The Week That Was
December 28, 2002

1. DAVID WOJICK ANALYZES THE CANADIAN RATIFICATION OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL. He shows how the Canadian government hyped the benefits of Kyoto and buried the costs. A lesson to be remembered.

2. CANADA RATIFIES KYOTO: Now comes the hard part -- implementation
(by John-Daly (11 Dec 2002) from



5. THE GREENS' WIND AND SOLAR POWER MYTH: Too dilute and unreliable






2. Canada must now implement emission reductions demanded by Kyoto

So they finally did it. As expected, the Canadian federal parliament voted 195-77 for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. The opposition parties opposed the treaty and they now stand to gain electoral support at the expense of the governing Liberals once the full cost of Kyoto sinks into the voting public.

Down the political track, some Canadian politicians might attempt to hide behind the excuse that he/she had not been warned that this would be a costly exercise in futility for the Canadian taxpayer. There has been warning aplenty, and now they have to confront something much more difficult than merely signing a piece of paper.

They now have to come up with the complex technical solutions and enabling legislation needed to fulfill the demands of the protocol, that Canada reduce its emissions by 6% on 1990 levels - and do so within the next 10 years. Canada's emissions are already around 20% above 1990 levels, so a cut of 20-30% on current levels will involve nothing short of a dramatic retraction of the Canadian economy to see those targets fulfilled.

And the climatic impact will be nil.

Mere media propaganda, so successful in selling the protocol to parliament, will be of no help in securing practical compliance of the whole of Canadian industry and society. It's one thing for politicians to sign an ill-conceived contract - the small print and implications for which they have shown little understanding - but it will be quite something else to force every citizen, every provincial government, every company, every driver of a car, every homeowner heating his home, every worker worried about his job, every taxpayer, to comply with the draconian measures which are now required to fulfill the terms of the Kyoto Protocol. It will take a lot more than government exhortations, pleadings, or propaganda.

The initial effect of implementing Kyoto measures on business will be for many of them to close their operations in Canada and move across the border to the U.S., leaving behind unemployed Canadians.

There is but one comfort for Canada - this contract expires in 10 years.


3. No scientific consensus on climate change:
From an open letter to Senator Carstairs (Canada)

The opinion [about a scientific consensus] you express is indeed one held by many Canadians. However, it is based on myths that have been promulgated by the environmental community. There are some who apparently believe these myths:

"The IPCC concluded that: 1) most of the warming observed over the last fifty years is attributable to human activities; 2) that human-induced climate change will accelerate in the years ahead; and 3) that extreme weather events will be more frequent and more severe due to climate change.... the chances of them being wrong is likely between one in ten, to one in five." - Environment Minister David Anderson, Kyoto Speakers' Circuit, University of Calgary, October 16, 2002.

"…the IPCC has described an impending environmental catastrophe caused by human induced climate change." - John Bennett of the Sierra Club of Canada - February 7, 2002 (

"Scientists all over the world agree that if we don't take action on climate change now, the impacts on our planet could be severe." - Executive Summary, Climate Change Draft Plan - Government of Canada, November 2002.

HERE IS WHAT SCIENCE REALLY SAYS: "There is of course no consensus at all," according to Dr. Fred Singer, President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project and Distinguished Research Professor at George Mason University and Professor Emeritus of environmental science at the University of Virginia. "There isn't even a consensus on whether the atmosphere is currently warming -- never mind on whether humanity should be held responsible."

Most people don't realize that there are in fact two parts to the IPCC report - a large science section (the 'main report'), which is a description of research activities in climate science, as well as a highly politicized "Summary for Policymakers". This Summary is what is commonly quoted in the media and by those supporting Kyoto. They present it as the consensus of thousands of the world's foremost climate scientists. In fact, it is no such thing. It only represents a consensus of government representatives (many of whom are also their nations' Kyoto representatives), NGO's and business, rather than of scientists. The Summary for Policymakers has a strong tendency to disguise uncertainty and presents frightening scenarios for which there is no evidence (David Anderson was quoting from the Summary for Policymakers, not the science portion, when he was speaking in Calgary above).

Dr. Philip Stott, Professor Emeritus of Biogeography at the University of London (England), explains, "The whole feel of the IPCC report differs between its political summary and the scientific sections. It comes as a shock to read the following in the conclusions to the science part: "In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate is not possible."" - quite a contrast to the alarmism cited above.

Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and one of the lead authors of the science sections of the IPCC report, has scathingly described the Summary as "very much a children's exercise of what might possibly happen," prepared by a "peculiar group" with "no technical competence." Professor Lindzen further described the inept and unethical behaviour of the IPCC in preparing their reports in his May 2, 2001 testimony to the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee - the full transcript of that testimony can be viewed at On hearing about Minister Anderson's confidence in the dramatic conclusions of the IPCC summary report, Dr. Lindzen laughed, "There is a certain charm when politicians are so certain of the science when the scientists are not."

"The UN IPCC WG1 Summary for Policymakers of the Third Assessment Report is not an assessment of climate change science, even though it claims to be," sums up climate specialist, Dr. David Wojick. "Rather, it is an artfully constructed presentation of just the science that supports the fear of human induced climate change. In short, this is advocacy, not assessment."

Even the science part of the IPCC report is suspect. "It is absolutely remarkable how inferior and one-sided this report is," said Dr. Nils Axel-Mörner, Professor of Paleogeophysics and Geodynamics at Stockholm University. "Where are all the real sea level specialists from our Commission and from IGCP? They have had little or nothing to say in this report. If science is treated in this way, it is bound to go wrong."

Dr. Tim Ball, environmental consultant and a climatology professor for 32 years at the University of Winnipeg explains that these problems have resulted in many of the scientists who were originally part of the IPCC process withdrawing. "What most people don't understand is that all IPCC 'predictions' are based on computer models that assume, with no reasonable justification, a doubling of CO2," says Dr. Ball. "Every single prediction they have made has been incorrect."

When Dr. Ball appeared before the Federal government's Standing Committee on the Environment, he experienced the whip of political correctness when he tried to explain the problems with some of their beliefs about atmospheric science. "Galileo would be ashamed of you!" chastised Marlene Catterall, Liberal MP for Ottawa West-Nepean. Ms. Catterall was apparently unaware that Galileo continually challenged orthodoxy and would have chafed under today's politically correct science. Regardless, Parliamentarians should be seeking the advice of Canada's leading experts in this field, not trying to muzzle them.

As you can see from the above, the whole issue of what scientists believe should be revisited before any efforts are made to implement Kyoto.


Tom Harris (former assistant to Bob Mills, Opposition MP)


4. Most European nations cannot meet their Kyoto targets
(From Space Daily, 10 December 2002

PARIS (AFP) Dec 06, 2002. The European Union is falling short of meeting targets for cutting greenhouse-gas pollution under the Kyoto Protocol, the UN climate pact that the EU championed last year after it was ditched by Washington, a study warned on Friday.

"Existing measures will not be sufficient for the EU to reach its Kyoto target," the report issued by the European Environment Agency (EAA) said bluntly.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the 15 EU members are required to cut combined emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and five other heat-trapping gases by eight percent overall in the years 2008-2012 as compared to their 1990 levels.

But the projections run by the Copenhagen-based EU agency show that, on the basis of existing measures, the 15 are on track for a total cut of only 4.7 percent.

Most of that cut is attributable to Britain, Germany and Sweden, which have made far deeper reductions than they are honoured to make under a "burden-sharing" agreement whereby the EU members assigned individual targets among themselves.

They made the reductions because of the closure of inefficient, coal-burning plants and power stations in the former East Germany and the conversion in Britain of coal-fired power stations to gas, which releases far less CO2 for the same output.

"If these three countries merely met their burden-sharing targets instead of 'over-complying', the overall EU emissions decrease by 2010 would be minimal, at only 0.6 percent," the EAA said.

The worst offenders are Austria, Belgium, Denmark and Spain, which in 2010 will exceed their individual Kyoto targets according to calculations based on pollution-curbing measures they have implemented so far....

Copyright 2002, Agence France-Presse.


5. The Greens' wind and solar power myth: A view from Australia

Wind and solar as energy sources are fatally flawed for two reasons: diluteness and unreliability. As the wind and the sun are very dilute (for example, the most you can ever hope to get out of the sun is 1 kilowatt per square meter --at midday, in the tropics), you have to make massive capital investments to capture piddling amounts of energy. Denmark is held up by the Greens are the way to go, with its massive investments in wind generation capacity, so let's examine the situation there.

Denmark is the pioneer of wind power. As the Greens like to point out, wind accounts for about 18 per cent of Danish electricity production. Yet according to Politiken, one of Copenhagen's leading newspapers, wind energy accounted for as little as 1.7% of Denmark's total energy demand in 1999. The ridiculous situation now exists in Denmark where energy production capacity is now theoretically three times higher than actual-peak demand. "Theoretical" is the operative term here, because Denmark's wind generators only operate at full capacity on the one or two days a month when the wind is within acceptable range - too weak and little power is generated, too strong and turbines are shut down. At the end of the day, you can't ask Mother Nature to crank up the wind to match demand.

The Danes pay some of the highest prices for electricity in the world. They pay something like 1.6 times the price for electricity that Britons do. This claim is backed up by recent investigation by the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration (NVE), who have studied the Danish wind experiment and concluded that wind energy was "dearly bought." According to the NVE, the Danish wind experiment has suffered from massive and unrestrained funding, serious environmental effects, insufficient energy production, and high production costs, amongst other negative aspects. High production costs with low output are exactly what we expect with diluteness and unreliability.

Due to a recent change of government, the Danes are now toning down their commitment to the wind industry. This is due to wind generation's unreliability as well as crippling cost. A lead editorial of Jyllandsposten (Denmark's most popular newspaper) stated that in the absence of government subsidies, no more sea-based wind farms will be built.

The wind and the sun might be free, but fuel costs are only a small fraction of the price we pay for electricity anyway. The real cost is in the collecting, as the Danes have found out. The French are not as dopey as the Danes when it comes to domestic electricity production. That nation's electricity is now 80 percent nuclear, with five times less air pollution and with carbon-dioxide emissions 10 times lower than Germany's and 13 times lower than Denmark's. The Finns aren't dumb either. In May 2002, the Finnish Parliament approved plans for the construction of the country's fifth nuclear power unit.

This leaves the Greens in an interesting situation. If they really believe the hype about global warming, then atomic energy and hydro (both opposed by them) are the only ways of generating reliable base-load electricity without substantial CO2 production. Frankly, it is naïve in the extreme to think that we could get anything more than a small fraction of our energy from wind and solar sources. And yet some Australian politicians are buying into this alternative energy fantasy.

Aaron Oakley (publisher of Bizarre Science)


6 Wind Turbine accidents in Lower Saxony

Cyclone "Jeanett" (10-27-02) tore down a 70 m high wind turbine, together with its concrete foundation of diameter 13 meters. Damage amounted to 750.000 €. At the time of the storm the turbine was shut down. The tower simply tipped over. The experts are puzzled. How safe are the 3200 wind turbines in Lower Saxony? (From Peiner Allg .Zeitung, 29.10.02). For other accidents see

.Experts warn about further accidents from wind turbines and demand new safety regulations

The president of Lower Saxony Engineering Society :"The current distances to major highways and buildings are too small. We demand legislation to set minimum distances and a thorough review of safety standards."

Owner-operators are ignoring periodic safety checks because of high costs. The recurring turbine failure seems to stem from the too-rapid rotation because of failure of the braking system.(Focus 2.12.02 S.44)


7.: Technophobes consider new technology to be unhealthy
By Dan Seligman.

Here the paradigmatic examples were DDT and other pesticides, and their principal adversary was Rachel Carson, author of the 1962 bestseller Silent Spring. The book inspired the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the environmental philosophy of Al Gore. Carson, a marine biologist by training, wrote with a kind of poetic power and scared the socks off thousands of readers with apocalyptic passages like: "One of the most sinister features of DDT and related chemicals is the way they are passed on from one organism to another through all the links of the food chain. ... The breast-fed human infant is receiving small but regular additions to the load of toxic chemicals building up in his body. ... There has been no such parallel situation in medical history. No one yet knows what the ultimate consequences may be."

Fortifying this dreadful storyline was the fact that Carson died two years after the book's publication--of breast cancer. Many environmentalists think that toxic chemicals are an important cause of breast cancer. DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972.

But today the Carson argument is seriously suspect. DDT has been enormously successful in wiping out malaria in undeveloped countries worldwide-no other pesticide does the job as well--and there is no evidence that this huge benefit has been offset by increased cancer rates. It is not clear that DDT is carcinogenic to humans, and if it is, the effect is clearly weak. The World Health Organization has found that "the only confirmed cases of injury [from DDT] have been the result of massive accidental or suicidal ingestion." An interesting question is whether Rachel Carson's policy influence might actually have increased the incidence of cancer. It now seems clear, at least, that the pesticides she was concerned about had little if any effect on cancer, while restricting use of pesticides raises the price and reduces the consumption of fruits and vegetables--which are important inhibitors of cancer.

Echoes of these 40-year-old arguments may be picked up nowadays in the worldwide debate over the safety and legitimacy of genetically modified foods. While few would deny that we need to pursue research on the long-term health effects of such foods, the evidence thus far plainly shows that the new technology holds considerable promise of lowering fruit and vegetable costs, and thus enhancing human health.

From Yahoo News, 5 December 2002


8. Electricity deregulation works well in Texas
by Ken Silverman (of UtilitiPoint IssueAlert)

When retail competition began in the state just about a year ago, Enron had just declared bankruptcy and the aftereffects of the California debacle were palpable. But regulators and legislators there were committed, promising more competition and lower rates. Like any industry that has ever gone through restructuring, the process has been rough.

By-and-large, however, it is working, says the Texas Public Service Commission: About 320,000 residential customers, or 6.5 percent, of the eligible 5.3 million ratepayers have switched providers and saved on average $6 to $14 a month. Meanwhile 80,000 small business and large commercial enterprises have changed suppliers. Those customers who have remained with incumbents have saved $900 million in 2002, because of six-percent mandatory rate cuts and a decline in the cost of underlying fuels used to power generators. About 13 different providers are active in the state.

"What I look for as a measure of success is a continuing trend line," says Rebecca Klein, chairwoman of the Texas Public Utility Commission. "I'm not looking for a spike or a double-digit figure today; rather, I would like to see the switch rate trend upward over the course of time. Competition is here to stay and it's not an experiment."

Deregulation allows retail consumers in Texas to choose their so-called retail electric provider (REP), which purchases its power from competing generators. Transmission and distribution is still provided by the local utility. To help customers shop, the REPS are required to provide standardized information related to pricing, contract terms and emission levels.

Reserve margins are high

Texas began restructuring its wholesale electricity business in 1995, which has led to an abundance of power. Reserve margins this past summer were 34 percent and even with plants that have been mothballed and with new construction canceled, that number is expected to be 14 percent in 2007-still above the recommended 12.5 percent margin. Altogether, 48 new power plants have been added since 1995, which has brought the state's total generating capacity to 85,000 megawatts.

Unlike California, the regulatory framework did not require utilities to divest of their generation and then to buy power on the volatile spot market. By being able to purchase long-term power contracts, utilities have locked in prices. And the state is continually working to resolve constraint points along the grid so that the electricity market there can remain vibrant.


9. Finally, the pessimist's creed:

The pessimist will find an appropriate problem for every solution - or is it a cloud behind every silver lining?



Go to the Week That Was Index