Laughton Johnston’s riposte to various writers concerning risks of peat slides contains the comment that they “pale into insignificance compared to those from climate change!” (‘Viking support is growing’; SN 4/10/10).
Implicit in this is the suggestion that Viking’s development will significantly reduce the risk of climate change, but consider the following: if we removed every last soul of the UK’s 60 million people, and bulldozed the entire human edifice of industry, buildings and transport into the sea it would reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emission by less than two per cent which would not measurably alter atmospheric CO2 concentration, nor change the weather.
Wind power is technically unable to replace more than a small fraction of our two per cent of global energy use, so total despoliation of the UK with giant wind turbines will not mitigate more than about 0.1 per cent of global CO2 emission.
The fraction represented by wind turbines in Shetland is so vanishingly small that symbolic wish-fulfilment comes to mind.
Dr John Etherington
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