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The truths they don't want you to read....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Red-throated divers

With about 60 breeding pairs of these birds in the Lewis Peatlands - about 6.4% of the UK population or about 0.8% of the world population - they are a major reason for the objections to the proposed Lewis Wind Farm.

This week, the Climatic Atlas of European Breeding Birds was published by the RSPB and addressed the issue of the impact on bird populations of climactic change.

The answer was startling - the populations will move about 550km North East by the end of the century.

That's 55km per decade - almost 35 miles - that the birds will move their nesting.

Or another way of looking at it is that they will have left Lewis and moved to the mainland by 2020.

So when the RSPB say, "we need urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and redouble our efforts for nature conservation, if we are to avoid calamitous impacts on birds". That'll include supporting the Lewis Wind Power scheme then?

If the birds are moving North East at such a rate, then what bird populations are going to be left on the island, unless we do something about renewable energy, and quickly?


Anonymous said...

Until you persuade hundreds of millions of yanks to give up their Humvees, SUVs and stronger-than-heroin addiction to cars and driving, covering the Outer Hebrides with industrial turbines will count for squiddly dot towards climate change and rising sea levels.

Look at the data. Compare co2 emissions caused by vehicles against even the most optimistic savings generated by all the turbines.

Anonymous said...

gun,shot, foot.
they did'nt even have the sense to keep it under raps until after consideration

Anonymous said...

"Until you persuade hundreds of millions of yanks to give up their Humvees, SUVs and stronger-than-heroin addiction to cars and driving..."

Not to mention China and India's humongous and growing CO2 outputs.

Red-throated divers: so what if this particular bird population moves north-east over the next couple of decades? If it does, logic indicates it will be replaced by other bird populations on the move themselves, possibly including even rarer birds. The notion that any number of wind turbines is going to do anything about preventing bird migration is laughable.

I wish, Angus, that you would spend at least some of the energy you spend trying to get this extremely unpopular windfactory scheme through, into trying to get tidal and wave systems online quicker. At least they would have the benefit of higher reliability and regularity of supply. Although of course the equation "more power generated (from any source) = more power used" will apply, bearing in mind that there will always, always be a need for constant backup from coal and/or nuclear. Anything less than drastic reductions in the amount of power/fuel used right across the planet will be almost useless.

Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the stupidest arguments for windpower I've ever heard.

Let's fisk it:

Supposedly, over the next 93 years, red-throated divers will move 'northeast'.

First off, we don't know that they will in fact do so. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar (or politician--the two are roughly synonymous).

Second, we don't know WHEN they will do so, if they wii do so, or the actual (as opposed to 'average') rate.

Third, we have nearly 100 years in which the birds could move--they may move 550 km tomorrow, or may not up sticks until 2090; IF they move at all. Given that anthropogenic climate change is an outright lie (of which more folk are becoming aware daily), and its underlying data is routinely falsified (as NASA and others now admit), your argument is foolish.

With me so far?

Nobody in their right mind would use this assertion to support 'wind power on Lewis'. Unless you are prepared to claim that the wind turbines (which will be built in the next 2-4 years, yes) will somehow miraculously avoid killing birds; or that the divers will magically move themselves out before the turbines are built--then you have no argument. Period.

This has gone beyond a joke. The politicians are living in an idiotic, irresponsible fantasy world, happily wasting our money on useless technologies.

I suggest, that for each windfarm, we closely monitor its output, compare that to the claims made, demand that the developer PROVE the CO2 emissions savings (hint: there are none, and never have been), and that the people of these islands demand a moral accounting from all those who've inflicted this scam upon us.

To: Anonymous 1:57

You ARE aware, are you not, that Britain's per capita emissions are roughly the same as the US; and that China is now a greater emitter than the US, followed closely by India?

Nuclear is the only answer: the sooner folk get their heads around that fact, the easier it'll be to avoid a massive and unsustainable loss of power supply. Of course, if you prefer to buy from England at inflated rates....

Anonymous said...

Don't tidy your bedroom - the guy down the road's third child doesn't.

Set up a nucleur power station in Lewis - it'll at least give THIS generation jobs.

Don't take care of mother nature - We will probably have invented a way to solve all problems before it becomes too late, and if not its the next generations look-out!

Anonymous said...

Interesting article on 'global warming' supposedly having stopped here, Angus.

It's a case of pick your favourite expert, really. No-one can actually prove anything. You say tomayto, I say tomahto...

Angus said...

...which is demolished in a later issue of New Statesman.

Most particularly the use of short periods of measurement to determine the long term trend is shown to be statistically invalid, naive and misleading.

Good to read the other side though, as it is important to understand how and why false arguments arise.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 2:44 PM said "Nuclear is the only answer"

You wouldn’t happen to be the engineer from Angus's recent post on nuclear, with comments at 8:35 AM and 2:17PM?

If so, I’m still waiting for a single answer to any of my questions regarding the potential of nuclear power to act as panacea to all our energy woes – see comment at 6:02 PM. Apologies, it is quite a long comment but stick with it. You're only nine questions away from having a nuclear convert.

While you’re thinking, here’s something to read on Finland’s recent experience with building a nuclear plant.

Maybe renewables aren't there on the storage side yet but they never will be if we don't try to innovate and develop novel means of storage to provide baseload capacity. Why are you so convinced that this will never happen? The 39MW Sorne Hill wind farm in Donegal uses a 12MWh flow battery to store electricity generated when demand is low. What is wrong with this approach?

Anonymous said...

The answer is not in generating more power it is in using what we do generate more efficiently, that is always going to be difficult to achieve as long as energy companies profits are dictated by the amount of energy units that they sell
Anonymous 2.44 states
"Given that anthropogenic climate change is an outright lie"

Environmental Science is a fairly new area of study and many of the links in the earth's cycles are still to be fully understood but there are many patterns which give a fairly good indication that our actions are causing climate change.
This is very simmilar to the 60's and 70's when Doctors were fairly sure that smoking caused cancer but were unable to fully illustrate the pathways, this allowed tobacco companies to put out their own propaganda very like today where anti environmentalist propoganda is perpetuated by those who stand to loose.

Anonymous said...

This is garbage science, Angus. The red-throated divers move northeast by 35 miles a year. Do you know where each increment of 35 miles takes you? Over open sea.

Anonymous said...

Angus commented:

...which is demolished in a later issue of New Statesman.

Actually, no. Mark Lynas is not a scientist, nor even well-informed. He is, in simple truth, a nutcase (try to wade through his absurdly unscientific books, if you can be bothered) who is simply spouting off his usual 'end of the world' garbage.

Global warming, as measured by satellite, has indeed ceased. Of course, that hasn't stopped the IPCC and others from 'adjusting' the measurements in order to achieve the 'desired' result.

In everyday life, we call such behavior 'falsification of data'.

Indeed, such conduct is quite similar in it lack of ethics to those who claim that 'wind farms reduce CO2' emissions.

How do they do so? They don't replace conventional generation, nor do they allow conventional plants to taper down their own fuel consumption. Indeed, on the evidence from Denmark, CO2 emissions may well INCREASE, since conventional stations must cycle up and down their production in a way they were never meant to do.

The whole windfarm swindle is simply astonishing, and the number of folk who blindly buy into it is distressing. The result of a technology-ignorant society, I guess.

Anonymous said...


1) Given that we’ve no known significant domestic uranium deposits, wouldn’t we just be painting ourselves into another corner by relying on supplies from other countries, even though they may appear stable now, who’s to say where they will be in 30 years?

Strawman argument. The fact of the matter is that we CAN purchase uranium (and other raw materials) on the open market, just as the French do (and the Japanese, and the Chinese, and the Americans…). Wind simply is not suited for baseload. Therefore, there’s absolutely no point trying to bring up ‘wind power’ as some sort of alternative to other baseload-supplying energy sources (coal, hydro, nuclear).

2) What was the net energy gain associated with extracting uranium for use as fuel stock when they first began mining it, what is it now and looking into your crystal ball, what will it be 30 years from now when lots of other countries have leapt aboard the nuclear lifeboat?

I’ll assess ‘energy gain’ (as you call it) as ‘energy returned on energy invested (EROEI). A typical study (this one was for the Forsmark plant’s 3090 MWe reactor set), showed energy inputs as approximately 1.7% of total output over the plant’s forty year expected life; IOW, the return was circa 76:1. Of course, this is assured baseload supply—it will run regardless of weather, sun, wind, etc.

As for ’30 years from now’, nobody knows. What we DO know is that wind is simply not feasible as a baseload power source, so nuclear is the only option. Unless, of course, you’d rather have coal (abundant) or gas (increasingly controlled by Russia, which will provide the EU with some highly amusing problems in the next five years or so).

Your questions 3 and 4 beg the true question: given that wind is not suitable for baseload (or spinning reserve), and since you don’t wish to use nuclear, it’s up to YOU (not me) to propose some other alternative. Your stance is typical of the weird greenies: NO nuclear, NO coal, ‘we can make wind work!!!!’ (how). I suspect part of the problem is simply wishful, uninformed thinking, and part may be due to a simple lack of understanding of just how little and unpredictable the electrical output from wind really is, compared to the daily electricity requirements of the UK

5) If you answer “we’ll use breeder reactors and breed plutonium to run them

7) If your answer to 6) is “negligible” (data and source please), then can you tell me how sensible it is to site reactors close to coasts near existing reactors which appears to be the preferred option in a few cases given the fact that sea levels are predicted to rise significantly and storm surges will become more frequent over the coming years?

‘Are predicted’? By whom? By the same folk who, four years ago, couldn’t (and still can’t) come up with a workable climate model? It’s a miracle: one day we can’t even construct a climate model for a decade ahead, and now suddenly we all speak with the assurance permitted only to the truly ignorant that ‘sea levels are gonna rise! Temps will go up! Plague! Methane fireballs (thank you, Mark Lynas)! Sunburned survivors cowering in Greenland, eating each other in an attempt to eke out a subistence (thanks again, Mark!’

I see that you have fully bought into the Tulip Bul…er, the ‘Comet is About to Hit the Ea….’…er, ‘The next Ice Age is imminent!’, er ‘The CIA invented AIDS!’….

What was the latest fantasy you’ve bought into?

Fortunately, most people are too smart to fall for the green-fascist movement’s nonsense. You wanted zero carbon emissions? Great: nuclear gives ya zero carbon emissions, and that’s what you’re going to get.

So, you should be happy. Nuclear will happen, and there’s nothing you can do about it. For the first time, a majority of folk have realized just how utterly insane the renewables scam is, and just how fascistic its advocates can be.

We’ve arrived at the decision to build nuke plants; our democratically elected government has chosen this course of action. End of story.

Game over; you lose.

Anonymous said...

Hello there anonymous 11:33 AM. I am no “green bean”; I am a pragmatist who recognises that the energy resources we currently rely upon are constrained by geological certainties. Production ramps up, then it declines. For me, global warming is a peripheral concern when compared with resource depletion.

1) Naming a (growing) list of countries vying to purchase uranium simply reinforces my point in question 3) that we are about to commit a large chunk of our energy security to increasingly crowded market for a commodity whose abundance in economically recoverable amounts is not certain. Whilst nuclear provides a significant amount of electricity in the West, globally it is responsible for only 2.5-3 percent of total final consumption. So let’s all pile in and drive the price through the roof. No wait, too late. The cost of a pound of uranium went from $12.25 in Sep 2003 to $75.00 in Sep 2007, does that tell you anything about this market? Uranium oxide production has been lagging behind its use in nuclear reactors for the past 20 years and this has been reflected in the price. Sorry, no sale.

2) Yes, I was referring to EROEI, but for the sake of people who aren’t familiar with the term I stuck to something which was more obvious than an obscure acronym. At least we can agree that EROEI is an important tool in the analysis of any energy source! I believe the study you refer to was a reaction by the World Nuclear Association (no conflict of interest there eh?) to the study by Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith which used data from the nuclear industry on the extraction of uranium from granite which concluded that using current technology the mining process to run a 1GW reactor for one year would use 20 times more energy than the mined uranium oxide would produce. Who has the best expert, and who has more to loose - financially - by being wrong? As for a forty year lifespan being typical? Come on! How many reactors can you name that have a typical lifespan of forty years?! Forsmark has only been operating since 1980, so there must be some serious extrapolation going on in that study. No mention of the shutdown of July 2006 where a major incident was narrowly avoided, or the shutdown in February 2007 due to deficient rubber seals? Good choice. Also, you admit that forecasting 30 years from now is a worthless exercise yet you are happy to commit us to a technology that will require many generations to deal with the aftermath, and also to forecast that renewables will never be a viable alternative? You’re all over the place!

3) & 4); You have simply evaded these questions by accusing me of being against everything but renewables, which is not the case. I have no problem with coal or gas fired power to get us over the hump, they are essential in my view, but they are not sustainable given the massive industrialisation going on in the Far East, we will be facing increased costs from these sources in the near future. So, I ask again, how much useful uranium is there and how long before we reach a crossover where diminishing returns take their toll?

Question 5); No examples of successful breeding programmes?

6) and 7); Okay, you don’t believe in a relationship between greenhouse gases and global warming, congratulations. I will assume that this means you don’t deny that there are many gases emitted during the nuclear fuel lifecycle that the industry does not release or perhaps even record data for?

Questions 8) and 9)? If you can’t think of anything, how about you start by declaring that I am probably a greenie lunatic who wears a hemp cardigan and cycles around with my kids in a trailer feeding them on quorn products whilst telling everyone off for owning cars. That should convince people.

Whilst I’m sure it doesn’t concern you, nuclear is far from carbon free once mining, milling, waste storage and the energy used in constructing and decommissioning are taken into account. We can argue over the numbers if you want, but claiming that it is carbon free is an outright lie and you know it.

No comment on the vast cost overruns in with Finland’s latest nuclear power station? Nothing to say on flow batteries or pumped hydro storage for excess generated from renewables? “These are bad ideas that will never work because…..”

So, to sum up the only observation I can see that you’ve made that even came close to making a dent in my list was the single study from within the nuclear industry you quoted on a power plant that has since proven to be a source of great concern. For the rest you are reduced to personal insults, hubris over the government’s misguided decision and trying to pigeonhole anyone who doesn’t accept your vision for a nuclear utopia as a “green-fascist” to make up for a lack of cogent arguments or evidence to support your assertions, or simply repeating your mantra “nuclear is zero carbon”.

Whatever you assume about me, resource depletion is my main concern, and it is being exacerbated by the combination of a growing middle class in the developing world (which I do not begrudge them before you have a go at me for bringing that up) along with our own business as usual approach in the West. We can’t rely on non-renewable resources to power our economies forever. We have to make renewables work, whatever form they may come in.

And as for your “game over” comment, I find it quite worrying that you view this situation as a game. Whilst I don’t doubt that there will be a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK given the short sightedness of our politicians, this does not make it a good choice; we all lose.

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Coves, and sing this song with me, to the tune "Wild Mountain Thyme,Approx."

Oh the Big Turbines are coming,
Their blades a softly throbbing,
And with them they will bring
Jobs for all and sundry,
'Cept Allan Bochd and Brendan,
They must go, boys, go!

Yes, the big Windfarm is coming,
With it's Rotors slowly spinning,
But nowhere to be seen
Is the promised Referendum!!
So Allan Bochd and Brendan,
You must go boys, go!

And where's the Sub Sea Cable?
Oh it is coming too!
So come on boys and tell us,
Are you in apickle or a stew?
Poor Allan Bochd and Brendan,
On your way boys, now go!

3rd Degree Burns

Anonymous said...

are you sure that third degree wasn't just honourary...?