Greenpeace-WWF wind claims blown away

John McCarthy once said, “He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense”. Or become politicized tin-shakers pushing absurd “independent economic analysis” it seems

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WWF and Greenpeace ought to hang their heads in shame
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Peter C. Glover
On 11 December 2012 11:02

“wind monsters turbines will do nothing useful for us, will spread environmental harm and above all have only one serious function – of minting money for the undeserving, aided and abetted by the uneducated”.

The reality is it that when it comes to harnessing any potential energy resource this never comes free. The physics of energy density coupled with the economics of extraction, infrastructure costs, support mechanisms, transport and delivery all each need to be factored in. That’s precisely why we ditched unreliable and uneconomic wind-powered sailing ships in the nineteenth century for far more efficient and cost-effective steam power. And we might also note the power generation chaos that Germany’s over-investment in renewable wind power has caused after they went down the same path being urged by this new report.

But what of the report’s claim that natural gas prices can only rise?

Anyone familiar with the transformation that the shale gas boom is having on the US manufacturing industry and soaring job creation – 600,000 by 2011 alone – and on the economy can only wonder at the reluctance of Europe to pursue the same path. The switch from coal to gas in electricity generation has not only put the US within sight of achieving complete domestic energy self-reliance, but has cut the cost of electricity per se.

As a direct result of the shale gas revolution, Americans now pay half of that paid by Europeans and Britons for their natural gas. And as UK shale gas expert Nick Grealy has consistently shown, shale gas development can only cause UK gas prices to fall. It ought to be a no-brainer.

Britain has world class shale gas reserves, the extraction of which would mean less reliance on imports, significant real (not subsidized) job creation, and a potential £1.5 trillion energy boost to the UK economy. Equally, shale gas would not merely “replace” reducing North Sea gas reserves; they would actually overlap for some considerable time negating even further the need for imports. As I have pointed out elsewhere, new discoveries and new technologies continually make North Sea gas and oil the “gift that just won’t quit giving”. 

The UK Government is currently considering tax incentives to get the UK shale gas industry under way. That’s about all it would need as companies and potential private investors are already champing at the bit having seen the impact of shale gas development in the US.

The simple fact is that the UK has, at the very least, 200 trillion cubic feet of the stuff, as much as is in the North Sea. It would be economically criminal not to exploit it.

Indeed, if the government had not skewed the market to make wind appear commercially ‘viable’ by subsidizing it almost exclusively from government handouts, energy bill-hiking feed-in-tariffs, and forcing power companies to buy renewably-sourced power at artificially guaranteed prices – further hiking energy bills to customers – there would not be any substantial wind power industry. Nor would we be bothering with the absurd claims of the political activists and social engineers masquerading as charity workers at Greenpeace and the WWF.

Fair enough. But at least the Greenpeace-WWF study was ‘independent’, right?

In fact Cambridge Econometrics, which bills itself as providing “independent economic analysis”, is wholly funded by its parent organisation the Cambridge Trust for New Thinking in Economics. The Trust was founded by Dr Terry Baker. Baker is currently the Director of Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research and was a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report in 2007.

Anyone wanting to know what manner of shambolic, incoherent, and highly politicized work actually goes on in the UN IPCC will get chapter and verse from Donna Laframboise’s excellent book exposé. Dr Baker, it transpires, is patently a dyed-in-the-wool global warming alarmist and committed to the cause. He also happens to be chairman of Cambridge Econometrics.

Computer pioneer John McCarthy once said, “He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense”. Or become politicized tin-shakers pushing absurd “independent economic analysis” it seems. 

Peter C Glover is the International Associate Editor, Energy Tribune and a writer & author on international affairs. For more: www.petercglover.com

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