|Will the European Commission trash our wildlife reserves ?
|TRILLIONS OF EUROS TO BE WASTED ON A NON-PROBLEM, WITH IRREPARABLE IMPACTS ON WILDLIFE, TOURISM, AND QUALITY OF LIFE
|Renewable energy developments are invading designated areas such as Important Bird Areas, Special Protection Areas, Natura 2000 Areas, as well as other wildlife habitats that are crucial to the survival of European threatened species, such as Bonelli´s eagles, sea eagles, golden eagles, imperial eagles, red kites, hen harriers, ospreys, white-fronted geese, whooper swans, cranes, storks, great bustards, European otters, etc.
Such destruction is unnecessary, responding mainly to greed and, sometimes, corruption. I urge the European Commission to put an end to this abomination, which they would themselves condemn if it happened on another continent: how about vast expanses of solar collectors in the Masai Mara, wind turbines on the Kilimandjaro, or geothermal plants in Yellowstone ?
It is all the more absurd if we consider that the efficacy of wind farms is now in doubt: see press release on the Bentek and Udo studies (54)
COMPLAINT TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
" In all affairs it´s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. "
I wish to submit a complaint regarding the approval of a windfarm to be built within what is arguably Scotland´s most valuable " Important Bird Area " : IBA UK 224, south of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The Muaitheabhal project, as it is called, is to be built on the estate of Eishken, aka Eisgen, or Eisgein. First presented for 133 wind turbines, it was rejected by the Scottish Executive. Then, in spite of the opposition of 87% of the local people surveyed (1), windfarm developer and estate owner Nick Oppenheim was able to lure the island´s Councillors, who can authorise smaller projects. He asked for 16 turbines, and obtained permission for 13. The Scottish Executive has announced it is not objecting to the plan, so the bulldozers may start ploughing anytime through the blanket bog, a protected habitat under the EU´s Habitats Directive. (2)
A bigger project for 53 turbines, at the same location and by the same developer, was also submitted. It has been the object of a public inquiry, but I fear it will be approved before the end of summer. The developer´s wish is to install more turbines from the start, and also to secure the construction of an undersea interconnector through the Minch, a body of water that has been proposed for a marine reserve, at least in part. But even if, however unlikely, his 53-turbine project is defeated in the next couple of months, Mr Oppenheim will still be allowed to implement his 13-turbine plan, which may easily be expanded at a later date - like the infamous Beinn an Tuirc windfarm, whose size was increased in spite of its negative impact on golden eagles but thanks to a ( predictably ) misleading monitoring report (3).
According to Hebrides News, a controversy arose at the end of the public inquiry when it was claimed Mr Oppenheim had paid £ 20,000 to cover legal expenses incurred by independent witnesses (4).
The practice of downsizing, in this case from 133 wind turbines to 53, or 13 , is a strategy being used by windfarm developers and their politician friends to impose controversial projects. Mr Oppenheim may appear to be making a huge concession, but the area being targeted hasn´t changed : it is a sanctuary for sensitive/reintroduced bird species, and the number of turbines is only temporarily curtailed.
IBA 224 is home to 3 breeding pairs of the reintroduced white-tailed sea eagle, i.e. 7% of its small UK population, and 11 pairs of Scotland’s beleaguered golden eagles ( 2.5% of UK population ). In total, it is habitat and/or migration staging post for 12 bird species protected under European and/or UK laws, plus the European otter. (5)
This IBA constitutes one of the finest eagle habitats in the United Kingdom, perfectly suited for the recuperation of the white-tailed sea eagle ( only 42 pairs nationwide, all of them on the west coast of Scotland ). As such it should have been made a Special Protection Area in accordance with EU Wild Birds and Habitats Directives, as there is no designated SPA for this rare species in the UK.
Regardless, the requirements of Article 4.4 of the Wild Birds Directive apply:
"4. In respect of the protection areas referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid pollution or deterioration of habitats or any disturbances affecting the birds, in so far as these would be significant having regard to the objectives of this Article."
Yet, in this bird reserve protected by EU environmental legislation, machines that are known to kill eagles will soon be installed if the European Commission fails to intervene rapidly. The developer´s consultant himself, whose vested interest is to play down the avian risk, couldn´t help but predict some eagle mortality : 16 strikes over 25 years for the original project (6).
In reality, 100-150 golden eagles and 30-50 sea eagles could be killed by the turbines if either one of the downsized projects is carried out, and is later expanded once courageous citizens have lost heart in defending IBA 224. - I explain : as the resident birds and their young are killed by the turbines, other eagles from the Hebrides islands or even the mainland will eventually take possession of their vacant territories, get killed as well, and so on. This will affect adults from neighbouring territories, plus “floaters” and immature eagles from anywhere in Scotland, as these are known to roam the land before forming territorial pairs. Thus, Eishken will act as an ecological trap, a black hole, a population sink for the Scottish eagles. (7).
Other effects include the cutting and drainage of the blanket bog ( a "protected habitat" ) ; the release of the peat´s CO2 into the atmosphere ; plus impacts on the IBA´s hydrology, on the fish, and on the population of European otters ( an “Annex II” species protected by European law ). For indeed there will be silt deposits ; and water contamination by turbine lubricants and blade washdown detergents ; and access roads interfering with water courses ; and eventually peat slides, as occurred at the Derrybrien windfarm in Ireland. (8)
In the case of the defeated Lewis Wind project, a few kilometers to the north, it has been estimated that more CO2 may be added to the atmosphere by the dead peat than saved by the windfarm. (9)
The project will also impact upon a National Scenic Area and spoil cultural wonders such as the Sleeping Beauty, the Birth of the Moon, and the Callanish Stones. They are described here : DRUIDS
In the original environmental statement we read : "The NSA is considered ‘…to be of unsurpassed attractiveness which must be conserved as part of our national heritage." But then, against all logic, the impact of 133 huge wind turbines on the NSA was estimated to be "moderate" ( ES, table 6.9 ). This is typical of environmental statements, financed and controlled as they are by developers ; and it shows how biased and unreliable these reports can be.
Here is a picture of South Lewis :
Be it 13 or 53 turbines, the developer will start erecting his machines any time now, and proceed from there towards more turbines in the future. IBA 224 will be transformed from a designated Important Bird Area to a population sink for Scottish eagles and other threatened species.
In Sweden, a white-tailed sea eagle was killed by a small windfarm of only 3 turbines (10). In California, Thelander et al. have observed that raptors are attracted to wind turbines, be they of the old type ( lattice tower ) or the new one ( tubular tower ) (11) . As a result 20,000 raptors, including 2,300 golden eagles, are estimated to have been killed by the large windfarm of Altamont Pass in 23 years of operation (12).
Throughout the world, windfarms are acting as population sinks : for golden eagles and other raptors in California, for eagles and vultures in Spain, for sea eagles in Norway, for the critically-endangered Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle in Tasmania, etc. (10). Says Dr Woehler, chairman of Birds Tasmania : " (the Woolnorth windfarm) is killing eagles that were resident and drawing more in from the surrounding areas, so it will continue to be a black hole for these birds " (7)
The risk of extinction for the eagles is real, as they already are on the decline in most places, and sometimes need to be reintroduced. I refer you to my papers on the likely extirpation of the Scottish eagles, as submitted to you earlier (13). Ornithologists keep quiet about my work, and silence me on most of their forums through censorship or outright banning. They simply don’t want to know, and killing the messenger is their policy. When I was allowed to talk, some of them attacked me with a surprising lack of scientific reserve and objectivity. This comes as no surprise : whistle blowers never were popular among the people they denounce.
My crime is to dare say that windfarm money is a bonanza to ornithologists and bird societies, financing as it does environmental statements, monitoring studies, and other research on birds. The wind industry is currently the ornithologists´ Nº1 employer and funding source.
This is a conflict of interest that will have severe consequences on bird life.
I requested at the time your urgent intervention to protect Argyll and the Hebrides Islands, making them a safe haven for the Scottish eagles ( it was a minimum : other eagle habitats also deserve protection from the turbines ). But you failed to act, showing a lack of interest in enforcing your own laws ( EU Wild Birds and Habitats Directives ) - something I have denounced publicly :
Is the European Commission helping with the environmental destruction of Europe ?
Environmental assessments do nothing to protect sensitive areas, written as they are by consultants who must sign a pledge of silence to get the job. If the report they write does not support the project, they get fired and are unlikely to be hired again in their lifetime. (14)
Publishing additional guidelines by year-end, as per your letter to me of June 20th 2008 ( signed by Patrick Murphy ), won’t stop harmful developments that have been already approved by member countries. Your vigorous intervention to stop them is needed, and it is needed now.
It is not enough for the EC to have opposed the Lewis Wind project in the Lewis peatlands SPA, for another one ( Pentland Road ) has been approved within the same SPA, and may be later expanded or even multiplied. And many other windfarms have been approved to be built in designated protection areas or in sensitive habitats across the EU. They will cause irreparable damage to species "protected" by European legislation. Cumulatively, their impact will be devastating - yet it was never considered at the EU level. A regional study was made in Scotland, but it was flawed in such a way that it only served the vested interests who commissioned it (15).
By allowing the case-by-case approach ( each project evaluated “on its own merits” ), the EC is violating the most elementary tenet of conservation : cumulative effect.
Badly sited intermittent-energy projects have become all the more unacceptable because new circumstances affect the way we should be looking at this costly, unreliable form of energy. Three of the four most widely-used temperature data sets (Met Office Hardley Center, NOAA, and UofA Huntsville or UAH ) evidence that world climate has not warmed since the peak of 1998. In fact, it has cooled significantly ; and since January 2007, the average temperature went down practically without interruption. As at May 2008 the cooling had taken the world back to 1979 temperature levels.
I reproduce below the most recent graph released by UAH, evidencing this deep and long dive into lower temperatures beginning January 2007.
Another graph, published by NASA GISS, is at considerable variance with those from UAH, NOAA and the MET OFFICE. It may be described as “alarming”, whereas the three others convey the opposite impression (16). The difference lies in the various statistical adjustments performed by GISS over the years, all of them producing more apparent warming, which is against the odds. The IPCC figures, reflecting these adjustments, were criticised for it (17).
In addition, arctic temperatures obtained through extrapolation have been incorporated by GISS, to make up for the lack of recording stations on the arctic ice cap – a procedure that lends itself to bias.
These manipulations of the raw data take added significance when it is known that James Hansen, head of NASA GISS, is a world-famous global warming activist - something that may interfere with his objectivity when it comes to producing statistics that will either support or invalidate the theory he defends.
James Hansen enjoys powerful political support : his boss, who disagreed with him on global warming, was silenced (51). This is the sort of thing that does not happen very often in the "normal" world.
Like James Hansen, thousands of scientists are being paid to document global warming, and their budgets would vanish into thin air if they reported contrary evidence. Bias is inevitable, and spurious artifacts like the “hockeystick” graph are produced ( see footnote 16, comments on NOAA ).
In the same vein of thought, it has been documented that Wikipedia systematically censors entries that do not toe the global warming line (18).
UAH graphs, unlike those from GISS, NOAA and MET OFFICE, report the average lower troposphere temperature. This data, recorded by satellites, is more reliable than surface temperature measurements, which are influenced by the Urban Island Heat Effect and the changing environment around recording stations. These were originally set up in the countryside, but many became engulfed in suburbia in recent times, and they now record temperatures that are distorted by heat-radiating asphalt and concrete. Adjustments made to the data to correct this incidence may or may not be objective and accurate.
Further to the news that climate is actually cooling, some scientists normally known for their global warming convictions are now predicting that the much-touted warming will be absent for another decade or so. This may be seen as a “stop-loss” move, the alternative being to admit they are unable to predict climate. The reason they give for the 20-year hiatus is that sea currents in both the Atlantic and the Pacific are in their cooling cycles – namely : the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) whose cooling phase is called "la Niña".
This important finding, which rocked the global warming establishment last month, was published by climate researcher Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Science at Germany´s Kiel University (19).
The news was widely reported, even by the usually warming-biased BBC (20). Public opinion, however, wonder if they should really believe that global warming will resume in 2015-2020 as they are told. IPCC computer models have shown how unreliable they can be, and predicting climate change is no longer credible - not that it ever was to independent scientists and discerning members of the public.
Time magazine reflects this feeling of doubt : "...there is compelling evidence that no global warming is currently occurring. Although the alarmists are in denial about this, figures published annually by the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, an offshoot of the U.K.´s Met Office, show there has been no global warming so far this century, and recent research suggests this lull will last at least until 2015 — when warming is expected to resume. Maybe it will: we shall see." (21).
Most importantly, C02 has shown to be a minor driver of climate, if at all. For carbon emissions have been accelerating in the past decade thanks to the contribution of fast-developing giants such as China and India : yet global temperatures have been cooling. Reputable scientists have further shown that, in the past, changes in temperature have always preceded C02 variations, which is the opposite of what children are being told in UK schools, where they are being obliged to watch the Hollywood movie featuring Al Gore. In fact, CO2 in the atmosphere is not driving temperature : on the contrary, temperature is driving CO2, as warming oceans release more of it. UK children are actually being brainwashed with incorrect, politically-biased “science”.
Distinguished scientists have put together a video denouncing the whole global warming scam (22).
The IPCC’s obsession with carbon dioxide has blinded them to other, far more important drivers of climate such as the sun, sea current oscillations, and to feedbacks such as evaporation and cloud cover. And when they pretend that 2,500 scientists have endorsed the man-made global warming theory, it is not factual. A recently released document show that only 62 scientists, 55 of which had “ serious vested interest ”, reviewed relevant chapter 9 of the IPCC Bali report. Moreover, 60% of the comments submitted by reviewers were rejected by IPCC editors. Says one of the reviewers, Professor McKitrick : " Evidence shown in the report suggests that other factors play a major role in climate change, and the specific effects expected from greenhouse gases have not been observed. ” (23)
So in effect we have been misled to believe that 2,500 scientists were backing the CO2/climate-warming causality. “As lies go, it’s a whopper ”, comment the authors of the article. And they conclude : “That the IPCC have let this deception continue for so long is a disgrace. Secretary General Ban Kai-Moon must instruct the UN climate body to either completely revise their operating procedures, welcoming dissenting input from scientist reviewers and indicating if reviewers have vested interests, or close the agency down completely.
Until then, their conclusions, and any reached at the Bali conference based on IPCC conclusions, should be ignored entirely as politically skewed and dishonest . (23)
This confirms what professor emeritus Howard Hayden has said about IPCC modelling : " they put garbage in, spit gospel out ".
In any event, reality should always prevail over computer models, and reality tells us that CO2 is not a significant driver of climate (24).
There is more : some scientists have observed an unusual lack of spots on the surface of the sun, and warn that we may be entering a "little ice age" reminiscent of the period 1550-1850 A.D. when bad, cold weather ruined many crops and caused famine in Europe. (25)
We can’t be sure, of course, but it is enough to give us a sense of perspective.
In the circumstances, it is clear that the EU´s immensely expensive carbon reduction policy has lost its raison d´être. Says professor emeritus Fred Singer of the University of Virginia : "Carbon dioxide growth does not contribute significantly to climate change. CO2 is not a pollutant. On the contrary, it make plants grow faster and is beneficial. We need more of it. Since climate change is natural, any attempt to control CO2 is pointless, hugely expensive, and counterproductive. The irrational fear of global warming is distorting energy policy and hurting our economy. It raises the cost of energy, food, and everything else " (26)
It has become obvious that policies to curb CO2 emissions are not just a colossal waste of money : they will cause considerable harm to the world´s population. This is the message of the Oregon petition (27), signed by 32,000 scientists, and of the Manhattan Declaration (28), published earlier this year.
In short : 1) not only the science is not settled, but the theory of man-made global warming has been disproved by reality ; 2) the sun is the main driver of climate, and CO2 has little to do with it, if anything ; 3) CO2 is not a pollutant ; it is beneficial to vegetation and crops, and therefore to food supplies ; and since more food is needed, we need more CO2, not less. The history of life on our planet evidences that past levels of CO2 were often considerably higher than they are today, and vegetation more luxuriant, feeding huge creatures ( the dinosaurs ). (29)
Desperate attempts :
In spite of overwhelming real-life evidence against their theory, well-paid and well-entrenched defenders of man-made global warming are using near-unlimited funds available to them to feed public opinion with half-truths and pseudo-science. The periodic melting of sea ice in the summer provides them with pictures that are widely distributed by the Media : alarmism sells. And not surprisingly, the sobering graph showing combined sea ice extent of both the Arctic and the Antarctic is only shown on Internet, at the bottom of a page (30).
They also try to convince us that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass. But other scientists maintain that the opposite is true (31). In all this confusion, I find comfort in the fact that sea levels do not appear to be rising. Regarding the Maldives, where a study was made by Swedish sea-level expert professor Nils-Axel Mörner : " The people of the Maldives have, in the past, survived a higher sea level of about 50–60 cm. The present trend lack signs of a sea level rise. On the contrary, there is firm morphological evidence of a significant sea level fall in the last 30 years. This sea level fall is likely to be the effect of increased evaporation and an intensification of the NE-monsoon over the central Indian Ocean. "(32)
As for Tuvalu and Kiribati, a sobering article from Pacific Magazine sheds some light as to why only these atolls, and not all the others across the Pacific, have supposedly fallen victims to global warming (33). Greenpeace has been actively involved in the “ adjustment ” of Tuvalu data (34).
Finally, last month, yet another example of politically-motivated science scandalised many of us around the world : the inclusion of polar bears on the U.S. list of threatened species, when they are actually thriving (35). The listing was not based on present population numbers, but on “predictions” (36).
EU policy must be overhauled, urgently. Nature, not man, determines climate, and we have entered a food crisis that may claim a great many lives.The world population begets about 70 million additional mouths to feed each year ( net increase ), and bio-fuels are now competing with food-crops for arable land. Food prices are shooting upwards. It is no time to waste billions ( or indeed trillions ! ) of euros to try and reduce emissions of a beneficial gas ( CO2 ) for unfounded reasons when what the world needs is more of it to produce more food. For the evidence is here that CO2 makes vegetation ( crops ) more abundant, and can green our deserts (37).
To those who may have been brainwashed into thinking that CO2 is a pollutant, let me ask : would we be adding CO2 to our soft drinks if it were ? CO2 is the gas that makes our sodas bubbly and our champagne fizzy. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is plant food, so to speak. It is literally a vital gas. It is quite different from carbon monoxide (CO), which is lethal.
The huge subventions being wasted on costly, intermittent energy should be re-directed towards investments that will produce affordable and reliable power to everyone on the planet, as well as clean water and sufficient food.
For years, engineers have warned that intermittent energies cause more problems than they solve, and save little or no CO2, nor fuel. The evidence sent by Dr Bratby to the House of Lords is eloquent in this regard (49).
In a recent report consulting engineer Jim Oswald, who worked many years on Rolls Royce jet engines, comes to the same conclusion as Bratby (50). These are but two of the many professionals who are sceptical about the usefulness of windfarms. But, like the NASA chief and tens of thousands of scientists who are sceptical about global warming, their expert opinions are simply shoved under the carpet. Politicians, and the specialists they pay to say what they want to hear, have become the only recognized experts in science and engineering. So God help us !
From a strictly EU perspective : unreliable and expensive wind and solar energy, and carbon-reduction schemes costing trillions, will only provide additional reasons for our energy-intensive industries to relocate abroad, causing more unemployment.
Some say the European Commission is minded to go the protectionist route through the imposition of carbon duties on imports. But protectionism is a path to ruin, as recognized by economists the world over and as proved by Argentina and a cohort of other countries that have followed it in the past.
It is also worth mentioning that the EU and US governments are causing food prices to soar with their stubborn bio-fuel policies. A report from the World Bank, which had been suppressed by the same interests that suppress the opinions of independent scientists and engineers, has just been leaked to the press : it is an indictment against Bush and Barroso. Indeed, World Bank experts estimate that 75% of the sharp rise in food prices has been caused by their bio-fuels policies (52).
With these vital considerations in mind, I invite you to take a fresh look at windfarms and solar plants. In addition to their unsustainable cost, to their unreliability ( forcing a duplication of investment into back-up facilities ), and to their massive footprint on the landscape, consider the threat that they and their power lines represent to European wildlife, to the natural reserves they invade, and to Europe in general as a tourist destination. Do we want the EU to become a continuous urban/industrial zone from Lapland to Gibraltar ? Here is, for example, how windfarms are transforming the German countryside ( picture below ) :
Looking at this picture, a question comes to mind : what will be the effect of an endless industrial landscape on our psyche ?
- More suicides ? more aggressions? more violence in our society ?
It is capital for us to preserve what’s left of European wilderness. In a recent poll, Scots voted overwhelmingly in favour of wild lands : "Over 90% of people interviewed said they thought it important for Scotland to have wild places. Of the 1304 who were questioned, only six suggested wild land was not important." (38)
These controversial developments are as much a threat to Nature as they are to our mental health. They will also destroy our potential for country and outdoors tourism. If massive relocations bring the EU economy to its knees, do we want tourists to go somewhere else as well, looking for places where landscapes have been preserved ?
I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I have been trying to draw your attention to the windfarm threat for nearly 5 years now, without result. This prompted me to voice my concern by publishing on Internet the article : Is the European Commission helping with the environmental destruction of Europe ?
I am now begging you to urgently stop the ongoing, massive destruction of the EU natural environment, particularly the habitats that are essential to our beleaguered wildlife. Publishing more guidelines, as you indicated you would, is just paying lip service : that won’t stop the gravy train and the corruption that it feeds. Global warming predictions proved to be completely and utterly wrong, the economic crisis is deepening, inflation is back, and world food reserves are at their lowest level. In such circumstances, wasting precious resources on costly and intermittent energy is ill-advised : we will need them to generate reliable, affordable power and to increase food production. Besides, with China and India exporting massively to world markets, our economy cannot afford to be triply handicapped by high labour costs and by expensive and unreliable energy.
In this context, allowing our wildlife reserves to be sacrificed in the name of a flawed, obsolete policy would be irresponsible at best. A step in the right direction would be for the EC to :
1) immediately step in against the following ill-sited projects : Muaitheabhal, Edinbane, Pairc, Stacain, Allt Dearg, Pentland Road (39), Monan (40), Almudaina & Alfaro (41), Sierra del Cid (42), Monfragüe (43), Sierra los Naranjales (44), Sierra de Montánchez (45), Sierra de Gata (46), and a few more (47).
2) demand that the Spanish region of Extremadura be spared from wind and solar developments :
- a) the intermittent electricity to be produced by the planned ca.200 solar plants will be paid 6 times the market price ! - How wise is that ?
- b) the solar plants will cover ca.40.000 hectares of arable land, ie 400 sq km.
- c) thousands of kilometers of bird-killing power lines will criss-cross this territory, which is arguably Europe’s most valuable bird habitat : Extremadura is harbouring thousands of cranes, thousands of great bustards, thousands of white storks, 5 species of eagles, 3 species of vultures, and many other birds of conservation interest including black storks and European rollers.
Mr Navarro, in charge of the Industry and Environment department of the regional government of Extremadura, declared to the newspaper Hoy that he was minded to approve only 600 MW of the 91 windfarm projects totalling 2,700 MW, “ because of the low windpower potential of the region ” (sic). (48)
So let’s do the numbers :
600 MW x 20% load factor (being generous) = 120 MW (wind does not blow all the time )
This compares with up to 1,000 MW for a single gas-fired power plant, and up to 4,000 MW for a single coal-fired one.
Is it worth, for so little intermittent electricity ( 120 MW ), to kill so many rare birds, and cause so much destruction in the EU’s best habitat for eagles, vultures, storks and cranes ?
You have the means to do it : as evidenced by the defeated Lewis Wind project, politicians are not insensitive to the prospect of heavy fines that may be imposed by the European Court of Justice.
For additional information on the ill-sited Muaitheabhal project, I refer you to the original objection I sent to the Scottish government in 2005 (6). For the others, I am at your disposal for providing whatever is needed.
TO THOSE WHO WOULD ARGUE THAT BIODIVERSITY IS NOT IN PERIL BECAUSE ORNITHOLOGISTS AND BIRD SOCIETIES ARE NOT COMPLAINING, THE FOLLOWING IS A “MUST READ” :
RSPB executives are causing severe harm to bird life
Windfarms, ornithologists, and bird societies
As for Scottish ornithologist Malcolm Ogilvie, who provides "expert" advice to the quango Scottish Natural Heritage, he still hasn´t addressed the contents of my article - Windfarms : the killing of Scottish eagles will not stop - which developed counter-arguments to his disingenuous critique** of my earlier work - Windfarms to wipe out Scottish eagles .
Eight months went by : eight months of silence on this vital matter for the Scottish eagles. Instead of the fruitful discussion I had sought on various ornithology forums, all I did obtain was a smear campaign against me ; and as my arguments were putting in evidence the bad faith of my opponents, I was censored. Finally, the interests that want windfarms to be built regardless of eagles and other protected species ( surprisingly that includes many ornithologists - see next paragraph ) succeeded in silencing the whistle-blower for good : I was banned from the Raptor-Conservation forum.
The Wind-Turbines-Birds forum adopted a more subtle approach : a parallel forum was created into which bird advocates such as myself were not admitted. Other bird forums had gagged me years ago, as some ornithologists defend windfarm projects with passion, even where developers predict the killing of eagles or other protected species. For each windfarm built in sensitive bird areas requires the hiring of ornithologists to assess future impacts on bird populations and to conduct monitoring studies after the project is completed.
** Explaining “disingenuous critique” : in an earlier publication I presented a “simplified-to-the-extreme population model” whose purpose was to invite discussion, and hopefully cause SNH or the RSPB to make public their sophisticated calculation methods. That was explicitly written in my paper. But Mr Ogilvie, instead of debating the subject or presenting a model of his own, chose to criticise mine as if it were a fully-developed one. That was, in essence, disingenuous.
He then never moved from that position, refusing to consider my further arguments. That too is disingenuous.
But the sophistry does not stop there. Last week, a new report on the Scottish eagles was published by SNH, which attempts to bury the windfarm problem (53). It is basically a rehash of previous reports that are using the (relatively) comforting data from the golden eagle census of 2003 , when its population was “in demographic difficulty” but still “apparently stable”. But ( surprise ! ) nowhere does it say in the new report that the Scottish eagles are in demographic difficulty. Could it be because it might jeopardize windfarm projects ?
Then, unforgivably, the authors quote a misleading statement from the infamous “Smoke & Mirrors Report”, which has been shown to be both biased and fallacious (15). It is disgraceful for the profession that Scottish ornithologists would uphold a report that is so evidently flawed and detrimental to bird conservation.
Finally comes the dubious statement : “ Evidence from studies in the USA suggests that golden eagle fatalities through collision with turbines may be the main potential impact (e.g. Erickson et al., 2001; Smallwood & Thelander, 2004) whereas for breeding golden eagles in Scotland, displacement from wind farm areas (indirect habitat loss) may be the primary impact (Walker et al., 2005) ”. This is wishful thinking at best : I have shown in another paper that the Walker study is invalid, partly because the monitoring at Beinn an Tuirc windfarm does not include searching for bird carcasses. Besides, like in other parts of the world, eagles have died or disappeared at or near Scottish windfarms : --> Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms.
From the beginning, the strategy of SNH has been to try and make us believe that Scottish eagles behave differently towards wind turbines than other eagles around the world - i.e. they would "avoid" wind turbines instead of being attracted to them. At Beinn an Tuirc, a couple of millions pounds were spent on habitat management in order to try and convince us of it.
Thanks to the absence of criticism from the RSPB, the world would have believed it, as long as they did not stumble upon my article about the dead or disappeared Scottish eagles ( see link above ). - This is why ornithologists, and probably as well, behind the scenes, windfarm interests, are doing their best to silence me.
Note : this complaint is published on Internet --> Will the European Commission trash our wildlife reserves ?
and will be sent to the Media for the record.
Mark Duchamp......................................................July 7th, 2008
Partida La Sella, 25
E - 03750 Pedreguer
Spain Tel : + 34 679 12 99 97
FOOTNOTES - REFERENCES - LINKS :
(1) - "A local survey indicated that 87% of neighbouring Kinloch villagers
who responded were opposed to the development." ---> Hebrides News
10,924 representations against the plan, 98 in favour ---> PENULTIMATE PARAGRAPH
(2) - Scottish Executive supports the 13-turbine project
(3) – The shame of Scotland ---> SECTION 7 - THE HABITAT ENHANCEMENT FABULATION
Covering up the death of eagles at Scottish windfarms ---> comments on the manipulations at Beinn an Tuirc ( after the third picture, that of the geese in flight ).
(4) - Tampering with the independence of witnesses : "£ 20,000 lawyer" row - 19/5/08 --> Hebrides News
(5) - Eishken protected bird species
(6) – Eishken objection, 2005
(7) – BLACK HOLE
(8) – Derrybrien peat slide disaster
(9) - More C02 emitted than saved
(10) - Eagles and wind farms : mortality statistics
(11) - Raptors are attracted to wind turbines :
" raptors spent significantly more time flying at close proximity to turbine blades ... than 51-100 m away ... or >100 m away … Analyzing the total number of minutes of flight time reveals that something about wind turbines may attract red-tailed hawks to fly near turbines and at dangerous heights. Similarly, American kestrels flew in proximity level 1 (ie 1-50m from turbine) nearly four times longer than expected by chance, golden eagles two times longer, and northern harriers three times longer. "
"Regardless, the number of fatalities at tubular towers was higher than at horizontal lattice towers".
BIRD RISK BEHAVIORS AND FATALITIES AT THE ALTAMONT PASS WIND RESOURCE AREA -Thelander, C. G, Smallwood, K.S., Rugge, L., December 2003 ---> Chapter 6.
(12) - 20,000 raptors killed at Altamont Pass, California
OF WHICH 2,300 GOLDEN EAGLES : Dr. Smallwood & K. Thelander, Aug. 2004: Developing Methods to Reduce Bird Mortality in the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area - SEE CHAPTER 3, page 73, TABLE 3.11, 1ST LINE: "116.5 golden eagles p.a. adjusted for search detection and scavenging."
(13) - Risk of extinction, Scottish eagles :
Windfarms to wipe out Scottish eagles
Establishment-ornithologists defend ill-sited, eagle-killer windfarm projects
Windfarms : the killing of Scottish eagles will not stop
Windfarms : Brussels has been warned of the risk to Scottish eagles
(14) - The case of John Miles
(15) - "Spatial Association As An Indicator Of The Potential For Future Interactions Between Wind Energy Developments And Golden Eagles Aquila Chrysaetos In Scotland", by Alan H. Fielding, D. Philip Whitfield and David R.A. McLeod (2006).
Says the summary : “...only 2% of habitat predicted to be suitable for non-breeding eagles overlapped with proposed or installed wind farm areas.”
- This is a half-truth, the most effective disinformation technique there is. Indeed, what remains unsaid is that these 2% are mainly ridges and hilltops, i.e. topographical features that the young eagles will use preferably to the rest of the “suitable habitat”. - It is not unlike a poacher telling the game warden : but... I only put my traps on animal trails, and these only represent 2% of the whole forest !
They further wrote : “Although there were records for over 500 wind farm proposals at various stages of development, relatively few coincided with eagle territories (ca. 4% of territories had a proposal within 3 km of territory centre).”
- This choice of a 3 km radius is desingenuous, as Scottish eagles fly over breeding territories that extend to 6-9 km from their centers.
More details here : The shame of Scotland ---> go to : 1 - REASONING LIKE POACHERS and to : 3 - CORE RANGE MANIPULATION
(16) - World temperature graphs :
UAH Global Temperature Dives in May --->Scroll down to UAH entry.
Met Office Hardley Center
UAH yearly average data set ------ see : FIGURE 3
NOAA ---> see the first graph. The second one ( nicknamed "the hockey stick" ) has proved to be incorrect : it neither reflects the Medieval Warm Period ( ca. 900 - 1300 A.D., when temperatures were warmer than today ), nor the Little Ice Age ( ca. 1550 - 1850 ), from which we recovered naturally throughout the 20th century ( what was a simple recovery from abnormally low temperatures was wrongly attributed by the IPCC to man-made C02 ). The hockey-stick graph is therefore gravely misleading. A Canadian statistician, Steve McIntyre, has shown that any data fed into a similar statistical configuration would have produced a hockey-stick-shaped graph. Yet this spurious document is credited with having convinced the world that global warming was man-made. See for details : the hockeystick misrepresentation
NASA GISS --> not credible – see my comments above, in the body of the complaint.
(17) - “There have been six major revisions in the warming figures in recent years, all in the same direction. So it´s like flipping a coin six times and getting tails each time. The chance of that occurring is 0.016, or less than one in 50. That doesn´t mean that these revisions are all hooey, but the probability that they would all go in one direction on the merits is pretty darned small.” Patrick Michaels, Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2008 – Professor Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and professor of environmental sciences at University of Virginia.
(18) - WIKIPEDIA
(19) - Global cooling from ocean currents, reported with a climate sceptic bias
(20) - Interruption of global warming reported by the BBC with the opposite bias
(21) - Time Magazine on the green bubble
(22) - VIDEO – THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE
(23) - IPCC DECEPTION
(24) - Reality proves IPCC wrong : C02 not a problem
(25) - MISSING SOLAR CYCLE 24
(26) - The Week That Was ---> go to : 7. EDITORIAL: GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS ABOUT GW
(27) - 32,000 scientists oppose Kyoto - Oregon petition ---> go to : 2b. 32,000 DENIERS: THAT’S THE NUMBER OF SCIENTISTS WHO ARE OUTRAGED BY THE KYOTO PROTOCOL’S CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE
( scroll down the page about 25% )
(28) - The Manhattan Declaration
--> list of signatories
(29) - PAST LEVELS OF CO2
C02 and dinosaurs
(30) – COMBINED SEA ICE GRAPH ARCTIC-ANTARCTIC --> see graph : " global sea ice area " at lower right hand corner of webpage
click here : GLOBAL ICE GRAPH
(31) - ANTARCTICA ICE CAP GROWING
(32) – MALDIVES-MÖRNER
(33) - TUVALU
(34) – TUVALU AND GREENPEACE
(35) – Polar bears are thriving
from The Scotsman, Feb 7th, 2008
" The world´s polar bear population is on the increase despite global warming, which scientists had believed was pushing the animal towards extinction.
According to new research, the numbers of the giant predator have grown by between 15 and 25 per cent over the last decade. Some authorities on Arctic wildlife even claim that hunting, and not global warming, has been the real cause of the decrease in polar bear numbers in areas where the species is in decline.
A leading Canadian authority on polar bears, Mitch Taylor, said: "We´re seeing an increase in bears that´s really unprecedented, and in places where we´re seeing a decrease in the population it´s from hunting, not from climate change."
Mr Taylor estimates that during the past decade, the Canadian polar bear population has increased by 25 per cent -- from 12,000 to 15,000."
Polar bears defy extinction threat
(36) - Based on predictions, not on actual numbers, judge rules that thriving polar bears must be listed as “threatened species”
(37) - C02 and Greening of the Earth
C02 and Green Deserts
The Sahara is getting greener, save where population is a factor
The article explains this encouraging development by saying that hot air can absorb more moisture. But there are so many variables at play that this reason by itself is not entirely convincing. The fact that increased C02 in the atmosphere helps plant growth is one of the other factors, but it is not mentioned, political correctness oblige ( people have been "educated" to think of C02 as a pollutant, which it is not. On the contrary, it is a gas essential to life. Would we put a pollutant in our drinks ? )
IN PRAISE OF C02
(38) - Scots value wild places
(39) - Pentland Road : within the Lewis peatlands SPA .
(40) - Monan : I am told this small windfarm will be erected less than 1 km away from a golden eagles´ nest, which lies within a Special Protection Area on the Isle of Lewis. In Scotland, golden eagles have a range extending to about 6-9 km around their nests.
(41) - Almudaina & Alfaro, Windfarm Zone 14, Valencia, Spain : 800-900 meters from a nest of golden eagles, and within the range of rare, breeding Bonelli´s eagles. I have sent you a complaint on this project, in Spanish, over one year ago, and a more general one on Bonelli´s eagles and windfarms in the Valencian region several years ago.
(42) - Sierra del Cid, Windfarm Zone 15, Valencia, Spain : project within a Natura 2000 area harbouring Bonelli´s eagles and golden eagles.
(43) – Monfragüe, Extremadura, Spain : a solar plant project the size of an airport, and its power lines, within the SPA of the Monfragüe National Park. Comment : with ca.200 solar plants set to cover the region of Extremadura, one would think the Biosphere reserve of Monfragüe could be spared ? Monfragüe has a high concentration of endangered birds, including imperial eagles, monk vultures, black storks, Bonelli’s eagles, etc. It is famous to ornithologists across Europe.
The project is said to have been dismissed, but there is no written confirmation of it.
(44) - Sierra los Naranjales, Extremadura, Spain : a windfarm project within a Special Protection Area for threatened imperial eagles, Bonelli’s eagles, Egyptian vultures, golden eagles, black storks, and monk vultures.
(45) - Sierra de Montánchez, Extremadura, Spain : two windfarm projects on a “raptor highway”, i.e. a mountain range that links the Special Protection Area “Sierra de San Pedro”, famous for its endangered imperial eagles and other large raptors, to the sierra de Guadalupe, the sierra de Toledo, and the rest of Spain. And I am told Bonelli’s eagles are breeding near the future windfarm sites.
(46) - Sierra de Gata, Extremadura, Spain : various windfarm projects bordering a Natura 2000 area, near a colony of endangered monk vultures, and one bordering a National Park that lies just over the border, in Portugal.
(47) – There are also windfarm projects in the Extremadura districts of Serena, Siberia, los Ibores, Plasencia, and las Hurdes, over which I have no details. But hen harriers, Bonelli’s eagles, imperial eagles, golden eagles, cranes or other protected birds could be at risk.
(48) - 600 MW says Navarro
(49) - Dr P A W Bratby´s evidence, as submitted to the House of Lords : " 18 - The CO2 emissions saved by wind turbines have been calculated based on the CO2 emissions from displaced plant (coal and gas-fired power stations). A consensus figure of 430 kg/MWh is currently used. However, this figure is only part of the equation needed to calculate the CO2 emissions saved. Also to be included in the equation are the CO2 emissions resulting from the manufacture and construction of the turbine (estimated by various people at the equivalent of between several months to many years of operation – the payback period); the electricity losses down the low voltage distribution line to the consumers (estimated at between 5 and 15% of the electricity generated, due to the long distance as the result of the remoteness of many turbines); and the CO2 emissions produced by conventional power stations operating very inefficiently on standby (and burning fuel) ready as backup to meet the electricity demand when the wind drops. Evidence form Denmark and Germany suggests that CO2 emissions savings from the use of wind turbines are at best small and at worst, they may actually lead to an increase in CO2 emissions.
20 - Because of the intermittency and unpredictability of the wind and thus of the electricity generated by wind turbines, wind turbines cannot replace a significant number of conventional power stations. Thus wind turbines are being constructed as a secondary source of electricity. In essence, the consumer is paying for two sets of electricity generation; the conventional despatchable power stations, necessary to meet demand at all times and wind turbines which operate only when the wind blows and which then displace despatchable power stations."
Link to full text
(50) - The Oswald report confirms that efficient gas-fired combined cycle (CCGT) power plants are not suited for backing up fickle windpower : many turbine breakdowns would occur. Thus, more back-up capacity will need to be built, in the form of less efficient gas power plants burning more fuel and emitting more C02 ; compounded by the fact that they will be ramping up and down constantly to cushion the vagaries of the wind : like a car in urban traffic, which burns more fuel per travelled mile and emits more C02 ). These will be built only because of windfarms, and will have to match their installed capacity ( or 90% of it, as per the E.ON report ).
It defeats the whole purpose of windfarms, which is to save on fuel and C02 emissions.
The cost of back-up will be high because of :
a) building open cycle gas-fired plants over and above the existing CCGT plants, to be used just for windpower back-up.
b) lower load factors, as wind frequently displaces production ( amortisation of fixed costs will take longer )
c) higher maintenance and repair due to frequent ramping up and down,
d) higher fuel consumption per Kwh produced, because OCGT is less efficient, and because of the frequent accelerations due to the variability of wind.
These costs are never taken into consideration when politicians talk about windpower, whose cost is already ~100% more than conventional power. The cost of upgrading the grid, building new power lines etc. to accommodate widely-dispersed windfarms is not factored in either.
The additional CO2 emitted to build the back-up plants, to operate them less efficiently, at reduced loads, and with frequent ramping, is not deducted from the savings claimed by the wind industry.
My comment : and what happens when gas prices go through the roof, or when imports are reduced to a trickle by conflict, armed or otherwise ? Without back-up, erratic windpower cannot even be let into the grid : we´d have blackouts with every variation in windspeed.
The Oswald report
(51) - NASA CHIEF SILENCED
(52) - World Bank report on bio-fuels
(53) - Whitfield, D P, Fielding, A H, McLeod, D R A and Haworth, P F (2008). A conservation framework for golden eagles: implications for their conservation and management in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No.193 (ROAME No. F05AC306).
(54) - Press release on the Bentek and Udo studies: EU governments did not do their homework on wind energy
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por: Mark Duchamp (23/05/2008)