A momentous report in from Dorset, which seems to be one of Britain’s most radioactive frontlines in the battle between Climate Change Denial and Renewables common sense.
Susan Chapman, Green Party candidate, a colleague from the small but highly informational Take Global Warming Seriously campaign, and an active member of Poole Agenda 21, writes about the tedious, unforgiving work of campaigning for a Carbon-free energy future.
Campaign for the Protection of Rural England & the Promotion of Climate Change Denial
I think this all first surfaced when I went with hubby to the Wool meeting regarding the prospective East Stoke wind farm (4 turbines initially – now only 3).
“A wind farm for Dorset? : Plans for a six turbine wind farm in the Dorset countryside have been announced, and it’s hoped the farm will provide power for up to 10,000 local homes…Wind turbines twice the height of London’s Nelson’s Column have been proposed for an area in rural Dorset. 02/01/2008”
“Wind farm warning : Saturday 28th June 2008 : By Dan Goater : DORSET may need four wind farms in order to meet a renewable electricity generation target set for 2010, it has been claimed. A spokesman for sustainable energy agency, Regen South West, said around 30 megawatts of power could come from two new sites proposed for East Stoke and North Dorset if they get the go-ahead.”
We found ourselves, along with Pete Barker and another person from local Greenpeace as well as Angela Pooley of East Dorset Friends of the Earth, in quite a minority. Most people really did not want a wind farm and jolly well said so.
The pictures showed by Terry Stewart of CPRE were frightening; bent, broken turbines. They were also disproportionate to the houses.
“Purbeck wind farm protest gathers momentum : Tuesday 4th November 2008 : By Laura Kitching : A PRESSURE group demonstrated against a proposed wind turbine in Purbeck and then made off with the developer’s information leaflets. The public rally by the Dorset Against Rural Turbines (Dart) group and the county branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) opposed plans for Alaska Wind Farm in Master’s Pit, East Stoke. A dozen people gathered with placards and shouted ‘wind turbines make bats lungs explode’, ‘no giant wind turbines here’ outside the Springfield Country Hotel near Wareham.”
“2 July 2009 : News: The North Dorset District Planning Committee on the 2nd July unanimously rejected the 6 Ecotricity giant industrial turbines proposed for Silton, near Gillingham. The developer of the industrial turbine site at East Stoke near Wareham held a public meeting prior to submitting their revised planning application to Purbeck’s Council for just 4 turbines, since there were such strong objections from Natural England, Dorset Wildlife Trust and Dorset CPRE against the previous 6 turbines. DART (Dorset Against Rural Turbines) and Dorset CPRE mounted a demonstration outside the hotel and handed out leaflets. The exhibition was very poorly attended by residents – there appeared to be more objectors than public. No application has been submitted yet.”
A few of us countered the climate change denial of Terry. Feelings ran high but the meeting was skilfully conducted and Malc [the hubby] managed to get a sympathetic laugh in his defence of wind-power.
A woman later told me that we humans were going to become extinct, like the dinosaurs. I think she meant from natural effects.
Later, several of us complained about the DART (Dorset Against Rural Turbines) website and the climate change denial references were removed.
Since then (over the last eighteen months) I have conducted an intermittent correspondance with Terry Stewart. I have also copied in his colleagues.
Have had separate correspondance with Phillip Bratby and Bob Barfoot. As North Devon Chairman, Bob said, 15.6.08, that “CPRE North Devon does not get involved in climate change as our members have their own views on this.”
Phillip alleges that the Maldives are not threatened by rising seas. [He said] There is no scientific evidence for climate change; he dismisses Mark Lynas and NGOs as scientific illiterates. [He claimed] My evidence is “pure political b3llsh!t.” There’s controversy over Lohachara [Sundarbans island permanently flooded in 1980s].
When his letter was copied in to others someone called Richard Lloyd asked why the Thames barrier was increasingly being used. Mr Bratby said that sea levels are slowly continuing to rise as they have done for hundreds of years.
[He wrote] “I cannot totally answer your question but don’t forget that the south of England is slowly sinking as the north of the UK rises (rebound following the melting of the glacier during the last ice- age).”
Phillip B. has also emailed me the copy of a letter to the US House of Representatives from Viscount Monkton of Brenchly.
Terry sent something unwonderful from the pen of Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph of 15th March 2009 and himself added, “Whatever happened to scientific peer review? It appears that politicians are being pressured to adopt dogmatic mindsets. The proposed financial cost of carbon credits is going to be horrendous- on top of our global financial meltdown.”
“Nobody listens to the real climate change experts : The minds of world leaders are firmly shut to anything but the fantasies of the scaremongers, says Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 14 Mar 2009 : Considering how the fear of global warming is inspiring the world’s politicians to put forward the most costly and economically damaging package of measures ever imposed on mankind, it is obviously important that we can trust the basis on which all this is being proposed. Last week two international conferences addressed this issue and the contrast between them could not have been starker. The first in Copenhagen, billed as “an emergency summit on climate change” and attracting acres of worldwide media coverage, was explicitly designed to stoke up the fear of global warming to an unprecedented pitch. As one of the organisers put it, “this is not a regular scientific conference: this is a deliberate attempt to influence policy”. What worries them are all the signs that when the world’s politicians converge on Copenhagen in December to discuss a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, under the guidance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there will be so much disagreement that they may not get the much more drastic measures to cut carbon emissions that the alarmists are calling for. Thus the name of the game last week, as we see from a sample of quotations, was to win headlines by claiming that everything is far worse than previously supposed. Sea level rises by 2100 could be “much greater than the 59cm predicted by the last IPCC report”. Global warming could kill off 85 per cent of the Amazon rainforest, “much more than previously predicted”. The ice caps in Greenland and Antarctica are melting “much faster than predicted”. The number of people dying from heat could be “twice as many as previously predicted”. None of the government-funded scientists making these claims were particularly distinguished, but they succeeded in their object, as the media cheerfully recycled all this wild scaremongering without bothering to check the scientific facts. What a striking contrast this was to the second conference, which I attended with 700 others in New York, organised by the Heartland Institute under the title Global Warming: Was It Ever Really A Crisis?. In Britain this received no coverage at all, apart from a sneering mention by The Guardian, although it was addressed by dozens of expert scientists, not a few of world rank, who for professional standing put those in Copenhagen in the shade. Led off with stirring speeches from the Czech President Vaclav Klaus, the acting head of the European Union, and Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, perhaps the most distinguished climatologist in the world, the message of this gathering was that the scare over global warming has been deliberately stoked up for political reasons and has long since parted company with proper scientific evidence…”
“Rise of sea levels is ‘the greatest lie ever told’ : The uncompromising verdict of Dr Mörner is that all this talk about the sea rising is nothing but a colossal scare story, writes Christopher Booker. : Christopher Booker : Published: 28 Mar 2009”
Apparently the 26/6/09 edition of the Wall Street Journal says, “A growing number of politicians,scientists & citizens once again doubt the science of human-caused global warming.”
“JUNE 26, 2009 : The Climate Change Climate Change : The number of skeptics is swelling everywhere.”
There is a sneering by The Sunday Telegraph (17/5/09) at Pen Hadow’s Arctic team (“publicity stunt”) using an old tape-measure to measure the ice thickness. We are reassured that the ice has significantly recovered from the low of Sept 2007.
“‘Save the planet’ rhetoric soars to crazy new heights : The terrifying threat of global warming is beginning to turn people’s minds, observes Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 18 Apr 2009…Explorers on the rocks : Thanks to sharp-eyed observers on the US science blog Watts Up With That, we see how Pen Hadow’s much-touted Catlin expedition to measure that disappearing Arctic ice is degenerating into farce. Despite claims by Prince Charles and a galaxy of warmist sponsors that Hadow and his two colleagues would provide “vital scientific data” to show how the ice could soon vanish, the loss of equipment through intense cold has reduced them to measuring the ice with an old feet-and-inches tape measure, Last week their website had to post an apology for providing misleading data, It seems increasingly unlikely the gallant trio will reach the Pole, despite rather more efficient satellite data confirming that the ice is considerably thicker than last year.”
“Climate change: The elements conspire against the warmists : An international team of scientists has used the latest electro-magnetic induction equipment to discover that the Arctic ice is in fact “twice as thick” as they had expected, says Christopher Booker. By Christopher Booker : Published: 09 May 2009″
“Arctic ice is thinner than ever according to new evidence from explorers : Sea ice in the North Pole is even thinner than had been feared, according to results from the first ever expedition on foot to find out the affects of climate change on the Arctic. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 17 Apr 2009”
“Pen Hadow climate change trek finds thin ice : Arctic explorer Pen Hadow has warned that the polar ice cap he has been examining to gauge the extent of climate change appears far thinner than expected after trekking more than 250 miles to the North Pole. : Published: 14 May 2009 : The veteran explorer and his team trekked more than 269 miles for 73 days but were unable to make it to the North Pole because of extreme weather, with temperatures dropping below minus 40 degrees F/C. The Catlin Arctic Survey, the first Polar expedition to monitor the affects of climate change on sea ice, was also unable to measure the ice using state-of-the art equipment because of the freezing conditions. However more than 16,000 observations were taken of the state of the ice, including 1,500 readings of the depth of the ice taken from a manual drill. The average measurement was 1.77m, which is thinner than expected and suggests most of the ice formed in the last year rather than over a longer period of time. Speaking by satellite phone before being picked up by plane, Mr Hadow said he “hardly ever” came across layers of ice more than a year old despite scientists expecting multi-year ice of 3m or more. “Our science advisers had told us to expect thicker, older ice on at least part of the route, so it is something of a mystery where that older ice has gone,” he said.”
“The ‘Global Warming Three’ are on thin ice : The only problem with a project to prove that Arctic ice is disappearing is the fact that it is actually getting thicker, says Christopher Booker. : By Christopher Booker : Published: 21 Mar 2009”
Another jolly sneer, this time at the Scottish Parliament’s Climate Change Bill from, I think, Gerald Warner. Stewart Stevenson is the “Minister for Climate Change and Candle-powered kettles”. We should “recognise anthropogenic climate change for the scam it is.”
“Without dissent there is no democracy. Who spoke for the large numbers of people in Scotland who, increasingly supported by emerging scientific evidence, recognise anthropogenic climate change for the scam it is?”
“Al Gore’s convenient untruths exposed, the discrediting of the “hockey stick” model, the cooling since 2000, the resilient polar ice-caps, the fanatics’ reliance on computer models programmed with code to produce the desired result, the historic examples of much wider temperature fluctuation than we are experiencing, the sea levels that stubbornly refuse to rise, the unscientific demonising of carbon dioxide, the patronage practised by the IPCC, the growing revolt of scientists against what is actually a political programme to increase United Nations and state power – all of this passes MSPs by.”
“We are being subjected to a Grande Peur reminiscent of apocalyptic stampedes of flagellants in the Middle Ages. The damage that will be done to developing countries is appalling. Nearer home, last week’s fatuous commitment to reduce “greenhouse gas” emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 might better have been titled the Scottish Economy (Annihilation) Bill.”
“Its punitive powers will create a regulatory gradient between Scotland and England – as Calman would create a tax gradient – repelling investors. There is a cultural void in the landscape too, where 129 Scottish villages are missing their idiots.”
These are just a part of the correspondance.
All this hugely influences the general public. Tory ex-Minister Michael Portillo, at a self-promoting event in Christchurch, denied climate change and peak oil in answering my question.
Colin Dewsnap (Christchurch partnership) walked out, although I was unaware of that at the time.
Portillo is much respected, at least in that particular audience, and is often on Thursday’s Andrew Neil show with Dianne Abbott.
Many people we address in street campaigns express their own doubts. We really do have a job to do if the dynamic old government aren’t seeing their way to a proper blood/sweat/toil/joy/community/skill/Transition programme!
Susan Chapman 31.7.2009
Outside the major towns and cities, the rural rich retired have the funds and the time at their disposal to fight a most ridiculous anti-science and anti-development campaign, using whatever tools at their disposal : such as being pedantic with the ASA about Wind Power advertising and feeding noise suspicions to planners :-
That the Daily Telegraph continues to “back both horses” in the political race on Climate Change and Energy policy, has a huge and socially destructive effect, in my humble and personal opinion.
As the “NIMBY broadsheet of choice” they are writing to please their readers. But surely they persuaded their readers to adopt this position in the first place by running such columns as Christopher Booker’s ? Who’s to blame ? Is it a chicken or egg situation ? Will Booker be winning his own recycled prize ?
“Pure rubbish: Christopher Booker prize : The winner of the first Christopher Booker prize will walk away with this unique trophy, plus the Guardian’s very minimal support for a one-way solo kayak trip to the North Pole : Posted by George Monbiot : Friday 6 February 2009 : guardian.co.uk”