Sunday, December 13, 2009

Innumerate Warmists

Innumerate Warmists

A recent article in Scientific American, one of the most virulent purveyors of Warmist hysteria, makes the case that we can all go on a WWS economy, that is, Waves, Water, and Solar. They claim that all we need is
3.8 million large wind turbines, 90,000 solar plants, and numerous geothermal, tidal and rooftop photovoltaic installations
That's all very nice, but it seems to me that they never ran the numbers. Let's give it a try.

3.8 million 5 MW wind turbines. These cost $5 million to $10 million each. Including land and installation, that's $40,000,000,000,000. (40 trillion dollars) They claim that we need to build 1,700,000,000 3 kW rooftop photovoltaic systems. At current prices each of these would cost $24,000, which is another 40 trillion dollars. These numbers are exclusive of installation costs and the cost of a new electric transmission grid needed to make use of it all. Let's be kind and call it a minimum of one hundred trillion dollars to install the hardware.

Where will the money come from? The entire debt of the United States government is officially supposed to be twelve trillion dollars, so this proposal calls for increasing that debt by eight times! That's an order of magnitude more debt, and that's just the money cost. What about the environmental cost? All the mountain tops that will have to be leveled for wind turbine installation, like the proposal they are starting to put into motion in Maine, is an interesting subject for study all by itself.

Beyond that consider that the deserts will need to be covered with photovoltaic arrays. And we have not even considered the tidal dams, the wave energy collectors, and all the other pie in the sky neato-tech that will need to be invented to make this pipe dream come true. And for what? The AGW debate starts with a supposed increase in temperatures, but it seems to end there as well. Forgotten, beyond the question of human causeation, is whether any of this investment and destruction of habitat will change the course of terrestrial weather. Further, we need to see a debate on the effect of warming itself. Is it a bad thing, or a good thing for humanity? Making Canada and Siberia productive for food agriculture might just be a good thing. But to the true believer, this is not even part of the debate. Maybe Gaea is providing for burgeoning population by removing the protective ice cover from immense regions for human habitation and exploitation. Maybe that is what this entire debate is really about.

This all presupposes that climate conditions will remain the way they are, which seems to be to be a revealing bit of the Warmist mentality. If they truly believe that climate is changing due to human activity, then they should also believe that weather will also be changing. After all, isn't the utility of a solar generation site linked to the local weather? If a trend to more cloud cover develops, that would affect generation. And should changing conditions act on the viability of wind farms, should they look to possible changes in wind patterns? Wouldn't the mere existence of massive wind farms remove wind energy from the system, and thus slow the wind itself?

One might say that is all hypothetical, but then the entire body of AGW science is hypothetical. There are no experiments in climate science, only observations and predictions. To the extent that the models in use are now twenty years old, could we not consider the fact that those predictions predict the first ten of those years pretty well, but they fail to predict anything of value for the second decade at all? And now data has been collected that seem to show that wind velocity, and thus power available for harvesting, is reducing. Amazingly, Warmists dismiss this research, because the observations are not predicted their models. Isn't that the exact opposite of the scientific method? Shouldn't the prediction, the theory itself, change when new observations, new data, come to light?