Sunday, 28 October 2012

Wind and Solar are Worse than Coal

"Carbon Sense" 
Common sense on carbon, food, energy and climate.

Wind and Solar are Worse than Coal
and cause the waste of gas.

by Viv Forbes

We are told we must replace coal powered electricity with wind and solar, 
because of the “dangerous carbon dioxide” produced when coal is burnt. 
But a bit of investigation shows that carbon dioxide is a benefit to the biosphere, 
whereas wind and solar do real damage to the environment and the economy.

28 October 2012.

A pdf print-ready copy of this article can be downloaded from:

James Hansen, an outspoken world climate alarmist says: “Coal-fired power plants are factories of death”. The Australian Greens want a fast end to coal mining in Australia, and support a swift expansion of wind and solar power. As the Greens are part of the coalition which governs Australia, the electricity industry is now being coerced by carbon taxes and green subsidies and mandates to replace efficient and reliable coal-powered electricity with costly and unreliable wind and solar plants.

All of this paranoia is driven by climatist claims that carbon dioxide causes environmental harm by triggering dangerous global warming. Let’s look at whether coal energy or green energy does more harm to the environment.

There is absolutely no proof that carbon dioxide causes any measurable changes to climate. In fact, the evidence indicates that changes in atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide are a result, not a cause, of variations in global temperatures.

Moreover, burning coal in clean modern power stations has definite benefits for the biosphere – it puts food and drink for all life back into the atmosphere. The major coal combustion products are – nitrogen plant food from the air (69%), carbon dioxide plant food from the coal (21%) and water vapour, the liquid for life, from the coal (7%). The other 3% comprises mainly inert atmospheric gases from the air and an ash residue of trace minerals from the coal. The green bogey-man, carbon dioxide, is the gas of life and a free gift from coal combustion to the biosphere. More carbon dioxide has proven benefits in making plants grow faster in good weather and helping them survive better in droughts or frosts. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is insurance for the biosphere no matter what climate change is in store for us.

Green energy, however, can affect local climate and does cause environmental damage.

Wind turbines work by extracting kinetic energy from the wind. To extract significant energy in any particular location, there needs to be an almost impenetrable thicket of these whirling scythes.

Trapping the Energy from the Wind

This has three adverse consequences - it changes the local climate, takes a terrible toll on birds and bats, and the throbbing noise pollutes the local environment.

A wall of wind turbines acts like a mini coastal range – slowing the wind and making it rise over the obstacles. Whenever air rises over a range, it cools and tends to drop its moisture as rain. As it goes down the other side it tends to warm up, lowering its relative humidity. This is why the apparently insignificant coastal range from Cooktown to Cooma is naturally covered with thick scrub and the land in the rain shadow behind the coastal range is dry. Wind towers inevitably have a similar effect on climate, creating new rain shadows in the areas robbed of wind. The effect is magnified if turbines are placed along the ridgeline.
How to increase the Height of the Wind & Rain Barrier – The Hallet Wind Farm in South Australia 2012

To add to the environmental risk, some turbine motors have caught fire in high winds, causing bushfires in this more vulnerable rain shadow area.

Nothing like a good fire to clean up the Environment

Stand-alone solar farms also cause environmental damage. Solar, like wind, is a very dilute form of energy that requires a huge area of collectors to harvest significant energy. Green plants need that same solar energy on their leaves to grow, but solar collectors shade the ground and steal their energy, creating even greater deserts than wind towers. This is not a problem in real deserts, but the massive populations needing electricity seldom live near deserts – they flock to the warm green coasts. Solar panels on roofs are expensive feel-good status symbols. They production seldom recovers their real costs.

Peak production from solar panels in Australia occurs at noon.
Peak annual demand on the power grid occurs in mid-winter at 6.30pm, after the sun goes down.
Therefore in winter, solar panels on roofs are about as much use as an ashtray on a motorcycle.

In addition, both wind and solar need far bigger networks of maintenance access roads, fire breaks and transmission lines than coal. The existing environment is destroyed by dozers and graders and the disturbed land is covered by roads and concrete, or re-colonised by aggressive weeds.

Tehachapi Pass Wind Farms - 5,000 turbines cover virtually every ridgeline in the mountain pass between the Mojave Desert and California’s Central Valley.

Finally, both wind and solar farms produce zero or negligible power for at least 60% of the time. Thus they need 100% backup to avoid power failures. These backup facilities sterilise more land, and often need to be on “spinning reserve” in order to be instantly ready when clouds hide the sun or the wind fails at a time of peak demand. This additional construction causes more environmental harm and massively increases the cost of green electricity.

Wind Power means investing in Two Sets of Generators, with Two Land Footprints, in order to guarantee the Same Supply

Cartoon Credit: Steve Hunter

In this way both wind and solar energy affect far more land per unit of energy generated than a compact coal mine and its nearby linked power station.

Finally, what about gas? The carbon tax and the green war on coal and carbon dioxide have artificially boosted gas in preference to coal for generating electricity. This is generally a misallocation of resources. Gas is a very useful carbon fuel, but is generally too valuable to burn for generating electricity. It also needs to be gathered from a far bigger area than coal, creating more surface disturbance for a network of wells, pipelines, roads and waste water containment dams. In a sensible world, industrial electricity would be generated mainly by low-cost hydro, geothermal, coal or nuclear, with some gas for variable peak loads. Gas is more useful as fuel for mobile equipment, it provides a cleaner transport fuel in cities than petrol or diesel, and is invaluable for petrochemicals, fertilisers and plastics. Gas is surely being wasted providing backup for the token wind and solar plants being built.

They complained about the coal mine,
So we gave them 500 gas wells.

They complained about the gas wells,
So we gave them 5,000 wind turbines.

But then the wind failed, and their lights went out,
And now they wish they had stuck with the coal mine.
Viv Forbes

The conclusions are obvious – political force-feeding of wind and solar energy does more harm to the natural environment than coal, affects the local climate, hits consumers with unnecessary costs and threatens industry with power failures.

Solar is sensible for domestic hot water, powering small remote facilities and re-charging portable batteries. Wind power is sometimes useful for pumping water and generating power in remote locations. Consumers should be free to choose and pay for whatever energy they prefer, for whatever reason. However, wind and solar both produce costly intermittent power and should never be subsidised or mandated as a primary source of industrial electricity.

Further Reading: 

James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate alarmists and leader of the war on coal says: “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet. The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.” See:

“The Greens have said very clearly: no new coalmines, no extension of existing coalmines; let's invest in renewables - the technology exists," Senator Milne. See:

Last weekend as blizzards swept across Europe, and over three hundred people died, Russia's main gas-company, Gazprom, was unable to meet demand. Did anyone even think of deploying our wind turbines to make good the energy shortfall from Russia?
Of course not. We all know that windmills are a self-indulgent and sanctimonious luxury whose purpose is to make us feel good. Had Europe genuinely depended on green energy on Friday, by Sunday thousands would be dead from frostbite and exposure, and the EU would have suffered an economic body blow to match that of Japan's tsunami a year ago. See:

Lies, Damn Lies and Green Statistics. Almost all predictions about the expansion and cost of German wind turbines and solar panels have turned out to be wrong – at least by a factor of two, sometimes by a factor of five. --Daniel Wentzel, Die Welt, 20 October 2012:

Large-scale exploitation of wind energy will inevitably leave an imprint in the atmosphere.  Although the winds will not die, sucking that much energy out of the atmosphere may change precipitation and turbulence and have a climate effect as big as a doubling of the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. See:

Spanish wind farms kill 6 to 18 million birds & bats a year. See:

Maryland wind farm ranks as the most deadly to birds and bats in USA. See:

The only sustainable population of whooping cranes in the wild is declining, concurrently with the invasion of their migration route, the Central Flyway, by over 2,000 wind turbines and their power lines. Nearly one hundred of these critically-endangered birds were lost this year. See:

Residents as far as 10km from the nearest wind turbine are affected by infra-sound and low frequency noise from the turbine. Unable to live in their homes, and unable to sell them, they become homeless “wind farm refugees”. See:

Peak production from solar panels in Australia occurs at noon. Peak annual demand on the power grid occurs at 6.30pm in mid-winter, after the sun goes down. Therefore solar panels contribute ZERO to supplying peak demand. See:

The cost of renewable energy for Australia is explained here:

The products of combustion of all carbon fuels are normal and natural components of the atmosphere, and essential nutrients for all life. This paper looks at the compositions of solid carbon fuels, the process of coal combustion, the exhaust products produced, and the benefits and pollution potential of those exhaust products. See:

An increase of 300ppm in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere (currently about 395ppm) would cause an increased growth in food plants of about 40% and trees of about 70%. See:

CO2 is essential for life. More CO2 will do much good and no harm. If it is allowed to increase at the current rate it will feed the world’s coming peak population without needing more land, seed, cultivation or water. For a beautifully illustrated article on the many benefits of carbon dioxide for the all life see:

About the Author:

Viv Forbes understands rain shadows – he lives in one. He and his wife Judy live on a farm just west of the coastal ranges, and spend most of their time and energy there. They also have first-hand experience with the intermittent power of windmills and solar pumps for pumping stock water, and have replaced most of them on their property with reliable air pumps operating on compressed air produced by coal-based mains power. They use solar chargers to run electric fences (cattle and sheep sleep at night), and a solar panel on the bonnet of one tractor to keep its battery charged. But for the heavy lifting like running cities, trains, lifts, hospitals, factories and refineries, reliable coal-powered mains electricity is needed.

Viv worked as a coal geologist for several years, helping to unravel the climate history written in the rocks in the huge coal basins of Queensland. He also explored for oil and gas and is still a non-executive director and shareholder of a small coal exploration company (which incidentally will benefit if high electricity costs in Australia drive our heavy industries to China and India). He thus understands the Grand Carbon Cycle, from the ancient carbon-rich atmospheres of the Permian and Jurassic Eras, to the massive ancient forests, to the extensive coal seams, to the electricity generated as that coal is burnt, to the welcome release of the ancient carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere, rejuvenating today’s biosphere.

With a bit of luck and a lot of Carbon Sense, he believes we may help Earth to return to the moist, verdant, warm, life-supporting environments that prevailed when those great forests grew.

The UN, Agenda 21 and the erosion of land ownership rights:

Brisbane presentation on UN Agenda 21 & ICLEI by historian Amy McGrath
Australians, Americans and Europeans are increasingly concerned about UN Agenda 21 and its confusing regulatory maze and alphabet jumble of agencies such as ICLEI. Independent research repeatedly reveals UN campaigns removing personal property rights and restricting resource use, residency and movement within communities.

The UN's campaigns are falsely camouflaged as environmental action under two misleading tags: biodiversity and sustainability. These feed off UN Agenda 21's third leg: bogus scary climate change (formerly global warming). Arbitrary regulations bypass parliaments by using taxpayer-funded agencies to replace freedom of choice with state control.

Sydney author and historian Amy McGrath OAM will be visiting Brisbane on Friday, November 2nd and has kindly made herself available to discuss this serious threat to Australians.

Amy will reveal UN Agenda 21's octopus-like tentacles spreading over local councils through the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives. ICLEI is a UN agency based in Bonn, Germany.

Amy will:
- share research into UN Agenda 21 and stealthy ICLEI implementation tactics;
- discuss how to unravel and undo local council regulations and revoke UN treaties;
- Discuss how to protect freedom and protect national sovereignty in Australia.

This is part of global governance with total state ownership compressing people into regulated zones after banning private property. It's underway in western democracies at huge human and economic cost. It has already removed some Australian residents' property rights. Horrified with her findings, Amy and friends have formed the Alliance for Property Rights.

Australia is signatory to over 7,000 UN treaties. These range from the Lima Declaration destroying agriculture and manufacturing to seemingly innocent yet restrictive ordinances controlling water, land, farming and food. Is Australia technically becoming a UN colony?

Subject to numbers, attendees will receive a free copy of Amy's book Wolves in Sheep's Clothing. It's a fine compilation of writings exposing UN Agenda 21 and global governance destroying Australian sovereignty and political systems.

Please forward this to interested friends and join us in learning how to stop the UN's hidden Revolution by Regulation. 

Date and Time: Friday, November 2nd, 2012, 2:00pm. Followed by discussion for those interested. Theatre booked until 5:00pm.

Venue: Tribal Theatre, 346 George Street, between Ann & Turbot Streets, Brisbane city.
Formerly Dendy Theatre.

All Welcome. Price: $5 to cover cost of venue. Students and pensioners: gold coin donation.

Killing the Earth to Save it.

For those interested in the man-made global warming debate, a good book to read is: “Killing the Earth to Save it,” by James Delingpole. There is a wealth of information revealed in the book and how we are being conned.

The Last Word

Wind and solar can never change the way the sun shines or the way the wind blows. Even if we discover or construct (at great cost), massive electricity storage systems, these green energy options will always be inferior in all ways to well-designed coal, gas, nuclear, hydro or geothermal generators for industrial power supplies. It is thus sad in the extreme that the energy policies of the alternative government are little better than the policies that are failing so spectacularly in Europe.

Can you believe that the policy of Australia’s alternative government supports “Action on Climate Change” including the creation of a $2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund, additional funding for one million solar homes by 2020, clean energy hubs, solar towns, solar schools, geothermal projects, carbon farming, studies into algal synthesis and the planting of 20 million trees? Their promises include:

   Spending over one billion dollars on a “Solar Continent Policy”.
   A million Solar Roofs policy.
   $100 million for at least 25 Solar Towns and 100 solar schools.
   $50 million to create a minimum of 25 new Geothermal Towns and Tidal Towns.
   Plus a new green army and massive expansion of the green bureaucracy.

Looks like, no matter who you vote for, the Greens win.

Authorised by:
Viv Forbes
Rosevale    Qld    Australia

“Carbon Sense” is a newsletter produced by the Carbon Sense Coalition, an Australian based organisation which opposes waste of resources, opposes pollution, and promotes the rational and sustainable use of carbon energy and carbon food.
Please spread “Carbon Sense” around.
For more information visit our web site at
Literary, financial or other contributions to help our cause are welcomed.
Chairman Viv Forbes MS 23, Rosewood   Qld   4340   Australia.
To Unsubscribe send a reply with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line.

Stern Criticism

British Conservative MP, Peter Lilley has called for the commissioning of a fresh independent study into the economics of climate change and sharply criticised economist Nicholas Stern’s six-year-old report – which warned that the costs of doing nothing to prevent global warming significantly outweighed the costs of acting.
In a new paper published recently called  What is wrong with Stern? [pdf] Lilley claims that the influential report “was not fit for purpose” and urges the government to adopt a new strategy taking a more gradual approach to reducing emissions.

According to Lilley, while Stern’s arguments were considered “incontrovertible truth” at the time, “the mood has changed since the recession” as the costs of tackling climate change have hit homes and businesses.  (LINK - GWPF)

In a foreword to Lilley's splendid study, the esteemed resource economist Richard Tol concludes that the Stern Review's "academic value is zero". On the other hand, its political value is high. It is therefore understandable that Stern was rewarded for doing the government's dirty work.

Nicholas Stern's report was followed, down-under, by the  equally flawed Garnault Report.

Andrew Montford at Bishop Hill wrote: (link)
Nicholas Stern is to blame.

When you see wind farms covering every hill and mountain and most of the valleys too, you can blame Stern. If you can't pay your heating bills, ask Stern why this has happened. When children are indoctrinated and dissenting voices crushed, it is at Nicholas Stern that you should point an accusing finger. When the lights start to go out in a few years time, it's Stern who will have to explain why.
Despite years of having mainstream economists pointing to the flaws in the Stern Review there has been an almost unanimous collective shrug from the media, more interested in climate porn than the wellbeing of their neighbours.

No Warming for 16 Years!

The Mail on Line reports:
  • The figures reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures
  • This means that the ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996
The regular data collected on global temperature is called Hadcrut 4, as it is jointly issued by the Met Office’s Hadley Centre and Prof Jones’s Climatic Research Unit.
The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land and sea, was issued  quietly on the internet, without any media fanfare, and, until today, it has not been reported. 

This stands in sharp contrast  to the release of the previous  figures six months ago, which went only to the end of 2010 – a very warm year. 

Ending the data then means it is possible to show a slight warming trend since 1997, but 2011 and the first eight months of 2012 were much cooler, and thus this trend is erased. 

Some climate scientists, such as Professor Phil Jones, director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, last week dismissed the significance of the plateau, saying that 15 or 16 years is too short a period from which to draw conclusions.

Others disagreed. Professor Judith Curry, who is the head of the climate science department at America’s prestigious Georgia Tech university, told The Mail on Sunday that it was clear that the computer models used to predict future warming were ‘deeply flawed’.

Even Prof Jones admitted that he and his colleagues did not understand the impact of ‘natural variability’ – factors such as long-term ocean temperature cycles and changes in the output of the sun. 

Here are three not-so trivial questions you probably won’t find in your next pub quiz. First, how much warmer has the world become since a) 1880 and  b) the beginning of 1997? And what has this got to do with your ever-increasing energy bill?

You may find the answers to the first two surprising. Since 1880, when reliable temperature records began to be kept across most of the globe, the world has warmed by about 0.75 degrees Celsius. 

From the start of 1997 until August 2012, however, figures released last week show the answer is zero: the trend, derived from the aggregate data collected from more than 3,000 worldwide measuring points, has been flat.


There has been a response from the UK Met Office (Link)
Q.1 “First, please confirm that they do indeed reveal no warming trend since 1997.”
The linear trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina) is about 0.03°C/decade, amounting to a temperature increase of 0.05°C over that period...
Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others which have predicted a rise of 0.2 degrees celsius per decade for the 21st century. I accept that there will always be periods when a rising gradient may be interrupted. But this flat period has now gone on for about the same time as the 1980 – 1996 warming.”

The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
Definitely Non Gorgon Judith Curry.
Dr Judith Curry wrote to David Rose (the author of the Daily Mail article): (link)
The data confirms the existence of a ‘pause’ in the warming. The impact of this pause within the climate dynamic community has been to focus increased attention on the impact of natural variability, particularly the impact of internal multi-decadal oscillations in the ocean.  The new climate model calculations for the AR5 have focused on trying to assess what it would take to accurately simulate these multi-decadal ocean oscillations and how predictable they might be.  These new observations and climate modeling results will hopefully impact the the IPCC AR5 deliberations so that we do not see the same overly confident consensus statements that we saw in the AR4.  
And more From Judith Curry: (link)
A note to defenders of the idea that the planet has been warming for the past 16 years:Raise the level of your game.  Nothing in the Met Office’s statement or in Nuticelli’s argument effectively refutes Rose’s argument that there has been no increase in the global average surface temperature for the past 16 years.
Use this as an opportunity to communicate honestly with the public about what we know and what we don’t know about climate change. Take a lesson from these other scientists that acknowledge the ‘pause’, mentioned in my previous post Candid comments from global warming scientists

Meanwhile, Ex IPCC expert (and 0.0001 Nobel Laureate) John Christy has written recently:
The recent claims that July 2012 and Jan-Jul 2012 were the hottest ever in the conterminous US (USA48) are based on one specific way to look at the US temperature data. NOAA, who made the announcement, utilized the mean temperature or TMean (i.e. (TMax + TMin)/2) taken from station records after adjustments for a variety of discontinuities were applied. In other words, the average of the daily high and daily low temperatures is the metric of choice for these kinds of announcements. Unfortunately, TMean is akin to averaging apples and oranges to come up with a rather uninformative fruit.
Finally, a misinformed person has written:
It is very easy to pick one’s own start and stop dates to show that there has been no warming, that there has been cooling or that the warming is twice as fast.

David Whitehouse of the Global Warming Policy Foundation addresses this : (Link)
Finally, it has been said that the 16-year standstill observed in the Hadcrut4 data since 1997 has been cherry-picked with its start and end dates. This is not so, the period is simply the answer to the question how far back does one have to go to see significant warming taking the errors into account. In fact, start and end dates are irrelevant, only its duration is important, not where it occurs in the dataset.