Picture: JMT (PD)
Via Root Force:
A series of recently released studies make it clear that wind power is not going to save us—not from global warming, not from high extinction rates, and not from the system of high-energy-consumption industrial exploitation that is killing the planet.
Let’s start with the most damning findings: even the most large-scale shift to wind power cannot slow greenhouse gas emissions enough to have any positive effect on the climate, although it may manage to make things worse. Why?
A study published in Nature Climate Change in September found that although hypothetically there is enough power in the earth’s winds to sustain current levels of energy consumption, in practice you could never harvest enough energy from wind to affect the climate:
Turbines create drag, or resistance, which removes momentum from the winds and tends to slow them. As the number of wind turbines increases, the amount of energy that is generated increases. But at some point, the winds would be slowed so much that adding more turbines will not generate more electricity. …
[T]he study found that the climate effects of extracting wind energy at the level of current global demand would be small, as long as the turbines were spread out and not clustered in just a few regions. At the level of global energy demand, wind turbines might affect surface temperatures by about 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit and affect precipitation by about 1 percent. Overall, the environmental impacts would not be substantial. (emphasis added)
Another study, published in Nature last month, found that wind farms being constructed in Scotland actually lead to a net increase in carbon dioxide emissions:
Wind farms are typically built on upland sites, where peat soil is common. In Scotland alone, two thirds of all planned onshore wind development is on peatland. England and Wales also have large numbers of current or proposed peatland wind farms.
But peat is also a massive store of carbon, described as Europe’s equivalent of the tropical rainforest. Peat bogs contain and absorb carbon in the same way as trees and plants — but in much higher quantities.
British peatland stores at least 3.2 billion tons of carbon, making it by far the country’s most important carbon sink and among the most important in the world.
Wind farms, and the miles of new roads and tracks needed to service them, damage or destroy the peat and cause significant loss of carbon to the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. …
Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said … “The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”
Read more here.
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