JUST over a year ago, the Texas electricity system was on the verge of a catastrophic total collapse. As it was, millions of Texans went without power for days after a winter storm knocked out much of the state’s wind farms. Hundreds died as a result.
Naturally, the renewable lobby tried to shift the blame on to gas power plants, some of which tripped out as the grid became unstable. But without the immediate back-up provided by those gas plants, the grid would have totally collapsed and the whole state would have been without power for weeks.
Fast forward, and Texas is again facing a shortage of power, as a heatwave this week has led to near record levels of demand for air conditioning.
Facing another crisis, ERCOT, the body which is responsible for running the Texas grid, has been begging customers to cut consumption of electricity. ‘We’re asking Texans to conserve power when they can by setting their thermostats to 78 degrees or above and avoiding the usage of large appliances (such as dishwashers, washers and dryers) during peak hours between 3 pm and 8 pm through the weekend,’ pleaded the CEO Brad Jones. I don’t know about Texans, but 78F sounds like heating, not air conditioning to me!
Naturally, the media has rushed to blame the crisis on a ‘record heatwave caused by climate change’. This is, you will not be surprised to know, fraudulent nonsense.
Temperatures peaked at 98F in San Antonio and 94F in Houston, but neither of these temperatures are unusual for May in these cities:
No, the real problem is the closure in recent years of reliable coal power plants and their replacement by unreliable wind power.
Since 2010 4GW of coal capacity has been lost, a cut of a fifth, while no new gas capacity has been added in net terms. Worse, demand for electricity has increased by 15 per cent, as the Texas population and economy continues to surge.
Texas is therefore effectively short of 20GW of dispatchable power capacity. And it does not take a genius to work out that wind power is low during anti-cyclonic heatwaves.
Given that we are still only in May, heaven help the Texans when they get a real heatwave!
Ukraine food crisis? Just wait for climate crisis, says Time
A recent article in Time magazine claimed that the effect of the Ukraine war on food prices is just a forerunner of what we can expect from global warming: ‘The ripple effect of the Ukraine crisis on global grocery bills, however, is just a taste of what is to come as climate change disrupts the world’s agricultural areas. As temperatures rise due to increasing greenhouse-gas emissions, so too will the price of food.’
Apparently rising temperatures, drought, floods, wildfires and pests will devastate food production. Indeed, we are told, it has already started to happen.
Meanwhile back in the real world, cereal output has tripled since the global cooling days of the 1960s (when world leaders were genuinely scared about the effects of climate on food production) and reached a record in 2020.
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation
Provisional data shows that cereal production hit another record in 2021/22, and forecasts show that output this year will be even higher, even allowing for the Ukraine disruption.
UN Food & Agriculture Organisation
According to Time: ‘A record-setting heatwave in India has reduced this year’s wheat crop, just as the country was planning an export surge to make up for the Russian and Ukrainian shortfalls.’
The main factor affecting harvests in India, however, is the summer monsoon, which regularly failed in the 1960s and 70s as a direct consequence of global cooling. Since then, production of wheat has risen tenfold in India.
The Indian government has cut its forecast harvest from a record 111million tons to 100 million, but this would still be the third highest on record. Ups and downs from year to year have always occurred, and there is nothing unusual in this year’s reduction in output.
Weather events have always disrupted food production somewhere or other in the world, and will continue to do so. But there is no evidence that the tiny amount of warming in recent years has impacted this in any way.
On the contrary, a combination of better technology, bioengineering, higher levels of carbon dioxide and longer growing season will continue to lead to ever higher food production and reduced hunger around the world.
‘Expensive and wasteful’ heat pumps are not the solution
Bit by bit, the media are waking up to the nightmare facing homeowners, if and when they are forced to install heat pumps to replace perfectly workable gas boilers.
The Climate Establishment have been pushing heat pumps for years as a way to stop us burning natural gas. However they have been dishonest about the true costs and consequences of their policy, instead trying to persuade us how ‘efficient and clean’ they are.
The Daily Telegraph seems finally to have woken up! It published an article recently by Roy Faulkner, emeritus professor of materials engineering at Loughborough University, in which he labelled heat pumps ‘expensive and wasteful’. He is right.
As he pointed out, a typical homeowner could end up forking out £50,000 to install a heat pump and the insulation required to make it effective. Clearly this is unaffordable for most. Even without insulation, the cost could easily be £20,000.
Heat pumps do not work very well when outside temperatures are below 5C, hence the need for expensive insulation. Without that, houses will need some form of supplementary heating, adding to both capital and running costs.
One of the reasons why heat pumps are so costly to install is that nearly all homes will need new radiators because existing ones are too small, as another Telegraph article explained this week. Although radiators are not too expensive to buy, it is the labour costs involved that push the bill up. Heat pumps also need a large water storage tank, which many homes now longer have. As one expert noted: ‘It is a complex installation and usually requires the whole central heating system to be replaced.’
One poor homeowner, with a detached house built in 1976, was horrified to be quoted £30,000 for a heat pump and radiators despite the fact that his house is already well insulated. Unsurprisingly he has opted for another gas boiler instead!
One of the myths peddled by the green lobby is that heat pumps are cheaper to run. This is simply another lie. Again the Telegraph seems to have woken up to this. In an article in February, they revealed that heat pumps cost 27 per cent more to run than a gas boiler. This is even after taking into account the current sky-high price of gas.
Most people, I suspect, are still blissfully unaware of any of this. They will be horrified when they find out the truth.
Justin Rowlatt, the BBC’s (false) prophet of doom
Following my recent revelations about the BBC’s Climate Editor, Justin Rowlatt, the media has been running with the story.
As a quick re-cap, two complaints were upheld this month against Rowlatt by the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit for fake news broadcast in a Panorama edition last November, titled ‘Wild Weather: Our World Under Threat’ which was both written and presented by him.
There have now been three complaints upheld against him in the last year, calling into question his suitability and impartiality in his role as Climate Editor.
Since then, the story has been picked up by the Mail, Express and Times.
Better still, Ross Clark had a piece in the Mail last Sunday, which went into much more detail, and was utterly damning about Rowlatt’s unacceptable bias.
The article is well worth a read here.