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Banana Republics - This Week's Biggest Obliquities

Fear of the energy transition comes in many shapes and sizes. With some of the news that made the headlines in the past few days, you can't help but shake your head.

All Images: PixabayAll Images: Pixabay

Let's start with the biggest and most consequential: The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) recently had to admit that it has been making mistakes in their study on infrasound for almost 20 years. And significant ones at that: the infrasound from wind turbines is actually a whole 36 decibels weaker than the authority has been claiming since 2005. For years, the incorrect assessment has been used primarily by wind power opponents as an argument against erecting turbines.

According to BGR, the exposure to inaudible infrasound was 100 decibels - but 64 decibels would have been the correct value. A crucial difference: 65 decibels correspond to a normal conversation at room volume, 100 decibels to the volume of a train or a club directly in front of a speaker.

Now the Federal Minister of Economics, Peter Altmaier (CDU), whose ministry is in charge of the BGR, had to apologise for the faulty calculations: "I am very sorry that wrong figures were in the air for a long time," Altmaier said, according to Spiegel. There were "worlds" between the two values.

However, the question is whether a terse apology is enough here, as the damage done to the expansion of wind power in recent years by the lack of public acceptance is immense. Hardly any wind farm project can be planned today without opposition from citizens' initiatives. The argument put forward again and again is the high level of infrasound produced by the turbines.

At least the authority has vowed to do better: "A corrigendum to the previous BGR publication and a revision of the associated report are on the way. From May onwards, BGR, together with the Federal Physical-Technical Institute (PTB), will carry out current field investigations on interference signals from wind turbines in a measurement campaign in order to examine the influence of infrasound on the BGR measuring systems in greater depth. The results will be presented and discussed at specialist conferences and published in a peer-reviewed journal with open access. In addition, the measurement data will be freely available to all interested parties."

Various experts had been warning for years that something was wrong with the values. For example, in an interview with Bayerischer Rundfunk, Martin Hundhausen, a physics professor from Erlangen, called it incomprehensible how such a major error could have gone unnoticed for more than a decade: "I can't explain it. I looked at it and within two hours I knew it was wrong." So one can certainly get the impression that the authority did not want to listen at all, because after all, the Federal Ministry of Economics also regularly puts obstacles in the way of wind power expansion.

The former economic advisor to ex-U.S. President Donald Trump, Larry Kudlow, recently made an interesting announcement of a different kind. The Green Deal for the U.S. proposed by Joe Biden, which includes massive investments in climate protection, did not go down well with Kudlow, so he conjured up a horror scenario on his Fox News programme: "No more burgers on the 4th of July, no more steaks on the grill. Get ready: You'll be able to sip a veggie beer, grill brussels sprouts and wave the U.S. flag." The question remains, what kind of blossoms has the lack of a purity law for brewing beer in the U.S. already caused? Meatless beer - no way!!!

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan's latest statements can also be categorised as, well, 'remarkable'. It goes without saying that the Republican, who sits in the Senate for Alaska, is no friend of Joe Biden's climate plan. His counter-proposals, however, seem quite adventurous. In an article for Roll Call, he stated: "We need to continue to fully develop our existing lower-emissions resources, like natural gas, at home and export them abroad." He also said the country should use natural gas, renewables and oil as a "bridge to the technologies that will create a cleaner energy future."

The fact that natural gas is not so particularly clean has apparently not yet made its way to Alaska. However, Sullivan has been noticed more often in the past for statements that negate climate change. As The American Independent writes, in 2014 he claimed, "Alaska is on the front lines when it comes to changes in our climate, and with seven billion people on earth, humans will have an effect. However, despite what many climate change alarmists want us to believe, there is no general consensus on pinpointing the sole cause of global temperature trends."

Of course, it's not surprising when you look at who is generously helping to fund his election campaign: the oil and gas industry. The evil of it all...

Katrin Radtke
USA, Germany, energy transition, fail, Peter Altmaier, wind power, infrasound, wind turbine, acceptance, natural gas, BGR, apology, beer

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