30 September 2013
We are writing today as a coalition of local groups and individuals to express a number of significant concerns at the negative coverage and lack of balance in the public ‘debate’ over the Navitus Wind Farm. In particular we are concerned about:
1. alarmist claims being made by opponents of the scheme, which are often made on the basis of incorrect facts and emotive rhetoric.
2. elected representatives, some of whom are making pre-judgements and attempting to campaign against the proposal, rather than acting in the public interest on the basis of considered facts.
3. a climate where councillors and officials are paying considerable heed to biased and ill-informed information and no platform exists where reasoned and unbiased consideration of the facts can take place.
4. future tourism to the area which is being threatened by creating an impression that it may not be worth visiting once the development is complete.
5. the major issues of future energy needs, security of supply, and the desperate need to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change, being ignored by comparison to the relatively small-scale potential environmental and economic issues raised by the Navitus Bay proposals. Three years ago, 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences published an open letter on the growing claims of climate change deniers and explained that thousands of scientists have concluded:
(i) The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. A snowy winter in Washington does not alter this fact.
(ii) Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.
(iii) Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth's climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.
(iv) Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrologic cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.
(v) The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments, and far more.
Since the above was written, further evidence has been gathered and modelling performed that supports their conclusions. We have already experienced extreme weather that may well be an early indicator of our changing climate. We need to act now. As former NASA Scientist and leading Climate Academic James Hansen, speaking in London in early May this year pointed out “Our parents did not know but we can only pretend we don’t know”.
We, and we expect many others, believe the provision of clean energy to more than 700,000 homes and the loss of 1.25 million tonnes of carbon a year for the next 25 years must be a priority. We urge our leaders and officials to consider future generations over and above short term political concerns and to uphold their public duty to base their decisions upon reasoned and considered factual evidence.