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Climate Hustle

An account of the Watts event in Perth

Posted on 2 July 2010 by Anne Young

Guest post by Annie Young

The Watts climate tour appeared in Perth on Tuesday evening. They garnered a turnout in the vicinity of 110 people. The majority were middle-aged and elderly. Three of us stood outside offering 'The Scientific Guide to the Skeptics' Handbook', an excellent booklet addressing the grievous scientific misunderstandings in Jo Nova's 'Skeptics' Handbook'. Almost everyone accepted one, however a couple returned theirs when they realised they had been duped with the real science.

Upon her arrival, Jo Nova asked to see the booklet. She muttered something about the lunacy of measuring temperature with wind shear. A fellow booklet distributor mentioned three recent articles which explained the notion but instead of discussing the contents of these papers in a spirit of scientific curiosity, she diverted from the real issue by challenging him to name the authors.

When questioned about further reading she may have done on other topics, she reverted to stating the authors of one paper she had read. It is thus hard to take her seriously when she says she is looking for evidence. "Show me the science," was also her refrain six months ago at another climate science event. This seems to indicate that she has no interest, or perhaps no ability, to do her own research. The suggestion that it is her responsibility to keep up with the science, not ours to ensure that she does, appeared to make no impression on her. Her response to several enquiries during our discussion about whether she understands the science, was silence.

She accused those of us following evidence-based science of wanting 'our money'. Apparently, in her mind, those who pay attention to the science are aligned against the denialists to fleece the world of money for their nefarious activities dealing with climate change for the benefit of current and future generations.

Bob Carter also came out to have a word. He disparaged the scientists who were acknowledged for their comments on the 'Scientific Guide' dismissing them as "not even climate scientists." Those whom he dismissed include seven professors, associate professors and a Fellow of the Royal Society, some of whom have published in Science and Nature, and all of whom are acknowledged experts in their fields which include statistical modelling of weather and climate data, paleoclimatology and the effects of ocean acidification on coral reefs.

Although I didn't venture inside, a preliminary report from someone who did, bemoaned the fact that he had lost 45 minutes of his life watching Watts' slide show of thermometers which give the same data as his so-called well-positioned thermometers and the satellites.

In this age of open and swift global communication, it is easy to examine technology and strategies in place around the world to reduce carbon emissions whilst building the economy and providing jobs. As was shown the preceding evening, when the real science was presented, Germany is a case in point. With far fewer sunlight hours and less coastline than us, they have used a variety of renewable energy sources including solar and wave to reduce carbon emissions by 28% whilst increasing GDP by 32% in real terms and creating more than 300,000 clean-energy jobs. Australia is extraordinarily well positioned to follow suit.

One has to wonder why Nova, Carter, Watts and their ilk oppose such action, especially as it also addresses other pollution about which they claim to be concerned.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 75:

  1. One of the speakers was David Archibald. At a previous event he was promoting the benefits of CO2, and finished with the conclusion that he felt 1000 ppm of the gas was the optimum level! At least he didn't conclude with that statement this time, probably because Watts said they (- the skeptic team) were all "as green as the next bloke".
    Nova indeed lectured on how the AWG is just a gag for scientists to attract funding and for governments to reap taxes while the big financial institutions take their cut in the middle.
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  2. 45 minutes! A slide show. What fun!
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  3. The increase in GDP in Germany in recent years has nothing to do with renewable energy.
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  4. thingadonta: but the massive investment in renewable energy in Germany also didn't cause their economy to collapse, like some would like us to believe will happen.
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  5. thingadonta, it's entirely relevant, because we are all told repeatedly by deniers that to make the move to renewables will harm/ruin/ravage our economy. It's always painted as this economic disaster. Germany's got a third of the way there while at the same time substantially increasing its GDP. Well done Germany, an example we should all follow.
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  6. From Wikipedia here is Germany's energy mix.

    "Germany is one of the largest consumers of energy in the world. In 2009, it consumed energy from the following sources:

    Oil 34.6%
    Bituminous coal 11.1%
    Lignite 11.4%
    Natural gas 21.7
    Nuclear power 11.0%
    Hydro- and wind power 1.5%
    Others 9.0%"

    "they have used a variety of renewable energy sources including solar and wave to reduce carbon emissions by 28% whilst increasing GDP by 32% in real terms and creating more than 300,000 clean-energy jobs"

    You probably need to dig deeper into those numbers in order to find what they really mean.

    "The majority were middle-aged and elderly."

    There are some societies that value the wisdom of the older generations.
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  7. From 2007 to 2008, Germany cut its "verified emissions" from 487.145.916 to 472.599.758 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (verified means they only measure the sources under cap and trade, not the country as a whole). See
    That works out to 41 ktons less emissions per day.

    In contrast the volcano in Iceland emitted 150-300 ktons per day while it erupted earlier this year. In short, Germany's cuts, even with conveniently measuring only certain sources, make no difference whatsoever in the real world.
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  8. Eric (skeptic), you posted a similar comment on the Do volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans? thread, comparing the volcano then to Europe's cuts as a whole (174 ktons/day). As I wrote then, it's good that those cuts are being made, isn't it, because otherwise the increase in CO2 would have been even worse. Germany's cuts covered a quarter to a seventh of the volcano's output : a real difference in the real world.
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  9. "There are some societies that value the wisdom of the older generations."

    There are also many societies that recognise the risk of dotage in older generations.
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  10. Actually Eric, according to this article:

    the CO2 emissions saved from grounded flights alone was *greater* than all the CO2 emissions from the Icelandic Volcano. So Germany's emissions cuts *do* still matter, no matter what the denialist cult members say.
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  11. "There are some societies that value the wisdom of the older generations."

    There also those who recognize that those of the older generation can sometimes be conservative to the point of blind stubbornness.
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  12. Watts, Nova, Carter, Monckton, etc. are quickly becoming irrelevant due to the efforts of John Cook and others that point out their mistakes and by nature which keeps showing us that warming is happening and it is primarily our fault.

    Although there may be a few die-hards in 2020, by 2020 the decade will have been so hot and had so many severe weather events that few will be in denial.

    Aguments against AGW will go the way of arguments that smoking is not linked to lung cancer. It is taking awhile but the overwhelming evidence will triumph. I just hope that our policymakers do not wait until 2020 to wise up.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    "Global Warming Fact of the Day" Facebook Group
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  13. What an astounding difference in tone between this write up and the one I read yesterday at jonova's site, reporting on the pamphleteers.

    My next thought - how does one expose the rabid nature of the denialist community.

    If you have science on your side you can afford to be civil and thoughtful - if you got nothing but hot air I guess ones options are limited to turning it up and morphing into a flame thrower.

    But, jonova, Carter, et al. is this how learning is supposed to work?
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  14. Oh, yea - I remember - learning isn't what the "skeptics" debate is about anyways.

    my bad.
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  15. #12, ProfMandia - Personally I expect public opinion to turn around completely and Demand Action Now when people will have to buy a third or fourth new air conditioner within two years because of yet another record heat wave, which will be in 2013 or 2014. (Just a wild guess, mind you.)

    Well, either this or a major Big Oil Operative who "couldn't stand the lies anymore and will speak up, no matter the consequences". Which could be as soon as, say, next week. ;)
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  16. Well said ProfMandia. I'd add that we all should keep challenging those people and leave scientists free to do their job.
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  17. JMurphy, Marcus, Germany's cuts are not significant in that they have no (15Mt vs 29Gt) effect on CO2 emissions worldwide. They are symbolic and political made with at least two intents: to push investment into alternatives and to persuade other countries to join in worldwide cuts. Worldwide cuts may make a difference, at some far future date. In the meantime: no effect.
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  18. One needs to carefully consider the lifetime implications of energy saving and renewable energy systems before fully embracing them in the name of "CO2 emissions" saving.
    In our desire to save the planet and its occupants from our profligate use of fossil fuel we erect wind generators that kill birds and disturb migratory patterns. Most are killed not by direct impact but by the downstream turbulence. Birds are fragile.

    We promote low energy lighting that contains a poison - mercury - with no apparent thought given as to how those millions of defunct lights will be safely disposed of. ( The commercial disposal of fluorescent tubes is covered by legislation)
    And the government advice is to open all doors and windows then vacate your home for 15 minutes if you happen to break one of them!

    Where can we get data about the carbon footprint of these new technologies? How much more CO2 is emitted in the manufacture of a low energy lamp compared to an incandescent lamp? From all sources - not just the making of, but the complete resourcing of materials, transport, manufacture and so on.
    Is it outweighed by the FF saving and over what period of time?
    What about those who suffer skin conditions which are exacerbated by UV light?
    What about the safety implications of the spectral response of the human eye and the actual spectrum of a fluorescent lamp?
    Because MFL's emit light in the 'wrong' part of the spectrum for our eyes they appear dimmer than the 'equivalent' incandescent lamp - and so people fit higher wattage bulbs to try and compensate...hence the appearance of 150w equivalents.

    Oh dear I am banging on again about people not thinking things through....probably my age or something....
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  19. Jo Nova highlights money and taxation in her materials. It's helpful to remember, those things are not about science, not about the physical phenomena of climate change but are an appeal to fear.

    When talking of the science of climate behavior we should not let our natural fondness for our money interfere with our thinking about the physical world. Understand the science, and if understanding the science leads to some question of money remember, policy is a matter related to but not descriptive of the science.

    Personally I regard discussions of the validity of physical sciences which include talk of money and taxation with suspicion because I believe the tactic of introducing money into the conversation is an attempt at manipulation, a means of increasing my malleability via an emotional appeal. Such an tactic should not be necessary for a person presenting a strong argument about science.

    Once issues of science are understood, policy outcomes may be discussed and only then is the matter of money an appropriate matter for reference.

    For readers outside the USA, it may be interesting to know that this tactic of conflating money with science was explored and encouraged to be used by a high profile political consultant by the name of Luntz some years ago when he was commissioned by an American political party to help craft messaging on political matters related to the environment.

    Luntz recommended putting money matters into the backseat, using them as a tactic of argumentation but subordinating them to emphasizing uncertainty and other explicitly non-science related rhetoric, so in this regard Nova and some other doubters have their cart before the horse when they first highlight money and then speak of science.

    The relevant part of the Luntz memorandum contains a number of eerily familiar themes. View it here. (pdf)
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  20. Eric (Sceptic) wrote :

    "JMurphy, Marcus, Germany's cuts are not significant in that they have no (15Mt vs 29Gt) effect on CO2 emissions worldwide."

    No effect, except to reduce them, of course - no matter by how little.

    I'm glad you had no input into the phasing out of lead in petrol, because you would have said, no doubt :

    "Make all petrol lead-free tomorrow (no matter what the cost or how people or countries are going to cope) or carry on as normal. But definitely don't phase it in." !
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  21. JMurphy, not comparable since there were alternatives to lead. But rather than get into a tangential discussion about the viability of alternatives, let's just agree that scientifically speaking (not politically), Germany's cuts have no effect.
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  22. Eric, if I want to save $2000 for something, I *can* do it by putting aside $10 a week. That will take me a few years.

    If my husband puts in a few more dollars a week it will happen sooner. If my kids, my mum, my neighbours chip in a bit more, it will happen even more quickly.

    "Every little bit helps" is as true in carbon mitigation as it is in money matters. Someone has to start somewhere sometime.
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  23. By a remarkable coincidence Mizimi's remarks are the spitting image of talking points ultimately attributed to the coal industry, here in the United States anyway.

    Further to Luntz's memo, here's an example of Luntz in action, via a website operated by coal-fired electric utilities in the midwestern USA:

    Find a Balanced Solution

    As a fun little exercise, read the website, read Luntz's memorandum, spot the similarities.
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  24. You're not doing a good job, Eric(skeptic). Germany subtracts A and volcano adds B. It is fallacy to say that B-A=B unless A=0 which you've agreed it does not.
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  25. Eric (skeptic) at 01:28 AM on 3 July, 2010
    "let's just agree that scientifically speaking (not politically), Germany's cuts have no effect."

    From what I've read in the OP and the comments, the reference to Germany cutting CO2 emissions was done in the context of demonstrating that such cuts will not, necessarily, cause the economy to collapse. You have reframed the debate to center on the issue of whether or not their cuts will have any impact on global CO2 emissions. Whether you are right or wrong is irrelevant, as you missed the point.
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  26. 22, 24, and 25: thanks for the responses. If I see a specific argument for the viability of alternatives in a thread in this forum, I will answer you there.
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  27. By a remarkable coincidence Mizimi's remarks are the spitting image of talking points ultimately attributed to the coal industry, here in the United States anyway.

    Yeah, the tactics are pretty formulaic. If a country's planning to invest in alternative energy, claim it'll lead to an economic crisis. If the crisis doesn't materialize, claim that it's a feel-good measure that accomplishes nothing. If it does accomplish something, warn people about creeping socialism. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
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  28. TAMU professor Gerald North found himself on the receiving end of the Anthony Watts Yahoo Brigade -- This little item will tell you all you need to know about Watts' followers:

    (From, emphasis added)

    “Please correct the false impression left on your website. The item in the Texas A&M student newspaper was based on short interviews by phone. While there was no error in fact, the impression left is false. In the interview with me, I was referring to the temperature changes of our planet over the last century (about 0.7 deg C). The author switched abruptly to an interview with Professor Andrew Dessler who was not talking about the temperature over the LAST century but instead the IPCC prediction for temperature over the NEXT century (averaging over models about 3 deg C). I would not have known about this error except that my email box has been unusually loaded with hate mail today.
    Gerald North”
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  29. caerbannog at 06:29 AM, re "This little item will tell you all you need to know about Watts' followers"

    It certainly does. They instantly know that one can't believe all they read.

    It was similar to a report last year in a Fairfax newspaper headlined "Good news for farmers"
    It went on to highlight how good things were going to be for farmers in the next season following BOM issuing a forecast of a 40% chance of above average rain over the following 3 months.
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  30. #29

    "They instantly know that one can't believe all they read...."

    ...unless it's posted at WUWT, in which case it's basically beyond reproach.
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  31. caerbannog wrote : "This little item will tell you all you need to know about Watts' followers"

    To which johnd replied : "It certainly does. They instantly know that one can't believe all they read."

    Charming but very revealing of the mind-set that is so-called skepticism. An innocent professor is on the receiving end of cowardly hate mail, and johnd is unconcerned. Perhaps he deserved it, eh ?
    As for the Wattsits not believing all that they read, they have plenty of experience of that every day on WUWT. The trouble is, the Dunning–Kruger effect prevents them from realising it.
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  32. Ah, Eric, still pushing the "Volcanoes do more damage than man" meme-so beloved of the denialist cult. Lets put it into perspective though, shall we? The volcano started erupting on March 27th 2010 &-from everything I've read-had all but ceased its eruptions as of June 15th 2010. Now, assuming that it was releasing CO2 from day 1, & that it was releasing the maximum amount of CO2 from day 1, then that means the total emissions from Eyjafjallajökull were around 30 Million tonnes. Now, from your own admission, Germany's cuts in CO2 emissions-for 2007-2008 *alone*, was around 16 million tonnes. That means that, even assuming the very worst case scenario, Eyjafjallajökull released *less* CO2 than what Germany saved between 2008 & 2010-FROM ITS 2007-2008 CUTS ALONE. Of course, the 2007-2008 cuts were just part of the cuts to CO2 emissions which Germany have been making since 1997. Given that its 2007 emissions were 487 million tonnes, then this means that their CO2 emissions back in the 1990's were somewhere around 650 million tonnes per annum. So you see that, compared with 10 years ago, Germany's CO2 emission cuts (200 million tonnes per annum) have easily dwarfed even the worst case scenario for the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull-& that's even before you consider the 200,000 kiloton per day reduction in CO2 from grounded air travel over the period of the eruption.
    So you see, Eric, like most denialist arguments, this one is very easily debunked if you spend more than 5 seconds reading-especially when you read *more* than denialist propaganda sites like WUWT.
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  33. JMurphy at 09:30 AM, given the article in question was in a newspaper published by the very university the professor is attached to, it would be reasonable to assume it was being reported correctly.
    Any concerns should be directed at those who compiled the original article. Surely someone involved with the publication itself would have picked up on it before it was published.
    It may well be that the Dunning–Kruger effect is alive and well at the institution itself, unless there was some mischief being made in an attempt to undermine the credibilty of the professor, which is why he had to move quickly to avoid.
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  34. Oh, & further to my last point-this assumes the WORST CASE SCENARIO. In truth, Eyjafjallajökull probably released less than 16 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere &-according to all reports-this was more than offset by the reduction in CO2 emissions due to the grounding of air traffic during this period. Indeed, the best estimates I've heard is that the net impact of Eyjafjallajökull was about -2 million tonnes of CO2. So much for your argument then Eric (Skeptic).
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  35. I'd also like to make a point about the so-called politics behind the switch to Renewable Energy. Certain people are quick to claim that both Global Warming & a greater emphasis on renewable energy are all some kind of "Socialist Conspiracy", yet the history says otherwise. In Germany, it was Helmut Kohl-leader of the Christian Democrats-who kick-started that nation's switch to renewable energy (before Global Warming had reached the general public); in the US, the Federal Government who gave the biggest increase in funding to renewable energy projects was Ronald Reagan; in California, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger-a Republican Governor-who has given a huge boost to the renewable energy industry. Former Queensland Premier-Sir Joh-funded a PV power station for the remote community of Palm Island, but the incoming Goss Government canned the project & went with a nice, big & dirty diesel generator instead. In the UK, it was Margaret Thatcher who first really brought the threat of Global Warming to public attention.
    Now, as someone who identifies as Center-left, if my decisions on Global Warming & Renewable Energy were strictly political in nature, then I'd tend to reject both-due to "guilt by association". However, though I might not have agreed with their overall politics, I'm quite happy to recognize the good they did in this particular area.
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  36. "They instantly know that one can't believe all they read."

    I'd say. As in "CO2 sublimates and snows down in Antarctica" or "The Western snowpack is 137% of normal" or "Venus temperature is caused by pressure" and so many more that it renders it downright laughable. One would hope indeed that WUWT readers do not believe everything they read, especially what they read on WUWT.
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  37. Bernard J. at 23:11 PM on 2 July, 2010

    There are also many societies that recognise the risk of dotage in older generations.

    Marcus at 23:25 PM on 2 July, 2010

    There also those who recognize that those of the older generation can sometimes be conservative to the point of blind stubbornness.

    lol, I have to say I agree with both. I was trying to prick Annie's prejudged liberal conscience with her apparent ageism, very silly of me. The youth should be the vigor and drive in changing society it's just a same that climate change is one of the many causes in today's society that encourage cynicism and dis-engagement.
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  38. JohnD at 10:01,
    Had to chuckle. My wife works at a university and is in the school paper from time to time. Sometimes what the student journalists report bears little resemblance to what she said.

    CNN came to town and did a story once. They manufactured a lot of drama, and in the end, the guy with the longest time on screen was the window washer who just happened to be there.
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  39. "I was trying to prick Annie's prejudged liberal conscience with her apparent ageism, very silly of me."

    It's actually a good point, but one that requires careful balance.

    The tension between the wisdom that comes with age, and the potential intellectual scenescence that also follows aging, is one that could keep a number of philosophers - and also some psychologists - occupied for years.

    Not at tax-payers expense though - of course...
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  40. Marcus, I correctly pointed out that the volcano matched the EU cuts and easily undid the cuts by Germany which was my own research, not cribbed from a "denialist" site. On the other hand, your response is erroneous. You claim that Germany's emissions have decreased to 487 million tonnes in 2007 from 650 million tonnes 10 years ago, apparently by extrapolating their 2007-2008 "cuts" in reverse. As I pointed out, the cuts are only the "verified" cuts from sources controlled by their cap and trade, not country totals. The total German emissions were 1078 Mt in 1997 and 1002 in 2007 for a drop of 76 Mt over 10 years (from data source). Out of the 76 Mt drop, 30 Mt (worst case) were undone by the volcano. Let's hope the volcano doesn't erupt any more or that it doesn't produce any larger amounts of CO2.
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  41. "The majority were middle-aged and elderly."

    Normally, it's the young that are more concerned with gaining approval of their peers and possibly find themselves with more to loose by standing out as the odd-ball. Perhaps the age of those attending can be interpreted as a "proxy" measurement of the popularity of AWG.
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  42. Two more points if I may, Marcus. First I reject the idea that "volcanoes do more damage than man". It is incorrect. Second, I augmented my argument above from volcanoes to from volcanoes to the pointlessness of German cuts in the context of manmade totals. The cuts are scientifically insignificant (0.05% of the manmade total). Since this is a science thread (and site) I don't want to argue whether or not the German cuts make a political difference.
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  43. whoopsi: AGW not AWG.
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  44. Chris G at 00:07 AM, I think I might know what papers those students who have graduated are now working at. :-(
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  45. Normally, it's the young that are more concerned with gaining approval of their peers and possibly find themselves with more to loose by standing out as the odd-ball.

    People tend to be conformists at all stages of life; the tendency just manifests itself in different ways at different points.

    We all know that some people blindly accept AGW for political or social reasons, and others blindly doubt it for political or social reasons.

    Fortunately, we have solid evidence that tells us which group of ignorant conformists is closer to the truth.
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  46. Ah Eric, each time you try & argue your case, the argument actually gets *weaker*! You're effectively arguing that "Germany shouldn't have bothered making the cuts to its CO2 emissions because a single volcano wiped out their gains". Well to me that's akin to saying "oh well, we shouldn't give this guy life-saving surgery, 'cause he'll probably get killed by a mugger anyway". i.e. its a total non sequitur. Still, even if we were to accept this lame argument, it's completely undone by the available evidence. That evidence being:

    1) That the CO2 reductions from grounded air travel during that 2 & a half month period was *greater* than the emissions put out by the volcano.

    2) That those cuts you mentioned were for 2007-2008 *only*. Now if Germany is emitting 16Mt less CO2 per annum, then their *total* reductions as of 2010 would be closer to around 40Mt, compared to a "business as usual" approach-already far greater than that put out by the volcano even if you ignore the grounded air-traffic.

    3) As you put it, as of 2007, Germany was emitting 76Mt less CO2 per annum than it was back in 1997. Now here's the thing, this doesn't mean that they've put out 76Mt less CO2 between 1997-2007. It means that Germany is putting out 76Mt/year less in 2007 than it was doing in 1997. Now, had it continued it's "business as usual" approach in 1997, it's total emissions for the 1997-2007 period would be around 10,800Mt. Instead, if we assume an average cut of 7.6Mt/year to get down to 1002Mt/year, then they actually emitted closer to, then this means that they actually emitted closer to 10,500Mt over that time period-amounting to a *total* reduction of 300Mt compared to "business as usual"-not 76Mt as you claim-10 times more than the worst case emissions of the volcano.

    4) So to sum up the 3 points above-the volcano's CO2 emissions were already more than offset by the reduced emissions from air-traffic during this time. However, even if this wasn't the case, Germany's per annum reductions in CO2 have resulted in a total reduction in CO2 far, far greater than what the Volcano has put out. Again, even if this wasn't true, the cuts in CO2 emissions have come about not simply by boosting renewable energy, but also by reducing the kilograms of CO2 emitted per dollar of GDP-which has resulted in a more efficient economy & monetary savings by individuals & businesses (which is probably part of the reason for the growth in total GDP over that time period).

    So I guess what this says, Eric, is that your own research is either pretty bad, or that you've chosen to draw completely erroneous conclusions from your research. My research shows that the initial premise still stands-namely that Germany's CO2 emissions cuts have been significant, from an environmental perspective (with or without volcanoes), & have not come at the expense of the economy-as denialists like yourselves want us to believe.
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  47. Another point Eric. According to *my* research, Germany had annual CO2 emissions of 788Mt as of 2007 (source

    You actually were using the *total* Greenhouse gas emissions cited in that source you gave, not CO2 alone. You also only gave the total GHG reduction between 1997 to 2005, not 2007 as you claim. If we take total, annual CO2 reductions for 1997 to 2007, then the cut is actually a cut of 913 to 788, or 125Mt/year. Even if this were only the *total* emissions, your original argument would be totally demolished. However, if we look at the total reductions accrued between 1997 to 2007-compared to a business as usual approach-then we get 10,200Mt in business as usual vs 9,600Mt if you take the actual emissions cuts per year provided by your source (+ the two years provided by UN data). So this makes a total reduction in CO2 of 600Mt between 1997 & 2007-20 times more than that released by the volcano in 2010. As time progresses, the difference in the emissions Germany *is* putting out & the emissions it *would* have put out in a "business as usual" model will get greater & greater still.
    I have to say though Eric-your ability to incorrectly quote your sources, & make erroneous conclusions based on these misrepresented sources, means that you've learned a lot from your fellow denialists. Kudos.
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  48. Whilst I'm taking time to debunk the the favored myths of the Denialist Industry, I'd very much like to tackle that of Mizimi, above, regarding the Bird-o-matic Wind Farms.
    Now it is true that Wind Farms do cause bird deaths, but so do a *lot* of man-made structures & activities. To put this into some kind of context, studies show that US Wind Farms kill an average of 10,000 to 40,000 birds per annum. By comparison, in the US car collisions account for between 60 million to 80 million bird deaths per annum, power lines account for 130 million to 180 million bird deaths per annum, pesticides account for 60 million bird deaths per annum, lighted communication towers account for about 50 million bird deaths per annum & collisions with windows of domestic & commercial buildings account for well over 1 million bird deaths per annum. So we immediately see that, compared to other human activities, Wind Farms have the smallest impact on bird populations by several orders of magnitude.
    Even that number, though, ignores the bias caused by the Altamont Pass Wind Farm in California-which are responsible for the bulk of the bird deaths in the US. This is because this wind farm was built in the late 1970's, when the number of turbines needed was far greater (because the maximum rated output per turbine was less than 1MW-compared to 1.5MW to 5MW today) & when the turbines had longer blades which needed to rotate faster in order to produce that rated output. Modern turbines have smaller blades with a larger surface area-meaning that they turn much slower than older turbines in order to produce a greater output. Also, as each turbine generates a higher output, the number of turbines needed to supply a given area is smaller than what was needed 30 years ago. Both of these factors mean that modern wind-farms (those built in the last 15 years), have a much smaller bird mortality rate than those built 20-30 years ago. With improvements in the siting of new wind farms, the mortality rate falls even further (as part of the M=HxE formula, or mortality equals individual hazard times exposure).
    So *yes* Wind Farms cause bird deaths, but not as many as those in the Denialist Industry would have us believe-& certainly not enough to put a kybosh on new wind farm construction. Indeed, isn't it strange that these supposed "bird-lovers" trying to stop wind farm construction aren't calling for an end to oil exploration after the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?
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  49. Marcus at 19:39 PM, the statistics as provided by you are totally meaningless.
    To put the risk of bird deaths into it's right perspective it must be bird deaths per unit cause of death.
    How many dead birds per car etc. etc., or perhaps bird deaths per mile driven would be more exact in the case of motor vehicles.
    Deaths per mile of powerlines, per gallon sprayed, or sold, of toxic pesticides, per window etc are the other relevant units to be compared.
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  50. Marcus, a minor correction to your last post. From your link:
    899 (1997) - 788 (2007) (from CDIAC)
    914 (1997) - 841 (2007) (from UNFCCC)
    The difference 1997-2007 is not 125 (913-788) but 111 (899-788). The BAU argument is speculative, only real cuts matter in the real world. So there is 111 Mt less CO2 annually out of 29000 Mt total or 0.4% Still pretty small although apparently your argument is that this is equivalent to life saving surgery? If you can present a science source that shows that a 0.4% reduction in any sort of process matters at all, I would be interested. Otherwise I have to assume the cuts are symbolic and your argument is political.
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