The Church of the Windy Spires
In 1973, OPEC instituted an oil embargo. Denmark used oil for much of its electrical generation and was very hard hit. The government sprung into action, deciding that a century old technology with a fresh coat of paint could be the messiah they needed to save their country. Wind turbines, “clean”, intermittent, variable electricity was better than a blackout. Up went the beautiful white towers, saviors of Denmark.
The church might have withered and died, had it not been for James Hansen and his testimony before the Congress of the United States concerning global warming. Suddenly, the savior of Denmark became the savior of mankind. No more would filthy fossil fuels be used for generating electricity. Clean, pure, wonderful eco-friendly turbines would light up homes–at least some times. That was a problem. Fossil fuels were still needed. What to do? Wait, people would be willing to accept the spires if shamed. People are very cooperative that way.
Enter Al Gore, preacher and politician extraordinaire. With his political connections, he could push the “save the planet” meme. Thus, the Church of the Windy Spires was born. People were told wind had free fuel, that CO2 would be reduced and the planet saved.
However, there was still that pesky problem of needing the free energy but getting no delivery. Fossil fuels or hydro would be needed. Denmark got around this with the help of the European grid. The US had no such grid. Backup plants would still be needed. How to sell the church in the face of this reality?
(1) Electricity is invisible. Your average person has no idea how power works. Over time, the church leaders began began claiming certain industries were 100% renewable and using these companies to shame others who were not yet worshipping in the Church of the Windy Spires. Technically, these businesses were 100% renewable on paper only. They used the same electricity everyone else did, but paid for renewable energy. Thus, their lights stayed on, their air conditioning worked, and no one was the wiser.
(2) Enlisting journalists and scientists to make the claim that wind would eventually stand alone. One popular phrase was “the wind is always blowing somewhere”. Your average citizen would never question that –it seemed logical. If any did question, they were just called deniers or contrarians and ridiculed.
Over time, opposition to the alters of the Church began to arise. People did not share the belief that the church was clean and free energy was cheap. Electric bills went up as spires did. Why even former President Obama openly state bills would go up as people were forced to give up fossil fuels. A backroom flogging was considered, but Barack later saved himself with the signing of the Paris Accord, a huge boost for the Church of the Windy Spires.
It quickly became apparent that wind energy, and thus the Church, could never compete in a free market. Enter Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who, in the great tradition of Iowans, and in the name of saving the planet, convinced Congress to subsidize the Church of the Windy Spires heavily. Hallelujah! The money flowed like wine. The Church of the Windy Spires started popping up nationwide by the thousands. As everyone knows, once the government blesses an industry with money, the sky is the limit for growth. The Church of the Windy Spires grew and grew.
As an added bonus, the true believers of CAGW began using RPS’s (Renewable Portfolio Standards) to boost the expansion of the church. This was a legal requirement that a certain percentage of a state’s electricity come from renewables. Victory! Even more Churches rose from farmlands and mountain tops, took over virgin prairies and became a status symbol of caring about the planet and our future.
Unfortunately, the opposition continued to grow concerning the beautiful white spires. Some heretics claimed the spires were destroying scenic vistas. While this was very successful for the environmentalists fighting oil and gas, it was summarily dismissed concerning the Spires. The Church made certain that people who dared to try to save the areas once claimed as irreplaceable and of great importance to biodiversity by the environmentalists, yet were now being sacrificed to “save the planet”, were drowned out by praise for the Spires. Other tactics included claims of being a NIMBY, calling people backward and against progress (ironic, since the church was founded on a failed 19th century power source rejected in favor of fossil fuels) and the usual tactics employed when one’s church and free money is threatened.
There also arose questions of the churches harming wildlife, causing illness, decreasing property values and other such whining. The Church of the Windy Spires realized these claims could be called anti-science, anti “save the planet”, and so forth. This for a while seemed to quiet the effectiveness of those who opposed having the Churches in their back yards. Once again, shame works wonders when the facts are not on your side.
In order to avoid some negative publicity for the Church, the time-honored method of bribery was introduced. Huge sums of money were paid to “host” a Spire. It worked. It worked so well that the Churches could renege on the bribes, such as demanding reductions in property tax by claiming the wind had less value than was originally calculated for the Spires production. There were enough desperate, greedy people out there to fall for the ruse over and over again. Spires were coveted by those who adored getting their income without labor.
In 2015, generous Congressmen gave four years of government support to the building of the Spires. This invigorated the church, resulting in thousands more of the Churches being built. President Trump pulled out of the Paris accord but Congress was so very, very generous the Church of the Windy Spires was blessed with much continued government support, no matter the state of climate change or who was in the White House.
There continues to be opposition in some areas, but the Church, in its high virtuous mission of saving the planet marches onward, much like a steamroller, filling its coffers with cash and standing as unmistakable proof that with enough faith an entire planet can be drawn into what was once only a small con game. With the right marketing and political connections, people can be convinced to believe in almost anything. If you have any doubt, the Church of the Windy Spires stands as an eternal testament to mankind’s bottomless gullibility.