The history of human progress is essentially the history of man's mastery of ever more powerful and effective sources of energy. Today, with misguided “greens” attempting to roll back the clock on energy production, it is a good time to teach our children and remind ourselves where we came from. The following is an entertaining history of humans and their energy sources by Viv Forbes—a science graduate, geologist, mineral economist, farmer and Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition—with illustrations by cartoonist Steve Hunter.
In his recent State of the Union (SOTU) address, US President Barack Obama claimed that “America is number one in wind power.” This will come as a shock to China and several other countries that have led the way in green energy like wind and solar. That aside, expanding wind energy may not be the blessing its boosters tout. In Europe, many of the newly installed wind turbines are replacing existing older models, and in China as much as 15% of the installed turbines are not connected to the power grid. And with fierce winter storms in the news on both sides of the Atlantic, news comes from the UK of an epic fail for wind power. Are the fortunes of windpower shifting?
It is no secret that there is much misinformation bandied about regarding climate change and the related subject of green energy. Half-truths and lies are spread by advocates on both sides of the debate, most often via the Internet. Recently, climate alarmists trumpeted a report claiming that 23% of the world's energy was now being supplied by renewable sources, clearly an attempt to bolster the claims of the wind and solar industry. At the same time, a report appeared that powering a car via electricity is 10 times less efficient than via fossil fuel. These are only two of the bogus, misleading reports to surface recently, promoted by both warmists and skeptics. Sadly, the public is caught in the middle without the scientific or technical background to judge the truth of such pronouncements.
It is Earth Day today, a chance for all tree huggers, green activists and other self absorbed eco-types to feel good about themselves by disparaging their neighbors. There was a time when environmental issues were rightfully at the top of people's concerns—the skies above our cities were brown and noxious, our rivers and streams poisoned with pollution, lead was accumulating in the environment and our children. The problem is, though most major problems have been addressed, the bureaucracy that was created to fix the environment cannot help but look for new problems that demand solutions, even if the problems are slight and the solutions draconian. Chief among these new problems is “carbon pollution” by which the eco-enforcers mean CO2 emissions. The tragedy of Earth Day is that governments spend billions of dollars on meaningless efforts to curb carbon dioxide while billions live in poverty and squaller around the world.
Supporters of the CO2 driven theory of anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) are in full panic mode. The continued hiatus in global temperature increase has led to a flurry of statements denying “the pause,” as climate scientists have named it. This new denialism even extends to international organizations like the WHO, that just recently claimed that global warming had not ceased, even though numerous organizations—including Britain’s Meteorological Office, NASA, and the IPCC—have admitted that it has. Among climate change true believers there is a scramble on to “find the missing heat” that would explain the pause. Strangely, among these practitioners of group think there is no consensus about the cause of the pause. At the same time, the IPCC is about to release its latest screed regarding climate change and the leaks have been flowing fast and furious, saying there is dissent in the land of consensus. This may well be the turning of the tide on the greatest scientific hoax in history.
The number of earthquakes in the U.S. has risen dramatically since the advent of widespread hydraulic fracturing for the recovery of oil and natural gas. In both North America and Europe, concern that such activity could cause damaging earthquakes is rising and the debate shows signs of becoming another unscientific brouhaha fueled by ignorance and fear. It has been known for many years that fracking can cause seismic activity, as can damming rivers, mining minerals and pumping oil from underground. Is fracking being subjected to unfair criticism? Several new reports and a multi-national study, just published in the journal Science, attempt to take an objective, scientific view of the problem.
Writing in a paper to appear in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, NASA scientist and noted climate alarmist James Hansen has come down on the side of nuclear power. He and coauthor Pushker A. Kharecha claim that getting power from nuclear energy actually saves lives. “Global nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths,” they report. Of course it also prevented 64 gigatonnes (Gt) CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, when compared to the burning of fossil fuels, perhaps explaining why Hansen has suddenly become a nuclear power booster. With global warming on hiatus for the past decade and a half, the climate change cabal may be growing desperate for allies and have turned to that most unloved of energy sources—nuclear. Is this a sign that warmists and tree-huggers have a developing schism over nuclear power?
The Resilient Earth Press would like to announce that The Energy Gap is now available as an eBook on the Amazon Kindle. This successor to The Resilient Earth is more timely than ever given the raging debate over fracking, green energy, nuclear power and energy independence. Filled with with historical insights and loaded with technical details regarding all the world's major energy sources, this entertaining reference book should be on every energy wonk's book reader. The conversion problems from the original print book that hindered eBook publication in the past have finally been overcome and the new eBook is now for sale on Amazon. Kindle Books include wireless delivery—you can be reading The Energy Gap on your Kindle within a minute of placing your order. Books are delivered wirelessly in less than 60 second—no PC required—and the latest version of Kindle has 3G wireless coverage in over 100 countries.
The Resilient Earth Press is happy to bring you an interesting interview with the well known economist Ed Dolan. Courtesy of Oilprice.com, Dolan gives his perspective on oil prices, the prospects for cheap energy, Russia's growing uncertainty and how the natural gas boom is hindering renewable energy efforts. We think you will find a number of thought provoking statements and ideas to ponder in the views expressed in the interview, which appears in its entirety below.
Even though the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC) may be extended when Congress reconvenes in a post-election, lame duck session, American wind turbine manufacturers are laying off workers right and left. Estimates from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) indicate approximately 3,000 jobs have already been cut or designated to be cut soon. That number is almost 30% of the 11,000 direct manufacturing jobs in the industry. At the same time, the European Union (EU) has launched an investigation of Chinese photovoltaics exporters. Similar charges in the US led to the imposition of preliminary anti-subsidy tariffs on China in March and preliminary anti-dumping tariffs in May. Instead of bringing promised prosperity to developed nations, the green energy industry is collapsing or fleeing to the developing world.
Should solar and wind power be subsidized? That is the question being asked by a current Wall Street Journal (WSJ) public poll. Generous funding from the federal government has led to explosive growth in US wind and solar power installations. Lost among the election year hoopla is the fact that many of those subsidies are set to expire soon unless Congress acts. Here is an opportunity for you to express your preference by voting online.
We at The Resilient Earth would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our loyal readers for their patronage during 2011 and wish all of you a happy and prosperous New Year. The wonders of nature continue to unfold around us and the secrets of how the physical universe works are slowly uncovered by hard working scientists around the world. We look forward to a time when this website will only have to concern itself with recent scientific discoveries and the natural marvels they reveal, rather than having to debunk the junk science of the climate alarmist community and various “green energy” swindles.
Recent announcements about failing green companies have mostly flown under the major media radar. After all, when President Obama hops in Air Force One for a quick trip to a green business to make a speech about his administration's nonexistent energy policy that's worth covering—when that green business shutters its doors (after absconding with millions in tax credits) that's embarrassing, to green cheerleaders and the liberal media in general. Sadly, failure to revive the economy not withstanding, many actually believe that, if only we could provide more billions in subsidies, good green jobs would spring up like weeds. The reality is that green business cannot exists without government largess and that green economy we have heard so much about was stillborn—killed in its government funded womb by economic reality.
When night falls, many insects come out to feed, often on human food crops. Helping to turn back the pillaging insect hoards is an aerial armada of unsung and unloved heroes—bats. Bats are voracious predators of nocturnal insects, helping to control the populations of many crop and forest pests. Tragically, several migratory tree-dwelling species are being killed in unprecedented numbers by wind turbines across North America. Recent analysis presented in the journal Science suggests that reduced bat populations cause agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion/year and could rise as high as $53 billion/year if bats are driven to extinction. Oblivious to the carnage being caused by wind turbines, climate change alarmists and green political dupes have continued to push for rapid expansion of wind power. It is time to call a moratorium on wind park construction until a more realistic and less damaging policy can be formulated.
Green advocates and climate change alarmists alike insist that the world shift to using only non-polluting, renewable energy sources, and the sooner the better. What is seldom mentioned is the enormous cost of retooling the world's energy infrastructure to use intermittent, unreliable wind and solar energy. A recent two part paper, appearing in Energy Policy, makes a reasonable attempt at stating the requirements to fix humanity's fossil fuel addiction and go all green. The analysis found that, to provide roughly 84% of the world's energy needs in 2030, would require around 4 million 5 MW wind turbines and 90,000 300 MW solar power plants, with the remaining 16% coming from solar photovoltaic rooftop systems, geothermal, tidal, wave and hydroelectric sources. Some quick back-of-the-envelope calculations show why the world economy cannot afford to go totally green.