Gulden’s Chapman critique: worth a revisit

As Australia’s wind turbine noise denier Simon Chapman seems to be in the news again lately, it is well worth a look at Wayne Gulden’s critique of his work, found here on his website, Wind Farm Realities. Other material worth a read through too, such as his infrasound testing!

An excerpt:
The nocebo theory has been around for a number of years.  It recognizes that people may well develop health issues because they believe something will harm them, even when there’s no plausible physical way it can.  An extreme example is a witch’s curse killing someone.  A modern example would be cell phones (the jury is still out on them, it seems).  Just to be clear, nocebo itself is not particularly controversial.  With regard to wind turbines, it would be surprising if some complaints about them were in fact not due to the turbines themselves.  On the flip side, industries have used various victim-centered defenses (like nocebo) when in fact their product was harmful.  It confuses the regulatory bodies for a while and keeps the gravy train going, hopefully until they can retire.
The trick for anyone studying this issue is to separate real problems from induced ones and find out where the predominance lies.  For his part, Chapman maintains that:  “18 reviews of the research literature on wind turbines and health published since 2003 have all reached the broad conclusion that the evidence for wind turbines being directly harmful to health is very poor.”  And at the same time, the evidence he has created for his nocebo hypothesis shows that: “the reported spatio-temporal variations in complaints are consistent with psychogenic hypotheses that health problems arising are ‘communicated diseases’ with nocebo effects”.  Therefore he concludes nocebo effects are: “likely to play an important role in the aetiology of complaints.”  So what constitutes “important”?  Studies whose value is entirely dependent on the reader’s interpretation of (in this case) the word “important” aren’t really of much value.
More importantly, note where he’s set the bar for accepting his nocebo hypothesis.  He hasn’t shown any evidence at all that nocebo is the actual cause.  Rather, he insists that since the evidence for direct harm is weak and nocebo plausible, ergo nocebo must win by default.  Note the use of the word “direct”, a topic I’ve posted about at some length.  He is clever enough not to say wind turbines don’t cause health effects at all, because they do, and it has nothing to do with nocebo – and the evidence for this is substantial.  As Nissenbaum (a real doctor, unlike Chapman) relates, assigning a patient’s chest pains to nocebo without a lot of tests would be the height of malpractice, even though nocebo-induced chest pains no doubt do occur.

Six Nations to invest in wind power

“Wind power and green energy still a good deal.”

Brantford Expositor, March 10, 2014

OHSWEKEN – Six Nations council is still working on the implementation of two wind farm projects as it goes deeper into the green energy field.
Council has been working for about four years on the Gunn’s Hill Wind Farm, on privately owned agricultural land in Norwich Township; and the Port Ryerse Wind Project just outside the hamlet on the shores of Lake Erie.
Lonny Bomberry, director of lands and resources, says the two projects are too good an investment for Six Nations to pass up, even if a negative political environment still pervades wind power projects.
“There’s no question wind power green energy is still a good deal,” he said. “The projects have a fixed rate of return that can generate good revenue. It’s a good way for First Nations to become involved in the energy field.”
The Gunn’s Hill project is farther along and close to implementation. Although “there isn’t a final determination yet,” Bomberry said prospects of implementation are still rated as good.
The project will be owned and operated by Gunn’s Hill Windfarm Inc. Prowind Canada is proposing to develop it on privately owned, agricultural land as well as Norwich Township municipal easements for electrical lines.
The project was awarded a FIT (Feed-In-Tariff) contract with the Ontario Power Authority in 2011 to supply 25 megawatts with 10 wind turbines.
According to the business plan, Prowind has invited Six Nations to be a 10% equity partner. Its contribution will be $1.8 million, which is estimated to generate revenue in excess of $3 million over 20 years.
Bomberry said he anticipates the project will be ready to proceed in the next two to three months.
“The financing that has to be brokered is still the main question,” he said, noting the financing will likely come in the form of a bank loan.
Bomberry said Six Nations is still in productive discussions with Prowind Canada and partners in Gunn’s Hill Windfarm.

Read the full story here.

Chapman “research” called into question

An Alert Reader sent this in…

Ethical questions re: Simon Chapman  

TO: Michael Spence BA LLB Sydney DPhil PcDipTheol Oxf
Vice Chancellor and Principle, University of Sydney
I am once again writing to you in relation to Professor Simon Chapman’s active and well publicised close involvement with the Industrial Wind Industry in Australia, and the increasingly adverse effect this association is having on the University of Sydney’s reputation for quality research and ethical behaviour.
It appears possible Professor Chapman is conducting research without prior ethics committee approval from the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University, with regard to seeking specific details of families who were forced to abandon their homes as a result of noise pollution emanating from Industrial Wind Turbines.
I would be interested to know, will the university be addressing this ethical approval oversight? Alternatively if approval has been granted could you please forward to me the date and details of that approval?
Further, I bring to your attention the participation of Professor Chapman in the launch of a wind turbine product manufacturer’s global denial of the harm their product is causing, on 18 June 2013, which VESTAS called their “ACT on FACTS” campaign, in Melbourne. Professor Chapman was listed as a Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney.
ln 2004 a VESTAS employee called Erik Sloth delivered a presentation to the Australian Wind Energy Association’s conference. lt showed VESTAS were aware in 2OO4 that the international standards for wind turbine noise emission modeling were inadequate, that “annoyance” symptoms could result from a less than safe buffer distance, and that further research was needed.
The World Health Organisation acknowledges “annoyance” symptoms can result in adverse health effects. Environmental noise pollution is increasingly acknowledged as a growing and serious public health problem, and there are increasing reports of rural residents being forced out of their homes or living a life of chronic sleep deprivation when the turbines are operating.
As yet, there is no research involving the concurrent measurement of the full spectrum of acoustic frequencies, and EEG, blood pressure, heart rate and cortisol levels in people reporting adverse health impacts from wind turbine noise specifically, although adverse health effects including the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation and chronic physiological stress have been found from other sources of noise. Yet Professor Chapman, Public Health Professor and Director of Research at the University of Sydney is now publicly stating ‘research is not necessary’, even though he stated at the Federal Senate inquiry in 2011, it was a ‘wonderful idea’, and VESTAS stated it was needed in 2004.
I would request you read the critiques of Professor Chapman’s paper by knowledgeable experts in the fields of medicine, acoustics, and audiology and in the analysis of his research for court evidence. As you will find, there are serious concerns about his research and the conclusions drawn by him and his co researchers.
Professor Chapman’s ‘diagnosis’ of a nocebo effect was made without any evidence collected from the homes of people reporting symptoms. He has never spoken to or visited these people, and of course he has no training to examine or diagnose medical conditions nor is he a psychiatrist trained to diagnose illnesses of the mind. At the very least he can only make a guess at what he thinks could be the situation, but for him to use his position at the university as an expert in these health matters is inappropriate and a snub to the importance and role of appropriately trained professionals in acoustics, neurophysiology, and clinical medicine.
As a Sociologist working in the area of Public Health he can only make theory judgements on social groups and not medical diagnosis on individuals. There is no evidence from those residents reporting the symptoms or from their treating health professionals that the nocebo diagnosis is valid.
While Professor Chapman worked to highlight the adverse health effects of tobacco and cigarettes by exposing the denial by tobacco companies and their supporters, he is now using his reputation to hinder the work of those trying to expose the truth about Industrial Wind Turbines and adverse health effects. He does this by writing papers, speaking publicly and attending functions in support of the global wind industry.
I ask that you read the decision of Justice Muse from Falmouth, USA, from late 2013 where he granted an immediate injunction to stop wind turbines turning at night, in order to prevent ‘irreparable harm to physical and psychological health’ of the residents reporting problems.
I would also recommend you read carefully American Psychiatrist Dr William Hallstein’s letter to the Falmouth Board of Health, which clearly explains what wind turbine noise is doing to people.
While Professor Chapman continues to deny the existence of research showing people are suffering, in an effort to uphold his personal theory it’s not difficult to find such research, articles and papers, if you choose to look for them.
For instance early research well before any publicity about the symptoms was conducted by Dr David Iser, a rural GP from Toora in Victoria and he raised concerns with the Victorian government about the effects of wind turbine noise. There is also Dr Amanda Harry, a rural GP in the UK, both of whom behaved in the best traditions of ethical practice of medicine, and research.
I urge you to read the work of the above to understand how harmful reliance on utterances from unqualified people can be, especially with respect to health issues, even if they are university Professors.
In addition I ask you consider what breaches of human rights may be occurring to residents who are being ignored by their governments who are charged with the responsibility of protecting them from known harm. Surely these vulnerable citizens deserve to be treated as every other citizen, with respect and consideration of their predicament which they have no control over, in the expectation their rights to live and work without the imposition of annoyance causing them harm being thrust upon them.
If the University does not want to be seen to be actively supporting an industry which is proven to be less than honest with respect to what they know and who have acknowledged the human adverse effects of their industry, then I would urge you to speak out and request Professor Chapman to publicly state that what he is expressing is his personal opinion and not that of the University, especially when he is saying that research is not necessary.
There is an impression the University could be seen to be unreservedly supporting the Industrial Wind Industry. I urge you to consider how the conflict of interest issues of some of the Fellows on the University Senate are handled, as public perception with regard to integrity of the governance of the University is at stake.
Finally I ask, does the University wish to be implicated in continuing to support an industry who are hiding known evidence of harm (see also Matt Peacock’s book “Killer Company” re the role the University of Sydney played in the asbestos story), or would the University prefer to act in the finest traditions of higher education establishments, and actively and vocally support the required multidisciplinary independent research recommended by the 2011 Australian Federal Senate inquiry.
Yours faithfully
J A Rovensky (Mrs)
7 Feb 2014
Download original document: “Letter to Dr Spence, U Sydney, re: Simon Chapman”

Majority of farmers object to turbines, Farmers Forum survey shows

Farmers object to wind turbines, survey says

By Blair Andrews

LONDON — The debate over wind turbines in Western Ontario is generating some lively opinions among farmers with a clear majority strongly opposed, a Farmers Forum survey suggests.
A random survey of 50 farmers at the London Farm Show on March 5, found that 58 % disapproved of wind turbines.
Just 20 % of survey respondents approved and 22 % were neutral on the issue. Among those who had an opinion, farmers opposed to turbines outnumbered those who approved by almost three-to-one.
Almost 80 % of those who disapprove believe the wind turbines are too costly and are an inefficient source of electricity.
“The capital cost of erecting the wind turbine in the first place is far in excess of what I would think a reasonable return on the investment would be in terms of the energy that is generated by one of those,” said Harold Jackson, a cash crop farmer from Middlesex County.
“I don’t believe the economics are there; this is a money grab,” said a Brant County cash crop farmer who noted that he has worked near wind turbines. “I believe there are health issues. I don’t care what the experts say.”
A few other farmers were concerned about losing farmland to wind turbines.
“The power belongs in the city where it’s being demanded,” said Tyler Vollmershausen, a cash crop farmer from Oxford County. “We’re on this infrastructure across the countryside and the power is being demanded in the city. Why are we producing it out here?”
“The windmills don’t belong on farmland,” said Lambton County cash crop and livestock farmer Peter Aarts. “We have solar panels but the solar panels are on the roof and nobody notices that they’re there.”
Other reasons for disapproval included decreasing farmland values, adverse health effects, their appearance, and that the issue pits farmer against farmer.
Of those who approve of wind turbines, their reasons were evenly split between generating income for the farm and producing a renewable energy source.
“I have no problem with them. It’s green energy,” said Gary Van Leeuwen, a cash crop farmer from Elgin County. “It’s pricey, but we have to look long term, not short term.”
“I am against nuclear and I’m very concerned about the storage facilities for nuclear waste in the Kincardine area,” said Huron County cash crop farmer Uli Hundt.
Middlesex County cash crop farmer Charlie Paas is planning to earn some income from a wind turbine when one is built on his farm this year.
“You can complain about changing the landscape, but you stick a house somewhere you change the landscape too,” said Paas.
“I approve of them in the right location,” said Wayne Cunningham, who likes the aspect of producing green energy.
But the Wellington County cash crop farmer echoed some of the concerns of those who disapprove.
“I don’t approve of them going into prime farmland. We’re losing too much agricultural land every year.”

Read the full story here

Amherst Island financial analysis: wind power plant “not viable”

Wind power on Amherst Island: not financially viable

Posted on

Members of the community on Amherst Island (who, it must be said, are doing anything and everything to protect their community from a proposed wind power plant) have undertaken a financial analysis of the power project.
Note that this is something the government of Ontario has never done, despite the Auditor General’s chiding of them to do this in 2011. The result of this analysis? Wind power doesn’t make any sense.

To read the report, please go to our post on our WordPress site here.

MNR Minister Orazietti defends bats! … in Toronto

Ontario: yours to discover…the dead bodies

In today’s Queen’s Park Update is a note that the Minister of Natural Resources, David Orazietti, was to hold a media event today to announce this year’s Species At Risk Stewardship Fund projects, and in particular, “showcase” the government’s efforts to protect bats in Toronto.
All the other bats in Ontario, including those in Prince Edward County, Amherst Island, the north shore of Lake Erie, the Huron Coast, and Dufferin County (where the wind power developer’s expert investigated the wrong species of bat but then concluded, they’ll all be dead of white nose syndrome in five years anyway, so what the hey)—-YOU can all just suffer your demise.
Species At Risk? Doesn’t amount to a hill of beans next to the Ministry of the Environment’s “overall benefit” credo. Wind power is so wonderful for the environment, that the deaths of any form of wildlife, even at-risk or endangered, is inconsequential.

WCO March 5

“Renewable energy is a practical disaster” : Financial Post

Here from today’s Financial Post, an analysis by Peter Foster  on the International Energy Agency and its report, The Power of Transformation–Wind, Sun and the Power of Flexible Power Systems.
Let us just say at the outset, that we in Ontario’s rural and small-town communities will be the worst hit victims of this experiment.

Peter Foster: The International Energy Agency backs unreliable renewables



Peter Foster | February 28, 2014 8:35 AM ET

At the International Energy Agency,  ”Variable Renewable Energy”  is Orwellian Newspeak for “Unreliable Renewable Energy” 
It was depressing to read this week of Caisse de depot head Michael Sabia regurgitating the foundational myths of economic nationalism: that markets are too short-term, and that takeovers by foreign “tourist” corporations should be resisted.
That was the precisely the kind of thinking that, a generation ago, got us PetroCanada and the National Energy Program. Petrocan relentlessly spouted that its perspective was broader and longer than that of its market rivals. The result was a carnival of waste and a gusher of red ink. The NEP got every far-sighted projection dead wrong. Government-promoted takeovers sunk the acquirers, not the targets.
How soon we forget, if, that is, we ever knew. The self-serving misrepresentation of capitalism that was at the heart of both nationalism/fascism and Communism is still with us, only now it’s gone global, is called sustainable development, and is focused on climate change. This allegedly demands a carefully-coordinated decarbonization of the global economy, balanced with wise guidance of poor country development.
How’s that going?
A report this week from the International Energy Agency – The Power of Transformation – Wind, Sun and the Economics of Flexible Power Systems  – is a classic example of the immutability of bureaucratic pretension and its infinite ability to explain away failure, even as it promotes more of the same.
Here’s the opening of the report’s Executive Summary:

Wind power and solar photovoltaic (PV) are expected to make a substantial contribution to a more secure and sustainable energy system. However, electricity generation from both technologies is constrained by the varying availability of wind and sunshine. This can make it challenging to maintain the necessary balance of electricity supply and consumption at all times. Consequently, the cost effective integration of variable renewable energy (VRE) has become a pressing challenge for the energy sector.

Translation: renewable energy is a practical disaster.
Everywhere, policies based on subsidization of “technologies of the future” are in crisis.  “Variable Renewable Energy,” VRE, is Orwellian Newspeak for “Unreliable Renewable Energy,” URE.
Unintended results have been piling up like a mountain of biomass, hoisting prices, undermining manufacturing, and creating fuel poverty among consumers, including now even those in Germany, which is still Europe’s richest country despite some of the continent’s most perverse energy policies.
As the summary says, wind and solar are obviously unreliable because the wind does not always blow, nor the sun shine. They are also very expensive. Solving the latter problem is always just over the horizon, not least because those short-sighted agents of the market keep coming up with new and cheaper sources of fossil fuel, such as shale gas, a development which far-sighted bureaucrats somehow failed to spot.
So what’s the IEA’s answer to the unreliability problem? Bigger and better-coordinated plans, bolstered by positive verbiage. According to the report, any country can reach high shares of wind and solar power “cost-effectively.” All that’s required is to forget history, economics and, while we’re about it, developments in climate science. The science is settled.

The self-serving misrepresentation of capitalism that was at the heart of both nationalism/fascism and Communism is still with us, only now it’s gone global, is called sustainable development, and is focused on climate change.

According to IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven “Integrating high shares of variable renewables is really about transforming our power systems.” What is required is a “change of perspective,” which is to say the same old perspective dressed up in new imperial costume. Which is to say, the same old new imperial costume.
You see, the problem was never really unreliability per se, it was that wind and solar were introduced piecemeal on top of all those awful “business as usual” systems. So what is needed is transformation of energy systems “as a whole.” You know, like the Soviets’ Gosplan.
The IEA notes that wind and solar now account for just 3 percent of world electricity generation. However, a few bold leaders generate 10-30% of their electricity, albeit spottily and expensively, from wind and sun. These champions include Germany, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Denmark. All are struggling with policy perversity. Germany’s abandonment of nuclear has – due to aforementioned wind and solar unreliability – led to a boom in one of the “dirtiest” power sources, brown coal.
The IEA grudgingly admits that renewables have wreaked havoc among “incumbent generators.”

Read the full article here.