Letter to the Editor – Climate Change

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Dear Editor:

In his latest letter (the Nov. 17 Times, after 4 weeks), Steve Gabell simply asserts without evidence that my arguments about global warming alarmism are “utterly wrong”. He then says that I fail “to understand the implications” of the climate as a non-linear system. However, as an electrical engineer, I am well versed in flip-flops between stable states in non-linear systems! He presumably is referring to so-called “tipping points” in the climate, yet the planet has survived higher and lower CO2 levels and temperature swings in the past, making any imminent and major irreversible changes highly unlikely. Moreover, dozens of previous alarmist “tipping point” predictions have failed to happen.

Doubling down on the simplistic notion that carbon dioxide in the air is the “planet’s thermostat”, Mr. Gabell reports that CO2 levels and global temperatures have risen and fallen together in the past. Yet it is generally accepted that the CO2 levels lagged behind the temperature changes rather than causing them. The extreme temperature swings between ice ages had other causes (related to the Earth’s orbital mechanics) much larger than the modest, non-linear effect of CO2 concentration. Also, the Earth’s water cycle and heat transport mechanisms play a large role in stabilizing the temperature.

After making the shocking statement that, “Humans have no inherent right to live on Earth” (huh?), Mr. Gabell closes by saying that the Ontario Green Party has “a plan to reach net zero”. I looked up their plan to see what it includes. Among other feel-good measures, they want to double the size of Ontario’s electricity grid, while also phasing out fossil fuels and nuclear power over time. Presumably, that means adding huge tracts of wind and solar generation capacity at great expense.

Current Ontario peak electric power demand is over 20 gigawatts (20 GW or 20,000 megawatts), mostly provided by nuclear generation. To achieve their goals the Greens would therefore need to add more than 20 GW of renewable power generation. But since solar power produces little energy at night and the wind often doesn’t blow, those sources only produce around 30% of the time. The additional installed capacity would therefore need to be over 60 GW to meet the peak demand on average!

Moreover, they would need huge energy storage capacity to maintain power when the renewables are idle. Aware of that, the Greens’ plan “7500 MW” (7.5 GW) of backup storage, seemingly confusing power and energy. Taking them at their word, 7.5 GW (power) would back up less than 40% of their renewable supply. Alternately, if their storage is actually 7.5 GWh (energy), then it would provide less than 25 minutes backup! Perhaps the Greens enjoy expensive, lengthy blackouts? Or maybe they should rethink their plan.

In closing, I would like to congratulate Mr. Gabell on his pending Canadian citizenship. I hope he and his family continue to enjoy life in North Grenville and that they will have enough electricity and other energy sources available to keep them powered and warm through the coming winter.

Ed Norman, Kemptville.

 

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