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Leaked letter reveals pressure on NHMRC from the anti wind farm brigade

Professor Simon Chapman writes:

In 2011, the National Health and Medical Research Council published a “rapid review” of the evidence of whether wind farms are harmful to health. The NHMRC concluded that  “There are no direct pathological effects from wind farms” and that “low level frequency noise or infrasound emitted by wind turbines is minimal and of no consequence… Further, numerous reports have concluded that there is no evidence of health effects arising from infrasound or low frequency noise generated by wind turbines”.

The report outraged interest groups dedicated to opposing wind farms and ever since, they have been agitating for the NHMRC to revisit the evidence and reach an opposite conclusion. These include the network of “Landscape Guardians” who are vitally concerned to stop wind turbine development but have nothing to say about guarding the landscape from open-cut mines or coal seam gas exploration.

Sandi Kean’s exposure of their links with climate change denial interests and mining interests is mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in the politics of clean energy. Political pressure led to a Senate enquiry in 2011 which was followed by the second NHMRC review, now underway and due by the end of the year.

Last week, lawyers acting for one of these opponent  groups, the “Friends of Collector” near Canberra, sent this blustery letter to the NHMRC. The chaotic anti-wind farm lobby in Australia has always leaked like a sieve and the letter is now in wide circulation. It’s just a beauty.

The lawyers write that their letter was prompted by a public statement I allegedly made “to the effect that the NHMRC’s work on this issue will ‘clear turbines’.” And that this indicates “pre-judgment of the outcome that they “view with great concern”.

What I actually wrote at ABC’s The Drum was  “Seventeen reviews of the evidence back this up with the NHMRC soon to add an eighteenth. If that too should clear turbines, [my emphasis] you can bet the anti-windlobby has already rehearsed why it too should be ignored.”

It is difficult, I appreciate, for some to understand the difference between “will” and “if”, but  to my great amusement, the Friends of Collector seem convinced that I am pulling the strings of the new committee of review (apparently I “wield significant influence within and with respect to the NHMRC”).

The lawyers for Friends of Collector seem unable to work out what they think of the international acoustical expert Prof Geoff Leventhall, who was one of the reviewers of the earlier rapid review. In one paragraph they lament that the rapid review “omitted … significant work” published by Leventhall that they believe supports their case for turbines causing harm. But in the very next paragraph they complain about the peer reviewers who were selected to assess the rapid review. As Leventhall was one of these, the lawyers don’t seem to know if he’s acceptable or not.

The pointy end of the letter arrives after five incontinent pages when they argue that the NHMRC should not concern itself with whether turbines really cause health problems: they should just accept that they do:  “the real question is not whether there is a real public health problem associated with industrial wind turbines – it is simply why and how.” Simple as that.

No matter that the NHMRC’s 2010 conclusions were consistent with 16 other reviews published before and since; that the Niagara of symptoms and diseases said by opponents to be caused by turbines now numbers 125 – more than for any known disease other than perhaps hypochondria;  and that a search of the US National Library of Medicine’s 21 million research papers via PubMed for the main problem championed by these opponents (“wind turbine syndrome”)  returns precisely zero reports.

The NHMRC has recently appointed two people as official observers of the review. One of these is from the Clean Air Council, and therefore represents the wind industry. The other is the mining investor Mr Peter Mitchell who heads the Waubra Foundation, a wind farm opponent group. None of the Waubra board according to its registration with ASIC live in the Waubra district (see table), something known to be causing widespread anger among local residents who see their town’s name being used to advance wider agendas.

Name Residence (postcode) Km from Waubra
Peter Mitchell Portarlington(3223) 122
Sarah Laurie Crystal Brook (5523) 668
Tony Hodgson Mosman (2088) 793
Kathy Russell Barwon Heads (3227) 127
Michael Wooldridge Surrey Hills (3127) 141
Clive Tadgell Malvern (3144) 135

 

However, no observers have been appointed representing communities who are strongly supportive of wind farms.  Both the Clean Energy Council and the CSIRO reports on community attitudes to wind farms show large majority support for farms in regional Australia.

• Simon Chapman is professor of public health at the University of Sydney. Follow him on Twitter. 

Update from Croakey: comments have closed on this post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 52

  1. Frank Campbell says:

    Remarkable how a “professor of public health” spends so much of his time acting as a propagandist for one of the great scams of modern times: wind turbines. A very expensive technology which cannot by definition provide reliable power and which has not displaced a single fossil fuel plant anywhere in the world.

    Having interviewed many victims of wind turbines, it’s clear their distress is profound. It could hardly be otherwise- they are subjected without warning or redress to decades of severe noise, loss of property value (often the only asset rural people have), industrialisation of their environment etc. As for the health effects, research is minimal and I don’t see the publicly funded “sociologist” Chapman campaigning for it. Any more than he would live anywhere near a wind turbine…

    Perhaps the nastiest aspect of this global scam is that my party, the Greens, relentlessly promote turbines. They treat fundamental human rights with contempt. Not to mention the rights of slaughtered birds and bats.

    As for “regional Australia” supporting wind turbines, just look where the “reports” originate: the “clean energy council” (turnine promoters) and the govt.-dependent corporation, the CSIRO. Just try surveying rural areas under threat and see what happens (i.e. excluding rural cities).

  2. simon.chapman says:

    Interesting, isn’t it, how the goal posts keep shifting on how to assess the value of renewables? Now they must be shown to have replaced fossil fuel plants, not just made major contributions to reducing fossil fuel use. In 2011 around 25% of SA’s power was generated by wind turbines.http://ramblingsdc.net/Australia/WindSA.html#Wind_farm_generation_data

    Frank, we’re all touched, I’m sure about your concern for bird & bat strikes. You’d better run off and start protesting about the carnage that plate glass, cars, cats, and the fossil fuel industries cause birds: http://www.currykerlinger.com/birds.htm
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421509001074
    http://www.currykerlinger.com/studies.htm

    And falling property values?

    http://yes2renewables.org/2012/05/28/do-wind-turbines-reduce-the-value-of-nearby-properties/

    Have you interviewed George Papadopoulos of Yass? He’s a serial anti-wind farm hater who this week has been emailing lots of people in public health insisting that he’s being affected by a turbine 35km away. That’s a distance of central Sydney to Blacktown. Sound about right?

    And here’s a photo of a wind turbine that’s less than 2km from my home. I can’t hear it, over the sound of aircraft, traffic & train noise all around me, but do you think I should petition residents to get it closed Frank?

  3. simon.chapman says:

    whoops .. here’s the photo . . http://ramin.com.au/travel/earth-vs-sky-glebe.shtml
    Is disorganisation a wind turbine effect? I’ll add it to the list of 125 symptoms & diseases http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/publications/WindfarmDiseases.docx

  4. George Papadopoulos says:

    Yes my dear Simon, the turbines produce at times a bit of strange distinctive rumbling or humming sound on some days, particularly at night when the wind has dropped out at lower altitudes. Those with any queries or who experience the same problem as myself are more than welcome to e-mail me on geopap@telstra.com.

    And I’m not the only one who hears them and GETS HIGHLY ANNOYED BECAUSE SOMETIMES I JUST CAN’T SLEEP, especially when dealing with serial denialist like yourself who hides in their offices and shuffle papers backward and forward and think they are abreast with all the evidence. DON’T YOU HAVE ANYTHING BETTER TO DO THAN WAGE POLITICAL BATTLES IN FAVOUR OF THE DISASTOUS NOISY WIND INDUSTRY???

  5. George Papadopoulos says:

    and mind you Simon I didn’t say by the little toy turbine that you refer to in your comment above, I mean 40 massive megawatt turbines down the horizon, that have the span of one jumbo jet each.

  6. Frank Campbell says:

    Comical, Simon. You no doubt expect readers to think that a tiny turbine of very different design stuck in deepest Glebe to be comparable to the 120 metre high 2.5 MW monsters in rural areas. The Glebe turbine is 18m high and 5 KW. Just a modest blot on an urban landscape.
    The Glebe turbine is just a moralistic gesture. Like Glebey bikes in the garage- with the 4WD.

    It’s remarkable how the fervour of turbine apologists intensifies with proximity to any CBD. And perfectly matches urban Green voting percentages. It’s rural Greens like me who are exposing the hypocrisy of our inner urban counterparts. Note also that their climate extremism is empowering the simian Right: that’s why we have shooters in NSW national parks, cattle in Alpine parks and no doubt we’ll see the castration of the vital new Marine Park system when the carnal priest takes over in 2013.

    I’ll be blaming you, Savonarola Hamilton, and the rest of the publicly-funded climate fanatics for the demise of Green and progressive politics.

  7. Frank Campbell says:

    “In 2011 around 25% of SA’s power was generated by wind turbines”

    Unfortunate timing: SA now has the most expensive electricity in the world.

    And if you’re going to pontificate on wind energy, I suggest you become energy-literate. For example: rated capacity of turbines vs what they actually produce (typically 20-25%), not to mention the inefficiencies of ramping up and down fossil fuel powergen to cope with the intermittency of wind. Also the vast cost of grid connection/upgrade required for dispersed wind turbines.

    As I said, you’re a mere windbag propagandist.

  8. mook schanker says:

    Geez Frank, maybe with a little less hysteria and emotion in your post and it may have some gravitas and credibility. Switched me off completely only after a para….

  9. simon.chapman says:

    Funny thing about wind power is that it is only basket case nations like China, Germany, India, USA that continue to invest heavily in it. I wonder what they don’t know that you do Frank? http://en.86wind.com/?p=4240

  10. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Unfortunate timing: SA now has the most expensive electricity in the world.

    A requisite Frank Campbell lie. South Australia does not have the most expensive electricity in the world. Denmark currently does.

    The claim is that SA will have the highest prices, but this claim is made by the Energy Users Association Of Australia (an industry front group and not a reliable source) in a highly flawed study in which only projections of Australian prices are made, while other countries are left stable in comparison.

    And South Australia’s prices are related to aging infrastructure.

    I’ll be blaming you, Savonarola Hamilton, and the rest of the publicly-funded climate fanatics for the demise of Green and progressive politics.

    This charge never fails to make me chuckle. You’re such an alarmist Frank!

  11. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Mook and Simon, here’s how Frank thinks:

    1. I don’t like wind turbines
    2. Wind turbines are the result of global warming legislation
    3. Therefore global warming doesn’t exist

    Throw in the cherrypicked wind power “facts” from industry front groups and requisite alarmist crocodile tears about how the policies that the Greens have always supported and led directly to their success are ruining progressive politics and you have a Frank Campbell argument.

  12. George Papadopoulos says:

    Frank, good luck trying to make sense with this bunch – I’m labelled a coal miner and nuclear energy fanatic whenever opportunity arises. And when you state anything against wind, there is always a problem with your sources, due to lack of credibility. If you make any claims, then it becomes unreliable anecdote.

    There seems however to be no lack of credibility in 17 international studies most of which were performed by wind industry associations, authors with known wind industry links, and public departments supervised by governments which are only happy to role out wind energy as quick as they possibly can.

    Once the money priming the wind energy fad dries up I’m sure this bunch will be directed to alternate propaganda ventures.

  13. simon.chapman says:

    George, most of the 17 reviews were not performed by wind industry associations. Here they are: tell us which ones were and then retract. http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/WindHealthReviews.docx

    I’ll be referring lots of reporters to you from now on. Your 35km sensitivity is priceless: I’d like as many people as possible get it from the horse’s mouth.

  14. Barnard Mike says:

    Actually, wind energy is at an amazing 35-47% capacity factor in new wind farms with a rock solid full lifecycle cost of 5-7 cents USD per kWh. And market pricing mechanisms mean that wind energy in the mix actually brings the consumer and wholesale prices down.

    http://www.quora.com/How-effective-are-wind-turbines-compared-to-other-sources-of-energy/answer/Mike-Barnard

  15. George Papadopoulos says:

    Simon, you selectively understand english: I said:

    “There seems however to be no lack of credibility in 17 international studies most of which were performed {{{{{by wind industry associations, authors with known wind industry links, and public departments}}}}} supervised by governments which are only happy to role out wind energy as quick as they possibly can.”

    Pardon the emphasis on the number of grouping brackets – just in case they miss your attention.

    Furthermore from my unaswered letter to CAHA (re: their wind position statement on the 5th of Feb 2012) I quote:

    “Of the papers considered by CAHA to be credible enough to quote, only eight of the twenty- eight, seem to have no association with pro-wind proponents, wind industry, climate change proponents, or researchers who have no known association with the wind industry. Yet no reference is made to any published research of the medical and other professionals critiquing the wind industry e.g. The Society for Wind Vigilance. This is no balanced position statement.”

    I hope you are proud of your biased achievements. I also look forward to meeting the journalists who are good friends of yours, and to whom you wish to dob me in.

  16. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Yes George, it must be painful that the papers are written by experts and not ideologically-bound blowhard conspiracy theorists like yourself.

  17. simon.chapman says:

    The kind of rubbish that passes as “research” that gets published in on-the-skids, non-indexed journals like the Bulletin of Science&Technology, or on frothing websites of anti-wind groups? Here’s a review of one such “study” http://tobacco.health.usyd.edu.au/assets/pdfs/McPhersonIFLNReview.pdf

    I hope you won’t go all shy on us now, George, about being affected by a turbine 35km away? BTW, I hope you aren’t using wifi — pretty scary websites out there about what those invisible waves can do to you!

  18. George Papadopoulos says:

    No my dear Simon, your attitude to research is so great and impeccable that the NHMRC didn’t include you into its recent Wind Farm and Human Health Reference Group – someone else enjoys the role of expert sociologist. I’m sure your soon going on holidays to Denmark to adore the wind turbines – or something like that, and that you proudly declined and quietly declined the NHMRC honours?

    And, I will meanwhile allow your poor brain to burn itself about whether I do or don’t use feather dusters, phone hand sets, microwave ovens, AC electricity, WIFI, mobile phones, coal beeds, nuclear reactors, CSG chemicals, cigarettes, asbestos and wind turbines. It’s my problem if I do or don’t use them.

    And given that you and that skeleton haven’t got anything better to discuss, but to trade personal insults – YES I WILL NOW GO SHY, because I do have a life…

  19. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    My darling George, it isn’t an insult if it’s true.

  20. Frank Campbell says:

    Dispiriting to return (after a virtuous day planting trees and hunting rednecks) to this typical Crikey assortment of trolls and renewable energy fantasists…

    Troll 1 is genuinely funny:

    “South Australia does not have the most expensive electricity in the world. Denmark currently does.

    Denmark- a pocket state with the highest rate of turbine infestation in the world…

    as for S.A., I heard that this week on the ABC news. Haven’t had time to check it out, but given SA’s miniscule population, numerous wind turbines and great size- it’s plausible, esp. after the carbon tax. (We received got a letter telling us our power bill would rise 12% on July 1st- “largely due to the carbon tax”…)

    Hadn’t heard of George P., but note that infrasound travels elephantine distances…he appears to be claiming to be disturbed at times by the noise in certain weather conditions. Chapman sees fit to ridicule him. No surprise there.

    And once again, Chapman’s casual ignorance is exposed :

    “Funny thing about wind power is that it is only basket case nations like China, Germany, India, USA that continue to invest heavily in it.”

    Germany has indeed wasted scores of billions on wind and domestic solar. A massive indulgence driven by legions of Teutonic Chapmans. As in all of Europe, the retreat is now on as the economic mess spreads- and Europeans wake up to the futility of these technologies.

    T.Boone Pickens boasted he’d spread turbines far and wide in Texas- now abandoned. Cheap gas, Simon. Check it out. You seem to miss the point that every capitalist carpetbagger will “invest” in any subsidised scam. Like wind.

    Snd the Chinese and Indians are selling turbines to every Chapmanesque fool who’ll buy them, while riding the fossil fuel boom…

  21. George Papadopoulos says:

    Dearest Prof Simon, I hope we are still on talking terms after yesterday’s exchanges. Some say that wind turbines don’t create infrasound, others say they do but what you can’t hear won’t hurt you, but in a research paper titled “WIND TURBINES AND GHOST STORIES: THE EFFECTS OF INFRASOUND ON THE HUMAN AUDITORY SYSTEM” by Chen et al, in Acoustics Today, Volume 8, Issue 2, April 2012 there is some discussion about infrasound and its effects on stimulating brain activity – such as seeing ghosts.

    Indeed, even if you wish not to accept most of the content of the paper as scientific (including the non-wind industry references at the end), and simply label it “”research””, (shame it wasn’t published in the Bulletin of Science & Technology) you could at least add it to your list of wind turbine side effects. It might help you get the number beyond 150 some day. Though good luck competing with the number of claims against Roaccutane – I think the TGA sparked massed hysteria once upon a time with its claims that it was causing cranial hypertension and death.

  22. Steve777 says:

    Opposition to wind farms seems to be an unholy alliance between landholders concerned with the effect of turbines on property values (i.e. NIMBY), fossil fuel interests aiming to slow down any move towards renewables and those who want to stir up opposition to action on climate change in order to advance political agendas. I have read elsewhere (unfortunately I don’t have a link or reference) that opposition to wind farms and concern about their health effects is an Anglosphere thing. It is not seen as a problem in Europe, for example. This to me indicates that the ‘health’ concerns are being stirred up by those with an agenda to push, rather than being the results of any observed health effects. I know, I can’t prove it but it seems suspicious.

    I find the whole ‘infra-sound’ thing less than credible. There must be lots of it in the modern world generated by traffic, machinery (especially in workplaces), aircraft, etc. I live 10km from the centre of Sydney. If there was a wind turbine a couple of hundred meters away I wouldn’t hear it for all the other noise about. Extraordinary claims require proof.

  23. Frank Campbell says:

    Steve 7×3 repeats the common falsehood that anti-turbine activism is restricted to the “anglosphere”. In fact there are thousands of anti-wind groups in Europe, many linked to EPAW. This resistance is one reason the legislative turbine scams are being rolled back on the Continent.

    As for “observed health effects”, note that research into low frequency/infrasound is urgently required, given the numerous reports worldwide of apparent deleterious health effects. I don’t think the GPs are lying…

    Ridiculing victims as knaves (“nimbies”) and hysterics is exactly the practice adopted by propagandists like Chapman- and sites like Crikey. It’s a shameful abuse of fundamental human rights.

    The irony is that this vituperative campaign against turbine victims is itself a product of collective mania: the climate cult. The climate cult, as you all know, is in rapid decline after only six or so years. All millenarian manias follow a similar trajectory. It is impossible to maintain fervour for long. Cults are self-limiting. In this case, the most lasting damage is to the hypothesis itself: i.e. the credibility of anthropogenic global warming is trashed by the cult. A promising hypothesis is cut short. Politically, the damage is severe: the cult produces an anti-cult, equally irrational. Deniers and Believers split on conventional partisan lines, driving each other to ever-more absurd extremes. All public discourse is polluted. All public discourse is seen through the prism of pro or anti-cult ideology.

    The extreme urgency, even panic, generated by the cult led to abysmally stupid policies, all badly implemented. The carbon tax is an attempt to supersede the policy mess and regain equilibrium. But it is ill-timed, unilateral and utterly futile in the context of a global fossil fuel bonanza sponsored by both major parties. Cheap gas is subverting the notion that finite fossil fuels doomed in the short run, and coal production is expanding rapidly.

    The colossal Victorian desal plant at Wonthaggi (aboriginal for “gumboot”), which will cost $20 billion or so over 20 years is the postercorpse of the climate cult. It will be stuck to the wall for decades to remind us of the mania. If it ever operates, the fossil fuel power consumption will be spectacular. The four ludicrous wind turbines sitting next to it punctuate the absurdity.

    The damage to Green/Left credibility is evident to all. A tragedy. But cult leaders have too much invested in climate hysteria to back down. All cults end in a real or metaphorical Alamo, a fight to the last propagandist…

  24. Steve777 says:

    Good afternoon Mr Campbell.

    I am not ridiculing people who are suffering ill health and I am not calling them ‘knaves and hysterics’. I am concerned that groups with agendas to push are exploiting their plight. The National Health and Medical Research Council has a fair bit of credibility and if they say there is no evidence of ill effects from wind turbines then I am inclined to believe them.

    As for concern over Global Warming, it is not a ‘cult’ but the considered position of the overwhelming proportion of climate scientists. These conclusions have taken shape over 30 years or more, not just 6. We don’t know in detail what the effects will be. The IPCC predicts a global temperature rise of 1 to 6 degrees this century (likely about 3) if we continue business as usual. Such a change would also be likely to disrupt rainfall patterns as well (geographically and seasonally), although how this will pan out cannot be accurately predicted. But the effects of climate change are very unlikely to be benign and it would make sense to reduce dependence on carbon-burning fuels in an effort to reduce its effects. Of course some have gone overboard in calling imminent doom while others have got into trouble by tying specific events (e.g. the recent drought) to climate change. However, this does not invalidate the science. I’m not familiar with the situation regarding the Wonthaggi desalination plant (Wonthaggi – an Aboriginal word from the Woiwurrung – Eastern Kulin people meaning “to drag, carry or pull with the wind”) but again, poor decisions by State Governments don’t invalidate the Science.

  25. Frank Campbell says:

    Steve: vested interests will exploit whatever they can. The point is that wind victims have been abandoned by everyone- treated as knaves and hysterics by propagandists like Chapman. The cynicism of the Greens in pouring contempt on wind victims while (belatedly) backing farmers against the rapacity of coal seam gas extractives is a case in point. Redneck groups have tried to exploit wind victims, as have feral shockjocks like the noxious Alan Jones. It’s good to see Senator Xenophon exposing the scam, not just the far-Right Sen. Madigan.

    As for science vs the climate cult, I made it clear they are quite separate. Observational science (not computer modelling) will of course determine the facts of global warming, but it is already clear that gross exaggeration and silly predictions (sometimes by scientists, like Kevin Anderson) have fuelled the cult and undermined the credibility of climate science generally. Then we have the professional spruikers like Flannery and Lovelock- who retail extreme predictions, driving bad policy (like monster desal plants, domestic solar rorts, wind turbines, Flannery’s geothermal fantasies etc).

    Lovelock of course has recently recanted and apologised. Too late. The political damage is done. The cult is delivering us Abbott.

  26. George Papadopoulos says:

    Steve 777, The NHMRC Professor Andersen, has clearly stated before last year’s Senate enquiry that the NHMRC did not state that were no ill effects. Simply, the published evidence didn’t give reason to believe that. He also mentioned that there really wasn’t much to review and the matter is ongoing.

    The irony of the situation is that State Government Health Departments have been referring people to the NHMRC position statement whereas they should instead have bothered doing their job and investigated the matter, particularly in Victoria where a GP has been blowing the whistle since 2003. The NHMRC quoted government department reports in its 2010 statement – reports from departments who would have been expected to gather statistics and facts on complaints. Yes it is going around the circles, but the circuit breaker lies at the state health department level for not doing their job.

    Whether there is or isn’t an agenda against renewables that is a secondary matter. What matters is that wind turbines are causing serious problems and harm to human health. And if you do believe in agendas, then it would be most wisest to toss out the bad elements from the renewables mix, or else those who are anti-renewables will find it so much easier to sink the whole renewables ship.

    I too happened to question claims on infrasound at first, until I went out on a nice cold, overcast and windy day down to Crookwell. It was one thing hearing the stories of elderly women who have been left to suffer for so many years from insomnia, noise nuisance, and bleeding noses, it was another to actually experience the torment myself and wonder how on Earth this has been going on for so many years uninvestigated by authorities. I experienced pressure sensation in the sinusses, ears and frontal lobe of my head. I was nauseated. I slowly walked away to the 1km mark, then 2km mark, then eventually the 5km mark. It was at the 5km that I felt normal again. Its an observation that is easily reproducible and needs no rocket science to prove – just opened minded people who are willing to test claims.

    When I repeated the same experiment, under similar weather conditions at Cullerin Range, where there are newer and much larger turbines, unlike the smaller turbines at Crookwell, I did get tricked at first into thinking that they didn’t have the same problems when standing a couple of hundred metres downhill. But once I walked downwind from the turbines in more exposed spots, the same problems as what I experienced at Crookwell were evident. Yes not everyone is as sensitive, or could I say as aware of their body as myself, but that’s not licence for those who don’t notice nothing to totally reject the testimony of those who do.

  27. BenCC says:

    Frank Campbell, your credibility as a green/left activist is pretty threadbare. As the main environmental correspondent for the Green Left Weekly, I extensively covered the campaign to stop the scam that is the desalination plant at Wonthaggi. Others covered the idiocy of building one in the Spencer Gulf in SA. It wasn’t a Green/Left project.

    Maybe you consider the Labor Party to be the left? But even then, the Greens were always against it. Just shows how out of touch you are. Are you sure you’re not just a sockpuppet for a right wing hacktivist?

  28. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Denmark- a pocket state with the highest rate of turbine infestation in the world…

    And also a country of low electricity consumption, high efficiency and a strong economy, so despite prices they aren’t paying close to what we are.

    as for S.A., I heard that this week on the ABC news.

    I am not shocked that you would uncrtitically swallow something that supports your ideology without checking the source. Gullible old Frank Campbell, the internet’s crankiest crank.

    Ridiculing victims as knaves (“nimbies”) and hysterics is exactly the practice adopted by propagandists like Chapman- and sites like Crikey. It’s a shameful abuse of fundamental human rights.

    Don’t be such an alarmist, old dear!

  29. George Papadopoulos says:

    Just a quick question to the skeleton: Is the message above written for the purpose of discussing an unresolved argument, or for the purpose of ridicule and dispute?

    The name “rich uncle skeleton” may induce mass hysteria in innocent individuals sensitive to occult society conspiracy theories. However resorting to methods of the ordinary masses such as saying “Gullible old Frank Campbell, the internet’s crankiest crank.” detracts from that magical ability.

  30. Frank Campbell says:

    Don’t bother with trolls like Skeleton, George. Crikey only has a few (compared with the legion of right-wing head-bangers on Bolt for instance) but of course they do pollute all comment threads. Crikey editorial appears incapable of deleting the constant barrage of personal abuse from the likes of Skeleton- but for much of the last three years they censored every single thing I wrote on Crikey. This hypocrisy is driven by the fact that for a long time I was the only Green Left commenter on Crikey who criticised the tirade of climate fanaticism that Crikey promotes. Crikey never, ever provides space for articles critical of climate extremism. On the contrary, it gives a permanent platform to AGW propagandists such as Hamilton, Chapman, Flannery et al, not to mention their regular writers (Margarent Simons, Rundle etc) who occasionally give vent to their climate/energy illiteracy…

    Politically, Crikey has therefore seriously damaged progressive/Left politics. The simian priest is no doubt delighted…

  31. Frank Campbell says:

    And also such an obvious point that I often forget it: the anonymity of trolls enables them to proliferate. It’s one reason many people are turned off. Not good for sites like Crikey which struggle for income…

  32. Glenn Brandham says:

    Poor frank, half of the world is going up in flames as we speak, due to our indulgence in war, and frank is worried about large fans…(Word deleted: Croakey welcomes vigorous debate but please keep it civil) harden up.

  33. George Papadopoulos says:

    Frank, I think you make a very valid point. The attempt to contentualise the debate in terms of political camps, and breed order out of chaos is no new trick for the business world. The chaos simply helps obscure the fact the the wind turbine scam was more about making money out public opinion, rather than seeking to provide the economy with clean, reliable energy.

    A report on this process is revealed on http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm/10909/The-Wind-Lobby-Is-Powered-by-Fossil-Fuels

  34. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    but for much of the last three years they censored every single thing I wrote on Crikey

    That’s a hyperbolic exageration.

    Frank, not once have you actually touched on the science, except to misrepresent Flannery and claim the whole basis for AGW rests on his statements about worst-case scenarios in decades to come. Like most deniers you’re obsessed with personality.

    I can cite numerous other threads where you have ignored the topics at hand (whether they be Hansen’s correct climate models from 1981 or the untruths of Ian Plimer) to rant off-topic about Flannery.

    On the other hand, you have both predicted imminent cooling (huh?) and cited the discredited views of Marcus Salby that the the Co2 increase is natural (wacky!)

    To claim that the Crikey is damaging left-wing politics by publishing articles supporting the consensus view of AGW is the kind of asinine, extremist nonesense we have come to expect from you.

    I’d much rather Crikey concentrate on the truth extremists – those, like yourself, who twist the science to push their own ideological agenda.

    Come on Frank, can you actually support your skeptical views with science? Or are you going to continue to pretend that the whole case for AGW rests on obscure, misrepresented speeches given by Flannery and not the IPCC Ar4 report you’ve been unable to lay a finger on so far?

  35. George Papadopoulos says:

    The Skeleton say: “Like most deniers you’re obsessed with personality.”

    Hmm, isn’t that what Simon Chapman does when he endlessly carbonifies the Waubra Foundation and Sarah Laurie?

  36. Frank Campbell says:

    the troll verbals thus:

    “On the other hand, you have both predicted imminent cooling”

    Rubbish. Neither I nor anyone else has any idea whether global temps will go up, down or stay the same. Trenberth, remember, bewailed the lack of increased warming several years ago…that’s why the climate modellers are desperately seeking alternative explanations (to protect the CO2 hypothesis)- such as Chinese sulphur emissions..

    and Australian English is “sceptical”, not “skeptical”

    as for Flannery, I doubt that you or anyone on Crikey has ever read Flannery. His books are even more bizarre than his predictions (empty dams, permanently lowered rainfall etc). Try “Now of Never”, in which he predits a geothermal boom in the Cooper Basin (he has shares in the major company): in three years around $200 million of public and private money has been wasted. Drilling at that depth (5km) is at the limit of technology- and the other technol. problems killed it stone dead. And how about his “great city” in the desert, “Geothermia”?

    My point is, if people actually read Flannery they’d realise what an attention-seeking flake he is.
    His latest silliness was to subvert a sensible conference on possible health ramifications of global warming with an irrelevant comment on extracting teeth from corpses to prevent mercury pollution…such is the protected species status of Flannery that we were told last week in crikey (by Hambleton, AMA president) that journos were unfair to Flannery! The journos ran with the corpse story, naturally. It’s what they do. Future malaria is nowhere near as entertaining…

  37. Frank Campbell says:

    yes George, from the start fossil fuel corporations have expressed the perfect hypocrisy of capitalism: make money out of all sides. Here the glaring conflict of interest is led by AGL which pushes both wind and brown coal. But they’re all at it. To quote from the US link you gave:

    “The American Wind Energy Association’s biggest member companies may be promoting wind energy — and in the process they are reaping lucrative subsidies — but they are also among the world’s biggest users and/or producers of fossil fuels. Many of those very same fossil-fuel companies have garnered billions of dollars in tax-free cash grants and/or loan guarantees from the US government to deploy “clean” energy. An analysis of some 4,300 projects that won grants from the Treasury Department under section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (also known as the federal stimulus bill) shows that $3.25 billion in grants went to just eight companies, all of which are either past or current board members of AWEA.

    AWEA’s board of directors includes industrial companies like BP, General Electric, Iberdrola, and E.On. But the wind-energy business’s fossil fuel connection appears to be invisible to the Green/Left and to groups like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, who actively promote wind energy at every turn.”

    Capitalism is the oldest profession…

  38. Frank Campbell says:

    The appalling waste on unready or unviable technologies continues apace, as this major Fairfax story says today:

    Sunday Age 17th June 2012

    Kevin Rudd’s decision to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on technology to capture and store carbon has failed to deliver.
    They’ve conferenced in empire-style Parisian ballrooms and dined in Kyoto on food cooked by a genuine Iron Chef. But deeply disgruntled former staffers believe Australia’s $300 million Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute has not achieved very much.
    In 2008 the then prime minister Kevin Rudd decided a fledgling technology called carbon capture and storage was the key to two of his government’s big aims: joining a successful international fight to reduce global warming and continuing to be the world’s largest exporter of coal.
    In his grandiloquent style, he promised $400 million to a new not-for-profit company, the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, which would get CCS up and running at home and also “lead the world”.

    The funding was pared back over time, but industry and government sources and former staff of the institute are frustrated that much of the $300 million spent on the institute has been “squandered”.

  39. George Papadopoulos says:

    Frank, Precisely as you say. If there had been a serious attempt to find environmentally sound and sustainable technologies, then the push for wind turbines would naturally seem impossible. Take for example the Hazleton coal genetor of 1.6 gigawatt you need at least 2000-3000 massive 150m tall wind turbines, linked to immense battery storage, in order to provide base load power.

    All forms of energy production have inherent environmental risks, but wind turbines will be everywhere and so will the terrible problems they create.

    Meanwhile, those who still are optimistic about closing down coal plants, forget that the complement to wind is open-cycle gas plants – and that certainly means more CSG.

    So are wind turbines going to solve any problems at all? Yes they might possible save a bit of carbon emissions, but that is where the positive side dramatically ends. The rest is all negative – except for those on the receiving end of financial payments.

  40. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    This comment has been deleted at the request of a Crikey editor.

  41. Frank Campbell says:

    Glenn: Not a trivial issue.

    Billions of dollars have been wasted worldwide on wind turbines and the contractually inescapable subsidy scams will continue for the life of these installations- around 25 years.

    And as usual I note the lack of compassion and empathy of the climate cult for those who are forced to suffer great distress because of turbine noise.

  42. Frank Campbell says:

    Skeleton troll: I have asked Crikey to delete your continuous flow of personal insult and verballing. You’re a serial offender.

    Let’s see if Crikey lives up to its putative standards…

  43. Frank Campbell says:

    BenCC

    “your credibility as a green/left activist is pretty threadbare”

    You clearly don’t have a clue about me or my background, Ben. Fundamentally, you’re incapable of realising that there is a Green/Left critique of the climate cult and the absurd, self-defeating policies it engenders.

    And I don’t like being verballed: I know perfectly well the Greens opposed the monster Victorian desal plant. But this $20 billion disaster is a direct consequence of climate extremism- driven by Flannery, Hamilton et al- and most of all by the Greens. My party. So the Greens opposing Wonthaggi is at best disingenuous.

    If you and your publication are to be taken seriously Ben, you’d better realise that your own misguided policies have already empowered the hard Right in this country (cattle in alpine parks, shooters in nat. parks, the likely castration of the new marine protyection zones, etc).

  44. Coaltopia says:

    The second review will find the same result – and hopefully adds a footnote about the ulterior motives of these kooks.

    When we factor-in externalities, onshore wind is the cheapest and cleanest power there is: “simple as that”.

    One wonders how Ted FailU and Barrel O’Fail could be so stupid when it comes to this.

  45. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Frank Campbell, why should I not be surprised that you seek to suppress those who expose your mendacity.

    You claim you don’t like being moderated, but you actively threaten Crikey into moderating me. You claim you don’t like being verballed, but you have no problem verballing Trenberth and Flannery.

    Why are you such a hypocrite?

    I believe that my points were fair, and I am not going to be bullied into silence, so I will repeat them:

    1. Trenberth did not “bewail… the lack of increased warming several years ago”. He was speaking about our ability to find that warmth in the climate system. Either you are deliberately telling untruths or you don’t understand climate science. Take your pick.

    2. Flannery didn’t “subvert” a conference. He was asked a question at the end of his speech and he briefly answered it using mercury fillings as an example, which was then blown out of proportion by the media and you (to my shock).

    I know you are threatened by facts which challenege your ideology and empty hyperbole, but to actively censor fair comment with threats is cowardly.

    Your puzzling and inchorent behaviour is damaging your cause and further shaming the anti-science campaigners.

  46. Frank Campbell says:

    Troll: you know perfectly well which quote from Trenberth I’m referring to:

    “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”

    That’s why they are desperately seeking alternative explanations, as I also point out.

    Trenberth later said (2009): “”Global warming is still happening – our planet is still accumulating heat. But our observation systems aren’t able to comprehensively keep track of where all the energy is going. Consequently, we can’t definitively explain why surface temperatures have gone down in the last few years. That’s a travesty!”

    So the desperation continues…

  47. Frank Campbell says:

    Also, Troll: you are missing the point I made very clearly about Flannery: as a professional propagandist he should know better than to feed a salivating tabloid media nonsense about extracting the teeth of corpses…the twit managed to distract attention from the conference. It went viral.

    Flannery just can’t help himself- he can’t resist the dramatic, exaggerated sound-bite. Hence all the silly predictions about rainfall, dams etc a few years ago.

    No wonder polls show a large chunk of the population doubt his credibility.

    Read “Now or Never” to see just how foolish Flannery can be.

  48. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Frank, Trenberth was speaking short-hand about energy imbalance in a private email. He published a paper on it before – before! – the emails were stolen and released. The stolen email you quote was referring to this very paper.

    If Trenberth is retroactively changing the statement’s meaning, as per your laughable claim, how convenient then that he managed to publish that paper before the contents of emails were public knowledge!

    To claim Trenberth was speaking about anything else besides our lacking ability to account for energy flow is a demonstrable lie.

    as a professional propagandist he should know better than to feed a salivating tabloid media nonsense about extracting the teeth of corpses…the twit managed to distract attention from the conference. It went viral.

    Flannery made a minor comment about a non-controversial topic that has been widely discussed for years, yet you blame Flannery for causing you to inflate and widely distort the importance of his comments.

    Maybe, Frank, Flannery isn’t the problem here. Maybe it’s people like you who are so consumed by their obsessive hatred of him that they are unable to represent any comment he makes accurately or fairly, and then blame him agan for their failure to do so.

    It’s incredibly sad and hyprocritical of you to falsey accuse Flannery of making dramatic exagerations when your own posts are full of them.

  49. Frank Campbell says:

    Anonymous Skel: read Flannery. The books and tracts. And take your troll tablets.

  50. Rich Uncle Skeleton says:

    Based on your past misrepresentation, hyperbolic exaggeration, deception and repeated perfidiousness, I don’t believe that you either own or have read any of his books.

  51. George Papadopoulos says:

    Frank, it sounds like the skeleton resents the fact that someone with an environmental conscience like yourself happens to also be an objective thinker. The wind industry must have thought that if it could con and misinform the Greens and political left into promoting wind turbines, few, if any, would question this well disguised unenvironmental dogma.

  52. Frank Campbell says:

    You’ve got it in one, George. I’ve been commenting on this site for over three years, partly as a sociological exercise. I’ve accumulated a large file of Crikey articles and comments. The effluxion of time clarifies the irrational, dysfunctional and self-defeating nature of the collective mania. The classic symptoms of a militant, quasi-religious millenarian cult are present: excoriation of heretics, ostracism, continuous abuse- rising hysteria as both the extreme predictions fail and public support wanes. It’s a moral crusade: society must be “cleansed” in order to enter the Kingdom. The vague but dramatic prognostications of an oracular priestly caste (climnate modellers) are Holy Writ, picked over obsessively by Believers to ascertain their true meaning.

    It’s very like a viral infection. Sudden onset, fever, crisis and rapid recovery. The victims wake up one morning feeling fine again. What just happened? The delerium has vanished. It happened recently to Lovelock, who was apparently a terminal case – predicting mass extinction by mid-century.

    Socially, this climate “virus” is intensely fascistic. Punitive. Most sceptics keep their mouths shut for fear of retribution, ridicule, career damage or sacking. The intensity of the attack produces a counter-cult, which replies in kind. Hence the abuse of climate scientists.

    As usual, maximum hatred is directed at traitors- the enemy within. Discovering Crikey immediately after Black Saturday, I wrote several articles for this site on bushfires (and one on art fraud). Then I began to criticise the climate cult in comments. In no time at all I went from being a Crikey contributor to being a piece of shit to be shunned.

    Both the virulence of the cult and its rapid demise were driven by conventional partisanship: progressives and the hard right took opposite sides. This instantly confirmed in the minds of progressives that they were correct- Armageddon was nigh. The simian Right, controlled by selfish vested interests (the “polluters”, a telling word) would literally cause the end of the world.

    How could any progressive not be convinced when their opponents were Rightwing ratbags like Jones and Bolt? Or the legion of foul-mouthed American shock-jocks? Or the lunatic, war-mongering, creationist, racist mass of fat known as the Republican Right?

    All of this is routine sociology. Sadly, sociology was suffocated two decades ago by corporate capitalism…

    But that’s another story…

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