Society offenders

12

Why are people so intent on blocking wind farms in both England and Australia in recent years?

Well, some of it is clearly genuine stupidity. While, it is well-known, not all stupid people are conservatives, it is undoubtedly the case that all conservatives are stupid. Add to that natural stupidity the pungent anti-science of the Tea Party style no-nothings in recent years, and you have the perfect recipe for believing any kind of crap nonscience that people of ill-will feed to you. If some clown pretends that there is a link between wind farms and an imaginary disease, then no matter how much proper science disproves this pretence, British Conservatives and Australian Liberals and Nationals will believe the clown every time. If only someone would tell them that gravity is a communist plot and a chap calling in to Alan Jones say it is well-known you can jump from high buildings but our socialist prime minister has covered it up!

But we are in the realm of fantasy there. In the real world there are people who are making use of these useful idiots for their own purpose, but what is the purpose? I mean, we know these faceless men are trying to prevent any meaningful action to reduce fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas production, but windfarms?

Oh, sure, wind is contributing more to our energy requirements and in that way reducing fossil fuel use to some extent, but the coal and oil industries grind on remorselessly, growing bigger enough, you’d think, to keep any neocon think tank paid to support them laughing all the way to the bank. So why put so much effort into blocking wind energy?

Well, two reasons. One is that wind is the biggest renewable energy source after hydro power (which effectively has reached its full potential). Already over 20% of renewable energy supply, way above all others, and already forming a major industry in terms of manufacture and installation, with huge potential to expand further. Wind is the one you need to stop to prevent more and more replacement of coal and oil by renewables.

The second seems to me perhaps an even greater motivation for the dark forces arrayed against renewable energy. Wind power is highly visible, impressive, clearly a serious energy source while being absolutely clean and harmless, and being seen in many parts of the country. You see an array of wind towers and you immediately know two things. First, renewable energy is growing ever stronger, and second climate change is a real and present danger to the planet. Must be because serious people are spending serious money and doing serious work to reduce greenhouse gases. Why would you go to this effort if climate change wasn’t a big serious issue? People may not understand the physics of the atmosphere, or the changing climate, but wind farms are a strong message no one can fail to see.

And so it must be stopped before too many people start to understand the issue and the campaign against them has been unremitting. They are harmless, clean and green? No matter, little challenge to the forces of coal darkness. Get someone, anyone, to say the sound of the turbines causes illness. Doesn’t matter who they are, some kind of medical link, fine, whatever, no one will inquire to closely, just get them to keep saying it over and over. Doesn’t matter they are opposed by every serious scientist and health professional in the field, disproved by thorough serious studies, the physics of sound, and, indeed, common sense. The media will treat this now “controversial issue” (because of this one person) with “balance” and your one maverick will be treated as if of equal weight to the totality of the others.

Set up astroturf groups (see second link above). Put “environment” and “landscape” in their names as if they are genuine scientific and conservation groups. Have them hold public meetings, write to newspapers, phone talkback, frighten locals, get a bandwagon effect going. Know that again the media (including, shamefully, the ABC) will treat these fake fronts as serious bodies who must again be given equal platforms with genuine scientists for the sake of balance (the Australian media, as in so much else, has served Australia very badly on this issue). Get shock jocks to promote the cause. Enlist the climate change deniers in the conservative parties.

Kick up enough fuss and soon conservative state governments will announce extreme limits on where windfarms can be put, so severe as to effectively prevent their use anywhere. Bring in the future conservative federal government, climate change deniers all, to announce they will, once in power, dump renewable energy targets and funding and hold “enquiries” into windpower. Job done.

There’ll be no more use of wind to help power Australia as the planet fries and this country suffers more than most.

As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list — I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed — who never would be missed!

PS there is a “Rally for Renewables” on in Canberra on 18 June to help counteract Alan Jones and Coalition mps rallying against windpower on the same day. Come along, help counteract the vicious campaign, might see you there.

12 comments on “Society offenders

  1. Iain Davidson says:

    One of the great surprises of a visit to the USA last year was the proliferation of windfarms in Texas. Arguably this happened despite the governorship and presidency of GW Bush.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power_in_Texas
    We even stopped to see if we could hear them turbines, but not a whisper.
    And they look magnificent.
    The other place with lots of wind farms and no ill effects is Spain–ironically there are windmills all over La Mancha and no one is trying to kill them with their lances.
    Iain

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  2. f1retree says:

    Re Iain Davidson, is there a country by country survey of wind farm usage that also covers wind farm dissent in each country? I understand that a lot of European countries have quite extensive wind farm plants operating.

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  3. Further suspicion is raised by the fact that the ‘Australian Environment Foundation’ and ‘Landscape Guardians’ have never been exercised enough to complain about the veritable plague of open cast coal mines creeping across the Hunter Valley croplands. (Just ‘GoogleEarth’ the district round Singleton)

    The mines are literally destroying crop lands, vineyards and dairy farms, even up to the doorsteps of rural towns, where the citizens have actually been forced out of their homes, not by the rarely audible throb of a distant turbine, but the ever present roar of giant diesel trucks and drilling machines, followed by the regular detonation of several tonnes of high explosive with attendant clouds of dust and highly acidic nitrogen dioxide and choking coal dust, the destruction of water tables, closing of access roads to towns and other minor inconveniences – nothing compared with the hysteria inducing sight of a wind farm!
    This movement also outs itself by demonstrating that its arguments are consistent with the 5 principles of denialism:
    1) Cherry picking: Only certain areas have complainants, eg, parts of the US. But not Texas, where farmers have made a fortune from wind farms which generate 22% of the State’s electricity. Germany has 30,000 wind turbines which recently supplied 100% of national current demand but no history of ill effects.
    2) Fake experts; Non- peer reviewed research papers make endless unsubstantiated assertions, while properly constituted, peer reviewed research about the supposed dangers of turbines find little effect. Evidence is actually confined to a single case of a child who was doing poorly at school, allegedly because of the effect of wind noise.
    3) Misrepresentation and logical fallacies; Endless assertions about people becoming sick all over the world, when the supposed negative effects occur only when the ‘sufferers’ are aware of the presence of turbines.
    4) Impossible expectations of what research can deliver; a new requirement has been mooted that the windfarm industry conduct constant monitoring of their noise output, which the industry says is not only impossibly expensive, but an utterly meaningless measurement of ‘environmental noise’ which is just as likely to include the sound of a passing truck, and the wind in the trees, power lines, etc, which have always been there.

    5) Conspiracy theories; False assertions that there is a powerful ‘government based ‘green lobby’ that is determined to shut down the nice clean coal industry and foist ugly, noisy, toxic wind turbines on a long suffering general public, already reeling from the intolerable impact of rising electricity prices due to the cost of renewable energy programs.

    The important thing to remember is that you just have to fool some of the people most of the time, and with the help of a ‘balanced’ media, that is very easy to do.

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  4. roshart1 says:

    I love windfarms. In the early days of windfarms, about fourteen years ago, we were driving around the Cornwall coast in the UK when I saw a field of wind turbines for the first time. It was love at first sight. I had to get out and take photos – walk amongst them and listen to them. I was beguiled by their elegance, their cleanliness after the smoke, smog and air pollution of Germany, and the soft whoosh, whoosh sound they made completely won me over. I can’t imagine similarly insisting Beloved stop at every coal mine for me to take admiring photographs.

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  5. gordonwa says:

    The fossil fuel industry pours millions of dollars into right-wing think tanks to support the agents of climate change denial. This money funds dubious ‘research’ and attacks on the credibility of real science which is taken up by the MSM in a distorted ‘balance’. (1500 peer-reviewed climate scientists versus three vociferous deniers equals 50/50 coverage).

    I doubt that any of this ‘dirty’ money ‘trickles down’ to the many individual climate change deniers who post on countless blogs. So if they are not being paid to spout climate change denial we can only conclude that they are dupes of the fossil fuel industry. Perhaps they can form a union and strike for back pay!

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  6. Dan says:

    The ill-effects from wind farms are exclusively limited to those who could have made money from them, but have not.

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  7. Craig Watkins says:

    I suspect the way solar is headed that before long we may see solar installation being preferable to wind. The more distributed nature of solar certainly has some advantages. You can do solar PV for less than $2/Watt, and as low as $1/Watt and under if you get a really good supplier agreement. I am not suggesting wind will cease being an option any time soon, but perhaps the period of wind being the leading renewable is coming to a close.

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    • f1retree says:

      Large and small scale geothermal are another option for energy, small scale is limited to heating/cooling for medium sized buildings and homes while large scale is capable of electricity generation.

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  8. Joy Cooper says:

    Well, yesterday’s Anti-Wind Farm group’s “protest” aided & abetted by the moronic Alan Jones & his stupendously ridiculous address to the gathering, was a dismal failure. The pro-wind farm gathering far outweighed them in numbers & IQ points.

    Did we see this mentioned in the MSM? Why no. Not a peep about either simply because the anti lot looked like such idiots & the pro group weren’t supposed to get any publicity. Disgraceful

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  9. This is the definitive answer to the question. People may get sick, but it’s not wind-turbines. A medical doctor explains – and the explanation has far wider application. http://richard-di-natale.greensmps.org.au/content/video/speech-richard-di-natale-wind-power-science-and-evidence-based-policymaking Should be compulsory reading – or listening. I liked the text version.

    Jones of course, knows better than a medical doctor about medical [and every other] matter.

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