HomeEnvironment & Climate NewsClimate Change Weekly #472: Wind Power Produces Previously Unaccounted for Harms
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Climate Change Weekly #472: Wind Power Produces Previously Unaccounted for Harms



  • Wind Power Produces Previously Unaccounted for Harm
  • Podcast of the Week: The Many Threats of ESG (Guest: Jack McPherrin)
  • Climate Knowledge Diminishes Climate Concern
  • Climate Crisis Is Skipping Greece
  • Climate Comedy
  • Video of the Week: Is Geothermal the Perfect Energy Source? Not Quite
  • Recommended Sites

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Wind Power Produces Previously Unaccounted for Harm

Researchers from Ludong University in China have published a peer-reviewed paper discussing a previously little discussed and dangerously underestimated harmful impact of large-scale industrial wind development. The harm can only be expected to grow as the world’s governments push for an ever-greater expansion of industrial wind.

Previous research has examined the harm to bird and bat populations from industrial wind and solar development, the destruction of wild lands and pollution caused by renewable energy development, and the warming impact and huge environmental footprint from wind energy. The recent study in MethodsX shows industrial wind development leads to a more arid environment.

In particular, the MethodsX article shows that the operation of wind turbines diminishes soil moisture in the surrounding areas, with greater concentrations of turbines worsening the drying effect. The researchers involved used a combination of field measurements, remote sensing data, and Landsat images to measure soil moisture in and around industrial wind facilities erected in China’s grasslands. They calculated the Temperature Vegetation Dryness Index (TVDI) in comparison to the Normalized Vegetation Dryness Index (NVDI) for areas of intensive wind facility development.

After controlling for confounding factors, the scientists found a linear inverse relation between wind facility development and soil moisture. The more wind turbines erected in an area, the drier the surrounding land becomes over time. As they wrote:

We obtained the following main conclusions:

    1. Wind farms significantly reduced soil moisture within the wind farms and in the upwind and downwind directions. Compared with the upwind and downwind directions, the decrease in soil moisture within the wind farms was the most, and the annual decrease in soil moisture within wind farms reached 4.4%. [I emphasize the annual nature of the decrease, the longer the turbines operate, the drier the soil becomes within the wind development and the surrounding region].
    2. Wind farms have different influences on the soil moisture in the upwind and downwind directions in each season. Reductions are greatest in the upwind direction in spring and the downwind direction in summer and autumn.
    3. The wind farm reduced the soil moisture most significantly downwind of the wind farm throughout the day, with an average value of up to 2.85%. The decrease in the soil moisture upwind was the least significant, only by 0.21%.

This builds on earlier research by Harvard University scientists which found that “the transition to wind or solar power in the U.S. would require five to 20 times more land than previously thought,” and that because of their impact on the land and how large industrial wind developments mix the atmosphere, they become “an active player in the climate system.” A five to 20 times larger amount of surface area taken up by wind development means a much larger area of soil getting ever drier each year. Since many of the prime windfarm locations are in agricultural regions, farmers would likely find they need to rely on irrigation even more than they already do for crop production if wind farms are on or near their properties. In addition, if the earlier Harvard research is correct, because of the way the large wind developments mix the atmosphere, by themselves, they could cause a surface warming of 0.24 degrees Celsius. Warmer temperatures are likely to dry out the soil even more. 

Between drier soil, warmer temperatures, animal deaths, air and water pollution from mining and waste disposal, and destroyed or transformed wildlands, wind power has little to recommend it from an environmental or climate perspective. It is doubtful they will produce a net climate benefit in the lifetimes of anyone born in the next century, if ever. 

Source: MethodsX

Podcast of the Week

Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) has become one of the gravest threats facing the free societies of the world. A cabal of ideologically aligned progressive elites are pushing to have progressive environmental and social justice goals replace the pursuit of profits and wealth creation through ESG under the guise of stakeholder capitalism.  ESG is a social credit scoring system that ideologically aligned elites and subservient bureaucratic authorities have developed to “reset” the global financial system to their advantage, fundamentally transforming society in the process. States are fighting ESG pressure. The federal government should join the battle.

Subscribe to the Environment & Climate News podcast on Apple Podcasts, iHeart, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. And be sure to leave a positive review!

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Climate at a Glance for Teachers and Students Heartland Institute

Climate Knowledge Diminishes Climate Concern

Research recently published in the journal Climatic Change confirms what I have long believed about most of the mainstream media, politicians, scientists, and climate activists who constantly bray on about climate change being a crisis or an existential threat to humanity, to wit: they either don’t understand what science really says about climate change; or haven’t they haven’t actually examined the science; or, most likely, they ignore the science because their calls to fight climate change are really more about trying to change the world’s economic system by ending fossil fuel use than saving the planet. For them, the so-called climate crisis is a lever for political ends—a great reset—not a matter of concern for the environment at all.

The study by Hannes Zacher of the Leipzig University in Germany and Cort W. Rudolph from Wayne State University in the United States “test[ed] the hypotheses that overall environmental knowledge and climate-specific knowledge are inversely related to climate change anxiety, such that people who know more (less) about the environment in general, and about climate in particular, are less (more) anxious about climate change.”

In particular, because numerous journal articles have noted a rise in mental health issues stemming from concern about climate change, such as depression, anxiety, and distress, the researchers asked 2,066 individuals in Germany an extensive list of questions—35 to establish the extent of the participants’ environment and climate knowledge, and 13 to measure anxiety related to climate concerns. The study was not representative of the population as a whole, because it “did not include children, retirees, and unemployed people. The sample was also older and more highly educated than the working population in Germany (i.e., average age of 44 years, 24% college/university degree [compared to 44.47 percent of those surveyed]).” The research did  control for other demographic characteristics. 

The study opens with a quote attributed to British mathematician and philosopher Lord Bertrand Russell (1872–1970): “The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts, the less you know the hotter you get.”

The study seemingly confirms Russell’s insight. 

Running the results through a regression analysis, the researchers concluded: 

Results showed that, even after controlling for demographic characteristics, personality characteristics, and environmental attitudes, overall environmental knowledge and climate-specific knowledge were negatively related to climate change anxiety.

The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence that higher domain-specific knowledge is associated with lower domain-associated anxiety. They also contribute to the emerging literature on the construct of climate change anxiety, which so far has focused on demographics, attitudes, and personality characteristics as predictors and neglected the role of environmental knowledge (Clayton 2020). In terms of practical implications, the main finding that environmental knowledge is negatively related to climate change anxiety suggests that efforts to improve environmental knowledge, for instance through educational and training interventions, may help reduce such anxiety.

In short, the more people are exposed to the facts about climate change, as opposed to the heated misinformation spouted by politicians and presented daily in mainstream media outlets, the less concerned they become. Why? Because the facts aren’t all that alarming. 

This may be why alarmists increasingly refuse to debate climate realists: fear that if the facts about the true state of the climate reach a wider audience, demands for political action to bring about a fundamental socio-economic transformation and action will subside.

Sources: Climatic Change; Science Is Not The Answer

Heartland’s Must-read Climate Sites

climate realism website heartland institute

Climate Crisis Is Skipping Greece

New research published in the journal Water by a group of researchers at the National Technical University of Athens and the University of Patras concludes there is no evidence climate change is causing a crisis in Greece. 

The scholars exhibited a sense of humor through the title of their article, “In Search of Climate Crisis in Greece Using Hydrological Data: 404 Not Found.” 

The scientists involved note that anthropogenically-induced climate change has become “the post-modern scapegoat for which every disaster is blamed,” with some scientists and the media even suggesting the COVID-19 pandemic was driven by climate change. Leaders in Europe and Greece have been no exception in hyping the purported climate crisis, the Greek researchers note:

Following the decision of the European Parliament to declare a climate emergency, and in accord with related announcements by the United Nations’ Secretary General … the Greek Government established the Ministry of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection (November 2021), also advertising it as “an important innovation of our country.” The establishment of the ministry was preceded by several catastrophic events, such as floods and wildfires, which politicians and journalists effortlessly attributed to a worsening of climate. However, a more careful investigation of the causes would reveal the omissions of the central and local administration (e.g., the intervention of river beds without flood protection) and the absence of climate-related trends.

The general public opinion is that such threats have substantially increased as the climate has worsened. In particular, international polls show that Greeks are top among people from all countries worldwide in seeing climate change as a top international threat. However, the formation of such opinion is related to socio-political practices, tactics, or strategies, and does not necessarily reflect physical reality.

To determine whether Greece was in the midst of a climate crisis, the scientists examined two centuries of precipitation records from a variety of sources across Greece and found a very slight decline in precipitation in Greece and across the region, concluding there is “negligible climate variability.” 

“The current period can be characterized as normal without notable climatic events,” said the Water paper. “The overall period does not show a linear trend or appreciable difference in the two 30-year climate periods.”

In short, in keeping with the paper’s title, evidence of a climate crisis is “not found,” in Greece’s hydroclimatic data. 

Sources: Water; Climate Change Dispatch

Is Geothermal the Perfect Energy Source? Not Quite

Is geothermal the perfect energy source? Not quite, explains Heartland Institute Research Fellow Linnea Lueken. Geothermal is an interesting energy source that takes advantage of the natural heat of the planet. It is long lasting, and doesn’t cause substantial pollution or emissions, but is very limited by location/siting.

Climate Comedy

via Cartoons by Josh

Recommended Sites

Climate at a Glance Climate Realism
Heartland’s Climate Page Heartland’s Climate Conferences 
Environment & Climate News Watts Up With That
Liberty & Ecology Heartland’s Energy Conferences
Junk Science (Steve Milloy) Climate Depot (Marc Morano)
CFACT CO2 Coalition
Climate Change Dispatch Net Zero Watch (UK)
GlobalWarming.org (Cooler Heads) Climate Audit
Dr. Roy Spencer No Tricks Zone
Climate Etc. (Judith Curry) JoNova
Master Resource Cornwall Alliance (Cal Beisner)
International Climate Science Coalition Science and Environmental Policy Project 
Bishop Hill Gelbspan Files
1000Frolley (YouTube) Climate Policy at Heritage
Power for USA Global Warming at Cato
Science and Public Policy Institute Climate Change Reconsidered NIPCC)
Climate in Review (C. Jeffery Small) Real Science (Tony Heller)
WiseEnergy C3 Headlines
CO2 Science Cartoons by Josh
The Climate Bet Steve Milloy on Twitter
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. is the director of The Heartland Institute's Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.


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