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Wednesday 5 December 2012

The Wind Power Demonisation

Vote Blue, Go Greenwas the slogan when Young Dave and the Tories pretended that they really cared about the environment and climate change. Six years of howling denunciation later, the Coalition is only kept from lurching ever further away from renewable and other low carbon energy by the restraining influence of the Lib Dems. Tory policy today is not even in the Greenwash category.

This was demonstrated recently when a Greenpeace sting showed that clueless Tory MP Chris Heaton Harris was trying to move his party against wind power, and had even encouraged the phony candidacy of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole in the Corby by-election. There are plenty more in the party who are now on “wind equals rubbish” autopilot.

The stance is bolstered by a uniformly hostile stance from the right leaning part of the Fourth Estate: the Maily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Sun all routinely ridicule wind farms, and push the idea that they are somehow ineffectual and expensive. That the electricity they provide is in effect free – apart from maintenance and transmission – is not allowed to enter.

Part of the reinforcement of this stance is to cast anyone who argues in favour of wind power as intolerant, corrupt or stupid, and here the Tel’s pundits are in their element, as typified by Cristina Odone, who tells readers that “A fanatical and self-righteous green religion stalks Britain”, so nothing like the religion that looks to the church of Rome for its teaching, then.

Ms Odone pretends to be concerned about climate change, talking of “cautious experts” before predictably saying of the evidence “much of it [is] contradictory”, which the consensual position of the scientific mainstream suggests it is not, as Paul Nurse pointed out to Delingpole, which has caused Del Boy to unleash a more or less constant torrent of abuse in return ever since.

And Delingpole, that “interpreter of interpretations”, is also in the mood for a religious metaphor as he warns about “How the Green Taliban spreads its poison gospel”. Here, Del Boy says that a report suggesting that wind power may be a better bet than gas must be the result of corruption and stupidity, because of course he’s incredibly clever and it disagrees with his view of the world.

In support of his contention he cites Richard North, pal of Christopher Booker and a party to the article that caused the Tel to pay out libel damages and costs to Rajendra Pachauri, and then spins in favour of shale gas, while managing not to tell of the environmental costs, or the worsening finances of that industry in the USA, where it is supposed to be part of some kind of cheap energy miracle.

But the readers get to believe the anti-renewables line, so that’s all right, then.

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