don't understand the problem. We spend what money we do get for research on computer models instead of better data. We ought to be taking more deep sea probes, launching satellites whose purpose is to get accurate temperature data at all levels of the atmosphere (it varies a lot) as well as ground and sea surface; get temperatures both in and outside of cities, upwind and down; measuring total glacier gains and losses (some glaciers are gaining); and so forth. We ought to know more about clouds. I don't claim to be the world's expert on what we ought to be doing to find out what is happening. I do claim to be enough of an old Operations Research guy to know that if you don't know what's happening, you're better off spending money to find out what's going on than you are in trying to fix something you don't understand.
Simple Bayesian analysis: if there are two possible trends, and dealing with each is expensive, and what you must do is pretty well determined by which trend is going to happen, you are better off spending money to reduce the uncertainty and pay the penalty for starting later on the right track than you are to start investing in remedies that may be for the wrong coming disaster. I could show you mathematically, but I am sure you can see the point.
I repeat (and I wish someone would address the point, but they never do): we don't have good predictions of the climate. We can't even predict the El Nino events that affect North American weather quite directly and dramatically. We do not have the data to decide what to do about Global Warming, and we propose to spend the money on more computer models and expensive remedies instead of finding out. This is not an optimum policy.
Reducing CO2 from energy plants is a fine idea. If they had built nuclear power plants in the US (as France and Japan have done) that would have had the side effect of reducing US CO2 emissions. If we had invested in access to space with the view to building Space Solar Power Satellites, that would have the effect of reducing CO2 emissions, and put us in a far better position with regards to energy. I have been in favor of those measures since the 1960's. I wrote "America's Looming Energy Crisis" in 1973 for heaven's sake. I don't like being dependent on burning petroleum for energy any more than you do.
The First Minister accused Tony Blair of ignoring the Scottish government and the entire Scottish legal system by signing an agreement with Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi over prisoner transfers from Britain to Libya.
On the one hand this is a blatant disregard for the entire Scottish judicial progress. When France arranged that the guy that blew up the Greenpeace boat "serve his time in a French prison" they very quickly released him. Does anybody doubt that the Libyans will do the same, or that anybody in the British government knows this? It shows a complete contempt for the Scottish judicial process.
On the other hand the Scottish judiciary, almost all of whom were at one time or another involved in this caee, are contemptable. Eveyone knows that al Megrahi is almost certainly wholly innocent. The initial investigation centred on Palestinians employed by Syria (in turn working for Iran who was, quite reasonably, incensed at the US deliberate shooting down of a regularly scheduled civilian airliner over the Gulf).. All the evidence pointed to this - right up to the time when Syria became our ally against Iraq in the Kuwait war. At which point Libya was fitted up & Megrahi became the necessary human sacrifice.
The fact that the last prosecution witness said on oath that it was widely known that this was a CIA fit up would have given any honest judges no alternative but to find him not guilty. On the other hand these are judges who have shown not the slightest concern about one of their number, Lord Bonomy being involved in the kangaroo court which held Milosevic for 4 1/2 years without producing any evidence & then poisoned him.
Nobody comes out of this looking remotely honest & it is fitting that his release should come as part of a corrupt government deal with a Moslem dictator since that is how it started.
Nonetheless if al Magrahi is innocent he should be free.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The imminent final sell off of British Nuclear Fuels to 1 of 6 international consortia should not transfer ownership of this to the new contractors. This would be a bargain not seen since the Louisiana Purchase.
From a briefing to SONE by Brendan McNamara. Membership here.
In its enthusiasm to bankrupt our nuclear industry & nationalise the remnants without payment, Labour insisted on giving BNFL's overseas assets away at fire sale prices (because Patricia Hewitt insisted that Bruce Power be sold off within 10 weeks they got £275 million for an asset previously valued at £900 million & Westinghouse, which previously belonged to BNFL was bought by Toshiba & is now a contender to be building Britain's new nuclear stations. Of course this was back when Labour were anti-nuclear - the fact that they are now marginally more sensible than the Tories & infinitely moreso than the LudDems suggests that grossly incompetent though they are the other parties aren't better. Let us hope that they don't give away £16,500 trillion pounds because they haven't noticed it is worth anything.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
JOURNALISTIC DISHONESTY AT THE HERALD - LIES ABOUT RENEWABLES MAINTAINED
There is a considerable amount of sleight of hand in Friends of the Earth's letter today assuring us that we can avoid blackouts without nuclear.
Of course they make no costings of any of their proposals but then it is a given, among renewabilists, that the mere doubling of electricity prices to pay for windmillery, rather than halving if we go nuclear, is a price the 24,000 people who die annually of fuel poverty are happy to pay. The real argument is that whatever we spend on windmills they won't work.
Moderately correctly FoI say that 20% of our power is exported to England & Wales (actually 17% & 1/3rd is to Ireland) but this is purely because we have nuclear power. This is not an argument for letting Hunterston & Torness close.
Their happy scenario is that renewables will be up from the current 13% (10% being hydro) to 45% in time for the closure of Torness. This is a rise of 32% at a time when 50% of Scotland's current capacity will have closed. This will clearly mot avoid blackouts. Going into it in more detail 20% of this proposed capacity is windmills, 6 times present production. Grid experts have publicly warned that wind's inherent instability (wind comes in gusts) would make the grid crash at above 10%. The remaining 15%, while not detailed, must be the long promised wave & tidal which currently provides zero % of our power & has not progressed as far as completing the journey across the drawing board. It is grossly irresponsible to base Scotland's future on such a will o' the wisp.
They also promise that conventional coal production would be transferred to inherently more expensive "clean coal" while admitting that this "urgently needs to be demonstrated commercially.". Indeed. Once again we are being promised pie in the sky
Perhaps most dishonest is the cheerful assurance that "there will be no year in which demand comes even close to exceeding supply". This is also the line in the previous Executive's report Matching Renewable Energy With Demand which again happily assures us that production will "on average" over the year, match demand. What this means in real life is that only 49% of the time, if all the renewabilist's promises work out, will we be suffering blackouts. Presumably almost all wimter nights when there is no wind or when there are gales, while supply will hold up during balmy summer afternoons.
Worse - the writer says that he makes no allowance for energy saving, which is sensible since nobody has yet ever pointed to a power station that was closed because of energy saving, but does not mention that he is making no allowance for a growing economy. If the SNP achieve their promised 3% annual growth by 2023 we will be 60% wealthier (if they achieve 4% as promised if we get the ability to cut corporation tax we will be 90% better off due to compound growth). In fact these are both extremely modest ambitions since world average growth is 5% annually. Since the correlation between economic growth & energy use is as well recognised as anything in economics we will need to increase energy production commensurately.
There is absolutely no reason, apart from politics, why we cannot have unlimited quantities of nuclear power at half the present cost. However because of the irresponsibility of our political we are sleepwalking towards blackouts & a very great increase in hypothermia deaths.
Reference - the Executive's renewables report - conclusions p77 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/112589/0027356.pdf
Monday, June 04, 2007
SNP Government http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=765642007
& http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.1404536.0.0.php& http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1404509.0.0.php
18/5 Farming tigers http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=771352007
Media reporting http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2082507,00.html
Media censorship of Agim Ceku http://news.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=778362007
23rd Nuclear http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=796622007
24th SNP http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.1421352.0.0.php
25th Windmillery http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1425201.0.0.phphttp://thescotsman.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=810642007
27th Nuclear http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=822932007
29th Dyslexia http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1430434.0.0.php
30th Trams http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1433187.0.0.php
reality tv http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/features/display.var.1433241.0.0.php
Windmills cost £2 million each. http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scitech.cfm?id=840422007
31 Karadic http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=847922007
1st Nuclear http://www.theherald.co.uk/features/featuresopinon/display.var.1430516.0.0.php
2nd Trams http://www.theherald.co.uk/politics/news/display.var.1443239.0.0.php
Forth crossing http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=861912007
3rd Wind http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/letters.cfm?id=867112007
Nazi Ashdown http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/paddy_ashdown/2007/06/northernireland.html-------------------------
4th Ming http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1444330.0.0.php