Category Archives: climate change

You’re Calling Me “Anti Science?”

logo

You’re Calling Me “Anti Science?”

One of the main accusations launched by climate activists is that anyone arguing against man-made global warming is “anti-science.” They tell us that the science is “settled,” and that anyone who objects is ignoring a blindingly obvious set of facts.

But what to do about someone like me? I’m in hearty agreement that the global climate has warmed by roughly one degrees Celsius over the past 150 years. However, my study of the relevant geology and physics leads me to believe that solar variability, not carbon dioxide, is responsible for this warming.

And so, it is precisely because of science that I am skeptical of man-made warming. Should I still be labeled “anti-science?”

Of the people who deride climate “deniers,” I’d like to ask some basic questions:

  • Do you know that carbon dioxide progressively loses the ability to absorb heat as its concentration increases?
  • Do you know that man-made warming theory relies on water vapor, not carbon dioxide, to drive future warming?
  • Do you know that cloud formation contradicts this water vapor “feedback?”
  • Do you know that climate scientists have never solved this “cloud problem?”
  • Do you know that solar activity in the 20th Century increased to its highest levels in at least 2,000 years?
  • Do you know that every previous warm period over the past few thousands of years coincided with strong solar output?

These are just a few basic questions about climate science. But they help to illustrate why the climate debate is not as simple as many would assume.

What concerns me is that the general public seems to have no understanding of the core issues being debated. And yet they heatedly defend “climate change” against any dissenters.

Ironically, whenever I engage people in discussion or debate on the issue, they invariably respond, “Well, I don’t know anything about it” or “I’ve never studied it, but rely on what I hear on the news.” The worst offenders get their “facts” from Bill Nye or Bill Maher.

Why then should they be so quick to criticize those who hold a different view, especially those who have invested great effort to study the subject matter?

At this point, “climate change” is like a book that everyone has heard of—but no one has read. Activists’ vigorous defense of man-made warming is akin to their saying, “It’s a great book.” But when pressed, they admit to never actually having read it.

My concern is that the global climate could tilt back toward a cooler era. There are valid reasons to worry about such a possibility since long-term solar activity is now declining. And even more troubling is the prospect that such a colder era could arrive in tandem with decarbonization policies limiting global energy production.

The result would be a humanitarian catastrophe—a lack of reliable energy at precisely the point that human survival would need the greatest access to cheap, reliable, scalable power production.

All of this points to a series of questions that should merit an honest discussion. Unfortunately, the angry rhetoric of the climate debate makes that unlikely right now.

David Suzuki unmasked as a know-nothing huckster

Down Under blunder: David Suzuki unmasked as a know-nothing huckster on Australian TV

Ezra Levant_op

By , QMI Agency

First posted:

Article from the Toronto Sun. RSC

suzuki-prisons

David Suzuki said he is convinced the Harper government is building prisons to house people convicted of eco-activism charges.

Last week in Australia, David Suzuki did something he hasn’t done before: He allowed himself to be interviewed in a situation he did not control.

It was a disaster.

Usually, Suzuki speaks through his TV show on the CBC. When he appears at celebrity events, questions have been pre-screened.

Suzuki refuses to be interviewed by media he does not control, especially the Sun News Network.

His Australian visit shows the wisdom of this standard procedure.

Because when the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) put even the simplest questions to him, he fell apart. But unlike his Canadian events, Suzuki couldn’t turn off the cameras.

The first question put to Suzuki by a critic in the audience was about the 15-year hiatus in global warming. There just hasn’t been any observed climate change since 1998, and it’s a major problem for the climate change industry, whose computer models all warned that we’d see significant warming by now.

Thermometers — including hyper-accurate satellite readings — say it just hasn’t happened. Here is a transcript of Suzuki’s response:

“Yeah, well, I don’t know why you’re saying that … In fact, the warming continues …. So where are you getting your information? I’m not a climatologist. I wait for the climatologists to tell us what they’re thinking.”

Normally, that’s the worst Suzuki would face — one tough question that slips past his handlers. But he had no handlers that day. And ABC let the questioner come again, citing his sources that the world hasn’t warmed: “Sure, yeah. UAH, RSS, HadCRUT, GISS data shows a 17-year flat trend which suggests there may be something wrong with the CO2 warming theory?”

Now, that’s scientific jargon that a layman wouldn’t understand. But Suzuki claims he’s a scientist, and he has opined on global warming for years. But he had no clue what the questioner was even saying. Suzuki asked for an explanation: “Sorry, yeah, what is the reference? I don’t …”

He actually said that.

The questioner had a third go at it, speaking very slowly: “Well, they’re the main data sets that IPCC use: UAH, University of Alabama, Huntsville; GISS, Goddard Institute of Science; HadCRUT. I don’t know what that stands for, HadCRUT; and RSS, Remote Sensing something. So those data sets suggest a 17-year flat trend, which suggests there may be a problem with the CO2.”

Suzuki still had no clue. “No, well, there may be a climate skeptic down in Huntsville, Alabama, who has taken the data and come to that conclusion … You know, we can cherry pick all kinds of stuff. Cherry pick, in fact, the scientists that we want to listen to, but let’s listen to the IPCC.”

That’s classic Suzuki — impugn the motives of anyone who disagrees with him. He heard “Alabama” and thought “hick” and called them a “skeptic.” He said we ought to listen to the IPCC – the one acronym Suzuki did know. That stands for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN’s climate bureaucracy.

But all of those places the questioner mentioned — including Alabama — were IPCC research stations. They’re the places that crunch the temperature data for the UN.

Suzuki had no clue.

ABC’s host tried to ask the question one more time. One more time, Suzuki was clueless.

“Well, what’s the problem? I mean they’re concluding still the warming …” That was the first question in a very long hour for Suzuki. On everything from fracking to immigration, he shrugged at best, and made personal attacks at worst. He suggested the Canadian government was out to throw environmentalists in prison — the same government that has given him a TV show for 40 years.

He accused GMO food scientists in the audience of being in it for the money — and sat in shameful silence as they each told him their companies were giving away the patents to GMO food to poor farmers for free.

It was embarrassing for Suzuki to be revealed as a know-nothing huckster. But it’s equally embarrassing for the Canadian media, who for 40 years acted as Suzuki’s PR men, not real reporters like they have in Australia.

The global Warming Swindle of the Century

The global Warming Swindle of the Century

Whether you believe in global warming or not, you need to listen to this short movie.  It may open your eyes a little to what our governments are doing to us. What is the reason? Who knows. Only they do, and they are not telling us. I have seen many sites that have debunked this theory, this is one of the better ones. Yet, soon we may be put in JAIL, simply for reporting the TRUTH!!! RSC

 

Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing’s dirty secret

Climate Change Minister Glen Murray confirms it’s going to cost us a lot of money

 

lorrie-goldstein

BY , TORONTO SUN

FIRST POSTED:

As we all knew this would happen, it should come as no surprise. This article from the Toronto Sun explains it well. The only people who will not care are the people we are supporting with tax dollars. I mean why would they? They are usually not working, usually not driving to work, typically just staying home complaining on the internet that they are not getting enough benefits. RSC

QMI_TS20160428SB02

Ontario Minister of the Environment & Climate Change Glen Murray speaks to the Economic Club in Toronto, Ont. on Thursday April 28, 2016. Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

It’s hard to tell whether it was deliberate or a gaffe — meaning what happens when a politician accidentally tells the truth — but Ontario Climate Change Minister Glen Murray told the truth last week.

In an interview with the Sun’s Shawn Jeffords, he said cap-and-trade and other government decarbonization initiatives will be very expensive, which politicians almost never do.

As Murray put it in responding to a Globe and Mail story about Ontario’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions: “It costs a lot of money. It’s going to cost the private sector, and it’s an investment, and it’s going to cost the public sector money.”

The only thing I would have added is an acknowledgment that having the private and public sector pay a lot more means all of us are going to pay a lot more.

Too often, politicians talk about carbon pricing in terms of “making the polluter pay”, implying the costs will be magically absorbed by carbon intensive industries.

That’s nonsense. In fact, we are the polluters, since we buy the goods and services that fossil fuel energy creates and we are the ones who will end up paying more.

Murray also acknowledged meeting goals such as having 1.7 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2024, will require “a generous subsidy for the first generation of that change”.

Less impressive in terms of candour was Murray’s observation that, “there are incredible savings and returns on that (carbon pricing) investment for everyone.”

Not quite. This is similar to the happy talk former federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion used when he introduced his Green Shift plan prior to losing the 2008 election.

At the time, he said: “Canada will cut megatonnes of emissions, but we will also make megatonnes of money.”

The reality is that decarbonizing a country like Canada — big, cold, sparsely populated, resource-based — is going to be very hard and very costly.

Worse, Premier Kathleen Wynne plans to do it in the worst way possible — through a cap-and-trade system that has been a disaster in Europe and that will take almost $2 billion annually out of the Ontario economy to start, beginning next year.

That, plus the government picking winners and losers in terms of who it will subsidize and who it won’t.

That’s as far away from an effective carbon pricing scheme as you can get — a 100%, revenue neutral carbon tax, verified by the provincial auditor general every year, in which the government returns all the money it raises through carbon pricing to the public in the form of an annual cash dividend, or income tax cuts and cash grants to the poor who don’t pay taxes.

That would be a plan actually designed to encourage people to adopt a less carbon intensive lifestyle, as opposed to a mere cash grab for the government, which is what Ontario’s plan is.

But at least Murray was honest about the costs.

Increase In CO2 Making The Earth Greener

Study: Increase In CO2 Is Literally Making The Earth Greener

Photo of Andrew Follett

ANDREW FOLLETT
Energy and Environmental Reporter
Article from the Daily Caller web site
Hans van

Hans van ‘t Woud, a mapping researcher and the health and safety officer of Crew 125 EuroMoonMars B mission, checks on plants grown at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) outside Hanksville in the Utah desert March 2, 2013. The MDRS aims to investigate the possibility of a human exploration of Mars and uses the Utah desert’s Mars-like terrain to simulate working conditions on the red planet. Scientists, students and enthusiasts work together developing field tactics and studying the terrain. All outdoor exploration is done wearing simulated spacesuits and carrying air supply packs and crews live together in a small communication base with limited amounts of electricity, food, oxygen and water. Everything needed to survive must be produced, fixed and replaced on site. Picture taken March 2, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart ∧

Rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are causing an explosion in plant growth, according to a huge scientific study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

The study is the largest of its kind and was written by 32 scientists from 24 colleges and universities in eight countries. It used three long-term satellite records of plant area and 10 different global ecosystem models to measure increasing plant growth.

“We were able to tie the greening largely to the fertilizing effect of rising atmospheric CO2 concentration by tasking several computer models to mimic plant growth observed in the satellite data,” Ranga Myneni, one of the study’s co-authors who is a professor at Boston University, said in a press statement.

The study estimates roughly half of Earth’s land-mass showed “significant greening” and only 4 percent of the world saw a decrease in plant life. The study noted vegetation growth is likely slowing global warming as well, since more trees and plants equates to more sequestered CO2.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/04/25/study-increase-in-co2-is-literally-making-the-earth-greener/#ixzz477K5cZI4

NASA: POLAR ICE HASN’T RECEDED SINCE 1979

NASA: POLAR ICE HASN’T RECEDED SINCE 1979

From Truth and Action web site:

Folks, I find all kinds of articles debunking climate change theories, but when NASA says it, I listen. I have found they are not exactly saying the ice is receding, but they are not exactly saying it is expanding. I checked the NASA web site and found this.

Apparently the Antarctic is EXPANDING, while the Arctic is receding. I think they need to tread lightly, since they are FUNDED by the gov who is strictly on the WARMING side of the argument.  In my opinion, that is for entirely different reasons then saving the planet. This article makes you think though, and is short and sweet. RSC

NASA: Polar Ice Hasn’t Receded Since 1979

Looks like someone forgot to tell the polar ice caps that they should be melting due to global warming. How dare they increase by 5% over a 35-year average! They should have been told to be gone by now.

The gall of making Al Gore look so bad….after he created the Internet he was bound to get the Nobel prize for his work in helping all the sea ice melt.

The truth about global warming, relabeled now as climate change because of the fact that much of the northern hemisphere was covered in snow and ice over the winter, is staring to come out heavily with reports and admissions from officials tied with the ‘climate change conspiracy’.

We have everything from the hard evidence that the official temperature numbers have been systematically manipulated to UN officials admitting that the whole climate change scare it really just a cover to kill off capitalism.

Now, Obama has declared global warming to be a national security threat because it proliferates terrorism.

“I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security, and, make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country,” stated our President.

Ok, if that’s the case, let’s send all of DHS and the NSA down to Antarctica. Doing so would surely be better for our national security!

NASA has updated its data from satellite readings, revealing that the planet’s polar ice caps have not retreated significantly since 1979, when measurements began.

Indeed, the polar ice has, for almost three years now, remained above the 35 year average.

The data shows that the ice caps remained at more or less the same level until 2005, when they slightly receded for a few years.
However, the 1979 measurements represented the tail end of a 30-year cooling period, meaning that a higher level of ice was taken as the baseline measurement. Everything since has been compared to those figures.

The figures show that by 2012, sea ice was down almost 10 percent from the figures measured in 1979. This was used by warming proponents to forecast disaster.

Those alarmists, however, ignored the fact that total polar ice had only receded by a modest amount, no where near ten percent.

Al Gore used the 10 percent figure and even warned that the Arctic ice cap could completely disappear by 2014.

In reality, by 2012 ice quickly came back and even surpassed the 1979 readings, reaching a new record maximum in the Antarctic in 2014. Since that time it has remained above that previous baseline.

According to NASA’s latest data, it is now 5% above the mean average.

This is not to say that the ice will not retreat again at some point. It is generally considered that the Earth’s temperatures are still rising slowly since the so called ‘little ice age’ which ended in the mid 1800s. The rise is thought to be due to a combination of natural and, to a much lesser extent, human influence.

Still, alarmist headlines continue to be used in respect to polar ice, with some claiming that satellite data shows ice is melting at an unprecedented rate.

Not so, according to NASA’s newest data.

NASA is on it’s best behaviour with regards to climate data, since it emerged recently that the agency may have altered weather station data to falsely indicate warming & sea rises.

Critics, or “deniers” as the mainstream media would call them, charge that the data that has been so relied upon to ‘prove’ global warming’s trend for years, has been in fact manipulated.

No compensation for the little guy

Gathering forces

Credit:  Posted by: The Times | March 18, 2016 | wellingtontimes.ca ~~

Picture this: you’ve built a successful bed and breakfast near Milford. Invested your life savings and over the years, established a popular destination and a living wage for your family. But one day, a couple dozen 50-storey wind turbines are constructed around your business. Some, though not all, of your guests complain. They can’t sleep and can’t take the constant lowlevel swooshing sounds. Besides, these industrial machines have destroyed the charm that once drew them to the B&B. Suddenly, TripAdvisor is full of bad reviews. Guests stop coming. You are forced to close your doors.

You seek compensation from the developer for destroying your business, along with the provincial ministry that permitted it. But it is no use. No court will hear your complaint. Unless you can prove that the turbines directly caused a sickness—you have no basis upon which to appeal. That is Ontario law.

The developer, meanwhile, has no such restrictions. If, as in the case of the White Pines project, the developer feels his return on investment will be negatively impacted by the deletion of two turbines, it is permitted to argue hardship before a tribunal and ultimately the court system, and seek compensation. The broke B&B owner has no such remedy.

It is a fundamentally unfair, biased and unjust process. That is the argument made by the County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CCSAGE) in seeking a judicial review of the Green Energy Act (GEA).

“This issue is not about turbines,” said Alan Whiteley, a lawyer acting for CCSAGE. “It is about how we are governed.”

Whiteley spoke before the annual meeting of CCSAGE on Sunday at the Waring House. He offered another illustration. In the event a developer fails to comply with setbacks or other provisions in the Renewable Energy Approval (REA)—the onus is on the public to prove serious harm to health or serious and irreversible harm to nature. According to its REA, the developer is required to maintain a setback of 550 metres between a wind turbine and a home. In the event, however, that a turbine is later found to be just 400 metres from a home, it is up to the homeowner to prove harm to their health. The developer is not required to prove it complied with the regulations.

“The GEA gives complete power to the proponent [developer] on every basis,” said Whiteley. “Those who object are limited to harm to health and nature.”

The bias of the GEA extends beyond those who live under the shadow of these projects. Whiteley observes that municipal planning authority has also been gutted unfairly under the law. Much has been reported about the province usurping powers from local government and how many municipalities have bristled and complained. But Whiteley says the GEA has, in effect, created two classes of municipalities— urban and rural.

“Rural Ontario no longer has the protection of the official plan that was hammered out in the community to protect your property and investment by industrial wind turbines or other renewable energy projects,” explained Whiteley. “Because industrial wind turbines aren’t going to be built in Don Mills, residents have protection that rural residents don’t.”

He says that while Ontario law trumps municipal bylaws, municipalities may well pursue their complaints at the federal level.

“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms trumps Ontario law,” said Whiteley. “Natural justice trumps Ontario law.”

He adds that the GEA has given an enormous and inappropriate amount of power to the director of the MOECC to decide what is in the publics best interest. It is the director who decides which endangered species may be killed, harmed or harassed. It is the director who ultimately grants renewable energy approvals. Yet, there is no transparent process to ensure the director is acting in the publics best interest.

Later in the question and answer session, a hand went up in the crowd by a man who said he had worked as a ministry director at the federal level. He told the crowd that directors’ decisions are political, not the reflection of an individual’s discretion.

“I carried out the will of the politicians,” explained the former director.

Whiteley filed the judicial review application last November. Directors from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, MOECC and the Ontario Energy Board are required to respond. Each director must produce all the documents and show how they reached their conclusion to grant a decision.

“So far, they have refused to do so,” Whiteley told the gathering.

Now he and his team, including five Osgoode Hall (York University) law students, must file motions compelling these ministry officials to answer these basic questions.

He cautioned the gathering and, indeed, all Ontarians to resist the “creeping attack on your rights.”

STEPPING UP THE FIGHT
More than 100 people attended the CCSAGE annual meeting hoping to hear an update on the various appeals underway in the County to resist industrial wind energy projects. Mayor Robert Quaiff flew home a day early from vacation to attend. Councillors Steve Ferguson and Gord Fox were also present.

Anne Dumbrille, diretor of CCSAGE, presented a scathing review of the GEA, pointing to the fact that no government ministry or official is tasked to ensure that developers comply with the regulations set out in its REA.

“The onus is on the public to show that the project is harmful to health and nature,” said Dumbrille. “The developer, meanwhile, is not required to prove that its project is safe.

“The public is doing the government’s job—at a huge personal cost,” said Dumbrille.

Garth Manning chaired the meeting and offered the following promise to the Ontario government.

“By every possible legal, legitimate and moral means, we will, without ceasing, battle those who care nothing about the devastation of rural Ontario, its wildlife and its economy,” said Manning. “[They] subscribe to and take advantage of the disgraceful and undemocratic provisions of the backroom-contrived Green Energy Act, only from motives of greed and avarice.”

Source:  Posted by: The Times | March 18, 2016 | wellingtontimes.ca

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

Farmers Face Massive Clean Up Bills & Other Legal Liability

Farmers ‘Hosting’ Wind Turbines Face Massive Clean Up Bills & Other Legal Liability

wind turbine host

When the wind industry fiasco inevitable grinds to a halt sometime in the next decade, those that entertained it – be it dimwitted farmers who traded 30 pieces of silver to destroy their communities or the local governments that rubber stamped the DAs that permitted it – are going to be left with a monumental clean up bill.

Hence the move in Britain to force (deliberately worthless) wind power outfits to set aside hundreds of £millions to remove the rusting wreckage when the subsidies run out and/or these things collapse or fail:

Brits to Force £2 Wind Power Outfits to Hold £Millions in Reserve to Pay Damages to Victims & for Decommissioning

The Draft Bill (the subject of the post above) aimed at ensuring that wind farm victims can collect their damages claims; and that the whole pointless mess is cleaned up is available here: Public Nuisance from Wind Farms (Mandatory Liability Cover) Bill

The Bill had its first reading, through the 10 Minute Rule Motion procedure, back in July; and will get its Second Reading this month. It’s odds-on to pass – making it all the more difficult for an already beleaguered wind industry in Britain. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

In Australia, the wind industry and its puppets planted in planning Departments continue to lie about who will really be responsible for removing thousands of rusting hulks, their toxic blades and 400-500m3 (1,000 tonne) reinforced concrete bases.

Here’s a dissection from Jupiter’s Michael Crawford on the legal calamity faced by the farmers foolish enough to have these things planted on their turf.

Recent advice from Department of Planning an Environment suggests wind farm hosts and their properties may have large decommissioning financial exposure
Michael Crawford
3 March 2016

Recent advice from the NSW Department of Planning & Environment indicates that wind farm hosts may have a large financial exposure related to the decommissioning of wind turbines on their property, which could significantly devalue those properties and affect their
salability.

The recent advice conflicts with statements in the NSW Draft Wind Farm Guidelines and seems to indicate that certain consent conditions in a number of previous wind farm approvals are void. The particular consent conditions provided some financial protection to hosts in relation to decommissioning costs.

Given this recent information, hosts might reasonably want to consult their legal advisors as to whether their hosting contracts now offer them adequate legal protection from the costs of decommissioning and, if not, whether they may have been misled by any party, including the Department.

The Apparent Position

The Department’s Draft Wind Farm Guidelines and the conditions of approval for a number of NSW wind farms over the last four years would give hosts and prospective hosts a reasonable belief that they could not be liable for decommissioning costs. However, the Department has recently admitted that:

  • hosts may be responsible for decommissioning costs if the operator is unable to pay for them (e.g. an insolvent company); and
  • the Department has no legal ability to require operators to make financial provision in advance for decommissioning costs.

It appears the Department’s draft guidelines and the rulings of the PAC have had the potential to mislead wind farm hosts about their actual exposure in relation to decommissioning. Prospective hosts may reasonably have relied on that position presented by the Department
and the PAC.

Background

The Draft NSW Wind Farm Guidelines, December 2011, say (p. 7):

The guidelines require that the proponent/wind farm owner rather than the “host” landowner must retain responsibility for decommissioning.

Additionally, the guidelines require applicants to include a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan in their environmental assessment report. Where this is deemed to be inadequate, but the Development Application is granted consent, a condition of consent will be imposed requiring the proponent to pay a decommissioning bond (emphasis added).

The conditions of approval for the White Rock Wind Farm, issued by the Department 10 July 2012, include the following (p. 34):

G10. The Proponent shall prepare a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan, which shall be submitted for the approval of the Director-General prior to the commencement of construction. The Plan shall be consistent with the requirements of the draft NSW Planning Guidelines – Wind Farms (December 2011), as updated. The plan shall be made publicly available. The Plan shall be updated every five years from the date of preparation, until decommissioning and rehabilitation is completed, and a copy of the updated versions provided to the Director-General and made publicly available. The plan shall include estimated costs of and funding arrangements for decommissioning, including provision for a decommissioning bond or other funding mechanisms (emphasis added), where the plan concludes that estimated costs and funding arrangements are inadequate.

Note that last sentence, where the conditions explicitly include:

provision for a decommissioning bond or other funding mechanisms, where the plan concludes that estimated costs and funding arrangements are inadequate

The consent conditions for the Collector Wind Farm, issued by the PAC on 2 December 2013, include the following condition in relation to a Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan (p. 35):

The updated Plan shall include estimated costs of and funding arrangements for decommissioning, including provision for a decommissioning bond or other funding mechanisms, where the Plan concludes that estimated costs and funding arrangements are inadequate.

Precisely the same words appear on page 34 of the PAC consent conditions for the Flyers Creek Wind Farm, issued on 14 March 2014.

And precisely the same words appear on page 29 of the recommended consent conditions provided by the Department to the PAC for Crookwell 3 Wind Farm in February 2015. [Note. That proposal has yet to be determined because the PAC referred the project back to the Department.]

Given the explicit statement in the draft guidelines, and the history of the Department and PAC imposing consent conditions that specifically require a

“decommissioning bond or other funding mechanisms, where the Plan concludes that estimated costs and funding arrangements are inadequate”

it would have been reasonable for a developer to say to any prospective host:

“You don’t need to worry about decommissioning costs because it is our responsibility and the Department will oblige us to make financial provision for it in advance if the Department judges it will not be met by scrap value.”

Likewise, if a prospective host consulted the draft guidelines and looked up a few recent wind farm approvals, they could reasonably have come to the same conclusion and thus that their exposure to decommissioning costs was nil and they did not need any particular protective provision in their contract with the developer.

However, recent advice from the Department contradicts that position.

What’s Changed?

The Department has recently provided recommendations to the PAC considering the proposed Crudine Ridge Wind Farm. Not only does the Department’s recommended consent conditions for Crudine Ridge, issued December 2015, fail to provide for any “Decommissioning and Rehabilitation Plan” but they do not include the statement:

provision for a decommissioning bond or other funding mechanisms, where the plan concludes that estimated costs and funding arrangements are inadequate or anything like it.

And in its Assessment Report to the PAC, the Department explained1:

The Department has obtained legal advice indicating that it is the proponent’s obligation to cover any financial costs associated with decommissioning and rehabilitation, and that the Department does not have the capacity to impose a condition of consent which requires a bond for security for decommissioning and rehabilitation, especially on private land.

Note the second part of that statement, which was tucked away in the fine print of its recommendations:

the Department does not have the capacity to impose a condition of consent which requires a bond for security for decommissioning and rehabilitation, especially on private land.

So, in relation to decommissioning conditions, the statement in the draft guidelines is legally wrong and the consent conditions imposed on White Rock, Collector and Flyers Creek Wind Farms, and recommended for Crookwell 3, are apparently not legal.

The problem for hosts does not end there. In response to a question to the Department from the Jupiter Community Consultative Committee, the Department advised2:

Under the current legal framework, in the event that the owners/operators of a wind farm are unable to fulfil the decommissioning and rehabilitation obligations under a planning approval, the obligation for these works could potentially reside with the owner of the land (as the development rights and obligations apply to the land which is the subject of the application).

In letters sent by the Department to some neighbours of the proposed Jupiter Wind Farm, the Department has elaborated a little more, saying:

However, where the company becomes insolvent, the owners of the land may be required to comply with the decommissioning and rehabilitation obligations under the consent. This is because in NSW the development rights and the associated conditions3 apply to the subject land (rather than to a particular person or corporate entity).

While the Department says the decommissioning obligation may apply to the landowner, that seems like a very definite “may”, since it is hard to see who else could be responsible if the operator is unable to pay. The Department is explicit that all “development rights and obligations apply to the land which is the subject of the application” and, if the operator is broke and there has been no enforceable provision to cause the operator to set aside the necessary funds, then the responsibility must fall on the landowner.

Conclusion

So the Department has now advised that:

  • it has no legal power to compel wind farm operators to set aside funds for decommissioning the wind farm (and it has ceased recommending consent conditions that would have that effect);
  • in the event the operator does not have funds at the end to cover decommissioning costs the responsibility to decommission the wind farm will likely fall on hosts because

“the development rights and obligations apply to the land which is the subject of the application”

The Department’s logic appears to be clear. If the “rights and obligations apply to the land”, the Department cannot require a third party to set aside funds to do something to that land. It would seem that only the host can do so through requiring those funds, or a bank guarantee, to be provided up front by the party wishing to erect structures on the host’s land. Clearly a contractual obligation to remove the turbines at end of life is meaningless if the operator can then be broke with no protected financial provision made.

This is new advice from the Department and contradicts past advice on a matter of great financial significance to hosts, affecting not just their financial position at the time of decommissioning but the value and salability of their properties now.

Epuron, an experienced wind farm developer, has estimated for its proposed Liverpool Range Wind Farm that the cost of decommissioning will be “approximately $380,000 per turbine” and that “This estimate is on par with other wind farm developments that have recently been approved in New South Wales.”4 An amount of $380,000 would vastly exceed the expected total revenue per turbine for many hosts, thus rendering hosting into a loss making proposition for them, and for anyone else who buys those properties.

It does raise questions about the obligation of hosts attempting to sell their properties, and real estate agents, to advise prospective buyers of the decommissioning exposure they may incur.

Given the role the Department may have played in giving false assurance to hosts about the financial consequences for their properties and themselves, the Department needs to take steps to rectify any consequent misunderstanding hosts and prospective hosts have of their legal situation.
Michael Crawford
PDF version


Footnotes
1State Significant Development Assessment Crudine Ridge Wind Farm (SSD-6697), Department of Planning & Environment, December 2015, p.60.
2Minutes of Jupiter Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee Fifth Meeting, 2/12/2015, p. 6-7.
3Note, this is a reference to all development conditions for the project, not just decommissioning, so may have implications for landowners in relation to other consent conditions, such as those relating to noise, turbine placement and environmental impact.
4Liverpool Range Wind Farm: Decommissioning & Rehabilitation Plan, Epuron Pty Ltd, February 2014, p. 7.

Hawaii rusting turbines

Plenty of rust visible, but no sign of the developers …

Polar Bear Population

From Polar Bear Science web site

Many otherwise intelligent people believe only a few hundred polar bears remain

The other day, I got a call from an international journalist who admitted he’d done no research into the polar bear issue but believed, based on media reports he’d heard, that there must only be about 100-200 bears remaining in the Arctic. I know he’s not alone.

polar-bears-3-large_USGS

This journalist was utterly astonished to learn that the IUCN Red List assessment in 2015 put the polar bear population total at 20,000-31,000 bears and demanded proof that this was true.

Here is a summary of the Red List report, with references and links to the report:

The 2015 IUCN Red List assessment update for polar bears(published 18 November 2015) states that the global polar bear population is 20,000 – 31,000 (25,500), that the current trend is ‘unknown’ and that there is only a 70% chance that polar bear numbers will decline by 30% in 35 years (with virtually zero chance that the numbers will decline by 80% or more by 2050) – in other words, zero chance of extinction. [Detailed in a document called 22823 Ursus maritimus]. It classifies the polar bear as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction based on predictions of future sea ice decline due to global warming [similar to ‘threatened’ by other organizations] Pdf here.

Below is a list of what truly worrying species declines look like: that is, animals whose numbers have actually declined, no prophesies involved (Adler 2008).

Some truly troubling population declines

Here I offer some perspective on the issue of what constitutes a truly “startling” population decline. Below are some actual population numbers that have been documented for marine mammals classified as “endangered” or “vulnerable”– these are actual declines, not “projections” or “predictions.” The cause of many of the declines is over-hunting but others have not yet been explained (Steller sea lion western stock; NE Atlantic hooded seal).

Steller sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus), western stock (Aleutians to northern Gulf of Alaska, declared endangered by the ESA in 1993):declined to approximately 18,000 individuals in 2000, from about 140,000 in the 1950s, an 87% reduction (NMFS 2008) due to unknown or unconfirmed causes.

Hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) is considered ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN due to actual population declines (85-90 % over the last 40-60 years) in the Northeast Atlantic (off East Greenland) that are so far unexplained. Populations in the Northwest Atlantic, however, are stable or increasing, which is probably why you never hear of this.

According to Norwegian authorities:

“In the most recent two decades [from 2007], the stock appeared to have stabilized at a low level of approximately 71 thousand. This may be only 10-15% of the level observed 60 years ago. …However, results from a Norwegian aerial survey in 2007 suggested that current pup production (15 thousand) was lower than observed in a comparable 1997 survey (24 thousand).Scientists believe that the populations decline is due to mass mortality caused by PDV (occurring among seal in the Northeast Atlantic) or Brucella (occurring in Jan Mayen hooded seals). However, there are yet no observations of carcasses or diseased animals to support this hypothesis.[my bold]

Gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus): declined to approximately 200-300 individuals by 1938 after decades of over-hunting, recovered to 21,113 by 1987/88. Pre-decline numbers unknown. (Clapham et al.1999:47).

Sea otter (Enhydra lutris): declined to less than 2,000 individuals by 1911 after many decades of over-hunting, recovered to approximately 100,000 by the mid-1980s. Since then, the population in SW Alaska (northern Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutians) had a second overall decline of 55-67%, with some local declines of over 90% (Sea Otter Recover Team 2007:6; USFWS 2005).

Northern elephant seal (Mirounga angustirostris): declined to approximately 20-100 individuals by 1900 after decades of over-hunting, recovered to approximately 175,000 by 2000. Pre-decline numbers unknown (Weber et al 2000:1287).

Guadalupe fur seal (Arctocephalus townsendi): declined to approximately 60 individuals by 1928 after decades of over-hunting, recovered to 12,176 by 2003. Pre-decline numbers unknown (Rick et al.2009:488).

In summary, several truly endangered marine mammal species were notable for their populations having dropped by 87% or more over several decades, in some cases leaving only a few hundred individuals or less remaining over the entire range of the species or subspecies.

In contrast, polar bear numbers since being declared ‘vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List in 1982 have only increased – from a low of perhaps 5,000-10,000 in the 1960s to perhaps 31,000 in 2015. Compare that to a species that is still considered truly endangered, the Amur tiger: once reduced to 20-30 animals, it is now estimated to number 350 individuals.

Children and naive adults alike are being frightened needlessly through vague and misleading statements that lead them to believe polar bears are as rare as Siberian tigers. 

[Vague and misleading statements like this, for example]

Whatever the future may or may not hold for them, polar bears arecurrently thriving. That’s not just my opinion but the conclusion drawn by the Red List team of the world’s most respected conservation organization, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. While the IUCN has allowed predictions of future population declines to be used in species assessments, at least they’ve limited these prophesies of doom to three generations and insisted on strict statistical guidelines.

References
Adler, J.H. 2008. An animal to save the world: climate change and the polar bear. The New Atlantis Summer:111-115.http://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/an-animal-to-save-the-world

Clapham, P. J., Young, S. B. and Brownell Jr., R. T. 1999. Baleen whales: conservation issues and the status of the most endangered populations. Mammal Review 29:35-60.

Rick, T. C., DeLong, R. L., Erlandson, J. M., Braje, T. J., Jones, T. L., Kennett, D. J., Wake, T. A., and Walker, P. L. 2009. A trans-Holocene archaeological record of Guadalupe fur seals (Arctocephalus townsendi) on the California coast. Marine Mammal Science 25:487-502.

Sea Otter Recovery Team 2007. Recovery strategy for the sea otter (Enhydra lutris) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Vancouver.

Weber, D. S., Stewart, B. S., Garza, J. C., and Lehman, N. 2000. An empirical genetic assessment of the severity of the northern elephant seal population bottleneck. Current Biology 10:1287-1290.

USFWS 2005. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; determination of Threatened Status for the Southwest Alaska distinct population segment of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni); final rule. Federal Register 70:46366.

USFWS 2008. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; determination of Threatened Status for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) throughout its range; final rule. Federal Register 73:28211-28303.

Debunking the climate change myth

Debunking the “Vikings weren’t victims of climate” myth

Guest essay by F.J. Shepherd

Found this article on What’s Up With That blog. Some more facts being ignored, I think. RSC

greenland-church

Greenland’s Hvalsey Church – the place of the last recorded written record of the Norsemen

Norse Medieval Greenland and Historical Realities

Some people have claimed that Greenland was no warmer 1,000 years ago than it is today. In fact, some have even suggested that it was colder 1,000 years ago. Are such suggestions made to bolster the alleged “unprecedented” warming claim for the past 135 years? Contrary to such claims, history paints a very different picture.

In this essay, I will examine some of the historical facts concerning Greenland starting 1,000 years ago and will then attempt to demonstrate how much warmer Greenland had to be in order to accommodate the history that transpired in this region.

Greenland’s Climate Today

Today, Greenland experiences a polar climate. There should be no dispute about this. The average annual temperature of Greenland sits around -17 degrees C. The only region colder in the world is Antarctica.

Polar climate is divided into two categories: (1) ice cap; and (2) tundra. The majority of Greenland, 80%, is ice capped. The average thickness of this ice cap is about 1.2 miles. Every month of the year has an average temperature below freezing as that is what defines the temperature parameter for the polar ice cap climate.

As for the rest of Greenland, the other 20%, this is the narrow strip of coastland around some of the island. This is the polar tundra category (2) wherein the average monthly temperature of any month does not exceed10 degrees C. I have found a couple of locations on the coast that just barely reach a subpolar classification. The average temperature of July, at these two locations, does exceed 10 degrees C by a fraction of a degree.

Even in the “warm” southern part of Greenland, prime agricultural land and a climate conducive to farming do not exist. Did they exist 1,000 years ago? In part, they had to exist for otherwise, Greenland’s history would be much different.

Greenland Norse History in Brief

We have to start with Iceland that was discovered by the Norwegians and settled by them starting in the 870’s. Starting here is necessary since the Norse Greenlanders came from Iceland.

Please note that Iceland is about 800 miles over the seas from Norway, and that is quite the distance for Norse longships or the knerrir (cargo ships) to travel over a stormy, northern Atlantic ocean. About 25% of the Iceland was covered in forest, for the climate was warm enough to grow trees. It probably had the same subpolar oceanic climate that is has today, or perhaps it was even warmer. The reason why it has few trees now is that they were cleared by the Norsemen to make way for farmland. The Norwegians did what they did best and farmed Iceland. The climate was quite conducive to farming. Within a century, all the good land was taken.

The early settlers came in droves wanting to remove themselves from the control of a growing Norwegian aristocracy under the auspices of an unpopular but powerful monarchy. Thus, the Icelanders were a fiercely independent people and preferred the clan based chieftain political system with its Althing assembly wherein all freemen had the right to give counsel.

Although Greenland is not viewable from Iceland, it did not take long for the Icelanders to learn that there was more land further west. Erik the Red from Iceland explored Greenland and gave it its name. He drew settlers from Iceland to pioneer the southern part of Greenland. Claiming the best land in the south for himself, he became a chieftain. This happened circa AD 985.

Greenland is as far from Iceland as Iceland is from Norway. The Eastern settlement in the south of Greenland is about 800 miles from Iceland. Of the first 25 boats that first set out to settle Greenland, only 14 made the destination. That might give an idea as to how precarious it was to traverse the north Atlantic in the Norse ships. This should also prevent people from suggesting that Iceland supplied the Greenlanders with all their ongoing necessities via ships.

The first Greenlanders brought with them grain seed (probably barley, oats and rye), horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. The wealthier amongst them brought their Irish and Scottish thralls (slaves). They set up a mirror image of the Icelandic system of chieftains and the Althing assembly. More settlers came later from Iceland, and two other settlements were formed: the Middle and the Western.

Greenland on the southern coastal areas throughout the fiords and inlets was well forested at the time – if it was warm enough to have trees, it would have been warm enough to farm. I am quite certain that the Middle and Western settlements were identified as being suitable for farming because they were forested as well.

Greenland Norse settlements lasted about 500 years. For comparison purposes, English-speaking Europeans founded their first permanent North American settlement in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, and that was just 410 years ago from today.

Greenland Norsemen Society and Culture

When the Greenlanders started to establish their new farmsteads, the Norwegians were going through a transition period from the old Nordic religion to Christianity. Christianity prevailed in time. As Greenland grew in population, the Church took notice and the Diocese of Gardar was established in AD 1124 with its headquarters established in the Eastern settlement. This Diocese maintained a bishop until AD 1378 – a period of 255 years. Priests were sent from Norway to manage the 18 to 19 parish churches established at the various settlements, and a relatively large cathedral was built at Gardar. So too, a Convent and a Monastery were built in the Eastern settlement to draw from the local population.

I have noticed that there has lately been a trend to downplay the population size of the Greenland settlements. The current trend is to estimate that there were no more than 2,500 Norse people in the Greenland settlements at their height. Estimates previously ranged from 5,000 to 10,000. If one simply looks at the statistics for the Christian Church alone and its involvement within the Greenland communities, with a bishop, probably 18 priests and churches, a Convent, a Monastery, a Cathedral, not to mention all of the other religious overhead personnel involved, why would the Church go through all this effort for just a few thousand people?

So far, there have been excavated about 620 Norse farms in the Greenland settlements. The structure of the farm culture in Greenland more than likely followed the traditional Norse setup – a longhouse being the central residence of the farm dwellers with two to three families occupying the house. Some of the adult members of the families may have been related by blood. It is estimated that each farm longhouse would house from 10 to 20 people who worked the farm. By taking just the lower estimate of 10 persons per farm, we have at the height of the Greenland settlements at least 6,000 people. Norse farm families had on average, seven children – three and a half of which survived to adulthood. I do believe that at the height of the Norse Greenland settlements, choosing the higher end of population size is probably closer to the reality that was. I would be inclined to put the estimate closer to a population size from 8,000 to 9,000.

The Phases of Greenland Norse History

I divide the 500-year span of the Greenland Norse settlements into two basic phases. The first phase was from AD 1000 to AD 1300 – the warm time wherein the settlements thrived under a relatively pleasant climate conducive to farming, trade and exploration. The second phase commenced after AD 1300 and ended in the early 1500’s. It comprised a steadily deteriorating and cooling climate wherein the independent spirit of the Greenlanders was just not enough to beat the cold.

I find it amusing to read the many articles written about the “mystery” as to why the Norse Greenland settlements disappeared. A medieval society cannot farm land in a polar climate that Greenland attained over a period of a century or more. To have expected them to adapt to the Inuit way of life, that some have suggested, is rather silly, when they did have an alternative – leave.

What the Western Settlement Reveals about the Changing Climate

The Western settlement was smaller than the Eastern settlement and resided on the west coast of Greenland, 300 miles north of the Eastern settlement. Three churches, one large estate and 95 farms have been excavated in this location. Most of these sites that have been discovered lay under permafrost. A bishop of Greenland travelled there in the mid-14th century and recorded that the settlement was completely abandoned. Therefore, by AD 1350, the Western settlement was gone. That is exactly what one would expect considering that in a cooling climate, the northern community would have been the first one to become no longer viable for farming, and thus, abandoned.

Given the current climate found in where the Western settlement laid, this gives us a clue as to how much warmer this area of Greenland must have been 1,000 years ago. The centre of this Western settlement lies about 40 miles inland, east of the Greenland capital city of Nuuk. We do have a climate scheme for Nuuk:

Table 1. Average Monthly Temperatures in Celsius, 1961-1990, for Nuuk

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
-7.4 -7.8 -8.0 -3.8 0.6 3.9 6.5 6.1 3.3 -0.7 -3.7 -6.2 -1.4

This is a classic polar tundra climate, with maritime moderation. Over this 30-year period for which we have this record, it does snow all months of the year even though it may be in just trace amounts in the summer months. One cannot farm in such a climate, although a greenhouse might come in handy. As an aside, the climate in Nuuk for the past 15 years has been getting cooler than what the table above reflects.

What would it take to make Nuuk (the Western Norse settlement on Greenland) have a suitable climate in which to farm? I found that a minimum rise of 5 degrees C would do the trick:

 

Table 2. Average Monthly Temperatures in Celsius, increased by 5 degrees C for Nuuk

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
-2.4 -2.8 -3.0 1.2 5.6 8.9 11.5 11.1 8.3 4.3 1.3 -1.2 3.6

This is true “climate change.” A 5 degree Celsius rise in temperature would bring Nuuk from a polar tundra climate into a subpolar oceanic category, capable of growing trees, and the planting of crops and raising livestock in an agricultural setting. The subpolar oceanic climate is defined as having the coldest month average temperature not falling below the -3 degrees C mark, and having from one to three months with an average temperature of 10 degrees C or more.

Table 2 gives the temperature scheme as to what I contend the Greenland Western settlement must have had in temperatures, as a minimum, in order to support the large farming community just east of Nuuk for the three centuries it existed. It more than likely was even warmer. Just a rise of 7 degrees C would place Nuuk into an even warmer oceanic climate classification. As for the Greenland Eastern settlement that was 300 miles further south, I believe that it must have been warmer still than the Western settlement.

How could such warmth be possible? More than likely the North Atlantic Drift was strong enough that a part of it drove through the Labrador Sea, the Davis Strait and Baffin Bay, hugging the western coastline of Greenland. The era was part of the Medieval Warm Period, was it not? This map illustrates the scenario.

viking_voyage

It worries me that there are people living today, and allegedly well-educated and intelligent people, who claim that Greenland was as cold if not colder 1,000 years ago, than it is today. I should like to show them the 95 excavated farms at the Western settlement site, many being dug out from under permafrost, and ask for an explanation as to how this could be? Now, how does one cultivate crops in a land of permafrost? Were the Norsemen farmers in the Western settlement growing ice to feed their livestock?

Greenland Hype

There are claims made today by some people giving the impression that one can do anything in Greenland today that the Vikings of old did.

For instance, some have claimed that the “barley is back.” If you look into this matter, you will find that someone claimed they are experimenting with growing barley in Greenland, and that is about it. The growing season is just not long enough still for that kind of crop to grow. It is relatively well established now that the Greenland Norse farmers did grow barley.

Some will point out that hay is now grown in Greenland. Yes, that is true, for it is. In the far south of Greenland, they do grow hay. Hay has a very short growing season and currently in Greenland, the cut hay must be wrapped in plastic right in the fields to keep it from spoiling. That was hardly a technique available for use by Medieval Norsemen. Regardless, most of the feed for Greenland livestock of today has to be shipped in from afar.

So yes, Greenland does have sheep, and so do the polar climates on the Falklands and Grand Terre of the Kerguelen Islands. The Norse settlements of Greenland had horses, cattle, pigs, sheep and goats and they had to be self-sufficient in growing the crops to feed them. There is a big difference here as to the extent and magnitude of Norse Greenlander farming that was done 1,000 years ago as compared to what is being done now, or can be done now for farming.

But does not Greenland have a forest of native trees? Oh yes it does. It is called theQinngua Valley with native willow, birch, alder and mountain ash trees. The trees can grow to… now hold your breath… to heights of 25 feet. They are probably some of the most scraggly looking trees I have ever seen that could easily be mistaken for simply overgrown bushes. It is still too cold to grow a real tree in Greenland, one that could soar to a “robust” height of 60 feet or more with a trunk around which could not be contained by the hug of one’s arms. It was essential that the Norse Greenlanders had access to an immediate supply of wood to have commenced and maintained their farming settlements for the centuries they lived on the island.

The Demise of the Greenland Norsemen

There is no mystery in the abandonment of Greenland by the Norwegians. No, it was not the Thule attacking them or various pirate raids. However, such events could have taken place, but there is no archaeological evidence to support them. The Black Plague could not have been the culprit either. The Plague hit Iceland in AD 402 and killed at least one-third of its population. By that time, the Greenlanders had been almost completely cut off from any communication with the European world, including Iceland. The Church abandoned Greenland in 1378 out of practicality for no ships could get through the sea ice between Iceland and Greenland safely. The Little Ice Age had no mercy. In essence, Greenland was forgotten, and the remnant simply left whenever they could, or, remained to die from an increasingly hostile climate.

As for the die-hard Greenlanders refusing to leave, their fate was sealed, and unfortunately, the last one did not turn out the lights, but rather, there was no one left to bury him:

“One such stoic was found lying face down on the beach of a fjord in the 1540s by a party of Icelandic seafarers, who like so many sailors before them had been blown off course on their passage to Iceland and wound up in Greenland. The only Norseman they would come across during their stay, he died where he had fallen, dressed in a hood, homespun woolens and seal skins. Nearby lay his knife, ‘bent and much worn and eaten away.’ Moved by their find, the men took it as a memento and carried it with them to show when at last they reached home.”

From Archaeology Online, last paragraph.