Birthers. Climate Deniers. Now add Windbaggers.

May 11, 2011

The newest wedge issue for so called conservatives? It might be wind power.

From North American Wind Power:

Wind, after being the darling of the media, business and state governments for much of its history, has suddenly found itself on the receiving end of negative publicity, questions about its value as an energy source and even calls for an end to wind development.

I’ve posted here on the recent job killing anti-wind legislation in Wisconsin, and the attack on new-fangled socialist initiatives like Medicare and renewable energy in recent GOP budget proposals. In my neck of the woods, we’ve seen moves to outlaw offshore wind energy in the Great Lakes. (hasn’t gone anywhere, by the way)

What this boils down to, is that renewable energy is a threat to the business model of far-right conservatives like the Koch brothers, various fossil fuel industries,  and a small but influential group of ideologically driven “think-tanks” that they fund.

North American Wind power goes on

– The Wisconsin State Legislature is considering a bill that would restrict the development of approximately $500 million worth of projects over the next two years. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Republican Gov. Scott Walker says wind costs too much and impedes on rural property rights. The legislature voted in March to suspend wind farm siting rules. The five-to-two vote tracked along party lines, with all five votes to suspend coming from Republican members;

– Texas comptroller, Republican Susan Combs, has decried wind as an expensive boondoggle that does not produce jobs. The state’s GOP-controlled legislature may limit the ability of local school districts to give tax abatements, which wind advocates in the state say will limit development in rural areas; and

– The 2012 extension of the production tax credit could be in jeopardy, given the budgetary concerns on Capitol Hill. Jon Chase, vice president of government relations for Vestas-American Wind Technology, told an AWEA finance and budget workshop in April, “All the credits out there are going to be looked at very closely. Everything is going to be on the table.”

You’ve got it. Oil company tax breaks  are an important job creation tool of our economy. Incentives for renewables are a socialist boondoggle. It’s all so simply if you follow the money.

In the real world, wind power has emerged as one of the leading sources of new electrical capacity in the US and the world, in recent years.

GreenTechMedia reports:

The U.S. wind energy industry saw 35 percent average annual growth over the last five years and accounted for 35 percent of new U.S. power capacity in that period, according to the 2010 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report. Its only rival in growth and new capacity has been natural gas. So either natural gas is alternative energy — or wind isn’t.

Following the death of bin Laden, and the sudden dearth of scary talking points,  the right wing media will move to informing Aunt Tea bag and Uncle Dittohead that deadly wind and solar power threaten our family values, promote terrorism, subvert our children, and generally make the milk go sour, so plan accordingly. Still, most Americans aren’t buying it. According the the American Wind Energy Association

“The fact is nine out of 10 voters – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – want more wind power, as we found in a recent poll,” says Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA’s director of data and analysis. “Specific to Republicans, AWEA found that 84 percent of Republicans believe increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.”

26 Responses to “Birthers. Climate Deniers. Now add Windbaggers.”

  1. Moth Says:

    A number of years ago, my girlfriend at the time worked for a windfarm producer here in South Australia. Some of the complaints were absolutely absurd.

    On one occasion, they had a information booth at some expo and people were able to submit feedback etc into a box they had – parents were even encouraging their children to fill out forms to say that they didn’t want wind turbines in their region as they cause cancer and are noisy etc.

    I think whenever opposition starts with, “[insert subject] will cost jobs and ruin the economy” all respect for that opposition should be instantly stripped.

    • livinginabox Says:

      Mmm, reminds me of another [insert something] to complain about campaign.

      Here’s a screenshot of McIntyre’s Climate Fraudit website, where he was stirring-up the Climate Fraudit zombie army.

      This was one of the FOI requests made by one of the zombies to CRU at the behest of Steve McIntyre.

      Page recorded for posterity at http://www.webcitation.org/5zkRaX7D2
      You need to scroll down into the comments. BTW, if you should be so unwise as to read the comments, be aware that you will need a brain transplant.

      See http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/02/amoeba-gets-underfoot.html
      for more information.

  2. BlueRock Says:

    > …and generally make the milk go sour…

    [chuckle]

    I heard rumour that wind power can turn you in to a pinko subversive socialist commie almost overnight. And solar can turn you in to one of them San Francisco fancy boys within 3 days!

    If anyone thought convincing a wingnut that ‘CO2 = global warming’ was tough, try convincing him that wind turbines are still viable even though the wind stops blowing occasionally, or solar is viable even though the sun don’t shine at night! Odin give me strength!

  3. otter17 Says:

    It will be an uphill battle against these folks, but I still have President Obama’s state of the union challenge for 80% renewables by 2030 in my mind.

    • BlueRock Says:

      One constant silver lining: with every passing week, renewables get cheaper and more efficient; nukes get more expensive; and every new record drought, flood, heatwave is waking up more people.

      Let’s just hope enough people wake up in time before we hit some very nasty tipping point. :/

      • greenman3610 Says:

        it’s a race. reality vs stupidity.

        • BlueRock Says:

          And that’s worrying – stupidity has a *lot* of stamina.

          • Moth Says:

            There’s a saying I once read:

            “Don’t argue with idiots. They will just bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

            I think that sums it up nicely.

            From where we were in 2007-08, when I had some involvement in various enthusiastic initiatives, to now – following quite absurd events (“Climategate” and Mad Monckton for example), I’ve become very pessimistic that we will be able to formulate a uniformed approach to the various issues facing this century.

            The idiots and swingers will only be motivated by a tipping point – let’s hope enough others work on their own to stop a tipping point from occurring though.

          • BlueRock Says:

            Yep. I’m familiar with that saying – and after ~6 years of ‘debating’ deniers (climate and more recently energy) I’m beginning to believe the morons and sociopaths are too numerous, too immovable.

            But then on good days, I can see lots of movement in the right direction. Just about every day there’s good news re. renewables, which I believe is our salvation – for lots of problems. Renewables can take down fossils and nukes by a ‘thousand cuts’.

            We’ve got to believe it will happen quickly enough – otherwise what’s the point? :/

            When Jim Hansen says we’re f^cked then I’ll go rent a Ferrari and some dancing girls. 😉

          • Moth Says:

            Christine (from 350orBust) put me onto a great discussion by Noam Chomsky on the US economy – to change most things will have to start with that (I think, like myself, you also see that climate change is but one of a series of interrelated issues facing our future).

            I agree that the future must be one of both low carbon and low nuclear. I’ve written a couple articles that were picked up by The Sustainable Cities Collective (here and here) in which I make the point that nuclear, from my experience represents business-as-usual from yet another problematic non-renewable source and while the pro-nuke crowd tend to jump on the low-carbon bandwagon, they’re not in it for the right reason (ie. prosperous sustainability and natural resource security).

            First things first requires objective and often hard decision making and then policies that lead to human activity to be set within boundaries. I know those who most loudly object want increasing deregulation. Well, we’ve seen enough of what happens with deregulation and to active a humane standard of living for each person requires boundaries.

            We’ll have to let the idiots hate.

          • BlueRock Says:

            > …a great discussion by Noam Chomsky on the US economy…

            Thanks. I’ll read it shortly. Chomsky is someone I know I’ve not read enough of. Need to fix that.

            > …to change most things will have to start with that…

            I’m not convinced that is true any more. Germany (5th biggest economy) and now Japan (6th biggest) are ploughing ahead with renewables. China (#1) is making massive investments. It would obviously be better if the US turned its massive industry and ingenuity full bore on to renewables, but that is not going to happen given the craziness of the GOP and the self-interest of the fossil corporations that control it. The world is ploughing ahead, the US will slowly follow.

            Having said that, the US is still ‘quietly’ in the race in some ways – e.g. it is only behind Japan in number of patents held for solar tech.

            > …I think, like myself, you also see that climate change is but one of a series of interrelated issues facing our future).

            Absolutely. Climate change is the 800lb gorilla, but there are lots of other things rapidly eroding the carrying capacity of the planet: deforestation, over-fishing, industrial farming with masses of pesticides, etc. At some point all of these things are going to turn round and bite us in a very nasty way. I think it all boils down to one word: sustainable. If we’re not living sustainably in every sense then we’re slowly tying a noose around our collective necks (along with all other life on the planet). 😦

            > I agree that the future must be one of both low carbon and low nuclear.

            Always good to hear that someone else gets it. 🙂

            > I’ve written a couple articles that were picked up by The Sustainable Cities Collective (here and here) …

            I’ll read later. Thanks.

            > …represents business-as-usual from yet another problematic non-renewable source…

            There appears to be no economic case for nuclear. It requires massive subsidies in different forms – e.g. loan guarantees, insurance indemnity, waste disposal costs and, of course, the costs of catastrophic failure are always paid by society. The only benefit it has is that it concentrates wealth and political power in to the hands of the few. It enables a state to control its population by having them sign up to a lifetime energy subscription.

            > … and while the pro-nuke crowd tend to jump on the low-carbon bandwagon, they’re not in it for the right reason (ie. prosperous sustainability and natural resource security).

            Absolutely. It’s laughable how certain people become environmentalists on this one issue. The reality is that nukes hinder attempts to mitigate climate change because they take so long to deploy and because they starve renewables of investment.

            > …we’ve seen enough of what happens with deregulation and to active a humane standard of living for each person requires boundaries.

            Well said. My usual response to those who keep yapping about free markets and deregulation and small government: go to Somalia – that’s your libertarian utopia right there.

            > We’ll have to let the idiots hate.

            Unfortunately, we’ve got to live with the b&stards!


  4. […] internationally, and the news is good for advocates of 21st century power. Not so good for the “windbaggers” – astro turf, tea-party fueled anti-renewable groups that have sprung up here and there […]


  5. […] know the “Windbaggers” of the  Tea Party congress have other ideas –  but, I’m old fashioned, I guess I thought these were “family […]


  6. […] energy, or expensive, (and getting more so) polluting 19th century energy. So why are the Tea Party Windbaggers promoting their steam-powered time-trolley into the past? Might have something to do with where they get their […]


  7. […] the overheated claims of Windbaggers that wind farms are an unwanted eyesore, actual research continues to show that wind turbines have […]


  8. […] can’t prove that the anti-science “Windbagger” movement is part of the larger right wing astro-turf campaign organized by fossil fuel and Koch-funded […]


  9. […] official.  I’ve been waiting for the money guys behind the phony “grassroots” anti-wind “windbagger” movement to show themselves, and finally, they have. As Gomer Pyle said, “Serprize, serprize, […]


  10. […] evidence that climate deniers, Windbaggers, and Birthers are the same band of idiots. Donald Trump joins the Koch Brothers in fighting the […]


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