April 20, 2011

Saying "yes" to wind — or a new hat

Richard Sullivan, Massachusetts' Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, wrote in the Cape Cod Times, April 19, 2011:
Saying "yes" to wind energy is a vote against polluted air, energy insecurity, and climate change — and an affirmation of our commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable economic growth.
In the same vein, I could say:
Saying "yes" to a new hat is a vote against cancer, bullying, and social injustice — and an affirmation of our commitment to gardening and thrift.
And I would be expected to justify this remarkable claim. I might be able to argue that psychologically a new hat symbolizes those votes and affirmations, but if the hat cost a couple million dollars and caused birds and bats to fall out of the air and my neighbors to fall sick and required everyone else to buy other hats to counter the effects of my hat, then I would be expected to show real evidence supporting my claim.

The same is true with industrial wind power, which does indeed exist in the real world of nature, the power grid, and people. If you claim that wind energy reduces polluted air, energy insecurity, and climate change, then you must provide the evidence not only of such benefits, but also that the degree of its achievement of such benefits is not outweighed by its adverse impacts.

Remarkably, with decades of data, the people saying "yes" to wind energy have yet to provide such evidence.

Their vote is non sequitur. Therefore, its defense is necessarily ad populum, its reply to critics necessarily ad hominem.

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism