A letter to the Editor of the CR Review

After our recent correspondence regarding highly questionable information contained within a previous the CR Review, I was absolutely aghast to open the latest edition (No 471) to find the Community yet again promoting similar falsehoods, fake news and misinformation. I refer to the article ("Finding ourselves at home in creation") penned by John Rodwell, the inclusion of which - following immediately after my having tried to set the record straight following your publication of the earlier grossly misleading article - I can only view as a personal slight.

I appreciate you probably have little editorial control over the content of articles submitted by third parties but nowhere within the CR Review does the Community distance itself from opinions stated therein by contributors. In the absence of any such disclaimer, it is clear that the Community endorses everything published within the CR Review and I am, accordingly, appalled that it continues to foster and propagate alarmist and unfounded information, rather than seeking to encourage and advance the truth (which is, surely, what it is called upon to do).

I thought I had made it quite apparent in my earlier communication that the fictions and fabrications previously published are easily capable of being debunked but I see I will have to do the same again now regarding the outrageous assertions in Mr Rodwell’s article.

1. Mr Rodwell says the environment is changing for the worse. It is not: there is demonstrable proof that here and in very many parts of the world decades of effort have produced industrialised and other societies which are the cleanest ever. There are, in fact, historically unparalleled high standards of living throughout the world and it is this high standard of living which has made environmental clean-up desirable and possible. Air quality is as clean as it has ever been. For example, since 1980 Carbon Monoxide is down 83%, Lead is down 99%, Nitrous Oxides are down 61%, Ozone is down 31%, Particulate matter of circa 10 microgrammes is down 26%, Particulate matter of circa 2.5 microgrammes is down 39% and Sulphur Dioxide is down 91%. Drinking water across vast swathes of the planet is reliable and of high quality, with only infrequent violations and large areas of surface waters having been restored from run-off/non-point-source pollution. The clean up of waste sites is accelerating, modern (fossil-fuelled) technology providing an improved ability to assess and remedy environmental problems. There is no evidence that any emissions or releases from any toxic waste site in the western world has caused any harm to human health and it is an indisputable fact that more people are living longer than ever in the history of the planet. The actual number of global deaths from natural disasters, which include weather extremes, has dropped over the past century from 1.2 million to 11,700. Finally, the Earth is greener than ever before, with crop yields up by almost 15%.


2. Mr Rodwell says the weather is “more unpredictable” with “firece storms” and “catastrophic droughts”. However, there is demonstrable proof that throughout the world drought, flooding, hurricane and tornado numbers are well within their normal historic range of severity and frequency. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - the UN body which climate alarmists in academic, political and media circles continually cite as the authoritative source of information on climate change - confirm that “if there is any trend at all in extreme weather, it is downward rather than upward. Our most extreme weather, be it in heatwave, drought, flood, hurricane or tornado occurred many years ago, long before the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere began to climb at its present rate”. (Incidentally, regarding Carbon Dioxide, as I explained in my previous communication, this makes up not 40% of the atmosphere, or 4%, or even 0.4% but actually a little over 0.04%. It is currently at one of the lowest levels of the entire history of the planet and there is no correlation whatsoever between Carbon Dioxide levels and global temperatures). There has been no evidence of increased flooding frequency or severity in the past century and a half. Indeed, the IPCC writes it has “low confidence” in any climate change impact regarding the frequency or severity of floods, going so far as to state it has “low confidence” in even the “sign” of any changes. Many recent flood events can be traced almost entirely to land use changes. Hurricanes and tropical cyclones actually show a decreasing trend around the globe, with the frequency of land-falling hurricanes of any strength (Categories 1 to 5) remaining unchanged for the last 50 years. Nor has the IPCC discerned or identified any long-term trend in drought patterns globally: according to its data and that from other research bodies, droughts are becoming less severe. The IPCC has “low confidence” about any negative precipitation trends globally. Extreme weather events do, of course, occur but they are entirely the result of natural patterns in the climate system.


3. Mr Rodwell refers to “glaciers shrinking”. This is highly misleading for three reasons. First, I note Mr Rodwell does not specify that many glaciers were shrinking well before the start of the twentieth century or that, in fact, glacial advances and retreats have always occurred and are entirely the result of natural patterns. (Incidentally, it needs to be clearly understood that a glacier which calves does not mean it is melting; it calves because it is accumulating ice, this additional mass adding extra force to the downwards trajectory. Pieces of ice break off not because the glacier is melting but because it is gaining too much material to sustain it without so calving). Secondly, very many glaciers are currently not shrinking. For example, the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing every year and only this year the ice sheet gained a record 4 gigatons of snow and ice right in the middle of summer. Greenland’s largest glacier has thickened since 2016 and this thickening has been so profound that the nearby ocean has actually cooled down by 1.5 degrees Celsius. In a recent study of 50 Alaskan glaciers there was no corresponding change in the number of glaciers retreating nor any accelerations of retreat rates; on the contrary, many glaciers in that region have advanced. Glacier surges of hundreds of metres within mere months have been occurring throughout the high mountains in Asia (in the Karakoram region, especially) for decades, even centuries. In the Southern Hemisphere, 29 studies indicate that not only has the Southern Ocean, Antarctic Peninsula, West Antarctica and East Antarctica been cooling or not warming in recent decades but that many regional glaciers are advancing. Thirdly, despite the foregoing, under West Antarctica’s ice sheet is the largest volcanic region on earth, with nearly 100 volcanoes, some nearly 4,000 metres high. What effect does Mr Rodwell think molten lava and fumaroles will have on an ice sheet? Does he believe volcanoes are somehow a consequence of western industrial civilisation?

4. Mr Rodwell refers to a “warming climate” and “climate warming”. To suggest that today’s temperatures are record highs is mischief-making of the highest order. Earth has been much hotter (up to ten degrees hotter) for the vast majority of geological time. The last million years (a mere heartbeat on the geologic timescale) has been atypically cold but with large fluctuations in temperature. This period can be described as a series of 100,000 year long cycles of dangerously cold ice ages (ten degrees colder than today) and warm interglacial periods (which is where we are now). The interglacial periods are relatively short; usually a few thousand years and we are nearly 12,000 years into this current interglacial period. The science (that is true science, rather than the psuedo-science so beloved of alarmists) suggests we might soon descend into another dangerously cold glaciation; dangerous because far more people perish from cold than they do from heat. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been warning of a new “Grand Solar Minimum” for over a decade now. Actually, this new period may already have commenced, as since 2016 global temperatures have declined by 0.4 to 0.57 degrees Celsius. In 2019 alone, the global average temperature was 0.36 degrees below normal. In fact, there has been no net warming in the last 21 years and a sharp cooling in the last three. In 2020, countless locations throughout the world, including in the UK, have seen their coldest temperature records smashed. As a recent example, Norway has just suffered its coldest summer for 60 years.

5. Mr Rodwell cites “species extinctions”. However, it is estimated that there are currently over 10 million species on the Earth, which is more than at any time in its history. New species are constantly replacing old. Extinctions have always been an integral part of the Earth’s history but not a single species has been shown to be or have been either threatened or endangered by anything to do with climate change in the past century or by any real or imaginary warming of the Earth. A range of interrelated phenomena can contribute to extinctions, which include habitat destruction, competition, invasive diseases and reproductive failure. Happily, many animals, still endangered, are seeing their populations flourish due to excellent conservation programmes. Tropical forests cover less than 12% of all land, yet they contain over 50% of all 10 million plant and animal species that inhabit the entire Earth (the arctic covers 10% of the land area but contains only 600 plant species and only 100 species of birds, no reptiles or amphibians and only 20 mammals). If tropical conditions allow life to thrive, what conditions lead to extinctions? Well, a recent study of 20 mass extinctions in the geologic record give strong clues for their occurrence pointing to global cooling. Climate alarmists who use species extinction to build their false case before all of those who treasure the wonderful world of animals are being completely dishonourable.

6. Mr Rodwell talks about a “net zero” policy by 2030 but this game can only be played by those willing to ignore mathematics and engineering. The sheer cost and impracticability of such a position makes it unattainable and, of course, it is based on the entirely incorrect presupposition that Carbon Dioxide is a dangerous poison: it is not - it is absolutely vital for life and without it there would be none. Embracing “net zero” is a futile exercise which will not change the global trajectory of Carbon Dioxide emissions which, as it seems I cannot assert sufficiently frequently, have no impact whatsoever on the climate of planet earth. Actually, not only does Carbon Dioxide pose no threat to humanity, more of it will be beneficial, particularly as population numbers increase and crop yields need to keep pace with such an increase. Anybody supporting a net zero policy would be relying on so called “green” or “renewable” technology which is, as I now proceed to highlight (in 7 below), far from being both green and renewable.

7. Mr Rodwell advocates using “greener sources of energy” without any recognition whatsoever that “green energy” is far from the panacea it is made out to be. He also leaves out of the discussion any serious consideration of the broad environmental and supply-chain implications of “renewable” energy. This fallacy of renewable energy needs to be made apparent and put into its right context because all energy-producing machinery must be fabricated from materials extracted from the earth. No energy system is actually “renewable” since all machines require the continual mining and processing of millions of tons of primary materials and the disposal of hardware which inevitably wears out. Compared with hydrocarbons, green machines entail, on average, a tenfold increase in the quantities of materials extracted and processed to produce the same amount of energy. This means that any significant expansion of today’s modest level of green energy will create an unprecedented increase in global mining for needed minerals, radically exacerbating existing environmental and labour challenges and dramatically increasing imports and the vulnerability of the energy supply chain. Looking at this whole issue in broad terms:


(i) Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than ten times the quantity of materials compared to building machines using hydrocarbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society;


(ii) An electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones and a solar array that can power one data centre uses more glass than 50 million phones. A single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials. Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile;


(iii) Oil, natural gas and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics and purified minerals used to build green machines. The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of just one barrel of oil;


(iv) By 2050 the quantity of worn-out solar panels, much of it non-recyclable, will constitute double the tonnage of all today’s global plastic waste, plus over 3 million tons per year of un-recyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades. By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage;


(v) All machines wear out and there is nothing actually renewable about green machines, since - as stated - one must engage in continual extraction of materials to build new ones and replace those which wear out. All this requires mining, processing, transportation and, ultimately, the disposing of millions of tons of materials, much of it functionally or economically un-recyclable;


(vi) So called green energy sources (which, as I mentioned in my previous communication, are both dilute and intermittent) are incredibly land-intensive. For example, replacing the energy output from a single 100-MW natural gas-fired turbine, itself about the size of a residential house (producing enough electricity for 75,000 homes), requires at least 20 wind turbines occupying some ten square miles of land;


(vii) Building those wind machines consumes enormous quantities of conventional materials, including concrete, steel and fibreglass, plus less common materials, including “rare earth” elements such as dysprosium. A recent World Bank study noted that “Technologies assumed to populate the clean energy shift are in fact significantly more material intensive in their composition than current traditional fossil-fuel-based energy supply systems”;


(viii) Compared to a natural gas power plant, wind and solar farms and hydro dams require at least ten times as many total tons mined, moved and converted into machines to deliver the same quantity of energy. For example, building a single 100-MW wind farm requires some 30,000 tons of iron ore and 50,000 tons of concrete, as well as 900 tons of non-recyclable plastics for the huge blades. With solar hardware, the tonnage in cement, steel and glass is 150% greater than for wind, for the same energy output;


(ix) If attempts are to be made to use wind and solar sources to try and supply power when the wind is not blowing or (which of course occurs every night) the sun is not shining, even greater quantities of materials will be required. It would be necessary to build additional machines, roughly two to three times as many, in order to produce and store energy when the sun and wind are available, for use at times when they are not. For context, a utility-scale storage system sufficient for a 100-MW wind farm would entail using at least 10,000 tons of Tesla-class batteries;


(x) The world currently mines about 7,000 tons per year of neodymium, one of numerous key elements used in fabricating the electrical systems for wind turbines. Current clean-energy scenarios imagined will require an increase in neodymium supply in the coming decades of up to 4,000%. The mining of indium, used in fabricating electricity-generating solar semiconductors, will need to increase as much as 8,000%. The mining of cobalt for batteries will need to grow by up to 800%. Lithium production, used for batteries, will need to rise more than 2,000%. The Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia has analysed 14 metals essential to building clean technology machines, both industrial and domestic, concluding that the supply of elements such as nickel, dysprosium and tellurium will need to increase by up to 600%.The implications of such remarkable increases in the demand for energy minerals are colossal - such green ambitions alone would consume a major, if not an exhaustive, share of global minerals;


(xi) Further, for every ton of a purified element, a far greater tonnage of ore must be physically moved and processed. For example, copper ores typically contain only about a half-percent, by weight, of the element itself. Thus, roughly 200 tons of ore are dug up, moved, crushed and processed to extract to one ton of copper. For rare earths, up to 160 tons of ore are mined per ton of element. For cobalt, roughly 1,500 tons of ore are mined to attain one ton of the element. It is also necessary to take into account the tons of rocks and soil which are first removed in order to gain access to often deeply buried mineral-bearing ore. It is common to see up to seven tons of earth moved to achieve access to one ton of ore. For a snapshot of what all this points to regarding the total materials footprint of the green energy path, consider the supply chain for an electric car battery. A single battery providing a useful driving range weighs about 1,000 pounds. As noted, providing the refined minerals needed to fabricate a single EV battery requires the mining, moving and processing of more than 500,000 pounds of materials somewhere on the planet. That is 20 times more than the 25,000 pounds of petroleum that an internal combustion engine uses over the life of a car;


(xii) It is in the underlying physics of extraction and physical chemistry of refinement that is found the realities of unsustainable green energy at the scales which many propose. The physical chemistry of rare earth elements used in “green” machines” makes them difficult and energy-intensive to refine. For example, it takes about twice as much energy to gain access to and refine a pound of rare earth as a pound of lead. As pointed out, manufacturing a single battery, one capable of holding energy that is equivalent to one barrel of oil, entails processes that use the energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil. If wind turbines were to supply half the world’s electricity, nearly 2 billion tons of coal would have to be consumed to produce the concrete and steel, plus 1.5 billion barrels of oil to make the composite blades. Nearly all the materials used to construct green machines are solids and a very large share needs to be transported by lorries. Using lorries instead of pipelines entails a 1,000% increase per ton-mile in the embodied transportation of energy materials;


(xiii) Many wind turbines are already reaching their 20-year end of life; decommissioning and disposal realities are just beginning. The massive, reinforced fibreglass (plastic) blades are very expensive to cut up and handle, are composed of non-recyclable materials and will end up in a landfill. As for solar farms, the International Renewable Energy Agency forecasts that by 2050, with current plans, solar garbage will constitute double the tonnage of all global plastic waste. Similar scales are expected from end-of-life batteries used in electric cars;


(xiv) Reuse of materials is generally irrelevant, since the vast majority of all products in society cannot be reused and this includes green energy machines. The technical and environmental challenges and thus the costs to reuse more often than not are greater than those associated with using virgin material. For example, when the 20 wind turbines that constitute just one small 100-MW wind farm wear out, decommissioning and trashing them will lead to four times more non-recyclable plastic trash than all the world’s (recyclable) plastic straws combined. If current International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts are met, there will be over three million tons per year of un-recyclable plastic turbine blades by 2050;


(xv) It must be clearly understood that the idea of a green energy circular economy based on the goal of 100% recycling is a pipe dream. By way of an example, look at the 50 million tons of waste generated globally from worn-out or outmoded digital devices that are also built using many critical and rare minerals. The tonnage of such weight equals the weight of all commercial aircraft ever built and is forecast to double in the next several decades;


(xvi) The challenge with recycling trace minerals is essentially the same as in mining itself: much depends on concentrations. The concentration of useful minerals in green waste is very low and often far lower than the ore grades of those minerals in rocks. In addition, the physical nature of trashed hardware is highly varied (unlike rocks), making it a challenge to find simple mechanisms to separate out the minerals. Recycling processes are often labour-intensive (hence the pursuit of cheap labour, sometimes child labour, overseas) and hazardous, because techniques to burn away unwanted packaging can release toxic fumes;


(xvii) Recent visions for offshore wind (never mind onshore wind farms) would lead to nearly ten thousand tons of neodymium alone “buried” inside more than four million tons of machinery that will eventually head for waste dumps, because the neodymium concentration in the trash is just one-tenth of the natural ore grade for that mineral at a mine site. Such realities can lead to the surprising outcome that the energy required to recover a recycled mineral can be greater than expended to extract it from nature’s ore;


(xviii) The Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney cautions that a global gold rush for green minerals to meet ambitious plans could take miners into “some remote wilderness areas which have maintained high biodiversity because they have not yet been disturbed.” Then there are the widely reportedly cases of abuse and child labour in mines in, for example, the Congo, where 70% of the world’s raw cobalt originates;


(xix) To summarise by way of two further examples, the reality of solar panels is that they need 1,000 times more land than conventional electricity generation, 90% of the rare earth elements they require come from Asia, the quartz in their cells is mined and then smelted by burning coal, they degrade at roughly 1% each year and are almost inefficient after ten years, plus with every rainstorm they leak toxic materials into the groundwater. The largest solar farm in America covers 3,200 acres yet produces - only during the day and then only when the sun shines - about 1/24 the electricity needed to power one city. As a final, more domestic example, heat pumps (which would cost each household a good £10,000 more than conventional boilers) are incapable of supplying the heat needed in the middle of winter and the power grid simply could not cope with the sort of spike in demand which widespread use would neccesitate.


I trust, by having set out just a few of the issues involved, it can be clearly seen that “green” is not a cure-all. In truth “green” is not even green. There is a very real and damaging effect that attempts to decarbonise would have on people’s lives and environments. Mr Rodwell’s - and, by inference, CR’s - advocacy of eminently sensible care and protection of the land (Mr Rodwell speaks of "leaving space for nature to breath"), the environment and the earth’s precious resources whilst at the same time fulsomely encouraging a green path which will cause so much destruction to the planet’s land and environment and the exhaustion of its raw materials is nothing short of crass hypocrisy.

As indicated in my previous correspondence, I do not gainsay in any way the need to care about the environment and to minimise mankind's damage to God’s creation. Such laudable aims have, though, nothing whatsoever to do with perpetuating the absolute falsehoods of climate alarmism. Why the Community of the Resurrection is insistent upon regurgitating such nonsense is completely beyond me, particularly when - surely out of all organisations - it should wish to and seek to promote the truth.

I also find it nothing short of remarkable that people are convinced today’s climate change is extraordinary when the science proves over and over again that it falls well within the bounds of the natural climate cycle. The climate has always changed (ask any Geologist), this being governed by the earth’s orbital characteristics, the sun’s variations and, to a minor and short term degree, by natural forces such as volcanic eruptions.

To spell it out, mankind can do nothing about climate change; the very idea that we can stop it is barking mad. Climate change is inevitable but, as one scientist has encapsulated it, “There is no climate crisis. You have no control over the climate. You have no control over atmospheric Carbon Dioxide levels. Your imaginary solutions to imaginary problems are potentially dangerous and destructive. I suggest you find something useful to think about”.

I therefore plead with you to make it manifestly clear that the Community of the Resurrection disassociates itself entirely from the climate scaremongering and utter fabrications it has hitherto appeared intent on publicising. Importantly, I must ask you - please - to make the readers of the CR Review aware of this comprehensive repudiation (a link to which can be found here: www.rfmaulden.co.uk/letter2.htm) of Mr Rodwell’s totally fallacious statements.

Thank you.

Note: As with Mr Payne-Cooke’s earlier article, Mr Rodwell provides no sources to back up his utterances. By contrast, everything supporting my assertions can be found collected together in one convenient place at www.facebook.com/groups/680720179063150