Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sustainability

Preface

This is really a response to a book review I've not read by Andy May. The book is 25 Myths That Are Destroying the Environment: What Many Environmentalists Believe and Why They Are Wrong, by Daniel B. Botkin. I know it's bad I've not read it but, bear with me, I don't have an issue with any of the myths identified by the author. I'm really more interesting in figuring the Ur-myth, the foundation stone behind it all. The book reviewer says the modern environmental movement is “anti-science, anti-technology, and anti-human. So they often are. Yet many of them seem to be genuinely spellbound by their green politics. With a sense of mission. There must be something positive in the green movement. I think it's their obsession with sustainability. Unsustainable is the evil they fight. Sustainability the good they bring. Their politics are as simple as can be.


Actual point of the blog!

I notice "sustainability" is not listed as a myth but seems to me the foundation myth of green thinking. In fact, I bet the book's author agrees that sustainability is a goal to aim for. Sustainable economics is a thing in economics not a green thing. Sustainability is all the rage, everywhere. Even nuclear power must be sustainable now. If so, who's sustainability and what sustainability? Perhaps Andy gets close when talking about the "balance" myth. Sustainability can be a code for keep it all in balance.

Modern enviros campaign on specific issues: global warming, pollution, for: organic farming and renewable energy, against: nuclear power and GMOs. Yet these are really proxy issues, every one. Their real concern is a sense that our civilization is unsustainable.

  • "You can't have exponential growth on a finite planet"
  • "We are using up resources at a rate of 2 earths"

Hence their religion of sustainability. It's as much a prophylactic against their fears as a remedy for an unbalanced earth. Sustainability for greens works a bit like political correctness for liberals, equality for lefties. A badge of identity. A way to to both recognize a fellow traveler, and have ones' identity vindicated as a moral being.

One example of how sustainability went wrong is biofuels. Greens never batted an eyelid when these measures were enacted. They lobbied for biofuels. Despite massive biofuel farming being totally unsustainable. A 3-line mantra, each line implying the next, went:

  • Biofuel is renewable.
  • Renewable is sustainable.
  • Sustainable is Good.
So they hoodwinked themselves.

This demonstrates the myth of sustainability. No green biofuel lobbyist looked critically at biofuel to see whether it really was sustainable in a technical sense. They were, in fact, told many times just how unsustainable it was. They railroaded it through as a renewable energy measure. In green parlance all renewables are, ipso facto, sustainable. No evidence, no discussion needed.

That almost demands a digression too. Ipso facto : no evidence, no discussion needed. How often do we see this too from the greens? Does it apply to everyone of their dogmas? Perhaps. Let me relist their campaigns. Global warming, pollution, for: organic farming and renewable energy, against: nuclear power and GMOs. Pretty much a list of things greens assert as good or evil. Often with faked evidence, and dishonest arguments. But that's a digression. The content of the rest of the blog. Let's get back to the sustainability myth.

So concerned are they with over-growth and reducing resource use to sustainable proportions, I might think they'd want to put a cap on population. No way, most are lefties too. Any discussion of population a thought crime. Outlawed as eugenic and/or racist. So they place themselves in the absurd position of making a Malthusian argument without daring to mention population. No wonder they are fundamentally confused, dizzy, people.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Helen Caldicott tribute page

Here are some of Doctor Helen Caldicott's masterful quotes, mostly dissing nuclear power.

  1. Sputnik News on 9/11

    "I think that 9/11 was Cheney’s Kristallnacht...There are so many things unexplained."
    -- Many Mysteries Surrounding 9/11 Attacks Persist - Global Peace Activist

  2. HC quotes from: Helen Caldicott - "Th" Thorium Documentary, by Gordon McDowell

    • Nuclear power produces massive quantities of global warming gas
    • There are wild boar in Germany that almost glow in the dark
    • About 40 percent of the food, probably, in Europe is radioactive
    • More people have died from Chernobyl than the black plague
    • Japan is, by orders of magnitude, many times worse than Chernobyl
  3. George Monbiot at the Guardian

    The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all, by George Monbiot
    How nuclear apologists mislead the world over radiation, by Helen Caldicott
    Nuclear opponents have a moral duty to get their facts straight, by George Monbiot
  4. Re: Helen Caldicott: Fukushima's Ongoing Impact, by GoddardsJournal

Notes

  1. I think she mean to say Reichstag fire (early 1933), not Kristallnacht (late 1938).
  2. She's always called Doctor Helen Caldicott, although she has not practiced medicine for decades
  3. Russian owned Sputnik News, is endlessly critical of the West, especially in terms of Foreign policy, defence, and energy systems, but somehow never manages a critical comment on anything Putin's Russia does.
  4. During 9/11 Dick Cheney was US Vice President
  5. meaning Fukushima Dai'ichi
  6. An 'order of magnitude' means ten times more. So 'orders of magnitude worse' means:
    10 ×, 100 × or 1000 ×, ... times worse
  7. In fact, radioactive releases at Chernobyl were about ten times greater than Fukushima Daiichi. So HC got her facts almost exactly back-to-front.

Intermittent Wind Power in UK

I've posted on this topic before. Here is another comment by Richard Verney on a Watts Up With That? post.


* Griff October 13, 2016 at 12:50 am

Well yes, but in winter the wind is usually blowing in the UK.

In December 2015 UK got 18% of all electricity from wind.

So its solar in summer, wind in winter.


* richard verney October 13, 2016 at 2:02 am

Not so.

The winter of 2009/10 was an extremely cold and snowy one. It was said to be a 1 in 30 year winter. Ironically, the winter of 2010/11 was even colder and even more snowy. It was said to be a 1 in 100 event.

In both cases this was due to a blocking high sitting NE of the UK. It stayed there for about 1 month.

I monitored wind energy every day during this period (for both winters). For the main part it produced between 3 to 5% of nameplate capacity. On a few days it managed 8% of nameplate capacity On many days it was less than 3% with many days being less than 1%.

When wind is producing less than 1% nameplate capacity in these conditions it is consuming energy. This is required for heaters and to keep the turbine slowly turning. This is probably the case even when producing 2 to 3% of nameplate capacity.

Had the UK been dependent on wind to produce energy during these winters, there would have been 1000s of deaths. Fortunately power was supplied by conventional fossil fuel generation and the nuclear via the French inter connect, the latter was straining because it also had to supply NW Europe in general.

During this blocking high, Germany, and I expect Holland and Denmark, encountered similar conditions.

The fact is that just when wind is needed most (cold winters), wind is often in a drought!

February 2012: Winter blocking high in Europe

This UK Met Office pressure chart shows a blocking high over Europe, supplying cold, polar air across much of the continent and blocking out milder air from over the Atlantic. This blocking high brought temperatures of -20°C (-4°F), killed hundreds of people in Eastern Europe and even brought snow to the Sahara, as this BBC video explains.

See also Wikipedia: Winter of 2010–11 in Great Britain and Ireland