Category: Daily News

Massive Shetland wind farm plan runs into peatland protest

Shetland peat bog [image credit: Shetland Times]

There’s over £1 billion at stake here, as construction is about to start and a subsea cable project costing more than £600m has been approved, if the project goes ahead. It would be the UK’s largest onshore wind farm in terms of annual electricity output.
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OVER 20 people from across the isles have signed a petition expressing concern that Shetland Islands Council’s (SIC) recognition of a global climate emergency has not taken into account current evidence on the carbon value of peatland, reports Shetland News.

The petitioners say that since the original approval was given to the Viking Energy wind farm from the Scottish Government in 2012 “much of the science has fundamentally changed and we now indisputably recognise peatland as a store of carbon equal to or greater than that of rainforest”.

The petition seeks that the council considers a motion to cease immediately any entity involved in the “destruction of peatlands”.

It points to the current work taking place at Upper Kergord as peat is extracted to make way for an access track to a planned converter station.

The petition said that since the council formally recognised a global climate emergency earlier this year, the “updated science supersedes any of the initial carbon payback calculations in the scheme”.

“On these grounds alone we believe this project should no longer be supported by the council by letting land to a project which does not meet their own aims,” it added.

In January the SIC said: “As a council we recognise the global climate emergency. The evidence is irrefutable and the science is clear. Action is required. As a council we must demonstrate the community leadership.

“We must act and engage the community to ensure that Shetland can and does play our fair and just role in tackling this global emergency.”

It follows a recent petition sent to Shetland Islands Council expressing concern over the way it has leased land to developers, while it alleges that councillors are being kept in the dark while officials act on delegated authority.

Full report here.

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August 10, 2020 at 04:27AM

Why Mumbai Floods Year After Year

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Trevor Shurmer

 

 

While westerners blame Mumbai’s floods on climate change, the Indians themselves understand the real problem:

 

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August 10, 2020 at 03:57AM

After Backlash, German Research Foundation Regrets Censorship Of Science Statement

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has apologised for censoring a statement that science is not a religious belief system.

The statement by satirist Dieter Nuhr which caused the censorship controversy (source NoTricksZone);

Knowledge does not mean you are 100% sure, but that you have enough facts to have a reasoned opinion. But many people are offended when scientists change their mind: That is normal! Science is just THAT the opinion changes when the facts change. This is because science is not a doctrine of salvation, not a religion that proclaims absolute truths. And those who constantly shout, “Follow science!” have obviously not understood this. Science does not know everything, but it is the only reasonable knowledge base we have. That is why it is so important.

The apology from DFG;

The DFG expressly regrets having prematurely removed Dieter Nuhr’s statement from the website of the online campaign # fürdasWissen. Mr. Nuhr is a person who stands in the middle of our society and is committed to science and rational discourse. Even if his pointedness as a satirist may be irritating for some, an institution like the DFG is committed to freedom of thought on the basis of the Enlightenment. We have therefore resumed the contribution. The discussion about the article exemplifies the developments that currently characterize many public discussions about science.

A culture of debate has developed in various areas of our society in which it is often not the factual and stronger argument that counts, in which less listening and inquiries are made, but more and more often hastily judged and condemned. The common dialogue is increasingly being replaced by polarized and polarizing disputes. Especially when it comes to key issues such as climate change or the coronavirus pandemic, the really necessary discussion about scientific topics and the constructive exchange between science and society are hindered. Scientists who make their findings public and describe options for political action are increasingly the target of unobjective attacks and personal defamation. This also applies to social movements

These developments are not beneficial to society and are all the more worrying as science plays a central role in overcoming current challenges, with which it is currently strongly perceived and valued in society. For her part, she is dependent on a critical, open and constructive communication culture.

The DFG would like to use these observations as an opportunity to initiate an intensive examination of the current culture of debate around science. The DFG stands for diversity of opinion and freedom of expression as well as a differentiated culture of discussion. It will continue to do its utmost to achieve this in the future – together with other actors from science, media, politics and other areas of society at home and abroad.

Source (Google Translate): https://kaltesonne.de/rolle-rueckwaerts-bei-der-deutschen-forschungsgesellschaft-nuhr-statement-wieder-online/

I applaud the DFG recognising and correcting their error, but such a statement should never have been censored.

I hope this is the start of something bigger, because something has gone very wrong with modern academia. Scientists like Peter Ridd should not be persecuted and punished for taking unfashionable positions. The penalty for speaking your mind if you are a scientist, even if you are later proven to be wrong, should not be excommunication and financial ruin.

Full post

The post After Backlash, German Research Foundation Regrets Censorship Of Science Statement appeared first on The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

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August 10, 2020 at 03:01AM

What’s Under the Hood: The Dirty Secrets Of ‘Clean’ Electric Vehicles

No ‘green’ dream – built with coal, powered by coal.

 

In their sillier moments, wind and solar advocates claim that we’ll all soon be driving electric vehicles, lovingly recharged with sunshine and breezes.

In Australia, those seemingly virtuous souls with EVs are really being propelled by coal, because 85% of the electricity passing through its Eastern grid comes from coal-fired plants. It’s an irony, to be sure.

While there’s nothing wrong in theory about all-Electric Vehicles, if they really were a sensible substitute for petrol or diesel-powered vehicles, they’d already be jumping off the shelves. Except, for some strange reason, they aren’t.

Of course, taxpayer funded subsidies to the manufacturers (and in some cases to the owners) of EVs are the only reason you’ll find them on the road, at all.

But, for those still eager to parade their purported moral virtue, before signing up for a new Tesla, here’s a little tale about what’s really under the hood.

The Dirty Secrets Of ‘Clean’ Electric Vehicles
Forbes
Tilak Doshi
2 August 2020

The widespread view that fossil fuels are “dirty” and renewables such as wind and solar energy and electric vehicles are “clean” has become a fixture of mainstream media and policy assumptions across the political spectrum in developed countries, perhaps with the exception of the Trump-led US administration. Indeed the ultimate question we are led to believe is how quickly can enlightened Western governments, led by an alleged scientific consensus, “decarbonize” with clean energy in a race to save the world from impending climate catastrophe. The ‘net zero by 2050’ mantra, calling for carbon emissions to be completely mitigated within three decades, is now the clarion call by governments and intergovernmental agencies around the developed world, ranging from several EU member states and the UK, to the International Energy Agency and the International Monetary Fund.

Mining out of sight, out of mind

Let’s start with Elon Musk’s Tesla. In an astonishing achievement for a company that has now posted four consecutive quarters of profits, Tesla is now the world’s most valuable automotive company. Demand for EVs is set to soar, as government policies subsidize the purchase of EVs to replace the internal combustion engine of gasoline and diesel-driven cars and as owning a “clean” and “green” car becomes a moral testament to many a virtue-signaling customer.

Yet, if one looks under the hood of “clean energy” battery-driven EVs, the dirt found would surprise most. The most important component in the EV is the lithium-ion rechargeable battery which relies on critical mineral commodities such as cobalt, graphite, lithium, and manganese. Tracing the source of these minerals, in what is called “full-cycle economics”, it becomes apparent that EVs create a trail of dirt from the mining and processing of minerals upstream.

A recent United Nations report warns that the raw materials used in electric car batteries are highly concentrated in a small number of countries where environmental and labour regulations are weak or non-existent. Thus, battery production for EVs is driving a boom in small-scale or “artisanal” cobalt production in the Democratic Republic of Congo which supplies two thirds of global output of the mineral. These artisanal mines, which account for up to a quarter of the country’s production, have been found to be dangerous and employ child labour.

Mindful of what the image of children scrabbling for hand-dug minerals in Africa can do to high tech’s clean and green image, most tech and auto companies using cobalt and other toxic heavy metals avoid direct sourcing from mines. Tesla Inc. struck a deal last month with Swiss-based Glencore Plc to buy as much as 6,000 tons of cobalt annually from the latter’s Congolese mines. While Tesla has said it aims to remove reputational risks associated with sourcing minerals from countries such as the DRC where corruption is rampant, Glencore assures buyers that no hand-dug cobalt is treated at its mechanized mines.

There are 7.2 million battery EVs or about 1% of the total vehicle fleet today. To get an idea of the scale of mining for raw materials involved in replacing the world’s gasoline and diesel-fueled cars with EVs, we can take the example of the UK as provided by Michael Kelly, the Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge. According to Professor Kelly, if we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs,  assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials: about twice the annual global production of cobalt; three quarters of the world’s production lithium carbonate; nearly the entire world production of neodymium; and more than half the world’s production of copper in 2018.

And this is just for the UK. Professor Kelly estimates that if we want the whole world to be transported by electric vehicles, the vast increases in the supply of the raw materials listed above would go far beyond known reserves. The environmental and social impact of vastly-expanded mining for these materials — some of which are highly toxic when mined, transported and processed – in countries afflicted by corruption and poor human rights records can only be imagined. The clean and green image of EVs stands in stark contrast to the realities of manufacturing batteries.

Zero Emissions and All That

Proponents of EVs might counter by saying that despite these evident environmental and social problems associated with mining in many third world countries, the case remains that EVs help reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with the internal combustion engines run on gasoline and diesel fuels. According to the reigning climate change narrative, it is after all carbon dioxide emissions that are threatening environmental catastrophe on a global scale. For the sake of saving the world, the climate crusaders of the richer nations might be willing to ignore the local pollution and human rights violations involved in mining for minerals and rare earths in Africa, China, Latin America and elsewhere.

While one might question the inherent inequity in imposing such a trade-off, the supposed advantages of EVs in emitting lower carbon emissions are overstated according to a peer-reviewed life-cycle study comparing conventional and electric vehicles. To begin with, about half the lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions from an electric car come from the energy used to produce the car, especially in the mining and processing of raw materials needed for the battery. This compares unfavorably with the manufacture of a gasoline-powered car which accounts for 17% of the car’s lifetime carbon-dioxide emissions. When a new EV appears in the show-room, it has already caused 30,000 pounds of carbon-dioxide emission. The equivalent amount for manufacturing a conventional car is 14,000 pounds.

Once on the road, the carbon dioxide emissions of EVs depends on the power-generation fuel used to recharge its battery. If it comes mostly from coal-fired power plants, it will lead to about 15 ounces of carbon-dioxide for every mile it is driven—three ounces more than a similar gasoline-powered car. Even without reference to the source of electricity used for battery charging, if an EV is driven 50,000 miles over its lifetime, the huge initial emissions from its manufacture means the EV will actually have put more carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere than a similar-size gasoline-powered car driven the same number of miles. Even if the EV is driven for 90,000 miles and the battery is charged by cleaner natural-gas fueled power stations, it will cause just 24% less carbon-dioxide emission than a gasoline-powered car. As the skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg puts it, “This is a far cry from ‘zero emissions’.

As most ordinary people mindful of keeping within modest budgets choose affordable gasoline or diesel-powered cars, experts and policy advisors the world over have felt compelled to tilt the playing field in favor of EVs. EV subsidies are regressive: given their high upfront cost, EVs are only affordable for high-income households. It is egregious that EV subsides are funded by the average tax-payer so that the rich can buy their EVs at subsidized prices.

The determination not to know or to look away when the facts assail our beliefs is an enduring frailty of human nature. The tendency towards group think and confirmation bias, and the will to affirm the “scientific consensus” and marginalize sceptics, are rife in considerations by the so-called experts committed to advocating their favorite cause. In the case of EVs, the dirty secrets of “clean energy” should seem apparent to all but, alas, there are none so blind as those who will not see.
Forbes

The breeding ground for ‘clean’ all electric vehicles.

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August 10, 2020 at 02:38AM