So Will Self has weighed into the debate I touched on previously. It’s a nice article via the BBC Point of View programme. I won’t say anymore but use the link below to read it (and vote on the poll below too).
So I’ve been watching the BBC series Wind Farm Wars which was recommended to me by good friend James Hughes who is rather knowledgeable about meteorological phenomenon himself. My lasting impression will be the contrasting views of wind power and its place in today’s society. I won’t spoil the programme for you because you can watch the latest episode yourself here.
There are entrenched views on the subject with high profile detractors, none more famous than Prince Charles himself who views wind farms as a “horrendous blot on the landscape”, it is worth noting he supports them at sea however. There are alternative methods of producing renewable energy but the government is keen to increase the contribution of wind as it seeks to achieve it’s carbon emission targets.
There are actually more wind farms already operational in the UK than you might think. There are 299 sites comprising of 3,246 turbines producing enough energy to fuel 2,987,586 homes and reduce carbon consumption by 6,037,911 tonnes. You can check out where wind farms exist/being built via RenewableUK and read a lot of other useful information. You can also see where the proposed sites are:
My opinion that wind energy is a good option for the UK we are well placed to capitalise on our climatic conditions. As for whether they should be onshore or offshore, I don’t really mind. I find the white turbines strangely beautiful and don’t ruin the natural landscape anywhere near as much as agriculture. People seem to forget that the majority of our country is intensively managed so I don’t see why we shouldn’t add another resource to it. We don’t have the climate to make solar power a viable alternative… yet. So until nuclear fusion is a reality we should do the best we can to prepare for life without fossil fuels.
So wind farms are a valuable and probably necessary in the efforts to achieve carbon reduction target… but the debate about where to place them rages on.
I leave you with a quote from Shaun Spiers, chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England….
” …it would be easier to come to the right decisions about onshore wind if people on both sides of the argument were less obsessive. There is a serious debate to be had about how to reconcile conflicting environmental “goods” – protecting the landscape, for instance, versus mitigating climate change.”
- Main Disadvantages With Generation of Electricity from Wind Energy (brighthub.com)
- Florida wind farm kicking up dust (politico.com)
- New wind farm to study energy storage (cbc.ca)
- Uni plans wind farm to cut costs (bbc.co.uk)
- Response: Wind farms are not taking over Britain’s countryside (guardian.co.uk)
Been saying this for years so this post is just to brag about how I’m right. My university research says this and now others that people actually listen to have proved it too.
Now while individual weather events cannot be attributed to climate change, the frequency/likelihood of these events can be predicted for a warming world.
While the climate system and therefore weather is a complex and chaotic system, and therefore very little can be said with complete certainty, definate trends occur and can be statistically analysed. One of those is the link with rising greenhouse gas emissions and the intensification of heavy rainfall events. This has been shown over the northern hemisphere and others are attempting to show this all over the world. A quick search in a scientific database will give lots of examples.
Another part of my research has been linking the intensification of rainfall to flooding in the UK. The latest paper shows that man-made global warming is very likely to have increased the probability of severe flooding in England and Wales, and could well have been behind the extreme events in 2000. By running thousands of simulations of the weather conditions in Autumn 2000, with and without the temperature rises caused by man-made global warming, they found in 9 out of 10 cases that man-made greenhouse gases increased the risks of flooding. Other research is also being carried out on which river basins will be most susceptible to intensification heavy precipitation here in the UK.
So to summarise conceptually in a simplified way:
Increased greenhouse emissions –> rise in temperature –> increased carrying capacity of water in atmosphere –> intensification of rainfall –> increased flooding risk
- Climate change and extreme flooding linked by new evidence | George Monbiot (guardian.co.uk)
- “Expert reaction to paper on floods and climate warming” and related posts (sciencemediacentre.co.nz)
- Scientists identify human connection to precipitation extremes. (climatecentral.org)
- Surge in heavy rainstorms proof of climate change: Study (windsorstar.com)
- Study links rise in rain and snow to human actions. (nytimes.com)
Not particularly useful but pretty cool none the less
Do your own at wordle.net
The recent documentary ‘What the Green Movement got Wrong’ by Stewart Brand was a welcome change of focus and many thought it would address the clouding of the climate issue and the problems with its framing within the media. However it appeared one sided focusing on nuclear power and GM foods and how if environmentalists hadn’t campaigned against them at the time the world would be a better place.
This short article quickly shows the counter points and corrects some of the more sensational statements made. If you haven’t seen it yet watch it here.
Opposition to GM foods caused starving in Africa
The report blamed environmentalists for starvation in Africa and energy scarcity throughout the world. “That blame is misplaced. Of all those at fault for drought and food shortage in Zambia, environmentalists rank low on the list”, Adam Werbach, former Sierra Club President. War, corruption and disease are far greater to blame and those needing to blame someone for these should focus on the bigger issues affecting the African nations. Continue reading
Response to Channel 4’s recent documentary ‘What the Green Movement Got Wrong’
Welcome to my WordPress.com blog for budding environmentalists and those with more in-depth knowledge alike. This blog will bring you some of the most important news stories about the environment in a reader friendly way focusing on climate change and also the weather.
Over the coming months I will provide a commentary on the breaking news stories across the world providing useful summaries that everyone can understand. In addition to this I will add in the occasion weather fact based article to give everyone more pub ammo on Britain favourite topic of conversation.