An Auckland University scientist has told the Environment Court that wind farms have no environmental benefits because carbon emissions are a good thing.
Christopher de Freitas - noted as a sceptic of human-induced global warming - was giving evidence against Meridian Energy's consent bid for Project Hayes, a $2 billion, 176-turbine wind farm on the Lammermoor Range in Central Otago, the Otago Daily Times reported.
"Climate is not responding to greenhouse gases in the way we thought it might," he said. "If increasing carbon dioxide is in fact increasing climate change, its impact is smaller than natural variation.
"People are being misled by people making money out of this."
He suggested mild warming of the climate was beneficial for New Zealand's agricultural industry.
"There is no data to show benefits in terms of mitigating potential dangerous changes in climate by offsetting carbon dioxide."
Meridian has said Project Hayes will contribute to a new renewable power supply meeting New Zealand's Kyoto Protocol obligations.