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The Moon landing was faked, and wind farms are bad

In Germany, opposition to wind farms correlated with conspiratorial thinking.

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(credit: NSF)

Germany ranks third in the world for installed wind power capacity. In 2020, almost a quarter of the country’s energy came from wind, and the government has pledged to double that by 2030, designating 2 percent of Germany’s landmass to become wind farms.

Switching away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources like wind is essential if we want to try to mitigate some of the worst consequences of the climate change we’ve started, but this switch is extraordinarily difficult for many reasons. Watching how this switch plays out in early adopters of wind power like Germany may help inform how the rest of us decarbonize.

People are generally keen on wind power in the abstract, but a huge NIMBY (not in my backyard) factor comes into play when wind farms have to actually get built in communities. Researchers in Germany wondered what it was, exactly, that made people vote against local wind farms. They found that a tendency toward conspiratorial thinking helped explain a lot of the resistance.

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