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Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

alpipkin.com - Contemplations of a United States Constitution loving, big-government hating right-wing extremist whacko-bird

Lord Monckton on AGW

Lord Christopher Monckton, former science adviser to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a critic of global warming theories, appeared last night on Glen Beck’s show along with former UN Ambassador John Bolton. As I haven’t had cable TV for several years (which means no TV where I live), I watch YouTube instead. The first of seven videos of last night’s Glen Beck is here. If you missed the program, I strongly suggest you watch, because Lord Monckton discusses the treaty that is being developed for the forthcoming meeting of the UN Committee on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark that I discussed here.

In one of the videos, John Bolton tends to minimize the potential danger that treaty poses if signed by Obama or those he designates to sign on his behalf. Nevertheless, I along with many others believe the entire premise of so-called anthropogenic global warming is flawed to begin with, and it is this issue that needs to be raised above all of the noise of the Chicken Littles’ hand wringing and wailing. One way to expand the message that AGW is a fraud is containd in the five videos below.

Again Lord Monckton, on a Canadian TV program a couple of weeks ago, did an excellent job of bring all of the complex science down to a very understandable discussion.

There are so many important issues requiring our attention these days that it is sometimes difficult to believe we are going to be able to focus on it all. Well … if we don’t spend some of our time to fight the liberal encroachment on or freedoms … it won’t be long before we will have none for which to fight.

The Obamacare train is coming

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D,Mars) released her version of Obamacare on Thursday, a 1,990 page tome that if passed, will guarantee the destruction of the private healthcare and health insurance business in the US. The bill is available on line at the link above and as usual, written in such a manner as to be virtually unreadable to all but those schooled in making sausage.

Nonetheless, there is enough english phrased sentences so as to allow us peons to glimpse the Democrats’ desires to take control of every aspect of our lives. For instance, Section 2531 contains a provision that provides incentive payments to states that provide “an alternative medical liability law” that prevents or prompts “fair resolution” of disputes. However, no such incentive will be paid to any state that limits “attorneys’ fees or impose caps on damages.”

I’ve mentioned before that one of the most costly aspects of our current medical system is the cost of practicing defensive medicine and purchasing insurance to protect against legal extortion. California, interestingly enough, is one of few states that has laws that limit the amount of punitive damages awarded in a medical law suit. There are no limits for compensatory damages; courts will award any amount  to compensate for actual loses, but punitive damages are limited to no more than $250,000. Such limits avoid the outlandish multi-million dollar awards against companies with deep pockets for some of the silliest of reasons.

Opencongress.org has put up a somewhat interactive version of the bill (HR 3200) on line with links allowing you to log your support for or against the bill. You’ll have to register before being allowed to vote, but it isn’t an intrusive process … just a user name, password, zip code and your email address to confirm you are actually a human being. I encourage you to link to the on-line version of the bill,  if for no other reason than to cast your vote against its passage. (The tally when I logged on was 2024 for and 6837 opposed.)

Statistics … explained simply

Just read a post over at What’s Up With That written by a statistician that does the best job of describing, simply, the statistical process that I’ve ever read … and does so humorously. The post, written by William M. Briggs, begins:

J’accuse! A statistician may prove anything with his nefarious methods. He may even say a negative number is positive! You cannot trust anything he says.”

Sigh. Unfortunately, this oft-hurled charge is all too true. I and my fellow statisticians must bear its sad burden, knowing it is caused by our more zealous brethren (and sisthren). But, you know, it really isn’t their fault, for they are victims of loving not wisely but too well their own creations.

First, a fact. It is true that, based on the observed satellite data, average global temperatures since about 1998 have not continued the rough year-by-year increase that had been noticed in the decade or so before that date. The temperatures since about 1998 have increased in some years, but more often have they decreased. For example, last year was cooler than the year before last. These statements, barring unknown errors in the measurement of that data, are taken as true by everybody, even statisticians.

Th AP gave this data—concealing its source—to “several independent statisticians” who said they “found no true temperature declines over time” (link)

How can this be? Why would a statistician say that the observed cooling is not “scientifically legitimate”; and why would another state that noticing the cooling “is a case of ‘people coming at the data with preconceived notions’”?

Are these statisticians, since they are concluding the opposite of what has been observed, insane? This is impossible: statisticians are highly lucid individuals, its male members exceedingly handsome and charming. Perhaps they are rabid environmentalists who care nothing for truth? No, because none of them knew the source of the data they were analyzing. What can account for this preposterous situation!

Love. The keen pleasures of their own handiwork. That is, the adoration of lovingly crafted models.

The post goes on to describe how, in a statistician’s mind, the data is meaningless until he ‘models’ it. He notes,”Your ruler is a model Statisticians are taught—their entire training stresses—that data isn’t data until it is modeled. Those temperatures don’t attain significance until a model can be laid over the top of them.”

I highly recommend you read the entire post. I also recommend you also read through some of the comments to the post; some are absolute jewels, such as this:

Ken Hall (09:27:05) :

Is temperature rising? Or cooling?

I cannot believe the amount of time wasted on this entirely subjective question. The answer is “it depends” It fully depends on what two dates are used to measure the time period over which the trend is to be determined and the length of time measured. Are we looking at a 5 year timescale? 10? 50? 100? 800? 12,000? 400,000? 100,000,000?

For ANY graph of global temperature one can pick numerous start points and end points that will show either warming or cooling. Even during the last decade I can show rapid warming, OR rapid cooling, depending on the start and end dates.

Picking a start date during 1998 and an end during 2008, one can show a strong cooling trend, however using the date range from 2001 – 2007 would show a significant warming trend.

The one thing that cannot be found is any time where climate was in stasis. The default nature of climate is one of change. And that has always been the case.

AGW’s may have their day in court

Interesting ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court yesterday, reported by J. Russell Jackson on his Consumer Class Actions and Mass Torts blog.

Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit became the second federal appeals court in less than a month to reverse a trial court decision that had thrown out a climate change lawsuit for presenting a nonjusticiable political question.  See Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, 2009 WL 3321493 (5th Cir. Oct. 16, 2009).

(The Second Circuit previously had held that in the absence of comprehensive federal legislation regulating greenhouse gas emissions, states, municipalities and certain private organizations had standing to bring viable federal common law nuisance claims to impose caps on certain companies’ greenhouse gas emissions.  See Connecticut v. American Elec. Power Co., 2009 WL 2996729 (2d Cir. Sept. 21, 2009.  A good description of that opinion can be found here.)

Comer is particularly important because it is a private class action for compensatory and punitive damages, not a suit brought by states or municipalities for injunctive relief.  And that means contingency fees.  And thus the promise of copycat lawsuits.

The plaintiffs in Comer were property owners on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast who had suffered property damage in Hurricane Katrina.  Their causation theory sounds a little like the litigator’s equivalent to the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”  Plaintiffs sued a melange of energy, fossil fuel, and chemical companies, alleging that their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions contributed to an increase in air and water temperatures, causing a rise in sea levels and adding to the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina, which blew water and debris onto plaintiffs’ property, thereby causing property damage.  Plaintiffs asserted a variety of theories under Mississippi common law, including public nuisance, private nuisance, trespass, negligence, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy.

I especially appreciated his reference above to “Their causation theory sounds a little like the litigator’s equivalent to the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

While my first reaction was ‘great … finally the opportunity to bring science into the argument and show the world that the AGW’s are using innuendo and scare tactics to push their agenda’ … further reflection hasn’t been so gung-ho. When I think about some of the judgments that have been rendered by other courts and juries, I have to reconsider.

In some states and within some court rooms, the distinction between a legal setting and game show are blurred. Some juries base their verdict not on the evidence presented during the trail, but on the economic standing of the ‘poor’ plaintiff versus the ‘rich’ defendant.

There is more and more science surfacing that supports the theory that any climate change that may be occurring is a result of ‘natural’ causes; i.e. humans are not capable of causing changes to the world’s climate. The video below (part 1 of 4) by Professor Robert (Bob) Carter does an excellent job of laying out the evidence against CO2 as the sole cause of world-wide temperature changes.

In the second video, he expands on the ruse of choosing only selective time periods in order to “prove” warming and begins to build the case against AGW with data “torpedoing” the so-called proof.

In the third video, Professor Carter continues his torpedoing AGW.

In the last video, he discusses Anthony Watts’ SurfaceStations.org project, which I’ve posted about before, and Steve McIntyre’s finding the data error in NASA’s data.

He makes a very compelling argument, though I wouldn’t bet next year’s pay that any specific court would rule in favor of the science and against breathless sensationalism.

Obamacare … the end-run

I just ran across a post by Robert Costa over at ‘The Corner’ noting a quite meeting yesterday in the House. The Congressional beacon of integrity, Charlie Rangel (D. N.Y.), held a meeting of his House Ways and Means Committee in order to help the Senate do an end-run around Senate rules so as to use “reconciliation” and avoid having to come up with 60 votes to avoid cloture.

Robert cites Congressman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee.

Rangel’s legislative maneuvers “initiated the process to jam their bill through via reconciliation,” says Ryan. “Procedurally, you have to start in the House,” he continues. “The Ways and Means Committee is the Democrats’ first step in attempting to enable their bill to pass in the Senate without 60 votes. What’s important for the American people to understand is that Chairman Rangel used his prerogative to shut down debate.”

“Here’s how the system works. In the House, we have a complete majority-rule system,” says Ryan. “The chairmen control their committees. For reconciliation to be possible in the Senate, the House committee chairmen have to create a vehicle. The bill now moves from the Ways and Means Committee to the Budget Committee. Then from Budget, it will head to the Rules Committee. Rangel opened up another alley for the Democrats that they may use if they can’t get 60 votes in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid now has this ‘nuclear option’ in his back pocket.”

“This is a massive abuse of power,” says Ryan. “The reconciliation process was designed for the budget and to help reduce deficits and debt. Now it’s being used to create new entitlement programs. The Democrats hijacked the rules in order to exploit a procedure.”

[snip]

“Then the Democratic-appointed parliamentarian comes down with a ruling, saying whether this provision is in or out of the bill. It will look at subsidies, too,” says Ryan. “The question will be whether community rating — where health-insurance companies are mandated to provide coverage — is a direct-spending policy. The argument will revolve around these policies, and their need to go into effect, or not, and their fiscal outcomes.”

“A few years ago, we tried to pass medical-liability reform, which is always filibustered in the Senate,” recalls Ryan. “We said that if we stick it in reconciliation, we can pass it, since tort reform, according to the CBO, will reduce the federal government’s health-care costs. The parliamentarian said no, saying it was not a money-saving policy. We lost that one. We’ve also tried to stick ANWR [drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] in reconciliation before, arguing that it was a revenue-raising provision. We got it in there, but it didn’t work.”

“Using reconciliation is an art form, not a science,” says Ryan. Republicans “will have a lot of room to fight.”

“Using the tort-reform precedent from our own experience a few years ago, Republicans will be able to argue that a lot of the junk the Democrats want can’t go in the bill,” says Ryan. “That’s where Republican leaders like Senator Jon Kyl will be able to make some major arguments against the use of reconciliation.”

I’ve mentioned the likelihood of the Dems using using “reconciliation” here, here and here. Looks like they’re making the moves to do just that. The Republicans are going to have to maintain unity (did I just put ‘Republicans’ and ‘unity’ in the same sentence? Good luck with that!) if they have any chance of keeping a bill from being put on Obama’s desk.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Global warming and the US Constitution

All of the AGW crowd are readying themselves for their convocation scheduled in December in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is their hope that the US will finally sign on to a new Kyoto Treaty to be adopted during this sacred gathering of the faithful (an early draft of that document can be downloaded here). They are especially encouraged now that The One is the Blessed Leader of the US and His followers control Congress.

Unfortunately, there is that pesky little document called the US Constitution that some of us believe is still the law of the land. Article 2 says that for a treaty to become law, it needs to be ratified by a 2/3 vote of the US Senate. It will be very difficult under the current membership to convince enough Republicans to vote with the Senate majority … close, but no banana.

Sure, Senator Snowe and possibly Collins (the two Maine Senators) will see this as an opportunity to preen in front of the news’ cameras, as Snowe did following the Senate Finance Committee’s recent passage of the Obamacare bill. However, the Dems would still have to pick up a minimum of four additional GOP votes and the only ones I’d be fearful of “moving across the aisle” would be Lindsey Graham (RINO-SC) and John McCain (RINO-AZ).

Graham recently announced he now supports John Kerry’s* Cap and Tax and Tax and Tax and Tax bill, so it’s not much of a stretch to extend that support to a treaty. Who ever knows what McCain will do! However, I also expect there may be a few (2-4) Dem Senators unwilling to sacrifice their political career to The One. It just depends on when/if a vote on the treaty comes to the Senate; I don’t believe there is any drop-dead date within the treaty for ratification by the US or any other country.

* – The former junior Senator from Massachusetts who, by the way, served in Vietnam.

Nevertheless, there is also another section of the Constitution that hypothetically prohibits the Senate from adopting the treaty in the first place; something called Article 6:

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

While a cursory read seems to give the impression that any treaties we enter into become the supreme law of the land, it is that last bit, “any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding” that throws the monkey wrench into things. Kyoto, Kyoto II (whatever it ends up looking like), and other similar treaties like the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child contain provisions that would supersede or override provisions of the Constitution. That’s the rub!

The Constitution is the Supreme law of the land. Our lawmakers cannot legally enter into a treaty that has provisions that make anything in the Constitution, the Amendments or Bill of Rights subservient to that treaty. Not that the Liberals in the Senate won’t try, mind you.

James Madison, the man viewed by most experts as the author of the Constitution, along with Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere that, essentially, the US cannot enter into any treaty with provisions that would supersede anything in the Constitution. As I am by no stretch of the imagination a lawyer nor have any legal training, I will not attempt to describe to the reader what Madison’s, Jefferson’s, or John Jay’s (the three authors of The Federalist Papers) perspectives were. I’ve found several good analysis of this issue, with links to three of those here, here and here. There are many others, but in my research I never happened upon any arguments for allowing treaties to supersede provisions of the Constitution (though truthfully … I didn’t bother to look specifically for the reverse).

Obama has pushed some sort of Cap and Tax and Tax and Tax and Tax bill since he joined the US Senate … and maybe before. His recent “award” of the Nobel Peace Prize was, in my opinion, a bribe from the internationalists to keep moving the US towards socialism and a one-world government. The document that will come out of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen will do just that.

If the current crop of Cap and Tax and Tax and Tax and Tax bills making their way through both the House and Senate are ever passed and sent to The One for His blessings, it will put in place another stepping stone that will lead us to that one-world government. Don’t let them get their way!!!!

UPDATE: Publis Huldah noted an error as to the authors of the Federalist Papers. While Thomas Jefferson is generally acknowledged as the author of the Declaration of Independence, it was Alexander Hamilton and not Jefferson, that was the third author of the Federalist Papers. Thanks for the catch!

Obamacare Takes the Next Step

The Senate Finance Committee just voted to send the Obamacare bill to the floor of the Senate by a vote of 14 to 9. One Republican, Olympia Snowe of Maine, crossed the aisle and voted with the Democrats … no big surprise!

If it weren’t so serious I’d have to laugh at those who have breathed a sigh of relief, saying “at least they took out the ‘public option.'” The entire bill is a ‘public option’ … who are they trying to kid? The Dems in the Senate are going to do whatever it takes to see that this bill passes, even if they have to use the ‘budget reconciliation’ ploy I wrote about here.

The real danger is when (if???) the House passes its version of Obamacare. The House and Senate would then go into conference, i.e. ‘behind closed doors’ and go to work on the REAL bill, and no one but Obama gets to vote on that bill. That will be when our healthcare system as we’ve know it will begin to be destroyed.

If you expect you and your children to have any semblance of a say over your healthcare in the future, call your Senator and make sure they know the future of their political career will depend on their vote on Obamacare. Because if this thing gets to conference, it’s all over!

The temperature is what?

Anthony Watts just posted a new report on Watts Up With That? about the state of the world’s temperature recording stations. The report is by Joseph D’Aleo, the Executive Director of ICECAP.

Anthony has been instrumental in pointing out the poor condition of the system that is supposed to provide the data collected by NOAA. His creation, SurfaceStations.org has used volunteers to physically document the condition of over 80% of the 1,221 weather stations across the country and the resultant quality of the data provided. It was he who uncovered stations like the one at Marysville, CA:

MarysvilleCA_USHCN_Site_small

Mr. D’Aleo’s report should cause anyone not completely given over to the religion of AGW (anthropogenic, or man-caused global warming) to rethink their position. I have never believed man could do anything to affect the weather world-wide; locally … sure. Man has been spoiling his own nest for eons. But humans are just not powerful enough to do what nature does.

My first inkling of issues with temperature records came when I read Michael Crichton’s novel, State of Fear. The book is loaded with temperature charts (all real) showing warming in cities and no warming in rural areas. The “heat island” effect (average temperatures steadily increase as more street paving, concrete and buildings are added to a city, creating an increasingly larger island of heat) is recognized by most scientist around the world, so there shouldn’t be much argument about the “warming” recorded by weather stations in and close to cities.

Couple the heat island effect with poor siting of weather stations, and then add the facts noted in Mr. D’Aleo’s report that the number of stations worldwide has significantly decreased, and how can anyone really say with certainty what direction the world’s temperature is headed?

Climate change? You bet! Changing climate is what has happened since the earth was created. Anthropogenic global warming? I have doubted its existence since I first heard the term, and the more I read, the more doubt I have. It is narcissistic to believe we are that powerful.

A Better Mouse Trap?

Ran across this article this morning on a completely new approach for a wind turbine generator design. Apparently the fan acts as the rotor (magnets installed at the tips of the blades) and the stator is built into the shroud around the fan.

windtronics3_610x483

Such a design minimizes losses by eliminating the mechanical gearing required in typical wind turbine design. The only mechanical losses in this new design is through the shaft bearings.

The only issue I see is that of scale; the structural requirements to put a 70-80 foot diameter shroud 90 to 100 feet in the air will be a challenge. However, I said in a response to a commenter to this post, is will take a major breakthrough in order for wind turbine generated electricity to greatly increase its impact on grid-generation systems. There is also the fact that in many locations the wind only blows 30 or 35% of the time, and often that is at night when less power is needed on the grid.

Don’t know if this is that breakthrough needed to make wind energy the ‘good’ renewable … time will tell.

Upgrade done! Finally

I’ve needed to update the version of WordPress I’ve been using and have had a bear of a time. Finally got it done yesterday by following instructions some guy created and I stumbled across on YouTube. They were really different than the instructions on WordPress … and much simpler!

… and you want them to manage your health?

Just ran across this story on the trials and travails of conducting next year’s census. The report begins:

The Census Bureau will tell a House panel today that it will drop plans to use handheld computers to help count Americans for the 2010 census, contributing to the increase in cost for the decennial census by as much as $3 billion, according to testimony the Commerce Department secretary plans to give this afternoon.

“Today I am reporting to this committee that we will move forward with the recommendation to use a paper-based [nonresponse follow-up] in the 2010 decennial census,” according to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez’s testimony he plans to give to the House Appropriations Committee on Commerce, Justice and Science, and which Nextgov has obtained.

There are also reports of problems with the databases designed to compile the information collected from the paper survey forms:

Director Groves also told the panel that even at this late date, the Census Bureau continues to develop software to handle the paper-based “Non-Response Followup” stage of the census. This was a part of the census that had been slated to be performed using a highly automated system in conjunction with the controversial hand-held computers. Last year, census officials decided not to use the handhelds for this portion of the census count because development of the automation system was lagging far behind other portions of the census.

Beyond technical challenges, even what would seem to be the simple process of hiring census workers was apparently botched:

A Senate Subcommittee hearing today revealed that nearly 36,000 Census Bureau employees were hired despite the fact that the fingerprint component of their criminal record checks was botched. Despite additional name checks recommended by the FBI, the GAO said that it was possible that more than 200 employees hired by the Census Bureau had criminal records, and were in contact with the public while canvassing for the ongoing 2010 census.

Robert Goldenkoff, the Government Accountability Office’s Director for Strategic Issues, said that the criminal record checks were bungled because of poor staff training. Bureau staff with less than 2 hours of training in fingerprinting ruined about a fifth of the 162,000 necessary criminal record checks.

If the properly processed criminal record checks are any indication, the Bureau may have let a large number of violent criminals slip through the cracks. Of the prints that were properly checked, about one percent, or 1,800 workers, had criminal records that name checks failed to identify.

When was it that the Census Bureau first knew it would be taking a census of the US population in 2010? At a minimum it was in 2000, right? I even suspect there may have been someone within the Census Bureau that may have been aware there would be a census in 2010 before the 2000 census. [/snark]

How can anyone honestly believe that a government that can’t get it’s act together to efficiently run a program that only happens once every 10 years can manage the healthcare of every American, efficiently or otherwise?

Dennis Miller Radio … a gem

Having given up TV several years ago, I had more time for reading, but I also began listening to podcasts. The great thing about podcasts of radio broadcasts is that you can listen to them when you have time; kind of a TiVo for radio. I subscribe to several; Rush Limbaugh, Astronomycast, Bill Bennett, and Laura Ingrahm to name a few.

I ran across Dennis Miller’s radio broadcast a couple of years ago and found it a refreshing blend of humor and serious political discussion. The problem is that the station he broadcasts on where I live doesn’t come in very clear most days and he is on from 6:00 to 9:00 PM … not very convient.

Like some radio shows, early on his podcasts could be downloaded at no cost to the listener. However, about a year ago it went behind a firewall and you had to buy a subscription in order to listen to a full show every day. Many other shows have followed this path, and some shows were not worth it to me to pay for an annual subscription. Others, including Dennis’ show, are worth it … IMHO.

In addition to the podcasts, my subscription gets me a daily summary of that days show via email and once or twice a week there is an email called “Dennis Dot-Dot-Dot.” Always funny, they often contain profetic wisdom. Yesterday’s missive is a beautiful example:

Dennis Dot-Dot-Dot…

People who incessantly scream “Tax The Rich!” (The Boys Who Cried Wealth?) often seem emboldened in the way that only one who is confident that they will never, ever be wealthy can be…Whoever delivers the line “Pizzas?” as the giant cockroach delivery boy trying to get in the house via the front door on the Orkin exterminator commercial is a genius in conveying what a sleazoid insect would sound like if surreptitiously delivering foodstuffs. Unless, of course, the entity delivering the line is in fact a giant cockroach. Then, my compliments to the Orkin people for their vérité approach…With our current flirtation with Socialism in mid-to-full swing, may I request the following? If I am to sponsor one of my fellow citizens in the near future, can I kick in with an extra $10 to the government and request someone who is actually helpless as opposed to someone who is merely clueless. It would make it so much easier and less frustrating for me when I fill out the memo section on the check each month…Also, if I do get stuck with someone who is clueless, can they pen me a biannual letter on Beaver composition notebook paper delineating why they still haven’t “gotten it together?”

It goes on in the same vane. Hilarious stuff, but so right on.

When the wind blows, the cradle will fall

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses some of the problems created by wind generation that the utility industry is struggling to overcome. I posted on this very subject back in May. As I stated then, current wind and solar energy generation technologies are not viable as replacement for thermal generation technologies.

As the WSJ article states, more viable energy storage technologies need to be invented. Current storage technologies are far too expensive, regardless of their maturity. Stored hydro has been used around the world for many decades, but pipe, concrete and generators that have such a low utilization factor are difficult to justify their return on investment.

Added to the storage issues, environmental groups have fought many wind and solar projects because of concerns of the impact those projects may have on local flora and fauna. A 440 megawatt solar project planned for the Mohave Desert in California has recently been shelved by BrightSource Energy because of court challenges by environmentalists. Wind projects have been canceled because of similar challenges.

With the exception of geothermal electric generation, today’s renewable energy technology are at best supplemental sources; not an alternate to hydroelectric, coal, nuclear or natural gas fired generation.

Update: Just ran across an article in the Financial Post on wind energy in Denmark that reinforces the points above. Denmark passed a referendum in the mid 1990s to generate 50% of their energy needs within 20 years using wind turbines. When I took a trip through Denmark with my youngest son in the late 90s, there was nowhere we went where a wind turbine wasn’t visible somewhere on the horizon.

According to the article, Denmark’s energy use from wind power is currently at just over 9%. An aside … Denmark now leads the world in wind turbine technology.