Environment

Climate Skeptics & Killer Wind Turbines

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJan 4, 2013 6:58 PM

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To paraphrase a famous observation, cognitive bias in certain precincts of the blogosphere is one of those things you recognize when you see it. So for the hell of it, let's go to this randomly chosen example at Bishop Hill, the blog of climate skeptic Andrew Montford, who can reliably be counted on to share any news that reflects badly on wind turbines. Oh look, here's something just out that's noteworthy, he says:

Clive Hambler, a lecturer at Oxford University and the author of an important textbook on conservation, has written an important article at the Spectator on the effects on windfarms on wildlife. It looks as if the "bird-blender" name is well-deserved.

Indeed! I bet Montford put his super-skeptical powers to good use with that piece. Oh, wait... Now, I'm not going to pass judgement on the legitimacy of the claims made in the article Montford highlights at his blog. I know that wind turbines kill birds and bats, just like I know that coal and oil pollute our lungs and heat up the planet. The issue, it seems, is in what context are we viewing these harms? While I'm at it, let me point out another odd thing about self-proclaimed skeptics who swear by the holy bible of evidence-based science when it comes to all matters related to climate change, but who uncritically embrace loopy theories related to wind turbines. Okay, I just did. Anyway, if you're interested in the wind turbine/birds issue, here's a good Naturepiece that came out last year. And if you're interested in a healthy pawing of the killer wind turbine article that Montford has glommed on to, here's a good post by Robert Wilson. Is it too much to ask climate skeptics to actually be skeptical about stories that reinforce their own biases?

[Photo of wind turbine in Quebec, Canada/Wikipedia Commons]

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