Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Rep. Joe Barton - Wind is a finite resource

Graphic via Teabonics

This "quote" has been widely attributed to Congressman Joe Barton of Texas: "Wind is a finite resource and harnessing it would slow down the winds which would cause the temperature to go up."

This appears, however, be an amalgamation cobbled together from a Time Magazine report:

At a 2009 hearing, Barton implied that wind is a "finite resource" and that harnessing it would "slow the winds down" which would "cause the temperature to go up."

According to Washington Monthly, this was the full quote:

"Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

Depending on how you parse the language, you may (or may not) read into Barton's statement that he was implying that building an army of wind turbines might slow down wind enough to actually affect the planet's temperature.

Barton is the House author of the Energy Policy Act of 2006 and Chairman of the House-Senate energy conference committee.

45 comments:

  1. Can you explain why you disagree?
    Removing energy from wind will of course slow it down to some extent. That's basic physics. It would take a lot of wind harnessing to affect temperature significantly, but the statement is not untrue.

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    1. Yes, but it's NOT a finite resources. Wind is generated basically from the Sun's energy. It heats the air, hot air rises, cool air falls in to replace it. As long as the Sun shines on the Earth, we'll always have more wind.

      Besides, Even if the Earth SUDDENLY had all of its energy generated from Wind, it translates to one 1.8 Megawatt turbine every 7 square miles. Hardly enough to make a dent in all the wind that is generated on a daily basis. Barton's comments were just INSANELY ignorant.

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    2. Sorry but the sun's gravitational pull is what causes the world to spin and windmills mean fuckall to that bit of physics.

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    3. No his comments were highly intelligent, if you stop the wind the earth will get baking hot, winds cool the earth, stop them and it warms, it is like lowering your air conditioning.
      We already draw enough energy from the wind to generate 7 hurricanes a year. That is a climate changing amount of energy.
      I believe wind power is responsible for the melting Arctic, it is not explained by global warming as the warming should not melt so much, it is the change in weather patterns cause by wind farms which melt it

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    4. You can't be serious. If windmills on any scale could slow the winds, then mountains and skyscrapers would have affected the winds long ago and there has been no change. His comments were pure lunacy and impossible.

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    5. Do any of you have atmospheric science degrees to back up anything your saying not to mention proven statistics validated by continual tests and data for your hypothesis? Then shut-up and let the scientists tell us what's really going on this planet.

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    6. This thread would be hilarious if not for the fact some people honestly believe a wind farm "stops" wind.

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    7. This thread would be hilarious if not for the fact some people honestly believe a wind farm "stops" wind.

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    8. thank God one sane person in the mist of lunatics - I'm reading some of these comments and all I can think is these are the nuts that think the earth is 6000 years old and cavemen rode dinosaurs - really scary that not only are these people procreating but they are also electing people like Barton

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    9. finally someone that sees how insane this is - and these people are probably procreating - really really scary

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    10. To some of the people who commented, that is proof to stay in school. The world spinning is what causes wind? LMAO! Just face it Joe Barton is an idiot!

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  2. Nick,

    Wind is caused by the sun's energy. Read up on it. His statement shows he doesn't even understand 3rd grade earth science. As does yours, Mr. physics.

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    1. The sun is finite. All wind is created by the sun through heating of our Earth's uneven surface and the Earth spinning (from the sun's gravity). If the sun is finite, and the sun creates all wind, then wind must also be finite. Yes, its renewable, but it has to cool the Earth daily. If you get dehydrated, but can drink more water, however on a specific day you don't and get a heat stroke it doesn't matter that you could drink more water at that point (I realize this is a mediocre analogy). So, technically he is correct.
      He was speaking of satellite imagery of Texas(his state where he allowed 4 of the largest wind farms to be put in) that showed temperatures increasing at these wind farms. What he didn't know is that its from the turbines mixing air from different altitudes which is resulting in a higher overall temperature (I couldn't tell you why). He also said in this same quote that its probably not enough to make a difference, but worries about it on a massive scale. Isn't this a good thing? What if someone a long time ago brought up that though the burning of some fossil fuels is insignificant it could make a difference in extremis. He has a masters in industrial engineering. I think he understands. His beef is the inefficiency of current wind turbines, he wants to refine them to the vertical access design. I won't speak for you, but I worry that this is the rejection of science and logic based on politics.

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    2. He is a bright guy, and they have not proved the warming is all due to mixing and even if it was it is still ground level warming hence global warming as we live on the ground, the turbines are slowing the cooling process is the draw warm air down.
      He is a clever man, his gut instinct is correct, but I think I can go further and actually prove it.
      The other scientists only find what they want to find, they found warming but then dismissed it using bad logic.
      You could use the same bad logic with CO2 you could say it is just trapping the heat a little lower and it would be trapped anyway (which is true), but it does matter it matters where the heat is.
      Heat high up is easy to get rid of heat low down is more of a problem.

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  3. Nick,

    Wind is caused by the sun's energy. I'd read up on it, if I was you. It's a renewable resource that renews itself, way faster than we could ever harness it. His statement shows he doesn't understand third grade earth science. For those of us who remember earth science, it's kind of scary.

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  4. Cort,
    yes the sun causes the pressure variations that cause the wind to blow. The amount of energy converted into wind remains fairly constant over time though, allowing for natural fluctuations. If you are removing energy from this system, there is less energy in the system - basic physics. The sun does not compensate for the deficit, there is simply less energy in the system.
    While it would take wind harnessing on a massive scale to significantly affect the climate, it would eventually cause a noticeable effect.
    You seem to be suggesting that the suns energy would increase to make up any deficit, which is nonsense.

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  5. Another way to look at it is this:
    Lets say (for the sake of argument) 10 billion gigawatts of solar energy reaches the earth each week, on average. If you are removing 1 billion of those gigawatts (say by harnessing wind energy), there is now 9 billion gigawatts left in the system. That's less energy to be converted into wind. The sun does not send 11 gigawatts the following week to make up the deficit. The amount of the suns energy which strikes the earth is a finite resource and can be depleted by conversion.
    The only argument is how much of an effect there would be on the climate. As things currently stand I would say it would be almost insignificant, but if wind and solar harnessing increased dramatically in scale the effect would be significant, potentially.

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    1. Your analogy is slightly flawed. Yes the amount of energy the earth receives from the sun doesn't significantly change daily, but that doesn't the amount would be decreased permanently Lets say the energy is like a hot wheels on power track. When the suns energy hits the earth atmosphere it immediately starts to heat the air causing it to rise and colder air to fall, or to keep the analogy going shot the car out of the launcher and races around the track. Now this processes of heating and cooling is a continuous cycle, but its is only happening where the sun is hitting the earth. now when the sun makes a full rotation the energy then again heat and cools the air with the same amount of energy as it did the day before. So the wind turbines would not have a lasting effect on the amount of wind energy available. This can be proven with the same example as before, said hot wheels track come with loops, we will say the loops are the wind turbines, no matter how much the car is slowwed down because of the loops it is shot out of the launcher at roughly the same speed as before. Now before you or anyone say anything along the lines of it will most likely be slower, no that is incorrect as well the chances will be 33.333 for faster, slower, or the same speed there are to many variables to prove otherwise.

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  6. To illustrate the point:

    http://www.element14.com/community/community/techfirst/alternativeenergy/blog/2011/04/01/wind-farms-depleting-the-worlds-green-energy

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  7. Wind is caused through a pressure drop. This can be orchestrated by convection causing the hot air to rise and cold air moving into the pressure deficit. In order to do this all that is required is the rotation of the earth, causing the sun to heat up the earth during the day and cool during the night. To say that wind is finite is ridiculous, maybe someone should attach a turbine to the senator to catch all the hot air he is producing!

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  8. You might try including the WHOLE quote, instead of just the part that makes it look odd.

    "Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can’t transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It’s just something to think about."

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  9. Thanks Paco for the comment.

    The point of the statement remains the same - that Rep. Barton considers wind a "finite resource" (as if we will run out of wind someday) and that by using turbines we could slow the global winds and cause temperatures to rise. That was, clearly, the point he was trying to make. And then he courageously steps back with "I'm not saying that's going to happen..."

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  10. All I can say is that I wouldn't claim to be able to read his mind. If you look at the statement logically, it looks more like he is demonstrating absurdity (of the global warming nonsense) by being absurd.

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  11. Respectfully, I think that steps outside of what he actually says, Paco. What he literally says is wind is a "finite" energy source. And then he indicates that wind turbines could "slow the winds down" which would raise the planet's temperature. That's clear what he meant....

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    1. He states "energy" is a finite resource..not as some are quoting him saying "wind is a finite resource"

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  12. I would agree, if the entire statement weren't wrapped in a hypothetical; "Wouldn't it be ironic if..." People talk like this all the time. e.g. Wouldn't it be weird if the world actually ended with the Mayan calender? Of course you wouldn't actually think the world was going to end.

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  13. The quote states energy is a finite resource, not wind is a finite resource. Either way, I don't know much about the subject other than I'm finding it to be an interesting read. That said, how would the concept that energy is neither created nor destroyed fit in the mix?

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  14. What he says is true, a dam slows down a stream just as a turbine would slow down the wind. However I don't think we would notice the change. Any type of energy production we use is going to effect the climate. Solar panels well cool the areas they are used in, wind turbines will slow down the wind. All energy removed from the environment is energy removed and has some effect. But currently we use so little I don't think we would notice anything.

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  15. Please provide the original source/confirmation that reported this quote. I don't doubt that Rep. Barton is dumb enough to have said that -- given his previous insane utterances -- I simply want to be sure he really did say it, before I pass it along.

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    1. The ACTUAL QUOTE "Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

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  16. How about you actually try using the real quote? Barton NEVER said wind was a finite resource. He said energy is a finite resource. Do a little research before you go off trying to sound like you know what you are talking about. Barton's ACTUAL QUOTE...

    "Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

    I am not defending Barton or his odd way of thinking. Rather, I am calling you out for putting in quotes something the man did not say. Since you refer to yourself as someone "covering the current news cycle" then surely you know the rules of attributing quotations. But then again, you obviously do not. You saw something on Facebook and took it as gospel.

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  17. He is right, wind is a finite resource there is a limit to the power you can get from wind, same as here is a limit to the power your car can produce.

    At least he is aware that wind power slows winds and that produces warming go he seems like a bight guy to me

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  18. Slowing the wind down will cause the temperature to go up.
    No one is going to make the wind 'slow down'.
    This is another attempt at another dumb manipulative LIE from a REPUBLICAN TEXAN (oil) congressman.
    The people hear that are agreeing are making themselves look like fools.

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  19. Don't you ever check facts? The full quote was: "Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

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  20. Yet another liberal lie. That actual quote was: "Wind is God's way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it's hotter to areas where it's cooler. That's what wind is. Wouldn't it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I'm not saying that's going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale. I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something, you can't transfer that heat, and the heat goes up. It's just something to think about."

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  21. Brian - I have posted that ENTIRE quote in my post. I'm not sure what 'facts' you need further checked. The entire quote is present in my post above.

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  22. All you people are idiots. Temperature is what causes wind (in conjunction with air pressure), not the other way around. Wind does not blow temperature around. Differences between temperatures and pressure causes air to move from high to low pressures and from hot to cold temperatures causing wind. Wind is then deflected due to the Coriolis Effect. Science, get some.

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  23. You're all idiots. Wind is caused by temperature (and air pressure) not the other way around. Air moves from high pressure to low pressure and from hot temperature to low temperature causing wind. Wind is then deflected by the Coriolis Effect. Wind does not blow temperature around. Science, get some.

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  24. Actually Randy...You posted the entire quote reported by the liberal media...A quick Google search and a little digging would reveal the 'entire' quote. Rep. Barton was actually quoting a story by Dr. Apt.

    Mr. BARTON Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I ask my questions, I am going to read a paragraph from Dr. Apt’s statement or paper that he wrote because we are here debating a renewable energy standard because we think that there is a theory that man-made emissions, primarily from fossil fuels like coal, which reduce amounts of CO2, are causing climate change, i.e., the temperature to rise, and one of the solutions being proposed is an RES that is going to rely fairly heavily on wind power, which obviously doesn’t create CO2. I am going to read a paragraph which is if true very ironic, and this is from Dr. Apt’s paper and I quote: ‘‘Wind energy is a finite resource. At large scale, slowing down the wind by using its energy to turn turbines has environmental consequences. A group of researchers at Princeton University,’’ which is in New Jersey, parenthetically ‘‘found that wind farms may change the mixing of air near the surface, drying the soil near the site. At planetary scales, David Keith, who was then at Carnegie Mellon, and coworkers found that if wind supplied 10 percent of expected global electricity demand in 2100, which is a number of years off, the resulting change in the earth’s atmospheric energy might cause some regions of the world to experience temperature change of approximately 1 degree Centigrade,’’ which I think is about 1-1/2 degrees or 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it is hotter to areas where it is cooler. That is what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up? Now, I am not saying that is going to happen, Mr. Chairman, but that is definitely something on the massive scale—I mean, it does make some sense. You stop something. You can’t transfer that heat and the heat goes up. It is just something to think about.

    http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Final-Transcript-EE-Renewable-Energy-Complementary-Policies-Climate-Legislation-2009-2-26.pdf look on page 108

    Hopefully you will set the record strait!

    Thanks!

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  25. Randy,

    Actually that isn't the ENTIRE quote...that was the quote reported by the liberal media...A quick Google search and a little research reveals that Rep. Barton was actually quoting researcher Dr. Apt...

    Here is the real quote: I am going to read a paragraph which is if true very ironic, and this is from Dr. Apt’s paper and I quote: ‘‘Wind energy is a finite resource. At large scale, slowing down the wind by using its energy to turn turbines has environmental consequences. A group of researchers at Princeton University,’’

    You can find it on page #101 in this document: http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Final-Transcript-EE-Renewable-Energy-Complementary-Policies-Climate-Legislation-2009-2-26.pdf

    Hopefully you will set the record straight!

    Thanks!

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  26. Brownie,

    I carefully read the link you posted. What I have quoted above is exactly what is in the official record. You feel it necessary to include a few more paragraphs before Mr. Barton addresses the quote in question. After reading the full statement, I don't feel including two or three more paragraphs changes or alters what it was the Mr. Barton was trying to say. What I have here is the relevant part of his statement. Including more does not change, in my opinion, the direction of what he was trying to communicate. Directly before my quote above, he is reading from another source on the subject and it doesn't express his own thoughts, just those of others. The interest in this subject, I believe, is Mr. Barton's thoughts on the issue. And I believe that is clearly expressed above. I have not altered his words at all.

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    1. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/tx-wind-farm.html

      seems that we can drain energy from the wind enough to have a measurable effect on tempeture.

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  27. This guy is an idiot! To follow his opinion, (not fact) then all of the windmills used in the history of Denmark. It should have surely put them under water from all of the windmills used there. I have not heard of any problems in out countries that are 100% wind energy. Does anyone really think that the fact the sun is finite, therefore wind is. I think we all have much more than the wind to worry about if the sun implodes. Please do not spread this lunacy around. I am sure windmills do not use up wind, they just spin right along while the wind blows right on by.

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  28. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/tx-wind-farm.html

    Joe actually has NASA Data on his side

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  29. His first sentence: "Wind is God's way of balancing heat" makes the whole paragraph invalid and without merit. Anyone that believes their imaginary friend in the sky controls anything is not worth listening to.

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