A disastrous bill suggesting disastrous technology to solve a non-existing problem. This sums up the government’s Climate Change Bill, 2022.
The non-problem is manmade (anthropomorphic) climate change; the disastrous technology (not stated but implied) is solar and wind for grid electricity. The bill proposes a compulsory, bureaucratic, snooping horror show, which includes provincial and municipal forums on climate change, a climate change co-ordinating commission, a national adaption strategy, an emissions trajectory, targets and so on. This is just the sort of thing the ANC loves.
The greens love this sort of thing too. Because of their elitist instincts, the greens long to interfere in the lives of ordinary people, to control them and to ban the cheap, reliable energy that ordinary people want. They will support this bill enthusiastically – unless it doesn’t have enough coercion for them.
The main aim of the bill is to de-carbonise the economy, which is completely mad. It is the worst thing we could do for the planet and for human welfare. CO2 is the gas of life. It is the gas from which plants are built, and all animals depend on plants. It is a wonderful, clean, safe, natural gas. It is now at very low levels in the history of the planet. It should be increased. It is a weak greenhouse gas (one which traps outgoing infrared radiation), with only one significant absorption band (at 15 micron), which is already saturated at its peak. Over 150 parts per million (ppm), CO2 should have very little effect on temperatures; in practice none has ever been seen. By burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas), we have pushed CO2 up from the awfully low level of 280 ppm in the 19th Century to about 430 ppm now, still too low but an improvement. The increase in CO2 has had a hugely beneficial effect on plants, including forests and food crops, and has greened the arid regions of the world.
Over the last 10 000 years, following the last Ice Age, global temperatures have risen and fallen, with warmer and colder periods following each other. During these warm and cold periods, until 150 years ago, CO2 remained at about the same level, 280 ppm. For the last 3 000 years the trend has been downward. For most of the pre-industrial period, global temperatures have been warmer than now (making nonsense of the absurd Paris Agreement to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees C from “pre-industrial” times). The present warm period is cooler than the previous one (the Mediaeval Warm Period), which was cooler than the one before, and so on.
In all the previous warmer warm periods, CO2 has been lower than now, always about 280 ppm. So we know for certain that the recent rise in temperatures has NOT been caused by CO2. What has caused it? What caused all the other warm periods?
The answer is the Sun. The climate changes with variations in solar radiation. The important changes are not in the Sun’s total irradiance but her emissions of charged particles and her magnetic field. These affect the formation of low clouds on Earth, the single most important terrestrial driver of our climate. When the Sun is active, we have warming; when inactive, cooling. Sunspots give a measure of this solar activity. Galileo began to look at sunspots in the early 17th Century, and astronomers counted them after him. They found that the fewer sunspots, the colder the weather. (Since then scientist have found other ways of measuring historical solar activity.)
A very quiet Sun correlated with the Little Ice Age, from about 1300 to 1850 AD, the coldest weather of the last 10,000 years. It was a time of dreadful weather extremes. Then the Sun became active again and temperatures rose to the rather pleasant weather we enjoy today. Over the last hundred years there has been no increase in extreme weather, including floods, droughts, storms, and cyclones.
There is no climate crisis. But of course we always have to be concerned about natural weather changes. The climate has been changing since the formation of the Earth about 4.5 billion ago, sometimes dramatically but always naturally. We must plan for floods and droughts.
To achieve the lunatic goal of zero carbon, governments around the world want to force us into using the most ruinously expensive we know, which is also environmentally blighting, namely solar and wind for grid electricity. This has proved a disastrous failure in every country that has tried it. Nowhere in the bill do I see any reference to the energy sources the ANC recommends for reducing CO2 emissions, but all commentators assume, based on previous ANC policies and statements, and based on the ANC’s enthusiastic embrace of the ruinous REIPPPP (renewable energy program), that it means solar and wind. Far and away the biggest problem with solar and wind for grid electricity is that it is intermittent, unreliable and unpredictable. You can never depend on its providing power when you want it, for as long as you want it, in the quantities you want.
The biggest dishonesty from solar and wind operators is that they almost never tell you their Full Cost of Electricity (FCOE). They do not tell you the full costs of providing you with their electricity at seven o’clock in the evening on a cold, still, raining winter night. They just tell you the cost of electricity at their solar panels when the Sun is shining brightly enough or at their wind turbine when the wind is blowing at the right speed. This is meaningless. The FCOE is the total cost of always delivering reliable electricity to the right place. The FCOE for solar and wind includes back-up generators, spinning reserve, loss of electrical inertia, extra transmission lines and storage, all of which are very expensive. I estimate that to get the FCOE for solar and wind, you need to add at least 200 cents/kWh to the cost at the generator. If a solar operator tells you his electricity is 25 cents/kWh, the FCOE is 225 cents/kWh – twice Eskom’s average selling price.
Every country that has turned to solar and wind for grid electricity, including Germany, Denmark, the UK, the US, and Australia, has seen final electricity prices soaring, and electrical failures increasing. Our own REIPPPP (the compulsory renewable energy program) has forced upon us the most expensive and the worst electricity in South African history.
Since about 1800 AD, the Western world has delivered itself from poverty and low life expectancy by using the energy of coal, oil, and gas. Fossil fuels are the reason Greta Thunberg is so rich and privileged and Sweden is so clean, healthy, and prosperous. Fossil fuels could do the same for Africa, including South Africa. The greens don’t want this. They are horrified at the prospect of Africans becoming as prosperous as Swedes. So, they want to deny them cheap, reliable energy. Deep down, the greens, mainly white and Western, are racists who don’t want black nations to develop. Why is the ANC siding with them?
The best energy source for our grid electricity is nuclear power, which is safe, clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable, and which as it so happens releases no CO2 in operation. But most of the green elite (not all) hates it. The ANC’s attitude towards nuclear is uncertain.
To sum up, for the sake of our environment, our economy and our people, especially our poor people, the Climate Change Bill must be rejected.
The views of the writer are not necessarily the views of the Daily Friend or the IRR
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