WWF hopes to find $60 billion growing on trees

WWF hopes to find $60 billion growing on trees

The carbon credits scheme would make WWF and its partners much richer, but with no lowering of overall CO2 emissions, writes Christopher Booker .

If the world’s largest, richest environmental campaigning group, the WWF – formerly the World Wildlife Fund – announced that it was playing a leading role in a scheme to preserve an area of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of Switzerland, many people might applaud, thinking this was just the kind of cause the WWF was set up to promote. Amazonia has long been near the top of the list of the world’s environmental cconcerns, not just because it includes easily the largest and most bio-diverse area of rainforest on the planet, but because its billions of trees contain the world’s largest land-based store of CO2 – so any serious threat to the forest can be portrayed as a major contributor to global warming.

If it then emerged, however, that a hidden agenda of the scheme to preserve this chunk of the forest was to allow the WWF and its partners to share the selling of carbon credits worth $60 billion, to enable firms in the industrial world to carry on emitting CO2 just as before, more than a few eyebrows might be raised. The idea is that credits representing the CO2 locked into this particular area of jungle – so remote that it is not under any threat – should be sold on the international market, allowing thousands of companies in the developed world to buy their way out of having to restrict their carbon emissions. The net effect would simply be to make the WWF and its partners much richer while making no contribution to lowering overall CO2 emissions.

Full story at the Telegraph

Cash blown in the wind

Editor:

The govt. of Ont. is wasting the tax dollars of hard working people at an alarming rate, yet the media remains silent. The taxpayer has become an unwitting investor. The only problem is they will see no stock certificate and no return on their investment. They will however see higher utility rates. This theft needs to stop NOW!

The story below refers to the goings on in Oregon but the same story is being played out all over North America.

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I want to thank Klockarman from Glore Lied for this story.

Cash blown in the wind; in pursuit of green energy Oregon is wasting millions of tax dollars on risky ventures and prosperous businesses

Kudos to The Oregonian today for taking off their green-colored goggles for a moment, and investigating a massive waste of the state’s taxpayer dollars.

Harry Esteve reports:

Oregon taxpayers are shelling out tens of millions of dollars to subsidize green energy projects, making the state a magnet for solar and wind companies.

But an investigation by The Oregonian shows that the money also is going to risky ventures with questionable environmental benefits and to prosperous companies that need no incentives but are cashing in anyway.



The handouts come from Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit program — the state’s fastest growing tax shelter. The credits are so easy to obtain that more than 4,000 applicants have lined up to get them whether they need them or not. Klondike Wind Farms, for example, seeks $44 million in state tax breaks even though eastern Oregon’s wind-blown geography has proved a profitable turbine location, subsidies or no.

“It’s gotten out of hand,” says Chuck Sheketoff, director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, which studies the impact of state tax policies on low-income residents. “It’s being scammed. It’s not serving its purpose.”

Even banks and big corporations that have nothing to do with renewable energy are grabbing the tax breaks. Under the state’s generous incentives, groups and companies that qualify for tax credits can turn around and sell them. Most do. Standard Insurance, for example, paid $2.5 million to Flakeboard, an Albany mill that makes composite wood. In exchange, Standard gets to use $3.5 million in tax credits the mill received for building a wood-burning boiler that can generate electricity.

Oregon’s energy tax credits began as a small, targeted program aimed at conservation and efficiency. It kicked into high gear after the 2007 legislative session, when Kulongoski pushed for some of the biggest tax breaks offered anywhere in the nation.

Under the 2007 rules, companies could apply for up to 50 percent of the cost of the project, up to a limit of $20 million, as long as they could show the project would save energy or produce renewable energy or fuel alternatives.



At the time, state officials projected the changes would add $2 million to a projected $23 million hit on the state’s two-year budget. They were wrong. Less than two years later, the program is costing taxpayers $78 million. And that figure easily could triple again. State records show more than 4,400 applications pending for the credits, for projects worth $716 million.

Read it all at The Oregonian.

Visit Klockarman at Glore Lied

Pushing against the wind

Editor:
Same crap different country.
The IESO in Ontario states that for planning purposes wind should only be counted on for 10% of it’s capacity rating. So, 1,000MW of wind is equivalent to 100MW of conventional power. The Govt., Media, and the Wind Industry continue to refer to the number of homes powered by wind, based on full capacity not the reality of 10%. At 7am today the 472MWs of wind power in Ont. were pumping out 18MWs, which is 3.82% of their plated capacity. 300 hones powered per MW for 18MW is 5400 homes. The govt. wind industry and the media would like you to believe that 141,600 are being powered by wind.

They should all be charged for false advertising. If they are not being truthful about the real capacity of wind, what else are they not telling us about our electrical system.

How does Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ont., feel about wind energy?

Ontario Hansard – 19-April2006
“I think the member opposite knows that when it comes to natural gas, prices there tend to be volatile, and it remains a significant contributor to global warming. Wind turbines: We are investing heavily in those, but again, those are an expensive form of electricity and they’re not reliable, because sometimes obviously the wind does not blow. When it comes to solar, those tend to be expensive as well.”

Pushing against the wind

The wind rush is on. Plans to erect sweeping wind farms are being unfurled at a rate of knots. But is this really clean green energy, or just another case of greedy corporates trashing our landscapes for profit? Anton Oliver argues it’s about time New Zealanders woke up to the dark side of wind power.

Forests of turbines spinning on distant hills: in these carbon-aware times, the glory of wind farms is being touted as the one-stop solution to all our energy ills. So aggressive has been the rush to build them that a week doesn’t seem to go by without a new application for an industrial-scale turbine site going before a local council for consideration under the Resource Management Act (RMA), with a mad green fervour.

You’d be forgiven, then, if it escaped your notice that wind power was part of the problem, not the solution, when the Electricity Commission last week announced that we’re teetering on the brink of yet another major electricity shortage.

The emergency button that is Whirinaki’s diesel-burning power plant (the official national standby) had been pushed, initiated by high wholesale electricity prices thanks to equipment failure at Taranaki’s combined-cycle plant, high water temperatures in the Waikato River forcing Huntly’s coal-burning plant to trim back production and becalmed summer skies over Manawatu meaning its plethora of wind turbines were as useful as wet paper toothpicks.

It may also have escaped your attention that as we rush to cover the country in wind farms (more precisely, as the energy oligarchs rush to gather the armfuls of carbon credits being dangled before them by government as a green bribe), in Europe far greater scrutiny is being applied to the imposition of these vast energy factories upon the environment.

Last week it was leaked that plans for the largest land-based wind farm in Britain, a 181-turbine development in the Scottish Hebrides, are to be vetoed by Scottish ministers due to likely negative impacts on wild birdlife. Likewise, a 27-turbine project in the rolling uplands of Cumbria, England an area with similar tourism and landscape values to Central Otago was deemed “a step too far” in the quest for green energy.

You won’t have read about it here because it’s not in the interests of this country’s major power players to tell you. The Labour-led government has its blinkers on trying to make up for its gross miscalculation of our Kyoto obligations come 2012 (which, rather than deliver us a profit as Labour initially declared, will, according to Business New Zealand projections, cost us as much as $3 billion), frantically searching for alternative revenue streams hence its renewed interest in carbon credits and emissions trading to pay for its incompetence.

Based on the evidence so far, its stated energy and climate change policy to be 90% renewable in our energy generation by the year 2025 should not be seen as green or carbon friendly, but a state-directed, revenue-motivated assault on New Zealand’s natural environment.

The least the government should have done is to come up with a sensible, national, overarching strategy for wind energy generation in New Zealand: instead energy generators including the government’s own SOE, Meridian Energy have seized upon the lack of guidelines in a frantic wind rush for the most cost-effective sites.

Hang on, isn’t the RMA supposed to safeguard us from the excesses of corporate developers?

While the RMA is touted as being a democratic process, the reality is that the success of an appellant’s case comes down to how much money they can raise; since most don’t have a spare $100,000-$500,000 in their coffers to pay a QC and their support staff.

An opponent as financially rotund as Meridian, meanwhile, has a team of lawyers and expensive experts and can afford a cartel of QCs to browbeat local councillors and other beleaguered individuals seriously out of their depth who tend to make up resource consent hearing panels.

Last week, the Crown, via the Ministry for the Environment, made a whole-of-government submission supporting Project Hayes (Meridian’s controversial 176 turbines, proposed for Central Otago, which is headed for the Environment Court).

It cited wind generation as being of national interest since it “ensures” security of energy supply by providing additional generation capacity and diversification of electricity production methods and, secondly, supposedly helps New Zealand address climate change issues.

Yet no one is asking the hard questions of a government desperate to sell itself to an increasingly green-aware public in election year.

As the fine print of the Energy Commission release indicated, wind energy is not reliable. No one knows when it will blow. At best, crude statistics are used to predict how much it will blow on average over very long time frames (months, years). Wind generation cannot be calculated with any security: will it blow tomorrow morning, Friday evening or next Wednesday at 6pm when Huntly’s going to be offline or the hydro lakes are low?

New Zealanders are sold on the concept that all wind is green, therefore large-scale wind is the panacea for all our woes. But wind farms like Project Hayes are attractive to the generator oligarchy only because of economics of scale and carbon credits: together they make industrial-sized wind not only financially viable, but exceedingly profitable.

Basing security of supply, meanwhile, on something that is as inherently unpredictable is somewhere south of foolish. Overseas experience has already shown that for every 1000 megawatts of wind generation installed less than 10% can be calculated as firm generating capacity, therefore increasing rather than decreasing traditional energy supply (often carbon-emitting) because of the fundamental problem: when the wind stops blowing, where does the power come from?

Meridian and other generators continue to regurgitate their standard spiel that this or that wind farm is “capable of producing enough electricity to power 100,000 homes”. Try supplying Wellington’s Courtenay Pl, Lambton Quay, the Beehive and ancillary government buildings with wind power only for a year and in December ask them how they got on.

Wind surges also cause massive voltage and frequency increases, threatening the integrity and stability of the grid (which, under Cook Strait, even last week had to be held at a paltry 400MW to stop the system from overloading). Of course, sudden decreases in wind have to be replaced by alternative, ready-to-go energy standbys such as Whirinaki. Not the kind of admission we tend to hear from energycoms as they try to push their wind schemes on to an unsuspecting public.

Leaving aside the belief that it will have unacceptable environmental and tourism impacts on an iconic slice of Otago, Meridian’s Project Hayes wind farm has yet to disclose any alternative methods for generating electricity when it isn’t blowing, nor how the grid will handle the load placed on it, nor even some basic science collected from the site to back up their claims that this is a good thing for the country as a whole.

Peak Oil New Zealand

Ethanol: The Great Big Green Fraud

America’s Biofuel Gladiators

Turning food into biofuel pits the car owners of the world against the two billion poor who struggle to get enough to eat says Lester Brown of the World Policy Institute.

Who do you think is going to win?

“This will be seen as one of the great tragedies in history,” says Brown.

See previously published articles on biofuels/energy:
Ethanol: The Great Big Green Fraud – Government subsidies amount to $15 billion in 2007

Greenest Ethanol Still Unproven – Cellulosic ethanol is long way off and may not be a solution

Biofuels and Carbon Credits Behind Global Deforestation

ENERGY REVOLUTION NEEDED NOW – Efficiency improvement is fastest, cheapest and easiest