Suzuki full of false arguments

suzukiKeith Stelling, Owen Sound Sun Times
David Suzuki’s recent column asks the question: are “turbine effects merely the power of suggestion?” His own dogma that “wind power installations are a necessary part of the shift from polluting fossil fuels to clean energy” certainly sounds like the suggestion of corporate lobbying and government spin. In the real world, wind turbines can never replace fossil fuels because they need additional fossil-fuelled generation kept running inefficiently 24/7 as backup for fluctuating wind. This increases emissions and operating costs.

The more wind turbines are added to the Ontario grid, the more gas-fired plants will have to be built and supplied. Has Dr. Suzuki forgotten the warning about gas plants that appeared on the Suzuki Foundation web site? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, they produce dangerously small particulates that have the greatest impact on human health because they bypass our bodies’ natural respiratory filters and end up deep in the lungs? “In fact, many studies have found no safe limit for exposure to these substances”. So much for asthma sufferers!

Like our new premier, Dr. Suzuki has suddenly become concerned for asthma sufferers. If one studies the record of Ontario electrical generation, one will discover that 40TWh of coal generation has been shut down since 2003. The coal was replaced by 60 to 80 TWh of nuclear power coming back online; 20 TWh of gas coming online; the system load dropping 15 TWh due to the economic crunch; but coal was hardly replaced by the 3 TWh of wind that generally produces often when the system does not need it. Comparing the Statistics Canada data for deaths from respiratory disease and asthma for the same period, one might expect a big drop due to the major reduction in coal use, but looking carefully, the drop is certainly not significant. In fact, the asthma rate is ever so slightly increasing while coal use drops. Curiously, neither Dr. Suzuki nor the premier is demanding the curtailment of diesel fumes from road transport traffic—one of the main triggers of asthma attacks in Ontario.

One is alerted by the uncaring flippancy with which he dismisses the suffering of those living near wind turbines as “only minor effects”. Dr. Suzuki is not a medical doctor. Nor does he seem to have read widely among the growing body of peer reviewed studies published in respected international medical journals that link wind turbines with health problems. Grey-Bruce Medical officer of Health, Dr. Hazel Lynn found 18 peer reviewed studies that found evidence of an association between wind turbines and distress among some people who live near them. The Superior Court of Ontario recently heard evidence from Dr. Robert McMurtry (former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario) that turbines are likely to cause “sleep disturbance, annoyance, headache, tinnitus, ear pressure, dizziness, vertigo, nausea, visual blurring, tachycardia, irritability, problems with concentration and memory, and/or panic episodes.”

Referring to a Sydney University report, Dr. Suzuki suggests that peoples’ symptoms are triggered by “health scares . . . by anti wind farm groups”. But in Ontario many people initially welcomed the turbines and did not experience adverse health symptoms until after they began operating and others who had eagerly signed leases also suffer the same symptoms.

Instead of making the effort to talk to some real people living near industrial wind turbines, Dr. Suzuki refers to an experiment at the University of Auckland in which psychologists tricked their subjects into believing they were being exposed to two ten minute periods of infrasound while they were actually exposed only to one. Such an experiment proves nothing about the day and night waves of low frequency energy that gradually sensitize the body of many people living near the turbines. Victims describe their inability to sleep owing to continuous, low-frequency “pounding” waves of infrasound that vibrate through them: a constant vibrating or pulsing sensation felt throughout their bodies but particularly in the head and chest when the turbines are operating. The only way to escape it is by leaving home. These are our neighbours– members of our community. Their health problems are not psychosomatic!

Dr. Suzuki concedes that “we have to be careful to ensure that impacts on the environment and animals such as birds and bats are minimized”. Has he spoken out against the disastrous bird kills at Wolfe Island –a government approved wind turbine site on a major migratory flyway which now holds the record for raptor kills in North America second only to California? Has Dr. Suzuki denounced the unforeseen cumulative effect, the loss of biodiversity and the destruction of significant wildlife habitat already being caused by the turbines and documented by international biologists? Reality shows that the government continues to approve turbine developments without any consideration of the damage they will cause to our natural heritage.

Has Dr. Suzuki warned the public of the government’s surreptitious dismantling of Ontario’s environmental legislation in the Green Energy Act or the Minister of Natural Resources issuing permits to wind developers to destroy the habitat of an endangered species because it claims this is of “overall benefit to the species”? (Is this the power of suggestion or the world of Alice in Wonderland?)

And what was Dr. Suzuki doing appearing as a celebrity guest at the opening of a wind turbine installation on Manitoulin Island, a fragile ecosystem that has been identified as the most biologically diverse island in all of the Great Lakes and part of one of the most important migratory flyways? A recent report by the U.S. Nature Conservancy and its Canadian counterpart warns that Manitoulin is most at risk of losing this biodiversity, due in part to future development.

To paraphrase Dr. Suzuki’s conclusion: “We must also be aware of false arguments” for wind power.

Keith Stelling,
Southampton.

24 thoughts on “Suzuki full of false arguments

  1. Suzuki is a disgusting, immoral, puppet for the wind industry. He doesn’t care about anything but the money he is raking in for being a windpusher. I hope this fiasco destroys any credibility he has left.

  2. Here is the link to the Suzuki blog post that this blog post is about: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2013/04/wind-power-opponents-may-be-blowing-hot-air/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+davidsuzuki%2Fscience-matters+%28David+Suzuki+Foundation+-+Science+Matters%29

    Here is the response to it that I posted on Facebook after I saw the Suzuki blog:

    “This article proves two things:
    1) The placebo effect exists. Shocking.
    2) It is important to use critical thinking even when the information is coming from a source you trust.

    Lets put the contents of this article into perspective. Lets theoretically apply the scientific method used to the widely accepted fact that long term excessive sun exposure can lead to skin damage and skin cancer .

    Study one:

    A group of scientists took a group of 54 people and showed half of them a movie about the risks of overexposure to sun. The other half were shown a video on the benefits of sun exposure.

    The two groups were then exposed to 20 minutes of sun and asked how they felt afterwards. The people in the first group that was warned, said they were concerned they may have a mild burn. The people in the second group said they felt healthier.
    The scientists concluded that long term excessive sun exposure does not cause cancer or skin damage, it’s all in people’s heads.

    Study two:

    Another study which hasn’t even been published yet so no one can even review it and pose questions about the scientific method used, scientists found that after communities were exposed to ad campaigns about the risks of sun exposure, more people went to the doctor with concerns about abnormalities on their skin.

    This proves that the ad campaigns caused these people to have abnormalities. This does not prove that the ads caused the people in the community to be more aware of and cautious about the abnormalities in their skin that may be a precursor to skin cancer. It also doesn’t prove that the community had those skin abnormalities before, but were not aware that they were connected to sun exposure before the ad campaigns, so the doctor visits regarding the skin abnormalities were not recorded as sun-related, so there was no accurate record to compare it to from before the ad campaign. Nope. Doesn’t prove that at all.”

    • This proves that the people doing the studies, are able to skew the results to say whatever they like, and/or interpret the results to say what they like. That is why their health studies are such a sham….they will get the results they want.

      • I worked in Big Pharma and they solicit funds to scientists and various research facilities asking if they can produce *X* results (to obtain a certain outcome). The funding is substantial and they definitely do skew numbers and variables. If you don’t make the desired outcome, you will no longer receive funding. An absolute sham as you mentioned!

  3. Bravo Keith – I really appreciate you using his own words against him, apparently $ signs have affected his memory.

  4. Off topic here, but has anyone produced an overlay of liberal and conservative ridings for the Ontario Wind Turbine Map on the side bar ? Just a thought.

  5. IWTs are for thee and not for me. Since Suzuki has no IWTs where he lives he can move to where there are IWTs. He can put his money where his mouth is!

  6. Off topic here, but has anyone made an overlay of Conservative and Liberal ridings for the Ontario Wind Turbine Map on the side bar? Just wondering.

    • Since rural Ontario is currently a vast sea of blue, is there any wonder where turbines projects are located? There is a reason there aren’t any red liberal ridings in rural Ontario right now.

      • Unfortunately there is one Glengarry Prescott Russel, Wind turbines weren’t a deciding issue,

    • Essex Co. was Liberal and now NDP. IWTs put in under Liberals. NDP IWT policy is the same so no difference.

      • Maybe so but MPP told people upset with solar panels in their backyards that he would be able to do something about them, also Essex has many union people who let Lewenza think for them. Might be different now with so many turbines in the north side

    • I can tell you for sure that they rarely overlap, and when they do, they are small turbines and small projects, not the behemoths they are sticking us with. Just look at the wee little turbines Toronto brags about. One of them is a display turbine, which is not even powered by the wind. They are all green posers, and would recoil in horror, if we shipped all of the useless turbines to their neighbourhoods.

  7. I am sure Dr. Suzuki’s home is surrounded by industrial wind turbines, isn’t it? NOT.

    Gee, wonder why?

    • Hey icanseeclearly,
      David Suzuki has said – he would love to see wind turbines where he lives………………………..but, his municipality will not allow it.

      Conclusion:
      David Suzuki – sends clue to Ontario municipalities.

  8. Why exactly is Dr Fruit Fly never questioned on the obvious point. Why his seaside estate doesn’t include at least 1 IWT? What of his several other properties?

  9. Sad thing is when Suzuki departs this mortal life, unless things have changed, we will see columns of obits in all the Canadian MSM extolling his virtues as a tireless advocate of environmentalism who only wanted to save the planet. If we still suffer a Liberal Government, or even worse, an NDP Government when that happens, they’ll probably create a Suzuki Day of Mourning!
    Suzuki is undoubtedly one of the biggest and most successful supposed ‘scientific’ charlatans of modern times, but he has only succeeded, and continues to do so, because we continue to support a corrupt political system that refuses to admit the ‘Emperor has no clothes’.
    The photo of Suzuki giving the ‘finger’, whether photo-shopped or not, is a most striking example of the opinion the provincial government and its green energy backers have of rural Ontario.
    Andrew Watts

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