Climate Change

Scotland sets out long-term vision to cut power sector emissions

Carbon from power generation to fall by four fifths by 2030

Scotland has set a target to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths by 2030, underlining the huge market for offshore wind beyond 2020.

First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the new target in an address this morning at the Scottish Renewables/Scottish Enterprise Offshore Wind & Supply Chain Conference, Aberdeen.

In 2010 emissions from electricity grid activity in Scotland were estimated to amount to 347 grams of carbon dioxide per Kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated.

A target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 – in line with independent advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change – is contained within Scotland’s revised Offshore Wind Route Map, launched today, and also in the Scottish Government’s draft second report on proposals and polices (RPP2) to meet overall emissions targets, being published at Holyrood this afternoon.

Offshore wind farmThe UK Government has resisted industry and Scottish Government calls to use its Energy Bill, currently proceeding through Westminster, to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector now – instead, legislating for a decision on whether to set such a target to be made in 2016 at the earliest (i.e., after the next UK election).

Mr Salmond said: “We face a global imperative to tackle climate change and how we power our economies is a key part of that. Offshore wind has a strong, vibrant future, with plans to install up to 10 GW of capacity in Scottish waters over the next decade. More sites are being scoped for deployment in the 2020s – alongside commercial wave and tidal generation – as grid and interconnection upgrades and storage are further developed.
The First Minister  also announced the signing of new Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and four key ports in the region to support the development of the offshore wind sector.  The partnership aims to help the ports attract a potential £100m of investment to the Highlands. The  four joint-working agreements with Port of Ardersier, Kishorn Port Limited and Cromarty Firth Port Authority and Global Energy Nigg  will support  owners and operators to secure consents, market opportunities, attract investments and enable further development.

Dan Finch, UK Managing Director of EDP Renovaveis and co-chair of Scotland’s Offshore Wind Industry Group (OWIG), said: “To build a long-term sustainable industry and to insulate consumers from rising fossil fuel costs, we need a strong political commitment to renewables. Setting decarbonisation targets is a key part of delivering the confidence necessary for investment.”

He said: “We are working hard with our enterprise agencies both to secure overseas investment into our world-leading renewable energy industry and to support Scottish businesses to seize the huge opportunities available, working in partnership with inward investors and the rest of the supply chain to create jobs and help re-industrialise communities right across Scotland. These ports are ideally-positioned to become key hubs for the deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy – across manufacturing, assembly, operations and maintenance – and the new Memorandums of Understanding with Highlands & Islands Enterprise underpin the importance that we attach to ensuring that all of Scotland wins from the renewables revolution.”

HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson added:
“The offshore wind supply chain is showing strong interest in Scottish ports and harbours, and these official agreements give the market the strongest possible statement that the ports in the Highlands and Islands are open for renewables business.  HIE is fully committed to working with ports across the region to ensure that they are ready to support manufacture, fabrication, assembly, deployment and operational support for the Scottish, UK and European offshore wind market.”

What Obama Said On Climate Change

US Presidential InaugurationTranscript from the US President’s 2nd term inaugural address

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. 

Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. 

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition.  We must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries.  We must claim its promise.

That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure, our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow capped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

Let’s hope he means it and we see some action in his second term.


A Message From Doha

For  ‘Spanner’ and all the deniers who are threatening our future

Naderev Saño, the lead negotiator of the Philippines delegation, breaks down halfway through his prepared statement at the COP18 climate talks in Doha yesterday.

Saño was speaking about the 16th typhoon to hit the Philippines this year which killed hundreds of people. He appealed to the world: ‘no more delays, no more excuses’

Mass Climate Act Lobby Planned For Holyrood

Thursday 25th October, 12.45-2.15pm  Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

  Stop Climate Chaos Scotland are asking people to  join them  on Thursday 25th October 2012 for a mass lobby of Parliament – an  opportunity to show MSPs that people in Scotland want to see real action on climate change.
Three years ago, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland and thousands of their supporters lobbied hard for strong legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland. In 2009 the Scottish Parliament passed the world’s strongest climate legislation: The Scottish Climate Change Act.  However, the Scottish Government has failed to meet its very first (and not particularly challenging) target to reduce emissions under the Act. Unless the Climate Act is followed through with action, our ‘world-leading’ example of how to tackle climate change will be undermined.
SCCS are encouraging people from all across Scotland who care about climate change to meet with their politicians in the Scottish Parliament and call on them to ‘Get their Act together’ and ensure the Government delivers on the Act.

The event will begin at 12.45pm with registration and briefing, with the mass lobby itself running from 1.15 until 2.15pm. Full briefing will be provided in advance.

Places for this event are limited so if interested book early.   Travel expenses can be provided. If you have any questions about the event, please get in touch via gail[at] (replacing [at] with @).


Inside The Nimby Mindset

by Aeolus

Sometimes, there’s just so much news about wind power that we here at Wind of Change get a bit overwhelmed.  Like this past week.  So many studies and surveys published.  We simply don’t know where to start.

So perhaps it’s better to take a global or holistic view of the insane, intransigent, argumentative, illogical, unreasonable, deeply divisive and dishonest nimby movement that is currently doing its utmost to wreck Britain’s energy future and the planet as a whole.

You could say that there are two types of people in this world.  One kind tends to keep an open mind, to seek out and weigh up the evidence, to make decisions based on careful consideration of the evidence and the overall need, and continually to monitor the basis of their decisions.

The other makes up its mind instantly on the basis of kneejerk prejudice, short-sighted self-interest and total ignorance of the facts.  It then seeks out any “evidence” it can find which appears to support those prejudices and ruthlessly discounts, ignores or misrepresents any evidence which contradicts its blinkered stance.

(Don’t let the nimbies fool you.  If you’ve really examined the evidence, you won’t go around telling stupid stories about windfarms that have already been shown to be untrue.  Any nimby who claims to have been open-minded until they did some research into wind energy is lying, to themselves and to you.  So tell them that.)

Into the first category fall those adults amongst us who are not particularly fond of wind turbines as such, but recognise that they are a valid and vital part of our urgent drive towards a low-carbon economy and a sustainable future.  They are open minded enough to realise that it’s not all about them.  And yes, in an ideal world, maybe, there would be no need for wind turbines (or nuclear power stations, or coal-fired power stations, or gas pipelines, and so on, and so forth).  But we need renewables, and maybe everybody has to make a sacrifice of sorts to help the UK in its economic and environmental progress.  And here’s the good news: these people tend to find out that having a windfarm nearby is actually a Jolly Good Thing.

The latter bunch are the monstrous misfits of the nimby fringe.  They have never given a thought to wind energy until somebody mentioned the possibility of a windfarm or turbine somewhere in the vicinity.  At which point, the shutters came down.  These buffoons straightaway started looking for excuses to oppose a perfectly reasonable and indeed desirable development.  They knew that just saying “I don’t want it near me!” wasn’t really going to cut it, so they went hell for leather in their desperate hunt for excuses.  That’s when they put together websites and placards and pamphlets which merely repeated the idiotic lies of other nimby groups.  The stories they tell are shocking, startling … and plain wrong.

The worst kind of nimby fraud is the one who tries to use science in an attempt to dismiss the efficacy of wind power.  We saw it here in the Lenches and we’re seeing it again now in the Borders, where the so-called Lauderdale Preservation Group has devoted an enormous amount of energy to trying to prove that wind turbines don’t really do anything, only to blow it all by stating that the ones already operational in the Borders are doing a terrific job so they don’t need any more.  A real scientist would not fall into that sort of trap – presenting gibberish evidence which claims to prove one thing and then proving the very opposite as part of your next made-up argument against wind turbines.  But, sadly, even people with a scientific background are capable of being betrayed by their own ideological prejudices and selfish pomposity into making idiots of themselves.

The bigger problem, however, is that there are some very dark forces in our world which are gladly providing these knuckleheads with the “evidence” to back up their demented, and wildly inaccurate, claims about wind power.  Like the fools of Montgomeryshire Against Pylons (MAP), lately criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority for indulging in disgraceful terror tactics and spreading false information in a lunatic attempt at converting public opinion, the nimbies who routinely and thoughtlessly oppose windfarms are rather too ready to soak up and spew out any stupid gobbet of misinformation they can get.  And much of it comes from lobby groups like the disreputable Renewable Energy Foundation and Nigel Lawson’s propagandist Global Warming Policy Foundation (both of them fronts for the fossil fuel industries).

“Lord” Lawson repeatedly tells lies in order to pull the wool over people’s eyes.  As a committed capitalist, he refuses to believe that the insanity of over-reliance on fossil fuels is causing any kind of problem at all.  Now, if he wants to believe something as cretinous as that, well, that’s up to him.  But he goes further, taking large amounts of money from shady sources (which he refuses to name) and spreading false information in a deliberate attempt to confuse the public about the realities of climate change (  If Planet Earth had a single enemy, it would probably be Lawson.  Karma will decide what to do with him, and it won’t be pleasant.

However, every tin-pot right-wing nutcase who decides that anything “green” is clearly some sort of EU/Socialist/New World Order conspiracy is only too happy to quote Lawson’s egregious climate lies, or the equally mendacious gobbledegook promoted by REF.  Take the latest group of climate traitors to lumber over the horizon – a national anti-windfarm campaign group calling themselves NOW.  Not only are all their facts wrong (nothing unusual there – try finding an anti-wind nimby who actually knows anything about wind power, even though they like to give the impression that they know a lot) but they have made it their ambition to oppose every wind development in the UK.  That, folks, is a betrayal of everything – our children’s future, our climate commitments, our energy security, our right to the least expensive form of electricity available, as well as government policy, global agreements and the longterm health of the planet we call home.  People like Lawson might be massively deluded and evil enough to try and delude everybody else, but the motives behind NOW are completely insane.  It’s a campaign based entirely on an complete absence of reliable evidence and scientific fact: a kind of supernimby group dedicated to undermining the United Kingdom.  They should be locked up for their own good, let alone the good of everybody and everything else.

It’s not just the perversion of scientific evidence, the presentation of false evidence, the cherry-picking of data and the willingness to misinterpret that data along profoundly unscientific lines (a la Lawson, and various other right-wing thinktanks) that gives the nimbies comfort.  There’s also the bare-faced egotism of the practised liar who seems to believe that he has a right to bully and browbeat everybody in sight into doing what he says.  Plenty of those thuggish sorts in the nimby movement, for all their risible posturing as the “victims” of something or other.  But they have anointed a new king who, just for now, finds it convenient to support the anti-wind lunatics, although that probably won’t last.  His name is Donald Trump.

There have been a slew of opinion polls, the results of which have been published in the last few days, and all indicate that the clear majority of Britons (over two-thirds) actively support wind power, do not think that windfarms are a blot on the landscape and feel that subsidies for wind power are the right thing to do (by way of contrast, less than 10% of Britons are actively opposed to wind energy).  Other polls have shown that tourists are singularly unfazed by windfarms (thus demolishing the brainless nimby argument that a windfarm would destroy local tourism).  Add to that the fact that the RSPB has recently published the results of a long-running study which shows that wind turbines are not the “bird blenders” that nimby idiots want you to think they are, and you begin to wonder whether anything a nimby has ever said in his or her life ever turned out to be true.

People like Trump, though, don’t care.  For them, it’s all bluster.  It’s a matter of smearing your opponents, hiring lawyers to do your dirty work, and lying in public.  During Trump’s farcically egotistical appearance before the Scottish Parliament today, the folically-challenged one actually had the effrontery to answer questions about whether he could provide any evidence to back up his far-fetched claims with the words, “I am the evidence.”  One of his henchmen then told the MSPs that, just because they were democratically elected, that did not give them the right to carry out their policies.  So, a rather strange notion of what democracy is and what it means in the Trump camp.

Or, rather, a strange notion of what counts as the truth.  But it doesn’t matter.  People like Lord Lawson can manufacture false evidence, based on a skewed idea of what science is.  People like Trump don’t bother with that.  They just make their ridiculous statements and assume that, because they made them, everybody will agree with them.  Okay, so opinion polls and other surveys have shown that windfarms do not adversely affect tourism.  But Trump thinks he knows better.  After all, he is “the evidence”.

Between them, Lawson and Trump represent the twin fists of the nimby knuckledraggers.  They both tell lies.  One, however, twists science in order to create illusions.  The other just swaggers and bullies people.  Spend any length of time near an anti-wind nimby group and you’ll come across both character types – the Pseudo-Scientist and the Ugly Thug.  Chances are, those two will be the mainstays of your local nimby campaign.  One, at least, tries to make it look like they’ve got some evidence on their side, even it is absolute rubbish with no basis in reality.  The other doesn’t care: you’ll either do what they say or they’ll make you suffer for it.

Can we really afford to let these delusional right-wing extremists, these greedy egotistical monsters, these practised liars and their hired hoodlums dictate our energy policy for years to come?

Or shall we believe in democracy and science?

Put it this way.  It’s a lot cleaner and healthier outside the mind of a nimby.  They’d like to pretend that it’s windfarms that keep people awake at night.  But with corrupted consciences like theirs, it’s a wonder that they can ever sleep at all.


‘Aeolus’ publishes the ‘Wind of Change’ blog. The blog’s strapline is ‘Campaigning for Truth in the Battle for Renewable Energy’.  This post was originally published on Wind of Change on 25/04/2012.