Letters To A Smalltown Weekly

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Location: Gualala, California, United States

Alice and I love our life on the Northern California coast and welcome friends and family to enjoy it with us.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Global Warming - Sticks and Stones

I thank Mr. Lippman for his letter (Devious Dunce, ICO, April 9, 2010). It brought back fond memories of bygone days at Point Arena Elementary when we childishly taunted one another on the playground. Although equally tasteless, our taunts were far more clever and creative than Mr. Lippman’s.

Richard Feynman never mentioned global warming in his 1974 Caltech commencement address because then the world was preoccupied with another “Cargo Cult Science” candidate, global cooling. He didn’t mention cooling either, or many other worthy nominees; he left us to apply his concept as circumstances dictate.

Mr. Lippman pictured me reading without comprehension, but I will be kinder. I picture him accepting my offer to debate, and attempting to clothe his arguments in science rather than name calling.

Believers in anthropogenic global warming argue that current warming is unprecedented. The gist of my counter-argument is that numerous studies show warming was greater during the Medieval Warm Period (800 to 1300AD), and that it was even warmer during the Holocene Climate Optimum 9,000 to 5,000 years ago. These studies will show that warming during those periods was global and persistent, was reflected in ice cores, lake and ocean sediments, in the distribution of plants by latitude and elevations, and evidence from human settlements and historical records.

Arrayed against this record of natural climate changes going back over 11,000 years to the end of the Ice Age, the alleged evidence of man-caused global warming spans 60 years when global temperatures both rose and fell while atmospheric carbon dioxide increased. Now the “Climategate” e-mails show that alarmist scientists had to “hide the decline,” admit that the Medieval Warm Period was as warm or warmer, and that it is a “travesty” that their computer models can’t explain recent cooling.

May the best science win!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Day Blows It


On Earth Day the “Windies” gusted, and John Muir spun. The marriage of convenience between environmentalists – the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy, the American Bird Conservancy, Greenpeace, and the Audubon Society – and industrial wind power projects offends the principles of both science and conservation.

Wind power is retrograde, a technological dinosaur. It only generates within a narrow range of wind speeds, is intermittent, produces best when needed least (nighttime), doesn’t play well with others (see “intermittent”), destroys scenic vistas, remorselessly kills birds (endangered or otherwise), and is and will continue to be prohibitively expensive. Although wind power has a very low capacity factor (25%) compared to nuclear (over 90%), coal (around 80%), natural gas (used primarily for load following, 60%), or hydro (50%), it is much better than solar (under 20%).

For example, between Maryland and West Virginia there is potential for around 2000 wind turbines, each nearly 500-feet tall; they would be placed atop 400 miles of the Allegheny Mountain ridges. About 20 acres of forest must be clear cut to support each turbine—4-6 acres to allow free flow of wind per turbine; one or more large staging areas for each wind project; access road construction; and a variety of substations and transmission lines. Cumulatively, about 40,000 acres of CO² sequestering woodlands containing rare habitat and many vulnerable wildlife species would be destroyed.

Local environmentalists used the California Coastal Commission to annihilate Gualala’s modest fireworks display by demonstrating that a few nesting pairs of seabirds were disturbed. I doubt any of these environmentalists have voiced objections to the thousands of eagles and raptors killed, not just disturbed, by the Altamont Pass wind farm, or the thousands of migratory birds and sea birds killed annually worldwide. On the contrary, most “environmentalists” turn a blind eye to such carnage.

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