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The English literature graduate who pretends to do science

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The latest incoherent rant to come from Telegraph blogger James Delingpole was as callous as it was ignorant: “I would rather a child of mine went into business manufacturing land mines (which at least have a valid defensive purpose) than got involved in the wind farm industry”.

Those aware of polemicist Delingpole’s existence will also be aware of his outspoken views on climate science. He’s a prolific sceptic, and denies that climate change is problematic or exacerbated by human activity as 97% of climate scientists would have us believe.

In a piece entitled Griff Rhys Jones joins the fight against evil wind farms, Delingpole, an English literature graduate, says how wind farms are “environmentally damaging”, “economically useless” and “the greatest public health scandal of our age”. Each one of those assertions is baseless but that, of course, never stands in the way of a Delingpole rant.

He boasts at the fact that the anti-wind farm movement now has a number of “celebrity” backers, including Griff Rhys Jones, Matt Baker, David Bellamy, Louise Mensch, Johnny Ball, Bill Bryson and Donald Trump. Not a relevant qualification between them, but presumably a number of quaint country retreats whose view is being spoilt by those rotten turbines. I’m not sure vital public policy ought to be set by a vote of celebrities.

The particularly callous sentence from Delingpole’s article reads as follows:

As I’ve said before, I would rather a child of mine went into business manufacturing land mines (which at least have a valid defensive purpose) than got involved in the wind farm industry”.

If there was an award for Stupid Sentence of the Year, Delingpole would surely be a frontrunner for the gong.

UN figures report that land mines account for over 2,000 deaths or injuries every month – many of them women and children. The wind farm industry accounts for none. Land mines arguably have a “valid defensive purpose” of sorts, but their cost on innocent life far outweighs this.

Delingpole, an English literature graduate, added that the wind farm industry was “the sole domain of grubby, conscience-free, exploitative, mendacious, rent-seeking corporatist scuzz balls and has about as much to do with saving the environment as the European Union has to do with free markets, democracy and national sovereignty.” James, as we can see, is never one for understatement.

Former television presenters, chick-lit authors or billionaire US tycoons may get annoyed at the prospect of wind turbines spoiling their view or golf course. But almost every debate over wind power comes back to the same old, “not in my back yard”, aesthetic-driven argument. This is not about science, but prejudice.

With this in mind, I’ll hand over to Matthias Fripp, a research fellow in renewable energy at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, who has a degree, a master’s and a PhD on the subject. He is not an English literature graduate but writes better than Delingpole does science. For a piece we wrote on the efficiency of wind, he said:

Wind ranks very well on cost, fairly well on timing (matching the winter peak demand in the UK) and very well on environmental impacts other than its effect on the view.

No alternative is perfect: solar power has minimal effect on the view, but has worse timing than wind in the UK, and currently has much higher costs.

“Wave power is still at the prototype stage and can only be developed on a limited scale.

“Tidal and hydro power also have limited potential and have significant environmental impacts of their own.

“Nuclear power has uncertain costs and environmental impacts – estimates tend to be driven more by faith (or lack of it) than hard numbers. At any rate it may be a little reckless to develop more nuclear plants when no permanent repository has been established for nuclear waste.

The final alternative — leaving climate change unaddressed – could disrupt the UK’s heritage lands even more than developing renewable power.”

That final sentence puts Delingpole’s comment into context. There are no areas of outstanding natural beauty or green belts or wild open spaces without climate equilibrium.

With 97% of the climate science community firmly holding the opposite view to the Telegraph blogger who has no science credentials at all, he really should listen to those who know a lot more on the subject than him.

97% of climate scientists have come to the conclusion after years of careful and painstaking research that climate change is being exacerbated by human activity, and we must do something urgently to change our ways. Extracting fossil fuels is not a sustainable option, so renewable energy – in any form – should be developed and adopted instead.

Delingpole ought to feel ashamed for his callous remark. He won’t.

His stance, whilst a popular headline generator, should be ignored, along with the cherry-picked scraps of unscientific evidence that he claims support his view.

The sooner the mainstream media realises that this outlook is not only completely wrong, but highly dangerous for our children and grandchildren, the sooner we can make a real effort to fighting mankind’s biggest ever challenge: climate change.

Further reading:

Changing your mind about climate

Why our quality of life is sacrificed by the continued use of fossil fuels

The annoying perils of climate change scepticism

Anti-Wind Watch: new complaints to rebuff

Questions of efficiency

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Ways Green Preppers Are Trying to Protect their Privacy

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Environmental activists are not given the admiration that they deserve. A recent poll by Gallup found that a whopping 32% of Americans still doubt the existence of global warming. The government’s attitude is even worse.

Many global warming activists and green preppers have raised the alarm bell on climate change over the past few years. Government officials have taken notice and begun tracking their activity online. Even former National Guard officers have admitted that green preppers and climate activists are being targeted for terrorist watchlists.

Of course, the extent of their surveillance depends on the context of activism. People that make benign claims about climate change are unlikely to end up on a watchlist, although it is possible if they make allusions to their disdain of the government. However, even the most pacifistic and well intentioned environmental activists may unwittingly trigger some algorithm and be on the wrong side of a criminal investigation.

How could something like this happen? Here are some possibilities:

  • They could share a post on social media from a climate extremist group or another individual on the climate watchlist.
  • They could overly politicize their social media content, such as being highly critical of the president.
  • They could use figures of speech that may be misinterpreted as threats.
  • They might praise the goals of a climate change extremist organization that as previously resorted to violence, even if they don’t condone the actual means.

Preppers and environmental activists must do everything in their power to protect their privacy. Failing to do so could cost them their reputation, future career opportunities or even their freedom. Here are some ways that they are contacting themselves.

Living Off the Grid and Only Venturing to Civilization for Online Use

The more digital footprints you leave behind, the greater attention you draw. People that hold controversial views on environmentalism or doomsday prepping must minimize their digital paper trail.

Living off the grid is probably the best way to protect your privacy. You can make occasional trips to town to use the Wi-Fi and stock up on supplies.

Know the Surveillance Policies of Public Wi-Fi Providers

Using Wi-Fi away from your home can be a good way to protect your privacy.However, choosing the right public Wi-Fi providers is going to be very important.

Keep in mind that some corporate coffee shops such a Starbucks can store tapes for up to 60 days. Mom and pop businesses don’t have the technology nor the interest to store them that long. They generally store tips for only 24 hours and delete them afterwards. This gives you a good window of opportunity to post your thoughts on climate change without being detected.

Always use a VPN with a No Logging Policy

Using a VPN is one of the best ways to protect your online privacy. However, some of these providers do a much better job than others. What is a VPN and what should you look for when choosing one? Here are some things to look for when making a selection:

  • Make sure they are based in a country that has strict laws on protecting user privacy. VPNs that are based out of Switzerland, Panama for the British Virgin Islands are always good bets.
  • Look for VPN that has a strict no logging policy. Some VPNs will actually track the websites that you visit, which almost entirely defeats the purpose. Most obviously much better than this, but many also track Your connections and logging data. You want to use a VPN that doesn’t keep any logs at all.
  • Try to choose a VPN that has an Internet kill switch. This means that all content will stop serving if your VPN connection drops, which prevents your personal data from leaking out of the VPN tunnel.

You will be much safer if you use a high-quality VPN consistently, especially if you have controversial views on climate related issues or doomsday prepping.

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How Going Green Can Save Your Business Thousands

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Running a company isn’t easy. From reporting wages in an efficient way to meeting deadlines and targets, there’s always something to think about – with green business ideas giving entrepreneurs something extra to ponder. While environmental issues may not be at the forefront of your mind right now, it could save your business thousands, so let’s delve deeper into this issue.

Small waste adds up over time

A computer left on overnight might not seem like the end of the world, right? Sure, it’s a rather minor issue compared to losing a client or being refused a loan – but small waste adds up over time. Conserving energy is an effective money saver, so to hold onto that hard-earned cash, try to:

  • Turn all electrical gadgets off at the socket rather than leaving them on standby as the latter can crank up your energy bill without you even realizing.
  • Switch all lights off when you exit a room and try switching to halogen incandescent light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes as these can use up to 80 per cent less energy than traditional incandescent and are therefore more efficient.
  • Replace outdated appliances with their greener counterparts. Energy Star appliances have labels which help you to understand their energy requirements over time.
  • Draught-proof your premises as sealing up leaks could slash your energy bills by 30 per cent.

Going electronic has significant benefits

If you don’t want to be buried under a mountain of paperwork, why not opt for digital documents instead of printing everything out? Not only will this save a lot of money on paper and ink but it will also conserve energy and help protect the planet. You may even be entitled to one of the many tax breaks and grants issued to organizations committed to achieving their environmental goals. This is particularly good news for start-ups with limited funds as the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is keen to support companies opening up their company in a green manner.

Of course, if you’re used to handing out brochures and leaflets at every company meeting or printing out newsletters whenever you get the chance, going electronic may be a challenge – but here are some things you can try:

  • Using PowerPoint presentations not printouts
  • Communicating via instant messenger apps or email
  • Using financial software to manage your books
  • Downloading accounting software to keep track of figures
  • Arranging digital feedback and review forms
  • Making the most of Google Docs

Going green can help you to make money too

Going green and environmental stability is big news at the moment with many companies doing their bit for the environment. While implementing eco-friendly strategies will certainly save you money, reducing your carbon footprint could also make you a few bucks too. How? Well, consumers care about what brands are doing more than ever before, with many deliberately siding with those who are implementing green policies. Essentially, doing your bit for the environment is a PR dream as it allows you to talk about what everyone wants to hear.

Going green can certainly save your money but it should also improve your reputation too and give you a platform to promote your business.

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