President Elect Obama has now committed to massive injections of capital and policy shifts aimed at alternative energy, CO2 reduction and climate change management. He has been convinced that, despite clear evidence to the contrary, that the "science is settled" (no science is ever really settled) and that action is now needed.
He said "The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear. Sea levels are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we're seen record drought, spreading famine and storms are growing stronger with each hurricane season". He's been seduced by Al Gore.
1. According to the International Commission on Seal Level Changes - many areas of sea level have fallen in recent years, not risen. The Indian Ocean, for example, was higher between 1900 - 1970 than it is now. The biggest concern has been with the islands of Maldives and Tuvalu - where sea levels have fallen. The worst case scenario, according to the UN IPCC, is a rise of between 4 and 17 inches, not the 20 feet claimed by Gore in his wildly inaccurate film An Inconvenient Truth.
2. Coastlines are only "shrinking" where land is subsiding - e.g. the North Yorkshire coast. There is no evidence of shrinking coastlines linked to climate change - only to the loss of wet lands due to over-building.
3. In terms of drought - of the 20th century's 30 major droughts, 22 of these occurred between 1900 - 1960, with only five between 1961-1980. Droughts are reducing, not increasing.
4. There is no known connection between global warming and hurricane activity. The most active hurricane season of all recorded time was in 1955 and there has been a steady reduction in such activity over the last four years, according to the most comprehensive study from the University of Florida.
5. He is pushing wind power - a terrifically inefficient source of energy. The US currently has approximately 10,000 turbines with an installed capacity of 18 gigawatts - yet these produce app. 4.5 gigawatts annually - less power than could be had from a single coal fired power station and much more expensive, since wind power exists only through subsidy.
6. He is also committed to carbon capture and storage, as is the Government of Alberta. The technology for CO2 capture is problematic, and will not capture more than a small % of the CO2 emitted.
I like Obama, but the fact that he has been seduced into being green is worrying. Lets hope some of the dissenting voices around his cabinet table start to challenge a lot of the rhetorical nonsense (Christopher Booker in the UK's Daily Telegraph calls it "clap trap").