Climate change angst

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In recent editions of Grocott’s Mail there has been a lively exchange of opinions about the building of a wind farm on the outskirts of Grahamstown at Waainek.

In recent editions of Grocott’s Mail there has been a lively exchange of opinions about the building of a wind farm on the outskirts of Grahamstown at Waainek.

There are compelling arguments both for and against setting up the wind turbines, which are designed to feed electricity either directly to Grahamstown or into the wider Eskom grid.

Some of the arguments are based on technical merits – such as just how much electricity will the turbines actually generate and whether Eskom will acquiesce in the semi-independence of Makana Municipality. The editorial team of this newspaper does not have the necessary expertise to make a call on most of these arguments, but we do feel there is tremendous value in exploring these and other forms of alternative energy.

The debate around the wind turbines for Grahamstown is really just a small facet of a much, much larger issue – how can we make more effective use of the limited resources at our disposal? We need to make use of resources in a sustainable manner so as to reduce our impact on the climate of our planet.

Scientists, political leaders and even newspaper editors are aware that global warming is a serious issue that could have catastrophic consequences for humanity. There is no consensus on the gravity of our current situation nor is there much agreement about time frames of our impending doom. However there is not much dispute about the fact that it is happening.

What is it that is happening? There are various scenarios and none of them are pretty. If the icecaps melt, enormous amounts of water could raise the sea level by dozens of metres, so that instead of going to Kenton-on-Sea to splash in the waves, we could end up spending the weekend at Bathurst-on-Sea.
Some scenarios would have Southern Africa turn into a hostile desert; others are convinced that global warming will eventually trigger the onset of a new ice-age.

We are unsure about where global warming is taking us and it seems that our leaders are equally unsure about what to do to correct the situation.

In our Friday edition we will be taking a closer look at the merits of the wind farm debate.

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