Shellenberger: Do We Have to Destroy the Earth to Save It?

From PragerU:

Do wind turbines and solar farms hold the keys to saving the environment? Michael Shellenberger, founder of Environmental Progress and noted climate activist, used to think so. Now he’s not so sure. He explains why in this important video.

Click image for video or go to:


Do we need to destroy the environment to save it?

That’s the question I faced a few years ago. I co-founded a movement that was the precursor to the Green New Deal. It was called “The New Apollo Project.” If we could send a man to the moon, we reasoned, surely we could save our own planet. All we had to do was harness the power of the wind and the sun and get rid of fossil fuels. Compared to the original Apollo mission, how hard could that be?

Well, it turned out to be very hard—practically impossible, in fact. The basic laws of physics and chemistry proved to be very stubborn. But, as I did more and more research, something else began to trouble me: the prospect that pushing the planet toward wind and solar energy would actually cause more harm to the environment than good. There’s no better example of this than what wind and solar energy do to birds. 

Industrial wind turbines—those giant generators of wind power—are the greatest new threat to golden and bald eagles. But the eagles are hardly the only ones threatened. Condors, owls, hawks and falcons all fall prey to the turbines’ mighty blades.   

Big Wind—and believe me, there’s a Big Wind industry now, just like there’s Big Oil and Big Pharma—claims that house cats kill more birds than wind turbines. That’s true. But whereas cats kill small, common birds like sparrows, wind turbines kill big, threatened-with-extinction and slow-to-reproduce species like bald eagles and condors.

Indeed, industrial wind farms are killing fields for birds. The more turbines you put up, the more birds you’re going to slaughter. 

According to the American Bird Conservancy in 2017, “Research shows that hundreds of thousands of birds and bats die every year when they accidentally collide with the…turbine blades. That number grows with each turbine built.” The Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds reports that wind farms built off the coast of Britain could be the “final nail in the coffin” for endangered sea birds. The Center for Biological Diversity calls the Altamont Pass wind farm in California “a population sink for golden eagles as well as burrowing owls.”

As for solar farms, they produce an entirely different set of problems, although they also are very harmful for birds. In California, according to a federal report, massive solar arrays produce heat up to 900 degrees. When birds fly into those arrays, they simply burn up.

Building a solar farm is a lot like building any other kind of massive industrial facility. You have to clear the whole area of wildlife. For example, in order to construct the Ivanpah solar farm in California near the Nevada border, developers hired biologists to pull threatened desert tortoises from their burrows. The tortoises were then loaded on the back of pickup trucks and caged in pens where many ended up dying. 

Solar farms also need millions and millions of gallons of water to clean the mirrors and to generate power. Since most solar farms are built in the desert, we’re talking about a precious resource already in short supply. “When push comes to shove, water could become the real throttle on renewable [solar] energy,” according to Michael Webber, professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Then there’s the issue of what to do with solar panels that wear out. The panels contain lead and other toxic chemicals that can’t be removed without breaking up the entire panel. Since it’s far cheaper for solar manufacturers to just buy the raw materials than recycle old panels, those old panels end up in landfills—or, as the New York Times discovered in a 2019 investigation, dumped in poor African nations. 

Wind turbines may have an even worse disposal problem than solar panels. First, they are gigantic—a single blade can be longer than a wing on a jumbo jet. Second, they are made of fiberglass, which has to be cut by a diamond-studded saw to be carted away on giant trucks. And, as with solar panels, the only thing to do is to bury them, toxic materials and all. This is done, as you can imagine, in enormous pits, creating yet another landfill problem.  

All this environmental degradation is happening on a relatively small scale right now because we get less than ten percent of our electricity from wind and solar sources. If we really were to embark on a wind and solar buildout of the kind environmentalists advocate, the damage would be much, much greater.

Consider this: Today’s energy system requires just a half a percent of the land in the US. If we were to get all the energy we now use from wind and solar, at least 25% of all land in the US would be required.

That’s a lot of dead wildlife. 

Doesn’t sound very green, does it?

I’m Michael Schellenberger, founder and president of Environmental Progress and author of Apocalypse Never, for Prager University.

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willem post
August 10, 2020 11:46 am

There can be no “saving of the earth”, and “saving the other fauna and flora”, without a very large reduction of world population, with each person using about 1/4 of the energy used at present.

Any planning of what ever aspects, not including these requirements, is beyond rational/useless/whistling past the graveyard.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 12:20 pm

Any volunteers???
Cue sound:

I didn’t think so.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 12:49 pm

Planned Parenthood has been an effective wicked solution to reduce burdens, and Dodo Dynasties are forward-looking secular movements. Both are voluntary and socially progressive.

Joel Snider
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 1:35 pm

I don’t think they’re asking.

Max P
Reply to  Joel Snider
August 10, 2020 3:51 pm

Well…anyone advocating for a reduction in world population to less than 500 million best be careful as, chances are, anything cooked up by man to cull 93% of the population will probably end up culling 100% by accident.

Now, there is good news over the horizon for those who worry about over population. Mother nature is going to take care of the problem for you. She might take a while to do it (the next glaciation for example) or she might do it all at once (big-ass bolide impact, Yellowstone caldera blows or pick a favorite doomsday scenario) but she’ll get around to culling our numbers eventually.

Remember, it is not a matter of IF we’ll see some, natural, world wide catastrophic event that wipes out civilization, as we know it, and sets humanity back to living in caves, it is a, most profound, WHEN. Just be patient…doom is just around the corner, a few thousand years, perhaps? That’s not long to wait now is it.


Max P

Reply to  Max P
August 11, 2020 3:44 am

Try reading Hans Rosling’s ‘Factfulness’. Also look at the UN’s own projections.

World population is forecast to peak around 2050 and start to decline by the end of the century. Some forecasters are even suggesting that by 2200 parts of the planet will cease to be viable because there won’t be enough people.

Overcrowding is, and always has been, a Malthusian myth. Statistically it would be possible to give every living person on the planet one-fifth of an acre in Australia and have Tasmania and the rest of the world left over.

Every year we produce more food from a smaller acreage — not least because of the increased atmospheric CO2 levels.

There is no justification at all for the human race to be pessimistic about the future of its home planet!

Reply to  Newminster
August 11, 2020 4:01 am

What does Malthusian beliefs have to do with this post? I don’t think that most people here even look at the post. This site is so full of bias, we are no better than them. If you all really believe that no one can change than why are we all here? We are wasting our time.

I used to say that leftists won’t have a ‘conversation’. I used to call The Conversation, The Monologue. I proudly donated $250 to Go Fund Me in support of Peter Ridd in the name of freedom of speech and how badly he’s been treated.

It’s all a farce, no one really gives a damn.

Reply to  Max P
August 11, 2020 7:27 am

This particular sub-thread is in response to willem post above, who made the claim that unless we drastically reduce human population the planet is doomed.

Reply to  Max P
August 11, 2020 7:31 am

Newminster, in all likelihood, the peak will be more like 2040, and perhaps a little earlier.
In most first world countries, the Covid19 lockdowns and economic contractions caused by them seem to have reduced birth rates, not increased them as many projected.

A number of studies have been done showing that when families delay having children, it almost always results in fewer children being born, as the biological clocks keep ticking, irrespective of the economic climate.

Reply to  Max P
August 11, 2020 6:02 pm

I’m not intending to claim that it has been the lockdown that is the cause of peak people being more like 2040. The rate of slowdown in population growth has always been faster than the UN has predicted. The lockdowns have just accelerated an already existing trend.

Reply to  Joel Snider
August 11, 2020 1:03 am

birth rates are falling below replacement levels in the majority of nations, all around the globe. Population reduction is already heavily underway, it just, like ocean heat, has significant inertia when looked at on a day to day basis.

Reply to  AndyHce
August 11, 2020 7:36 am

Increasing life expectancies have hidden much of the drop in birth rates.

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 12:41 pm

Is it what they used to call: “The Final Solution” ??

There is space enough for us all. Just be considerate,nice to each other and nice to the nature you are part of.

As others have already mentioned: Nuclear is such a great advancement towards what we really have been striving for at aught to continue to strive for, namely highest possible flux density and using minimum material per energy unit.
The general wind speed need to increase ten fold and the Sun needs to be 100 times brighter, if there should be an advantage of using wind and solar for electricity production on an industrial level. – Luckily increased Climate Taxes cannot influence the Sun and wind much.

Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 1:18 pm

I would say that any planning that DOES include those requirements is “Beyond Rational”.

Louis Hunt
Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 3:22 pm

The proposed cure (mass murder of billions) is clearly worse than the disease. I prefer to stick with fossil fuels and deal with climate change when and if it actually occurs. Who knows, a little warming may end up proving to be net beneficial to the planet. And if it turns out to be even more horrible than the warmunists keep predicting, we will either adapt to it or it will thin the population naturally. It will be its own cure. So why are people so anxious to jump the gun and wipe out half the population just because they fear a catastrophe that may never materialize?

Lee L
Reply to  Louis Hunt
August 10, 2020 6:10 pm

Louis Hunt said:
“The proposed cure (mass murder of billions) …

I didn’t read anything about mass murder of billions.

I might have been happy to read “free contraception for billions instead of wasting money on rejigging the world’s energy system”.

Louis Hunt
Reply to  Lee L
August 11, 2020 3:40 am

When someone says you need “a very large reduction of world population” to save the earth, and you only have 12 years to do it, free contraception alone just isn’t going to get you there.

Reply to  Lee L
August 11, 2020 7:38 am

Contraception, free or otherwise, has never had an impact on over all birth rates.
The only thing that has ever reduced birth rates has been economic development. The kind that is only available when you have cheap and reliable energy.

Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 3:51 pm

From everything I’ve seen, the planet could easily support 2 to 3 times the current population, with everyone of those criters having a full western style lifestyle.

Reply to  MarkW
August 10, 2020 5:35 pm

Yes and the environment would be better off.

Richer people have the luxury of caring about the environment. Look at the environment in rich countries. Look at the environment in poor countries. Most of the environmental horror stories happen in poor countries. examples

The best thing for the environment is prosperity.

Matthew Sykes
Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 9:44 pm

The total body mass of termites is 6 times that of man. We arent a particularly numerous species you know.

The planet doesnt even need ‘saving’ in the first case. We have limited our real pollution to such an extent that it is already ‘saved’. We use less and less land to produce our food, have wildlife returning to its old habitats, and have programs to protect endangered species.

The mistaken view that man is not part of nature, that somehow he is an affront to it, is the common and mistaken view that I think drives the sentiment you espouse here. It is clearly wrong, what ever man does, he is part of nature.

y rick off
Reply to  willem post
August 10, 2020 11:59 pm

So you are going to decide who may live and who must die? And are you going yourself slaughter them?
Away from sarcasm. its quite easy to produce energy and food for 20bil humans without harming the world. Problem is the pre medieval behavior and energy production. And wind mils are shit since 1545 in Holland…

Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 1:12 am

You first.

Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 3:24 am

willem post

Don´t talk about it. Save the planet and be the first one who does what he talks. Go ahead, convince us.

willem post
Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 5:21 am


Biding our time to 2050, when population is assumed to peak, and then slowly decrease, would destroy an enormous part of the environment EACH YEAR, and kill off most of its fauna and flora EACH YEAR.

It would be much better to start now, by giving, say $3000 to $5000 bonuses, to about 20 million young women each year to have a FREE operation.

No one gets killed.
No “final solution/holocaust” scare-mongering

Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 7:41 am

Will you ever stop piling on lies to support your earlier lies.

If most of the flora and fauna was being killed off each year, then the planet would be lifeless in just two years. Ergo, you are a total nut who has no knowledge of what you talk about.

The environment is doing great, and it is getting better each year, even as the population continues to expand.

Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 8:03 am

The vast, vast majority of people who would accept such an offer, either had no plans to have kids in the first place or have already had all the kids they want.

The idea that huge numbers of families would give up the idea of ever having children for a measly $5000 dollars is so dumb, that only a leftist could come up with it.

Reply to  willem post
August 11, 2020 9:08 am

Did you know there is more forested land in the US today, than in 1900? No, of course you didn’t. And where there are more forests, there are more fauna.
The solution is to improve third world countries. Help them acquire cheap power, use modern agricultural methods, and become more affluent. Both land usage and population will decline, and they could afford to clean up the environment.

But if we pursue your ignorant solutions, we will destroy Earth.

Stephen Robinson
Reply to  jtom
August 11, 2020 9:39 pm

Exactly jtom, raise the living standards of third world countries and birth rate declines. For this , as you say, they need cheap reliable energy, the exact thing that those who complain about getting the birth rate down will not let them have. No loans for coal power generated stations from the world bank, only for unreliable, basically useless “renewables” because Climate Change.Did you know that even when people migrate from third world to first world countries their number of children born decreases.

A Garvie
Reply to  willem post
August 14, 2020 12:09 am

You reduce population by letting poor people become prosperous. Which means they are better educated and live a more organised life with fewer children But to do that they MUST use fossil fuels. So we can keep pretending to “save the planet” by stopping poor people developing, but all that does is keep them in a life of back breaking labour and misery and dying young of preventable disease. ——–take your pick –pretend to save the planet or address abject poverty which has people living a stoneage existence with NO electricity.

David L Hagen
Reply to  willem post
August 15, 2020 7:04 am

willem’s murderous “solution” is shortsighted. Fusion power can sustain abundant prosperous civilization for millenia. We need to focus on developing and commercializing it, not wasting effort on insufficient stopgap measures.

Robert of Texas
August 10, 2020 11:47 am

About time you activists began opening your eyes.

Green Energy is a niche solution, not a general one. You misapply any solution and you get am ugly mess- in this case an ugly expensive and dangerous mess.

The future answer is better nuclear technology. We will need to start building new nuclear plants to fully develop the technology, and it should be in full production by about 2050 to be safe. Small modular nuclear units that can be grouped together to build larger capacity power plants based on passive safety features.

The solution today already works and is called natural gas powered electrical generation. I don’t know why this is so hard to understand.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
August 10, 2020 1:15 pm

Yes, while Green Energy is not green, once we dispel the myths and the cult following, it can, on it merits, be assessed and applied to purpose. There is no need to throw the baby out just because it’s not viable in some peculiar sense.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
August 10, 2020 1:28 pm

The big awakening is beginning.
Seems, Moores film wasn’t as bad as previously thougt by some green washed.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 10, 2020 3:14 pm

Or, possible explanation too, that the rats leave the sinking ship.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 10, 2020 8:31 pm

People like Bill Gates, Mike Bloomberg don’t think it would affect them of there family. If they did they wouldn’t sponsor this stuff.
Just like Romanovs and Louis XVI and his wife Maire, when they realize they were wrong, its too late for them.

Reply to  Krishna Gans
August 11, 2020 2:23 am

As I wrote years ago, the global warming/climate change/green energy scam was never about the climate – here is more proof that it was always a scam – a smokescreen for extreme-left political objectives.
Now climate is an excuse for equality of outcome. Why work hard in school and your job when your outcome will be the same – and like all Marxist paradises, it will be an equal sharing of poverty.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Kamala Harris introduced a new bill in Congress on Thursday meant to combat climate change.

How will this new legislation prevent the planet from heating up? By creating equal economic outcomes for all races.

In the same vein as the highly criticized “Green New Deal,” the “Climate Equity Act” forwards the philosophy of environmental and climate justice, an ideology that links the issue of the “climate crisis” to the liberal “social justice” agenda.

“For a year, @AOC and I have worked with communities on landmark legislation to ensure that as we fight the climate crisis, we center that fight in justice and equity,” Harris wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday.

“Today, we’re formally introducing the Climate Equity Act in Congress.”

Among other things, the bill calls for an Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability to be created to ensure that all government legislation is furthering the goal of equity, or equal outcomes, among all minority communities.
“Climate justice” is a term used by social justice activists who wish to use climate change as a vessel or, to put it more accurately, a Trojan horse to introduce social justice ideas such as equity.

Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 4:10 am

“the Equitable and Just Climate Platform”

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 7:43 am

The irony in that name knows no bounds.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 4:03 pm

Thanks for the link Joseph, now that is claptrap.

I am blown away at the level of ignorance of these people and the hypocrisy! Looking at that video, with those morons rambling on about vulnerable communities, dressed in their fine clothes in their fine buildings.

For a start, vulnerable communities come in all colours. And I can’t even begin to forgive their ignorance. The have no clue what their grand plan is doing to the truly vulnerable people in many developing countries around the world.

I think I need to write them an email.

old white guy
Reply to  Robert of Texas
August 10, 2020 1:29 pm

Something that works does not fit the control meme that we are about to confront in spades.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
August 10, 2020 4:05 pm

Robert, Michael Shellenberger is all about nuclear energy these days. He actually has a shopfront in California promoting this form of energy. One of his videos explains energy density to help laymen understand why nuclear is the best option.

Wolf at the door
Reply to  Megs
August 11, 2020 2:47 am

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Often true (not always(see WW2 etc) and can be useful.Hold your nose and support Shellenberger up to a point -even Michael Moore but to a lesser degree obviously-and keep exposing BS alarmism .The hope is that the facts about the climate will become apparent to the general public sooner or later – as well as the lunatic costs of”renewables. “It will be difficult.If Trump is not re-elected………

Reply to  Wolf at the door
August 11, 2020 3:23 am

Wolf I’ve been saying that for some time now, we’re in real trouble if it comes down to the Green New Deal being implemented.

I don’t trust anyone anymore and thanks for not heaping shit on me, I’ve had it all day, and I support WUWT.

Thank God I’m not on Facebook.

Carl Friis-Hansen
August 10, 2020 11:50 am

Nice video.
It is just a shame that facts going against the Politburo’s narrative cannot be shown on the most popular platforms.

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
August 10, 2020 1:24 pm

Doesn’t matter…they all know this…and don’t care one bit

….it’s not about green

Harry Passfield
August 10, 2020 12:02 pm

Oh Dear! I feel a cancellation coming on. (amazig how the left use such synonyms for removing real people from a discussion – if there ever was a dicussion.)

August 10, 2020 12:07 pm

I wonder where he got all that good information? First I’ve heard of it (ahem).

Reply to  quarter
August 10, 2020 2:38 pm

Heh, and here it always felt like spittin’ into the wind.

Reply to  quarter
August 10, 2020 4:14 pm

quarter this may not be new to us but he’s putting it out there, and WUWT isn’t the only platform educating people. The more the merrier if it’s related to ‘facts’ about renewable energy and it’s dark side.

Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 12:09 pm

Joe Biden announces his Vice Presidential running mate.
See Photo attached of her introduction:

And of course any StarTrekNG fan knows what the campaign slogan is now.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 1:59 pm

😀 😀

August 10, 2020 12:19 pm

Wow, brilliant. 10 years ago, you could go look at the monstrosities destroying the environment, or you could read an article by George Monbiot about phony planet-saving and make the wrong choice. Well done.

Reply to  philincalifornia
August 11, 2020 1:14 am

Mr Moonbat, as he’s known by his neighbours in Machynlleth.

Ben Vorlich
August 10, 2020 12:25 pm

It has always puzzled me why putting solar farms on fields in the UK is considered a worthwhile thing to do. They create shade which eventually kills the plant life underneath. The only thing that will grow are brambles which can grow anywhere.
In The Limousin the green revolution has cleared woodland for winturbines, created huge fields by removing hedges and trees to grow maize, rye, and sunflowers. Solar arrays to killed what little traditionalccrops and livestock is left.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 11, 2020 12:57 am

But they don’t shade and kill off the plant life. Because the sun isn’t static.

Here’s the UK farmers organisation on solar panels…

Reply to  griff
August 11, 2020 7:45 am

Depending on the plant, they need a minimum amount of direct sunlight. Many plants can’t survive in the shade.

Is there any topic that griff is willing to write on, that he actually knows something about?

August 10, 2020 12:34 pm

The important thing is to refrain from excess. And, let the critters have their space.

Reply to  pochas94
August 10, 2020 1:09 pm

Yes, Green, despite the social, economic, and political myths, is a niche solution, which while green as in lucrative, is not green as in conservation, and people aren’t so green to place their blind trust in them.

Reply to  pochas94
August 11, 2020 7:46 am

Which is why organic farming is such a bad idea.

Dodgy Geezer
August 10, 2020 12:36 pm

“Wind turbines may have an even worse disposal problem than solar panels. First, they are gigantic—a single blade can be longer than a wing on a jumbo jet. Second, they are made of fiberglass, which has to be cut by a diamond-studded saw to be carted away on giant trucks. ..>”

Landfill, dump them in the sea or burn them where they stand.

Don’t you know that all rules are suspended for the Green Blob? The ‘rules’ are there to attack conventional energy – not to restrict the expansion of the environmental religion. The fact that they might even drive some species of bird extinct will simply not be mentioned…

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
August 10, 2020 12:44 pm

Most of North America’s wind farms are in farmer’s fields of cotton, corn, soy, wheat, etc.
So let’s NOT burn them where they stand.

Just take the blades down, recycle copper in the generator, and leave the towers as an
Eternal Monuments to the Stupidity of Our Time

Let them be a warning to future generations… and to throat punch the first guy who says the “science is settled” on climate and CO2.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 1:32 pm

Like the the Statue of Liberty in “Planet of the Apes” ? 😀

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 10, 2020 2:28 pm

Yes, I think it is very important to leave memorials of this madness of the herd.

Besides, it will leave something for riotous mobs, I mean peaceful protesters, to tear down when the next ice age hits, when “glaciers grow in Tennessee”.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 11, 2020 4:54 am

Let them be a warning?

No, Joel, that’s just silly. Just put nesting platforms for raptors on the tops, and stabilize them against derechos like the one I sat through yesterday. Oddly, the most damage was in the heavily populated areas with really, really big trees that had shallow root systems, thanks to urban sewer systems.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 11, 2020 7:46 am

The towers are pretty much the only part of the wind mill that is recyclable.

David A
Reply to  MarkW
August 12, 2020 5:58 pm

30k years from now, during some future upswing in civilization and the human race, some anthropologist will come across a field and find evenly spaced 800 cubic yard blocks of concrete, and ponder their use.

August 10, 2020 12:55 pm

We need attack supporters of wind, solar and biofuel as the anti-environmentalists they are. How can real greens support such harm??

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Anti Dystopia
August 10, 2020 3:25 pm

It has never been about the environment. Power and control is the motivation of the green scam.

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
August 10, 2020 4:36 pm

You are so right Shark. That’s why they are desperate to keep us quite. Large amounts of money have been invested in ‘industry’ superannuation here in Australia and our country is signing up for renewables faster than any other nation. At the same time RCR Tomlinson, our largest engineering and construction company has gone broke after getting in on the renewables action. They were founded in 1898, had 3400 employees in November 2018 and revenues of 2 billion US dollars.

Power and greed.

old white guy
August 10, 2020 1:27 pm

We cannot destroy the planet, we can destroy ourselves. Then the planet will regenerate as it has for millions of years.

August 10, 2020 1:29 pm

Can’t stand people like Michael Shellenberger.
“Oh sorry I made a mistake” NO screw you . . .
Retire in shame Michael and your lying peers can follow you one-by-one.
And stop your attempted corporate takeover of the skeptical space.
Jumping ship like a true opportunistic sociopathic corporate raider.
Shame on PragerU and indeed WUWT for giving this grifter air!

Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 2:14 pm

No! Let them recover their senses one by one.

Reply to  Warren
August 11, 2020 2:30 am

I disagree. Apostates like him and Michael Moore are far more damaging to Big Green than the thousands of us readers of WUWT.

Reply to  Graemethecat
August 11, 2020 4:59 am

Graemethecat is right: the former advocates have seen the light and realize that it is a furnace of destruction instead of the salvation of the planet. (Sorry, once in a while I get to wax rhapsodic for the fun of it.)

Let the apostates self-sacrifice to stop the destruction…. or some such poetic justice thingy. It’s too early for this. I need toast and bacon.

Reply to  Warren
August 11, 2020 10:00 am

Hi Warren,

I also dumped on Michael Shellenberger when I first heard about his about-face, but then I realized one important truth – the warmist idiots will believe him while they will never believe the climate skeptic who always told them the truth – those of us who told the truth about the climate-and-green energy scam and never lied to the public were too easily dismissed as shills for big oil, etc.

The warmist idiots will believe a turncoat like Shellenberger and that is what matters – the price for failure in this debate is the loss of our prosperity and our freedoms. It is much too important to be concerned about who said what and when.

Regards, Allan

August 11, 2020 1:49 pm

That’s what I’m talking about!

Coeur de Lion
August 10, 2020 1:36 pm

But CO2 is not the climate driver

August 10, 2020 1:38 pm

How long before Michael Shellenberger rewrites history and becomes the guy that saved us all.
He’ll be our new leader and the new generation will think he invented skepticism and truth in science.
We’ve done the hard yards here and out there . . . not you Michael . . .
Think you’re just going to ride in and take the glory eh?
Pay your reparations, apologies and f-off to obscurity Michael.

Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 2:18 pm

Let them recover their senses one by one.
Frankly, I don’t care who stops the madness so long as it stops.

And this fella has street cred among environmentalists.

Welcome aboard Mate; I’ve been watching for you. We couldn’t sail without you.

Reply to  kim
August 10, 2020 4:54 pm

I totally agree Kim, even the people he ‘used’ to work along side would be looking into why he changed his mind. It might even set up a chian reaction! I see it as a positive thing and I love your closing sentiment.

It may well be that sites such as WUWT helped change his mind. Scientists on this site could educate him further, and add to the messages he’s putting out there. If they are serious about our cause and want to earn some honest money, then join him!

Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 2:23 pm

Warren, I sympathize with your distress. Climate skepticism has been a long haul and thankless.

But let it go. You’ll feel better and we need converts.

Remember, there is no believer like a convert.

Reply to  kim
August 10, 2020 5:35 pm

Don’t trust him.
Where’s his widely published and detailed apology for denouncing skeptics, stifling debate and transgressing the scientific method?
Where is his reparation donation to say WUWT?
Ah no he’ll just use WUWT to further his business interests particularly Environmental Progress Inc.
Schellenberger like Michael Moore & Co. will be on Bill Gates’ payroll for nuke PR.
Charge him Anthony; he’s using us . . look again at the slick video and his undertone of self-importance.

Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 9:34 pm

The “slick” presentation is part of “Prager Univerisity” (Prager U) which is Dennis Prager’s contribution to the education of folks regarding many subjects on the internet.
WUWT is “forwarding” this content to the many that come here for information on the forefront of “climate change”(catsastrophe, crisis, emergency, armageddon, EoTW, etc…)
Shellenberger is seemingly an “employee” now of Prager U…..

August 11, 2020 12:00 am

No he’s not he’s an arms-length (as always) employee of Bill Gates.

Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 3:59 pm

The only way to win is for us to convert their faithful.

Barry Malcolm
Reply to  Warren
August 10, 2020 5:08 pm

Warren, take your meds.

Geoff Sherrington
August 10, 2020 4:59 pm

Preservation of birds is rather trivial a concept to use in discussions about the future of national electricity supplies. Concentrate on the big picture, the picture that tells a story of the powers of advertising and propaganda and their parts in destructions of the national moral fibre. By that, I mean that Jo Citizen has been conditioned for decades to accept lies and half-truths on a scale so massive that it is now a cultural phenomenon.
The cure for this state of affairs is no less than a series of public examinations of the whole green influence on nations. I have watched it grom from a few impressionable, pimply youths (some of whom now call themselves “Professor”) pushing against the mainstream of scientific and engineering understanding, to chip away with what the Fabians (socialists) called “patient gradualism”. This includes the “long march through the institutions” that is so harmful right hnow. It is not a matter of people studying the wrong topics in universities, it is the influence of large sources of money paying universities to teach cettain topics in certain obedient ways, like shouting down challenges to their hypotheses.

The whole system of universities is in peril. We can read here on WUWT of almost daily issues of concern. The whole system of government is affected by this because in the past the research of universities was usually reliable and not tainted so much by ideology, but it is not now.
The case for more nuclear electricity generation is logically and commercially unassailable. It it not a healthy sector because it has been mercilessly harmed by propaganda, usually created by people who know very l;ittle about the topic but who are like sheeple in repeating the denigration composed by others.

What a shambles. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 10, 2020 5:14 pm

Very well said Geoff!

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 10, 2020 7:38 pm

You well explain the extent of damage that’s been done Geoff, but it’s not all the fault of Michael Shellenberger.

He has effectively turned his back on his entire community, and because of his profile large numbers of them will want to know why. Many of those may awaken from being woke and start talking about these newly learned ideas to their friends. Isn’t this a good thing?

Now remembering that he has only recently ‘come over from the dark’ side fairly recently then of course there are bits missing.

The other thing that most people here don’t seem to know is that he has a ‘shopfront’ in Berkeley, California actively supporting nuclear energy.

How many people on this site are actively trying to make a difference to our cause? I could name a few of our scientists, and the regulars who write posts and I commend them for it. But how many people who regularly comment on the posts here are actually do anything to try to change things?

It’s fair to have an opinion, but simply slagging off on people achieves nothing.

I’d even welcome Loydo if she genuinely had a change of heart.

Reply to  Megs
August 10, 2020 11:57 pm

Many here do a lot behind the scenes in many ways we just don’t trumpet it like the new nuke PR guy Shellenberger.
He has a shop front and he’s running a ‘funded’ business.
So yep he’ll have no problem taking all the front seats with the Megs brand of celebrity worship.
Get a grip people he’s working for the Gates corporation.
What an insult to the years of study, discussion, exchange of information, donations, essays etc that many here have toiled for and mostly with modest resources.

Reply to  Megs
August 11, 2020 1:18 am

Loydo? And even griff???

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 11, 2020 2:15 am

Yeah why not, and Nick Stokes too. You know what, even they wouldn’t act like the ignorant arseholes responding here who really don’t give a damn about trying to sort out the mess this world is in, and know nothing about me.

I’m done defending my stance, and you know what, a close friend of my neighbor hanged himself last week leaving behind three young children, laugh and snigger at that.

The mod won’t post this anyway. I tried to defend my stance in another post where all people wanted to do was trash the writer of that post. I used three words that could have stopped the post, relating that I had personal experience to issues they had raised, none of those words were directed at the person I was responding to.

No wonder the suicide rate is increasing here in Australia, it’s true no one really gives a damn.

Reply to  Chaswarnertoo
August 11, 2020 10:44 pm

I apologise for the outburst Chas, I get you were trying to lighten me up a bit. It was a rough day at the office so to speak. But you did nothing to deserve my reaction.

I think the older you get the more you want to fight life’s injustices.

You scientists know that better than anyone.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Megs
August 12, 2020 3:34 am

Bargain? You lay off your trite little echos to my comments and I’ll promise not to wipe the floor with you.
We are leagues apart in observation and experience. Geoff S

David A
Reply to  Megs
August 12, 2020 6:05 pm

Geoff, an unworthy reply.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 11, 2020 1:17 am


August 10, 2020 5:07 pm

We are not the lords of the planet nor tye managers of nature that the eco wackos think we are.

We just live here. We can neither destroy the planet nor save it. The way environmentalism started out was noble but where it ended up with the anthropocene and climate change and thevsave the planet mentality is an ego out of control.

Barry Malcolm
August 10, 2020 5:13 pm

Charmjamal is one of the best contributors and provider of resources on wuwt. A gem.

Bruce Cobb
August 10, 2020 5:32 pm

Psssssttt! Michael! The Earth doesn’t need “saving”.
It’s the people who are fracked, especially the True Believers, which unfortunately, still includes you.
You’ve taken the first step over towards a saner approach to energy. And it’s a big one, so congrats. Now, you just need to take the same step towards sanity with respect to climate. Never mind your brethren Believers, they already despise you for telling the truth about wind and solar. Just continue on over to the “dark side”, which is actually lit with truth, reason and sanity. You’ll be glad you did.

Neil Jones
August 11, 2020 12:03 am

He lists land based soaring birds as being at risk but what about all the sea birds which soar too? He really needs to improve his research.

August 11, 2020 12:45 am

It is good to see that the conversation is turning to human overpopulation and what if any there is a “solution” to that state of affairs. It is at the root of all the energy problems.

August 11, 2020 12:52 am

Here’s what I think is a fairly balanced review of the latest Shellenberger and Lomborg books:

Reply to  griff
August 11, 2020 7:49 am

Expecting balance from the guardian is a fools errand.
But then nobody is a bigger fool than griff.

August 11, 2020 4:11 am

solar panels run at 900°C – Not possible for silicon cells
Solar panels require water – Yes for cleaning only but not much and not often
Solar panels fry birds – no they do not.

A few solar projects concentrate the sun to generate steam. But there are very few of them compared to the silicon photo voltaic types.

These generators are the same as normal thermal generators in their water requirements. They all generate steam to rotate turbines to generate electricity They all need to either condense the steam for reuse or vent it to atmosphere.

Also just as a matter of interest how much water is required by fracking? or coal mining?

silicon solar cells of modern manufacture do not use lead! CdTe do use lead but are not widely used. Silicon solar cells contain trace amounts of dopants but these are only (for common cells)
Dopant Group V (e.g. Phosphorous) Group III (e.g. Boron)

bird deaths:
This Brutal Pesticide Creates a ‘Circle of Death.’ So Why Is It Making a Comeback?

windfarms need to be placed in positions where there are no flight paths of birds. This was not though of when Altamont Pass wind farm was built (or blinded by the MONEY).

Wind turbines already have a recyclability rate of 85% to 90%. Making turbines 100% recyclable is an important task for the wind industry as the EU heads towards a circular economy. The industry is making significant progress in the right direction. Most components of a wind turbine – the foundation, tower, components of the gear box and generator – are recyclable and are treated as such.
Today composite materials [blades] are commercially recycled
through cement co-processing. Further development and
industrialisation of alternative technologies like solvolysis
and pyrolysis will provide the wind industry with additional
solutions for end-of-life.

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 4:36 am

Ghalfrunt the solar Shellenberger describes does indeed fry birds. This is however just one type of solar. There are different types, we’re are in the unfortunate situation of having the thin film variety, the local 87 mw installation that is. If people even bother recycling them, it requires an acid bath, if not they are toxic waste.

The turbines are not easily recycled, most of the blades are simply buried. They can technically be broken down, but it’s a very expensive process. You have to finance the machinery that can do it, not many people are willing to do this. The concrete bases end up as permanent monoliths.

You need to check out the materials that go into renewables, and how much there is of it.

Reply to  Megs
August 11, 2020 4:47 am

Concentrated solar power (CSP, also known as concentrating solar power, concentrated solar thermal) systems generate solar power by using mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a receiver.[2] Electricity is generated when the concentrated light is converted to heat (solar thermal energy), which drives a heat engine (usually a steam turbine) connected to an electrical power generator[3][4][5] or powers a thermochemical reaction.[6][7][8]

CSP had a global total installed capacity of 5,500 MW in 2018, up from 354 MW in 2005. Spain accounted for almost half of the world’s capacity, at 2,300 MW, despite no new capacity entering commercial operation in the country since 2013.[9] The United States follows with 1,740 MW. Interest is also notable in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as India and China. The global market was initially dominated by parabolic-trough plants, which accounted for 90% of CSP plants at one point.[10] Since about 2010, central power tower CSP has been favored in new plants due to its higher temperature operation (up to 565 C) than trough (up to 400 C), which promises greater efficiency.

By the end of 2018, global cumulative installed PV capacity reached about 512 gigawatts (GW), of which about 180 GW (35%) were utility-scale plants.[16] Solar power supplied about 3% of global electricity demand in 2019.[17] In 2018, solar PV contributed between 7% and 8% to the annual domestic consumption in Italy, Greece, Germany, and Chile. The largest penetration of solar power in electricity production is found in Honduras (14%). Solar PV contribution to electricity in Australia is edging towards 7%, while in the United Kingdom and Spain it is close to 4%. China and India moved above the world average of 2.55%, while, in descending order, the United States, South Korea, France and South Africa are below the world’s average.[9]:76

So solar concentrators account for 1% of solar generation. Why does Shellenberger seeming put concentrators as a headline (without the headline text) only in his video.

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 4:53 am

I get what you’re saying Ghalfrunt, you know your stuff! Maybe he can learn from us?

Hang on you are being respectfull, whose side are you on? Hard to tell these days.

Reply to  Megs
August 11, 2020 4:59 am

Thin-film technology has always been cheaper but less efficient than conventional c-Si technology. However, it has significantly improved over the years. The lab cell efficiency for CdTe and CIGS is now beyond 21 percent, outperforming multicrystalline silicon, the dominant material currently used in most solar PV systems.[1]:23,24 Accelerated life testing of thin film modules under laboratory conditions measured a somewhat faster degradation compared to conventional PV, while a lifetime of 20 years or more is generally expected.[2] Despite these enhancements, market-share of thin-film never reached more than 20 percent in the last two decades and has been declining in recent years to about 9 percent of worldwide photovoltaic installations in 2013.[1]:18,19
Thin film is thin! Film thickness varies from a few nanometers (nm) to tens of micrometers (µm), much thinner than thin-film’s rival technology, the conventional, first-generation crystalline silicon solar cell (c-Si), that uses wafers of up to 200 µm thick.
Cadmium is indeed a poisonous substance:
Although the toxicity of cadmium may not be that much of an issue and environmental concerns completely resolved with the recycling of CdTe modules at the end of their life time,[8] there are still uncertainties[9] and the public opinion is skeptical towards this technology.[10][11] The usage of rare materials may also become a limiting factor to the industrial scalability of CdTe thin film technology. The rarity of tellurium—of which telluride is the anionic form—is comparable to that of platinum in the earth’s crust and contributes significantly to the module’s cost
Currently, the fraction of recycled content in CdTe PV semiconductor material is small (approximately 6%) as most deployed modules have not yet reached end-of-life. In a future market projection (in 2050) in which new module production and end-of-life collection and recycling volumes are more closely matched, the recycled semiconductor content in manufacturing new CdTe PV modules is estimated to be over 60%. The high recycled semiconductor content will provide a significant future source of tellurium. Using a strict attributional approach, it will also reduce cadmium emissions to air in CdTe PV life cycles related to upstream zinc and copper refining, from which cadmium and tellurium are currently obtained as waste byproducts

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 5:43 am

Again Ghalfrunt, respect for your knowledge. The thin film panels on our local solar plant, 4 kilometers away and covering 310 hectares (you may need to convert that to an area that makes sense to you?) are only guaranteed for 10 years. That’s what it says in all their blurb.

This installation was built over two waterways which feed in to a major dam. Our concern is that in the event of a hailstorm, severe weather event or fire, that cadmium and lead could potentially end up in these waterways. We have an aquifer that lies under a large area of land including our town, this aquifer is huge! The town has registered water bores all over our region. Long story short all available water is important to us, we’re a country town.

In your ‘informed’ opinion, are we at risk of water contamination? There are an additional 1,800 hectares of solar panels in the pipeline, 4 and 7 kilometers from town and more in the ‘rumored’ phase, at this stage anyway.

We know that fire is a huge risk as firefighters have already informed us that in the event of a fire at the existing solar plant they’d let it burn, that even if they could fight it the toxic fumes would be too dangerous. We have serious fires here in Australia, you may have heard about them.

Thin film solar panels are more easily damaged than the silicon variety. I’d love your informed opinion as to whether or not we should be concerned. If you were confronted with this, would you feel quite confident that your community, and family, we’re safe? Could you confidently drink the water. And would you feel comfortable surrounded by solar panels?

Respectfully Megs

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 9:40 pm

Ghalfrunt, just to let you know I was serious when I asked you if damaged thin film solar panels were a risk to soil and waterways.

With international airport sized solar installations going up around us we are worried about the legacy we are leaving future generations.

Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 7:51 am

Try reading the article. He was talking about solar concentrators, not solar panels.

Water needed for coal mining? None.
Water needed for fracking? A few hundred gallons, one time.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Ghalfrunt.
August 11, 2020 8:13 am

Shellenberger confused CSP (concentrating solar power) with solar PV (photovoltaics) that directly convert sunlight into electricity. The Ivanhoe facility in Nevada used/uses an array of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a central tower to heat a fluid to high temperatures (900C). Birds that fly close to the central tower can block the light from the mirrors, which is intense. PV operates at 40-50C in full sunlight and can’t subject birds to high temperatures or concentrated sunlight (however, birds like to perch along the tops of PV modules and deposit white stuff that blocks light, reducing efficiency).

Both need large land areas to generate significant power, the amount of sunlight available is fixed.

Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 4:23 am

Here in tiny Massachusetts- over 8,000 acres of forest have been utterly destroyed in the past 5 years to construct solar “farms”-yet, the enviro groups don’t give a dam.

But, as a forester, when I manage a timber sale, I have all those same enviro groups along with countless state and federal agencies watching everything we do. One drop of mud in a brook- and they’ll slam us. If we’re within miles of a rare species- they’ll slam us. Yet, utterly destroy the forest- and that’s considered “clean and green” energy.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 6:10 am

Yep, for envirofascists, the ends (“saving the planet”) justify the means.

Reply to  Bruce Cobb
August 11, 2020 7:53 am

The ends that most environmentalists are after is power and wealth, for them. The planet is just their cover.

Wolf at the door
August 11, 2020 5:32 am

Warren- really understand where you’re coming from and loads of folks will agree.But.The point is to win and STOP the alarmist BS .There are many factions who are DETERMINED to keep the scam going.-Rabid leftists,calculating politicians,scientists on the gravy train,BIG business interests (including banks and pharma) “useful idiots “( including Extinction Revolting ) and of course MSM with their armies of “climate journalists”Don’t get me started on theBBC.Greenpeace,UN,Club of Rome – they’re all in there as well and more . We need all the help we can get and Megs is right when she says”and because of his profile large numbers of his friends will want to know why.” So what if he makes more money?Integrity is great but the scammers dont
care about it.Not saying we shouldn’t but we can hold our noses.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Wolf at the door
August 11, 2020 6:53 am

“The point is to win and STOP the alarmist BS…”

At this point- it’s more than stopping the alarmists- now that many states have their plans to be “net free” by 2050 or sooner. Here in Mass. it’s 2050. I believe in NY it’s 2040. How the hell are they going to be carbon net free in 20 years?

In Mass. it seems virtually EVERYBODY is an alarmist. Every media is crammed with climate alarmism- even during the “Covid scare”. I don’t recall seeing any climate change skepticism in any papers, TV or radio in the entire state. The political class seems to be trying to outdo each other in who can scream the loudest on this subject. I’ve challenged politicians on exactly how they are going to accomplish this miracle by 2050- how many thousands of acres of fields and forests will be utterly destroyed for solar “farms” and how many mountain tops will be blasted for wind “farm”. I get no answers. We’re going to see a lot of wind farms off the coast of the state- but that isn’t going to be the answer and it’s going to damage the fisheries and drastically drive up electricity costs.

Until a few years ago- I didn’t know any better only looking at the MSM. Then another forester told me about WUWT and other such sites. I was quite shocked to find out there actually are some very intelligent climate skeptics. But if I mention such sites to almost everyone including the politicians- I get no response as if my suggestion was nuts.

Decades ago I spent a lot of time trying to discuss evolution with fundamentalist Christians. I got no where. I feel the same way with climate alarmists. And now that the politicians in so many states are onboard with this new fundamentalism- I see no hope for common sense. Maybe when Trump wins again- he can find some way to defeat them. I dunno.

John Piccirilli
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
August 11, 2020 8:52 am

Hi Joe, I live in Mass also.problem is the States are pushing this crap through with out
Trump. Read ‘THE REAL GLOBAL warming DISASTER’ BY Christopher Booker

Wolf at the door
August 11, 2020 8:16 am

It IS about stopping them.But their house is built on sand.Trump could do it if he ordered steam of unbiased genuine statisticians to examine NOAA\ NASA “adjusted” data.That’s the sand,and it needs to be washed away so that clowns like Brian Cox can’t shout out “I brought the graph.” Ashamed to be a Brit when I saw that.

Tom Abbott
August 11, 2020 1:38 pm

From the article: “The Royal Society for the Preservation of Birds reports that wind farms built off the coast of Britain could be the “final nail in the coffin” for endangered sea birds.”

Somebody should tell Griff. He thinks it’s a good idea to increase off-shore windmills.

Geoff Sherrington
August 12, 2020 3:35 am

Bargain? You lay off your trite little echos to my comments and I’ll promise not to wipe the floor with you.
We are leagues apart in observation and experience. Geoff S

David A
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 12, 2020 6:08 pm

The reply us not any better this time..

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 12, 2020 7:17 pm

This ‘bargain’ of yours, maybe we could call it a truce. Isn’t a truce about making some sort of peace to appease those involved?

In the same breath you basically said to me that I have nothing of value to say and that you are better than me.

I spent a good part of my life being shut down, that I didn’t matter enough to have an opinion. If I agree to your ‘bargain’ I am taking a huge step backwards. I can’t go back there Geoff.

You know nothing of my personal observations and life experiences. If we are open to discussion we can learn from each other.

Ironically, we are all on this site because we have have no voice in an open forum. We don’t have freedom of speech.

Bargain Geoff? I would be more than happy to go back an interaction of mutual respect.

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