Sunday, 4 August 2013

Dick Smith and other Mixed Nuts.

Dick Smith and other Mixed Nuts.

by NCTCS Secretary Anthony Cox 

Dick Smith has a track record of elitism and moral self-indulgence. He is a rich man who now seems to want poorer folk to pay the price of his moral concerns about the scam of AGW.

Smith is a disciple of Ehrlich. Ehrlich is a loon who in turn is a modern disciple of Malthus. Malthus was an 18thC preacher who thought that like animals humans would breed themselves beyond the environment’s ability to sustain.

Malthus at least based his theories on what he though was beneficial to humanity. The modern Malthusian is a misanthrope, and Ehrlich is no exception.

Like Ehrlich, Smith wants fewer people. Most recently he is advocating this on the basis that energy is going to run out, or at least become so dear at 10 bucks a litre that no one could afford it.

To give him his due Smith does go into bat for nuclear and gives renewables a serve. So there is some sense there because unless you only want electricity for 40% of the time and even then in a completely unpredictable way and at a huge cost renewable energy only makes sense to the ideologically brainwashed or those making a buck from it.

Those who advocate renewable energy are caught in a web of fanciful nonsense. The aptly named Will J. Grant writing at the ironically named The Conversation is a typical example. After listing the marvellously speculative renewable forms on the drawing board, Grant concludes:
Some – perhaps all – of these technologies may be economically viable one day or in particular niches.

This is self-indulgent elitism given the crying need for macro-grid energy to maintain living standards in the West and to raise living standards in the third world. The only niche markets for renewables are expediently non-conformist wealthy urbanites who take social infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, modern transport exigencies and the requirements of city power for granted.

So Smith is not on the same level of hypocrisy as Grant   and he has shown an interest in promising speculative energy sources such as Low Energy Nuclear Reactions {LENR].     But like Grant Smith is a devotee of AGW and more importantly AGW’s evil sister, peak energy.

Peak energy is straight out of the Erhlich book of doom and gloom. This doom and gloom is wrapped up in the purity of nature and the negative effect human demand for energy has on nature.

If anything this combination of reverence for nature and the idea that energy is running out is even more damaging than AGW. It is certainly more expensive with renewable energy costing billions in Australia alone.

None of this money spent on renewables needs to be spent. There are multifarious types of energy, both old and new waiting to be developed. The Japanese are about to begin to exploit methane hydrate on the ocean floor, the world is awash with natural gas from all sources and Thorium, a wonder energy source with literally centuries of supply has not even been looked at.

Smith’s position about peak energy is therefore unsustainable; his position on this issue is as badly thought out as is his position on AGW. The irony is there is absolutely no indication that renewable energy is going to replace fossil fuel. The global statistics show that renewable energy plateaued in the late 1990’s:

And the US Department of Energy shows little chance of the use of renewables increasing into the future:
Image Source here.
The point is emphasised by the fact that most of the renewable energy being used is biomass, mainly wood; as Matt Ridley notes about the IPCC report:
It turns out that the great majority of this energy, 10.2% out of the 13.8% share, comes from biomass, mainly wood (often transformed into charcoal) and dung. Most of the rest is hydro; less than 0.5% of the world’s energy comes from wind, tide, wave, solar and geothermal put together.

At best Smith is ill-informed; at worst, like other advocates of Malthus, he is motivated by misanthropy. One would like to think not; but in any event a harm done with good intentions is still a harm and Smith is pursuing harmful ideas.