REAL threats to threatened species

“In reality, the gravest threats plants, animals and habitats face are not from climate change. They are from “green” energy policies and programs implemented in the name of stabilizing Earth’s never-stable climate.”
– Paul Driessen
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“The Biden Administration is using executive orders and regulatory diktats, while the Democrat-controlled House and Senate are legislating by one-vote vice presidential tie breakers,” writes Paul Driessen. “It’s carrying us perilously close to a Green New Deal that would eliminate the fossil fuels that provide 80% of all the energy that powers America – and replace them with wind, solar, battery and biofuel power.”

“This is billed as “clean, renewable, ecological and climate-friendly.” It is anything but. It would require millions of wind turbines, billions of solar panels, thousands of miles of new transmission lines, millions of acres of biofuel plantations – and massive new mines and factories to build all these new energy facilities. It would impact tens or even hundreds of millions of acres of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land across the United States … and beyond our shores.”

“We need to discuss this now, before we head down the primrose path to ecological and economic hell paved with (presumably) good intentions.”

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REAL threats to threatened species

They’re not from climate change or modern farming – but from climate and organic policies

Paul Driessen

Many activists, politicians and regulators believe our Earth and its wild kingdoms are threatened by fossil fuels, conventional farming, modern living standards, and catastrophic climate change resulting from the aforementioned human activities. Many promote these fears to gain ever-greater control over energy and economic systems, circumscribe personal freedoms, and silence questions and dissent.

Few of them could likely hunt, gather or grow sufficient food for their families, or be a lucky protagonist in an episode of the Weather Channel’s Could You Survive? series – much less endure Mary Draper Ingles’ harrowing 800-mile walk through the 1755 wilderness to escape captivity by Shawnee Indians.

Yet they are strident in their opposition to synthetic conventional herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers, and unbending in their mistaken belief that organic farmers don’t use pesticides – or at least none that aren’t safe for people and wildlife. They ignore the widespread use of “natural, organic” chemicals like copper sulfate, which is toxic to humans, deadly to fish, harmful to avian and mammalian reproductive systems, poisonous to sheep and chickens, and highly persistent and bio-accumulative in soil and water.

Their obsession with “dangerous manmade climate change” likewise ignores reality. Their computer models run hot, consistently predicting planetary temperatures significantly warmer than are actually measured. The warning they fuss over may have begun around the industrial age, but it also coincides with Earth’s emergence from the 500-year-long Little Ice Age – a convenient overlap for polemics.

The extreme weather events they blame on fossil fuels and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are not increasing in frequency or intensity. Above all, no credible science supports their claims that today’s weather and climate are entirely human-driven … and unrelated to the natural processes and fluctuations that caused glacial epochs, warm periods, and extreme weather events and cycles throughout history.

Their biggest error by far, however, is their insistence that wildlife and their habitats would be saved by eliminating fossil fuel for electricity generation, transportation, heating and cooking. In reality, the gravest threats plants, animals and habitats face are not from climate change. They are from “green” energy policies and programs implemented in the name of stabilizing Earth’s never-stable climate.

The current rush to employ executive orders, Green New Deals and infrastructure bills to shut down fossil fuel production and use – and derive all of America’s energy from wind, solar and biofuel power – will result in tens of millions of acres of croplands, scenic areas and wildlife habitats blanketed by huge industrial facilities, to provide the energy that makes America’s jobs, health and living standards possible.

As habitats are damaged and destroyed, more species are harmed, threatened and driven to extinction.

Coal, oil and natural gas now generate over 2.7 billion megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Vehicles consume the equivalent of another 2 billion MWh annually, while natural gas provides an additional 2.7 billion MWh for home, business and factory heating, water heating, cooking and industrial processes.

That’s 7.5 billion MWh, just for the United States. It’s an enormous amount of power – and it doesn’t include oil and gas feed stocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and countless other petrochemical products (which is where corn, soybeans and other biofuel crops enter the replace-fossil-fuels picture). It also doesn’t include power to charge backup batteries for sunless, windless hours, days and weeks.

“Renewable” energy advocates and lobbyists want us to believe we can do this with very few wind turbines and/or solar panels – on relatively small swaths of the USA. One calculated it would require just 1,939 square miles (1,240,000 acres; Delaware) of solar panels to meet existing US electricity needs; another said 10,000 square miles (Maryland); a third estimated 40,223 square miles (Ohio).

Another figured we could replace current electricity generation with just 1,260,000 wind turbines on only 470 square miles of land, assuming a quarter-acre per turbine and all generating power 40% of the year.

I’m not sure what pixie dust these folks were sprinkling, but these are not real-world numbers. You need space between panels for access and maintenance; you can’t jam them into one enormous array. Bear in mind, too, Dominion Energy alone is planning 490 square miles of panels (8 times Washington, DC) just for Virginia, just for a portion of its electricity market share of the state.)

72,000 high-tech sun-tracking solar panels at sunny Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base cover 140 acres and generate only 32,000 MWh per year: 33% of rated capacity. Low-tech stationary panels generate far less than that. The 355 turbines at Indiana’s Fowler Ridge industrial wind facility cover 50,000 acres (120 acres/turbine – nowhere near an absurd 1/4 acre) and generate electricity only 25% of the time.

I estimate it would take over 17 billion Nellis-style solar panels – on 53,000 square miles (34,000,000 acres or half of Nevada) to replace all 7.5 billion MWh of US fossil fuel energy and charge batteries for a week of sunless days, under the Team Biden Green New Deal. Using standard, stationary panels would double or triple the land area and number of panels.

Using Fowler Ridge as a guide, and assuming just 50 acres per turbine, it would take some 2 million 1.8-MW wind turbines, sprawling across 155,000 square miles of scenic, crop and habitat land. That’s all of California. And it assumes every turbine generates electricity 25% of the year. Go offshore, and we’d need over 300,000 monstrous 10-MW turbines along our Great Lakes and seacoasts.

We’d also need thousands of miles of new transmission lines to connect all these facilities and cities.

But the more wind turbines we install, the more we have to put them in sub-optimal areas, where they might work 15% of the year; and the more we install, the more they affect wind flow for the others. Land, habitat and wildlife impacts could easily double; millions of raptors, other birds and bats would be killed.

The more solar panels we install, the more they must go in low-quality areas, and the more we need.

Energy analyst Willis Eschenbach has calculated what would be required to get the world to zero-emission electricity generation by 2050 – and ensure sufficient peak power for the hottest summer and coldest winter days. He used solar or wind, in conjunction with (feared and despised) nuclear power plants as backup/actual generating capacity, for sunless and windless days, and assumes 35% efficiency. Adjusting his numbers to account for only US needs, America would require:

* 350,000 square miles of solar panels (Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico combined) plus 1,760 new 3000-MW nuclear power plants. Adding space for access and maintenance would at least double this. Or

* 10.5 million 2-MW wind turbines, on 820,000 square miles of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land: over one-fourth of the Continental USA, plus 1,760 new 3000-MW nuclear power plants. (Using 1.8-MW instead of 2.0-MW turbines, we’d need 11.6 million turbines on 30% of the Lower 48 states.)

Biofuel production to replace all those petrochemicals would require millions more acres of ex-habitat.

All these turbines, panels, backup batteries, electric vehicles, biofuel processing plants, nuclear power plants and transmission lines would require millions of tons of metals, minerals, plastics and concrete – from billions of tons of overburden and ores. That will result in astronomical land, air, water, wildlife and human impacts from mining, processing and manufacturing. Most of this will be overseas, out of sight and out of mind, because Team Biden won’t allow these activities in the United States. So a lot of people won’t care and will happily focus on these new energy sources being “zero-emission” … here in the USA.

These are just best estimates. But they underscore why we need full-blown, robust energy production and environmental analyses and impact statements on every GND concept, proposal and project – before we head down the primrose path to ecological and economic hell, paved with (presumably) good intentions.

There must be no expedited reviews, no shortcuts, no claiming the ecological impacts can be glossed over because they are “inadvertent” or less important than “saving the planet” from climate chaos.

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of books, reports and articles on energy, environmental, climate and human rights issues.

 


7 thoughts on “REAL threats to threatened species”

  1. We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster. We might get away with it for a while, but sooner or later this combustible mixture of ignorance and power is going to blow up in our faces.
    Carl Sagan

  2. I hate that the QUACK Willis Eschenbach is being credited for work that Roger Pielke Jnr published more than a year before Eschenbach plagiarized it with NO acknowledgement !

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerpielke/2019/09/30/net-zero-carbon-dioxide-emissions-by-2050-requires-a-new-nuclear-power-plant-every-day/?sh=483e359c35f7

    30 September 2019 – a full 16 months before Eschenbach plagiarized it with NO acknowledgement !

    Eschenbach was a major advocate of the stupid “steel greenhouse effect model” where double the energy supply just magically appears using the same stupid greenhouse model which anyone can disprove using REAL mathematics and not applying imaginary ridiculous assertions.

    You can listen to fools like this BUT at the core of the issue Eschenbach has always been a dismissive total advocate for the ludicrous “greenhouse effect model” where an atmosphere at less than 1000th the desnity of Earth’s surfaces somehow magically creates as much energy as the Sun provides !

    These people are not on the side of true scepticism – ever.

    They simply want to big note themselves by plagiarism.

    • Rosco
      I doubt Willis would have NOT credited Pielke
      from his posts etc at WUWT he seems to run his own programs n figures for a lot of his “doins”
      he always asks for contact in his posts if someone feels theres a n error or other issues
      and ive not seen him omit hat-tips where due

  3. I cannot do this. Can you see if you can get somone to research and write an article based on the idea that there is not enough copper available, including known deposits but not yet mined, to make the windings of the wind generators needed to replace the fossil fuel energy sources? Basically to argue that it cannot be done as there is not enough copper to do it.

  4. All this effort to reduce a harmless trace gas that is essential to plants to produce food and Oxygen for all animal life. What madness.

  5. I just read where male fertility has dropped 50% in the last fifty years, no doubt caused by global warming.

  6. We were hoping Trump would do something strong like declare that CO2 is not a poison. He could have done it or gotten his agencies to do it early in his term.

    Instead, nothing. Oh well, let’s enjoy the ride down.

    I am trying to understand how anyone benefits from this stupidity. Is it because they expect flooding with a big crustal shift and are looking to build low tech structures some of which might survive and be operable in the aftermath? Put them everywhere so maybe a few will be left?

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