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Renewables vs. Environment: Hans Wolkers humbles Climate Reality Project, Kahli Burke

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- June 18, 2024

“And this is just the beginning. Large-scale deployment of ‘renewables’ will result in an ecological disaster.” (Hans Wolkers, PhD., below)

Climate alarmists are having a hard time on the business social media giant LinkedIn. Previous posts have documented the one-sided alarmism of Skeptical Science; a case of climate thuggery; an ad hominem backfire; time-series data evasion; ExxonMobil “whistleblowing“; and Greenpeace and Enron.

It is time to add to this list. The Climate Reality Project posted this message and picture on LinkedIn:

We have a responsibility to lead the way in advocating for hashtag#cleanenergy and climate action. Together, we will create a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come. hashtag#LeadOnClimate hashtag#saveourplanet

I responded: “That child must wonder about industrializing the green space. Pretty gross….”

But the real debate followed between Hans Wolkers, science journalist, photographer, and writer at Wild Frontiers BV, and PhD physicist/data scientist Kahli Burke.

Wolkers is the real deal, with vast publications and a PhD in Physiology, Toxicology, and Wildlife management from Utrecht University. No ad hominem attacks on him…. Burke posits climate pessimism but, like fellow data scientist Lindsey Gulden, does not want to investigate time-series data on weather extremes to make his case. Burke also focuses on oil-versus-the-environment to promote Net Zero, with little interest in the downsides of wind, solar, and batteries.


Hans Wolkers stated in regard to the Climate Reality Project post above:

This post is fake news and highly misleading.

Unfortunately, your ‘clean’ energy is by far not clean at all. Any clue how much destructive mining has to take place to harvest all materials needed? Often done by the very poor and children (Congo cobalt). On top of that, wind turbine blades contain 150 M3 of balsawood each, leading to deforestation in the tropics.

Then there’s the space issue: ‘renewables’ use a lot of space, and often forests are cut down to make room for solar and wind parks. Operating these ‘renewables’ comes with massive impacts on animals, disruption of sea currents, release of toxic compounds (Bisphenol A). All these claims are backed up by peer reviewed publications.

Kahli Burke, answered: “and what is the destructive impact of fossil fuel extraction and use? Care to compare numbers?” https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/tar-sands-health-effects-IB.pdf

Wolkers responded:

There are some extremes in oil extraction too, for example leaking pipe lines in Nigeria, plans to extract oil in Virunga National Park…. Actually, the government obliges the oil boys to remediate the tar sands after the oil has been removed. In Norway, oil and gas extraction has a negligible impact: the technology is clean. I have been involved in environmental impact assessments, and there is no measurable effect. So the place and methods do matter. Unfortunately, extraction and processing of minerals is without any exception a highly destructive and polluting process. On top of that, they are found in places that often are pristine, there’s child and slave labor involved… https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17928-5;

On top of the mining issues, there’s a whole list of impacts on man, nature and environment that, with the exponential scale these things are rolled out, will inevitably lead to huge environmental impacts. Not just opinion, peer reviewed sources that support this statement.

Renewable energy production will exacerbate mining threats to biodiver… nature.com

With his opponent quiet, Wolkers elevates the argument against Burke with his references.

Part I: So are the impacts of ‘renewables’. They directly destroy ecosystems, while mining in sensitive areas will be increased big time:

Effects of renewable operation:

1. ecosystems + insects:

2. Sea currents: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmars.2022.818501/full

3. mining damage https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-17928-5

4. Bottom organism https://www.mdpi.com/2077-1312/9/7/776

5.Birds, whales: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ece3.6360

6. Infrasound: https://www.scirp.org/journal/paperinformation?paperid=125553

7. Bisphenol A/fine dust: https://www.windwiki.nl/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Leading-Edge-erosion-and-pollution-from-wind-turbine-blades_5_july_English.pdf

8. Low E density –> huge space requirements: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aae102 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-25341-9

9. Wind turbines and solar parks –> climate effects https://www.nature.com/articles/s43247-023-01117-5

And this is just the beginning. Large-scale deployment of ‘renewables’ will result in an ecological disaster.

Impairment of the Endothelium and Disorder of Microcirculation in Huma… scirp.org

Kahli Burke then turns to the quality of journals in response to Wolkers.

Not all journals are of equal quality. Not every website that claims to be a scientific journal is really what it claims to be. Please read about the SciRP journal which your first link takes me to….

As for the other papers, I’m not making a claim that all non fossil fuel energy is perfect. However compared to the alternative, assuming that you would have a world in which humans continue to use electricity and energy, they are superior. That’s not a statement which grants them immunity from awareness and mitigation of their impacts. I believe there are many opportunities to improve these technologies going forward. Personally I believe nuclear should be in the mix too.

However it’s impossible to solve the problems at hand by burning more fossil fuels, the transition needs to occur in order to prevent CO2 levels from increasing….

To which Wolkers responds:

It’s too easy to discredit journals based on such evaluations. You need to realize too that several journals have decided to ban publications that don’t fit the CO2 narrative and celebrate the renewable hype. I don’t see that ‘renewables’ are in any way superior: they require lots of space and material, are intermittent and thus unreliable: they need solid back up. Depending on which calculations you believe, and what factors you include, they are more expensive. As we speak, the impact is just unacceptably large, but due to government subsidies, a refusal to include their impact in the decision-making process, the deployment just continues….

And the debate rests. Both Burke and Wolkers point to nuclear power as the best option, but a lot of downsides to wind, solar, and batteries were put in the lap of Burke. He should think about it in terms of the practicality and desirability of Net Zero in a world of tradeoffs. As Wolkers noted, the ‘energy transformation’ (not) has barely started.

One Comment for “Renewables vs. Environment: Hans Wolkers humbles Climate Reality Project, Kahli Burke”

  1. Robert Bradley Jr  

    Today on LinkedIn:

    “New EV, a bittersweet day.

    An electric car has long been a key part of a planned-for home decarbonisation journey. It marries with solar panels and for much of the year, what little mileage we do will be provided by renewables. It’s a lovely thing and I want to tell you all about the cool features and apps to play with. We are excited and lucky.

    Why bittersweet? Because just like an IC car, carrying a ton or two of metal, glass and plastic around with you is a really crazy idea. Especially when you think of the hundreds of tons of earth that had to be excavated for the raw materials and energy.

    It’s utterly unsustainable from any perspective you think of – resource use, labour injustice, environmental degradation. There is no way such a luxury could be extended to everyone on earth, so who are we to deserve it at the expense of others? There is no techno-fix solution to this. The renewable transition will not solve it.”



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