Monday, January 01, 2018

Fake Science Basis of Regulations

Americans are frightened by the drumbeat of claims they are in danger of cancer from chemicals in the environment and hence need more government regulation for protection. Paul Driessen is a scientist exposing the corruption of science, collusion of regulators with anti-chemical activist groups and activist lawyers, and diversion of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in France for phony manipulation of studies to show carcinogenicity.

The latest target of the IARC is glyphosate, the active ingredient in RoundUp, the most widely used herbicide in the world. It is also one of the most extensively tested chemicals ever. Over 3,300 studies over four decades attest to its safety. Driessen writes, “Virtually every reputable regulatory agency and scientific body in the world has determined that it does not cause cancer – including the European Food Safety Authority, European Chemicals Agency, German Institute for Risk Assessment and US Environmental Protection Agency. Only IARC says glyphosate causes cancer.”

Dr. Linda Birnbaum is director of the $690-million-a-year National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (a National Institute of Health agency in the U.S. Health and Human Services). She has worked closely with anti-chemical pressure groups and even trial lawyers, thereby undermining the US regulatory and chemical review process and benefiting predatory lawyers who are suing glyphosate manufacturers. And in the coordinating and directing these activities, she has has turned the United States into IARC’s biggest donor. 

Driessen writes: “IARC repeatedly ignored or altered studies that exonerated glyphosate. One report clearly said the researchers “unanimously” agreed that glyphosate had not caused abnormal growths in mice they had studied. IARC deleted the sentence.

“In other cases IARC panelists inserted new statistical analyses that reversed a study’s original finding; quietly changed critical language exonerating the chemical; and claimed they were 'not able to evaluate' a study because it included insufficient experimental data, while excluding another study because 'the amount of data in the tables was overwhelming.'” These machinations helped to ensure a “consensus.”

“Equally questionable, NIH Cancer Research Institute scientist Aaron Blair conducted a years-long study that also found glyphosate was not carcinogenic. But he held off on publishing his results, and did not divulge his findings, knowing IARC would leave “unpublished” work out of its analysis.

"This is not science. It is manipulation and deception – supported by our tax dollars, and used to drive safe, widely used chemicals off the market.”

“Other activists repeatedly claim 'endocrine disrupting' chemicals which don’t cause cancer or other harm in high doses somehow do so at barely detectable levels. Another clever ploy claims no actual exposure is needed; kids get cancer because their parents or grandparents were exposed to something, perhaps years ago. It’s ridiculous”

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy and environmental policy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Quick Lesson on Wind Power

The obvious successes of past technologies have made politicians and environmentalists eager to be in the forefront of promoting futuristic schemes for their goals.  Everyone wants to be on the side of the next Great Idea.  All too often these futuristic fantasies are sold to a gullible public, as well as fellow politicians and the news media, with impressive but scientifically-flawed arguments that bump up against harsh physical realities that are immutable.  These cannot be changed by any amount of laws, government spending or propagandizing. Wind power is a good example of this.

One immutable fact is that the wind doesn't blow all the time. That can never be changed.  Another is that 25 to 60 percent of the time the wind is blowing, it is at a rate less than the maximum efficiency for the turbine.  As a result, windmills operate at only around 33 to 40 percent of maximum production level, compared to 90 percent for coal and 95% for nuclear power. 

Turbines start producing power with winds at about 8 mph and operate most efficiently with winds about 30 mph.  Though higher wind speeds have more energy, turbines become less efficient at collecting it. And the machines must be shut down when a cut-off speed is reached, beyond which high winds could cause rotor blades to fly off or vibration that can shake the turbine into pieces.  Turbines must not operate in wind speeds over 56 mph, and typically the cut-off speed is set at 50 mph.  They also have a cut-in speed, usually 7 to 10 mph, below which the blades will not produce usable power.  A complete wind energy system includes rotor, transmission, generator, storage and other devices, which all consume energy.

Wind turbines are—and always will be—unable to achieve high efficiency even under the most favorable conditions.  To attain 100 percent efficiency would mean all the kinetic energy had been captured and the blades would stop rotating.  The best efficiency achieved is about 47 percent, which is about as good as it can get because of a physical law known as the Betz Limit.  This has been known for a hundred years.  It was independently discovered by three scientists in three different countries: Albert Betz (1919) in Germany, Frederick Lanchester (1915) in Great Britain, and Nicolay Zhukowsky (1920) in Russia.  Their discovery applies to all Newtonian fluids and identifies the maximum amount of kinetic energy that can be captured by windmills as 59.3 percent.  But the advocates of wind power are either ignorant of  this or willfully ignore it to make wind power seem feasible for achieving their goals.  Wind turbines may be useful in remote locations with adequate winds where more efficient energy sources are unavailable, but they will never achieve widespread displacement of more economic energy without the waste from government subsidies and/or artificially high electricity rates for consumers.

As wind terminals proliferate, the most favorable wind locations are taken, and more and more are located in less favorable locations, with necessarily lower efficiency and higher costs. Also, the best wind locations are generally located in areas remote from the cities where most of the electricity is used. This necessitates construction of extensive distribution networks that make wind power even more uneconomic. The uneconomic realities are hidden in a labyrinth of subsidies, regulations, tax credits, consumer electricity rates, taxpayer costs, and political considerations that camouflage the true costs. In a free market—where government could not create some winners by forcing losses on others—wind power would be noncompetitive with coal, natural gas and nuclear power.