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Alistair McConnachie published Sovereignty from July 1999 to its 120th consecutive monthly issue in June 2009, and he continues to maintain this website.
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Daily Mail
9 July 2004
What a Load of Poppycock!
Professor David Bellamy

Whatever the experts say about the howling gales, thunder and lightning we've had over the past two days, of one thing we can be certain. Someone, somewhere -- and there is every chance it will be a politician or an environmentalist -- will blame the weather on global warning.

But they will be 100 per cent wrong. Global warming -- at least the modem nightmare version -- is a myth. I am sure of it and so are a growing number of scientists. But what is really worrying is that the world's politicians and policy makers are not. Instead, they have an unshakeable faith in what has, unfortunately, become one of the central credos of the environmental movement. Humans burn fossil fuels, which release increased levels of carbon dioxide -- the principal so-called greenhouse gas -- into the atmosphere, causing the atmosphere to heat up.

They say this is global warming: I say this is poppycock. Unfortunately, for the time being, it is their view that prevails.

As a result of their ignorance, the world's economy may be about to divert billions, nay trillions of pounds, dollars and roubles into solving a problem that actually doesn't exist. The waste of economic resources is both incalculable and tragic.

To explain why I believe that global warming is largely a natural phenomenon that has been with us for 13,000 years and probably isn't causing us any harm anyway, we need to take heed of some basic facts of botanical science.

For a start, carbon dioxide is not the dreaded killer green-house gas that the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol five years later cracked it up to be. It is, in fact, the most important airborne fertiliser in the world, and without it there would be no green plants at all. That is because, as any school-child will tell you, plants take in carbon dioxide and water and, with the help of a little sunshine, convert them into complex carbon compounds -- that we either eat, build with or just admire -- and oxygen, which just happens to keep the rest of the planet alive.

Increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, double it even, and this would produce a rise in plant productivity. Call me a biased old plant lover, but that doesn't sound like much of a killer gas to me. Hooray for global warming, that's what I say, and so do a lot of my fellow scientists.

Let me quote from a petition produced by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, which has been signed by over 18,000 scientists who are totally opposed to the Kyoto Protocol, which committed the world's leading industrial nations to cutting their production of green-house gases from fossil fuels.

They say: "Predictions of harmful climatic effects due to future Increases m minor greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are in error and do not conform to experimental knowledge."

You couldn't get much plainer than that. And yet we still have public figures such as Sir David King, scientific adviser to Her Majesty's Government, making preposterous statements such as "by the end of this century, the only continent we will be able to live on is Antarctica".

At the same time, he's joined the bandwagon that blames just about anything on global warming, regardless of the scientific evidence. For example, take the alarm about rising sea levels around the South coast of England and subsequent flooding along the region's rivers. According to Sir David, global warming is largely to blame.

But it isn't at all -- it's down to bad management of water catchments, building on flood plains, and the incontestable fact that the South of England is gradually sinking below the waves. And that sinking is nothing to do with rising sea levels caused by ice-caps melting. Instead, it is purely related to an entirely natural warping of the Earth's crust, which could only be reversed by sticking one of the enormously heavy ice-caps from past ice ages back on top of Scotland. Ah, ice ages... those absolutely massive changes in global climate that environmentalists don't like to talk about, because they provide such strong evidence that climate change is an entirely natural phenomenon.

It was round about the end of the last ice age, some 13,000 years ago, that a global warming process did undoubtedly begin. Not because of all those Stone Age folk roasting mammoth meat on fossil fuel camp fires but because of something called the 'Milankovitch Cycles', an entirely natural fact of planetary life that depends on the tilt of the Earth's axis and its orbit around the sun.

The glaciers melted, the ice cap retreated and Stone Age man could resume hunting again. But a couple of millennia later, it got very cold again and everyone headed south. Then it warmed up so much that water from melted ice filled the English Channel and we became an island.

The truth is that the climate has been yo-yo-ing up and down ever since. Whereas it was warm enough for the Romans to produce good wine in York, on the other hand. King Canute had to dig up peat to warm his people. And then it started getting warm again.

Up and down, up and down -- that is how temperature and climate have always gone in the past and there is no proof that they are not still doing exactly the same now. In other words, climate, change is an entirely natural phenomenon, nothing to do with the burning of fossil fuels.

In fact, a recent scientific paper, rather unenticingly titled 'Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentrations over the Last Glacial Termination', proved it. It showed that increases in temperature are responsible for increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, not the other way around.

But this sort of evidence is ignored, either by those who believe the Kyoto Protocol is environmental gospel, or by those who know 25 years of hard work went into securing the agreement and simply can't admit that the science it is based on is wrong.

The real truth is that the main greenhouse gas -- the one that has the most direct effect on land temperatures -- is water vapour, 99 per cent of which is entirely natural. If all the water vapour was removed from the atmosphere, the temperature of the planet would fall by 33 degrees Celsius. But remove all the carbon dioxide and the temperature might fall by just 0.3 per cent; although we wouldn't be around, because without it there would be no green plants, no herbivorous farm animals and no food for us to eat.

It has been estimated that the cost of cutting fossil fuel emissions in line with the Kyoto Protocol would be £76 trillion. Little wonder, then, that world leaders are worried. So should we all be.

If we signed up to these scaremongers, we could be about to waste a gargantuan amount of money on a problem that doesn't exist -- money that could be used in umpteen other ways: fighting world hunger, providing clean drinking water, developing alternative energy sources, improving our environment, creating jobs.

The link between the burning of fossil fuels and global warming is a myth. It is time the world's leaders, their scientific advisers and many environmental pressure groups woke up to the fact.

  But even if there was adverse and un-natural "global warming", who's fault would it be? Not, it would seem, that of post-industrial Britain.... Yet, so he can preach in front of the global media and nobly outweasel his fellow Heads of Slate, the UK prime minister has gifted much of rural Britain into the hands of multinational corporate developers -- who, as the third article on this page reveals, are making very big profits through enforced public subsidisation of their hopelessly inefficient but environmentally devastating wind-farms.  
The Guardian
12 July 2004
Wind Brings US Pollution
And Lifts UK's Ozone Count
Paul Brown
Environment Correspondent

A car pumps out exhaust fumes in Washington or New York, and five days later a hiker in the Lake District or on the Sussex Downs finds his or her lungs are hurting. Scientists believe that polluting gases travel - and that while crossing the Atlantic a reaction with sunlight turns them into ozone gas, which inflames the lungs.

Today, in the biggest experiment ever on air pollution, 40 UK scientists are heading for the Azores to test whether Europe is catching a good deal of damaging pollution from America, and even Asia, on the prevailing westerly winds. While the British scientists use research aircraft to measure the composition of the pollution in the jet stream (a fast current in the upper atmosphere) to Europe, scientists from the US, Canada, France, Germany and Portugal will do the same.

Alastair Lewis, from the University of York and head of the  1.2m British expedition, said: "We used to think air pollution was a local problem. Now we realise some pollutants, particularly ozone, are global. It is literally arriving here on the wind."

Some pollutant gases are short-lived; others form new pollutants as they mix and are subject to sunlight -- it is these changes scientists want to track.

Ozone, or lack of it, is better known because of the ozone-layer hole caused by chemicals such as CFCs reacting in the upper atmosphere and destroying the gas, which acts as a filter for sunlight and protects the skin from cancer. In the lower atmosphere, ozone is dangerous. According to Dr Lewis, when it reaches 40 parts per billion (ppb) in air it begins to damage plants and inhibit growth. If it reaches 100ppb it is regarded as dangerous to humans, inflaming the lungs and badly affecting old and vulnerable people.

"Background" ozone around the world has been increasing, thought to be caused by pollutants such as nitrogen oxides -- from car exhausts and power stations - and volatile organic compounds, also emitted by vehicles and substances such as paint as well as natural sources. They react with sunlight to form ozone.

In the 1990s it was realised that ozone in the south of England rose dramatically in warm summers when there was an east wind, as pollution from Europe drifted cross the Channel. Now scientists see it as a world problem. "Global warming, it appears, is not the only global pollution problem," said Dr Lewis.

The US, which spends 10 times as much as Britain on research, is worried by ozone hitting its west coast due to pollution from Asia, particularly China's booming economy. On the other hand, it is believed US east-coast pollution moves north to Canada before being sucked upwards by weather fronts into the jet stream and is then deposited in Europe between three and five days later.

  The following article explains how big corporate profits are made from heavily State subsidised wind-farms.... and though not actually saying it, could raise a question of why it really is that the Government politicians (along with certain Greens and their Trotskyite allies) are so fanatically keen to impose this particular means of power generation on the country, despite its failure already being guaranteed. We are not fooled at all by Conservative leader Michael Howard's claimed conversion to the "anti" campaign; he could have said plenty in the past before developments reached their present dire stage, but it was only when windfarms began to antagonise his own constituency voters that he paid any serious attention to the problem.  
The Sunday Times
25 July 2004
Why the Wind Farms
Should be Blown Away
Jonathan Leake
John Elliott
Is the race for wind power driven by greed more than environmental concern?
report on a secret goldrush

When the news arrived out of the blue, John Constable could hardly believe it. An energy company was planning to erect six giant wind turbines, each 300ft high, with blades longer than the wing of a jumbo jet, just 700 yards from his farmhouse in the Suffolk village of Great Glemham. Constable, a Cambridge University poetry expert, his mother and his seven-year-old son were aghast. The view from the house -- with its oak trees, orchard and wild meadow populated by red admiral butterflies -- would be ruined by the turbines.

"It's creating outrage in the village," said Constable, a descendant of the artist John Constable. So in January, he and other villagers joined the burgeoning ranks of Britain's anti-wind farm campaigners to fight the plans. Just another bunch of nimbies? How can they object if wind power is clean, simple and cheap? On the face of it, it would be all too easy to portray Constable and other protesters now springing up all over the country as small-minded and self-centred. Instead, by a strange reversal of opinion, they are winning increasing support from scientists, experts in renewable energy and even green campaigners.

As the costs and impact of wind power become better understood, divisions are opening up over its merits. On Friday at a conference in Edinburgh, Sir Martin Holdgate, an expert in renewable energy who once supported wind farms, fiercely criticised plans for expansion of the power-generating technique. Holdgate believes wind farms are not worth the cost and environmental impact : they require large areas to produce only small amounts of energy. Wind turbines will simply not produce enough to save Britain from the effects of global warming and are draining resources that might be better spent elsewhere.

Sir Ian Fells, professor of energy conversion at Newcastle University and one of the world's leading renewable energy experts, said that for wind power to contribute just 5% of Britain’s electricity supply would "take a Herculean effort and a lot of subsidy". He calculates that to achieve such a target would require a "subsidy" -- that is, extra payments by customers above normal energy rates -- of £8 billion by 2010.

In fact, behind the turbines sprouting across the landscape is a goldrush sparked by incentives created by a government struggling to meet its own targets for renewable energy. It has led to developers racing to build turbines with little care for the environment.

Tom Burke, a former director of Friends of the Earth, supports wind energy in principle but is concerned about its growth : "These wind farm entrepreneurs have seen there is big money to be made but they need to learn the same lesson as other developers, that they cannot just decide what they want and then do it." Professor David Bellamy, the naturalist, is campaigning against wind farms, warning of "plans that will make the British coastline ugly and impossible for birdlife". He condemns the "government's naive belief that wind farms produce green electricity".

Even Jonathon Porritt, doyen of greens and former director of Friends of the Earth, has reservations. Although he strongly supports wind power and believes wind turbines are "compellingly beautiful", he admits: "The real problem is that people building the things have been insensitive. They’ve put some of them in the wrong places and have not consulted local people or involved them in the benefits. The result is there is a growing anti-wind power lobby."

Ten years ago there were hardly any onshore turbines in Britain and when they did begin to appear, they spread slowly. Today there are more than 1,100 and as numbers have risen, so have concerns. People affected include the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who has a house in Wales in sight of a planned wind farm. The mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington has protested against wind turbines. "We are seeing the beginning of real unrest in the countryside about the way in which this is being done. There are a lot of people who are suddenly realising there is an application for one of these things," said Noel Edmonds, the broadcaster who last week launched the Renewable Energy Foundation to campaign against the government's wind farm policies.

Many more protesters are likely to join in because the government envisages at least another 2,000 turbines by 2010.In fact, meeting government targets for 20% of energy from renewable sources by 2020 will require up to 8,000 turbines, some of which would be offshore.

To encourage this amazing growth, the government has put in place a complex system of payments that stands to make developers very rich. It typically enables a single two-megawatt turbine to generate its owner nearly £385,000 a year for 20 years. Not bad for a machine that costs only £1.3m to build. It is, however, where that money comes from that is most interesting. In a typical case, only £120,000 would be payment for the electricity generated. The remaining £265,000 -- the real profit -- comes from the sale of bits of paper called renewable obligations certificates (Rocs).
A wind farmer is allowed to create one Roc for every 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity they generate -- and a two-megawatt turbine will generate about 5,300 certificates a year. The wind farmers are able to sell the certificates to the big electricity suppliers, who need them to prove to the government that some of their electricity comes from renewable sources. Since there are too few renewable energy sources around and therefore not enough Rocs, the price of these certificates rises. What is more, it is likely to keep rising because each year the government is raising the proportion of renewable energy that companies must supply.

The government currently aims at 4.9% of power coming from renewable sources. By 2010, the target will be 10.4%. Ultimately, it is the consumer who pays for the inflated price of wind power: it might be clean but it is not cheap.The system creates an incentive for the industry to build more and more wind farms -- even though the Royal Academy of Engineering calculates that power from wind farms is more expensive than that from coal or gas power stations.

These arrangements are also prompting the wind farm industry to build ever bigger machines. A typical two-megawatt turbine is 200ft high, but new ones envisaged for use offshore or in isolated areas will be 500ft -- about 2.5 times higher than Nelson's column. To help ensure that more wind farms are being built, the government is also expected to relax planning rules. By contrast, Michael Howard, the Conservative leader, will announce tomorrow that he would make it harder for Whitehall to overrule locals who oppose turbines. Of course, arguments rage over how to calculate the real costs of different generating systems and their environmental impact. Green campaigners believe that the government's incentive system for wind power, while flawed, is the only way Britain can shift energy generation from fossil fuels to renewable energy. But Fells said: "There is no doubt that we need all the electricity we can get that doesn't create carbon dioxide, but predicating this almost entirely on wind when there are other, less obtrusive technologies seems simplistic, stubborn and perverse."

As he points out, one great drawback of wind power is that it cannot completely replace other energy generation : it requires "backup" power sources for days when the wind does not blow.

Are there better alternatives in the long run? Hydroelectric power does not have much potential in Britain, although it may be useful in mountainous countries. Fells suggests that money would be better invested in tidal and wave power generation.
Earlier this month a House of Lords select committee also recommended that "there should be a co-ordinated programme of capital grants" to encourage wave and tidal power projects.

Others believe that the best long-term hope may well be solar power. Demonstrations around Britain have shown that a typical terraced house with modern solar technology can generate more than enough power for its own needs. But the initial costs are daunting. A full solar roof installation costs £20,000 for an average house -- three times the cost of an ordinary roof. With power prices so low at present, it is simply not viable.

So, without a short-term alternative, the march of the wind turbines is likely to proceed, even though they will not prevent global warming or provide a solution to the energy crisis on the horizon.

Some respected environmentalists believe here is only one realistic alternative available, and it is recognised by the man who opened Britain's first wind farm, Professor James Lovelock, the much-admired seer behind the Gaia concept of the planet as a living organism. He, too, has now turned against wind power. He believes nuclear power is the greenest energy option. It is a proven supply of significant capacity and does not consume fossil fuels.

Fells also supports it. But nuclear power has risks and long-term decommissioning costs. More importantly, the government is set to wind down the nuclear power industry and has no plans to build more reactors. Which leaves one last option on electricity: use less.
Traditional environmentalists oppose nuclear power and the government is winding it down. But will it have to play a bigger, not smaller, role in Britain's energy provision? A looming energy crisis could force a U-turn; Britain's gas and oil reserves are declining. North Sea oil reserves could be depleted as soon as 2010. Renewable energy sources account for only 3% of supply at present. Even increasing that level to 10% is a huge task. Even if renewable sources are increased, demand may rise faster.
UK domestic energy consumption increased by 19% between 1990 and 2001. Some 25% of Britain's electricity comes from nuclear power. But our nuclear generators are old and due to close within the next two decades. There is no clear alternative to meet the resulting shortfall. In 1997 the Labour party manifesto pledged to block the building of new nuclear power stations. That pledge was dropped in the last manifesto. British Nuclear Fuels and British Energy, which run the country's nuclear power stations, are understood to have drawn up plans for a "nuclear renaissance" with new plants around the country.
Levels of nuclear power in other countries are considerably higher than in Britain. Over 30% of the electricity in the European Union is generated from nuclear sources. In France and Belgium it is 75% and 55% respectively. Nuclear power is gaining support among some environmentalists as a comparatively clean energy source. They believe it may be the only way to solve the energy crisis in the short term until significant other generating methods are developed.

.     Viz magazine
..     August 2004
from  The Modern Parents  cartoon John Fardell     ..

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