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.