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Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

Where Do Wind Turbines Come From?

Mining the iron ore needed to build wind farms entails ripping mountains and valleys “to shreds.”

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Andrea Jennetta, photo courtesy of FuelCycleWeek.com

Andrea Jennetta is the publisher of Fuel Cycle Week – a newsletter for nuclear industry insiders. A yearly subscription costs US $2,750.

She also writes the I Dig U[ranium] Mining blog. One of her recent posts is titled Wind Turbines and ‘Dirty’ Mines – Hypocrisy at its Finest. It is accompanied by a large photo of an iron ore mine with the words “This is where wind turbines come from” superimposed over it. You can see that photo here.

In her blog post, Jennetta says “anti-industrial activists” like to “show people how sausage is made” so that hopefully they’ll

never eat the stuff again. And they’ll fight tooth-and-nail to block any sausage factory from ever being built anywhere near where they live.

The tactic exploits our basic human fear of the unfamiliar and evokes an instant emotional reaction, but provides zero information. If you’ve never seen a mine before (or a sausage-making factory) you will be disgusted by the first sight of one. But most people have no idea what they’re looking at and have no way of contextualizing what they’re seeing. All they see is a gaping hole in the ground, scarred earth and puddles of presumably toxic water all around.

With no information or context, most people recoil at such images, and rightfully so. They’re not pretty. And because they don’t look pretty, you’re supposed to assume that they’re toxic, dangerous and threatening to your health.

Green activists want us to believe that wind power is the answer to our alleged fossil fuel “addiction.” They therefore romanticize industrial wind turbines. In Jennetta’s words:

They’re so healthy and good for the environment, so pretty, innocent, clean. Environmentalists love peddling heartwarming images of wind farms basking under sunny blue skies and nestled in the bucolic embrace of verdant hills. People picnic under them, children skip and shout for joy at the sight of them!

But, in fact, a monstrous double-standard is at work:

what environmentalists don’t show you is how wind turbines are made. So I will. Here goes: wind turbines are predominantly made of steel, and steel is predominantly made of iron. Manufacturing wind turbines requires extensive mining of iron ore, which means mountains and valleys get ripped to shreds. Not to mention all the other metals such as copper, nickel and  titanium that have to be dug out of ground to build every wind turbine displayed in those heartwarming images.

My point isn’t that iron mining is dangerous, toxic or a threat to human civilization. My point is that when anti-uranium zealots bemoan the evils of mining and then make genuflections to a wind turbine, they’re not being straight with you. The fact is that pretty much everything we use in modern life — including every form of renewable energy you can think of — requires the extensive mining of raw materials from the earth. And mining isn’t pretty. But that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe or a threat to your existence. That’s why we have science, technology and smart engineers. [bold added]

Straight-talking, common-sense-championing Jennetta is one blogger I’ll be reading more of from now on. Her entire post is here.

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hat tip to Greenie Watch, via Tom Nelson

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2013 by in ethical & philosophical and tagged , , , , .
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