Thursday, February 26, 2009

Obama's Science is Political--As Politics Invariably Makes It

Let us never say that we have not been warned

"Consider that it takes about 1,000 wind turbines, occupying tens of thousands of acres, to produce as much electricity as just one medium-sized, coal-fired power plant. And that's if the wind is blowing: the intermittency of wind wreaks havoc on electricity grids, which need a stable flow of power, thus requiring expensive, redundant backup capacity or an unbuilt, unproven "smart grid."

"Or consider the "promise" of solar. Two projects in development will cover 12.5 square miles of central California withsolar cells in the hope of generating about 800 megawatts of power (as much as one large coal-fired plant). But that power output will only be achieved when the sun is shining brightly--around noon on sunny days; the actual output will be less than a third that amount. And the electricity will cost more than market price, even with thel ife-support of federal subsidies that keeps the solar industry going. The major factor driving the project is not the promise of abundant power but California's state quota requiring 20 percent "renewable" electricity by 2010.

"There is a reason why less than 2 percent of the world's energy currently comes from "renewable" sources such as wind and solar--the very sources that are supposedly going to power the new green economy: despite billions of dollars in government subsidies, funding decades of research, they have not proven themselves to be practical sources of energy. Indeed, without government mandates forcing their adoption in most Western countries, their high cost would make them even less prevalent.

"Will a green energy industry be an engine of economic growth? Many want us to think so, including our new President. Apparently a booming green economy with millions of new jobs is just around the corner. All we need is the right mix of government "incentives."

"These include a huge (de facto) tax on carbon emissions imposed through a cap-and-trade regulatory scheme, as well as huge government subsidies for "renewable," carbon-free sources. The hope is that these government sticks and carrots will turn today's pitiful "green energy" industry, which produces an insignificant fraction of American energy, into a source of abundant, affordable energy that can replace today's fossil-fuel-dominated industry. This view is a fantasy--one that could devastate America's economy. The reality is that "green energy" is at best a sophisticated make-work program. [condensed from the Ayn Rand Institute]

President Obama guarantees "to inflict untold damage on his own country and many others, on the basis of claims so demonstrably fallacious that they amount to a string of self-deluding lies...

"Mr Obama begins by saying that "the science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear". "Sea levels," he claims, "are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we've seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season."

"Delegates from 190 countries met in Poznan, Poland to pave the way for this year's UN conference in Copenhagen at which the world will agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change," heard Mr. Obama speak these words.

"Mr Obama has again been taken in over hurricanes. Despite a recent press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claiming that 2008's North Atlantic hurricane season "set records", even its own release later admits that it only tied as "the fifth most active" since 1944. NOAA's own graphs show hurricane activity higher in the 1950s than recently. A recent Florida State University study of tropical cyclone activity across the world (see the Watts Up With That? website) shows a steady reduction over the past four years.

"Alarming though it may be that the next US President should have fallen for all this claptrap, much more worrying is what he proposes to do on the basis of such grotesque misinformation. For a start he plans to introduce a "federal cap and trade system", a massive "carbon tax", designed to reduce America's CO2 emissions "to their 1990 levels by 2020 and reduce them an additional 80 per cent by 2050". Such a target, which would put America ahead of any other country in the world, could only be achieved by closing down a large part of the US economy.

"Mr Obama floats off still further from reality when he proposes spending $15 billion a year to encourage "clean energy" sources, such as thousands more wind turbines. He is clearly unaware that wind energy is so hopelessly ineffective that the 10,000 turbines America already has, representing "18 gigawatts of installed capacity", only generate 4.5GW of power, less than that supplied by a single giant coal-fired power station.

"He talks blithely of allowing only "clean" coal-fired power plants, using "carbon capture" - burying the CO2 in holes in the ground - which would double the price of electricity, but the technology for which hasn't even yet been developed. He then babbles on about "generating five million new green jobs". This will presumably consist of hiring millions of Americans to generate power by running around on treadmills, to replace all those "dirty" coal-fired power stations which currently supply the US with half its electricity." [condensed from]

Let us never say we have not been warned.

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