Since nonrenewable fossil fuels dominate the world, this energy source has thus been the sole focus for man made impact on climate change. Numerous calculations have been made as to how many degrees the planet will be warmed over this amount of time if man does not wean off of fossil fuels. However, little time has been allotted for predictions as to how renewable sources would impact the planet. A new Harvard study took the time to calculate what would happen if the U.S. radically transitioned to wind energy, and the team found that global warming would be exacerbated in response.
“A new study found that transitioning to wind power might actually exacerbate global climate change,” Futurism reports. “Two scientists from Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences found that if America reduce the amount of carbon energy — fossil fuels and natural gas — and switch to energy generated by wind, the drag from so many wind turbines would prevent flowing air that naturally cools the Earth.”
This is a rather unexpected turn of events. Fossil fuels release C02 and other gases into the atmosphere. If this were to be avoided, it has so far been speculated that this would save the planet from harmful global warming. However, it has now been documented that gases in the atmosphere are not the only concern, and perhaps not even the most prominent of concerns. It turns out that tinkering with world’s wind channels and free air flow may prevent natural cooling effects from being facilitated around the planet.
Wind turbines could actually be worse for global warming than carbon-based energy. Lee Miller, one of the Harvard researchers, calculates, “The jump from no wind turbines to low density wind turbines cause the most temperature effect per unit energy generation.”
Futurism goes on to explain, “In their research paper, published Thursday in Joule, models suggested that powering the U.S. with wind alone would warm the planet a quarter-degree Celsius over the next century, while removing carbon-based energy would only decrease the temperature by a tenth of a degree over the same time frame.” Thus, a complete transfer to wind energy would be worse for global warming, as wind farms would “more than make up for the difference” by not using fossil fuels “with their own heating effects.”
Now, just like all the research and predictive models made about fossil fuels, many questions remain for this new study on wind energy. If by inhibiting wind flow the planet warms, do other such restrictions do the same? Should skyscrapers now have to pay a heat tax? Are tall trees bad for climate change?
That would be quite a shift in narrative. What we actually need is less trees.
This new study, at the very least, opens up the conceptual doors for other variables to be considered past the repetitive drum of fossil fuels. While this study was surely well engineered and sophisticated, it already has a number of critics just like all the other studies done on climate change.