President Obama’s Climate Plan Would Kill Hundreds Of Millions Of Birds And Bats

President Obama’s Climate Plan Would Kill Hundreds Of Millions Of Birds And Bats
July 31, 2013

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

A newly published peer-reviewed study reports U.S. wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats every year, even while producing just 3 percent of U.S. electricity. The numbers reveal that President Obama’s global warming plan will kill hundreds of millions of birds and bats while doing little if anything to reduce global temperatures.

Even if no new wind turbines are ever built, turbine blades will slice 14 million birds and bats to death in mid-flight during the next decade. However, global warming alarmists say we must reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50 or even 80 percent. President Obama’s recently announced assault on climate change appears likely to seek such numbers. Given that most global warming alarmists also vigorously oppose hydropower, natural gas power and nuclear power, reducing emissions by 50 to 80 percent would require increasing the number of wind turbines roughly 25 fold. That means killing 350 million birds and bats in the United States every decade.

Actually, the number of bird and bat deaths would likely be much higher than that. Wind turbines produce power on an intermittent and unpredictable basis, meaning conventional power plants must remain cycling on a constant basis to fill minute-by-minute fluctuations in wind power. That means electricity produced by wind turbines is far from carbon neutral. Also, wind power companies have already cherry picked the best locations to place wind turbines. As wind power companies are forced to build their industrial wind farms on less productive sites, each new wind turbine and wind farm will produce less electricity than its predecessors. Accordingly, producing 25 times as much wind power means building a heck of a lot more than 25 times more wind turbines.

Looking at the direct consequences of all these new wind turbines, it is hard to visualize so many bird and bat deaths. After all, 350 million is a HUGE number. And that is not a one-time number. That is the number of birds and bats that wind turbines would kill every decade. How would bird and bat populations be able to sustain themselves under such an onslaught? The answer is, most bird and bat populations likely couldn’t sustain themselves, and President Obama’s climate plan would initiate an open-ended aviary holocaust the likes of which we have never before seen.

Bald eagles, California condors and whooping cranes would be among the first to go. But it wouldn’t be just endangered and threatened species that would fail to sustain their numbers. Pretty much every kind of bird you can think of would race precipitously toward unsustainability, with many facing a very real threat of extinction.

Bat populations would also be decimated. Bats are already in rapid decline due to white-nose syndrome, a cold-loving fungus that is decimating bat populations in the U.S. Northeast and is spreading westward across the country. Bat populations in the Northeast have declined by approximately 80 percent, and the 888,000 bat kills resulting from wind turbines each year aren’t helping the cause. Ramp up the number of wind turbines and ramp up the pressure on declining bat populations.

Killing off so many birds and bats every year would have profound negative consequences beyond the mere deaths of birds and bats. Birds and bats are vital in keeping insect populations in check. Kill off as many birds and bats as President Obama desires and mosquito-borne diseases will assault Americans with striking ferocity. Crops will suffer under a growing onslaught of insect attack. Farmers will have to employ more and stronger pesticides to secure our food production.

With wind turbines killing off so many birds of prey, infestations of rats and other vermin will also become more frequent and severe.

Moreover, wind turbines require vast amounts of land to produce even a small amount of electricity. Even under optimum conditions, It takes approximately 400 square miles of land to produce as much electricity as a conventional power plant. Ramp up wind power production to replace conventional power plants and watch America’s remaining open spaces turn into whirring killing fields for birds and bats.

If global warming actually threatened to destroy the planet, perhaps we would have to sacrifice so many birds and bats for the cause. But the reality is just the opposite. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author Hans von Storch conceded earlier this month that computer models predicting significant future global warming cannot replicate recent temperatures and likely need to be adjusted downward to predict less warming. A panel of experts convened last week by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer agreed President Obama’s recent assertion that global warming is accelerating is not supportable by real-world facts and data. Hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, etc., are all in long-term downward trends as our planet modestly warms in its recovery from the recent Little Ice Age.

Finally, sacrificing hundreds of millions of American birds and bats would do nothing to impact global temperatures. China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere. Even if the United States immediately cut emissions by 80 percent, new growth in Chinese emissions would render our reductions moot in less than a decade. Americans would suffer the negative economic and environmental consequences of eliminating conventional power generation, there would be no measurable impact on global temperatures, and Americans would be put at a competitive disadvantage producing goods and services while burdened with immensely high energy costs.

President Obama, you keep your global warming plan, we’ll keep our aviary wildlife and our undeveloped lands.

[Originally Published by Forbes]

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)