The first fun run through the Woodlawn Wind Farm took place this November and attracted around 450 people eager to see these massive wind turbines up close and personal. The course, which is situated just outside Canberra, runs through undulating country with panoramic views and it meanders through the wind turbines so we were able to satisfy our curiosity about the visual impacts (less than I anticipated) and the noise which was also less than anticipated and indeed on that particular day not at all intrusive.
In places the blades of the turbines cast shadows across the road as they turned, whispering their story and sounding like waves breaking on the beach. Peaceful. Sustainable. But not enough.
Not enough because a week or so later the UN published the “Emissions Gap Report” which, checking up on the world’s progress as we try to reduce atmospheric pollution, tells a story of abject failure. As we approach the next round of climate negotiations in Doha the report reveals a 10 gigatonne shortfall in promised reductions not met, which is pushing us towards a temperature increase in excess of four degrees centigrade and into the maelstrom of runaway climate change.
Meanwhile the World Bank Group also commissioned and published a report, this one exploring the possible impacts of temperatures in excess of 3.5 – 4 degrees. It is named “Turn Down the Heat, Why a 4C Warmer World Must be Avoided” and the scenarios outlined in the report would be shocking but for the fact that they are already starting to be seen. The predictions include coastal cities inundated by storm surge and sea level rise (think New York), increasing risks to agriculture (think recent droughts in US, Australia and Russia), food insecurity, more extreme heat waves and severe storms. The list goes on.
To do our share we in Australia need to rapidly replace our coal fired power stations with renewable energy and we must stop approving new coal mines, coal seam gas extraction and oil exploration. There is a better way and we will find it.
By the way I did the 5km run and I finished and amazingly won a medal in my class. Remarkable outcomes are always possible.