The well-known NASA scientist and AGW activist James Hansen has made the surprising assertion that man-made carbon dioxide emissions will lead to a runaway greenhouse effect culminating in oceans boiling.
This memorable quote has appeared on the internet and elsewhere. You can hear him saying it on this video clip on Youtube at about 2 min 12s. (apologies for the M&S advert at the beginning)
Here are two graphs from a region where the ocean is quite warm already. The increasing line represents carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; the wavy line is the measured ocean temperature, going from 1996 to 2012, and you can see it hasn't moved.
I didn't really need to show the graphs; you know and I know (and probably James Hansen knows) that the oceans will not boil.
The global warming debate is no longer about the science; it's moved on.
If you doubt this, look at what is happening in Northamptonshire, England.
This is a county which has one of the lowest wind speeds, on average, in the British Isles.
This is where approximately fifty applications to build wind farms have been made. As I type this, people on committees are deciding which ones will be built. The wealthy people owning the land where the turbines will be sited will make substantial gains. For example, on land belonging to the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, the Barnwell Manor Wind Farm wants to erect four giant turbines.
Historically, about 70% of applications are successful.
The power generated will be several times the price of electricity from gas. The precise figure depends on who does the sums.
The electricity generated is almost coincidental. The projects are driven by subsidies and EU 'targets' on renewables, signed by ministers of a previous government. The Renewables Obligation guarantees a very high rate of return (25% per year on invested capital) to those who build wind farms, irrespective of the amount of energy generated; whether it is high, low or zero. Wind farms at Bozeat, Kelmarsh, Boddington Yelvertoft and Watford Lodge have all been passed by planning inspectors, overturning the decisions of local planners.
A report by the Renewable Energy Foundation a couple of years ago pointed out that wind farms constructed south of Hadrian's Wall were unlikely to generate enough electricity to justify their construction.
In the words of Bill Driver, of CPRE: The real problem here is the lack of wind. This wind farm, and others proposed for Northamptonshire, is not economically viable because there isn't enough wind to generate much electricity. What is making it viable is the very high level of subsidy given to onshore wind.
The sceptics appear to have won the scientific argument, but the political argument (and wind turbine construction, using public money) continues.
7 May 12
Acknowledgement... graphs taken from www.c3headlines.com - many thanks.
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