How the Snowy Owl is Impacted by CO2 and Climate Change

by | May 5, 2020 |

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Climate change research has become a massive business since the founding of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988. The General Accounting Office (GAO) data shows that in 1993, $2.4 billion were spent on climate change research, technology, international assistance, and adaptation. It then grew steadily to nearly $12 billion dollars by 2014, a five-fold growth achievement that any hi-tech CEO would be proud of. But that is not all. A supplemental $26.1 billion was added in 2009 by President Obama. From the Fiscal Year 1993 to F.Y. 2014, total U.S. expenditures on climate change amounted to more than $166 billion in 2012 dollars. Expenditures for 2020 will likely exceed $20 billion.
Let’s put this in context and compare it to the single most expensive U.S. public-funded science project before the climate change fiasco—the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the entire Apollo program, operating from 1962 to 1973 with 17 missions—nine of them sending men to the moon and back—cost $170 billion in 2005 dollars, which equals about $200 billion in 2012 dollars if we use the Consumer Price Index to adjust that figure.

In ‘fighting’ climate change, the United States government is spending almost as much as it did on all the Apollo missions. If records were available today, it could probably be demonstrated that we have already spent twice as much on climate change what we did for the entire Apollo Program.

It’s also ruefully noted that of the now $20 billion per year on climate change, about 90% is spent on chasing elusive CO2-related studies, which has been thoroughly abused.
If a researcher wants to survey the life span of the snowy owl, he’s not likely to get government funding. But if the grant request is structured to read “How the snowy owl is impacted by CO2 and climate change,” it’s almost assured it will be granted.
If a university professor wants to study the impact of the sun’s magnetic field on the Earth, it’s likely not to be funded. But if it’s changed to “How the sun’s magnetic field may increase the terrestrial CO2 cycle”, it’s much more likely to be approved.
Such are the social, political, and economic norms and pressures of the times where major universities, private entities, and individuals are all competing for the same research dollars.
Climate change now has an overpowering and ominous presence in academia, industry, politics and government. And if United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney has his way, it will expand still further. Speaking to the April 29th online meeting of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, Financing Climate Ambition in the Context of COVID-19, Carney, former Governor of the Bank of England and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Finance Adviser for the next big UN climate conference (COP26, delayed until 2021), said: 

“the aim of that (COP26) is simple which is to ensure that every financial decision takes climate into account. That hasn’t been the case, that’s where we have to get it and we’re working with the official sector, the public sector and the private sector to put in place the framework for that… now we’re at a hundred and twenty countries and counting who have committed towards that objective of Net Zero and, logically…every company in every sector, every bank, every insurer, every pension fund should be expected to develop and disclose a transition plan to Net Zero.”

Let’s look at how the interests of these entities are financially aligned. 
When your town needs more electrical power, it could build a new inexpensibe, reliable fossil-fueled power plant. It would require about twenty acres of land and cost about $150 million. But if politicians want to push for a “green-renewable” wind or solar solution, the electric utility companies will offer their full support because it aligns with their interests. If a wind or solar plant also costs $150 million, these plants will need a backup fossil fuel-powered plant that would be able to quickly deliver power when the Sun does not shine or the wind does not blow (or the wind is too strong, in which case the wind turbines will be shut down with the blades feathered). So, the local utility company gets a total sale from your town of $300 million dollars and therefore a bigger profit. 
The oil and gas industry would also be fully supportive of the scheme since the required backup fossil fuel plant will burn an additional 90-95 percent of the same fuel as it would burn if there were no solar plant or wind farm. The oil company or gas company also gets great press for supporting the “green” plant. And, not surprisingly, the electrical utility company, which spends twice as much on the plant, and doesn’t save much fuel, passes on the higher electrical costs to the consumer. It now has a larger billing base for state approval to which it adds its healthy profit percentage. Of course, the existence and costs of the backup plant, extra land and fossil fuel burn, are never mentioned by the compliant media/press.

Politicians can now tell their constituencies how they were able to bring in planet-saving green technologies to their communities. So, everybody loves these political hacks and likely re-elects them.

To this political group, we also have to add the local schoolteachers, chamber of commerce, and local businesses who want to shine and be seen as cheerleaders for the green revolution. Yet, regardless of the green energy added to an electric utility’s portfolio, it cannot reduce its investment in fossil fuel plants. This is because all available green energy for the communities’ electric systems must be backed up 100% by fully reliable fossil fuel stations to quickly come on line when wind and solar power are not available.
At first glance, the project sounds pretty good for Mr. and Mrs. Consumer. The average persons, the taxpayers, get green planet-saving technology. But this euphoria comes to an abrupt halt when the consumer gets a significantly increased electric bill to pay for the new wind or solar power and the new fossil fuel to back them up each month. In Ontario, for example, where Tom Harris, the junior author of this article resides, electricity rates rose from 4.3 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2002, when 25% of the province’s power came from coal, to 20.8 cents per kilowatt-hour at peak time of day in November 2019 when the province had zero power from coal but 2,891 industrial wind turbines (IWT) installed, the highest number in Canada (during COVID-19, rates have been temporarily lowered to 10.1 cents per kilowatt-hour (Mar 24, 2020) for all times of day). Analyzing the first quarters of 2020 and 2019, Parker Gallant, formerly Chairman of the Canadian Bankers Association’s Trade Finance Committee, wrote (“Wind on Ontario’s electricity grid is a HUGE WASTE”, May 4, 2020):

“While wind was generating surplus power, IESO were busy selling it (and other surplus power) at the cheap prices noted above to our neighbours; in New York, Michigan, Quebec etc.  In 2019 [Q1] we sold 4,784 GWh or 107.5% of grid accepted wind and in 2020 [Q1] we sold 4,449 GWh or 126.8% of grid accepted wind, clearly demonstrating we didn’t need IWT generation!…Based on the foregoing it indicates IWT generation alone, is a burden of over $2 billion annually!” 

A radio interview with Mr. Gallant may be heard here. 
The owners of the local supermarkets, dry cleaners, shoemakers, barbershops, gas stations, etc. also have to bear the power price increases. How are they going to make up for that expense? Are they likely to increase their prices to offset their increased electric bill? Of course, they will. This brings another round of cost increase to Mr. and Mrs. Consumer’s household. They are the losers. So, who are the winners?
U.S. News & World Report highlighted some of the winners in Big Wind’s Bogus Subsidies. Giving tax credits to the wind energy industry is a waste of time and money“, a May 12, 2014 article by Nancy Pfotenhauer. She wrote:

“Despite being famous for touting the idea that the rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes, investor Warren Buffet seems to be perfectly fine with receiving tax breaks for making investments in Big Wind.” Buffet then says, “I will do anything that is covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate.” Adding, “For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.

“But while the wind production tax credit may be great for Buffet’s bottom line, it’s harmful for American taxpayers and energy consumers.” 

Is it any wonder that the Climate Change Industry has grown to be one of America’s largest cohesive juggernauts? Its opposition has no real collective voice, no lobbyists, no talking points, only the aforementioned truths that are entirely omitted by the colluding media. It’s high time all that changed.


Note: Portions of this article were excerpted from the 2020 book “A Hitchhiker’s Journey Through Climate Change: All you need to know about climate change, but were afraid to learn and laugh at”, with permission of the author Terigi Ciccone (Dr. Lehr is a co-author of the book). The book is the best possible source for parents and grandparents to explain climate reality to their children.

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Dr. Jay Lehr is a Senior Policy Analyst with the International Climate Science Coalition and former Science Director of The Heartland Institute. He is an internationally renowned scientist, author, and speaker who has testified before Congress on dozens of occasions on environmental issues and consulted with nearly every agency of the national government and many foreign countries. After graduating from Princeton University at the age of 20 with a degree in Geological Engineering, he received the nation’s first Ph.D. in Groundwater Hydrology from the University of Arizona. He later became executive director of the National Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers.

Tom Harris is Executive Director of the Ottawa, Canada-based International Climate Science Coalition, and a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute. He has 40 years experience as a mechanical engineer/project manager, science and technology communications professional, technical trainer, and S&T advisor to a former Opposition Senior Environment Critic in Canada’s Parliament.

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