Archive for February, 2008

Cold Water on ‘Global Warming’

February 29, 2008

Sowell: Cold Water on ‘Global Warming’

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA. He outlines the importance of the “International Conference on Climate Change” Global Warming: Truth or Swindle?

It has almost become something of a joke when some “global warming” conference has to be cancelled because of a snowstorm or bitterly cold weather.

But stampedes and hysteria are no joke — and creating stampedes and hysteria has become a major activity of those hyping a global warming “crisis.”

They mobilize like-minded people from a variety of occupations, call them all “scientists” and then claim that “all” the experts agree on a global warming crisis.

Their biggest argument is that there is no argument.

A whole cottage industry has sprung up among people who get grants, government agencies who get appropriations, politicians who get publicity and the perpetually indignant who get something new to be indignant about. It gives teachers something to talk about in school instead of teaching.

Those who bother to check the facts often find that not all those who are called scientists are really scientists and not all of those who are scientists are specialists in climate. But who bothers to check facts these days?

A new and very different conference on global warming will be held in New York City, under the sponsorship of the Heartland Institute, on March 2nd to March 4th — weather permitting.

It is called an “International Conference on Climate Change.” Its subtitle is “Global Warming: Truth or Swindle?” Among those present will be professors of climatology, along with scientists in other fields and people from other professions.

They come from universities in England, Hungary, and Australia, as well as from the United States and Canada, and include among other dignitaries the president of the Czech Republic.

There will be 98 speakers and 400 participants.

The theme of the conference is that “there is no scientific consensus on the causes or likely consequences of global warming.”

Many of the participants in this conference are people who have already expressed skepticism about either the prevailing explanations of current climate change or the dire predictions about future climate change.

These include authors of such books as “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years” by Fred Singer and Dennis Avery, and “Shattered Consensus,” edited by Patrick J. Michaels.

This will be one of the rare opportunities for the media to hear the other side of the story — for those old-fashioned journalists who still believe that their job is to inform the public, rather than promote an agenda.

Read the whole thing.

So cold it's getting hot

February 29, 2008

Editor:
Love this statement found on page 2 of the story.
General Motors chairman Bob Lutz, who recently said that he personally thought global warming was a
“total crock of shit.”

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Financial Post, National Post and the Toronto Sun for finally getting the Global Warming Fraud into the mainstream press. Please encourage them to continue to expose this farce.

So cold it’s getting hot

It may be cold, but CBC reassures us that calamity still looms

Terence Corcoran, Financial Post Published: Friday, February 29, 2008

Ah, the weather. It’s cold as hell out there. How cold is it? It’s so cold the CBC had to rush to assure all of us that global warming is still a big, big problem. With record snow falls, record cold snaps, the return of sea ice to the north, snow in the Middle East and a deep freeze in China, any sensible person might begin to wonder and even have doubts about global-warming theory and climate change. A little skepticism might begin to creep into the public sphere and threaten to undermine public belief in global warming.Fear not, says the CBC. We have nothing to worry about: climate calamity still looms. The good news is that the polar caps are still going to melt, hurricane risks are still mounting, drought conditions are more likely, forest fires are set to rage, and it’s going to get hot, hot, hot.

In response to the current global cool-down — provocatively labelled a possible New Ice Age by National Post columnist Lorne Gunter — the CBC has presented a full range of explanations and reassuring reports to calm a troubled population. At least three explanations exist:

This cold is normal According to Environment Canada’s David Phillips, the warm winters of recent years have been unusual, and what we have now across the country is just a return to the kinds of winters we used to get.

La Nina According to CBC Radio’s The Current, the cold is a function of La Nina, which is the cold sister of El Nino, the periodic weather system that makes things warmer than normal. Today’s cold is a La Nina effect.

But not so fast.

Climate change could be the problem. Under climate theory, as we know, all weather can be explained as part of the global-warming scare. Extreme weather events, such as frost on the Nile or wherever, are exactly the kind of weather developments we should expect from global warming. If it gets really cold suddenly, that’s because of global warming.

This explanation was offered up by a World Meteorological Organization official on CBC Radio. How cold is it? It’s so cold it’s getting hotter.

Above all, however, under no circumstances are we ever to begin to think that evidence of a cooler climate or colder weather (different things) are a sign that the great climate change theories of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore might be weak or even wrong.

As reassurance on this, on Wednesday night CBC Television’s The National brought in Andrew Weaver, of the University of Victoria and a lead author on IPCC reports, for the following exchange with reporter Kelly Crowe, introduced by host Peter Mansbridge:

Mansbridge So with all this talk of brutal cold and all those bulky snow banks, you might be wondering how an old-fashioned Canadian winter can still exist in these days of global warming. It’s a question scientists studying climate change get all the time. The CBC’s Kelly Crowe now with their answer.

Crowe It’s been such a wintery winter, Canadians can’t resist asking: Whatever happened to global warming?

Weaver Oh, it’s … it drives you nuts.

Page 2 Financial Post

No breeze: the day the wind died in Texas

February 29, 2008

 Editor:
4,600 megawatts of wind power in Texas was producing only 1700 mw before the wind dropped and the 1700 mw became 300. In Ontario we have the same problem. It was cold today -10c and at 1pm the 472 megawatts of installed wind power was producing only 8 megawatts. If we had built a 472 mw nuclear plant we would have had 472 megawatts available. Regardless of how many wind turbines are installed there is no way to count on them to produce power when required. Wind turbines push up the cost of electricity without any real benefits. So, the question is, why are we building them?

Carbon credits and Tax Shelters

No breeze: the day the wind died in Texas

Texas, a model of wind power’s potential, now is a model of wind power’s pitfalls too.

Minders of the Lone Star State’s electricity grid had to cut power to some offices and factories Wednesday evening when the wind dropped—and with it, electricity produced from the state’s many wind farms. The green juice slowed from 1,700 megawatts to the trickle of 300 megawatts.

”A cold front moved through, and the wind died out,” said Dottie Roark, spokeswoman for the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which runs most of the state’s power grid. “That happens.”

Oh, well. Now that wind is big enough to be a real part of Texas’ electricity mix, the state is coming to grips with one of wind power’s biggest problems: the power flows only when the wind blows.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but this glitch for wind power occurred the night before the House voted on a renewable-energy bill — a vote in which the Texas delegation mostly voted against more renewable-energy subsidies.

Nuclear, coal- and gas-fired plants run almost all the time. As efficient as wind turbines have become in recent years, they still need the wind to work. And reliably predicting just when the wind will blow is still tough, despite plenty of fancy technological advances.

Wind usually falls off with rising temperatures. But a sudden gust of cool weather can do the same. The people running the electricity grid need to stay on their toes to throw other forms of power on line when wind falters.

“Renewables are a very intermittent source of electric supply,” says Larry Makovich, managing director at Cambridge Enegy Research Associates, a Boston-based energy consultancy that recently published a bullish report on the prospects for renewable energy. “What you saw in Texas is a very dramatic example as to why that is the case.”

This problem is only going to get bigger for Texas. The state has 4,600 megawatts of wind power. If wind blew all the time, that would be the equivalent of more than three nuclear plants. The state now is considering additional wind farms that could boost that figure ten-fold, say Texas’ grid operators. That is, when there’s a breeze.

Matthew Dalton
Dow Jones Newswires

Posted by Jeffrey Ball

Environmental Capital – WSJ.com

Wel’s windfarm critic has plenty of hits at hearing

February 28, 2008

 Editor:
Meet Sean Cox, a man with attitude. The right attitude. Forget about being polite. Get your message through to the dim witted politicians that are supposed to be looking out for the best interests of their constituents. Take no crap, they work for you. Make sure they understand this fact loud and clear. Call them at home, show up at their doors. Make their lives as miserable as they are attempting to makes yours.

WAKE THEM UP AND MAKE THEM LISTEN

Wel’s windfarm critic has plenty of hits at hearing

The more Wel Networks’ proposed Te Uku wind farm is investigated, the worse it looks, says one of the project’s most vociferous critics.

Aotea Harbour aerodynamicist Sean Cox the man most responsible for the project’s hearing still running returned to Ngaruawahia yesterday to take another crack at Wel’s application to build and operate a 28-turbine wind farm.

With a mix of pointy-headed science and gratuitous insults, he delivered a 212 hour dissertation on the problems with wind farms, Wel Networks, the Resource Management Act process, and new trends in the energy sector.

Earlier Wel Networks had painted him as an unreliable witness who lacked credibility, but Mr Cox scored plenty of hits in concluding the wind farm was “an economic and power supply disaster”.

“If it had been built a year ago it would not have earned enough in the last year at wholesale power rates to get close to covering its interest payments,” he said.

He believed Wel’s economic modelling took no account of damage from adverse weather, legal action from future realised health effects, obsolescence due to improved alternate technology, or reduced income through technological change or altered government policies.

“Wind power is now obsolete for the North Island,” he said, in tabling economic models for alternate power projects.

And there was an ominous warning for Wel if they did proceed. “Should these turbines be built, they will be the best monitored ones in the world. Every watt of power, every squeak of sound, every whiff of subsonics and every bird they kill will be recorded. Then we will see who was right.”

Mr Cox, a wind farm pioneer and designer of fighter aircraft for British Aerospace, refused to give his full qualifications to the hearing.

“Just call me Mr Cox. Far too much weight is given to qualifications and it disadvantages ordinary people. Take the evidence as I have presented it.

By Bruce Holloway

Waikato Times

Texas Power grid narrowly averted rolling blackouts

February 28, 2008

 Editor:
Never let reality get in the way. Dalton McGuinty our fearful leader in Ontario says

“Wind turbines: We are investing heavily in those, but again, those are an expensive form of electricity and they’re not reliable, because sometimes obviously the wind does not blow”.

But he won’t let reality get in his way. No sir, not Dalton

He wants to cover Ontario with wind farms regardless of the facts.

Power grid narrowly averted rolling blackouts

Operators of the state power grid scrambled Tuesday night to keep the lights on after a sudden drop in West Texas wind threatened to cause rolling blackouts, officials confirmed Wednesday.

At about 6:41 p.m. Tuesday, grid operators ordered a shutoff of power to so-called interruptible customers, which are industrial electric users who have agreed previously to forgo power in times of crisis. The move ensured continued stability of the grid after power dropped unexpectedly.

Dottie Roark, a spokeswoman for the power grid, said a sudden uptick in electricity use coupled with other factors and a sudden drop in wind power caused the unexpected dip. As a result, grid officials immediately went to the second stage of its emergency blackout prevention plan.

“This situation means that there is a heightened risk of … regular customers being dropped through rotating outages, but that would occur only if further contingencies occur, and only as a last resort to avoid the risk of a complete blackout,” the State Operations Center said in an e-mail notice to municipalities.

Known as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the quasi-governmental agency that manages the power grid must ensure that power generation and power use remain constantly in balance. Otherwise, the whole grid can go dark, and the result is a systemwide blackout.

According to ERCOT, those interruptible customers who lost power Tuesday night had it restored by 9:40 p.m.. The interruptible customers are generally industrial businesses that pay less for electricity in exchange for an agreement that they will let ERCOT cut their power during shortages.

Some wholesale energy prices also spiked Tuesday evening — especially in West Texas. ERCOT also reported that the drop in wind power led to constraints on the system between the north part of the state and the west.

Kent Saathoff, vice president for system operations at ERCOT, said Tuesday’s event illustrates the inherent challenges associated with using wind power. Because the wind sometimes stops blowing without a moment’s notice, engineers at ERCOT must remain nimble enough to respond to resulting instability on the grid, he said.

“There is a major workshop going on at our office right now to discuss these very issues,” Saathoff said.

Although he said the emergency event was rare, it is not unprecedented. On April 16, 2006, for instance, a much more serious shortage prompted rolling blackouts across much of Texas. ERCOT officials at that time also ordered power curtailments for the state’s interruptible customers.

That 2006 event was prompted largely by scorching heat coupled with a shutdown of several generators for spring maintenance. This time the shortage was prompted largely by a near-total loss of wind generation, as well as a failure of several energy providers to reach scheduled production and the spike in electricity usage.

ERCOT reported that wind power production plummeted Tuesday evening from about 1,700 megawatts to about 300 megawatts. A single megawatt is enough electricity to power 500 to 700 homes under normal conditions.

The emergency procedures Tuesday night added about 1,100 megawatts to the grid over a 10-minute period, according to ERCOT.

Some critics have said that wind power, although providing a source of clean energy, also brings with it plenty of hidden costs and technical challenges. Besides requiring the construction of expensive transmission lines, the fickle nature of wind also means that the state cannot depend on the turbines to replace other sorts of generators.

“This is a warning to all those who think that renewable energy is the sole answer [to the state’s power needs],” said Geoffrey Gay, an attorney representing Fort Worth and other North Texas municipalities in utility issues. “We can’t put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to any form of generation. We need to consider the cost and the reliability issues, in addition to the environmental impact.”

Susan Williams Sloan, a spokeswoman for the American Wind Energy Association, said those technical challenges are not insurmountable. She said part of the solution is to locate turbines in diverse areas of the state. “When the wind is not blowing somewhere, it’s always blowing somewhere else,” she said.

Sloan also said that technological advances will make it easier in the future to forecast wind energy.

About 4,356 megawatts of wind turbines are currently installed in Texas, she said.

By R.A. Dyer
Staff Writer

Star-Telegram

Blowing in the Wind – Your Tax Dollars

February 27, 2008

*The Dangers of Wind Power*

*After the industry’s recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting.
Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers’ promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.*
August 24, 2007 by Simone Kaiser and Michael Fröhlingsdorf in Business Week
*As wind turbines multiply around the globe, the number of dangerous accidents is also climbing, causing critics to question overall safety*

It came without warning. A sudden gust of wind ripped the tip off of the rotor blade with a loud bang. The heavy, 10-meter (32 foot) fragment spun through the air, and crashed into a field some 200 meters away.

The wind turbine, which is 100 meters (328 feet) tall, broke apart in early November 2006 in the region of Oldenburg in northern Germany-and the consequences of the event are only now becoming apparent. Startled by the accident, the local building authority ordered the examination of six other wind turbines of the same model.

The results, which finally came in this summer, alarmed District
Administrator Frank Eger. He immediately alerted the state government of Lower Saxony, writing that he had shut down four turbines due to safety concerns. It was already the second incident in his district, he wrote, adding that turbines of this type could pose a threat across the country.
The expert evaluation had discovered possible manufacturing defects and irregularities.

*Mishaps, Breakdowns and Accidents*

After the industry’s recent boom years, wind power providers and experts are now concerned. The facilities may not be as reliable and durable as producers claim. Indeed, with thousands of mishaps, breakdowns and accidents having been reported in recent years, the difficulties seem to be mounting.
Gearboxes hiding inside the casings perched on top of the towering masts have short shelf lives, often crapping out before even five years is up. In some cases, fractures form along the rotors, or even in the foundation, after only limited operation. Short circuits or overheated propellers have been known to cause fires. All this despite manufacturers’ promises that the turbines would last at least 20 years.

Gearboxes have already had to be replaced “in large numbers,” the German Insurance Association is now complaining. “In addition to generators and gearboxes, rotor blades also often display defects,” a report on the technical shortcomings of wind turbines claims. The insurance companies are complaining of problems ranging from those caused by improper storage to                         dangerous cracks and fractures.

Wind power expert Martin Stöckl knows the problems all too well. The Bavarian travels some 80,000 kilometers (49,710 miles) across Germany every year, but he is only rarely able to help the wind farmers. It is not just the rotors that, due to enormous worldwide demand, take forever to deliver, but simple replacement parts are likewise nowhere to be found. “You often
have to wait 18 months for a new rotor mount, which means the turbine stands still for that long,” says Stöckl.

“Sales Top, Service Flop” is the headline on a recent cover story which appeared in the industry journal Erneuerbare Energien. The story reports the disastrous results of a questionnaire passed out to members of the German WindEnergy Association asking them to rank manufacturers. Only Enercon, based in Germany, managed a ranking of “good.” The company produces wind
turbines without gearboxes, eliminating one of the weakest links in the chain.

Even among insurers, who raced into the new market in the 1990s, wind power
is now considered a risky sector. Industry giant Allianz was faced with around a thousand damage claims in 2006 alone. Jan Pohl, who works for Allianz in Munich, has calculated that on average “an operator has to expect damage to his facility every four years, not including malfunctions and uninsured breakdowns.”

Many insurance companies have learned their lessons and are now writing maintenance requirements-requiring wind farmers to replace vulnerable components such as gearboxes every five years-directly into their contracts.
But a gearbox replacement can cost up to 10 percent of the original construction price tag, enough to cut deep into anticipated profits. Indeed, many investors may be in for a nasty surprise. “Between 3,000 and 4,000 older facilities are currently due for new insurance policies,” says Holger Martsfeld, head of technical insurance at Germany’s leading wind turbine insurer Gothaer. “We know that many of these facilities have flaws.”

*Flaws And Dangers*

And the technical hitches are not without their dangers. For example:

• In December of last year, fragments of a broken rotor blade landed on a road shortly before rush hour traffic near the city of Trier

• Two wind turbines caught fire near Osnabrück and in the Havelland region in January. The firefighters could only watch: Their ladders were not tall enough to reach the burning casings

• The same month, a 70-meter (230-foot) tall wind turbine folded in half in Schleswig-Holstein-right next to a highway

• The rotor blades of a wind turbine in Brandenburg ripped off at a height of 100 meters (328 feet). Fragments of the rotors stuck into a grain field near a road.

At the Allianz Technology Center (AZT) in Munich, the bits and pieces from wind turbine meltdowns are closely examined. “The force that comes to bear on the rotors is much greater than originally expected,” says AZT evaluator Erwin Bauer. Wind speed is simply not consistent enough, he points out.
“There are gusts and direction changes all the time,” he says.

But instead of working to create more efficient technology, many
manufacturers have simply elected to build even larger rotor blades, Bauer adds. “Large machines may have great capacity, but the strains they are subject to are even harder to control,” he says.

Even the technically basic concrete foundations are suffering from those strains. Vibrations and load changes cause fractures, water seeps into the cracks, and the rebar begins to rust. Repairs are difficult. “You can’t look inside concrete,” says Marc Gutermann, a professor for experimental statics in Bremen. “It’s no use just closing the cracks from above.”

The engineering expert suspects construction errors are to blame. “The facilities keep getting bigger,” he says, “but the diameter of the masts has to remain the same because otherwise they would be too big to transport on the roadways.”

*Not Sufficiently Resilient*

Still the wind power business is focusing on replacing smaller facilities with ever larger ones. With all the best sites already taken, boosting size is one of the few ways left to boost output. On land at least. So far, there are no offshore wind parks in German waters, a situation that Minister Gabriel hopes to change. He wants offshore wind farms to produce a total of  25,000 megawatts by 2030.

Perhaps by then, the lessons learned on land will ward off disaster at sea.
Many constructors of such offshore facilities in other countries have run into difficulties. Danish company and world market leader Vestas, for example, had to remove the turbines from an entire wind park along Denmark’s western coast in 2004 because the turbines were not sufficiently resilient to withstand the local sea and weather conditions. Similar problems were encountered off the British coast in 2005.

German wind turbine giant Enercon, for its part, considers the risks associated with offshore wind power generation too great, says Enercon spokesman Andreas Düser says. While the growth potential is tempting, he says, the company does not want to lose its good standing on the high seas.
*Web link:* http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/aug2
*Note: Since this article was published (August 2007) there have been 3 more major collapses including one death.*

Oregon, US: Wind Turbine collapses kills one, injures second
worker<http://www.nowpublic.net/wind-turbine-collapse-kills-one-injures-second-worker>

Cumbria, UK Wind Turbine
Collapses<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cumbria/7168275.stm>

Beinn an Tuirc, Scotland:
http://www.campbeltowncourier.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/4354/Bent_double.html

Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

February 26, 2008
Temperature Monitors Report Widescale Global Cooling

Michael Asher (Blog)February 26, 2008 12:55 PM


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World Temperatures according to the Hadley Center for Climate Prediction. Note the steep drop over the last year.

Twelve-month long drop in world temperatures wipes out a century of warming

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. All in one year time. For all sources, it’s the single fastest temperature change ever recorded, either up or down.

Scientists quoted in a past DailyTech article link the cooling to reduced solar activity which they claim is a much larger driver of climate change than man-made greenhouse gases. The dramatic cooling seen in just 12 months time seems to bear that out. While the data doesn’t itself disprove that carbon dioxide is acting to warm the planet, it does demonstrate clearly that more powerful factors are now cooling it.

Let’s hope those factors stop fast. Cold is more damaging than heat. The mean temperature of the planet is about 54 degrees. Humans — and most of the crops and animals we depend on — prefer a temperature closer to 70.
Historically, the warm periods such as the Medieval Climate Optimum were beneficial for civilization. Corresponding cooling events such as the Little Ice Age, though, were uniformly bad news.

Daily Tech 


Exploding VESTA Wind Turbine in Denmark

February 26, 2008

Editor:
Ontario can use this to attract tourists.
Hell, put up a map of the turbine locations and take bets on which turbine will blow up next.

Fun for the whole family!

35 Inconvenient Truths: The errors in Al Gore’s movie

February 26, 2008

Carbon tax flim-flam

February 26, 2008

Carbon tax flim-flam

Terence Corcoran, Financial Post  Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mark Jaccard’s one-man crusade to hook Canada up to a monster new global warming policy nightmare popped up again yesterday. This time he emerged in Ottawa with David Suzuki at a news conference that offered Canadians an economic miracle: Big new carbon taxes, lower income taxes, reduced carbon emissions, more government revenue, and a growing economy.

The all-in-one package is in a report by Prof. Jaccard, of Simon Fraser University, for the David Suzuki Foundation. Titled Pricing Carbon: Saving Green, the report ran through some economic modelling exercises to see what might happen if Canada were to impose a tax on all carbon emissions of between $75 and $200 a tonne by 2020. Before any government gets to assessing the report — which doesn’t mention that a $200-a-tonne tax would raise the price of gasoline by about 50% to $1.60 a litre; nor does it do much to highlight the $45-billion in annual lost growth by 2020 — we suggest a tracking device be attached to Mr. Jaccard to monitor his role in the rise of carbon tax on the Canadian agenda.

When B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor’s budget last week announced a version of a carbon tax, Mr. Jaccard and his private research company, M.K. Jaccard and Associates, were the only authorities named. The B.C. plan, moreover, contained all the propaganda tricks Mr. Jaccard raised in the Suzuki version. The tax would raise billions, but voters should not worry because it would be “revenue neutral” and would be “recycled” back in tax cuts or direct payments. As a marketing ploy, the B.C. government said it would immediately send out $440-million in Carbon Tax Credit cheques to citizens, before the carbon tax was even imposed.

In his Suzuki report, Mr. Jaccard begins with a pithy epigraph: “The atmosphere can no longer be considered a carbon dump.” Turns out Mr. Jaccard is quoting himself and his coauthors, including one Jeffrey Simpson, from their book Hot Air. While short and emphatic, the quote is also pure rhetoric unhindered by fact. The atmosphere will continue to used as a dump so long as humans are allowed to exist.

Then the Suzuki report says that “several recent studies” show that a price on carbon is the best way to cut carbon emissions. Of two studies cited, one is from Mr. Jaccard. Reference is later made to recent carbon-tax research by the National Round Table on the Environment — research Mr. Jaccard had a hand in.

The progress of the carbon tax idea to yesterday, including the joint conference with Mr. Suzuki and the B.C. budget carbon tax gimmick, shows Mr. Jaccard has a way with policy makers, politicians and activists. So far he’s made no headway with the Harper Tories or Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, whose budget today was clearly the focal point behind the timing of these events.

The Jaccard carbon tax studies are gigantic exercises in economic modelling. Using models Mr. Jaccard controls, the study asks what would happen to the economy 12 years from now under different levels of carbon taxation and methods of government disposal of the cash raised. If the tax were $100 a tonne, governments would raise $62.5-billion; at $200, the tax take is $100-billion a year — three times what the government collected last year in GST. That would be bad for the economy, depending on how the government spent it. It would reduce carbon-based energy consumption, hurting growth. But if the government took that money and “recycled” it back into the economy in beneficial ways, the bad impact of the tax would be neutralized.

Well, not quite. Even Mr. Jaccard’s black box couldn’t come up with that much of a miracle. Different things happen, depending on the policy. If the government used 14% of the carbon tax money to subsidize green energy and carbon capture technology, gave 40% to industry and used the remaining 46% to reduce payroll or income or other taxes, then there might be offsetting benefits. But not enough to offset the losses from the tax, which would still leave the economy in the red by upwards of $45-billion a year, a figure that increases annually with the loss of compounding growth.

The Suzuki report spends a lot of time ventilating the idea that there might be a “double dividend” in a carbon tax. Bring in a tax, the government recycles it back to taxpayers, and then everybody collects an environmental dividend. In the end, though, the report concedes (most clearly in a footnote) that there is a growing consensus in economics that the prospect of such a double dividend is “weak.”

The Suzuki-Jaccard study is premised on the theories of Arthur C. Pigou, a 20th-century economist who believed you could use taxes to change behaviour. Mr. Jaccard calls his tax the “Pigovian carbon price.” The trouble with Pigovianism is that it requires revival of the ancient and discredited economic art of central planning, using taxes as substitute for prices. But a tax is not a market price. It’s a bureaucratic planning device–as Mr. Jaccard’s elaborate economic modellings prove. And it’s no way to run a market economy.

 The National Post