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Make wind turbine decisions with eyes wide open

Because of global warming, the Arctic ice caps are melting and sea levels are rising. Because we continue to increase the rate we burn carbon-based fuels, the Oceans are becoming more acidic. Because the Oceans are now warmer, more water evaporates into the atmosphere. Because of more water in the atmosphere, we now have entered a period of extreme weather. We have changed Earth’s hydrological cycle. Ocean currents and wind patterns are changing. Canada’s huge Boreal forest, until recently thought of as a huge carbon sink, has now become a net carbon emitter. Russia’s vast frozen peat bogs also are emitting methane as they melt. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The Amazon rainforest, previously a climate stabilizer, is shrinking daily. Mountain snow cover is quickly disappearing, threatening the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. Many key aquifers are rapidly being depleted.

Turn on your nightly television news show and watch massive flooding, unprecedented droughts, an increase in the number and severity of hurricanes, typhoons, floods, forest fires. Species extinction is accelerating in both our Oceans and on land. We are witnessing a dramatic increase in starvation because rising temperatures have made key food lands unproductive. As a result we see an increase in climate refugees, and resource-based wars.

All these changes have taken place with an increase of global average temperature of 1 degree Celsius. The proposed ‘safe’ target is 2 degrees. However, given current emissions, we are presently on a path to increase average global temperature by 4 degrees Celsius or more. It is estimated that only one in twenty people will survive in a 4-degree world.

Clearly we need to stop burning carbon-based fuels as soon as possible. We have to find alternative sources of renewable energy to replace rapidly depleting carbon energy sources. And, most important, we have to start using less energy.

The most promising energy replacements are solar, wind, geothermal and, possibly, fourth-generation nuclear. There are problems associated with each.

Wind turbines appear to be the most cost-effective solution and can be deployed relatively quickly. But wind turbines can kill some birds.

So what’s it going to be? Are you willing to sacrifice a few birds, or are you going to start on the long journey to help protect your family? That’s your choice. And, by the way, if you vote to sacrifice some birds, ethically you are more or less obliged to actively lobby for deployment of renewable energy here in the County. The County doesn`t have to become White Cane Country; instead, it can remain a place where responsible adults make mature, hard decisions with their eyes wide open.

Ron Hart

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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  1. Rian Cuylenborg says:

    It appears that we are following the trend rather than the science.
    Science has already indicated that this planet has enough green Ocean Power to effectively take care of 600 like our planets! Likwwise the abundance of Geothermal Energy far exceeds our next 600 hundred year demand.

    Ocean turbine (underwater current driven blades) has already caught the attention of the UK, who are looking at spending 20 Billion dollars on it and hope to be fossil fuel free by 2025.

    We need to tell our governments that the time to sit on the fence is over, and that action needs to be taked now.

    Strangly they seem bend on claiming that it requires Carbon Tax to do so.
    But would we have paid Carbon Tax for the next power station under nbormal circomstances. No we would not. So why do we have to pay a tax for the next GREEN power station?

    surely someone has the guts to get this sorted out!


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