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Arlington County & the Outrage over Renewable Energy

The Arlington County Board "accepted" a 'community energy plan' (CEP) on May 18, 2011, that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70%, largely through so-called renewable energy sources such as solar panels and wind power. Background information on the CEP is available at the May 18 Growls and an earlier April 27 Growls, including the embedded links.

Let’s take a look at renewable energy and its ability to provide Arlington, let alone America, with the needed energy to power out future. As one might suspect, alternative energy has its roots in global warming, or climate change as environmentalists now like to refer to it as, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In his UK Telegraph column on June 18, Christopher Booker writes the IPCC’s latest report “is packed with even more hot air than usual.” He explains:

“What is the link between a beautiful stretch of north Devon countryside, the brother of Diana, Princess of Wales, and that ever more curious body, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The starting point for teasing out this riddle is a hefty new report just published by the IPCC on renewable energy. This has engulfed the IPCC in controversy yet again, after a preview of the report made headlines by claiming that, within 40 years, nearly 80 per cent of the world's energy needs could be met from renewable sources, most notably through a massive expansion of wind and solar power.

“What only came to light when the full report was published last week was the peculiar source of this extraordinarily ambitious claim. It was based solely on a paper co-authored last year by an employee of Greenpeace International and something called the European Renewable Energy Council. This Brussels-based body, heavily funded by the EU, lobbies the European Commission on behalf of all the main renewable industries, such as wind and solar. The chief author of the Greenpeace paper, Sven Teske, was also a lead author on Chapter 10 of the IPCC report, which means that the report's headline message came from a full-time environmental activist, supported by a lobby group representing those industries that stand most to benefit financially from its findings.

“Not surprisingly, expert critics of the IPCC have been quick to point out how this seems to reinforce the revelations 18 months ago, which did more to discredit the UN body's authority than anything in its history. At the centre of those scandals was the discovery that the more alarming predictions made by the IPCC's major 2007 report – such as a claim that most of the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035 – were not based on proper science at all. They were simply scare stories originating from environmentalist lobby groups, used in a way that broke all the IPCC's own rules, which insist that its reports should be based only on properly accredited scientific studies.”

In wrapping up his column, Booker writes there are few “hard facts . . . in the IPCC's latest propaganda exercise. Its only purpose is to provide politicians, such as our Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, with a piece of paper they can wave to claim that their dreams of covering the Earth with wind turbines have been fully vindicated by "the world's top climate scientists.”

The Economist published a lengthy analysis on June 17, 2011 of the IPCC’s collaboration with Greenpeace, writing:

“The full report shows where the number came from, and that’s why its publication sparked a fuss. One of the report’s 11 chapters is an analysis of 164 previously published scenarios looking at the energy mix over the next four decades under various assumptions. The scenario which had the highest penetration of renewables put the total at 77% by 2050. The research involved was done by the German space-research institute, which has long worked on energy analysis, too; its experts were commissioned to do the work by Greenpeace, and a Greenpeace staff member with an engineering background, Sven Teske, was the scenario’s lead author when it was published in a couple of different forms in peer-reviewed journals. It has also been published, in bigger, glossier format, by Greenpeace itself under the grating and uncharacteristically fence-sitting title Energy [R]evolution.”

The June 18, 2011 issue of The Week That Was, published by the Science and Environmental Policy Project concludes their comments on the IPCC/Greenpeace “affair” saying (requires Adobe):

“As the dubious science of the IPCC was unraveling, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which IPCC festivities take place is asking member nations for donations to increase its roughly $25 Million budget by 15% because it has taken on new responsibilities, including gearing up to dispense $100 Billion per year by 2020 in payments from developed nations to developing nations as compensation for global warming.

“Perhaps it’s time for UNFCCC and IPCC to demand payments from the multibillion dollar environmental industry, which raises great sums playing to the false fears the IPCC creates. This would relieve the taxpayers of Western nations from the obligation of supporting an organization that is dedicated to lessening their standards of living. Further, it would remove the last shrouds covering the claim that the IPCC is an objective, scientific organization and identify it for what it has become– an organization for promotion of the environmental industry.”

Canada’s National Post captioned a June 18, 2011 op-ed by Rex Murphy about this story, “Inviting the fox into the henhouse.” Murphy wrote:

“This is not just letting the fox into the hen house. This is giving him the keys, passing him the barbeque sauce and pointing his way to the broiler.”

A great deal of the credit for unearthing the IPCC ties with Greenpeace are due to Steve McIntyre at his blog, Climate Audit.

Finally, while we’ve covered a lot of ground here, there’s one more reference worth mentioning, i.e., a June 19, 2011 article by Russell Cook at American Thinker.

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