Now and again, STT gets a comment that seeks to pin us down as “anti-wind”, “climate deniers”. Here’s one from Enough Already:
I agree with your specific arguments against wind turbines, but even hosting AGW-denial articles puts me off. It perpetuates stereotypes of dumb bogans when we need all possible intelligence on this side!
I consider the wind turbine industry as greedy environmentalism armed with slick propaganda. You can’t effectively fight articulate propaganda with conspiracy theories like AGW-denial. We anti-wind folk need to stick to science.
CO2 is well understood as the main source of radiative forcing; it moderates the more powerful water vapor that cycles in and out. The Earth would be mostly frozen without that “trace gas,” CO2, but most denial arguments dumb that down by saying there’s just not enough CO2 to matter (sip a glass of water with “just” 400 ppm of cyanide and see how it goes). Denying AGW is like denying the whole CO2 greenhouse effect.
While Enough Already doesn’t appear to level that charge fairly and squarely against STT, his or her comment is worthy of dissection and defence on our part.
Dear Enough Already,
We apologise if some of those who appear on our pages with views contrary to your own concerning “AGW”, as you put it, offend your sensibilities.
We agree that “intelligence” is a useful weapon in any public or political discourse; hence our own particular choice of language. For example we do not claim to be “anti-wind folk”; nor do we accept such a tag.
The guff about STT (or any other repository of common sense, for that matter) being “anti-wind” is … well … just plain silly.
STT loves a summer breeze just as much as the next family sweating on the beach – we’re partial to a ‘winter-stormy’ when jumping into the surf for a little ‘board action’ – and we’re pretty fond of the howl of wind, mixed with heavy rain drumming on an iron roof in June. And sailing just wouldn’t be the same without a little puff of the stuff, to fill the jib.
No, it’s the nonsense that is wind power that’s the target for STT – for obvious reasons:
As George Orwell – a bloke who knew a thing or two about the way words are employed by the powerful and corrupt – put it:
If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.
The use of words and phrases such as “anti-wind”, “denier”, “denial”, “belief” and “believer” have no place in science, politics or economics. The latest hysterical abuse of our mother tongue is the phrase “climate denier”.
No one at STT, well actually no one anywhere, denies that there is such a thing as the “climate”.
That word, by definition, incorporates within it the concept of “change”; for if the climate had not changed over the 4.6 billion years that our Earth has been lapping around the Sun, it would have probably remained a solid frozen lump of ice; and we would not be here arguing the toss about a few degrees, one way or the other.
The nonsense peddled by climate hysterics is premised on some ‘Goldilocks fantasy’ that, at some point in the recent past (we can’t quite pin down when) the climate was “just right”. Ever since, apparently, we’ve been lurching towards a man-made climate catastrophe. STT grew up in the 1970s and was terrorised in school with forecasts of a looming ice age. 20 years on and the reign of terror was reversed: global incineration was next on the menu.
While we note your use of the term AGW, we understand that to incorporate “global warming” as an irrefutable fact. It is, however, a theory with which there is only one problem: and that’s the evidence. Even the most hysterical have been forced to accept the fact that global surface temperatures have not budged for 18 years, despite human generated CO2 emissions increasing at a rollicking rate: generally referred to as “the pause”. The last piece STT read on the topic takes us back to our childhood with warnings about, wait for it, another looming ice age:
And it’s the lack of evidence for global warming that appears to have shifted the terminology to “climate change”: a tautology if ever there was one.
Of course, the climate “changes” – change is endogenous to the model. Whether that change is significant or “dangerous”, as the most strident hysterics would have us believe, is yet to be seen. Humans have tolerated severe ice ages and, somehow, miraculously managed to survive. If the planet warms, as we’ve been lately warned, STT is pretty confident we will survive that too: it’s called “adaptation” – a feature of humanity, oft referred to as “ingenuity”.
However, in the main, we leave the topic of global warming or climate change (whichever is your poison) to others.
STT takes the position that man-made emissions of CO2 may increase atmospheric temperatures. But we don’t concede that wind power has made – or is even capable of making – one jot of difference to CO2 emissions in the electricity sector; principally because it is NOT – and will never be – an ‘alternative’ to conventional generation systems, which are always and everywhere available on demand:
Let’s assume, as we do, that man-made CO2 emissions in the electricity sector are a problem. Then the only presently available solution is nuclear power; unless, of course, you’re prepared to live in Stone Age darkness.
Our attack is directed at a meaningless power source; that is insanely expensive, and utterly pointless, on every level. For those on both sides of the argument (including “AGW deniers” as you refer to them) that foolishly connect industrial wind turbines with global warming (or climate change) they, in effect, box themselves into a logical corner.
On the one hand, if the AGW hysterics are wrong (and icebergs start turning up in Port Phillip Bay), then, applying their (by then failed) man-made CO2/warming argument, we should scrap every last (planet cooling) wind turbine and start burning coal and gas as fast as humanly possible to warm the joint up, in order to prevent the ‘big freeze’.
On the other hand, if the AGW “deniers” are wrong, temperatures start to rise, and Australia looks set to become a boiling desert devoid of all life forms (save card-carrying “Greens”, of course), then the hysterics will claim absolute licence (if not high moral imperative) to carpet this, and every other country, in an endless sea of giant industrial wind turbines. Having pinned their arguments against wind power on the basis that CO2 caused AGW is a furphy, the “deniers” would be forced to logically concede their opponents’ case; and, with it, to also concede the need for a completely wind powered electricity system.
Hence, STT seeks to completely disconnect claims for and against global warming, and wind power generation.
As wind power can only ever be delivered (if at all) at crazy, random intervals it will never amount to a meaningful power source and will always require 100% of its capacity to be backed up 100% of the time with fossil fuel generation sources; in Australia, principally coal-fired plant. As a result, wind power generation will never “displace”, let alone “replace” fossil fuel generation sources.
Contrary to the anti-fossil fuel squad’s ranting, there isn’t a ‘choice’ between wind power and fossil fuel power generation: there’s a ‘choice’ between wind power (with fossil fuel powered back-up equal to 100% of its capacity) and relying on wind power alone. If you’re ready to ‘pick’ the latter, expect to be sitting freezing (or boiling) in the dark more than 60% of the time.
Wind power isn’t a ‘system’, it’s ‘chaos’ – the pictures tell the story: this is the ‘output’ from every wind farm connected to the Eastern Grid (based in NSW, VIC, TAS & SA – and with a combined installed capacity of 3,669MW) during May.
Consider a country where its electricity supply was exclusively based on wind power generation; a place where businesses would attempt to run around the vagaries of the wind; where houses would be well-stocked with candles and their occupants left to keep food cold with kero-fridges or iceboxes – and those homes otherwise run on wood, sticks or dung, used for cooking or heating. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
As soon as that country had the chance (due to the availability of technology and/or as a process of economic development) it would build a system based on power generation sources available “on-demand” (ie coal, gas, hydro, nuclear, geo-thermal).
Its people would then be able to enjoy around the clock illumination; factories could run to the clock, and not the weather; homes would be heated and cooled according their occupants’ needs, making life safer and more comfortable (no-one need be frozen to death or expire from the heat because the wind stopped blowing); economic development and prosperity would follow, as night follows day.
Placed in the practical context of the needs of a functioning society, wind power can be seen as the patent nonsense that it clearly is. If a country didn’t have a conventional power system (as we have), it would build one, anyway.
Once people grasp that fact, the rest of the wind industry’s ‘case’ falls away.
Talk about “wind farms being in the right place” just sounds silly; ergo, with arguments about distances from homes; separation from bird nesting sites or migration routes etc, etc.
All of these other considerations – while legitimate – simply jump to the periphery and dilute the strength of the key argument.
Keep hitting our political betters with the pointlessness of wind power as a generation source and the rest falls away.
What reasonable decision maker would back policies that favour something that has no economic benefit? Moreover, as the central claim that wind power reduces CO2 emissions in the electricity is a complete falsehood, the justification for the hundreds of $billions in subsidies directed to wind power looks like pure lunacy, at best; or graft and corruption (aka ‘crony’ capitalism), at worst.
What the wind industry hates most are facts.
STT dishes them up on a daily basis. The facts outlined above – and which we’ve detailed many times before – are unassailable.
Wind power is a fraud, pure and simple.
Australia has just locked in a $45 billion electricity tax which will be directed as subsidies to wind power outfits to generate power which has NO commercial value.
Were that same amount to be applied to building state-of-the-art nuclear power plants, Australia would enjoy cheap, dependable power for a century to come. Moreover, anyone concerned about AGW, as you clearly are, should be pleased as Punch knowing that the power being generated will not add a single gram of the ‘dreaded’ CO2 gas to the atmosphere. And, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, the Earth’s climate will remain constant – forevermore fixed in a “just right” Goldilocks state.