"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

TILTING AT WINDMILLS


By

ROBERT HARKINS

Of the good fortune which the valiant Don Quixote had in the Terrible and Undreamed-of Adventure of the Windmills, with Other Occurrences Worthy to be Fitly Recorded. Miguel de Cervantes: Don Quixote (1605)

President O’Bama has proclaimed the debate over global warming “settled.” But how worthy is the proclamation of a President who will not debate, will not answer straight questions and knows so little of the science. Here is the truth: Hundreds of scientists well qualified in the discipline of climatology, many of them recipients of the Nobel Prize, have impeached the veracity of the hockey stick graph, an IPCC invention which pretends the medieval warming period—when temperatures exceeded the highest temperature readings today—never happened.[1]

In fact, there has never been a debate. Al Gore refuses to debate. Instead he characterizes global warming skeptics, however impressive their qualifications, as members of the “Flat Earth” society, or simpatico with those who believe that the moon landing, was filmed in a garage in Arizona. Other global warming alarmists, with far more poisonous invective, accuse reputable scientists who challenge leftist theories of global warming as of one mind with those moral cretins who deny the tragic history of the holocaust.

The computer models, the global alarmists’ sacred text, predict the inexorable onset of rising temperatures throughout the nineties into the decades of the 21st century until at last Armageddon will devastate the earth and its people. The Himalayan glaciers will melt and drown millions. Biblical floods will inundate the coasts of most nations. Tiny islands will sink beneath tempestuous seas. Malaria, once restricted to torrid third world countries, will work its lethal wrath upon the sweltering residents of New York City. The predictions made in reliance upon the computer models are dead wrong. Still in an Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore, in a spectacle of junk science lingo, still insists that,

Sea levels would rise by 20 feet, inundating many of the most populous places on the planet. Computer-enhanced satellite images showed how part or all of many of its most famous cities would be engulfed, from Shanghai and Beijing to New York and San Francisco.

And what of the poor polar bears? Mr. Gore, in foretelling their extinction, showed a picture of two polar bears stranded on a tiny piece of ice, exhausted and about to die. Why? Because they were unable to swim to land so much had the glaciers melted in the torrid global heat. Amanda Byrd a Canadian journalist and marine biologist took the pictures a few miles off the Alaskan coast. She “was happy to explain, the bears were in no danger so near the land.”

The President will now subsidize with untold billions of taxpayer dollars the construction of carbon neutral wind turbines he believes will provide America the free and renewable energy her economic survival mandates. Indeed, he may believe that fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have hoped. All that Americans need do is entrust their lives and fortune to the eternal and endlessly renewable energy of unadulterated blowing wind. Like Don Quixote de La Mancha, the President tilts at windmills.

At this point they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that are on that plain.

"Fortune," said Don Quixote to his squire, as soon as he had seen them, "is arranging matters for us better than we could have hoped. Look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants rise up, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes.

"What giants?" said Sancho Panza.

"Those you see there," answered his master, "with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues (1) long."

It is good to see President O’Bama chart with wisdom our national vision, praise American exceptionalism, stand tall, head unbowed to the legion tyrants of this planet and embrace faithfully our allies, for example, Poland and Israel. It is also good to bear witness to President O’Bama’s defiance of jihadist terrorists who, as he explains, blow people to bits not because they are terrorists, but because they are saddened by the “root causes” of poverty, and by the existence of injustice, pornography, Americans, Jews, cartoonists, freedom, democracy, Constitutional government, and other things they would rather destroy than tolerate.

We are thankful for the moral lesson that terrorism has no geography or nationality, that terrorism is a scornful word that we as a sensitive people would do better to avoid. Better that we conform our language to the transcendent truths of “man made disasters” and “over seas contingency operations.”

We must recognize, finally, that the President’s capacity to recognize reality is more profound than that of ordinary human beings. Indeed, he who would criticize the President’s vision, his riotous adventure with wind mills, or the windy breath of his wisdom should betake himself to a monastery for penance and prayer. The President simply will not be dissuaded from his task. He will not be moved. He will engage the dragon, tilt at windmills; we have it all down in writing.

"Look, your worship,'' said Sancho. "What we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go."

"It is easy to see," replied Don Quixote, "that you are not used to this business of adventures. Those are giants, and if you are afraid, away with you out of here and betake yourself to prayer, while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat."

Just as the mythical Don Quixote became delusional from the reading of too many medieval romances— (I think, and it is the truth, [twas] … sage Frestón who carried off my study and books)—so also, the Presidential vision of renewable energy is transfixed in a web of science fantasy and ideological fallacies. The wind turbine has failed miserably, in Britain, Denmark, and Germany. The thousands of wind turbines have given up reluctantly and at prohibitive cost only the minutest fraction of the energy necessary for national survival.

Wind turbine energy costs far more than energy produced by coal, gas or nuclear energy. It is not dependable. It is grossly insufficient. Its giant, unsightly turbines deface the earth and insult the aesthetic sense. Its incessant noise offends the ear. Britain discovered, after it had purchased hundreds of turbines, that had it invested in nuclear reactors it could have realized far greater recovery of energy at 1/8th the cost of wind turbines.

The British have read too many books on global warming and dire prophecies so terrible that not all of Sancho Panza’s warnings could stay them from their economic demise. The once grand country will soon face a forty percent deficit in its critical energy needs. What will Britain ever do? It is standing in a long French line waiting its turn to buy nuclear reactors. What is the lesson learned? Do not tilt at windmills! Nevertheless,

So saying, he gave the spur to his steed Rocinante, heedless of the cries his squire Sancho sent after him, warning him that most certainly they were windmills and not giants he was going to attack. He, however, was so positive they were giants that he neither heard the cries of Sancho, nor perceived, near as he was, what they were.

Britain made mistakes may well wreck her economy and her citizens. It shut down its coal plants. Its nuclear reactors are aging and soon must also be shut down. For while the government was impressed with the capacity of the wind turbine it forgot to ask, before its subsidized, paid for and built so many of them, precisely how much energy would be produced. It was then the British learned too late there is a vast difference between the wind turbine’s capacity and its actual production of energy. Britain’s mistake, the mistake our President intends to duplicate, is simply this: The capacity of a wind turbine matters nothing when the wind will not blow.

The first and most serious failing of wind power was the simple fact that wind does not blow at a consistent speed, and often not at all. The wind companies invariably liked

to talk of their turbines in terms of their ‘capacity’; in other words, their potential output if the wind was blowing at optimum speed all the time. Politicians and the media almost invariably fell for this trick, fondly imagining that a ‘2 megawatt turbine’ could consistently be relied on to produce to megawatts (2MW) of electricity… Because wind speeds are so inconsistent, however, this in fact meant that the average output of a turbine in the UK was only around 25 percent of its capacity …. Indeed all too often,, notably on cold days in winter when electricity demand was at its highest, high pressure meant that there was not enough wind to keep the turbines turning at all.

A 2004 Royal Academy of Engineering study showed that the cost of an onshore wind turbine was more than,

… double that of power from gas, nuclear or the more efficient coal-fired plants. From an off shore wind farm, the ..cost made it well over three times more expensive…. The net effect of all this was that the electricity supply companies were forced to pay twice as much for wind-generated electricity as they did for conventional power. But this was hidden from the public because the additional cost was merely added, without explanation, to their electricity bills.

Why then did the British government, facing abject, dangerous, and embarrassing failure, impose a severe tax—disguised as an increase in utility rates— on its citizens? You may well ask. It is upon this ancient feudal theory: “Let the peasants pay! That after all, is what they are there for.” Ah but as the great Scottish poet Robby Burns warned long ago, “the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.” Stop! Do not tilt at windmills! But how futile is our protest.

Fly not, cowards and vile beings," he shouted, "for a single knight attacks you."

A slight breeze at this moment sprang up, and the great vanes began to move.


"Though ye flourish more arms than the giant Briareus, ye have to reckon with me!" exclaimed Don Quixote, when he saw this.

So saying, he commended himself with all his heart to his lady Dulcinea, imploring her to support him in such a peril. With lance braced and covered by his shield, he charged at Rocinante's fullest gallop and attacked the first mill that stood in front of him.

So what then of the British citizen? In addition to severe tax increases which accomplished nothing but debt, and the ownership of wind turbines, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, the British government is now urging its citizens to take up again their World War II bikes. It may also prohibit hospitals from serving patients carbon intensive beef and lamb. It may insist British subjects, sick and hospitalized, be served instead healthy “vegetable and pulses.”

A survey by the Taxpayers’ Alliance found that Britain’s taxpayers were now having to pay L102 million a year for local councils to employ a new army of ‘climate change managers’, ‘carbon reduction advisers’ and other climate change-related officials. These included 58 in Tower Hamlets alone, the poorest borough in London. Another of the think-tank’s surveys in September estimated that ‘green taxes’ were now costing the British people L21.9 billion a year, nearly L1,000 for every household in the country.

A severely disappointed Denmark, a world leader in the installation of wind turbines, has declared a moratorium on further construction. Ireland is doing the same.

..in 2002 Denmark announced that its dash for wind was so unbalancing its electricity supply, for so little benefit, that it was not going to build any more. In 2004, although turbines nominally represented 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity production, the wind blew so inconsistently that it in fact provided only 6 percent of the power the country consumed. ….This was why Ireland in 2003 decided to follow Demark by putting a moratorium on any more turbines.

The government of Scotland now realizes that in order to produce a mere fraction of its energy from wind turbines, it would have to cover about 7 percent of its nation, including the exquisite Scottish Highlands, with unsightly 780 feet metal giants. Germany has thousands of them. Now, however, it is building dirty brown fossil coal plants (the most carbon intensive) to keep the lights on. Scotland is deliberating on its sorry, self-inflicted fate.

In Scotland, the Labour Party promised to produce 40 Percent of energy from renewable resources “Only a fraction of that was coming from the country’s 640 wind turbines. To achieve this new target would require building at least 8,000 more turbines, covering 7 per cent of Scotland’s entire land area but even these would generate…output of just a single conventional power station….

What will he do next, our President? Will he reject the fallacy that the American economy can be fit out to run on wind? Will he look to the facts and change his mind? If not what then will be the fate of Americans and America if he will not distinguish truth from fantasy? Sancho got it right when he said Don Quixote’s head was harder than a windmill.

But as he drove his lance-point into the sail, the wind whirled it around with such force that it shivered the lance to pieces. It swept away with it horse and rider, and they were sent rolling over the plain, in sad condition indeed.

Sancho hastened to his assistance as fast as the ass could go. When he came up and found Don Quixote unable to move, with such an impact had Rocinante fallen with him.

"God Bless me!," said Sancho, "did I not tell your worship to watch what you were doing, because they were only windmills?

No one could have made any mistake about it unless he had something of the same kind in his head."

"Silence, friend Sancho," replied Don Quixote. "The fortunes of war more than any other are liable to frequent fluctuations. Moreover I think, and it is the truth, that the same sage Frestón who carried off my study and books, has turned these giants into mills in order to rob me of the glory of vanquishing them, such is the enmity he bears me. But in the end his wicked arts will avail but little against my good sword."



[1] Christopher Booker The Real Global Warming Disaster, Is the obsession with ‘Climate change”’ turning out to be the most costly scientific blunder in history?(Continuum, 2009). Mr. Booker exposes the fraud that is global warming. He lists the findings of experts in the field of climatology that impeach the theory, process and findings of the IPCC. My reference to the acts are contained in this is most thorough work. I strongly recommend it to you.

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