A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sanctimonious drivel over the rejection of the Whinash wind farm proposal.....

The idea that yesterday's rejection of the Whinash wind farm proposal by the UK government [see blog below] will put the world's climate at risk is so farcical that one wonders whether everybody has passed Through the Looking Glass with Alice. This gratuitous claim is simplistic, sentimental drivel spouted without thinking by media and 'Green' pundits alike. Please, everybody, note the following basic facts (and I have been as generous as possible with the figures):

(i) The UK currently accounts for around 2% of the world demand for electricity [this will fall to around 1.5% by 2020];

(ii) The Whinash wind farm proposal would, on paper, have provided c. 0.1% of UK electricity. However, when wind intermittency and other limitations are taken into account, this falls to c. 0.04% effective power;

(iii) In world terms, the Whinash wind farm would have represented, at best, 0.0008% of world electricity supply;

(iv) Lastly, taking into account the need for a back-up from conventional power generation (coal, gas, or nuclear) to cover intermittency in supply, plus the CO2 involved in building (including the massive amount of basal concrete required), maintaining, and regularly replacing the wind farm, the impact on climate (assuming you believe in 'global warming') would have been neutral at best, and, possibly, a tiny addition to emissions.

How on earth will the rejection of the Whinash wind farm proposal doom the world? It is carbon claptrap from beginning to end.

Philip, having just returned from watching that truly marvellous film, Capote. What a terrifying study in the solipsism of authors. Could be an Oscar blowing somewhere in the wind tonight, I guess. Time for a G&T (with lime). Cheers, and well done the government for seeing through the crap over Whinash.

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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