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The remainder of my life

Some time ago I decided that the best thing I could do with the rest of my life was to try to get serious action on minimising climate change.

In this country (Australia), considering the amount of misinformation that existed around wind power and considering that I had followed the development of that particular form of clean, renewable energy for many years, I decided that the best use of my time toward this end was in working to dispel the misinformation around wind power.

Written 2015/06/20, modified 2018/07/10
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David Clarke) – ©
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Sunset at a wind farm
Turbine sunset
Wattle Point, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia
Changing to renewable energy is one of the steps that must be taken to reduce our emissions. At the time of writing, in my state, South Australia, around 40% of our electricity was generated renewably and most of this was wind power. This and the fact that the last coal-fired power stations were about to be closed down shows what could be achieved in the remainder of Australia, if there was the will to act.

Wind and solar power complement each other – the sun may be shining when the wind is not blowing and vice-versa – and wind power is the cheapest form of renewable energy. (That may change, solar is catching up.)

The pro-fossil fuel and anti-wind power lobbies in Australia have been successful in producing a wide-spread and almost entirely undeserved mistrust of wind power.

Problems from wind power

Yes, wind turbines produce some sound and that sound annoys some people. Others don't like to look at wind turbines. Building a wind farm, like building anything else, does cause some damage to land and takes a little land away from agricultural or pastural production. I have listed the real problems of wind power elsewhere on this site.

Wind turbines do not make anybody sick, they do not significantly affect nearby land values.

Problems from burning fossil fuels

How do those few problems compare to the millions of deaths worldwide each year from the air pollution due to burning coal and the damage the coal industry does to our land, our water resources, our atmosphere and our oceans?

The best that can be said about oil and gas is that they are probably not quite as damaging as coal.

Nuclear has passed its day, if it ever had a day; it is more expensive than wind power, there are significant dangers, the long-lasting waste is an unresolved problem, it is not renewable and it is inflexible. A power station that cannot increase or decrease its output to match changing demand is of lower value than one that can. The cost of decommissioning a nuclear power station at the end of its life is horrendous, and who wants to live anywhere near a nuclear power station?

People demand cheap energy, the environment demands clean energy. Wind, solar, well-designed hydro and biomass are currently the only options that fill both demands. Biomass is limited by the amount that can be produced from the land and water supply we have available to us; hydro is limited by the available rivers that are suitable; wind and solar are almost unlimited (except for limits imposed by the ignorance and fear that come largely from misinformation that I try to dispel).

The main obstacles to the development of wind power in Australia

There are two:
  1. The power and influence of the fossil fuel lobby;
  2. The selfishness of people who live near proposed wind farms.
The first of these probably doesn't need any more explanation.

People who live near a proposed wind farm will see wind turbines, if they live close enough they will sometimes hear the turbines. On the other hand they could consider the good that those wind turbines will do for their community, their region, their state, their nation and the world. Unfortunately, in my experience, many put their own selfish interests first.

If I can get a few of these people to look at the situation from a more altruistic viewpoint I will have achieved something.

A better world

I try to make the world a better place. What is 'better' in this context?

In a better world:

  1. There would be justice for disadvantaged people;
  2. Animal rights would be properly recognised;
  3. The rights of future generations would be fairly considered;
  4. The value and health of the biosphere would be fairly considered;
  5. The power that comes from wealth would be strictly limited; power would be spread more equally, irrespective of wealth;
  6. The power of corporations would be strictly limited;
  7. There would be much less delusion (such as religious beliefs); decisions would be based on logic and ethical principles, not on things written hundreds or thousands of years ago by people who had no knowledge of science, little understanding of ethics, and no knowledge of the problems we have to face in the modern world.
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