Clinton tops climate accuracy poll
We are indebted to US news agency Associated Press, which recently enlisted the help of eight climate and biological scientists to grade for scientific accuracy what a dozen of the leading candidates for the US presidency have said about climate change in debates, interviews and tweets.
The scientists only had the statements to go on, the names of the speakers being removed. They were asked to rate these remarks for their accuracy on a 1-100 scale.
Clear winner was the Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who scored 94 points. Not far behind came fellow Democrats Martin O'Malley (91) and Bernie Saunders (87). Some way adrift, though leading the Republicans, was Jeb Bush (64).
But it was the three men currently leading the Republican race in the polls that fared worst. Donald Trump scored just 15, earning the comment "the candidate does not appear to have any commitment to accuracy". Ben Carson scored 11, and right at the bottom was Ted Cruz on six. "This individual understands less about science (and climate change) than the average kindergartner," the scientist noted. "That sort of ignorance would be dangerous in a doorman, let alone a president."
The things they say
"Obama thinks (climate change) is the number one problem of the world today. And I think it's very low on the list. I believe there's weather. I believe there's change, and it goes up and it goes down, and it goes up again. And it changes depending on years and centuries"
Donald Trump, September 2015, on the campaign trail for Republican nomination. In 2012 he said that global warming was "created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive"
Micro turbine costs $8 million per MW
We are, of course, a big-wind publication, rarely focusing our attention on anything much below 1MW in rated power unless the machines are of historical interest.
But you have to admire the ingenuity of two Icelandic inventors, who have formed a company, Janulus, based in Minnesota,US, to market their new range of Trinity micro-wind turbines. The smallest, pictured here, weighs only 650g, is fully collapsible, and rolls up into a 30.5cm cylinder comfortably accommodated by a standard-size backpack.
The makers claim that this 50w turbine will charge up a smart phone in one hour in a wind speed of 4.44m/s (16km/h), and that it requires only 1.94m/s (7km/h) to start operating.
However, it's not what you might call cheap, retailing at around $400. Scale that up to the size of the commercial turbines we normally write about and it works out at around $8 million per megawatt, or about eight times the conventional benchmark for utility-scale wind turbines. Still, when you're out camping with a dead phone ...
Figures and facts
1.5 million Daily glut of crude oil barrels produced in late 2015, dropping prices to circa $35/barrel
291 micrograms/cubic metre Particulates counted by US embassy pollutant monitor in Beijing, 8 December 2015, causing first "red alert" in city. WHO safe level is 25
110 million Number of Chinese homes powered by wind energy at end 2014, according to latest figures from The Economist