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« Renewable friends - Josh 104 | Main | Really Useful Reporting - Josh 103 »

Ideological money laundering

This is a guest post by Ben Pile, of Climate Resistance fame.

As everybody now knows, the headlines from IPCC WGIII report on renewable energy appear to have been written by Greenpeace. When the Summary for Policy Makers was published last month, I was one of many who noted the role of Greenpeace, and the extent to which the SPM's authors were involved in the renewable energy industry. Steve McIntyre's discovery has caused further criticism  of the IPCC's letting such overt agendas near its evidence-making for policy-makers, even from the green camp, albeit only because it is such bad PR. But there is yet more to this story.

The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC), who co-authored the report with Greenpeace, claims to be an 'umbrella organisation of the European renewable energy industry, trade and research associations' of the renewable sectors. 'EREC represents an industry with an annual turnover of EUR 70 billion and providing over 550.000 jobs'. They consist of a number of partner organisations, each representing one technology sector within renewable energy, such as wind, geothermal and solar, and each of these has as many as hundreds of members. As Mark Lynas points out, then, it is no surprise that the EREC 'are of course enthusiasts for renewable energy’s prospects because they make money from selling wind turbines and solar panels, so hardly count as an unbiased source'.

Do the EREC only make money by selling renewable energy technology? Well, it's member organisations, and the hundreds of companies they each represent certainly do, especially given the subsidies available to renewable energy companies, thanks to EU policy. But Gawain Towler, press officer at UKIP, suggests on his blog that there may also be 'public money floating around this august organisation'. I decided to look more closely at EREC's funding. The EREC, and its eleven member organisations all share an address: Renewable Energy House, Rue d’Arlon, Brussels -- a moment's walk away from the European Parliament. But the EREC are much closer to the political institutions in Brussels than this.

The EU Financial Transparency system -- which only lists accounts between 2007-9 -- reveals that the EREC were the beneficiaries of €1.8million  ($2.5million) from the EU. Just under €1.5 million of this gift from the EU government to a trade association is accounted for as follows:

Commitment position key: SI2.528581.1 Year: 2009    Amount €: 1.479.833,00 Subject of grant or contract: RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY ACTION PAVING THE WAY TOWARDS 2020 Responsible Department: Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) Budget line name and number: Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme — "Intelligent Energy — Europe" programme (06.04.06) Country / Territory: Belgium            Expense Type: Operational Action Type: Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme Co-financing rate: Mixed financing Beneficiary Name: EUROPEAN RENEWABLE ENERGY COUNCILASBL Address: 1040 BRUXELLES, RUE D ARLON 63-65

The project for which this money was given -- Renewable Energy Policy Action: Paving the Way Towards 2020 (REPAP2020) -- is in its own words intended 'to facilitate the process of implementation of the RES-Directive, on a national level.'

The main focus of the project is on the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs) which Member States have to notify to the European Commission by 30th June 2010. One objective of the project is to have ambitious plans that ensure the EU to meet the 20-20-20 targets for 2020, as set out in the directive.

The RES-Directive is the EU's rule on renewable energy.

Each Member State has a target calculated according to the share of energy from renewable sources in its gross final consumption for 2020. This target is in line with the overall '20-20-20' goal for the Community.

The question now is, what exactly is the EREC? It appears to be a council of trades associations, each representing a technology sector within the renewable energy industry. But it also seems to have been given a para-governmental role by the EU, to 'map renewable energy pathways' for EU member nations. Meanwhile -- literally, at the same time -- it produces seemingly independent research with Greenpeace. This report is taken by one of its authors to IPCC WGIII, where he is also a lead author on the renewable energy report. That report in turn seems to be intended as advice to policy-makers, including those within the EU.

Many have questioned the IPCC's credibility for having allowed an NGO with such a naked political agenda as Greenpeace to influence its statements and advice. But the problem here is far deeper. Trade associations are not only lobbying for their members' interests, they are being paid to lobby the EU to lobby in favour of the policies the EU has already determined it wants. It pays them also to set the parameters of its policies, and to suggest means by which they can be delivered. At the same time, the EREC publishes research which benefits the EU's preferred policies at the global, intergovernmental level. And this research seemingly has the backing of a non-governmental organisation, Greenpeace, which prides itself on taking no money from business or government.

The next question to ask is this... Can an organisation that represents commercial enterprises really offer governmental organisations impartial policy advice? Imagine the furore that would ensue, were oil companies so instrumental in the design of EU policies and their implementation. Lobbying is one thing; such proximity to policy-making is quite another.

The organisations involved make no secret of the fact that they enjoy a privileged relationship with EU policy-makers. EREC member, the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), for instance, proudly states that,

ESTIF has actively participated in the development of the Directive on the promotion of the use of Energy from Renewable Sources (RES) thus ensuring a favourable legal framework for the Solar Thermal sector.

Indeed. And the EU paid ESTIF €2,000,000 between 2007-9, so that it could better ensure favours for the sector it represents. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), boasts 600 member organisations across the EU. Yet these members seem to be so hard-up (in spite of the massive subsidies they enjoy) that the EU gave the EWEA €1.8 million so that its 'lobbying activities' (their own words) would continue to 'help create a suitable legal framework within which members can successfully develop their businesses.' The EREC and its members enjoyed gifts of at least €8.2 million between 2007-9 so that they could lobby MEPs, and do research in favour of the policies the EU had already determined it wanted.

And it gets worse. Look into the partner organisations of REPAP2020, and the reports that have been published, and there is evidence of yet further funding from the EU. At the top of the 'Renewable Energy Roadmap' produced by the UK's Renewable Energy Association, for instance, are the words 'With the support of Intelligent Energy Europe' -- yet another mysterious EU organisation. An EU press release from earlier this year proudly announces that,

With € 730 million funds available between 2007 and 2013, the Intelligent Energy – Europe (IEE) programme reinforces EU’s efforts to meet its 2020 energy targets to ensure a secure and cost competitive supply of energy while fighting climate change.

€730 million is a great deal of money for research and lobbying. But it is nothing compared to the billions more that EU sustainable energy directives will cost the population of the EU. Renewable energy firms are being allowed to design and lobby for the policies which will put cash in their pockets, nodded (or is that nudged and winked?) through by democratic representatives and NGOs. And within each member of the EU, the story is the same. Organisations with unclear public functions, and opaque funding arrangements such as the UK's Carbon Trust, and the Energy Saving Trust are established between government, industry, and NGOs to further the sustainable energy agenda, all without accountability and scrutiny.

The lines between governments, companies, trades associations, 'non-governmental' organisations such as Greenpeace, and supranational organisations such as the IPCC under the FCCC are now fully blurred. A greedy ecosystem of organisations have been created across the EU, each with the appearance of independence, working in cahoots with radical environmental NGOs and governments. Yet few, if any, of these organisations offer accounts of their funding sources, let alone explain what kind of organisation they are: how accountable they are, how independent from government they are, and who they really represent. It is as if no membrane delimits their functions from the functioning of the state, except to conceal its operations.

So where does that leave the report from Greenpeace and the EREC? Greenpeace are proud of their independence from government and industry. Yet here we see them working with a trade association in the development of advice to policy-makers that will benefit that industry. The advice it produces will further the agendas of those policy-makers. The suggestion here is not that money has changed hands -- Greenpeace doesn't need the money; what  it gets for the favours it does the establishment is influence. The service it provides is to give government-funded, agenda-ridden 'research' the superficial appearance of independence and legitimacy: ideological money-laundering. It makes clean the millions of Euros of public money given to the renewable energy sector for its PR.

It is no surprise that the EU and governments, spurious quasi-autonomous organisations and NGOs are in cahoots. It has long been known that organisations such as Friends of the Earth and WWF are paid by the EU to lobby the EU in favour of the policies that the EU wants. And it is no surprise that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change takes research that benefits the agendas of governments. We all knew this much.

What is surprising is the sheer scale of this shameless enterprise. We all knew that 'grey literature' -- non-scientific and non-peer reviewed 'research' -- found its way into IPCC reports. What surprises is the extent to which 'grey organisations' -- para-govermental institutions with public functions, but little or no democratic accountability or transparency -- are involved in the production of policy and evidence-making, benefitting a narrow industrial sector and serving a particular political agenda.

But what really grates is that to ask questions about this process is to identify oneself as a 'denier', in hock to fossil energy interests and 'well-funded' PR organisations. Pointing out the implications for democracy and the economy when self-interested NGOs and industry-associations enjoy such privilege from government is characterised as 'denying scientific evidence'.

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Reader Comments (111)

At least in New Zealand, Greenpeace had its 'charity' status removed. What an awful organisation!

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:08 PM | Unregistered Commentervelcro

further to Oldtimer’s research:
The government has just tightened up its renewables targets, in accordance with the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee, at a cost of unknown future billions. Looking into the CCC document on which this important decision was based, I discovered theat the essential scientific part was written by an organisation called AVOID, which is described as “a DECC/Defra funded programme and an LWEC (Living with Environmental Change) accredited activity, supported by the Met Office Hadley Centre, the Grantham Institute for Climate Change, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Walker Institute”.
As with the IPCC document so admirably analysed by Ben Pile, we find a perfect circle of government-funded lobby groups producing the evidence to further the policies the government has already decided on.
Anyone willing to waste some of their remaining braincells helping to deconstruct this outbreak of mass autism is invited to contribute to the analysis of this scandalous document at the post at Harmless Sky

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

I ask, is anyone really surprised at the level of corruption, I'm not, corruption, deceit, propaganda and outright lies where politicans and vested interested parties are concerned are par for the course. I no longer believe a word anyone with authority says.

Although most are unconerned, and they should be, it has to be acknowledged, like it or not, that the AGW and the secondhand-smoking scam are on a par. Lying scientists/researchers reaching conclusions to retain their funding/grants, deceit, propaganda on a scale that would've made Goebels blush and stakeholders leading policy, yet no one has been remotely interested in investigating this lucrative scam. NGOs & organisations have cottoned on to how the propaganda & lies are so effective they are now using the same tactics for other vested interested projects. And so it will carry o until the whol lot of them are brought down.

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

George Steiner,

"Beware the fury of a patient man" - John Dryden

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

The fact that promoting AGW-induced 'solutions' is paid for by the taxpayers that also have to pay for these 'solutions' in order to make some apparatchiks rich, is mind-boggling.

They've almost outsmarted us with having no democracy in the EUSSR, but running out of OPM will eventually turn us away from this socialist experiment. Maybe Greece is a blessing in disguise.

IF we survive this redgreen coup d'etat these people WILL do time.

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterScarface

Think of the fees to be earned by Oxburgh. Muir Russel et al (with support from Ward and Beddington) to whitewash this one.

Now they know how much Greenpeace have been ripping off eurpean taxpayers, they will consider it reasonable to expect parity

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:27 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Come On ZED..please defend this..
Now is your big chance.. :)
Cricket predictable...

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermike Williams

What this article shows is that it is probably impossible for the public to find out just how much money is being consumed in this "cause". It would not be a surprise to find that governments are scared that if the pack of cards falls down, so do their economic structures.

Just what sort of percentage of employment in the UK/EU is reliant upon the hypothesis? Research, Advocacy (Council employed “advisors” lobbyists etc), the renewable industry (though not all are fully AGW reliant), NGO’s they employ a lot of people, the arctic walkers and rowers, this is not an exhaustive list…

And all of that lot is a drag on other wealth generators, I reckon our politicians have really got themselves between a rock and a hard, possibly cooling place. And if it does start to cool watch the squirm begin…

We live in interesting times…

Jun 16, 2011 at 10:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGreen Sand

I can tell you that the people in the German renewables industry travel from one congress or trade fair to the next, know each other, some are Greenpeace members, and they're good friends with the according researchers at the Max Planck or Fraunhofer institutes; they have contacts to politicians, it's all a nationwide incestuous circle.

And not one of them has any qualms about it. They are self-righteous; proudly proclaiming that PV will reach "grid parity" next year - by this they mean that the subsidy paid for a solar kWh is no higher than the consumer end price; which doesn't really mean anything, as the consumer end price is in fact three to four times as high as the bulk prize of electricity due to several taxes and levies.

They are on a mission. They will simply laugh off any accusation of wrongdoing or corruption; in their minds they are the chosen few (yet, even with all the subsidies, many PV companies are on the verge of insolvency).

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDirkH

Excellent piece of investigative journalism and great companion article to what Mr. McIntyre has been writing about of late.

Unfortunately, as the author notes this is not necessarily a revelation. Here's an example from here in Canada:

Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
Contract Date: 2010-07-12
Value: $550,000.00
Type: Contribution
Purpose: To enable the Canadian Environmental Network to engage in constructive dialogue on environmental issues and related policies with governments, the general public and other interested segments of the Canadian society.

Interested Canadian readers can see how all kinds of money is dished out by visiting here:

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:30 PM | Unregistered Commentermenth

From WUWT on a related tangent:

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEdward Getty

George Steiner @Jun 16, 2011 at 9:39 PM:

You really must remember, the only power you have is your vote. Last time you wasted it. Next time you will waste it again. None of you knows how to do a good riot. But you like witty repartee.

Cumbrian Lad @Jun 16, 2011 at 10:21 PM:

"Beware the fury of a patient man" - John Dryden

We shall see.

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

"None of you knows how to do a good riot."

We're gonna do this without one, hopefully.


Jun 16, 2011 at 11:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

DirkH @11:26pm

Change the names and you could be talking about the UK. Including the marginal, subsidy-dependent small 'enterprises' about to go under when the free money goes away.

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Re George Steiner

Next time you will waste it again. None of you knows how to do a good riot. But you like witty repartee.

Some of us do. Some of us have been looking at how Greenpeace activists have been getting away with their rioting and direct action. It isn't time to follow their example though, yet.

Jun 16, 2011 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

hmmm....much as I hate to say it, we do need to see the PIIGS default to an extent whereby the EU is ruined. Thats going to hurt us all initially. But otherwise the EU will bleed us all dry anyway over the coming decades. Its a monster and it needs to die. Sadly that death will hurt us, but you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs. Tough times ahead might put paid to this (and this is only the tip of the EU monster iceburg).
BTW...I used to think the idea of the EU was a good thing.

Jun 17, 2011 at 12:23 AM | Unregistered Commentermikef2

George Steiner @Jun 16, 2011 at 9:39 PM:

You wouldn't by any chance be the George Steiner? The European-born American literary critic, essayist, philosopher, novelist, translator, and educator as Wikipedia has it?

Jun 17, 2011 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan Woolley

@mikef2 Jun 17, 2011 at 12:23 AM

Yes, I am of the same mind, it'll be ugly but necessary, the EU wants deconstructing, Europe cannot be a unified federal state.
Anyway, eventually it would have to implode but in the interim, to keep it together it [EU] would have to become ever more authoritarian and that leads to desperation, subjugation, disaster and in the end:civil war and revolution.
Mind you whatever happens, we are already well down that road, the EU's asinine demographic experiment 'strategy' and 'open borders' - will be the cause, we await the detonator.

Jun 17, 2011 at 12:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan

Gorege Steiner --while I can see where you are coming from, one could have said exactly the same thing 12 months ago about the political situation in the Arab world. All it took was the spark from the street seller to start the change. If we don't keep looking for the spark , then you are right nothing will change. It is this sort of work which will help "find" the spark and I'm sure it will come from the most unexpected place in the end.

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss

We've allowed some really nasty people to determine our future history. Forget self-recrimination, blame and guilt about how we allowed this to happen. We just did, get over it!
What really matters is what we do next. Do we repeat the mistakes that got us here, meekly roll over, join 'em or do we grow a pair?
I would hope the latter but it won't be easy. Logic, history, reason and scientific evidence have all taken a back seat to the consensus-fortified ridiculing, pursed-lip, eyebrow-raising and authoritarian dogma, aka the much beloved, bombardment tactics of the Donkey Grandchildren of WW1.
Takes a strong person to resist that type of attack. We doffed our caps respectfully to our betters then.
Have we so forgotten the butchers-bill of a century ago that we'll, cheerfully and with a song in our hearts, do it again?
I think it's about time that the Lions made it clear to the Donkeys just who is in charge!

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

So now you should be able to better understand why it was so important to sweep Climategate under the rug. There is big money at play in this scheme ... BIG MONEY. Take for instance the Oxburgh Inquiry -- who is Lord Oxburgh? Chairman of Falck Renewables (wind farms) and President of Carbon Capture and Storage Association. You must remember: If you don't understand something, think money.

Isn't it ironic that the AGW conspirators have been screaming for years about the oil companies funding skeptics. Hah! The renewable companies have been at work buying off the politicians.

Jun 17, 2011 at 3:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDrcrinum

Mr. Woolley

The Economist asked the same question some years ago. The answer is no.

Jun 17, 2011 at 3:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle an old retured bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Yes Yes, everbody - much indignation and wisdom displayed.

I guess copies of this article will circulate around the rooms off the corridors of power in Brussels and European capitals and accumulate congratulations due for a job well done and a process effectively maintained.

Some associated names from both inside and outside those rooms will probably appear in future honours lists.

The bureaucrats, businessmen and politicians involved well know that careful and discreet management of the sort uncovered in Ben Pile's peice is necessary to avoid provocation of the violence Mr Steiner speaks of. There will be more byzantine manouvers and structures created in the good old tradition of Lloyds of London, Enron and derivatives that fooled so many people for so long.

While the method used in the IPCC case - concealment by burial in complexity - is the same, I doubt solutions will emerge in the same way. Was not Enron stopped by some sort of enforcement and the other two because insiders got hurt? There are no enforcers or damaged insiders in the IPCC case.

Hope springs eternal, however, but how? Maybe by a failure by those in power to suppress a dramatization of what is going on in the MSM that results in more awareness by the apathetic majority. Maybe.

Are blogs like this significant in this respect?

Jun 17, 2011 at 3:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

From the posts, I think you would be all interested in this excellent piece about the same subject.
The EU Connection in Climate Research
by John Rosenthal
It is not just Greenpeace on the "EU carbon gravy train" but CRU, TERI, WWF and Friends of the Earth.
A direct quote from the article "Friends of the Earth Europe was awarded operating grants from the eu’s Environment dg representing anywhere from 40 percent to 53 percent of its annual budget." The piece also explains that the EU pays for reasearch at CRU and other institutions and even bank-rolls Pachuris' TERI.
Yes thats right, unelected EU technocrats use EU tax-payers money to fund fraudulent climate "research" which is then siezed upon by the EU bank-rolled lobyists at the UN and within member states and is used to justify the scare tactics necessary to galvanise support for the EU to raise "carbon taxes" how terribly democratic.

Jun 17, 2011 at 4:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicanuck

It might not reach this point, but there is no great difficulty in some countries for a major economic sector to rebel and withdraw its services until the matter is set right.

Reading betwen the lines in Australia, as one of the people in the past who was involved in setting policy in the major resources sector, I would say it would be under discussion right now that the coal and electricity sectors volunteer to cease some or all production until a carbon tax is off the radar. Here, we have the advantage of being outside the EU.

The whole Greenpeace subject is fairly old by now. I remember Maurice Strong and the prescriptive 1992 Rio party. Headlines at the time (believe them if you wish) reported systematic shooting of local hoodlums by Rio police so that visitors would not find them confronting (or at all).

At the time, a group of mineral sector members collected, collated and inferred from published lists of activists, the locus of the gathering activism. It was dominantly German. We were still fighting Germany when I was born, so do not underestimate the role of memory as these matters develop. In case you infer to narrowly, there was also activism breeding in California, but what's new there? Back then, it was Timothy Leary's acolytes.

Thank you, Ben. What many have long suspected is now documented.

Jun 17, 2011 at 4:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle an old retured bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Oh! Re my 3.30 AM remarks:

Some Tut Tutting as well, I expect, with notes about the need for more effective obfuscation.

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

@Geoff Sherington:

I would say it would be under discussion right now that the coal and electricity sectors volunteer to cease some or all production until a carbon tax is off the radar.

Just domestically, or to include exports too? How would China react to such a move? Would they pressurise the energy sector - or the cause of their protest? Who would the Australian press side with as things stand?

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterfrank verismo

Dusty: "Now the queston is:
Did Mr Cameron & Co know about this? "

You don't seriously think any Official Party Representative, even gets onto the ballot paper, unless they are a complicit and approving actor in the Racketeering Ponzi Scheme?

George Steiner: "You really must remember, the only power you have is your vote. Last time you wasted it. Next time you will waste it again. None of you knows how to do a good riot. But you like witty repartee."

Voting is the least of our powers. History shows that all too clearly. You don't know how much rioting is happening across Europe. Just because the media doesn't cover it (apart from Greece, but Greece gets coverage because Greece is the useful scapegoat that's being used to hide the even worse practices that have been going on in Austria, Germany, France, Italy, etc).

The biggest riot I have ever seen in my life, was in Budapest, in July 2009, as the Hungarians were protesting the EU corruption which was embedding itself there. That riot didn't even get coverage in the Hungarian media at the time.

The Hungarians got thanked for that, by having their pensions stolen.

This lack of media coverage is no accident, and is reflected in what David posted:

"I no longer believe a word anyone with authority says."

You are encouraged to think that it is just 'you'. Are encouraged to think that the vast majority believe differently to 'you'. As an isolated figure, you naturally feel frustrated and powerless.

It is psychological warfare, being waged against us. Paid for with our own money.

There is no 'you'. There is no 'I'. It is 'WE' - and 'WE' are the vast majority, and 'THEY' are the very tiny minority.

It is a very impressive display of smoke and mirrors. The conjuring hands on the dais, the deliberate gestures and body language, the hypnotising words of the soundbite, the talking down to us as if we are all 3 year olds, the couch pussy everywhere on the TV (and the female broadcasters are nearly as bad), the rapid film cuts in scenes and disjointed continuity to keep people off balance, it's the whole empty charade of manipulating majik, innit. It isn't a kind old man behind the curtain like in the Wizard of Oz. It's a small bunch of stark, staring mad, psychopaths and sociopaths.

When Government and the Rule of Law cease to be the solution, and instead become the problem, knowledge of that reality can only be delayed for so long.

When The Boss finds out, as The Boss always does find out, then The Boss always cleans house.

The Boss is us, and it's now past time to clean house.

By the way, the ECB is now insolvent. Those strange noises you can hear, are the squadrons of chickens on their way to roost.

Jun 17, 2011 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Witch is Dead

Also consider this, if you still think you are alone.

The propaganda machine is broken, and started falling apart over 15 years ago.

Since, viewing figures in the West, have plummeted.

Since, newspaper readership numbers have plummeted.

The biggest drops, were even before the internet kicked into gear (around 1995/6, America television lost 57% of its viewers, in a 10 month period - and similar has happened elsewhere). So it isn't the internet (and therefore any attempt to censor or control the internet, is futile).

Yet according to 'the machine', everybody is stuck on the couch watching some stupid television programme or other. For example in America, the cover for the attack, is the scathing criticism of all the Americans watching American Idol, or it's Dancing with the Stars, or whatever.

It helps reinforce the impression that everybody but you is doing this.

It is a direct attack upon you as an individual, to help keep you under control.

The reality?

American Idol viwers figures, for example, show less than 5% of the American population watch it, and even those numbers are falling.

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Witch is Dead

Oh and don't ignore the UN promoted "lead replacement" gravy train either. It isn't just Norway that's had to suspend the use of lead ammunition, due to instances of metal fever with it (there's also groundwater pollution concerns with it as well).

It's exactly the same playbook used with that.

Begs some very big and interesting potential questions about the UN's global population assertions, and who knows what else as well, doesn't it.

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Witch is Dead

Sorry "It isn't just Norway that's had to suspend the use of lead ammunition" should be - It isn't just Norway that's had to suspend the use of lead *free* ammunition

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Witch is Dead

Since renewable energy companies are totally dependent on government largesse to stay in business, they cannot be the ones pulling the strings. I bet it would shock rank-and-file environmentalists if they knew that one of the major contributors to the scam is Big Oil itself!

AGW alarmist propagandists smear the entire climate sceptic movement by pointing out that ExxonMobil funds climate sceptics. Why only ExxonMobil though, and not other oil companies? In fact, many other major oil companies are all to eager to brag about their investments in renewable energy, even though it is only a minuscule part of their business. What's really going on here?

When most people think of Big Oil, they think of companies selling fuel for motor vehicles. Since WWII, our towns and cities have been increasingly built around the motor car, and a majority of Westerners now live in a way which would difficult or impossible without a car (or even two cars per household). Eliminating this car dependence would require the fundamental reconstruction of our towns and cities, a process lasting a decade at least. This means that the only short-term threat to Big Oil revenues from transport fuels comes from people changing to more fuel-efficient cars. The United still has substantial room for improvement in this respect, but Europeans already drive efficient vehicles (due to heavy taxes on motor fuels) and have very little room to further reduce fuel consumption in response to the appeals of climate campaigners. This perhaps explains why organized AGW scepticism is stronger in the United States than in Europe.

However, motor fuels aren't they only way in which Big Oil makes money! Electricity generation is also a major area.

In the 1960s, oil was a major fuel for power stations, but after the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 its use declined drastically due to its uncompetitive price. In response to increased oil prices, some countries (such as France) went over to nuclear power, while others (such as the United States) went back to coal in a big way. Big Oil suffered a major hit to their revenues as a result, and was determined to strike back. They didn't just sell oil, but also natural gas (which largely comes from the same wells).

Natural gas has drawbacks compared to coal and uranium -- it is more expensive than coal or uranium per unit of energy provided, and its gaseous state makes it awkward to handle, as well as dangerous (due to the risk of explosions) and it often requires heavy investments in pipelines (or LNG tankers) to get it to market. The one advantage it does have is that gas-fired power stations are essentially "jet engines" in mechanical terms, and can therefore throttle up and down much more rapidly than coal-fired or nuclear power stations (which are "steam engines" in mechanical terms).

Taking advantage of this, Big Oil began a propaganda campaign to encourage the use of wind turbines and solar panels, knowing that the energy that these sources provided is so unreliable that it would be useless without backup -- backup that could only practically be supplied by natural gas. They funded environmentalists (through "foundations" and other front organizations so that the source of the money would not be obvious) to oppose coal (rightly, in terms of environmental damage done) and nuclear (wrongly) so that they could reconquer the electricity generation market for themselves.

In April of this year, the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza exposed how three German environmentalist groups -- WWF Deutschland, BUND (the German wing of Friends of the Earth) and Naturschutzbund Deutschland -- had received €10 million from the "Naturschutzstiftung Deutsche Ostsee" foundation. The sole funder of this foundation is Gazprom-controlled Nord Stream AG.

I suspect a good number of European politicians who oppose nuclear power on "environmentalist" grounds are really in Gazprom's pocket. Such politicians deserved to be charged with treason for selling their countries out to the Russians.

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Carty

George, nice story. Do you have some links? Not that I read polish, so maybe translations?

Jun 17, 2011 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

As usual, Ben produces an excellent, well-researched, well thought-out, highly intelligent and extremely readable piece. Climate Resistance is high on my morning to-do list and I start getting withdrawal symptoms if more than two days pass without a new posting.
(I'll take the fee in cash, Ben, if that's all right!
BUT while there are some new bits of information in this and more detail, the basic facts (that government - incl EU - is funding NGOs to lobby government) have been known for some time, as has the involvement of FoE and Greenpeace and the Club of Rome and the Sierra Club and WWF and the Audubon Society and RSPB and [have I missed anyone out, if so insert here] in "advising" and drafting bills and generally making absolutely f***ing certain that their point of view is heard and other people's is not (think Ward+Guardian+assorted "environment correspondents" and don't forget Black et al at the Beeb).
And the more any of us try to bring this to public notice the more we are accused of being conspiracy theorists which is an easy accusation because what we are seeing is, if not actually a conspiracy, then something that comes pretty damn close to it.
So it's nice to see some righteous anger being generated. But what exactly are we all going to do about it?

Jun 17, 2011 at 9:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson


"AGW and the secondhand-smoking scam are on a par"

Here's a man who would agree with you:


(read more or less every other entry for the smoking scam!)

This is quite arresting, too:


Jun 17, 2011 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Taxation is a necessary evil. Different countries and cultures have different views on what it should and shouldn't pay for. Take your pick from welfare, defence, infrastructure, education, healthcare; whatever.

But take my money from me and spend it on telling me what to think? Too far. A long, long way too far.

Iniquitous and perfidious taxation has often lead to great change. Everything from Magna Carta to the Declaration of Independence.

We, the people, have been led to believe that we're divided between "progressives" and "conservatives". Divided and conquered.

But this isn't about "left" and "right" any more. This is about Right and Wrong. This is about an elite political class screwing the people they are supposed to represent.

Climate change? That won't stir people to action. Apart from a few nerds like us (on both sides of the fence) who read blogs like this NOBODY CARES. A tiny number of passionate people work themsleves up into a frenzy on the internet, but the man on the Clapham Omnibus couldn't give a toss. If it rains, he'll take an umbrella, so what? It's weather. But steal his bus fare and tell him that the walk will do him good? Well, he might have something to say about that.

Have we so quickly forgotten the expenses scandal? MPs of all parties enriching themselves at our expense. MPs who enact laws that control our lives, that we must obey on pain of imprisonment, defrauding us? How much worse must things be within the EU, whose accounts are a mess, where there is no accountability to an electorate? How corrupt must an organisation be that it sees nothing wrong with devising policy, then using money raised from its citizens to pay for the evidence to support the policy AND to buy supporters

Those are not the actions of an accountable democracy. Those are the actions of a tyrrany.

Jun 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterAngusPangus

Thanks for this excellent piece, Ben.
I read it last night, but the ramifications are so enormous I needed to sleep on it before I could get my head around the entire thing.
Many of the commenters here have similarly disturbing but equally unsurprising information.
It seems that the ordinary man is doomed to struggle to realise a better society, no matter what era we are born in to, and that corruption is always a part of the human condition.

Jun 17, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

To Cameron and co, of course, this is no more than the politics of "nudge".

Jun 17, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commenteroldtimer

As a physicis (energy expert) my theme for years has been:
do we want our energy and environmental policies to be determined by lobbyists or science?

My point has been that lobbyists are the source of essentially ALL of our environmental and energy policies.

REAL science is the answer to this self-serving, expensive, and ineffective alternative.

See EnergyPresentation.Info for a scientific perspective on renewables.

Jun 17, 2011 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterEnergyExpert

Josh, here's a machine translation of that Gazeta Wyborcza article.

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Carty

Also, check out Rod Adams's Atomic Insights blog, and the Smoking Gun section in particular (which contains articles on anti-nuclear campaigning by fossil fuel interests).

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Carty

What gives all this legitimacy is the scientific "consensus". I have tried to communicate that ALL of our scientific and political institutions, and the media, have been suborned by an incompetent consensus (which I have shown, simply and definitively, on my blog site), enabled by a general incompetence among today's scientists, due to the unquestioned dogmatism at the heart of modern theories. So this is not news to me, nor is its breadth and depth surprising at all. And the longer you let James Hansen, Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt etc. continue as "expert climate scientists", the longer you will continue to let your governments impose fundamental controls and taxes on every aspect of your lives, and the worse it is going to be for science when it all falls apart. You are in a major scientific revolution, people, only you don't know enough to realize it.

Jun 17, 2011 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Another thought on ideology, money laundering and possibly extortion based on this comment from the SPM

Monetizing the external costs of energy supply would improve the relative competitiveness of RE.

So by making renewables competitor's more expensive, RE appears to become more competitive. One way Greenpeace has done this in the past is via the planning process and endless rounds of inquiries delaying projects and artificially inflating the costs. It's also done this by encouraging and supporting direct action campaigns against RE competitors like coal power plants. Activists have entered sites with the intent to shut them down or disrupt operations. Often that would be considered terrorism but for some reason, green activists have often escaped serious punishment. Their ecoterrorism has increased security costs for power station operators, and policing costs though.

The report mentions energy security, but doesn't really cover other security aspects. Many RE projects are remote and quite vulnerable. If we become more reliant on RE, should those sites become more secure, and have the costs for that been adequately calculated? 24x7 manned guarding as operated by conventional powerstations is expensive after all, and may be impractical for off-shore RE projects. RE currently be a lower threat than a coal plant because ecoterrorists aren't targetting those, but as we become more reliant on RE the threat level may increase.

Jun 17, 2011 at 3:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

Harry Dale Huffman

You are in a major scientific revolution, people, only you don't know enough to realize it.

Gosh. Still, at least I can spot when I'm being patronised, so all is not lost.

Jun 17, 2011 at 4:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


All good points. The much talked about cost of nuclear has also been significantly inflated by endless additional layers of regulation - presumably merely a coincidental and unfortunate effect of responsible oversight. As opposed to, say, thirty years of anti-nuclear bias amongst enough people involved in the policy-making process.

Can you or anyone else help me understand how an offshore wind installation represents anything other than extremely insecure supply? What with regular (but unpredictable) shutdowns because of too much or too little wind, a submarine grid connector which will periodically fail, and damage by heavy weather and the endless corrosion from salt spray...

Another lie popular with the RE gang is that intermittency can be smoothed by using grid interconnectors.

There are two problems with this.

First, there's never going to be enough energy to meet demand in our crappy, rationed and heavily electricity-dependent decarbonised, RE-dependent future. So when area X asks area Y for some spare capacity via the interconnector, there won't be any.

Second, any grid becomes increasingly vulnerable to failure in direct proportion to its size. It's common sense. The grid interconnections proposed for the UK will of course be marine cables. Which are buggers to fix when they fail...

I still haven't the faintest idea how the energy fantasists can come out with all this spiel and keep a straight face.

Jun 17, 2011 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


As a fellow physicist and energy expert, I agree that John Droz has done a great job there.

Jun 17, 2011 at 5:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

George, many thanks!

Atomic. Amazing. Give it a few years and I could see people driving round with stickers showing the number of turbines they had 'decommissioned'.

Just underneath their RSPB sticker.

Jun 17, 2011 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh


Can you or anyone else help me understand how an offshore wind installation represents anything other than extremely insecure supply?

Nope. I can think of many ways onshore or offshore installations could be attacked, but not going to share those in case idiots or the ideologically challenged try any of them. But face it, wind turbines seem to be pretty good at self-destructing anyway if the videos on YouTube are anything to go by. Plus the offshore operators have already discovered it's costing them a lot more to maintain their windmills than they'd originally bargained for. Understating costs on government type bids? Who'd have thought that. Or that the North Sea is a rather harsh environment.

First, there's never going to be enough energy to meet demand in our crappy, rationed and heavily electricity-dependent decarbonised, RE-dependent future. So when area X asks area Y for some spare capacity via the interconnector, there won't be any.

Well, the UK's closing down old coal and nuclear. Germany, Italy and Switzerland are phasing out their nuclear. That seems to be creating a rather large hole in the EU energy supply market, seemingly due to be filled with rather expensive, low energy density intermittent power suppliers. Those could be biofuel, but increased demand for biofuels will obviously lower the price. Or not as the biofuel sector seems to be discovering by rising woodchip prices, or even corn prices. Or if there's just a crop failure due to climate change, or bad weather as it was previously known. Same with wind. We've seen blocking over the last few cold winters causing low wind conditions across much of N.Europe. But the wind will be blowing somwhere, and that will provide enough power, surely.

Or, it'll just create rather large problems for energy buyers who'll have a much harder time forward purchasing energy. Or when there's a shortage of supply from the RE crowd, any operator with dispatchable power can probably name their own price. France thanks Greenpeace for spinning this report.

Second, any grid becomes increasingly vulnerable to failure in direct proportion to its size. It's common sense. The grid interconnections proposed for the UK will of course be marine cables. Which are buggers to fix when they fail...

Having worked on submarine cable systems, yes. Especially as they can have an annoying habit of being damaged during severe weather, which the IPCC tells us we should be expecting more of. Then again, the IPCC tells us we should be generating 80% of our power by sources which are the most vulnerable to severe weather and climate change. There's probably some kind of logic there somewhere that I'm missing as a simple engineer.

I don't know much about the challenges of power grid synchronisation, but if it's anything like the challenge of clock sync on large networks then the bigger the network, the harder it is and the more that can go wrong. The proposed EU supergrid looks like it'll be a challenge, but no doubt some lobby group is bidding to manage that.. for a fee of course.

All of which is why I think the 80% dream that the IPCC lead with is completely bonkers. The 30% is less bonkers, and probably more manageable if we absolutely must. Or, if you cherrypick some statements from the SPM, you get this message:

Some RE resources are variable with limited predictability. Some have lower physical energy densities and different technical specifications from fossil fuels. Such characteristics can constrain ease of integration and invoke additional system costs particularly when reaching higher shares of RE. As the penetration of variable RE sources increases, maintaining system reliability may become more challenging and costly.

Electricity network transmission (including interconnections between systems) and/or distribution infrastructure may need to be strengthened and extended, partly because of the geographical distribution and fixed remote locations of many RE resources. The levelized cost of energy represents the cost of an energy generating system over its lifetime but does not include the downstream cost of delivery to the final customer; the cost of integration, or external environmental or other costs. Subsidies and tax credits are also not included.

Start adding up those costs and the RE dream quickly becomes a nightmare.

Jun 17, 2011 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer


I'm embarrassed to respond to your expansive comment so briefly, but: yup, couldn't agree more. Which is why everyone needs to keep up the pressure on the energy fantasists and hope that Pielke Jnr's 'iron law' of climate policy continues to hold true. It will make life very uncomfortable for any political party espousing RE when the full costs and consequences become apparent to the electorate.

Jun 17, 2011 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD


Not sure if you are being tongue-in-cheek here:

But the wind will be blowing somwhere, and that will provide enough power, surely.

Forgive me if so, but just in case:

- The RE enthusiasts all stress that any spare capacity generated by intermittent renewables (wind; solar) must be captured by some sort of storage mechanism to offset demand/supply imbalance.

- Various approaches are proposed from underground pumped hydro to flywheels and compressed air. All suffer from ca 30% conversion losses or higher.

- Addressing intermittency, variability and unpredictability in the face of escalating demand (and no scenario projecting falling demand is credible) will mean at best a state of permanently precarious supply.

- At worst, there will be constant shortfalls and the energy reservoirs of whatever type will never fully charge and frequently be unable to provide the requisite backup. Conventional spinning reserve will have to take over.

- This leaves exactly no room for largess via wide area grid interconnectors - even if the wind is indeed blowing somewhere.

Jun 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

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