Environment Forum

Giant offshore wind turbines invade UK beaches! Will local residents resist?

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By Kwok W. Wan

This time, it was a total surprise.  In a taxi on the road towards the beach, Gunfleet Sands appeared out of no-where and without warning.  Huge offshore wind turbines lined the English horizon.

My last encounter had been a far more distant affair, requiring a helicopter to see Robin Rigg in Cumbria, but Dong’s offshore wind farm was visible on the shore, visible from a car inland actually, and the giant machines pop up and startle you.

As we drove over the Frinton-on-Sea rail track earlier, the taxi driver pointed to the automatic electric barriers and said they replaced the hand-operated gates only last year, after the rail company overcame a three-year battle by residents who resisted the change.

Due to the conservative nature of the town, the driver said there was a myth that the town didn’t have a pub or fish and chip shop.  But it wasn’t true.  It got its first pub and fish and chip shop about ten years ago, he said.

“This town’s full of myths, but most of them aren’t true,” he said.  Pause.  “Yeah, so they’re myths,” he added, helpfully.

Cap and trade not the solution, climate scientist says

Fighting climate change is a huge investment opportunity but not through emissions trading and investors should instead put their money into renewables which will power the economy in the future, says a leading environmental scientist and cap and trade expert.

As yesterday’s walkout by African nations showed, getting anyone to agree on anything at the U.N. Climate Conference is easier said than done. The use of markets to address pollution is no different. Supporters of cap and trade — the system which allows companies or groups who meet their emissions targets to sell their remaining carbon credits — are out in force, but so are the groups who say the scheme prevents less responsible companies from breaking their bad habits.

Scientist Payal Parekh, from International Rivers, has come to Copenhagen to lobby on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to highlight the failures of the cap and trade system. She said: “We are working here to ensure that we get ambitious reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases so that we can make a smooth and efficient transition to a clean and green economy. This means that we really need to set up a system that rewards innovators as opposed to allowing dirty industries to continue polluting.

Green Portfolio: Pacific Ethanol plummets

A gas station worker fills a car's tank with ethanol in Rio de Janeiro April 30, 2008. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes

Shares in Pacific Ethanol lost almost half their value in morning trading after the biggest West Coast-based producer and marketer of ethanol announced that it had put its production facilities in California, Oregon and Idaho into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The company said on May 12 that it would likely need to file for bankruptcy if it was not able to restructure its debt.

A string of energy firms have filed for Chapter 11 recently, suffering from weak U.S. demand that has depressed prices and margins. VeraSun Energy, once the largest publicly listed U.S. ethanol maker, filed for bankruptcy last year.