Wednesday, 15 December 2010


Here's a chicken-and-egg question: which comes first, climate change denial or anti-windfarm lobbying?

It's a tricky one. And it goes to the very heart of the phoney windfarm 'debate' which is currently doing so much to hold Britain back and threaten our energy security in years to come.

On the one hand, you have the example of the kind of nimby who just doesn't want to see a windfarm in the area. This is ultimately what informed (!) the bogus windfarm debate in the Lenchwick region. When the news was first announced that ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) were considering the feasibility of a windfarm near Lenchwick, a handful of fools did something very, very silly indeed. They quickly looked up any old garbage about windfarms (claims which were later ruled untruthful and unsubstantiated) and broadcast them far and wide. Having nailed their colours to the mast long before they had any real grasp of the issues, they were then obliged to tell ever louder and more elaborate lies to justify their position. They also told anyone with an independent mindset to shut up and sought to dominate every aspect of local decision-making.

So - a bad start, with a fledgling campaign based on the wildest of silly rumours.

But where does the climate change denial come into this? Well, it's hard to tell. Because there aren't many sound and reasonable grounds for opposing windfarms (when the evidence from other countries, as well as other communities around the UK, is taken into account), no end of stupid arguments tend to be advanced. And one of these is the stupidest of all.

Basically, it goes - 'There's no evidence that climate change is happening/is man-made, and so installing windfarms is unnecessary.'

Which requires us all to ignore the global scientific consensus in order to justify a wholly irrational opposition to effective, graceful and beneficial developments. And if that isn't the very definition of daft, we don't know what is.

Alternatively, the eccentric nature of anti-windfarm protests suggests that, underlying all the bogus excuses for opposing wind turbines (examples aplenty on the Wychavon planning website, courtesy of those arch-deceivers known collectively as VVASP), there is some curious core of anti-windfarm sentiment. What this is, exactly, is difficult to identify. But perhaps the most sane of suggestions is that windfarms represent clear reminders of our failure to behave responsibly in the past.

While there are very few serious commentators who doubt that climate change is happening, there are a fair few who are trying to pretend that it isn't happening as a result of mankind's rampaging stupidity. The fact that global temperatures have been rising ever since industrialisation meant burning fossil fuels on an unimaginable scale is somehow seen as irrelevant.

Now, every now and then science does require a bit of common sense. Even if any direct correlation between burning fossil fuels and rising global temperatures had not been identified, only a complete idiot would suggest that we should continue incinerating the Earth and its natural resources at a manic rate.

But there are plenty of people who spent most of their lives enjoying twentieth century levels of consumption and don't like being told that they shouldn't have done that. Which means that they don't like windfarms. In their bizarre world, the damage they have helped to wreak is largely invisible so they needn't feel in any way responsible for it.

Even if, in some dim recess of their bleak souls, they recognise their communal responsibility for environmental mischief and the need to make amends, these inadequate individuals imagine that they are somehow absolved of any real responsibility to change. Hence the gormless arguments against wheelie-bins, for example. A modest measure is instituted to help cope with colossal amounts of waste, and the cretinous fringe can only moan and posture.

Multiply that insanity by several factors and you get the anti-windfarm prejudices of VVASP and their sister organisations. Because a windfarm stands for progress towards a renewable future, these things have to be opposed. Why? Because if we don't fight this sort of progress we are implicitly admitting our guilt. Better to insist that somebody else (preferably someone a lot poorer) takes reponsibility, and then we can continue to pretend that we're not at fault for driving gas-guzzlers and amassing air miles.

So we get a strange howlback effect, which is plenty evident in the nimby bible - an inept and opinionated book entitled The Wind Farm Scam.

The author is an ecologist, but he's one of those who has gone so far off the deep end that there's no real hope of him returning. Rather than admitting that there is a very serious problem to be faced (climate change) and that windfarms are a very sensible part of a global solution, people like the author of the book don't want to admit that there's a problem. Or they know that there's a problem, but they don't want to admit that windfarms are part of the solution.

The result is a very weird kind of circular logic. It's impossible to tell where this circle starts. Does it begin with an unfounded belief that there's no such thing as man-made climate change (the right-wingers' position)? Or does it start with a prejudiced and illogical opposition to windfarms, often based on ignorance about the way that mankind has previously altered the landscape, which requires a denial of climate change as part of its loopy attempts at denying the need for windfarms.

The word 'Lench' means a cultivated hillside. The landscape of the Lenches is entirely the work of human beings. To call it 'natural' is to demonstrate the same lack of integrity as to claim that the Lenchwick Windfarm will change that landscape 'forever' (or even 'kill the countryside', as VVASP at their most hysterical, mendacious and insane have claimed).

Installing a quiet, impressive and efficient windfarm in the Lenches will do no more harm to the landscape than has already been done by previous generations, and probably a lot less than has been done by the recent influx of suburban types building their ugly dwellings. But those who have relocated to the Lenches in recent years imagine - bizarrely - that they have bought a share in an 'unspoilt' landscape and that no change should be permitted.

Because a windfarm would be a bit of a change, absurd arguments must be deployed to stop this windfarm. And one of those arguments - for which any scientific basis is completely lacking - is that man-made climate change isn't happening.

This is the Etherington approach, visible in his Wind Farm Scam book. (For a sane, sound and scientific debunking of the book go to The author doesn't like the look of windfarms, so he goes hunting for reasons to oppose them. And one of the craziest he can come up with is the possibility that climate change might not be real, or, if it is, it's nothing to do with us, Guv.

Worse, Etherington's book only adds to the howlback effect of this circular reasoning by extensively quoting anti-windfarm campaign groups. This is typical of the intellectual dishonesty so evident in anti-windfarm lobbying. Basically, somewhere or other, somebody makes a guess. This is then blown up into a 'fact'. That 'fact' is then endlessly recycled by nimby groups until it becomes 'true'. Or, as The Wind Farm Scam does it, a blinkered and partisan position is strengthened by quoting other blinkered and partisan nitwits. The argument simply goes round and round in circles, based on no evidence but given a bogus form of credibility by being repeated.

Did the author of The Wind Farm Scam start out as a climate change denier, or did he adopt that stance in order to try to justify his irrational opposition to windfarms? Probably the latter. Although, ultimately, it matters little. But if we want to demonstrate how flimsy his arguments can be, let's bear in mind his constant criticism of the relatively minor government subsidies paid towards the development of renewables. And then he decides that nuclear power is the answer. Nuclear power has always required subsidies from central government on a scale which could turn the whole of the UK renewable in the space of a few years. So - small-scale subsidies to renewables are 'bad', but an industry which causes endless ecological harm while requiring massive subsidies is 'good'. Demented or what? (And let's not forget that Etherington also criticises windfarms for not working all the time, but conveniently overlooks the tendency of nuclear power stations suddenly to stop working and to require back-up - so, as usual, the nimby argument crumbles when an element of logical consistency is demanded.)

Whether you deny climate change and therefore oppose windfarms, or whether you oppose windfarms and therefore have to deny climate change, either way you're fooling yourself. That's bad enough.

But then, when you seek to fool others, you cross the line. And history will judge you.

There is a very real, very pressing problem. Climate change. There is a very real, very beneficial solution. Renewables.

What kind of intellectually dishonest and sociopathic ratfink tries to deny the former in order to 'justify' their opposition to the latter?

1 comment:

  1. Government subsidies for windmills could be the bone of contention: Is it a scam for government to tell us that carbon fuels are a threat to humanity, then offer only part time energy sources (primarily windmill farms and, to a lesser extent, solar arrays) as the salvation from full time use of carbon fuels?

    Similarly, what net benefit is had by diluting our gasoline by 10% Ethanol?

    Government keeps pushing for Cap and Trade, but how will requiring energy users to switch to part time energy sources stop them from using carbon fuels the rest of the time? How will the enormous profit potential from carbon trading cause use of carbon fuels to end?

    Is it a scam for government to declare the threat to humanity, but only offer part time energy sources as the solution to full time carbon fuel use? If it is a scam, then windmills play center stage in the scam.

    For all it has done and all that it attempts to do, government never tells us what the potential reduction of global temperatures would be attained by any of its "solutions". Is this because, if it were done, it would show that the "solutions" are pitifully inadequate to save us from the threat to humanity? Are we to supposed to assume that the actions of government will save us from the threat of carbon fuel emissions?

    Perhaps government could better protect us from the threat by offering a huge "X-Prize" for development of a new, full time energy source that could replace carbon fuels. Perhaps government could adequately fund the R&D to find such a new energy source.

    Why hasn't government done either of these? Why hasn’t government prepared a plan and a timeline for eliminating use of carbon fuels that would “save humanity”?