Pursuing the green dream at the expense of the wellbeing of the people is a
Do we really need to rethink our entire energy strategy?
FOSSIL fuels have created a world which is the best it has ever been in
terms of life expectancy, health, wealth, knowledge and technology of all
kinds. Not every country participates in this success to the same extent
but you cannot have a functioning western-type economy or a sophisticated
society of any kind without cheap and reliable energy. Fossil fuels have
propelled human progress from the 1700s, through the industrial revolution
and until the present day. Oil and gas yield not just energy but thousands
of by-products that vary from convenient to so vital that we couldn’t
function without them.
Iain Macwhirter (“The heat is on in the crucial battle to achieve net
zero”, The Herald, July 20) seems to think that Britain owes the world
recompense for the “damage” caused by contributing to the greatest phase of
progress in human history. Further, he thinks that renewable energy is
reducing in cost, will yield millions of jobs (despite these being
conspicuously absent so far: see “Think-tank: UK’S green strategy denying
Scots thousands of jobs”, The Herald, July 21) and that Scotland can phase
out conventional electricity generation and rely solely on wind. What
happens when the wind doesn’t blow and how do we compensate for that?
According to US Investment Bank JP Morgan, global adoption of wind and
solar stood at two per cent of world energy consumption up to December
2021. The BP Energy Review for 2021 has the figure at five per cent. After
two decades of demonising nuclear power and fossil fuels and after untold
billions in subsidies we are still only at a minuscule level of take-up.
This is the market speaking and it is loudly saying that it does not fancy
expensive and unreliable sources of power. By currently building hundreds
of coal and gas-fired power stations, is the eastern half of the globe
missing something or is it the West which is being wilfully stupid? In
China, electricity consumption per capita is half of that in the West. In
India it is one-sixth. Energy demand in Asia will grow and grow and will be
fuelled by cheap and reliable coal, oil and gas for decades to come. Any
“moral and economic” responsibility – as Mr Macwhirter puts it – on
Britain’s part to pursue the green dream at the expense of its economy, the
wellbeing of the British people and the fabric of the society we live in is
a virtue-signalling nonsense. In any area except that of green virtue, a
British attempt to influence the international community would be derided
as a forlorn attempt to return to the days of empire. You can’t have it
Western thought leadership should be going into how the world adapts to a
slightly warming planet, not trying to dictate energy strategy to half the
globe who clearly have no intention of listening. History will make a
laughing stock of those who, through misguided self-harm, undermine
well-proven energy systems and endanger the societies that depend on them.
Andy Cartwright, Glasgow.
Wind turbines a threat to life
RECENT media coverage has once again graphically depicted the horrors of
raging wildfires (“Fire chiefs warn of wildfires after ‘wake-up call’”, The
Herald, June 21).
Politicians, planners and local councillors seem to be blissfully unaware
that wind turbines pose a significant, deadly, and growing threat to rural
communities, livestock, wildlife and habitats.
Our once-beautiful countryside is now littered with the perfect incendiary
device. Hundreds have been built in forests, on fragile, peat-covered
moorland, in reality a tinder-dry touch paper at the moment.
Poor maintenance, oil leaks and extremely high gear ratios mean wind
turbines pose an increasing risk of spontaneous combustion and collapse.
This is happening alarmingly often, particularly in Germany where they are
known as “Tickende Zeitbomben” – “Ticking Time Bombs”.
If one or more of these giant turbines bursts into flames, scattering
debris and sparks, they can start a rapidly-spreading, raging inferno
because they are impossible to extinguish at such a height.
What country-wide, specialist equipment is available, at a moment’s notice,
to extinguish fires at such a height? Will the ever-so-green wind industry
pay for this potential disaster, risk to life, and the catastrophic
George Herraghty, Elgin.