Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Fictitious Uprising - English Speaking Countries

Consistency is important. When you are faced with a severe deficiency of empirical evidence, you must turn to tactic. The anti-wind lobby uses one tactic with regularity - the generation of enormous lists, riddled with errors, but extremely time-consuming to systematically debunk - it takes 10 seconds to lie, and 10 minutes to show that it's wrong.

Recently, the 'Eurpoean Platform Against Windfarms' (EPAW) published a widely distributed list of "health practitioners, researchers and acousticians who have investigated or voiced concern for the health and well being of wind turbine neighbors"

Totaling 78 individuals in a variety of professions, the data they present are quite interesting, and reveal some important facts about anti-wind activism around the world, and in Australia. 

I've analysed EPAW before. They seem to have been touted as an authority on global anti-wind groups - yet, their listings are comically inept.

I'll cover this in three different posts over the next few days:

English Speaking Countries
Listed Professions
Australia's Doctors

Let's have a dip, dear reader, into the EPAW's latest offering.

English Speaking Countries

I extracted the list and separated out the data. As it turns out, 69/78 = 88% of the professionals listed are from English-speaking countries. Remember, this list is generated by the European Platform Against Windfarms - supposedly, the authority on non-English anti-wind activism. 


Perhaps, though, we see this pattern because English speaking countries have much higher installed capacities of wind power. The same data, along with installed capacity:

The US seems to have a relatively good match between the installed capacity, and number of professionals expressing concern. After the US, the numbers go haywire.

Australia possesses 2,584/282,482 = 0.91% of the world's installed wind generation capacity, yet 15/78 = 19% of the list is comprised of Australians. 

Germany has an installed capacity of 31,332 MW = 12 times the capacity of Australia - yet EPAW lists only one 'professional' expressing concern - an oral surgeon, named Dr. Eckhard Kuck (as a side note, Sarah Laurie claims a group of 50 physicians was formed in Germany, worried about the health impacts of wind energy - reference links are now dead, and there is no information on the outcomes of the 'forum' organised by Kuck). 

China, Spain, Indian, Italy, France, Japan, Brazil and Poland have a collective installed capacity of 139,740 megawatts, ~50% of the worlds total wind power. EPAW do not list a single professional, from acoustics or medicine, having publicly expressed concern about wind power in these countries. 

By and large, the presence of wind turbine syndrome is skewed towards countries that are English-speaking, rather than countries that have a large installed capacity of wind power. This is determined using data presented by the anti-wind groups themselves - either their data is faulty / incomplete, or there is indeed a large skew towards anglophone nations. As Simon Chapman states:
"So if turbines were intrinsically noxious, why do they cut such a selective disease path? Why do citizens of community owned turbines in places like Germany and Denmark rarely complain? Why are complaints unknown in Western Australia where wind farms have operated for many years, but virulent in several small eastern Australian communities?"
The evidence that 'wind turbine syndrome' is simply the product of anti-wind groups spreading non-scientific health fears is compelling. As this evidence grows, I hope public awareness of the impacts of pseudoscience and scare-mongering grow too. 

The next two posts will cover the professions put forward by EPAW, and examine how representative their list in, in the context of health professionals around the world. 

Click here for the source data, stored as a Google Spreadsheet

5 comments:

  1. So is there a clear motivation for anti-windfarmism?

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  2. Hi anon,

    Simply: no. It's a complex array of factors. See:

    http://barnardonwind.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/not-just-nimbys-understanding-anti-wind-energy-campaigners/

    and some excellent research from the CSIRO:

    http://www.decodedscience.com/wind-farms-in-australia/28239

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  3. I say it's mostly lobbying from special interest groups: I've been active in wind energy development in Europe, and in countries where wind poses a threat to the exploitation of fossil fuels, or to the expansion of nuclear power, I've witnessed a much higher level of activity from anti-wind groups - and quite well funded at that. Furthermore, I hardly believe that your everyday passionate activists are able to organize multi-bus tours of demonstrators from remote regions to oppose projects, or to produce thousands of propaganda leaflets, or to book radio and local TV time, and so on. And during all that, still no reasonable scientific arguments are produced during environmental impact assessment procedures.

    Congrats on the post, too bad that most people just prefer to believe the lies than to go to all the trouble of finding out the truth...


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  4. seems like WTS is caucasian too...

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  5. I do like the US wind map website. I have just discovered this too: http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/resourcecentre/plantregistermap.html.

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