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Charles Komanoff's Vision

Mark Densmore has posted a link on the Yes! website to what he calls an "Excellent Article on Wind Power" written by Charles Komanoff, a wind power activist, and published in the September/October 2006 issue of Orion Magazine. It's a pretty article and quite beguiling in its own way, but many of Orion's faithful readers took their favorite magazine to task for publishing it. As Dr. Dennis McNair writes:

Charles Komanoff’s article, “Whither Wind?” Orion 25(5), reveals him as a simplistic apologist for the wind industry. That such deliberate misdirection and propaganda were allowed to be published in your magazine is disappointing.

Eric Rosenbloom continues in a similar vein:

Komanoff's vision of the ways things ought to be is threatened by environmentalists who haven't swallowed the sales spiel and instead have determined that industrial wind turbines on rural and especially wild sites bring negative impacts that far outweigh the elusive benefits. He spent almost two months repeatedly pestering an environmental leader in western Massachusetts for opposing giant wind turbines in the Berkshires. Though Komanoff contacted her through a mutual friend, she quickly saw that he was not at all interested in discussion and she rightly ignored his continuing prods. He took this turning of the cheek as a sign of defeat and posted the "exchange" on his website as a trophy of victory. But if one does not deny the impacts nor the shortcomings of big wind on the grid, the only conclusion is that the benefits do not justify its industrialization of rural and wild areas. Komanoff and other pro-wind environmentalists are on the wrong side of this issue.

Yen Chin carries the argument further and concludes:

Wind power has a place in a humane and sensible world, but that place cannot and should not be as prominent as Mr. Komanoff would have us believe.

Follow these links to read Dr. McNair's complete commentary, followed by Rosenbloom's critique of Komanoff's credentials as an environmentalist and Yen Chin's cogent thesis on the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency. All of which demonstrates that a person can be very persuasive until other intelligent observers offer their well-reasoned rebuttals. Unfortunately, the arena where most of the struggle for truth is taking place in our country is in quiet places of beauty that we've taken for granted for too long.



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Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Why can't groups answer questions honestly? On 04/15/07 I was picking up my papers at a local store. When I noticed someone painting the window in the reform Cohocton office. I didn't know what this was so inquired about it. I was told they was looking for people to run for elections. I asked if it was about the wind mills and was told no. Well anyone who knows me and knew my father when he was alive. Knows that we would research an issue if we thought the answer was a lie. Which I did and found that this is a place where there are slanderous statements agianist the town board members and palning board members.People may plant trees on thier land blocking the view form others. If these trees were trimed and tooken care care of there would be no problem but the dead limbs on them look wonderful don't they? Can anyone tell what is wrong and why people are scared to give honest answers. I might be handicapped but I am not dumb like some people who are againist windmills would lead people to believe and enjoy making fun of peoples handicaps. By asking if they can understand what they read.
Thank you George C. Buss

Anonymous Anonymous Says:

Hello Bill,

It is true many readers did take offense to Charles Komanoff's article, however in reading through the 54 responses to his article it would appear many more agrred with him.

Blogger Bill Says:

Thank you for your comments, Mark.

As you've indicated, wind power and its role in the whole concern about the possible effects of global warming on our environment is a very controversial subject with a lot to be said, both pro and con. The only observation I would make is that truth is not determined by either consensus or vote. If we were to decide the global warming question on the basis of consensus, we might come up with some interesting results (witness the 17,000 scientists who have signed a Global Warming Petition that disagrees very intelligently with the more recently publicized UN reports). Democracy is, on the other hand, a good method for communities to decide in a united way what is best for them. Unfortunately, our town leaders have chosen to avoid allowing the electorate to decide what Cohocton should do and have taken matters under their own advisement instead. There may yet be a better way to do science than through the UN, and there certainly is a better way to handle the affairs of our local town government than what we've seen this past year.

PS - If you've been heavily influenced by Al Gore's polemic, you might appreciate the antidote that's just been aired on BBC. It's available on Google Video here.


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