Includes thoughts and comments about energy needs, resources, conservation and their relationship to politics at home and around the world.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Fudging the Data ?

London media are reporting they have proof that some "scientists" have purposely ignored data that casts serious doubt about the efficacy of claims supporting global warming. As an engineer, I have been suspicious for some time of those who claim the evidence of global warming is "settled" science. It sure isn't settled when fudging the data has gone on. In fact, it has hurt the entire effort to get the world to "go green". Science is supposed to be the "search for truth", and
when research findings are purposely ignored or otherwise misused, it is morally and ethically wrong.

Personally, I believe warming is occuring but man's contribution is a relatively small part of it. We are still coming out of the last ice age which, to my way of thinking, is the overwhelming factor. We should continue R&D on alternative energy sources, utilizing those we can employ without breaking the bank. I have written on alternatives to fossil fuels before and would emphasize their limitations which supporters of a "green economy" have a tendency to ignore.

Limitations of Alternatives

  • Wind. You need a steady wind, wind powered generators, and electricity transmission system to move the electricity to where it is needed. Most areas of the world lack sufficiently steady winds to economically justify the cost of generators and transmission system.

  • Solar. Essentially the same limitations of wind power apply to solar power. There are larger areas of the world with an abundance of sunlight than there are areas with steady winds, but they contain few concentrations of electricity consumers. This adds even more emphasis on economics and the high cost of a suitable transmission system.

  • Geothermal. California has a small area suitable for further development of geothermal resources. Other areas would include Yellowstone National Park and Iceland.

  • Tidal. Certain areas such as the Bay of Fundy have huge tides which are being considered for development as sources of energy based on the energy resulting from the the drop from high to low tide.

The Nuclear Alternative

The only non-fossil fuel energy alternative in widespread application is nuclear power. It should be expanded in use until other non-fossil alternatives can replace it. Anti-nuclear activists need to understand they cannot have things both ways when it comes to electric power generation.