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Gerald Warner: Fuelling An Inconvenient Delusion That Spells Ruin For Scotland

Wind power – more accurately wind impotence, since turbines operate at just 24 per cent of capacity – is the curse of Scotland. One of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe has been brutally ravaged, families have been driven into fuel poverty, pensioners have been presented with the lethal dilemma “heat or eat” – all to appease the neurotic prejudices of global warming fanatics.

Last week, the punitive costs of this lunacy were exposed in a report by Professor Gordon Hughes, professor of economics at Edinburgh University. He has calculated that the bill for wind energy by 2020 will cost consumers £120 billion. Yet generating the same amount of electricity from efficient gas-powered stations would cost only £13bn. Where the full insanity of the renewables option is brought home is in Professor Hughes’ claim that, beyond the crippling cost to consumers, “there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater under the Wind Scenario than the Gas Scenario”. The optimistic forecast is that wind power might reduce carbon emissions by 2.8 per cent: the worst-case scenario, as the quote above shows, is actually a negative carbon reduction – achieved at a cost of £120bn.

The inefficiency of wind turbines requires perpetual back-up by building gas turbine power stations – running two parallel energy generation systems, each alternately redundant, in times of economic crisis. The fiscal ratchet is turning relentlessly. The Renewables Obligation, introduced in Scotland in 2002, forces electricity suppliers to source an increasing proportion of power from renewables, currently 11.1 per cent and rising. By 2027 this scam will have cost UK customers £32bn.

Rook customers for a further £24 a year towards the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, £42 to subsidise wind farms, £13 from gas consumers to fund the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and £25 to support renewables, and what do you have? An average Scottish household energy bill of £1,345, with families spending more than 14 per cent of their monthly income on gas and electricity, compared with 8 per cent in 2005. Yet by 2020 these costs will be recalled nostalgically as the days of cheaper energy, once the green taxes really kick in. There are now 900,000 Scottish households in fuel poverty, which the SNP government has pledged to eliminate by November 2016. They are going about it in a strange way.

It is not bad news for everybody: across the UK a dozen landowners are sharing £850 million in subsidies for wind turbines. Some people claim to regard turbines as beautiful; that aesthetic prejudice is understandable if you are the owner of a turbine earning £250,000 in subsidies to generate £150,000 worth of electricity, the ratio revealed in the report. A study by Professor David MacKay, of Cambridge University, estimated it would require an area the size of Wales completely covered with wind turbines to supply just one-sixth of the UK’s energy needs. That would be fine with Alex Salmond – Scotland might just fit the bill.

The worst enormity of this scheme for the environmental devastation (in the name of saving the environment) and impoverishment of Scotland is that it is all founded on a superstition: the Grande Peur of man-made global warming. Never has science been so shamelessly manipulated. Forget the notorious frauds – the discredited “Hockey Stick”, Al Gore’s misrepresentations of ice-core samples, the Siberian tree rings, the melting Himalayan glaciers, the University of East Anglia emails, the sea levels rising only in computer models, the polar bear population “declining” from 5,000 to 25,000 since 1970 – and go to the original false premise.

Of the specifically defined “greenhouse gases,” the most abundant is water vapour, but global warmists perversely exclude it from their calculations. When asked why, they reply that it is “customary” to do so. The reason, of course, is that since water vapour accounts for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, removing it vastly increases the proportion of carbon dioxide in the equation. With water vapour included, as it should be, CO2 represents only 3.6 per cent of the greenhouse effect. Overall, just 0.28 per cent of the greenhouse effect is man-made; within that, man-made CO2 accounts for 0.117 per cent of the greenhouse effect.

That is the total global output by humanity. If the prescriptions of the Kyoto Accord were universally implemented they would reduce it by 0.035 per cent. Diligent mathematicians may, if they wish, apply themselves to calculating Scotland’s contribution to that minuscule CO2 production, harmless in any case since solar activity is the likeliest cause of cyclical climate change. That is the “threat” to our existence in response to which Alex Salmond is destroying the landscape of his country and imposing hardship on its people. To the faithful, of course, this is the Great Leap Forward.

Scotland on Sunday, 11 March 2012