Ontario and offshore wind

2011-02-17

in Canada, Law, Politics, Rants, The environment, The outdoors

Yesterday was an insane day – guest lecture, work, then a commercial photo project – so I have fallen behind on blog updates. Apologies.

That said, how crazy is it that the government of Ontario has called for a moratorium on offshore wind farms? This is a province with a government that is relatively serious about climate change. It is also a province that has not yet phased out coal, despite the many serious risks associated with it, and which is pondering new nuclear plants, despite all the special risks they involve. Writing in The Globe and Mail, Jatin Nathwani implausibly suggested that offshore wind farms raise ‘red flags’. A savvier letter to the editor declared that: “If offshore wind farms are enough to raise red flags about the environment, then fossil fuels should be raising flags that are redder than red.”

Wind farms would seem like the least of their worries, and actually a contribution to solving their troubles. Of course, NIMBY forces are strong, and politicians are thinking about elections.

P.S. Also in the news, yet more reason to worry about methane and permafrost: Melting permafrost to emit carbon equal to half all industrial emissions: study.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

oleh February 19, 2011 at 12:25 pm

It is unfortunate if the NIMBY phenomenon of people such as in Scarborough and Kingston led to this moratorium. NIMBY is a common phenomenon. I talked with my brother about NIMBY and the wind farms. We feel that local residents have the absolute right to protest. However, governments should act in the greater public interest. Wind farms are needed as an excellent and renewable energy source. We feel NIMBY should not prevail.

. February 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Ontario’s Green Energy Act showed visionary leadership in the struggle to end society’s dependency on fossil fuels. The act has been enormously successful at creating jobs and investment in Ontario. But human nature threatens its viability.

The past century of fossil-fuel driven growth was a one-time historical anomaly. But after growth comes the down slope. Cheap energy made jobs plentiful. Many retired baby boomers with fat savings look forward to a comfortable retirement, ignoring the problem.

Advanced smart hydro grids and distributed energy generation are essential cornerstones for our next generation’s energy supply. Distributed sources mean energy must be collected from natural flows in many backyards. But boomers are sometimes NIMBYs. Many otherwise responsible citizens have voted to prevent wind energy development in our rural farming communities, or even in our lakes. Extensive wind energy is essentially to future energy supply. Many civilizations in the past have grown rapidly and then collapsed because short-term comfort too often trumps long-term need.

Don Chisholm,

Picton, Ont.

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