Thursday, September 28, 2006

E. coli in spinach comes from factory farms

A commentary in the New York Times last week explained that factory-farmed cows, whether for meat or for milk, are the source of the E. coli strain that is so dangerous to humans. The strain thrives in an acidic environment (thus it is not killed in our stomachs), which has been created in the cow digestive tract by the industrial feed they are given. Their manure is therefore teeming with this dangerous strain of E. coli, and the manure pollutes the water table, streams, and rivers. The water used to rinse vegetable greens is polluted by the unnatural shit from industrial animal "farms."

[Update:  Grass-fed cows become colonized with E. coli O157:H7 at same rates as grain-fed cattle.]

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Muir Trust warns of destruction of Scottish wild areas by wind power industry

The John Muir Trust believes
  • Wild land should be conserved for nature and people for the benefit of present and future generations;

  • Developments on core wild land, such as industrial-scale wind developments, are a major threat to our rapidly diminishing wild land;

  • The best renewable energy options around wild land are small-scale, sensitively sited and adjacent to the communities directly benefiting from them, where the landscape impact is minimal;

  • Large wind turbines, often 120 metres high (taller than the Forth Rail Bridge) grouped in clusters of up to 100, are totally unsuitable for Scotland’s finest landscapes;

  • The intrusion is not just the turbines and pylons, but includes the access roads, concrete bases, and underground cables;

  • Producing energy near to where it is consumed reduces the need for giant pylons through wild and scenic areas e.g. the proposed Beauly – Denny transmission upgrade;

  • A recent study suggests far more eagles are at risk from wind developments than was previously thought so their habitat must be protected;

  • It would be a tragedy to sacrifice wild land to major industrial developments.
wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, Scotland

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Va. Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries lays out wildlife case against wind power facility

As quoted at National Wind Watch (click the title of this post), where the entire letter is available:

"We feel this project presents an unacceptable risk to wildlife. We are particularly concerned with potential significant adverse impacts upon bats and birds. ... This project, and the conditions imposed by the State Corporation Commission, will set a precedent for all future wind energy projects in Virginia. Wind farms cannot be viewed as independent with regard to impacts upon wide-ranging migratory animals. We currently lack sufficient knowledge to absolutely determine the maximum fatality rates that can be tolerated at a given site without unacceptably impacting local or regional populations of sensitive species; but we are certain that high fatality rates at multiple sites across the landscape would pose an unacceptable risk, as do unmitigated fatalities of Endangered or Threatened species. ... In the case of this project, where wildlife losses potentially could be very substantial and significant, we must take a conservative approach to assessing risk and designing appropriate mitigation. The data needs for pre- and post-construction evaluation, monitoring, and mitigation should not be dictated by project applicants or consultants .... High fatality rates at this site would particularly be devastating to bats because of their reproductive strategy, which is atypical of a small mammal. ... They have small litters (typically one or two young), only one litter per year, and life expectancy of 12-15 years. With this strategy, the impact of the loss of individuals is much greater, especially within small populations. ... In addition to bats, we are concerned over potential eagle fatalities at this site. ... We have recommended that the applicant consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning potential take of federal Endangered or Threatened species. We cannot authorize take of federally listed species. The applicant’s consultants have downplayed the potential for such take but, in our opinion, the evidence suggests a strong likelihood of take."

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, environment, environmentalism, animal rights

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bluff and bluster of wind supporters

A recent post on the National Forum of Australia (click the title):

One of the things that stands out about wind is its apparent inability to replace other sources. That is a big shortcoming. At least other sources -- renewable and otherwise -- produce useful electricity for the grid, so there is something against which to weigh the costs. As for the growth of the wind energy business, religious fundamentalism is growing around the world, too. That in itself does not make it right or true. The fact of the issue at hand is that the industry has yet to show any evidence of actual benefit from wind power on the grid. Their massive erections seem more like the giant statues on Rapa Nui, a desperate but very wrongheaded effort to fend off environmental disaster.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, anarchism, ecoanarchism

Irish wind energy planning guidelines

This is from section 5.6 of recent (June 2006) planning guidelines for wind energy from the Irish Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.
In general, a lower fixed limit of 45dB(A)10 or a maximum increase of 5dB(A) above background noise at nearby noise sensitive locations is considered appropriate to provide protection to wind energy development neighbours. However, in very quiet areas, the use of a margin of 5dB(A) above background noise at nearby noise sensitive properties is not necessary to offer a reasonable degree of protection and may unduly restrict wind energy developments which should be recognised as having wider national and global benefits. Instead, in low noise environments where background noise is less than 30dB(A), it is recommended that the daytime level of the LA90, 10min of the wind energy development noise be limited to an absolute level within the range of 35-40dB(A).

Separate noise limits should apply for day-time and for night-time. During the night the protection of external amenity becomes less important and the emphasis should be on preventing sleep disturbance. A fixed limit of 43dB(A) will protect sleep inside properties during the night.

In general, noise is unlikely to be a significant problem where the distance from the nearest turbine to any noise sensitive property is more than 500 metres. Planning authorities may seek evidence that the type(s) of turbines proposed will use best current engineering practice in terms of noise creation and suppression.
Note they distinguish quieter rural areas from more suburban (I guess) areas. The allowable range for the noisier areas is from 45 dB to 5 dB above ambient. Obviously, this presumes an ambient level of at least 40 dB.

In quieter places (ambient less than 30 dB), they suggest an upper limit of 35-40 dB rather than a relative limit of 5 dB above ambient.

Their recommendation of 43 dB at night obviously applies to the noisier places, being meant as a lower maximum to allow sleep.

They also suggest that noise will not be a problem at a distance farther than 500 m, or just over 1,500 feet. (Note, however, the U.K. Noise Association's recommendation of a minimum distance of one mile from residences and the French Academy of Medicine's similar recommendation of 1.5 km.)

The 500 m limit is considered later (section 5.12) to also apply for shadow flicker, but they also state that flicker may still be a problem at a distance of 10 times the rotor diameter.

And here's an odd directive for maintaining "visual amenity": "Rotors should be kept rotating ..." (section 6.13) As many people have suggested, the generator acts as a motor if more electricity comes in than goes out, and that turbines are often seen turning with only a slight breeze. It has been suggested that it looks better to have them turning ...

Also in the same section: "Nacelles and towers should be kept clear of leakage from internal fluids." That suggests, of course, that leaks are common.

More (section 6.15): "Decommissioning should involve the removal of all of the aboveground elements of the wind energy development and making good of the site, with the possible exception of roads and tracks where some further use can be found for them and this is approved by the planning authority. Foundation pads can be covered with local soil and left for natural re-vegetation, although they should be re-sodded in highly exposed locations." A reminder that "restoration" of the site means leaving several tons of cement and steel right below the surface. That is the usual provision in the U.S. as well.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Interview about organics disappointing

Guest editorial about Salon article (click title):

This guy is the classic American capitalist dolt. He thinks everything is going swimmingly, and if Americans don't have a "languid Mediterranean culture" and are always in a rush and everyone in the family has to work just to scrape by or to buy lots of stuff, and families don't eat together, and Starbucks' McDonald's-like sterility and sameness invades every street corner, that's fine by him. Hey, we are rushed Americans and so what? Ain't life grand in busy-land? He's a modern guy, who cares about those old finger-wagging fogies nattering on about homecooked meals of real food? We aren't time-wasting Europeans, after all! Because you can now routinely get mesclun and good coffee, he surmises that Americans eat better and society is improving. Why then is obesity and diabetes on the rise? Why is there more junk food around than ever before? Do average Americans really eat that much organic food, or even recognize many healthful foods like kale or mustard greens, for example? Just look at the terrible school lunches most American kids eat (even though they are supposedly being improved, they don't seem to have changed significantly) and the junk that they bring from home in their lunchboxes. It's not that their parents don't care; it's that they really don't seem to know what nutritious food is. And there are people in this country who go hungry for lack of food. Food pantries and soup kitchens are serving more people, not less. And why would Mr. Arugula continue to buy Jif peanut butter if he could choose organic peanut butter? Peanuts are one of the most heavily pesticided crops there are. People are free to eat what they like -- the problem is that these pesticides are poisoning the planet, which means all of us. There's no reason for an unnecessary product like Jif to even exist. Organics shouldn't be just a consumer choice, it's about the bigger picture. And why is it acceptable that it's actually abnormal to have a family that cooks its own real food everyday and eats it together? Families like that aren't busy enough!! If you have time to make meals from scratch and eat in a civilized manner by candlelight, you don't have enough to do or are just an old person out of touch with progress! Apparently Americans should have more important activities than routinely cooking real meals and then sitting down together to enjoy the food, the company and conversation.

We need to try to be more like those more "languid" cultures; not simply dismiss the idea that this society could ever change or that it is even a desirable thing to evolve. This country isn't doing too well right now, on many different levels, but apparently this "Arugula" guy hasn't noticed. People do die from overwork, from relentless stress, from eating tons of meat and crappy junk foods that pass as meals. The fracturing of family life has made this society more sterile, shallow, alienating and even more violent. Many kids seem to barely have any connection to their parents and many parents seem to avoid their kids. It isn't like this in most of the rest of the world, not to the extent it is here anyway. In most other societies, there is still a true relationship and respect between the generations and some of this is because those families eat together, and not in a big rush.

It's true that there is more produce and usually some tofu available in most American markets now. But there are plenty of people shopping at markets where it really isn't so different from stores in the 1960s, with little or no organic produce to speak of. Maybe there is now a bit of chard and kale, but it is always pesticided. And organics are definitely expensive, even if they are worth it, so many people can't afford to buy them regularly. But it is a whole sea change that needs to take place -- people cooking their own healthy meals, growing some of their own vegetables if possible, working less if possible, slowing down, educating themselves about pesticides, GMOs and the cruel folly of meat-eating. This will not happen easily. But it is tiresome to see someone glamorizing lethal American busyness and the endless crap that envelops this ugly nation. If we were really improving, there'd be lots of real cafes with distinct identities not owned by corporations serving good coffee, not just boring Starbucks selling overpriced treats. Starbucks is not progress. Maybe people could figure out that they could make their own superb coffee at home and carry it with them, resist advertising and stop automatically supporting every corporate giant that comes along.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Wind facility refused in Kilbraney, Ireland

An Bord Pleanála

Proposed development:  Construction of a windfarm consisting of 17 number wind turbines (hub height 80 metres, blade diameter 82 metres), electrical tail station and control building, construction of new, and extension of existing internal site tracks and associated works at Kilbraney in the townlands of Kilbraney, Coolboy, Kayle, Ballynamona, Ballyliamgow, Bryanstown, Tinnarath and Ballygarvan, County Wexford.

Decision

REFUSE permission for the above proposed development based on the reasons and considerations set out below.

1. Having regard to the location of the site in an area of mainly flat and undulating farmland characterised by a patchwork of fields delineated by hedgerows of varying size and with an extansive scattering of houses, it is considered that the proposed development, by reason the scale of the individual turbine units and the spatial extent and layout of the windfarm, would conflict with the Wind Energy Development Guidelines issued by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government in June, 2006, would give rise to visual clutter in an attractive rural area and would be unduly prominent when seen from residential properties in the vicinity. The proposed development would be visually obtrusive, would seriously injure the amenities of property within and surrounding the windfarm and would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area. ...

Dated this 14th day of September 2006.

wind power, wind energy, wind farms, Ireland

Monday, September 18, 2006

Letter made false claims about wind energy

To the editor, Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times-Argus:

The only thing "inexhaustible" about industrial wind power appears to be its advocates' insistence that it has any value at all to justify desecrating wild places and destroying rural communities.

The Sept. 17 letter from Tom Gray of the American Wind Energy Association attempts to claim that wind does in fact displace other sources of energy. He does so by citing a paper that says it will. Why doesn't he cite a paper that says it has, e.g., in Denmark, Spain, or Germany, where wind energy is well established? The fact is, there doesn't seem to be any such paper.

The industry continues to fantasize about future success, despite an ongoing record that shows no benefits from wind energy at all. "Errors of fact and omission" are their stock in trade.

It's no wonder, then, that opposition to this destructive boondoggle only grows. The "errors" of industrial-scale wind energy are increasingly hard to deny.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Why do you hate America?"

Mickey Z. writes in Counterpunch, "Why I Hate America; and Why I'm Not Leaving":

When pressed, I sometimes reply: "I don't hate America. In fact, think it's one of the best countries anyone ever stole." But, after the laughter dies down, I have a confession to make: If by "America" they mean the elected/appointed officials and the corporations that own them, well, I guess I do hate that America -- with justification.

Among many reasons, I hate America for the near-extermination and subsequent oppression of its indigenous population. I hate it for its role in the African slave trade and for dropping atomic bombs on civilians. I hate its control of institutions like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization. I hate it for propping up brutal dictators like Suharto, Pinochet, Duvalier, Hussein, Marcos, and the Shah of Iran. I hate America for its unconditional support for Israel. I hate its bogus two-party system, its one-size-fits-all culture, and its income gap. I could go on for pages but I'll sum up with this: I hate America for being a hypocritical white supremacist capitalist patriarchy.

After a paragraph like that, you know what comes next: If you hate America so much, why don't you leave? Leave America? That would potentially put me on the other end of U.S. foreign policy. No thanks.

I like how Paul Robeson answered that question before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1956: "My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?"

Since none of my people died to build anything, I rely instead on William Blum, who declares, "I'm committed to fighting U.S. foreign policy, the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the world, and being in the United States is the best place for carrying out the battle. This is the belly of the beast, and I try to be an ulcer inside of it."

Needless to say, none of the above does a damn thing to placate the yellow ribbon crowd. It seems what offends flag-wavers most is when someone like me makes use of the freedom they claim to adore. According to their twisted logic, I am ungrateful for my liberty if I have the audacity to exercise it. If I make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium, somehow I'm not worthy of having the freedom to make the choice to not salute the flag during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee Stadium. These so-called patriots not only claim to celebrate freedom while refusing my right to exploit it, they also ignore the social movements that fought for and won such freedoms.

There's plenty of tolerated public outcry against the Bush administration and the occupation of Iraq, but it's neither fashionable nor acceptable to go as far as saying, no, I do not support the troops and yes, I hate what America does. Fear of recrimination allows the status quo to control the terms of debate. Until we voice what is in our hearts and have the nerve to admit what we hate . . . we will never create something that can be loved.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Persians

From The Persians, by Aeschylus (472 BC), translation by Seth G. Benardete:

For these my son, exacting as requital
Punishment (or so he thought)
Called on himself so numerous
A train of woes.

--Queen


They, invading Greece, felt no awe,
They did not hesitate to plunder images
Of gods, and put temples to the torch;
Altars were no more, and statues, like trees,
Were uprooted, torn from their bases
In all confusion. Thus their wickedness
Shall no less make them suffer:
Other woes the future holds in store,
And still the fount of evils is not quenched,
It wells up, and overflows: so great will be
The sacrificial cake of clotted gore
Made at Plataea by Dorian spear.
And corpses, piled up like sand, shall witness,
Mute, even to the century to come,
Before the eyes of men, that never, being
Mortal, ought we cast our thoughts too high.
Insolence, once blossoming, bears
Its fruit, a tasseled field of doom, from which
A weeping harvest's reaped, all tears.

--Darius

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

An unseemly campaign

"VPIRG faces a good old-fashioned conflict of interest, just the sort of thing it was organized to protect us from."

Editorial by C.B. of the Barton (Vt.) Chronicle:


As its name implies, the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG) is founded on the principle that, beyond the competing interests that run our society and control our lives, there is a public interest that is all too often neglected.

... Using weapons no more powerful than a knack for publicity and an ability to bring vocal citizens into the halls of government and, more rarely, onto the streets, VPIRG has brought the public to the table on a long series of important issues.

And then there's wind power. ...

Late last month VPIRG announced that, in a "report card" on the efforts of northeastern states and provinces to combat global warming, Vermont's grade has slipped from a C to a C-minus.

The reason, VPIRG Field Director Drew Hudson said in a press release, was clear:

Governor Jim Douglas has failed to keep his promises on energy, and "as a result Vermont lags behind our neighbors in permitting commercial wind power and developing a comprehensive climate change action plan." ...

According to the report [the product of 18 environmental organizations in the Northeast], Vermont's "grader" was the Vermont Public Interest Research and Education Fund. The phone number it lists is VPIRG's number in Montpelier.

Two years ago, VPIRG said that 15 percent of Vermont's electricity should be generated in-state by windmills.

Earlier last month in its "Vision for Vermont's Energy Future" VPIRG increased that to 20 percent. ...

In a chapter called "Profile of a Vermont Windfarm" it gives a glowing account of UPC Vermont's plans to erect 26 wind turbines in Sheffield and Sutton.

It notes that "voters in Sheffield, where 20 of the 26 turbines will be located, voted by a strong majority in favor of the project (120-93)."

It fails to note that Sutton residents voted six to one against the proposal at their Town Meeting in March. ...

The problem lies on VPIRG's board of directors. Two members, Matt Rubin and David Rapaport, are the principals in East Haven Windfarm, the company that wants to put four demonstration wind towers on East Mountain and, ultimately, erect 50 windmills on the ridge lines of Essex County.

Mr. Rubin, president of East Haven Windfarm, is former chairman of the VPIRG board. Mr. Rapaport, Windfarm's vice president, is VPIRG's former executive director. ...

So it's not about the public interest, after all. VPIRG faces a good old-fashioned conflict of interest, just the sort of thing it was organized to protect us from. ...

In positioning itself as the chief cheerleader for wind power in Vermont, VPIRG has tarnished its own reputation. It may even, in the long run, harm the cause of wind power.

... VPIRG needs to do what it can to fix the problem, but it's pretty late in the game. Rather than purge its board, maybe it should just withdraw from the wind power debate, and leave the field to those whose arguments won't carry even a whiff of conflicted interests.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont, ecoanarchism

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Larger picture does not include industrial wind power

To the editor, Burlington (Vt.) Free Press:

Jan Blittersdorf, whose company counts on expanding development of industrial wind power, reminds us that we need a thoughtful and productive discussion of the issue ("Wind discussion must see larger picture," September 11). She then proceeds to shamelessly misrepresent the impacts of wind energy on the electricity generation of Denmark, Germany, and Spain.

It is one thing to say that wind turbines generate a certain percentage of a country's total. It is quite another to say that wind turbines displace that percentage of generation from or fuel use by other sources. Apparently, the latter can not be said about Denmark, Germany, and Spain, the world's leaders in wind energy. Those countries have lots of wind turbines, but none have been able to point to any actual benefits from them (except, of course, to those in the business).

The wind industry thus boasts of achieving a goal that means nothing to the larger picture that Blittersdorf reminds us to keep in mind. The turbines are built, but -- because of the intermittent, variable, and unpredictable nature of their production -- other fuels are still used as much as before. The wind turbines therefore do not reduce carbon dioxide or any other emissions.

There are other renewables that have actual promise. We shouldn't waste our time and money -- let alone sacrifice our mountaintops and rural communities -- on the boondoggle of big wind.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, Vermont

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Spain ends support of wind power

Abstract of article (available only in print) in the September Windpower Monthly:

Twin pillars of Spanish wind market axed -- decree removes wind subsidy and price guarantee

The legal basis of the production incentives driving Spain's wind market is now time bombed to disappear in the new year thanks to a new energy law, put together behind the industry's back and passed by government emergency decree. The law will remove the twin pillars supporting the market—a production incentive payment and the safety net of a guaranteed minimum purchase price. Confidence in the Spanish wind market, one of the world's top three, is "shattered" says an industry spokesman. "Projects that should have closed in the past few weeks have been paralysed and others annulled."

Emergency decree -- looks like the government is seeing wind power for the fiasco it is.

wind power, wind energy

Monday, September 04, 2006

Charles Komanoff is two with nature

Charles Komanoff rhapsodizes again on "the increasing viability of commercial-scale wind power" and the beauty and need that this unproven belief inspires him to see. His long article, meant to look reasoned, thorough, and balanced, in the September-October issue of Orion has been getting a lot of notice. But it's just more of the same misguided and misinformed pablum he has already foisted on readers many times elsewhere.

First, to make defense of a single ridgeline from industrial wind development look puny, he proposes replacing three-fourths of the electricity in the U.S. (the portion generated from fossil fuels, mostly coal and natural gas) with wind-generated energy. He pretends to admit that his figure of 400,000 2.5-megawatt turbines to achieve this goal is hypothetical. In fact, it totally ignores reality. Without large-scale storage, wind cannot -- even in theory -- provide three-fourths of our electricity. It can only provide as much power as there is excess capacity on the system from other sources to cover for it when the wind drops. One-third of the time, a wind turbine is typically idle. Two-thirds of the time, it produces at well below its average rate. By its nature, it can't replace other sources on the grid, which must work all the harder to balance the fluctuations of the wind.

Then he pretends a concern for birds, evoking the disgrace of Altamont Pass only to dismiss it as an aberration rather than a warning. He raises the myth that "the longer blades on newer turbines rotate more slowly and thus kill far fewer birds." But as he himself notes, it isn't the faster-rpm smaller turbines that are the reason for Altamont's toll on raptors -- it's the fact that it is in a major flyway. The fact is that the longer blades on newer turbines are just as deadly. They rotate at a lower rate, but because the blades are so long they are moving just as fast (150-200 mph). And those giant blades sweep a vertical air space of 1 to 2 acres.

As he has done before, Komanoff tries to minimize the undeniable noise of the giant rotating machines with gearboxes the size of a van. But first, describing his visit to the Fenner facility in New York, he again betrays his ignorance of the technology:
It was windy that day, though not unusually so, according to the locals. All twenty-seven turbines were spinning, presumably at their full 1.5-megawatt ratings.
Wind turbines are designed to spin even before they start producing electricity as the wind speed approaches around 7 mph. This is done by drawing power from the grid until there's enough wind to do it. Although the rotational rate of the blades remains constant, the turbine does not produce at its full capacity until the wind speed reaches around 30 mph.

Ignoring the fact that the machines were obviously far from their noisiest state, Komanoff, used to the unceasing roar of Manhattan, not surprisingly finds them "relatively quiet." At distances between 100 and 2,000 feet from a tower, he takes noise readings ranging from 64 down to 45 decibels. Remember that the turbines were not as loud as they are with a full wind and that the noise continues -- and is carried farther -- at night.

Noise is the most common complaint wherever giant wind turbines are erected. It is indeed relative. In rural places, a noise level of 25 decibels is normal at night. A level of 45 decibels is perceived as four times as loud, 65 decibels as 16 times louder. And the additional noise is not natural but a rhythmic mechanical noise. There is also a low-frequency aspect to the noise that seriously affects a significant proportion of people. As pointed out elsewhere, Charles Komanoff doesn't know the sounds of nature, let alone the quiet of a rural night.

Komanoff also resumes his attacks on Green Berkshires, the environmental group in Massachusetts suing the state to protect the undeveloped Hoosac Range from French and Scottish energy companies. He pretends to acknowledge the group's contention that "wind turbines are enormously destructive to the environment" but accuses them of not making "the obvious comparison to the destructiveness of fossil fuel–based power."

A tired trick, Mr. K, but the issue is industrial-scale wind power. The obvious response you need -- and are unable to muster -- is the evidence that it provides actual substantial benefits that make development of wild mountaintops necessary. The destructiveness of fossil fuels does not in itself justify the destructiveness of industrial wind power.

Thus unable to disprove the arguments from Green Berkshires that wind energy is ineffective as well as unenvironmental, he changes the subject again to that of climate change, claiming to find "no mention at all of the climate crisis, let alone wind power's potential to help avert it" on anti-wind websites. Yet he notes that many opponents argue that wind power displaces little, if any, fossil fuel burning. He even quotes Green Berkshires concerning the climate crisis, that "global warming [and] dependence on fossil fuels ... will not be ameliorated one whit by the construction of these turbines on our mountains." Similarly, National Wind Watch, a network of groups throughout the country and the world, says in one of its FAQs:
Do you deny global warming?

Not at all. We recognize, however, that wind power has and will ever have only the most minimal ability to mitigate the human causes of global warming.
Komanoff calls such "notions" "mistaken," despite their being backed by solid evidence (see the "Key Documents" page on National Wind Watch's website). His own "notions" of wind power's benefits have not beeen shown to actually occur anywhere. Despite substantial wind power installation on the grids of several countries (i.e., Denmark, Germany, and Spain), there is no corresponding record of reduced use of other fuels. That's the simple fact. Ladling on patronizing indulgence while insisting that "the greater good" requires local sacrifice can not hide the fact that the benefits remain only a fantasy.

And again, our K evokes real environmentalist David Brower (who is dead and can't protest this abuse), twisting the defense of wilderness to justify trammeling it because of the threat of global warming. This is just like George Bush trashing the Constitution to protect it from "Islamic fascist terror." It is not just wrong, it is truly frightening. Unable to show any effect of industrial wind on global warming, Komanoff finally throws off the shackles of reason.

He closes with reference to Yuriko Saito and the aesthetic chic of industrial wind turbines and to David Orr and the necessary ugliness that is in fact beauty on a "higher order." The destruction of nature and communities for an idea -- a "notion" that is easily shown to be wrong -- Komanoff calls an act of love.

He wants it to be so. The strength of his belief justifies it. Reality be damned. The natural world doesn't stand a chance with "friends" like Charles Komanoff.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism

Correction

From Ironic Times:

Last week we mistakenly reported that President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, a tyrannical ruler who has banned opposition parties, intimidated the press and been accused by U.S. prosecutors of pocketing millions in bribes from an American businessman, has been invited to visit with President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. In fact, he's been invited to the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. We apologize for the error.