Averages do not kill; extremes do.
We do not often bother to comment on the extensive witterings of Geoffrey Lean, who has been granted occupation of yards of newsprint since his sudden appearance at the Daily Telegraph, but one small section in his half-page diatribe this week that might have escaped notice is positively menacing. Here it is in full:
EVIDENCE SHOWS WIND FARMS DON'T NEED FOSSIL FUEL BACK-UP
It has become an article of popular faith that building wind farms also involves constructing fossil-fuelled power stations for back‑up when the weather is calm. As a result, some opponents go on to say, wind turbines do little or nothing to cut carbon dioxide emissions.
Now the National Grid has studied what actually happens in practice, with explosive, if surprising, results. Between April 2011 and September 2012 – its head of energy strategy, Richard Smith, told the Hay Festival – wind produced some 23,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power. Only 22GWh of power from fossil fuels was needed to fill the gaps when the wind didn’t blow. That’s less than a thousandth of the turbines’ output – and, as it happens, less than a tenth of what was needed to back up conventional power stations.
It proved to be much the same with emissions. Wind saved nearly 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over that 18 months; standby burning of fossil fuels only reduced this by 8,800 tonnes, or 0.081 per cent.
Not surprisingly, given these figures, no new fossil‑fuel power station has been built to provide back‑up for wind farms, and none is in prospect.
It is a disturbing revelation that our technological masters have no concept of the purpose of “stand-by” or “back-up”. We do not judge the efficacy of, say, the stand-by generator for an intensive care facility in a hospital by how much it is used. It is there to prevent disaster when the worst happens. The designed surplus capability in a supply system is not the same thing at all, though it is also absolutely essential.
It is a common modern myth that people of influence hold their beliefs because of their job. On the contrary, these days they hold their job because of their beliefs. It would be unthinkable for energy strategy to be in the hands of an infidel. It would be more surprising if such a person did not know the difference between energy and power, but that is what we are told here.
A couple of gigawatts of power might sound a lot, especially when you multiply it by about 13,000 hours, as here, to convert to energy, but it is still a small proportion of the total requirement; especially when you take into account the sacrifices to the carbophobic religion that have been gratuitously imposed on the population. That the poor and the old have had to make a choice between warmth and food is a symptom of a sick society. That their meagre resources are being pillaged irrationally to grant huge subsidies to wealthy landowners and ruthless developers is beyond sick.
The final paragraph is seriously sinister. People are going to die.
The Times of June 6th carries a headline HRT scare prompted by ‘flawed’ studies. It is on an inner page and merely refers to a review of the Cheltenham festival. Over a decade ago the front pages blazed headlines yelling about the alleged dangers of this therapy, which we then described as dangerous and destructive nonsense. The outcome was that over a million women abandoned the treatment and thereby submitted themselves to years of unnecessary suffering. This is just one extreme example of the way in which the cosy relationship between the scaremongers and the media betrays the population.
You can predict the targets embraced by junk epidemiologists by application of the Law of beneficial developments. So, recently, we have had yet another attack on the painkillers that are so vital to the many miserable sufferers from arthritis. The junkists saw off Vioxx, with the aid of a gross statistical blunder, and this is now quoted as the justification for their new attacks. The insouciance with which they treat people in pain for the sake of a few tawdry headlines is an abomination. Their use of relative risks is now beyond the bizarre. They have abandoned percentages and now make their claims of increases to such precision that they use units of parts per thousand.
Meanwhile, in another part of the forest …
A naïf, obscure MP was caught out by one of those sting operations beloved of the press as a substitute for real investigative journalism. Entrapment is a legally and morally dubious practice. He was lured into trying to make a few quid on the side by promoting an inconsequential lobbying scheme and as a result suffered the requisite obloquy. Meanwhile, prominent parliamentarians continued to make fortunes by openly touting for business from their lofty positions. Their bit of money on the side was their parliamentary salaries. Then, suddenly, one of them was caught in the toils of yet another sting operation, finding himself accused of abuse of position. For an appropriately ironic account see the indefatigable James Delingpole.
Two of our Numby Laureates were unexpectedly caught in the headlights, John Gummer (aka LORD Deben) and Tim Yeo. We first started commenting on the activities of Gummer in these pages twelve years ago (in a piece entitled Like a circle in a spiral, like……) and there have been 17 more mentions since: six months later we first noted Yeo, and then on 14 further occasions. Throughout those years the establishment media have turned a blind eye to their blatant exploitation, coining money from the scams they were promoting from their privileged positions in Parliament.
Now, after all this time, Yeo is an accident waiting to happen. Yeo must go. He cannot have this conflict of interest yelled The Times Thunderer column on June 10th. Nice piece, but a decade too late, mate. A particularly tawdry episode occurred when one conspirator turned on the other. Crooks tend to fall out when their cover is blown. One of the beauties of the global warming conspiracy, and an important ingredient of its success, is that it is equally attractive to greedy capitalists and water melons intent on sabotaging the economy by attacking energy provision. Media sharks tend to circle when they scent blood in the water, but if you can keep the rackets going for more than ten years you are too rich to care.
Lobbying has become the cause of the moment in our puppet parliament in Westminster, but where the power really resides, in corrupt Brussels, it is the accepted modus operandi.
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Ban fizzy drinks squawks the UK health minister, citing the usual list of junk statistics generated by epidemiologists to prove that politically incorrect behaviour shortens lives. A minister responsible for a bureaucratic health service that has tortured thousands of vulnerable people to death and failed to help many times more is only too grateful for a bit of misdirection, which is the basis of the perpetual love-in with the zealots and the media. Furthermore, what better targets than school kids? It is easy to bully them into apparent political conformity, though the reality is that you merely create more forbidden fruit, which brings out the old healthy Adam-and-Eve in them.
You only have to drive through Moss Side and Wokingham to see a myriad of differences that contribute to their being at opposite ends of the mortality league tables, but in Nanny's world only a small number of zealot-inspired causes matter.
No sooner had the new kids on the zealotry block (the sugar-is-poison gang) launched their attack than authoritarian politicians in the USA were climbing onto the bandwagon, enacting bans. It is usually only a matter of weeks later that British politicians are parroting the new orthodoxy, for the same paltry reasons.
Many alleged increased incidents of diseases are, in fact, nothing more than increases in diagnosis. The definition of diabetes was changed, leading to a great upsurge in diagnoses. Earlier, the definition of obesity was changed, with the similar result of an artificially manufactured health crisis. The sugar zealots are an offshoot of the consequent industry.
Believe it or not, the obesity zealots and their journalistic acolytes are still using the old scam of referring back to 1951 as the standard, a time when British women had endured a decade of starvation and rationing. Meanwhile, their length of life has increased substantially, but this is one of those inconvenient statistics that is routinely brushed under the carpet. It is largely medical and surgical interventions that have lengthened life, despite the efforts of the bureaucrats, and it is the discoveries of real science that have driven these.
Meanwhile the zealots march on regardless.
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One of the many indications of people crossing the boundaries from sanity is the gratuitous infliction of injury on ones own person. As with individuals, so it is with societies. In this post-scientific age, when belief conquers reason, over-developed societies are engaged in an orgy of self-destruction. The quotation from Blaise Pascal that headed our treatment of global warming as religion aptly sums up this propensity of humanity to foul its own nest on the grounds of blind faith.
The Obamarama show staggers on with its bandwagon securely hitched to the Gospel singers of global warming, characteristically using the EPA to bypass Congress, while Britain has launched yet another economically suicidal Energy bill. The sole justification offered is the holy testimony of the carbophobic religion, that a rare gas (not only harmless, but essential to the existence of life on earth) constitutes dirty pollution.
All the major political organisations in the west were colonised by believers in the new religion, as were many prominent scientific institutions. The ever mounting contrary evidence was simply ignored. With western research funding securely in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats, who falsely claim to be able to spot winners, the progress of science was diverted into sterile, costly pathways. In particular, there is negligible effort going into the development of credible energy sources for the future. Almost all the senior officers of state were adherents, by belief or convenience, to the faith. Surprisingly, the Australian Labor party has had the sense to get rid of its Watermelon leader, Gillard, presumably on the grounds of breach of promise, but this was an exception to the rule. Generally, self-perpetuating political elites developed, which were not only divorced from reality, but also from ordinary people, particularly their own party members. The decline in party membership, and even voting, was an inevitable consequence. The political disconnect, however, also contributed to the tendency to social self-harm; fuel poverty engineered by stealth taxes being a poignant example.
The war on coal, in particular, is almost wholly a western phenomenon, though they seek to widen this by judicious arm-twisting of their client states. Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world, economies stride on with coal at the fore. The closure of Didcot A power station alone, by diktat of the EU, robs the UK of 1.6 GW of power capacity, while the much vaunted and grotesquely intrusive London Array of wind turbines will provide considerably less than this. In fact, most of the time it will provide no power at all, despite the ludicrous and repetitive media claims of how many homes it will supply.
There have also been various side-plots to the drama. This month saw the playing out of an avian Tragicomedy. Large numbers of “twitchers” converging on a Scottish island had to turn about when the object of their veneration was abruptly executed by a wind turbine. Our ironic definition of wind turbines, which has been in place for more than a decade, is beginning to take on the appearance of a prophecy.
The proposed Severn barrage, the ultimate example of destruction of the environment in the name of the environment, is still being actively promoted. The notoriously biased (some say corrupt) parliamentary committee on the environment, while not commending the spending of public money, has also not ruled out private development of this monstrosity.
Apart from a few mavericks without influence, politicians are now an indistinguishable and undistinguished collection of production-line shop-window mannequins, regardless of party affiliation. Allegedly Conservative ministers act like authoritarian socialists, arrogating to themselves the right to interfere in the very minutiae of the lives of voters, telling them what they may eat, drink or how generally to conduct their private activities. In a truly free society governments have duty to inform, but not to coerce. In the present context, people who try to protect their own local environment are widely and officially derided for doing so, by use of established methods that include the utilisation of pejorative names (in this case NIMBY, cf. denier).
One of the oft repeated slogans in these pages is Bureaucrats like big. Time after time, for example, huge and grossly expensive computer projects collapse because bureaucrats insist on grandiose schemes of top-down design. They go on repeating the same mistake again and again, with the same result (cf. the Einstein-attributed definition of insanity). The modest solo inventor of the World Wide Web, in contrast, simply defined a software interface, planting a seed that automatically grew into the world’s largest system. The HS2 project, as we have observed, makes no economic sense, especially in these times of enforced constraint, but it suits the bureaucratic mindset, especially the EU imperialists. Well established bureaucratic techniques have been employed to promote the project, such as announcing an unrealistic cost and then slowly inflating it, the last and biggest increase being held back until the project has irrevocably begun. The inevitable drastic overspend on grand government schemes has ceased to be a joke in times of real suffering. The bureaucratic solution to the NHS crisis is based on closing smaller local hospitals; which means, for example, that more people will die before the ambulance arrives from afar. The remaining structures will be enormous monoliths in which the trained staff are anonymous pawns and the patients are statistics.
Then there is the contribution of the establishment media, but enough is enough.
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This is the number of homes that the London Array is claimed to power. The reality, of course, is that most of the time it does not power any homes at all. When it does deign to supply, the hapless energy users have to pay three times the normal rate for the privilege, while the harassed grid controllers have to cope with irregularity of supply as well as that of demand.
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Apologies for the extremely late posting. The above was written in note form during the month in question, but a health incident intervened (haemarthrosis, agonising and debilitating).
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