“Why I haven’t reported that wind farm emissions savings may be zero”
OK. I’ll be honest. I shouldn’t have put in the quote marks. He did not use exactly those words. But nonetheless I got a strong sense from recent correspondence that that’s what he was telling me. I wrote to Mr. Harrabin in the following terms:
I wonder if you’re familiar with the work of Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, who finds that when you look at the emissions from systems consisting of wind plus conventional back-up, the emissions savings are somewhere between trivial and zero?
If so, do you agree with it?
And if you do, why do you write that on-shore wind farms are the only way to achieve CO2 targets? It appears not only that they are not the only way, but they are not any way at all. You can seek to reduce emissions with energy conservation and efficiency, with insulation, with hydro and nuclear. You can reduce emissions by switching from coal to gas. But you can’t save emissions with wind turbines.
I’d be glad of your comments.
ROGER HELMER MEP
He replied to me, and I replied to him again. I thought the issue so important that I told him I’d publish the correspondence. He asked me not to, and said if I wanted to publish I’d need a formal response from the BBC — not his personal e-mail. I agreed to that, and asked for the statement. He then told me that he couldn’t supply it, and that I’d have to go through BBC channels and apply formally. I thought that was a step too far, and said if he didn’t get the statement for me, I’d publish anyway. He described this as “reprehensible”.
Cooler heads have prevailed. I will not actually give you his words verbatim, since he feels so strongly about it, but I will give you a rough paraphrase. If Mr. Harrabin should feel that my paraphrase fails to do him justice, he can of course publish his original words.
He said that indeed he was familiar with Prof Hughes’ work, and also with the work of others who took a different view. But there were so many aspects of the debate that it simply wasn’t possible to mention all of them in a short media piece on the subject. I responded as follows:
Thank you for your reply. You may well not have written that wind is the only way to reduce emissions — but also you have never written, or mentioned on air (so far as I know) that a respected academic has raised serious doubts about whether wind can fulfil its core objective of cutting CO2 emissions. I quite understand, of course, that you have to take a balanced view and to recognise that there are those (often with a financial interest in wind) who take a different view.
But surely Professor Hughes’ conclusion is so important, so striking, so critical for energy policy, that we could expect you to feature it on air? Perhaps you should even include a routine caveat in any discussion of wind power: “Of course there is a disputed but credible case, from a respected academic, that wind turbines save very little in the way of emissions, if anything”?
I apologise in advance if you have already done these things, and I have somehow failed to notice them. But I think not.
In view of the huge importance of this question to our energy and environmental policies, I am sure that you will expect me to publish this correspondence. Tomorrow at the UKIP Conference in Birmingham I shall be launching our Party’s new energy policy, and we will of course send you the Press Release.
ROGER HELMER MEP
So here we have it. The BBC’s leading Environment Correspondent knows that there is credible, well-researched evidence from a respected academic suggesting that the fundamental basis of the EU’s (and the UK’s) renewables policy is indefensible, but he feels no obligation to mention it. It appears that the BBC is simply not prepared to report or countenance any serious work which challenges their Warmist preconceptions. No one who knows the BBC will be surprised, but it never ceases to amaze me that they so disregard their obligation to balance and objectivity.