IPCC warnings and “green” opportunism: why my blood boils on this too-warm October day

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the following dire declaration the other day:

The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification.

In the first nine hours of October 2, 2013, fossil-fired electric power generators in Ontario, running almost entirely on natural gas, dumped 9,429 more tons of CO2 into the global atmosphere, thereby increasing the concentration of this global-warming and ocean-acidifying gas ever further. (For the daily running total of CO2 emissions from Ontario’s power sector, see Table 2 in the left-hand sidebar.)

Climate change skeptics will of course claim that the IPCC is a scientifically biased organization of the United Nations, funded by people who hate oil companies. This claim is nonsense. The IPCC is as independent of political and corporate interference as it is possible to be. It is not independent, however, of the data it is reporting. Skeptics will eventually just have to suck up the inevitable conclusions the data force us to.

The global “green” movement will surely say exactly that. The day the IPCC issued the above statement, the David Suzuki Foundation, a typical green think tank, sent me an email saying the following:

The [IPCC] report … shows it is still possible to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if we make the changes now needed to reduce carbon emissions.

“Our future will not be determined by chance. It will be determined by choice: either we ignore the reality of the science or we make changes to reduce carbon emissions,” said Ian Bruce, Science and Policy Manager with the David Suzuki Foundation.

The DSF is well known for its utterly conventional and doctrinaire position on nuclear energy, which produces huge amounts of electricity with zero carbon: DSF is totally against nuclear. The DSF explains its position on nuclear on this web page. On that page, you will find the usual conventional and totally erroneous claims about the cost (nuclear is the second cheapest electricity source in Ontario; only hydro is cheaper) and alleged dangers of the “waste” (an odd term for an organization that promotes recycling to use when describing an eminently recyclable byproduct of reactor operation).

But what is totally unacceptable is this statement, from the same web page:

Even with [the subsidies nuclear power allegedly receives], nuclear power is far more expensive than both fossil fuels and renewables.

The last 20 reactors built in the U.S. had an average cost of $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity; the last one built in Canada cost $4,000 per kilowatt. Compare these prices to the current prices for large-scale wind power and natural gas plants, currently at $1,200 and $1,000 per kilowatt respectively.

Is DSF actually promoting natural gas-fired power generation, which has dumped over 10,000 metric tons of global-warming and ocean-acidifying CO2 into Ontario’s air since midnight, and advising against nuclear, which since midnight has produced nearly six times as much power, with zero CO2?

I cannot see how anyone can say it is not promoting natural gas, the same CO2-intensive fuel that makes oil sands GHGs so high.

I am sweating in my office, partly because of unseasonably high temperatures likely directly related to the CO2 the IPCC has warned against. And partly because of outrage and anger against mealy-mouthed organizations like DSF that pretend to oppose CO2 emissions but actually support greater use of the fossil fuels that produce them.

4 comments for “IPCC warnings and “green” opportunism: why my blood boils on this too-warm October day

  1. seth
    October 2, 2013 at 13:34

    “The last 20 reactors built in the U.S. had an average cost of $5,000 per kilowatt of capacity; the last one built in Canada cost $4,000 per kilowatt. Compare these prices to the current prices for large-scale wind power and natural gas plants, currently at $1,200 and $1,000 per kilowatt respectively.”

    The usual lies from the notorious hypocrite David “DaGucci” Suzuki. The greenie shill is worse than the sleaziest used car salesman.

    The last Canadian reactor at Darlington was $2700/kw average and all subsequent built around the world were $2000 – 3 cents a kwh for public power.

    The last large wind farm built at Shepard’s Flat came out to $2500/Kw or 10000/kw average when capacity factor is considered. Works out to 15 cents a kwh close to the 14 cents current Ontario wind operations get from existing feedin tariffs.

    • October 2, 2013 at 13:39

      Seth, no kidding. I don’t know how anyone can say wind is cheap and expect others to take them seriously.

      Add the cost of wind to the cost of the gas that has to “back it up” (and we both know gas is the prime energy source in a wind/gas grid), and you have costs significantly north of wind’s 15 cents.

      To say that the 4 cent cost of nuclear is greater than 15+ cents for wind/gas is to say 4 is greater than 15. Which is not just obvious nonsense, it is irresponsible.

  2. robert budd
    October 5, 2013 at 09:34

    Add to the cost of wind (at least in Ontario) ~2acres/megawatt of prime ag land lost. As well as negative residential and ecological value.
    Now that the WTO has ruled against Ontario content requirememts we’ll actually be building out our RE portfolio with components manufactured in China/Germany/Denmark/US, made with much dirtier electricity than we have here. And once installed it will have the effect of dispacing clean baseload and making us more gas reliant. Stupid on top of stupid.
    It totally baffles me that supposed environmentalists do not recognize the huge impact on the ecology of places that these big footprint /low density energy sources will have.
    Bruce Nuclear ‘on the other hand is one of the best birding spots in thid area. Its one of the spots where Bald Eagles got re established on Lake Huron. Now I belive the MNR says turbines can kill 10 raptors /100 turbines per year with no mitigation needed.

  3. James Greenidge
    October 9, 2013 at 21:13

    Re: “…will have the effect of dispacing clean baseload and making us more gas reliant. Stupid on top of stupid. It totally baffles me that supposed environmentalists do not recognize the huge impact on the ecology of places that these big footprint /low density energy sources will have.”

    What would be cool is if Steve Aplin and Company could just email an invitation to these green honchoes to answer those questions here! Even a no reply speaks volumes!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

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