Monday, June 26, 2006

Joined-up thinking

The laws of Murphy and unintended consequences come together to comic effect in Norway, as the local environmentalists’ shiny new wind farm promptly slices the local endangered eagle population into so much salami (link courtesy of our friend Desargues).

One minor detail seems to have escaped the notice of those gallant eco-warriors who sited nearly seventy sets of hundred-foot-tall whirling knife blades in the middle of the white-tailed eagle breeding grounds on the island of Smola. As an RSPB conservation director patiently explains:

“It seems these birds are flying around a lot of the time.”

Wind farms, by the way, produce energy at a cost between six and eight times higher than regular power stations, without in any way reducing the number of coal- or gas-fired generators: as the wind can never be relied upon, the other plants must always be running to ensure the power supply.

However, although utterly pointless, wind turbines are both “new” and “green” and so have become yet another worthless secular idol at the feet of which the white-tailed eagles of Smola are accumulating in sacrifice. It all has a certain pleasing symmetry…

A white-tailed eagle, yesterday – bravely taking one for the team in the fight against cheap electricity. Did I say “cheap electricity”? I meant “global warming”. Sorry.


HA HA HA said...

...including all of last year's chicks.

jeeeaysus! taht rely sucks.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Tree-huggers, eh? What idiots.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

In the windy Western Isles the proposed wind farm project would have the tallest wind turbines in the world. It's more or less a done deal. The main opposition comes from about 4 crofters who are worried that the tur

Got to go - children starting WW3, finish this later.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Turn the hose on them, Sam. That'll teach them. Then into the wicker basket in the basement with them for the rest of the day. Sorted!

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I've sent them out to the street corner to sing for their supper and pretend they're blind. 'Bout time they started contributing to the household.

The crofters are worried that the wind farms will impede their views of the magnificent, rolling ... er moors, which is just a Bronte-ish way of saying peat-bog. Some of the same petitioners are more than happy to look at the rusted out hulk of their old Ford Cortina on the moor, abandoned when it could no longer haul peats home.

The island is divided about it, but as well as being a wind-farm site we are in the process of becoming a manufactures of wind-farms for other places. To a small island with top-heavy demographics, the economic boost of this is hard to ignore, even if the project fails and the boost is only short-term.

Pros. We are one of the windiest places in Europe. The wind farms are only to go on a flat moor on the less picturesque northern half of Lewis and not near any of the places tourists go to. A minimum number of people will be adversely affected, compared to other more populous sites. More industry, jobs etc. Islanders historically welcome and contribute to innovation as long as we don't have to be innovative on a Sunday.

Cons: 1. It is now thought that the turbines may be visible from both the Callanish Stones (a 3000-year old stone circle and burial place) and the Broch (a Viking fort) which are two of the island's biggest tourist draws - a large part of our yearly revenue. 2. Impact on birds, as we are right on a migration route and a resting point for exhausted birds. My father is a life-long birder and this is his worry although recent impact studies by the RSPB belie some of the more catastrophic effects we've been told might happen.
3. What to do if this is another fly-by-night European subsidy guzzling enterprise that fizzles out when the subsidy ends and leaves us high and dry.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Bad news about these eagles, though. Doesn't bode well.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Just steer clear of hang-gliding and you'll be fine...

Aunty Marianne said...

I am convinced this is an anti-green myth. I have yet to see a photo of a chopped-up bird. I have yet to see a newspaper report of it. And I don't believe animals that spend their entire lives sensing and using wind currents can't tell turbulence from clear air and stay away.

Besides, the Dutch don't seem to be complaining, and when it comes to the environment they normally do. Loudly.

Nope. It's all propaganda. Nice and gory, though, doing the rounds very well.