Guest Post: Edgar Bread – Wind Farms and Human Health

This week the national Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) released a report that looked at the health effects of wind farms. The take home conclusion, presented with the press release, was that

there is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans.

This message was repeated in headlines such as ABC’s environmental reporter Jake Sturmer (No reliable link between wind farms and health problems, National Health and Medical Research Council says) and Simon Chapman at the Conversation (Study finds no evidence wind turbines make you sick – again). The commmentary invoked verbal eye-rolls usually reserved for creationists.

However, if you read the report it becomes clear that these headlines are misleading. The failure to find “reliable” “consistent” evidence is actually because the NHMRC did not trust the research. This is understandable. They could only find seven studies that were sufficiently rigorous to even include in the review, and even those studies, the authors viewed with a jaundiced eye. But even in those seven studies there were some findings that wind farms could be detrimental to health.

Quality of life.
The NHMRC authors found that of the research that has been done, there seems to be a detrimental effect on quality of life. Here they are talking about it on page 15:

Three studies assessed quality of life and proximity to wind farms. Only one of them attempted to mask the purpose of the study from participants and used a formally validated questionnaire. 11 This study found an association between distance from wind turbines and overall quality of life. Two other studies used author – formulated questions and did not mask the purpose of the study. In one of these studies, the majority of people reported that their quality of life had altered since living near a wind turbine, regardless of how close they lived to the turbine. 13 The other study reported that more residents living close to a turbine wanted to move away than residents living further from a turbine.

Yep, they found three whole studies into quality of life. Count em! All three found basically the same thing: quality of life was reduced due to proximity to wind farms. There was also evidence that people who live near wind farms want to move away from the wind farms. Quality of Life is a hair’s breadth away from depression: this is indirect evidence of health effects.

Sleep.

The association of wind farm noise with self – reported sleep quality was assessed in all seven studies. Six studies reported poorer sleep (mostly disturbed sleep and poor sleep quality ) among people exposed to higher estimated levels of wind farm noise 8 – 10 or living closer to wind farms.

There is a pile of evidence the size of Mount Everest that there’s a link between poor sleep and poor health outcomes. The authors are playing hard-to-get by not acknowledging this as evidence of an effect on health.

Annoyance
They found some evidence that people reported that nearby wind turbines “annoyed” them. That’s not as damning as sleep disruption or lost quality of life, but it was enough for the ABC to erroneously sew them together in the following sentence, which at least has the advantage of parsimony: “However, the study by the NHMRC – Australia’s peak medical and scientific research body – did link wind farms to a level of annoyance that can cause sleeplessness.”

Shadow Flicker

“No studies were identified that assessed the health effects of shadow flicker from wind turbines.”

Let’s read that sentence from page 16 again. “No studies”. The authors describe this elsewhere in the report as “insufficient evidence”. Yeah, you could call it that.

Dodgy research
They were highly critical of these studies as being small and poorly designed.

“In all these studies, the participants self – reported their health and health – related outcomes; none of the outcomes were objectively measured ( e.g. by using a test performed by a doctor or scientist ) .” (p6)
“The number of participants in most of the studies was modest.” (p6)
In many of the studies, the purpose of the research was not masked (i.e. hidden) from participants. Where the studies did attempt to hide the intent of the study from participants, this may not have been effective. (p7)
All of the health and health – related outcomes recorded in the included studies were self – reported. (P7).

We should applaud the authors’ stringent inclusion rules for methodologically robust research. I was concerned that they had overdone it somewhat (it’s hard to know as details in the report was scarce). For example they excluded any study that didn’t use comparison groups (ie people near a wind farm and people further away. It’s not clear if, for example correlational studies were allowed, or studies that compared a group to known population parameters. Neither of these use “groups” in the sense of medical trials. Epidemiological standards would be a better fit to this problem than a model more closely linked to medical trials. But regardless, let’s not quibble too much: throwing out poorly designed research is a good thing to do. better to conclude “no evidence’ than draw the wrong conclusion.

More research needed
Given the lack of methodological rigor, combined with some evidence of negative health effects, wouldn’t the best thing to do be to call for more research? It would. And full credit to the authors, that’s what they did. They detailed the sort of “further investigation” that is needed in the conclusions of the report, and in the press release, the CEO of NHMRC, Warwick Anderson, is quoted as saying: “Given that the quality of the existing evidence is poor, further research of the highest standard is warranted.”
But somehow, the headline “NHMRC calls for more research into the health effects of wind farms” is not very ABC friendly.

For that matter, I can’t see this (accurate headline) being too popular at ABC or the Conversation: “Science shows that wind farms disrupt sleep.”
Both of these headlines would have been completely accurate.
Simon Chapman at The Conversation noted cynically that this review brings the number of reviews of the health effects of wind farms to 20. That’s almost three times as many reviews as actual studies.

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156 Responses to Guest Post: Edgar Bread – Wind Farms and Human Health

  1. Baldrick

    They’re ugly, they’re useless, they’re expensive to build and they’re a reminder of Green anathema – that’s enough to make anyone sick!

  2. Demosthenes

    That’s almost three times as many reviews as actual studies.

    Politicians think reviews are like beating the bushes for pheasants – keep whacking until what you want pops out.

  3. Demosthenes

    The authors are playing hard-to-get by not acknowledging this as evidence of an effect on health.

    They don’t think it’s good evidence.

    The reported associations of wind turbine noise with sleep quality were generally weak. In some of the studies, the association between estimated wind farm noise and sleep quality was weaker than the association between wind farm noise annoyance and sleep quality. 8,9

    Only some of the studies considered possible confounding factors in their analysis. In one study that did consider possible confounding factors, participants who did not economically benefit from wind turbines reported more sleep interruption than others.10
    This was reported regardless of how close they were to the wind farm. Therefore it is possible that factors other than noise (such as economic benefit) could explain the apparent association between wind turbine proximity and sleep disruption.

    As ever, self-reporting opens up surveys to all sorts of bias. They’re right, we do need better research. Who carried out all this shoddy work?

  4. Bruce of Newcastle

    In the UK wind farm operators have been forced to address wind farm noise, after much public pressure.

    And while not all people may be affected by the noise wind farms do have a 100% effect upon people in this way: no one wants to live next to one if they can help it.

    Wind farms have a large effect on house prices. I suspect the typical loss of value is around the 30% mark, but ranging from 10% to 90% depending on the circumstance. Unfortunately there isn’t much hard data that can pass muster for exactly the same reason as the health effects are poorly known. All the usual activists want wind farms (just not near them) because of ideology, so few studies have been done. And those which get done tend to find what that side of politics wants found, rather like this NHMRC study.

    And then there is wildlife. Being hit by a wind turbine blade going at 200 km/h will ruin your whole day, which happens to millions of birds and bats each year. With barely a squeak of protest from the activists who would scream blue murder if a handful of birds were harmed by a mining company or an oil driller.

  5. john constantine

    well abbott annoys the abc so much that they lose sleep fretting–and the abc reckon that is as good a reason as any to go to war against him.

  6. Fred Lenin

    These “researchers” are a Bloody Joke!Idiots! Of course windfarms keep people awake of course they lower house prices,of course the shadows of these abortions are annoying,of course they cost a fortune to produce a tiny amount of power of course they are useless they are a green alp thouht bubble.There are parks in the innercity suburbs and the wealthy suburbs where the “workers representatives “live. And the private schools their children attend,thats the place to relocate the noisy ,useless things, after all we find no evidence against them ,do we comrades?

  7. stackja

    Simon Chapman says X is bad for health and his comment is accepted. Fatty foods etc
    Simon Chapman says Y is not bad for health and his comment is accepted. Green policies.

  8. It’s pretty clear that any affect windfarms have on health is all in peoples heads, and that fear campaigns are causing far more problems than the windfarms themselves. Give up with the bullshit propaganda already.

  9. .

    That’s not clear at all.

    Chapman’s pseudo-science is the equivalent of the “miasma” over London.

  10. Bushdoc

    Putting the catastrophic loss of birds and bats to one side. It is clear that the underlying issue of the impacts of wind farms on nearby residents, relates to the subsonic frequency vibrations created by the tower. Low frequency (including subsonic) sounds are omnidirectional, over long wavelengths , they pass through ground and as has been shown in many studies are “felt” rather than heard. They are particularly irritating to some people (the reason why some people particularly women dislike heavy metal music). Unfortunately there is no quantitative test for this effect, qualitative tests are the only option, fallible as they are. I normally respect the work of Simon Chapman however on this front he s palpably wrong.
    As a clinician I believe that there is, for some people, a genuine negative effect. Sleep disruption, irritability and anxiety are precisely the effects you would expect to see. Sadly few medical researchers have any understanding of acoustics, and even less understanding of engineering. One of my bad habits is being an audiophile and lover of vintage guitars and amps. This has led me to study acoustics particularly speaker design. If research focused on the acoustical properties of wind turbines and towers then the answer would become more obvious.

  11. hzhousewife

    Wind farms have a large effect on house prices. I suspect the typical loss of value is around the 30% mark, but ranging from 10% to 90% depending on the circumstance.

    Well there’s an investmernt opportunity for the far-sighted. Buy up near the oldest sites that are about to get to the end of their useful life. They won’t be rebuilt, not having earned their way legitimately in the past.

  12. .

    Wind farms are unlikely to ever be profitable. This is the primary reason we shouldn’t have them. They are doomed to be eyesores no one can be bothered or can afford to remove.

  13. hzhousewife

    Nah, I wouldn’t buy a windfarm. But the agricultural land nearby often has value.

  14. cohenite

    Max Reece eviscerates Chapman here.

    And here is the Phillips paper on wind noise effects. I don’t know if the Phillips paper was included in the NHMRC report.

  15. James of the Glen

    There is substantial documented evidence that suffering including high BP, headaches, nausea, and tinitus, and debilitating loss of sleep, from infrasound generated by the newer long blade turbines, is causing huge problems in Canada, Eastern US, Australia, the UK, and Europe.
    “Blind” (control) tests on patients add to the evidence.

    Blood pressure elevation and loss of sleep are dangerous precursors of a plethora of other diseases.

    Even now “hosts” of wind turbines in Texas are launching litigation against their very own companies because of noise health problems they were not told about. A host at a wind “farm” in SA is having the same problems. Family homes have been abandoned in numerous locations.

    Why has the Dep’t of Energy in Denmark set up permanent compensation commissions (five I think at the last count) if no problems exist?

    Just why does Simon Chapman act as a zealous wind farm activist? And he has no medical qualifications whatsoever. The suggestion that it’s all in the head (and the clown desipsis above is a good example) is disgraceful, anti-science and a wilful abandonment of the precautionary principle that the same proponents so desperately shriek about for “climate change”.

    Surely, there are rich pickings for any judicial investigation or royal commission into wind farm placements in Australia.

  16. Leo G

    “there is no reliable or consistent evidence that wind farms directly cause adverse health effects in humans.”

    A familiar fallacious argument- one long used by the tobacco industry- known as taking refuge in causality. The NHMRC PR statement uses weasel words to conceal the fact that no evidence could be presented that supports the hypothesis of no causal relationship.

  17. lem

    BUT WAIT!

    Windfarms apparently could have decreased the intensity of Hurricane Katrine by >70%, according to someone reported in the press today.

    I KID YOU NOT.

  18. conrad

    Really, who cares about wind noise in the middle of nowhere land when there is car, truck, plane , etc. noise that effects about a zillion more people. Why not worry about real problems?

  19. Mike of Marion

    On top of all that ‘noise’, what happens when the generator grinds to a final halt with mechanical failure – is the tower and what is on top to remain there as a permanent blot on the lanscape????

  20. .

    Because people willingly buy near an airport, whereas others have these problems put upon them, by government edict and well funded, nearly wholly subsidised firms.

    What’s more, the airport is viable and has a certain future. Wind farms are neither.

  21. conrad

    “Because people willingly buy near an airport, whereas others have these problems put upon them, by government edict and well funded, nearly wholly subsidised firms. ”

    They’re not nearly wholly subsidized and they’re generally run by private companies on private land. What’s the difference between a wind-farm noise and my neighbor’s noisy car? In any case, if I wanted to build some with my own money on my own land, for some reason I’d need to go through a huge number of hoops even compared to house planning and other such massively regulated things. It seems you support authoritarian rules where every possible externality is multiplied by 1000 in one case but presumably not in any number of other things.

  22. James of the Glen

    If Gross Ignorance needed a manifestation, Conrad could immediately step forward.

    The very battle over wind “farms” is largely due to their placement in closely settled rural districts; residences, farms, townships, wetland refuges and holiday/tourist areas fall victim to their noises, despoliation of landscape, killing of birdlife and gross devaluation of properties.

    The last point amounts to a virtual Soviet-style removal of property rights; houses become unsellable, and surrounding hectares (now near worthless) are removed from further growth for townships.

  23. RexR

    My noisy neighbors disrupt my sleep. Plus their house is unsightly affecting property prices. Let’s ban neighbors.

  24. James of the Glen

    Banning your stupidity would be a better start, Rexy.

  25. conrad

    “The very battle over wind “farms” is largely due to their placement in closely settled rural districts; ”

    If it’s private land, then this is the standard NIMBY answer. How terrible, something we don’t like might move in.

    “The last point amounts to a virtual Soviet-style removal of property rights; houses become unsellable, and surrounding hectares (now near worthless) are removed from further growth for townships.”

    The same argument could be made for roads, except they’re generally in vastly populated areas. In addition, I can’t force developers in the cities to sell their vacant blocks for further growth, so I can’t really see what the problem with developers hanging on to their own private land in sparesly populated areas in the middle of nowhere is.

  26. john constantine

    how about the abc fact check department do the numbers on what it costs to decommission an isolated wind farm,complying with all occupational health and safety regulations. cost more to decommission than to build? and without a subsidy? no wonder wind farms keep on being sold down the line in a pass the parcel journey to a broke final owner.

  27. conrad

    Out of curiosity, I looked up where all the wind farms in Victoria were:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wind_farms_in_Victoria

    I can’t see any that wouldn’t be classified middle-of-nowhere.

    Given this, if we start worrying about imagined externalities in these areas, Rex really does have a point.

  28. James of the Glen

    NIMBY? No. Not in anyone’s backyard.
    What a pathetic ‘argument’.

    Particularly for something as worthless and totally useless as a wind farm.

  29. conrad

    Sorry James, but ad hominem is not an argument. There are really three independent issues:

    1) Whether they should be supported by the government (I see no reason for this to occur at all on any commercial scale)
    2) Whether you/other people like/dislike them for their own personal reasons (I couldn’t care about this)
    3) Whether people should be able to build them with their own money on their own personal land.

    I can see no reason (3) shouldn’t be allowed to occur. Maybe you don’t like them, and maybe you think they lose money. But prices change over time, and I see no reason to stop people building stuff using their own money. If they lose money, bad luck for them. If they make money, lucky them.

  30. dan

    It’s pretty clear that any affect windfarms have on health is all in peoples heads, and that fear campaigns are causing far more problems than the windfarms themselves. Give up with the bullshit propaganda already.

    I doubt that infrasound or whatever is really a problem however:
    -They look ugly as hell especially in the rolling hills where I seem to see them most
    -In places I have been abroad where they are very densely planted, the effect is unspeakably hideous, and very ancient landscapes representing a unique cultural patrimony have been desecrated by having the towers looming above them
    -their bulk and height especially when positioned in an otherwise low and flat landscape is extremely displeasing
    -but putting all that to the side:
    -they are completely, utterly pointless and useless. No-one can ever run critical power supplies on them. If they made up 30% of total power on a relatively good day, that would make no difference to anyone anywhere anyway. And we are beggaring ourselves to pay for them.

  31. James of the Glen

    When since “like” has been the point of argument? Try another straw man.

    Wind farms fall over on cold hard economic and scientific grounds, not “like” or “dislike”.

    A more accurate name would be Renewable Energy Certificate Farms. Milking the taxpayers to the tune of up to $800,000 per turbine per year. What a disgrace, money lost to the nation in most cases. Ramped up electricity prices. Add the back-up generation required (and CO2 generation for the Warmists) and then everyone is paying twice for the same electricity. The energy racket.

    The result? Exactly what is being seen in rust-bucket SA, not to mention Spain and California among other states.

    The argument comparing REC/turbine farms with roads and bridges is a brain-dead fallacy. One case is the building of wealth creating and assisting infrastructure for a nation.

    The other is the building of wealth losing and job-destroying turbine farms.

    What a lazy and shoddy comparison, Conrad.

    “Sorry”? As well you should be.

  32. manalive

    The noise and health issue would be material if they had some utility, but the things are fu@$ing useless anyway.

  33. conrad

    “Wind farms fall over on cold hard economic and scientific grounds”

    Who cares what you, I, or other people think of the economics. If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem?

  34. Kaboom

    The big danger with wind-farms, of course, is that they act to slow the Earth’s rotation. It’s just like sticking your hand out the window doing the ton – it slows you down. The more wind-farms, the more the Earth slows.

    This means – more daylight hours, more solar irradiation, and the temperature maxima increase perceptibly. Likewise, the nights become longer and colder, so the diurnal temperature delta increases, leading to storms and cyclones and tornadoes and flooding and cats and dogs laying together.

    The other big danger is that urban greenies and rent-seeking carpetbaggers get their jollies from the subsidies necessary to support these useless blights on previously pristine landscapes. We need to unwind the greenfilth madness that has caused this danger to the present and future.

  35. .

    3) Whether people should be able to build them with their own money on their own personal land.

    This doesn’t happen, does it?

    None of them are profitable.

  36. Ed

    It’s pretty clear that any affect windfarms have on health is all in peoples heads, and that fear campaigns are causing far more problems than the windfarms themselves. Give up with the bullshit propaganda already.

    Desipis, the NHMRC doesn’t agree with you.

  37. .

    conrad
    #1206579, posted on February 27, 2014 at 6:32 pm
    “Wind farms fall over on cold hard economic and scientific grounds”

    Who cares what you, I, or other people think of the economics. If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem?

    Stop the obfuscation. Name one privately run, subsidy free, profitable wind farm.

    Right. Let them do as they please then.

  38. .

    We have the most rabid left wingers in here agitating for a power source which is so poor it cannot be operationalised effectively.

    The upshot of this is that they are agitating for cutbacks to power supply.

  39. Mk50 of Brisbane, Henchman to the VRWC

    Hmm. So if I buy land devalued by proximity to a windfarm, then sneak out with a gas-axe one dark winter’s night….

  40. James of the Glen

    Conrad complains of ad hominem and then adds, “If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem?”.

    Privately run? They’re not privately run. Here’s an ad hom: are you so thick you don’t know what is an REC ?
    That it is a subsidy, a very large subsidy, from the taxpayer? What’s “private” about that, Conrad?

    (Kaboom, so what does a new pine forest do??!!)

  41. Kaboom

    so what does a new pine forest do??!!

    Well, it obviously depends where one plants such a forest. F’rinstance, planting trees in the middle of a desert would have a similar effect, although whilst young, they would naturally “bend which way the wind blows”…

    These evil, man-made, carbon-intensive structures, do not bend to any significant degree.

  42. egg_

    Well, it obviously depends where one plants such a forest. F’rinstance, planting trees in the middle of a desert would have a similar effect, although whilst young, they would naturally “bend which way the wind blows”…

    Casuarina thrive in the desert near Uluru to Hawaiian beaches, whereas Eucalypts do not.

  43. Senile Old Guy

    Chapman’s pseudo-science is the equivalent of the “miasma” over London.

    Chapman is the ABC’s go-to man when they want to get good quotes to dispel “unwarranted” fears about wind farms. His own study – - reported favourably by (surprise) the ABC – - was based entirely on records of the sale of PBS listed medications for depression, insomnia and headaches. I use it in class as an example of poor quality medical research.

  44. egg_

    The authors are playing hard-to-get by not acknowledging this as evidence of an effect on health.

    They don’t think it’s good evidence.

    Over a decade ago the Albany Wind Farm was found to emit 6 Hz* subsonic frequencies detected over a km away at nearby houses.

    *Known for decades to be disruptive and disorienting to both humans and animals.

  45. Bruce of Newcastle

    Who cares what you, I, or other people think of the economics. If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem?

    That is a fallacy, since their very operation has costs to other people.

    They introduce instability into the power grid because of intermittency of generation. This requires someone else to balance the loads. Unfortunately that in turn forces the baseload power stations to operate at less than top efficiency. Which costs those generators money.

    The overall result of this is windfarms don’t actually save any CO2 on a life cycle basis. Analysis has shown that the saving on CO2 generation in day to day grid operations is only 4% of their theoretical ability because of the inefficiency imposed on the coal fired power stations. It goes negative when you factor their construction, since more materials are needed per GW compared to big modern coal power stations.

    Add the noise issue, the catastrophic impact on wildlife, the pollution impact of Chinese rare earth extraction and the impact on electricity prices and you wonder why the Greens are not clamouring themselves to blow the wretched things up.

  46. Andrew

    They’re also imported, James – blows out the current account (they’re not cheap). 3 steps closer to BANANA republic (yep, the BANANAs make an exception for bird shredders).

  47. egg_

    *Known for decades to be disruptive and disorienting to both humans and animals.

    Sonic weapon

  48. Leo G

    Who cares what you, I, or other people think …. If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem? – conrad

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    “If it’s private land, then this is the standard NIMBY answer.” – conrad

    “ad hominem is not an argument.” – conrad

    Contradiction.

    “There are really three independent issues: (lists 3 interdependent issues)” – conrad

    Hat trick?

  49. Gab

    All this waste of taxpayers money for bugger all unreliable “power” meanwhile, Germany is building 25 new coal-fired power plants. And idiots in Australia are worrying about out 1.4% of globull CO2 emissions. Absurd.

  50. Yobbo

    Up next from “guest author”: Chemtrails!

  51. Bruce of Newcastle

    Ah, Yobbo, you do realise that ‘chemtrails’ is a serious Green initiative? Its a type of geoengineering.

    No they don’t call it that, but it is technologically identical to what the chemtrails conspiracy theorists squawk about.

  52. JC

    Look, to be honest I don’t believe windmills cause any sort of human health problems and I really don’t give a rats how much stuff is presented as research.

    Attack the crap for the junk it is in terms of producing energy.

  53. egg_

    The ghost in the machine” was a paper about the effects of infrasound*.

    *Also associated as earthquake pre-warning emissions.

  54. hzhousewife

    They introduce instability into the power grid because of intermittency of generation. This requires someone else to balance the loads. Unfortunately that in turn forces the baseload power stations to operate at less than top efficiency. Which costs those generators money.

    Bruce I have to say you are my opinion of choice re renewables, well done, keep it up, we all need to know and understand more.

    Re your quote above, the “generators” then need to charge an appropriate fee to the intermittent energy provider to offset the costs.

  55. Ed

    Up next from “guest author”: Chemtrails!

    I’m the guest author in this case.
    The news headlines were completely misleading about this report. I wanted to set the record straight.

    Besides which, do you think the research – and journalistic communities – would have such a blaze attitude if we were talking about nuclear reactors instead of wind farms?
    Do you think there would be a mere 7 small studies to choose from if that were the case?

  56. hzhousewife

    always wondered about “infrasound” and whales beaching too………. one day it will all fit, deep earth infrasound must be very hard to measure?

  57. .

    JC is right.

    Just get rid of them, they are unreliable, bugger up the grid, expensive, unprofitable subsidy whores.

    I don’t really know about the health effects suffice to say Chapman has proven fuck all, and his agenda is against cheap energy, but freedom more generally.

  58. Bruce of Newcastle

    Re your quote above, the “generators” then need to charge an appropriate fee to the intermittent energy provider to offset the costs.

    At the moment its the opposite. They’re like gangsters: ‘if you don’t pay us we’ll blow up your grid!’

  59. Eddystone

    Wind farms Bird mincers are a blot on the landscape.

    Burn them all.

  60. Ed

    Look, to be honest I don’t believe windmills cause any sort of human health problems

    They are hideous monstrosities, they cause property prices to plummet wherever they are built, and people actively want to move away from them.
    That’s a prima facie case for some kind of “problem”, whether classified as health or otherwise.

  61. Yobbo

    “They are hideous monstrosities, they cause property prices to plummet wherever they are built, and people actively want to move away from them.”

    So do factories. Should we ban factories?

  62. Ed

    I didn’t say anything about banning them. I’m just about figuring out what the facts are.

    Wind farms are entirely a creation of government programs. Without subsidisation and active state intervention they wouldn’t exist. From a policy perspective, facts matter.

    Maybe there are no negatives. But the NHMRC released a report that found some negative evidence (though inconclusive) and called for more research. This has been spun in the media to “there’s no evidence.”

  63. egg_

    Infrasound from a 60+ litre 4 cylinder (4 stroke) English Electric ‘thumper’ diesel engine.

  64. Mater

    So do factories. Should we ban factories?

    Twice the height of the MCG light tower and a rotating disc larger than a 747 in a flat. Sorry Yobbo, unlike any factory I’ve seen.

  65. Yobbo

    Wind farms are entirely a creation of government programs. Without subsidisation and active state intervention they wouldn’t exist. From a policy perspective, facts matter.

    They really don’t in this case. The fact that they are government subsidised is enough of an argument against them without making yourself look stupid by peddling pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories.

    But as for:

    They are hideous monstrosities, they cause property prices to plummet wherever they are built, and people actively want to move away from them.

    That is a ridiculous rationalisation which could apply to anything and is the cause of some of the worst government intrusions of all.

  66. Bruce of Newcastle

    So do factories. Should we ban factories?

    If the factories made absolutely nothing, cost exorbitant amounts of money, killed vast numbers of wildlife, annoyed everyone nearby and required other factories to pay them protection money, yes.

    If you turned the wind turbines off in South Australia coal consumption would quite possibly fall, because the coal power stations could then operate at peak efficiency.

    Unfortunately no one publishes real time coal consumption rates for power stations so I can’t confirm this.

  67. Yobbo

    You don’t have to convince me that wind farms are useless Bruce. But by allying yourself with conspiracy nuts you make your opposition to them less effective.

  68. Boambee John

    “Who cares what you, I, or other people think of the economics. If they’re privately run, then what’s the problem?”

    But they’re NOT privately run, they rely on the RET and taxpayer subsidies (and on back-ups funded by all electricity users).

    If you can end those factors, then those who wish to lose money on them can fill their boots, but the “Green” leeches will fight to the end to make sure this doesn’t happen.

  69. egg_

    But by allying yourself with conspiracy nuts you make your opposition to them less effective.

    WTF?

  70. Bruce of Newcastle
    They are hideous monstrosities, they cause property prices to plummet wherever they are built, and people actively want to move away from them.

    That is a ridiculous rationalisation which could apply to anything and is the cause of some of the worst government intrusions of all.

    Yobbo, you are an idiot. A large 1 GW coal fired power station has a footprint of maybe 10 square kilometres.

    The same (actual) capacity wind farm, using the biggest turbines now available, would have a footprint of about 200 square kilometres.

    So you are potentially affecting twenty times as many people, all other things being equal. On that basis you would choose coal.

  71. Yobbo

    So you are potentially affecting twenty times as many people, all other things being equal. On that basis you would choose coal.

    Again, I agree that coal is better. But arguing against something on the basis that it’s an “eyesore” that “reduces property values” is just going to result in nothing ever being built ever. So it’s stupid to use that argument, especially on a libertarian blog.

  72. Bruce of Newcastle

    You don’t have to convince me that wind farms are useless Bruce. But by allying yourself with conspiracy nuts you make your opposition to them less effective.

    Yobbo, I will give you an example from my personal experience. An operation I worked at was given a noise pollution limit of 50 db during the day and 40 db at night. This was measured at the boundary. If they exceeded this they were fined. The noise they generated was also a low frequency noise. Even with this licence limit the locals would ring up and complain regularly. Is that a conspiracy theory? Or are different people affected differently?

    A typical wind turbine is supposed to cause 40 db at 500 m. That is on average. In different wind conditions they would generate more or less than this amount. But I bet you that the operators do not have the EPA licence conditions we did. And that was twenty years ago.

  73. Ed

    The fact that they are government subsidised is enough of an argument against them without making yourself look stupid by peddling pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories.

    I did no such thing. Please point out where I peddled a “pseudo scientific conspiracy theory.”

  74. Mater

    Again, I agree that coal is better. But arguing against something on the basis that it’s an “eyesore” that “reduces property values” is just going to result in nothing ever being built ever. So it’s stupid to use that argument, especially on a libertarian blog.

    Yobbo, I thought this blog espoused personal rights. Obviously you’ve not been involved intimately with these wind farm developments. They bulldoze the rights of all before them with Green/Labor support. Remember, they made them ‘essential infrastructure’ here in Victoria so that they could bypass most/all of the checks and balances.
    How ‘essential’ could anything be that only works part time?

  75. conrad

    Bruce, Yobbo is right. I don’t like cars driving down my street at night (let alone motorbikes which are really noise). Can I ring up and complain?

  76. Mater

    Conrad, was the road there when you bought the property?

  77. Ed

    Again, I agree that coal is better. But arguing against something on the basis that it’s an “eyesore” that “reduces property values” is just going to result in nothing ever being built ever. So it’s stupid to use that argument, especially on a libertarian blog.

    A big part of why they’re popular is that people believe that wind farms are natural and that they are aesthetically pleasing, but in reality your ‘factory’ analogy is probably closer to the truth. There’s nothing wrong with popping people’s illusions, if they need to be popped.

    But to repeat; I didn’t argue for banning them because of this research or because they’re eyesores, just for accurate reporting of the science.

  78. egg_

    Bruce, Yobbo is right. I don’t like cars driving down my street at night (let alone motorbikes which are really noise). Can I ring up and complain?

    Can we put a 6-lane motorway there?

  79. Ed

    I don’t like cars driving down my street at night (let alone motorbikes which are really noise). Can I ring up and complain?

    What if motorbikes were marketed as silent vehicles? What if there were articles in the media that said there is “no evidence” that motorbikes make noise?

  80. conrad

    “Can we put a 6-lane motorway there?”

    If I live in the middle of nowhere, and it’s private land, sure.

    “What if motorbikes were marketed as silent vehicles? What if there were articles in the media that said there is “no evidence” that motorbikes make noise?”

    If it’s a private street, that’s just my bad luck — indeed, it’s a public street, and it’s still my bad luck (they’re still within the law, after all).

  81. Yobbo, how do the warmies know where the sceptics live? Unless of course everyone hates living near wind farms, in which case you can put them anywhere near people and they’ll be hated.

  82. .

    Maybe there are no negatives. But the NHMRC released a report that found some negative evidence (though inconclusive) and called for more research. This has been spun in the media to “there’s no evidence.”

    That’s the important bit. It is a whitewash by people who have an agenda of pressing wind over cheap energy.

    Again, I agree that coal is better. But arguing against something on the basis that it’s an “eyesore” that “reduces property values” is just going to result in nothing ever being built ever. So it’s stupid to use that argument, especially on a libertarian blog.

    Property rights ought to deal with externalities (assuming there are any at all). If you are heavily subsidised, you don’t have the same incentive to minimise externalities.

    Now, personally, if I were a farmer, I’d take them in, at a rate of income exceeding regular on farm income for the land used and make sure they paid a deposit to remove them when they stop working, but I’d have the option of keeping the structures and refunding the deposit.

  83. Ed

    So Conrad, your argument is basically, “even if these things negatively impact on quality of life, that’s just part of life in the modern world – we all have to put up with things we don’t like.”

    That’s true, to an extent. It depends on the impact. But the correct analogy, rather than a noisy motorbike, would actually be the building of a factory next door to your house.

    But my beef was actually with how the research was reported; I wasn’t arguing for any particular policy.

  84. egg_

    If I live in the middle of nowhere, and it’s private land, sure.

    OK 2 intersecting crossovers coming right up, bumpkin.

  85. conrad

    Ed — that’s correct. Shit happens all the time that has negative externalities (coal plants, for example, belch carcinogens on top of people all day, every day, and no-one is expected to pay for that, and there’s no arguments at all about them having negative health effects). At least with the case of wind farms, since they’re basically in the middle of nowhere, apart from a tiny number of people, the biggest complaint appears to be that they look bad. Well, big deal. I don’t like brutalist architecture, and someone down the road from me is building what looks like a jail (really), and one of my neighbors just built a very largehouse that looks into my bathroom. This is just bad luck unless you want to have impossible rules for everything and stop all development. That’s not to say things shouldn’t be considered, but if we’re arguing about possible health effects that are very hard to find, then we’re basically arguing about something far more minor than what you allowed to do with other things that effect many more people, so clearly the line that has been drawn is far below the one we need to worry about.

  86. conrad

    “OK 2 intersecting crossovers coming right up, bumpkin.”

    Good idea, and charge for the road so I can get to work quickly.

  87. egg_

    conrad
    #1206826, posted on February 27, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Bet you won’t find a 1MW wind alternator near a built up area.

  88. Ed

    Conrad, that’s all fine and good, but at least let’s have an accurate picture of all the benefits and costs, across the board. That way we can decide if the social costs outweigh the social benefits.

  89. Yobbo

    Yobbo, I thought this blog espoused personal rights.

    You have zero right to dictate what can and can not be built on land that does not belong to you. If someone builds something next to you and directly reduces your property value, that’s just tough titties and part of the risk of investing in property.

  90. Mater

    Conrad,
    If they meet all current planning restrictions, without compromise, fill your boots. They don’t, they won’t. Hence they are trampling peoples rights.
    Did your neighbours’ buildings comply with pre-existing planning restrictions?

  91. nerblnob

    You don’t have to convince me that wind farms are useless Bruce. But by allying yourself with conspiracy nuts you make your opposition to them less effective.

    There’s something in that.
    Windfarm proponents love the idea that opposition to them is only from nutters who claim health problems. They’re drawn to that proposition like moths to a fame because it distracts from the bigger issue of their inefficiency and public cost, they can ridicule it, in the same way that I would ridicule anti-cellphone mast campaigners. Or anti-”fossil fuel”campaigners for that matter.

    This is not to say that the health claims are merely crazy , just that they need proper substantiation, and even then ,in themselves are not necessarily a reason for shutting down windfarms.

  92. Mater

    Yobbo,
    Tough titties if it was feasible under existing planning regulations. Not so much if these are overlooked due to government interference.

  93. egg_

    This is not to say that the health claims are merely crazy , just that they need proper substantiation, and even then ,in themselves are not necessarily a reason for shutting down windfarms.

    Easy to pooh pooh as it’s largely anecdotal, qualitative evidence rather than quantitative. data.
    AFAIK the first generation Albany turbines had metrics taken and it was reported on The Science Show on ABC RN back before AGW became more fashionable.

  94. JC

    This is not to say that the health claims are merely crazy ,

    Yes they are.

  95. Bruce of Newcastle

    Yobbo, Conrad – The problem is fairness.

    If a wind farm is built it unfairly affects the neighbours. If they bought recently they could be underwater on their mortgage. If they then have health issues for whatever reason they are in a terrible situation, since they can’t afford to move.

    The same applies for any new development which impacts on property prices.

    The way to fix this is to record valuations before a development. Then the neighbours can if they wish it be bought out and relocated. That would be a fair balance between the developer and the neighbour. (Note this is done now for infrastructure projects to a certain extent). The development could then proceed if the economics stacked up.

    With wind farms there is a second problem of fairness, in addition to this. When an oil company like BP, or a gold mining company, kills birds due to their operations, the company is slammed. Hitherto the playing field has not been level – wind farms are allowed to kill thousands of them at no cost, whereas if a mine kills them they get a huge fine.

    They should be treated equally.

    I am against wind farms because they are useless, pointless and uneconomic, but I’m also against them because they treat their neighbours unfairly. And they themselves are favoured unfairly.

  96. johanna

    (coal plants, for example, belch carcinogens on top of people all day, every day, and no-one is expected to pay for that, and there’s no arguments at all about them having negative health effects).

    Conrad reveals his true colours, in case they were in doubt.

    Where are the bodies, Conrad? And I don’t mean modelled, EPA style junk science, I mean real people who have demonstrably gotten cancer from emissions from emissions from coal plants which are subject to the pollution controls of recent decades.

    Go!

  97. Yobbo

    If a wind farm is built it unfairly affects the neighbours. If they bought recently they could be underwater on their mortgage. If they then have health issues for whatever reason they are in a terrible situation, since they can’t afford to move.

    Again, that’s just tough shit. Buying property is not supposed to be guaranteed profit, and our continued efforts to make it so are why Australia has the most expensive cost of living in the world.

    “Existing planning regulations” are one of the worst things about Australia’s nanny state. No libertarian blog should refer to them positively.

  98. JC

    If a wind farm is built it unfairly affects the neighbours.

    How? Property rights are sacrosanct. If you or anyone feels aggrieved by a windmill then take it to court for compensation and let the legal argument support of judgement for losses.

  99. Mater

    “Existing planning regulations” are one of the worst things about Australia’s nanny state. No libertarian blog should refer to them positively.

    Be that as it may, allowing some to bypass/ignore them equates to introducing something akin to sovereign risk. A slippery slope.

  100. Bruce of Newcastle

    Again, that’s just tough shit. Buying property is not supposed to be guaranteed profit

    Yobbo – These are houses people are living in. They are not wanting profit. Why is it fair for a wind farm to build next to them and ruin them, health and financially?

    And before you accuse me of BANANA-ism, my day job is in metallurgy. Think about that.

    JC – So you are saying that they must sell their house for a loss, somehow keep the bank off their back, stump up for a QC, fight a court case for 5 years against a company with deep pockets and deeper influence and hope they don’t get Mordy Bromberg under the wig? Easy!

  101. JC

    Bruce

    They don’t have to stump up for legal costs as they can sell their home at a loss. I sell bad stock trades frequently. The other alternative is to stay put.

  102. .

    Ed — that’s correct. Shit happens all the time that has negative externalities (coal plants, for example, belch carcinogens on top of people all day, every day, and no-one is expected to pay for that, and there’s no arguments at all about them having negative health effects).

    Really? No one reasonably thinks this might be actionable?

    This is completely different to what Yobbo said (at 10.00 pm and 10.34 pm) tonight.

  103. .

    Mater
    #1206908, posted on February 27, 2014 at 10:57 pm
    “Existing planning regulations” are one of the worst things about Australia’s nanny state. No libertarian blog should refer to them positively.

    Be that as it may, allowing some to bypass/ignore them equates to introducing something akin to sovereign risk. A slippery slope.

    It is also a hell of a lot more likely if they are given huge subsidies to develop areas which have gone backwards on light of restrictions on agriculture, forestry or mining.

  104. Mater

    Dot,
    Can you please clarify? Not sure I understand.

  105. Splatacrobat

    You have zero right to dictate what can and can not be built on land that does not belong to you. If someone builds something next to you and directly reduces your property value, that’s just tough titties and part of the risk of investing in property.

    Yes like numpties who buy cheap land near industrial estates then bitch years later to the Council that their “health and wellbeing” is being affected due to noise,dust, smells. They even have the temerity to argue the industries are devalueing their property values.

    There are a bunch of Greenies who back onto on one of the rail lines in the western suburbs who have organised an action group to ban coal trains (who have been plying the line for over 50 years) because of coal dust. These same residents managed to get a whole TAFE college relocated (again on a site for over 50 years) complaining of noise.

  106. Bruce of Newcastle

    I sell bad stock trades frequently.

    The responsibility is yours and the fault is yours in that case. No responsibility rests with anyone else except you.

    If someone runs into your car at no fault of yours then it is their responsibility. They pay.

    So if an operation is built next door to you which causes you loss at no fault of yours then it should be their responsibility too.

  107. JC

    Ummm no. I buy a stock, it falls because of inept management, I cop the loss.

    I buy a house, it falls in value because something has gone up next door that other people don’t like- I cop the loss.

    Real estate investing shouldn’t be considered risk free.

  108. Mater

    Yes like numpties who buy cheap land near industrial estates then bitch years later to the Council that their “health and wellbeing” is being affected due to noise,dust, smells.

    My point exactly, they purchased with full knowledge. They don’t have a leg to stand on.
    Don’t be under any illusion that the planning restrictions were being changed for everyone. The wind farms were just be given one off exemptions. I know of an old lady who signed an agreement with a wind farm after being knocked back for permission to subdivide. Only way to afford the rates. Not suitable for subdivision, according to local council, but suitable to pepper with wind turbines. This is manipulation not freedom of choice.

  109. Mater

    But JC, the ASX has rules which these companies must abide by. There are regulations for company boards and directors. If these are breached then I would agree that you have grounds for being agrieved.

  110. Bruce of Newcastle

    I buy a house, it falls in value because something has gone up next door that other people don’t like- I cop the loss.

    Rubbish. Developments are knocked back all the time because they encroach too close to boundaries, or they exert a shadow over a neighbour’s property, or especially if your view is impeded.

    The onus is on the developer to design the development to not unreasonably affect the neighbours. The council decides what is unreasonable, with right of appeal to the land and environment court. A vast fall in the neighbour’s property value would most certainly be regarded as unreasonable, as would uncontrolled noise.

  111. Yobbo

    Yobbo – These are houses people are living in. They are not wanting profit.

    In that case, why does it matter if the value goes down?

    I buy a house, it falls in value because something has gone up next door that other people don’t like- I cop the loss.

    Real estate investing shouldn’t be considered risk free.

    Exactly.

  112. Yobbo

    Rubbish. Developments are knocked back all the time because they encroach too close to boundaries, or they exert a shadow over a neighbour’s property, or especially if your view is impeded.

    The onus is on the developer to design the development to not unreasonably affect the neighbours. The council decides what is unreasonable, with right of appeal to the land and environment court. A vast fall in the neighbour’s property value would most certainly be regarded as unreasonable, as would uncontrolled noise.

    Yes, that is true that is what happens. My point is that it shouldn’t be that way, because it’s bad for the economy. In the same vein, arguing against wind farms using NIMBYist logic is only going to come back to bite you later when the Greens use the precedent to block every new investment in Australia for the rest of history.

    There are plenty of good arguments against wind farms without deferring to the authority of town planners.

  113. Excellent review. As is usual with these supposed studies that prove there are no health effects, the work on them is shoddy at best, negligent at worst. I’ve read many similar ‘studies’ that say there are no health effects and all of them are pretty sad and pathetic and would never pass the sniff test if this were any other topic OR if the study was done on oil or nuclear.

    The wind industry gets a pass on everything it does, just because it was bestowed with the title of ‘green’. Yet anyone who takes the time to research into this useless form of energy finds that it is anything but ‘green’ and that the only green involved is the billions and billions of dollars that multi-national corporations make on this scam.

  114. Mater

    Yes, that is true that is what happens. My point is that it shouldn’t be that way, because it’s bad for the economy. In the same vein, arguing against wind farms using NIMBYist logic is only going to come back to bite you later when the Greens use the precedent to block every new investment in Australia for the rest of history.

    And allowing adhoc exemptions to the protective legal framework which accompanies every single property purchase in Australia could do more to damage investment and the economy. Faith in this protection and the stability of government are two major considerations for potential investors, large and small. This framework, within which people make considered financial decisions, is as much a part of the ‘personal property’ as the dirt under foot.

    NIMBYism is objecting to something despite it being within the accepted parameters.

  115. Senile Old Guy

    But arguing against something on the basis that it’s an “eyesore” that “reduces property values” is just going to result in nothing ever being built ever.

    The difference between a factory and a windfarms is scale. Windfarms occupy enormous amounts of the landscape for, as most have agreed, no benefit. Without government subsidies and interference they would not exist.

  116. Bruce of Newcastle

    These are houses people are living in. They are not wanting profit.
    In that case, why does it matter if the value goes down?

    Yobbo – You have not been paying attention.

    As Ed says, there are health concerns over wind farms. Some people for whatever reason have health problems after a wind turbine is built near them. The same goes for piggeries, coal mines or loud music venues.

    This may be ‘all in the mind’ but so may PTSD. Whatever the cause an adverse health issue related to a wind turbine is no joke for the person affected.

    Now for step two (I am taking you through this very slooowly since it is obviously necessary in your case).

    If someone has a health problem related to a wind turbine they would logically want to move away. But if their house has lost 30% of its value then they have a quandry – sell up at that cost (and possibly be ruined if their mortgage is higher than the realised price) or sit and suffer.

    None of this is their fault. It is the fault of their neighbour. Their neighbour should therefore cover their costs, or the wind farm’s insurance company should. But the affected person should not be profiting – no, they should be able to relocate at no cost to themselves – relative to what the property value was before the development.

    This type of compensation happens in car accidents all the time. Why not with developments?

  117. Yobbo

    But if their house has lost 30% of its value then they have a quandry – sell up at that cost (and possibly be ruined if their mortgage is higher than the realised price) or sit and suffer.

    Just like any other investor who invested in something and lost.

  118. conrad

    “Whatever the cause an adverse health issue related to a wind turbine is no joke for the person affected.”

    Since I bought my house about 8 years ago, a supermarket more or less doubled it’s size down the road from me (about 2 years ago). This leads to much increased traffic near me, which I don’t like, and my house is worth less because of it too. This is clearly not my fault. Can the supermarket pay me out?

  119. evcricket

    Colour me shocked; Catallaxy publishes an anonymous fear, uncertainty and doubt piece critical of technology to mitigate climate change.

    Anyway guys, it’s time to update your memes. There is no global warming pause. None.
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n3/full/nclimate2145.html

  120. .

    Colour me shocked; Catallaxy publishes an anonymous fear, uncertainty and doubt piece critical of technology to mitigate climate change.

    The only thing shocking is your breath taking gullibility that wind power will ever produce enough to mitigate coal fired carbon emissions, let alone petroleum powered transportation.

    Anyway guys, it’s time to update your memes. There is no global warming pause. None.

    Exactly. Temps are falling.

  121. johanna

    Good morning Conrad

    How are you going with providing proof that a single identifiable person in Australia has died from the carcinogenic emissions from coal power stations (cited by you) that I asked for upthread? I would have thought that making a claim like that, you would have the details at your fingertips.

    Remember, no models or extrapolations or guesses. Where are the bodies?

    Just thought I’d remind you as I know that Saving the Planet is very taxing on the brain, so it might have slipped your mind. :)

  122. .

    Since I bought my house about 8 years ago, a supermarket more or less doubled it’s size down the road from me (about 2 years ago). This leads to much increased traffic near me, which I don’t like, and my house is worth less because of it too. This is clearly not my fault. Can the supermarket pay me out?

    Were they the planning rules when you bought the house?

    Likely, your house is worth mpre even if you don’t like the riff raff.

  123. Brian

    Maybe someone should do a recording of a wind farm going full tilt and replay it at night at, the same sound level, in the vicinity of where the activists live. I wonder how long before they objected.

  124. conrad

    “Were they the planning rules when you bought the house?”

    I believe the local council objected but they lost out to the new rules introduced by the Victorian government (after I’d bought my house) on appeal. As it happens, I agree with the new rules even though it had negative externalities for me personally, as some of the planning rules are crazy.

  125. conrad

    johanna, try taking a trip to Morwell right now. We’re lucky in Aus because these things are miles away from big cities, but if you don’t think they have any health consequences to those living close to them, then I’m sure Phillip Morris will be your best friend (for that matter, if it makes no difference, then we should ditch the scrubbers which are mandatory in most countries too, since they reduce the efficiency of the plants). Personally, if you try living in Asia for a few years where coal plants are close to you, you’ll get a whole new appreciation for nuclear power.

  126. Bruce of Newcastle

    Colour me shocked

    G’day Evcricket. I see you are being taken to the cleaners by Steve Goddard. And you still haven’t attempted to counter any of the many scientific citations to papers and data I gave you which disprove CAGW. If you need some help I’m sure your friend Mr Cubby would be delighted to assist you. Perhaps he could come here to the Cat for a fair debate?

    Aren’t you getting sick of people cutting your arms and legs off?

    We are criticising wind turbines here. They are useless since they don’t actually save on CO2 emissions.

    We have not been criticising solar PV…which is costly but does actually work for the purpose it is intended, unlike the bird munching ecocrucifixes.

    (BTW, if you can provide a link to an unpaywalled copy of Seneviratne et al 2014 I will be happy to explain to you why their conclusions and analysis are wrong. But meanwhile I draw to your attention that two of the authors are part of Chris Turney’s UNSW group (oops, I almost misspelled his name) who have been so excitably wrong recently.)

  127. johanna

    You didn’t answer the question Conrad. Why am I not surprised?

  128. conrad

    johanna, feel free to look up the medical literature on the effect of coal particulates.

    Here’s a quick search for you: http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl=en&q=coal+particulates+health&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

    If you don’t happen to believe it, then you should lobby to get rid of the scrubbers, since then electricity will be cheaper, and personally, living about 200ks away from the plant, it won’t affect me.

  129. Bruce of Newcastle

    Since I bought my house about 8 years ago, a supermarket more or less doubled it’s size down the road from me (about 2 years ago). This leads to much increased traffic near me, which I don’t like, and my house is worth less because of it too. This is clearly not my fault. Can the supermarket pay me out?

    Conrad – If you health has been negatively affected, forcing you to move and take a loss, yes they should. The law should require that, and the insurance to cover it, the same way we are required to buy CTP greenslips for our cars.

    Just like any other investor who invested in something and lost.

    Yobbo – You invest in a car do you not? When someone damages it with no fault of yours do you accept the loss or do you claim reimbursement from them or their insurance company?

    This is about fairness and property rights. Without them society collapses, as it did in the Soviet Union.

  130. Gab

    johanna, feel free to look up the medical literature on the effect of coal particulates.

    Here’s a quick search for you: http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl=en&q=coal+particulates+health&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

    Impressive list; it’s amazing we don’t hear about all the workers in the power plants dying off en masse.

  131. Eddystone

    evcricket
    #1207185, posted on February 28, 2014 at 8:38 am
    Colour me shocked; Catallaxy publishes an anonymous fear, uncertainty and doubt piece critical of technology to mitigate climate change.

    As a self described “bird nerd”, what’s your thoughts on the genocide of endangered bird and bat species being perpetrated by these eco-crucifixes?

  132. johanna

    Conrad, what level of coal particulates come out of Australian power stations, and once again, can you provide evidence of a single case of cancer proved to have been caused by them?

    That’s a pretty low bar, even for you.

    Nobody here is advocating inhaling coal fumes, I am just querying your assertion that externalities from windmills are OK because people get cancer from coal fired power stations. So, who and where are these people?

  133. Ed

    ohanna, feel free to look up the medical literature on the effect of coal particulates.

    Here’s a quick search for you: http://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl=en&q=coal+particulates+health&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

    Yes, the research industry is a hive of enthusiastic, motivated activity when it comes to the health effects of coal stations. You link to the plethora of research without any sense of irony about the contents of the original post; namely that there is not even any equivalent research into wind farms. I guess because they’re seen as obviously harmless. Maybe. But just as we have quantified the risk of coal, why not similarly quantify the risk of wind farms… even if that risk is small. Or even if it’s to allay unfounded concerns.
    In short, you’re holding a double standard here.
    Coal: “yes, it’s terrible! Look at all this huge amount of research that shows it.”
    Wind: “There’s no research but who cares anyway?”

  134. Ed

    I’m still waiting for Yobbo to explain his bizarre assertion that my post was engaging in conspiracy theorising.

  135. brc

    I think the major problem around planning is that wind farms have been given a pass where other developments have failed. I agree there are much better ways to stop wind farms without elevating the status of the odious town planners (real name: haussman wannabes). Just subject the windmill companies to the real market and they will die all by themselves.

    I still remember where that numpty building a house on grand designs got the council to break every planning rule it had, in objection to every single neighbour he had, to put up a stupid windmill. He did that by wearing a green cloak and declaring himself above the law because he was on a mission to save the planet. The windmill never worked anyway and got pulled down and sold for scrap. Which is the exact future for all windfarms, first told out in this little story, but soon to play out in scale.

    Invest in demolition companies people. They are going to make a fortune pulling these things down.

  136. This thread is interesting because it highlights who is a genuine ideologue (e.g. Yobbo, JC) and who are the brainless (or perhaps bought and paid for?) partisan hacks.

  137. .

    Good morning, JC

    (I don’t know if anyone gets the Tony N gag anymore…)

  138. Bruce of Newcastle

    Keep going Desipis, we are breathless in anticipation of the enlightenment you will bring us…when you say anything specific about Ed’s post or the comments so far.

    In what way is anything hereunto said wrong, or right, and would you please favour us with citations and links. I would be obliged.

  139. .

    desipis
    #1207367, posted on February 28, 2014 at 12:10 pm
    This thread is interesting because it highlights who is a genuine ideologue (e.g. Yobbo, JC) and who are the brainless (or perhaps bought and paid for?) partisan hacks.

    Yes, being economically rationalist is the hallmark of an ideologue and those who don’t like wind farms are being bought and paid for by big oil.

    You idiot. Who do you think funds the anti CSG stuff?

    Imbecile.

  140. Mater

    and who are the brainless (or perhaps bought and paid for?) partisan hacks.

    Yes, I also had suspicions about evcricket and conrad. Good pick up, desipis! [sarc off]

  141. Jessie

    Conrad

    The Lead Activist Groups burgeoning from the ‘gentrification’ of inner CBD areas: lead paint firstly (1980s) and then lead fuels… and then petrol sniffing. Now a multi-million $ industry. Results?

  142. Oh come on

    I love the way leftists consider their beliefs so axiomatically correct that coherent opposition to them could not possibly be genuine and is in fact manufactured for a price by shadowy corporations intent on screwing everything up. How often do you hear this? Whenever they don’t have an argument-winning response. What they mean is ‘I can’t explain why you’re wrong, but I know you are. Furthermore, your rationale is so sophisticated that you’re obviously a professional truthmaker. That’s why I’m unable to counter you. Phew, now I feel better about myself. After all, people who actually believe what you’re saying are too stupid to formulate such a cogent position.’

    It’s such a juvenile mentality. These people haven’t matured beyond Captain Planet in regards to the way they view humanity – a struggle of goodies fighting a small number of immensely well-resourced evildoers whose sole preoccupation is to make life shitty for everyone.

  143. Eyrie

    evcricket, if your result needs statistical analysis and depends on the way you slice and dice that, you’ve got nothing.

    Infrasound from wind turbines was recognised as a problem at least as long ago as 1987. I can’t lay hands on the URl but there is a US DoE paper on this available on the net. The problem that you can’t measure the sound outdoors and conclude there is no problem. It is the interaction with the structure of the house and the spaces within that causes the problems. The paper addresses these issues.

  144. Indeed we need to have a good night sleep to function well. But if we are expose to wind farms it is better to apply something that will immune us with the noise.

  145. johanna

    Good afternoon, Conrad

    Any sign of those cancer victims due to Australian coal power plants we were discussing earlier? Just a gentle reminder. ;)

  146. egg_

    conrad
    #1207173, posted on February 28, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Are all of your ‘anecdotal’ stories hypothetical?

  147. egg_

    James Dellingpole Wind turbines ARE a human health hazard: the smoking gun

    And here is the expert opinion of another US acoustics expert, Rick James – who thinks it somewhat unlikely that the wind industry is unaware of the problem:
    The “Kelly paper” is just one of many studies and reports published in the period from 1980 to 1990 by acousticians and other researchers working under grants from the US Dept. of Energy (DOE), NASA, and other agencies and foundations. All of these papers are still available on web sites open to the public. I have attached one of the later papers (“Wind Turbine Acoustics, Hubbard and Shepherd”) that summarize many of those studies.

  148. johanna

    Go, Egg!

    Anyone who has had the misfortune of living close to a heavy metal or doof-doof music fan knows that it’s not just the sound, it’s the (inaudible) vibration that can disturb your sleeping, and even waking, hours. There seems to be a Cone of Silence over this issue.

  149. nerblnob

    I’m yet to be convinced of any serious health dangers directly caused by wind turbines.

    Mainly because the anecdotal reports so far remind me too much of previous campaigns against mobile phone masts and electricity pylons . (some of these are still going in more backwoodsy areas by the usual “concerned parents” committees and the like).

    Not to mention current hysteria about “fracking” by people who’d never heard the term until they encountered anti-”fracking” propaganda.

    I would give some cautious credibility to claims that some people in somespaces are adversely affected by infrasound and like the Guest Poster, am suspicious of media that are quick to dismiss this when they go blanket-coverage-ballistic over any wild claim about CSG, shale gas, coal, nuclear, dredging etc

  150. 2dogs

    You are probably right, nerblnob, but it’s fun to give the swampies a dose of their own medicine.

  151. egg_

    johanna
    #1207824, posted on February 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve no first-hand experience of what folk 1 km from the (first generation) Albany wind turbines experience with long-term exposure, but I have (often) been in a generator room with 2 of the above English Electric ‘thumpers’ running and it was virtually unanimous amongst staff that being in the room with the engines running was a very uncomfortable/unnerving experience (‘shivers up the spine’ as is oft quoted in the literature – due to wavelengths approaching that of the human body? I could actually endure it better than most others) – the plant mechanics in the above video seem to be exhibiting same as they exit the engine room of the DEMU train; from previous, and particularly on reading the NASA paper above, living within 1 km of wind turbines would likely be uncomfortable long term and I’m sure no large capacity wind turbine has ever been located close to suburbia.

  152. johanna

    nereblnob and 2dogs – I hear you loud and clear (unlike low frequency windmill noise).

    Look, I have no doubt that some of the complainers are hypochondriacs and/or other neurotics.

    But what we find is that the “studies”only take into account a narrow range of sound frequencies, i.e. the ones that we can easily hear.

    Low frequency sounds, usually felt as vibrations, are a different ballgame, and not much is known about them, except by people whose neighbours play certain kinds of music. And, it varies between folks – some are bothered by it and some aren’t. It’s like strobe lights, which have a wide range of effects, including inducing epileptic fits in some people. Well, they don’t induce fits in me, but they make me feel very uncomfortable indeed. Which is why I can well understand that prolonged exposure to these low frequency, intermittent sounds might affect people.

    While I applaud the tactic of calling them out on the “precautionary principle”, it is far to early to say that the distress that some people claim to have is not real. As has been illustrated, there is bugger-all decent research about it.

  153. genie81

    The report above is showing the NHMRC as not reliable in their statements. They tend to pick out what they want to and with the ABC duly make it reliable. The wind industry has known for years that INDUSTRIAL wind turbines DO cause health issues yet continue to deny the facts. It is true not everyone is impacted but a number of people are and once leaving the area of a wind complex slowly become well again. Ontario is doing a study and hopefully independent which has not previously occurred. But when you have the materials that are harmful such as concrete, steel, fibreglass, rare earth minerals, and taking up over 1km of soil, the cumulative effect of turbines in a row you need to look at what harm occurs.

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