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Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Do pay attention Mr Jones....

Griff Rhys Jones is the latest to join the ranks of NIMBY anti-renewable energy campaigners, but at least he accepts climate change is happening, it's just that he is wrong on renewable energy and even more so on nuclear

Yes you ARE a NIMBY Mr Griff Rhys Jones, no matter how much you deny it. Furthermore, it is quite frankly incredible, you having admitted that climate change concerns you, that you have decided to take the position that you have on renewable energy.

"It is about the planning of it" you say, in your article today in The Daily Mail. "or perhaps the lack of planning of it, that is threatening to randomly desecrate our landscape"

Well, have you actually stopped to think about what climate change will do to our landscape if it is allowed to run away and become worse until it reaches a tipping point? You only have to look around you and you will, hopefully, see the effect that climate change is already having on our landscape - ruined crops, houses ruined by flash floods, heathland destroyed by wildfires. And that's just the start of it.

Let's take Scotland as an example. Already the habitat of the Snow Bunting is receding each year with the decline of snow cover on mountains. Rising sea levels are already presenting a serious threat to some of the Scottish Islands and will do so increasingly as time advances and climate change gets worse. There are many more examples of how nature and the environment in the UK is already being affected by climate change, and I shouldn't have to remind you of this with your obvious knowledge of the British countryside.

Is nuclear really an option faced with the dire predictions of how bad climate change could get if we don't do something about it now? No, not really. For a start, it takes anything between 7 and 14 years to build just one nuclear plant. At the present time, nuclear only meets a small amount of our national energy demand.

Furthermore, the claim that nuclear doesn't add to greenhouse gas emissions is incorrect. Nuclear actually releases heat in vast amounts and so therefore remains a contributor to climate change.

The only real solution to stopping dangerous climate change is renewable energy: it is clean, cheap and it provides us with energy security. Relying on nuclear is not only foolhardy, it also wastes time that we could spend on adding to our renewable energy infrastructure. It also provides us with a reliable way of adding much-needed jobs to the economy for those who are interested purely in economics, as Germany has shown. 

Those who oppose the development of renewable energy on the basis of an imagined destructive effect on our landscape are living in a dream world, particularly given the fact that if climate change is allowed to worsen, the effects on our land will make present concerns about renewable energy on the land look like childish insecurity. 

Opponents of renewable energy taking up such a position are leaving in a dream world, based on an idyllic fantasy of Britain drawn from the romantic days of Blake and Wordsworth, quaint but deluded. 

I am very sad to see that you have joined them Mr Jones.... 

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

James Delingpole: A ludicrous joke of a man

Finally, James Delingpole has read a scientific paper it seems. No matter that it is over twenty years old though, and also more than adequately supplanted by subsequent research. It is ultimately quite sensible therefore to regard his views on so-called adverse health effects from wind turbines as little more than delusion. 

So James Delingpole is actually starting to read academic papers now is he? After having admitted that he doesn’t read scientific papers, he has now dredged up a paper by N. D. Kelly from 1987 concerning so-called infrasound from wind turbines. Never mind that this paper is now over twenty years old and has therefore been supplanted by considerable subsequent discussion on this subject, but never mind, at least its something, anything to continue his deluded and frantic assault on the wind energy sector.

As one of the comments following his article in The Telegraph makes quite clear, the Australian government has carried out substantial research into the claims of anti-wind propagandists that wind turbines generate adverse health effects from infrasound. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) conducted a thorough review of the scientific literature on this subject in order to determine whether there is a link between wind turbines and adverse health effects. The review didn’t just consider infrasound noise but also investigated noise, electromagnetic interference, shadow flicker and blade glint. It decided ultimately that there was no published scientific evidence to positively substantiate such claims.

In 2010 the NHMRC further published a statement presenting the findings of the review. This concluded that at the time of the review “there is currently insufficient published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.” Even so, it nevertheless recommended that “relevant authorities should take a precautionary approach” and that “people who believe they are experiencing any health problems should consult their GP promptly.” The latter two statements aren’t of course any implication on the part of the council that there could be a link, but merely the sensible recommendation that a precautionary principle be adopted by relevant concerns anyway. I wish the mobile phone industry would take such an approach as we in this society are constantly bombarded by energy waves from the mobile phone industry, but as it happens in this sector also there has been deep discussion and scientific investigation of the possible effects on human health from mobile phones. I haven’t heard of Delingpole making such a fuss about mobiles though.

Further on in his article, Delingpole states: “The wind industry has resisted demands from campaigners to investigate this problem further”, but there again, why should they have to when the NHMRC has already conducted an extensive investigation of the matter? In fact, in 2011 NHMRC was continuing to investigate the matter, rather than dropping it and moving on to something else. It further convened a Wind Farms and Human Health Reference Group consisting of experts in skin cancer, sleep medicine, psychology, epidemiology, preventative medicine, population health, acoustics, noise and vibration and  neuroscience.

Of these, Professor Ronald Grunstein is a staff specialist physician in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital with a strong interest in sleep health and the metabolic and neurobiological effects of sleep loss. He also has an honorary appointment in respiratory and sleep medicine at St Vincents Hospital Sydney. Dr Norm Broner has over 30 years of consulting experience in Acoustics, Noise and Vibration and has been heavily involved in the preparation of Environmental Impact Statements and with the preparation of Environmental Management plans. Peter Mitchell has spent four years researching the technical characteristics of wind power generation and founded the Waubra Foundation, an independent organisation which was created specifically to investigate the health problems identified by residents living near wind turbines and other industrial sites and to facilitate properly reviewed, independent research into their claims. His work also includes assisting with investigations of wind turbine noise emissions, pre-construction noise impact assessment and post construction noise compliance.

Now, I am, unfortunately, not a scientist myself, but from where I am standing that is a lot of rather quite impressive experience gathered together in one organisation. James Delingpole however, is, like me, although considerably more advanced in his career than me I am dismayed to say, a writer and journalist. He is a libertarian conservative, which just about tells you everything you need to know in the space of just two words, and appears not to have any real scientific knowledge whatsoever. Indeed, back in 2011, he was even forced to admit it on TV.

“It’s not my job to sit down and read peer-reviewed papers” he spluttered on an episode of BBC’s Horizon programme, “because I simply do not have the time; I don’t have the expertise.”

Oh, but he does have a big mouth, that I will concede, and I am not the only one to share that belief either it seems, Sunny Hundal on the Liberal Conspiracy website got it absolutely right when he referred to Delingpole as “a ludicrous joke” of a man.

Delingpole, in my view, is just the kind of ignorant deluded twerp that most sensible people prefer to keep away from. The best you can say of him really is that he is, and will probably continue to be, a “ludicrous joke”.

Unfortunately that also makes him a veritable pain in the arse.   

Sunday, 28 July 2013

US EIA publishes its International Energy Outlook 2013

The US Energy Information Administration has published its  International Energy Outlook 2013 (IEO2013) which projects that world energy consumption will grow by 56 percent between 2010 and 2040 with total world energy use rising from 524 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) in 2010 to 630 quadrillion Btu in 2020 and 820 quadrillion Btu in 2040. Much of this growth occurs in countries outside the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) where demand is driven by strong, long-term economic growth. Energy use in non-OECD countries rises by 90 percent compared to 17 percent in the OECD.

The world's fastest-growing energy sources are renewable energy and nuclear with each growing by 2.5 percent per year. Nevertheless, fossil fuels continue to supply almost 80 percent of global energy use through 2040. Of this, natural gas is the fastest growing fossil fuel source.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

UK government figures show £6 billion boost in green goods and services

The UK's green goods and services market has grown by almost 5 percent to more than £128 billion over the 2011/12 period. The UK now accounts for a 3.7 per cent share of the global Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services (LCEGS) market, which is valued at £3.4tr and has grown by 3.8 per cent since last year's figures were issued. The report confirms that alternative fuels, building technologies, and wind power are by far the largest sectors in terms of both global and UK LCEGS sales, where they accounted for £19.2bn, £15.4bn, and £15.1bn respectively.

Source: Business Green

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Energy & Environment Dates 2012