Epic Greenfail All Around

First up, the Los Angeles Times says Gov. Jerry Brown is all wet with his claims that climate change is responsible for California’s drought and high number of fires this summer:

Gov. Brown’s link between climate change and wildfires is unsupported, fire experts say

By Paige St. John

The ash of the Rocky fire was still hot when Gov. Jerry Brown strode to a bank of television cameras beside a blackened ridge and, flanked by firefighters, delivered a battle cry against climate change.

The wilderness fire was “a real wake-up call” to reduce the carbon pollution “that is in many respects driving all of this,” he said.

“The fires are changing…. The way this fire performed, it’s not the way it usually has been. Going in lots of directions, moving fast, even without hot winds.” . . .

But scientists who study climate change and fire behavior say their work does not show a link between this year’s wildfires and global warming, or support Brown’s assertion that fires are now unpredictable and unprecedented. There is not enough evidence, they say.

University of Colorado climate change specialist Roger Pielke said Brown is engaging in “noble-cause corruption.”

Noble cause corruption! That’s liberalism’s favorite kind. Anyway, more:

A study published in August by a Columbia University team led by climatologist Park Williams concluded that global warming has indeed shown itself in California, by increasing evaporation that has aggravated the current drought. But Williams said his research, the first to tease out the degree to which global warming is affecting California weather, did not show climate change to be a major cause of the drought.

Even climate ecologists who describe a strong tie between fire frequency and weather say they cannot attribute that connection to phenomena beyond normal, multi-decade variations seen throughout California history.

Meanwhile, you know that Ivanpah solar power plant we’ve reported on a couple times before? Turns out that it emitted 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide in its first year of operation. How can that be? Solar power is supposed to be emission-free, isn’t it? Well not if it turns out that your grand solar power plant has to use natural gas to operate.

The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports today:

SOLAR POWER: Desert plant has pollution problem

A solar power plant at the center of the Obama administration’s push to reduce America’s carbon footprint by using millions of taxpayer dollars to promote green energy has its own carbon pollution problem.

The Ivanpah plant in the Mojave Desert uses natural gas as a supplementary fuel. Data from the California Energy Commission show that the plant burned enough natural gas in 2014 – its first year of operation – to emit more than 46,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

That’s nearly twice the pollution threshold for power plants or factories in California to be required to participate in the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions.

The same amount of natural gas burned at a conventional power plant would have produced enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 17,000 California homes – or roughly a quarter of the Ivanpah plant’s total electricity projection for 2014. . .

Ivanpah was built on 5.6 square miles of mostly undisturbed public land that was home to desert tortoises, a species threatened with extinction, among other wildlife.

David Lamfrom, desert project manager of the National Parks Conservation Association, said information about the amount of natural gas used at Ivanpah shows that the plant is essentially a hybrid operation that requires both fossil fuel and sunshine to make electricity.

He said he doubts the project would have gone forward if it had been billed a hybrid plant.

“It feels like a bait and switch,” Lamfrom said. “This project was held up as a model of innovation. We didn’t sign up for greener energy. We signed up for green energy.”

But wait, there’s more! This from E & E Daily’s ClimateWire today (subscription required, so no link):

Activists say solar can power India, but politics and economics of coal win out

DHARNAI, India — One year ago, environmentalists hailed this tiny village as the future of clean energy in rural India. Today, it is powered by coal.

Dharnai, a community of about 3,200 people in eastern India’s Bihar state, had been without electricity for three decades. So when activists with Greenpeace set up a solar-powered microgrid in July of 2014, the excitement was palpable. But, residents said, the problems started almost immediately.

When the former chief minister of Bihar state visited to inaugurate the grid, villagers lined up to protest, chanting, “We want real electricity, not fake electricity!”

By “real,” they meant power from the central grid, generated mostly using coal. By “fake,” they meant solar.

If that isn’t delicious enough, further down in the story the comedy gets even better:

The microgrid operators scrambled to fix the mess. The village electrification committee decided to restrict electricity supply to five hours at nighttime. Greenpeace put up posters telling people not to use energy-hungry appliances such as rice cookers, electric water heaters, irons, space heaters and air coolers. . . At present, solar power in Dharnai costs at least three times as much as grid power. It can support only expensive energy-efficient appliances, such as CFL bulbs. A CFL bulb in India costs 700 rupees ($10), while an incandescent bulb costs 10 rupees (15 cents).

In other words, here folks, have some electricity. Just don’t use it for anything. And no light bulbs for you!

Greenpeace has an annual budget of $350 million. I wonder how many poor villages they could hook up to a grid with that amount.

Looks like I’m going to need to order a massive resupply of Green Weenie Awards.