Another environmentalist goes sceptic

Fritz Vahrenholt


According to the Good Book, “there is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth”.  And recently, we’ve had several.  There was George Monbiot, long-time anti-nuclear campaigner, recently converted to the nuclear cause (although for the bad reason that it cuts CO2 emissions).  There was James Lovelock, of the Gaia Hypothesis, who has said “Twenty years ago we knew where the climate was going.  Now we don’t”.  And now we have Fritz Vahrenholt.  

Vahrenholt may not be a household name in the East Midlands, but he’s well known in Germany where he’s been a prominent environmentalist for many years.  He worked in environmental agencies, and then in the renewables divisions of major energy companies.  Currently he is the CEO of the renewables arm of RWE.  Over a long and distinguished career he has collected many academic honours.  He has also been active in German politics as a socialist.

With this background, his conversion from Warmist to climate sceptic is all the more surprising, and all the more welcome.  On June 13th he was invited by Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation to give a lecture at The Royal Society, explaining his position and introducing his new book, “The Cold Sun”.  I couldn’t attend, but a colleague has given me the notes that follow.

Summary of lecture

·         As Chief Executive of the renewables branch of RWE, he had a one billion euro budget plus, and failed to make a profit on wind or photovoltaic – “a disaster”

·         The lack of sun in Germany caused the PV failure

·         The lack of wind (variability from pattern predicted, and less than predicted) in Germany caused the wind failure

·         The variability of the wind could have been predicted accurately because the wind follows a ten year cycle called the Atlantic Decadal Oscillation – basically driven by the pressure difference between Iceland and the Azores (there is also a Pacific Decadal Oscillation)

·         All these failures caused him to question the received wisdom of the IPCC and the ‘bible’ of the renewables industry, the IPCC report

·         He now tends to favour a multi-factorial model including the cosmic ray-sun activity (magnetosphere/solar wind) put forward by Svensmark

·         He believes that CO2 is not the main climate change driver – “CO2 models are all inaccurate” and fail to predict

·         The best models predict some cooling in the next few years

·         Even when renewables create excess energy, it cannot be stored easily or cheaply

·         Bond cycles are confirmed world over (that’s Fred Singer’s “Unstoppable Global Warming — every 1500 years”)

·         He believes that EU has unhelpfully created a “hustled, angst-driven energy policy”

·         His book “The Cooling Sun” will be released in English, date not available

·         He has gone from being the darling of Greens in Germany to a hate figure, but he wants science to win, and he believes that it is winning and will win

Ironically, it is his company, RWE, that is seeking to build the Batsworthy Cross wind farm in North Devon, on the edge of Exmoor.  I was a witness at the appeal hearing last Friday.  What a glorious irony that the Chief Executive of RWE renewables should now have turned against the theory on which the whole renewables industry is based.  But it’s clear that the sceptics are winning the arguments.

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10 Responses to Another environmentalist goes sceptic

  1. This really is very good news as reality breaks through the clouds of superstition. I just hope that common sense breaks through the clouds before all the electric lights, the electric heating, the electric cars, the electric comp……

  2. maureen gannon says:

    Being the cynic I am wonder if they had made a profit he would have had the same conclusion?
    Still good news though
    quote from your statement.” As Chief Executive of the renewables branch of RWE, he had a one billion euro budget plus, and failed to make a profit on wind or photovoltaic – “a disaster”

    • David W. says:

      Indeed, one has to ponder Vahrenholt’s real motives. Perhaps he became a first witness to the Earth’s whimsical cycles, and he evolved to more critical thinking. Despite Albert Gore’s best effort to convince us so, man cannot sustain the wind, the sun and reality no matter how much he wishes.

      The green movement has always really been about power, social engineering and that other green thing (here in the states), money; about creating the conditions and restrictions that define who makes money, and who pays, by force. The architects of the environmental industrial complex have admitted to this many, many times.

      Hopefully Vahrenholt will reach a full epiphany, abandon his socialist ideologies and appreciate the value of individual liberty, freedom, property.

  3. Mike Spilligan says:

    But we still need a revolt by a large body of Westminster MPs to persuade Cameron’s inner circle that the “renewables” swindle has now been discredited on many fronts – not only energy and our independence therein, but the lack of evidence on increasing sea levels, increased hurricane activity, as well as the hugely damaging dead-ends such as bio-fuels. Who will do that?
    Following on from your previous posting; and this has been said elsewhere and in different ways; but if wind-generator subsidies will be phased out by 2020, why not start today?

    • Cameron’s inner circle STILL write dutiful letters to constituents saying onshore wind is “cost effective” and “developed technology”.
      How the heck can you make a crass and glib statement like that when no-one knows the true long-term cost of transporting, building, repairing, re-blading, re-gearboxing, dismantling, shipping, re-cycling, burying concrete and steel, burying heaps of blades, peat removal and peat die-back, etc., etc.
      When the very newly commissioned Fullabrook ‘farm’ had to shut down because of mechanical issues …… ‘Developed’ technology !
      The only thing well developed is a magnetic attraction to the now out-of-date subsidies that shoud be given the chop ASAP in the interests of the future UK economy – Mr Osborne.

  4. Charles Wardrop says:

    Any info. re a Discussion after the very sound lecture at the Royal Society would be most welcome, as that Soc.seems to back these scams despite such evidence as the lecture presented.

  5. Mark Tebbutt says:

    Maybe you should all read the free online book by physics professor David MacKay Sustainable Energy – without the hot air http://www.withouthotair.com or you might like this 18 minute YouTube video TEDxWarwick – David MacKay – “How the Laws of Physics Constrain Our Sustainable Energy Options” http://youtu.be/-5bVbfWuq-Q . Renewables need cheap grid storage if they are to make a difference. One US company thinks it has come up with grid scale cheap battery without needing any subsidies in this Ted Talks YouTube video http://youtu.be/Sddb0Khx0yA

  6. Jim-Bob McLintock says:

    is there any video of this lecture ?

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