Posts tagged Environment

Did Trump Start This Turbine Fire?

Wind turbine fire in North Ayrshire, Scotland today. © Stuart McMahon

No, he didn’t start this one—we’ll get to his wind turbine fire in a moment.

First, the news. One wind turbine at the Ardrossan Wind Farm burst into flames while wind gusts of up to 160 mph from Hurricane Bawbag battered parts of Scotland today. The local who got this spectacular photo of the fire said none of the turbines were operating during the storm.

What happened?

Unconfirmed, but it looks like an electrical fire started in the nacelle of the Vestas 2MW turbine. Oddly, the photo looks like a meteor hit it and one is headed for another—expect rumors to start. Remember the UFO story?

No injuries. No evacuation zones. Move along, nothing to see here.

What’s Trump’s connection with the Scottish wind turbine fire?

“The Donald” is fired up over wind farms.

Donald Trump is inflamed about Scottish wind turbines. He’d like to say “You’re fired.” to all of them.

Why? “The Donald” is close to completing a £750m luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

He’s fighting a proposal to build what he calls a “disastrous and environmentally irresponsible” eleven turbine offshore wind farm a mile from his project.

“Unfortunately, instead of celebrating the start of something valuable and beautiful for Scotland, this ugly cloud is hanging over the future of the great Scottish coastline,” Trump complains.

It’s a strange twist. Environmentalists and locals accused Trump of the same five years ago when he announced his plan to develop the resort—but Trump won support from the Scottish government. He says they assured him that wind farm projects would not be allowed to be “destroying and distorting Aberdeen’s magnificent coastline”.

Those pledges are not disputed—but that supportive government was fired. Trump needs to start a new round with Alex Salmond, the new first minister.

Trump wrote to Salmond last September:

“I am not fighting this proposal merely for the benefit of [his company]. Instead, I am fighting for the benefit of Scotland.”

The letter documents Trump’s position against US offshore wind too:

“Every location in the United States with a magnificent coastline—nothing compared to Scotland—has successfully defeated these horrendous looking, noisy and inefficient structures.”

Well, that sounds like he doesn’t like any kind of wind farm development. Plus, it appears that The Donald needs to be reminded that we have some magnificent coastlines here in America too.

Then he plays the heritage trump card:

“My mother, Mary MacLeod, who was born in Stornoway [Scotland], would be very proud of what I am doing for Scotland. It is not only for my project, it is more to preserve Scotland’s beautiful coastline and natural heritage.”

Another strange twist came just last month.

Trump is getting some help from a former enemy in his quest to fire the wind turbines. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland—who fought against his golf resort—joined Trump to fight the wind farm. The RSPB feels the wind farm is a threat to rare birds like the common scoter and the red-throated diver. Their prior objections to the golf resort are nowhere to be found—like a ball that lands in the brush after a bad swing.

This whole story is “for the birds” and you can do something about it.

Help end Trump’s opposition to the Aberdeen wind farm by signing this petition. Add your signature to the almost thirteen thousand there already.

Help the cause that wants to say “You’re fired” to Donald Trump.

Filed under windwind energyenvironmentenergy

Crazy Bad in Beijing—Fog or Smog?

Photo sequence from December 2–5, 2011.

One picture is worth ten thousand words.

This disturbing sequence, photographed December 2–5 from the same spot in Beijing, captures stunning changes in the air quality of China’s capital.

Was it fog or smog? Just the weather, or damaging evidence of pollution?

No answer yet—but air filters and pollution mask sales are booming.

Beijing’s air quality makes Los Angeles’s seem like Cheyenne’s.

“Hope these masks are working, Mei. It’s Crazy Bad out here today.”

The latest unusually poor air quality—in Beijing and beyond—caused much public concern. It triggered a blogging battle too.

This Guardian article gives some good background. Plus, it examines the disconnect between what the US Embassy in Beijing measures and reports via its Twitter account (@BeijingAir) versus the official pollution statistics released by the Chinese government.

The ministers are surely not enamored with social media.

The “Crazy Bad” Incident

Last year, @BeijingAir tweeted the city’s air quality was “Crazy Bad” when one metric surged past 500—about 20 times higher than WHO guidelines.

“Crazy Bad” is not the typical sober and scientific language used in the stream so it created a bit of an incident. The joke term was coded in the monitoring software—for an unlikely “way off the scale” reading.

“Crazy Bad” replaced with “Beyond Index” on the @BeijingAir Twitter stream.

US officials quickly replaced “Crazy Bad” with “Beyond Index” but not before the original was widely retweeted by shocked Beijingers.

Some welcomed this dose of reality. They were already aware of and dismayed by the government’s incomplete air quality information.

Any good news here?

Yes. China’s Environment Ministry recently committed to accelerate the disclosure of hidden or missing data about the two forms of pollution most harmful to humans: ozone and tiny particulate matter known as PM2.5.

We expect that report to be coming sooner rather than later.

Otherwise, Beijingers may get “Crazy Mad” with the government.

Filed under environment

Polar Bears Won’t Lose

… as Coca-Cola reverts to red cans to not confuse

Can’t tell the difference? No problem. The one on the left will soon be red.

Arctic Home Project Still Underway

Relax—the only change is the can color.

The Phase II Red Can

First, some background.

Coca-Cola and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) joined forces in a bold new campaign called "Arctic Home" to help protect the polar bear’s home.

One element of the campaign is that Coca-Cola changed its iconic red cans to white to celebrate the polar bear. This was the first time ever that Coca-Cola didn’t come in a red can. What else? They also committed up to $3M to WWF’s polar bear conservation efforts.

The campaign was launched on November 1st with a positive reception. So far, so good.

See our post Polar Bears Want You to Drink Coke for more detail about the project.

What happened next?

Some consumers were having problems distinguishing between the campaign’s white Coca-Cola Arctic Home cans and the silver Diet Coke Holiday cans pictured above. So, some folks wound up with a taste of the “Real Thing” instead of their beloved zero-calorie version—the horror!

Others complained that their beloved full-bodied version didn’t taste the same in the white cans. No, there was no formula change.

"Purists" who considered the change to the white cans sacrilegious when they first learned of it took the opportunity to pile on.

Less widely-known, climate change deniers seized the opportunity to pounce again on a project they opposed from its inception. They were infuriated with the campaign—and Coca-Cola’s alliance with WWF—since they considered it blatant support of AGW. Maybe. Hope so.

Is this a big problem for Coca-Cola?

Absolutely not. This is not a replay of 1985 when Coca-Cola did change its recipe and released New Coke. That was a costly nightmare for the company. New Coke was yanked and eventually everything settled down.

This episode is a far cry from that debacle—the white can critics are a small minority. Coca-Cola is happy with the Arctic Home project campaign. “The can has been well received and generated a lot of interest and excitement,” says company spokesman Scott Williamson.

Surprisingly, some of the “sugar water is evil” crowd support the project. Why? They like polar bears, support the WWF, and believe in climate change. They recognize its merits despite one of the players.

What’s the fix? Simple. Coca-Cola redesigned the can. The polar bears are still there—this time against a red background. Confusion eliminated.

Most importantly, Arctic Home supporters can relax. This is a well-intended project. It supports a great cause. And, it will continue to do good things.

Any downside from this episode? No. Easy, inexpensive fix.

Upside? Sure, the Arctic Home project just got more media attention. Plus, commemorative can buffs now get two versions to add to their collections.

Polar bears still want you to drink Coke—regardless of can color.

Filed under environmentadvertisingclimate