A recent story by AP Science Writer, Seth Borenstein, says researchers believe winds in the United States are dying down, especially east of the Mississippi River. Obviously, this research was not conducted in Washington, DC, where the wind bags continue at hurricane force.
“The idea that winds may be slowing is still a speculative one, and scientists disagree on whether that is happening,” the article says. And, the cause, of course, may be global warming.
After four years of college and a degree in economics and biology, the only thing I can say with certainty is, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” This principle has its roots in physics, “Energy or matter can neither be created nor destroyed.” In policy making, it becomes, “There are no solutions—only trade offs.”
With all the buzz about renewable energy and non-carbon-emitting sources of energy, I have been patiently waiting for the other shoe to drop and the reality of physics to set in. You see, it takes energy to create the energy we most often use—electricity. In fact, because of inefficiencies and physical principles such as friction, it takes more energy to produce electricity than you get back out of the electrical energy.
For instance fuels cells, which burn hydrogen and oxygen with only water vapor for emissions, require a supply of pure hydrogen. That hydrogen is usually separated from water (H2O) or methane (CH4) and the physical fact of the matter is that it takes more energy to make hydrogen fuel than you get back from burning the same hydrogen.
If you generate electricity from solar panels then you are using solar energy that normally would be absorbed by the earth, the atmosphere, or its various life forms. Sooner or later, that energy loss to the earth’s system will have some effect on life forms or the climate.
And wind power converts wind energy to electricity. When the power of wind is used to run a turbine, the result is less wind because the wind energy has been converted to electricity.
When will some scientist point out that wind and solar power generation could have an impact the climate. A small impact you say. Well, as the environmentalists are so wont to say, all small impacts result in cumulative impacts. Many scientists are skeptical that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions have a significant impact on the climate, so it only follows that some would say wind and solar power will have no effect on the climate.
However, if the global warmists have one ounce of intellectual integrity, they would readily admit that all forms of energy production could have some impact on our climate, no matter how insignificant. The question is whether our impacts are meaningful or significant, and if they are, then it would appear that the only solution is for mankind to be removed from the system. But, then that is what the extremists want, isn’t it?
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Research Suggests Winds Dying Down
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