Let’s not follow lefty loons on renewables

It’s stupid to use generators that give up just when we need them

There’s an unmissable warning for New Zealand in the latest US power blackouts—don’t trust the “renewable” energy policies being pushed by our dishonourable socialist reformers, who shriek at us regularly that our historically dependable power generation is damaging the climate. Even if it is, they endanger our lives!

Alongside the unconvincing wind turbines and solar panels, we need reliable generators that always protect life. That includes nuclear, hydro, coal, gas and geothermal, all of which are called “despatchable” because they don’t turn themselves off.

Powerful Antarctic winter storms come here from Antarctica, so something like this recent US freeze could easily cripple New Zealand—or at least parts of it—with only a few days’ warning.

If necessary, our politicians must be shouted at to include enough storm-proof, cold-proof generators, plus plentiful gas, diesel and petrol stocks, to keep our lights and heaters on whatever the weather. It’s not rocket science.

Saint Jacinda’s sudden ridiculous ban on gas exploration (with no industry consultation) outside Taranaki must be reversed. The recent recommendation from the Climate Change Commission to ban new domestic installations of bottled gas after 2025 and begin phasing out existing domestic installations in 2030 is barking mad. Even restaurants will have to change to electric systems. Who pays for that?

In Texas, two days ago, according to NTD:

The mother of an 11-year-old boy who died after they lost electricity and heat in their Texas mobile home during last week’s freeze has filed a $100 million lawsuit against two power companies for gross negligence.

About 70 people died in the nation-wide freeze and the lawsuit is a class action many residents are expected to join. The same day the lawsuit was filed, the chairman, vice-chairman and several directors resigned their positions on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the state’s power grid.

If you’re in a similar senior position here, pay very close attention to all this.

If you’re a member of the Climate Change Commission, or you know someone serving on it, you might be interested in this letter I sent them today after receiving a reply to a series of questions I asked the Commission. My initial letter was courteous and it was replied to by Dr Grant Blackwell, Chief Science Adviser, but I finally become discourteous:

Dear Grant,

Yes, we understand your position. It’s most unfortunate. You don’t question the state of knowledge about climate science, yet scientists examine their own and others’ work in that light all of the time.

If you’ll forgive me, I’ll point out that you ignore my questions. My letter, while saying little, was full of questions, all of them significant, especially the last: describe to us the mechanism whereby human activity dangerously heats the climate. It’s a fundamental element of the climate debate yet, as I said, nobody sets it out. Your reply says plainly you will not explain and you are told what to do by the ‘Zero Carbon’ Act.

If the Climate Change Commission does not know this, just say so, we wouldn’t be a bit surprised, as your thinking is done by the Act. That would confirm the growing impression of the Commission as a sadly unscientific body of academics and perhaps explain why it falls in with the scientifically illiterate campaign to achieve “Zero Carbon” in all parts of society in order to alter the weather, while being fully aware that carbon plays no part in the weather (except in an occasional minor role affecting albedo) and knowing that our bodies, our food, buildings, clothing, tools and vehicles incorporate numerous vital compounds crucially dependent on and constructed around the element carbon, including carbon dioxide.

So what we vitally need and work constantly to secure—carbon compounds—must, in the Commission’s view, be drastically reduced or eliminated (thus reducing our prosperity and hastening our decline) at our huge expense, so that nature may prosper. Never mind our children!

It’s a pretty loony situation. We’re hemmed in by growing layers of deceit, misapprehension, soothing words and lies.

The Commission will be in a lot of trouble when everyone hears what’s going on. But you keep working on those pleasing, anodyne reports that don’t tell the truth.

Best regards,

Richard Treadgold.

17 Thoughts on “Let’s not follow lefty loons on renewables

  1. Graham Anderson on February 26, 2021 at 10:23 am said:

    Richard ,
    I have been very sceptical of the global warming scare for a very long time .
    The whole accounting system for countries emission profies defies logic ,and as you say is loony .
    Take for example that New Zealand counts all forestry harvested, used in New Zealand or exported as logs or timber as our emisions .
    This is a nonsense as these trees are grown in less than 30 years ,absorbing CO2 all of that time and most forestry blocks are replanted so that three crops are harvested in a century .The timber with treatment used in construction of buildings will in many cases still be around in 100 years so plantation forestry is a carbon sink and should never be classed as emissions .
    Conversly slow growing hardwood forests in the US are harvested .pelleted then shipped to the Drax power station in Britian so that the UK can get credits for non fossil fuel electricity generation.
    Enteric methane emissions of methane from our farmed livestock should not be clasified as emissions because the process is a cycle .
    Not one aditional atom of CARBON is added to the atmosphere.
    We have a Zero CARBON bill and livestock are ZERO Carbon and do not add any carbon to the atmosphere.
    How were they ever included as the small amout of methane emitted during digestion is broken down in the upper atmosphere into water vapour and CO2 in 8 to 10 years ,which then grows more fodder for them to consume and the cycle continues .
    The believers say Methane is bad as it has a far greater warming potential than CO2 but this is where crazy takes over as New Zealand and other countries are being forced by there governments to cut livestock numbers by initially 15% so that Asian countries can increase coal mining and increase use fron 4,7 billion tonnes in 2008 to 8.2 billion tonnes in 2018 .
    Atmospheric methane levels were static from 1999 till 2008 as was coal extraction Since 2010 coal mining and combustion soared and methane levels started to climb.
    New Zealand production of meat and milk products have very low carbon profiles and even after shipping to Europe they are lower than all European producers .
    If there really was a problem that the world has to tackle sourcing food with the lowest carbon footprint into their markets would be a priority ,and producers with very low carbon fotprints would be encouraged to increase their output . Not looking at 15% reductions in stock numbers .
    I repeat the saying “You can’t fix stupid”
    We probally deserve the government we elect but I would point out that we elect them to govern New Zealanders first.
    Our government should be pointing out these facts that I have listed here to the UN and lobby with other exporting countries for some common sense changes to counting emissions and to encourage low carbon footprint food production if they really believe that the world has a problem with global Warming.
    Graham

  2. Richard Treadgold on February 26, 2021 at 11:01 am said:

    Well said, Graham. Completely agree.

    Richard.

  3. An excellent, forthright and clear letter, Richard. The NZ Climate Change Commission may have a closed mind and it may not be telling the truth in its reports, but its actions speak for themselves and I think those do tell the truth. On the Commission’s advice, here is just one of the lunatic acts that the government of Saint Jacinda with the big sunny smile is wanting to commit:

    ‘New Zealand to Impose Carbon Taxes on Tourism?’
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/25/new-zealand-to-impose-carbon-taxes-on-tourism/ .

    You need to read right to the end of the article to get the full realisation of what is intended here, in all its glorious depravity.

  4. Simon on March 1, 2021 at 11:01 am said:

    The attempts to blame renewables on the Texas power crisis is pretty laughable when they only constitute 13% of the total generation. Coal and gas plants went down as did the distribution network. Texas doesn’t participate in the national grid and does not use contingency pricing. Power is cheap until the grid goes down and then it becomes very expensive.
    There will always be a be a Huntly equivalent power generator in the NZ national grid as a backup power source.

    • Richard Treadgold on March 1, 2021 at 12:54 pm said:

      Yes, we can call it laughable now because the picture’s clearer. Time will tell what the Texans decide to do about what seems in the end to have been sparked by winter weather a long way from the normal. I agree with you that we should retain reliable backup, whether coal, oil or gas, for our system no matter what causes the shortage, be it weather, accident, equipment failure or acts of gods. We must put people’s welfare first.

      On second thoughts, I’m wondering whether our demand regularly swings by 15% and we barely blink. It seems a large fraction. Does anyone know?

  5. Brett Keane on March 2, 2021 at 8:04 am said:

    Under Greens, such outages will be the norm. That is the point. Brett Keane

  6. Simon on March 2, 2021 at 11:25 am said:

    The point is that Texas created a liberal energy market that delivers cheap power but at the risk of failure in extreme weather events. Neighbouring states have more regulated and resilient energy markets, but power is more expensive because they have contingency backup.

    • Richard Treadgold on March 4, 2021 at 10:24 am said:

      You should let them know; perhaps they don’t need an inquiry after all.

    • Graham on March 4, 2021 at 2:49 pm said:

      Simon ,
      You don’t know what you are talking about.
      The cheapest power is not wind or solar as you have been brainwashed into believing .The cheapest is hydro as long as it keeps raining and geothermal is also low cost except our government is looking at closing some geothermal power plants because a lot of CO2 is emitted with the steam.
      Wind and solar are unreliable and they both need expensive backup when the wind is not blowing and solar produces little on cloudy days and nothing at night.
      When you factor in the cost of duplication of power plants solar and wind become very expensive .
      We are very lucky here in NZ as our hydro stations can be stopped and started at will to balance the load ,but most other countries have to build gas or coal fired stations that sit idle for long periods and are very costly for the power that they produce intermittently and they cannot cope when renewables fail.
      The neighboring states to Texas have coal and gas power stations and the gas stations supply power to states when their systems fail .
      The same thing has happened in California, South Australia and in Europe .

  7. Andrew on March 5, 2021 at 10:59 am said:

    I have watched this climate change “movie” for many years now & listened to both sides of the argument as to what (if anything) causes the climate to change. I can only conclude, & it has been forgotten, especially by Government, is the impact dear old Mother Nature has played on our climate for ‘000’s of years & will do for many more years! We cannot control the impact of the sun or moon or anything else she throws at us! There is no need to look for complicated solutions, when simple solutions will suffice especially when it comes to talking to politicians & the public. In my discussions, people’s eyes glaze over when you start talking in science language – they don’t understand it!! For Joe & Gill Public to understand the implications of Saint Jacinda’s plans we need to use the “cause & effect” argument because believe me, her “nuclear free moment” will have a “nuclear bomb effect” on our lives, make no mistake about that – think about a life without gas or petrol/diesel cars & trucks not to mention a landscape covered in god awful wind turbines!!!
    Few people understand that CO2 in the air provides the necessaries of life for our food supply. Just about everything we eat and drink comes from the land & is as a result of plants consuming carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water – think about it! Nitrogen is the building blocks for protein, plants use the energy of sunlight to transform CO2 and water into their food. It is called photosynthesis; they both live and grow on this food, just as we do. Animals eat plants and, in some cases, each other, (most) homo-sapiens eat both. Thus we all live on processed carbon dioxide. All living things exist this way.
    Get back to the basics, learn & understand the Carbon Cycle – it provides the basis of life & without CO2 – we die!! We should be very thankful for CO2 but instead the climate alarmists want to reduce it, supposedly to make the weather better. This is truly stupid. Carbon dioxide is feeding the world, more every year. The last thing we want to do is reduce the global food supply. The chemistry is complex but the facts are simple (and miraculous).
    It is ignorance of the highest level that almost no one knows about the carbon cycle but especially our politicians who now are going to legislate to reduce CO2 & CH4.
    The world’s food supply cannot be pollution. How stupid is that! CO2, has only a volume share of 0.04% of the atmosphere. 95% comes from natural sources, such as humans breathing out, volcanoes or decomposition processes in nature. The human CO2 content in the air is approx. 0.002%!! So, why on earth would our PM want to wreck our lives for reducing 10% of ‘F all’ is beyond comprehension but she does!
    It gets worse & I quote from a recent article written by Owen Jennings, from F.A.R.M. (Facts about Ruminant Methane)
    ‘Recently the Climate Change Commission proposes reducing ruminant methane by 10% over the next 9 years or 1.1% per year. Ruminant methane, according to NASA/ NOAA, is only 12% to 15% of all global methane emissions. NZ has just over 1% of the world’s ruminants.
    Therefore, every year, the CCC’s suggestion will lead to a reduction in the planet’s methane by 1.1% of 1% (our share of ruminants) of 12-15% (the share of methane emissions caused by ruminants). That is a reduction contribution of 0.0000132% – 0.0000165% of all methane emissions per annum!’
    The lightening across the Waikato yesterday would have removed more than that from the atmosphere!!!
    If it wasn’t so serious, it would be hilarious!! So, all those alarmists out there, please explain in layman’s language why we need to wreck our lives, our economy, our farming industry for such miniscule reductions of both CO2 & CH4? There is no logic to it at all – it makes no sense – & there are far greater things in life to worry about!!
    Any Greenies out there, please explain the justification to wreck the global landscape to mine billions of tons of dirt to extract lithium & cobalt (plus some other minerals) to make non-recyclable batteries to run the EV fleet? There is nothing wrong with the renewable, naturally made oil & gas!
    Cheers Andrew
    (Hobby – I convert CO2 & CH4 to lamb meat!)

  8. Richard Treadgold on March 5, 2021 at 12:15 pm said:

    Excellent summary, Andrew. It is diabolical that science provides no reason to believe in a climate ’emergency’, whose real cause is activism. Lamb shanks are good.

  9. Ross on March 5, 2021 at 7:36 pm said:

    I agree Andrew . The average public ,which I include myself, have been completely blindsided by all of our political representatives. In the case of the zero carbon bill we were relying on an effective National party opposition to present a factual rebuttal to the alarmism but instead got a complete capitulation. National could have rallied great support from the farming and related industries who were keen to support them. This is why National has stuffed their base support. There was some hope that Judith Collins would take up the challenge but her silence on this subject has been deafening. As the seriousness of the situation hits home I see small community based farming groups are now starting to organise some informed resistance and may need some sort of help with the basics. These sorts of groups are only going to grow.
    Just a couple of good articles on WUWT.
    How to extinguish a lithium battery fire 4.3.21. So dangerous I would not want to be charging near my house, also not good in confined spaces like tunnels multi story carparks etc.

    Weakest link to EV growth 15.2.21.
    Hows this AVG EV Battery 1000 lbs
    Lithium = 25 lbs
    Cobalt = 30 lbs
    Nickle = 60 lbs
    Graphite= 110 lbs
    Copper = 90 lbs
    Total earth mined for this is 500,000 lbs avg according to the article

  10. Tricky Dicky on March 6, 2021 at 11:24 am said:

    Hi Ross,

    If we go back to the Carrington event of 1859. Obviously there was not much in the way of electrical infrastructure back then, but when the Sun’s coronal mass ejection hit Earth, it played havoc with the rudimentary telegraph system. There were sparks thrown from the telegraph poles, operators were electrocuted and there were reports of telegraph poles on fire. There was enough power in the system for some operators to continue to send and receive messages even with the batteries disconnected. However, the real scary part is that since 1859 the Earth’s magnetic field strength has fallen. SWARM estimates the fall at 9% but there are researchers in the US, UK, France and Japan that put the fall at 20%. Even if we split the difference, the fact is that our magnetic shields are failing and a Carrington like event now would have a far more catastrophic effect on our global electrical infrastructure. If the predictions for low activity during solar cycle 25 are correct, we may dodge a bullet. However, some solar physicists are now predicting a much more active cycle 25 with the associated increase in plasma flares and the possibility of a large coronal mass ejection. Combined with a measured acceleration in the magnetic field loss, one of these events could indeed wipe out our electrical infrastructure. There is also the distinct possibility that a sufficiently energetic surge, combined with our reduced magnetic shields, will ignite all these lithium based batteries. Your prized Tesla on fire in your garage and no way to put it out. Your lithium based battery for your solar power system happily burning away and taking the rest of your house with it because there is no phone system, so no emergency services. All modern vehicles will not run anyway due to fried computer systems and everybody else’s Tesla Power Wall is burning down their house at the same time. It will take a lot of factors to combine to make this perfect (solar) storm, but it is a definite possibility. I am looking at putting in a solar energy system, so I can go off grid if further research shows me that this is a real probability, but I will be using salt water batteries.

  11. Tricky Dicky on March 6, 2021 at 2:09 pm said:

    So, NASA and NOAA have said that solar cycle 24 was weak and peaked with a sunspot number of only 116. They were both predicting cycle 25 to peak with sunspot number of 115. Research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado is predicting that the sunspot cycle 25 could be one of the strongest since record-keeping began in 1755. They estimate a sunspot maximum of between 210 and 260 based on an overlapping 22 year magnetic cycle which interacts with the more well known 11 year sunspot cycle. If this is the case, they are also predicting far greater flare and CME activity. Livescience in 2014 _ Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster, 5% per decade. South Atlantic anomaly weakening at 1% per year. Based on the estimated loss of 10% between the Carrington event to the year 2000, the acceleration to 5% per decade from the year 2000 on wards, that puts us at around a 22% loss. Either put your faith in NASA and NOAA and hope cycle 25 is low, or in NCAR and be prepared for a battering sometime between 2022 and 2025. As for me, I am putting up my solar panels in the back yard with a Faraday cage and an uncharged salt water battery. So I am putting my faith in renewables, but only to keep the lights on when the sh*t hits the fan.

    • Andrew on March 9, 2021 at 9:12 am said:

      For all Greens & climate alarmists out there who want to rid the world of oil – I thought i would let you know what it would look like, you are welcome to it but the rest of us are not so concerned!

      “One crisp winter morning in Sweden, a cute little girl named Greta woke up to a perfect world, one where there were no petroleum products ruining the earth. She tossed aside her cotton sheet and wool blanket and stepped out onto a dirt floor covered with willow bark that had been pulverized with rocks. “What’s this?” she asked.
      “Pulverized willow bark,” replied her fairy godmother.
      “What happened to the carpet?” she asked.
      “The carpet was nylon, which is made from butadiene and hydrogen cyanide, both made from petroleum,” came the response.
      Greta smiled, acknowledging that adjustments are necessary to save the planet, and moved to the sink to brush her teeth where instead of a toothbrush, she found a willow, mangled on one end to expose wood fibre bristles.
      “Your old toothbrush?” noted her godmother, “Also nylon.”
      “Where’s the water?” asked Greta.
      “Down the road in the canal,” replied her godmother, ‘Just make sure you avoid water with cholera in it”
      “Why’s there no running water?” Greta asked, becoming a little peevish.
      “Well,” said her godmother, who happened to teach engineering at MIT, “Where do we begin?” There followed a long monologue about how sink valves need elastomer seats and how copper pipes contain copper, which has to be mined and how it’s impossible to make all-electric earth-moving equipment with no gear lubrication or tires and how ore has to be smelted to a make metal, and that’s tough to do with only electricity as a source of heat, and even if you use only electricity, the wires need insulation, which is petroleum-based, and though most of Sweden’s energy is produced in an environmentally friendly way because of hydro and nuclear, if you do a mass and energy balance around the whole system, you still need lots of petroleum products like lubricants and nylon and rubber for tires and asphalt for filling potholes and wax and iPhone plastic and elastic to hold your underwear up while operating a copper smelting furnace and . . .
      “What’s for breakfast?” interjected Greta, whose head was hurting.
      “Fresh, range-fed chicken eggs,” replied her godmother. “Raw.”
      “How so, raw?” inquired Greta.
      “Well, . . .” And once again, Greta was told about the need for petroleum products like transformer oil and scores of petroleum products essential for producing metals for frying pans and in the end was educated about how you can’t have a petroleum-free world and then cook eggs. Unless you rip your front fence up and start a fire and carefully cook your egg in an orange peel like you do in Boy Scouts. Not that you can find oranges in Sweden anymore.
      “But I want poached eggs like my Aunt Tilda makes,” lamented Greta.
      “Tilda died this morning,” the godmother explained. “Bacterial pneumonia.”
      “What?!” interjected Greta. “No one dies of bacterial pneumonia! We have penicillin.”
      “Not anymore,” explained godmother “The production of penicillin requires chemical extraction using isobutyl acetate, which, if you know your organic chemistry, is petroleum-based. Lots of people are dying, which is problematic because there’s not any easy way of disposing of the bodies since backhoes need hydraulic oil and crematoriums can’t really burn many bodies using as fuel Swedish fences and furniture, which are rapidly disappearing – being used on the black market for roasting eggs and staying warm.”
      This represents only a fraction of Greta’s day, a day without microphones to exclaim into and a day without much food, and a day without carbon-fibre boats to sail in, but a day that will save the planet.”

  12. Juglans Nigra on March 9, 2021 at 8:45 pm said:

    Andrew said
    ” since backhoes need hydraulic oil ” LoL.
    We used to use whales for most of that stuff. Worked really well, and if we needed to fry an egg, the same oil worked there as well. Kind of expensive, though, and the whales ……….well, kind of celebrated when Pennsylvania crude arrived as an option. Likewise the rubber trees for the elastic and tyres . Most of the hoi-polloi had a fairly big regular dose of lead from the roof spouting and piping, and their I.Q. probably lifted when copper became affordable.
    Good points; but probably wasted on this audience;
    How do the deeply-greenies react when we suggest how many whales are going to die for their brave new world ? Also the bison for the skins on the Greta-shack roofing . Then again, we could use the seals for those skins, perhaps.
    The extra bodies are not so much of an issue; just a couple of feet down and they are great fertiliser for next year’s beans and cabbages……. Need to wait at least a year before using that plot for the root veges: the carrots, spuds, sweet-potato and beetroots I enjoy.
    Pretty soon people will figure out that the fertiliser effect is so good ( without petrochem ferilisers ) that most of the neighbours are at risk of being ‘fertilised’ one dark night. Or perhaps via the pig-pen.
    Oh, sorry; that is another of their desirable side effects: a reduction in the people-density to about a tenth of what it is now.
    The life-story of Bob LeTorneau developing electric-driven and rubber-tyred earthmoving equipment in the USA has fascinated me. The global greening of arid-margin areas with recent carbon dioxide fertilising also mighty interesting.
    Keep it up, Andrew.
    Cheers, W

  13. Tricky Dicky on March 14, 2021 at 2:10 pm said:

    I don’t know how much longer the looney left can keep this up. Yes, they have the main stream media in their pockets and these guys only promote the global warming narrative. Whilst they make headline news from any and all stories about “record” heat and climate change, I have noticed very little reporting on record cold and record snow falls in the northern hemisphere this winter. Whilst TV NZ have reported on a number of all time high temperatures, such as the ones in France and in Melbourne, a quick search of historical temperature records show that these temperatures were actually around 4 degrees c lower than the real all time highs set in the 1930’s. No mention of the kangaroos bouncing around in snow last winter. I wonder why?
    A couple of years ago I read a climate change article in a UK newspaper, The Guardian if I remember correctly. One of the UK’s top weather scientists predicted that, due to the unpredictable nature of climate change, the UK could become warmer and drier, but may become warmer and wetter. However, there was also a possibility, due to changing sea temperatures and wind patterns, that it could become colder and drier, or colder and wetter. The least probable option was that things would not change much at all, but this was still a possibility. I think that covers just about all the options there, so no matter what happens in the UK it’s all down to climate change. How desperate do they have to be? The other problem for the alarmists is the increasing number of scientific research papers casting real doubt on the man made climate change lies. The counter evidence is getting to the point where it is overwhelming, but as the politicians and those with a vested interest still control the narrative, then you have to go looking for this evidence, as it is not presented by the main stream media. Look at Stuff, a supposed news organization, asking for money to support honest and credible journalism and they openly refuse to publish any climate change story or information that refutes the man made climate emergency hysteria. I wonder just how much scientific evidence needs to be presented before an honest politician (an oxymoron I know) has the guts to stand up and say that they got it all wrong.

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