Government bureaucrats delay life-saving road projects, but let wind turbines butcher bats

English: Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) being he...

Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalis) being held in a hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cut fingers, cancer, bats and birds

Guest post by Paul Driessen and James H. Rust

Georgia residents recently learned that a rare bat has stalled state highway improvements. The May 2012 sighting of an endangered Indiana brown bat in a northern Georgia tree has triggered federal regulations requiring that state road projects not “harm, kill or harass” bats.

Even the possibility of disturbing bats or their habitats would violate the act, the feds say. Therefore, $460 million in Georgia road projects have been delayed for up to eighteen months, so that “appropriate studies” can be conducted. The studies will cost $80,000 to $120,000 per project, bringing the total for all 104 road project analyses to $8-12 million, with delays adding millions more.

Bats are vital to our ecology, agriculture and health. A single colony of 150 big brown bats can consume up to 1.3 million flying insect pests per year, Dr. Justin Boyles and other scientists point out, preventing crop damage and eradicating countless mosquitoes. If Indiana bats are expanding their range from Tennessee into Georgia, that could be good news.

“White nose syndrome” is impacting populations of hibernating bats in caves all over the Eastern USA. The infectious disease is probably fungal in origin, these scientists say, and the loss of North America’s bats to WNS could cost farmers $4-53 billion per year – and let mosquitoes proliferate.

At first blush, then, the delay-and-study decision by the US and Georgia Departments of Transportation (DOT) and US Fish and Wildlife Service to protect these voracious furry flyers makes sense. (The FWS enforces the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act and similar laws.)

However, the Georgia bat study action is akin to obsessing about a cut finger, while ignoring cancer. The schizophrenic decision underscores how environmental concerns, DOT actions and federal threats to impose penalties or withhold highway funds too often seem to reflect ideologies, agendas and politics, rather than science or actual risks of harming a species.

It’s true that Peach State highway projects could conceivably affect bat colonies or daytime rest periods for these nocturnal creatures, to some small degree. But the road work will reduce accidents and crash-related deaths – and delays will likely result in more injuries and fatalities.

Meanwhile, other human activities are decimating bat populations all over America. But environmental groups remain silent, and state and federal wildlife “guardians” do little to stop the carnage. How is that possible?

The exempted activities involve heavily subsidized wind turbines that generate expensive, intermittent electricity and require “backup” hydrocarbon-fueled power plants for some 80% of their rated or “nameplate” capacity.

A US Geological Survey report investigated the causes and consequences of bat fatalities around the world. Other analyses have addressed the violent effects that wind turbines have on bats, which are vulnerable because turbines are especially busy at night, when bats are everywhere but electricity demand is at its lowest. Bats are struck by blades traveling 100-200 mph at their tips or felled by “barotrauma,” sudden air pressure changes that explode their lungs, as explained in a 2008 Scientific American article “On a wing and low air: The surprising way wind turbines kill bats.”

Supposedly “eco-friendly” wind turbines in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands kill tens of thousands of bats annually. The Fowler Ridge and Meadow Lake facilities in northwestern Indiana already have 475 gigantic turbines on 75,000 acres; an additional 150 wind turbines are planned; and all are in the middle of prime Indiana bat habitat.

Even worse, long after the slaughter began, the USFWS is evaluating whether to grant Fowler Ridge a 22-year “incidental take” permit, so that the turbines can continue decimating bats – and the operators can continue being exempted from laws and penalties that apply to everyone else.

Of course, bats aren’t the only victims. Numerous rare, vital and endangered bird species are also at risk from wind turbines – including whooping cranes, hawks, falcons, and bald and golden eagles.

To minimize public outrage over the eco-slaughter, Fish and Wildlife has changed its census methods for “whoopers” (to make it harder to calculate how many cranes have “gone missing” along their turbine-dotted Alberta-to-Texas migratory corridor); allows wind facility operators to use search methods that ensure that most dead and injured birds (and bats) will never be found; initiated a process to issue 30-year “incidental take” permits for killing bald and golden eagles; and refused to prosecute wind facility operators for annihilating birds and bats.

The proposed New Era Wind Farm in Minnesota will likely kill 8-14 bald eagles annually. It is yet another example of serious environmental impacts overlooked in the quest to “go green” and meet state “renewable” energy mandates – as though this wildlife destruction is “sustainable” or “acceptable.”

Projects like New Era or Shepherds Flat in Oregon also mean a person could be fined or jailed for possessing a feather from a bald eagle decapitated by a wind turbine – but the turbine operator would get off scot free.

A 2012 Spanish Ornithological Society study and 1993 studies in Germany and Sweden found that a typical wind turbine kills 333-1,000 birds and bats annually in Spain, up to 309 birds per year in Germany, and as many as 895 birds and bats in Sweden. World Council for Nature chairman Mark Duchamp estimates that turbines kill twice as many bats as birds.

That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!

And yet, most environmentalist groups say nothing, and the Fish and Wildlife Service does nothing.

However, Georgia taxpayers must pay millions for bat studies – enriching researchers and reducing taxpayer wealth – to ensure that road projects do not disturb the flying mammals. Meanwhile, the state’s drivers and passengers must wait years for safety and other improvements to their highways.

Ironically, Indiana bats that are to be studied and protected in Georgia could get chopped in half en route by “Cuisinarts of the air” that Uncle Sam considers so holy the turbines must be safeguarded against endangered species laws, regardless of environmental costs.

Too many other health, environmental and economic impacts are routinely ignored by developers and regulators alike, where wind turbines (and biofuels) are concerned. That cannot continue.

As summer approaches, Americans should also consider what life will be like when windmills cause bat populations to crater. Freed of their natural predators, mosquitoes will thrive, and they have a much more unquenchable thirst for human blood than do bats of folklore and Dracula tales.

It’s high time that people’s safety – and truly devastating impacts on important bird and bat species – stopped taking a back seat to political agendas, crony corporatism and folklore environmentalism. It’s no longer acceptable to paraphrase Joseph Stalin’s obscene axiom, and say: A single bird or bat death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.

______________

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. James Rust is a policy advisor for The Heartland Institute (www.Heartland.org), retired professor of nuclear engineering, and outspoken critic of unnecessary alarmism over “dangerous manmade global warming.”

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61 thoughts on “Government bureaucrats delay life-saving road projects, but let wind turbines butcher bats

  1. As is probably well known to WUWT regulars I’m a bird watcher and bird feeder. What I think of this cannot be printed even in Playboy. The stupidity of wind enviormentally is a crime against Nature.

  2. Political correctness transcends common sense and life itself. This is why I despise it and those who practise and justify it. It is a shallow creed for shallow, non thinkers.

  3. “That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!”

    For perspective, cats in the US kill a hundred times more:

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-31/national/36650863_1_outdoor-cats-feral-cat-george-h-fenwick

    “Projects like New Era or Shepherds Flat in Oregon also mean a person could be fined or jailed for possessing a feather from a bald eagle decapitated by a wind turbine”

    Oh arent you the misleading ones…you mean only “fined or jailed for possessing a feather from a bald eagle”.
    The wind turbine has nothing to do with the law.

    And there is a apples and oranges problem when you keep mixing Endangered Species protections with bird/bat kills; they are not really comparable.

  4. It is disgusting the way these “Greenies” will stop food production for the sake of a newt that hasn’t been seen for years or stop construction of badly needed roads and then kill without any conscience or remorse hundreds of flying creatures of all shapes and sizes for the sake of a gas that is not going to harm anyone other than steal all our hard earned money.

  5. I am wondering how the snail darter could halt a reservoir project, but the bald eagles, endangered bat species and up to 39,000,000 individual sentient creatures count for nothing? My cynical explanation is that psychopathic hypocrites care naught for sentient creatures except to the extent genuine concern can be exploited. Hope I am wrong.

  6. Anyone know why JoNova’s site is down/unreachable?

    From both here:

    http://networktools.nl/ping/joannenova.com.au

    — joannenova.com.au ping statistics —
    3 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 2007ms

    and from Texas:

    Pinging joannenova.com.au [223.27.18.253] with 32 bytes of data:

    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.
    Request timed out.

    Ping statistics for 223.27.18.253:
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

  7. Wait a minute here, Indiana bats are expanding their range from Tennessee into Georgia….

    Someone didn’t get the memo……global warming says they should be moving north….sooner and faster

  8. I guess this all makes perfect sense if you are a climate scientist or natural climate change denier.

  9. The saddest part is that wind will never be economic without subsidies that supposed to be temporary when they started in 1992, but despite the sequester will cost 12 billion in 2013 according to CBO. The reason is simple. In addition to the direct cost of wind, there is the additional cost of the intermittent capacity that must be available when the wind doesn’t blow. This is usually gas turbine peakers. Using only ‘official’ EIA numbers for levelized generation in 2017, it is trivial to show that the true cost of wind is much greater than nuclear ( which doen’t produce CO2 and doesn’t kill birds and bats). The only thing more hopeless is solar PV, since the hidden cost of intermittency is similar while the direct cost is much greater. The (grid scale) solar industry is imploding even in California, taking more wasted billions in subsidies with it.

  10. 40,000,000 million bats and birds is a big number, far higher than I would wish to see die at the hands/arms of (sometimes) wind-power-producing towers – but the USA is also pretty large, in fairness.
    The ‘baro-trauma’ is unfamiliar to me [perhaps it shouldn’t be!].
    The policy decision – to prioritise intermittently-effective windmills [and incidental fauna tramatisers] – is all of a piece with muzzling the press, imposing unaccountable quangoes, increasing ‘green’ (i.e. wealth transferring, from wealth creators to wealth destroyers] taxes, promoting crony-access to funds, decisions, sweet-heart deals and the rest.
    The politicans, of course, are utterly selfless.
    [Do I need to add /sarc/ ?]

  11. Let me start by saying that I think wind energy is a joke and complete waste of time and money. That said, these numbers just dont make any sense. If a single wind turbine kills 300-1000 birds a years, and twice as many bats, the area below the wind turbine would be littered with bird and bat carcasses (carcai?). i cannot say that I have ever been at the bottom of a wind turbine and perhaps someone can lead me to pictures of this carnage, but for what it is worth color me skeptical.

  12. trafamadore [April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am] says:

    “That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!”

    “For perspective, cats in the US kill a hundred times more:”

    You warmies are certifiable. You’re like children.

    (1) Cats, like all animals are part of nature, unlike concrete and steel bird blenders. Supposedly this is an important part of the naturalist and environmentalist mindset.

    (2) Cats, like all natural predators go for the low hanging fruit in pure Darwinian fashion. They take the easy, the weak, the sick, the wounded, and least capable of surviving which in turns strengthens the species. The bird blenders pick off the soaring animals who by definition are fit. Not only that, they nail them during migration and even reproduction. Windmills are anti-Darwinian in every sense.

    (3) Those numbers ya’ll keep citing are completely ridiculous. Anyone who has cats, or lives near wild animals or even has windows on their house ( another eco-nut strawman ) knows that these figures are just made up.

    You guys are pure propagandists. The only question I have is whether you really believe this nonsense or will simply just say anything to thwart scrutiny of your sick religion. If you ever stop comparing apples and oranges, you will have nothing left to talk about.

  13. Sounds to me like it’s just an excuse to conduct those expensive “appropriate studies” making it just another way of handing out green cash while real people can go to hell.

  14. Blade says:
    April 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Blade,you took the words right out of my mouth and rearranged them in a much more succinct way without the swear words I was going to use.
    The loony greens who constantly chime up with the cats kill bats and bats fly into buildings make my blood boil. It is like saying that because 500 children a year are run over by cars, throwing another hundred off buildings won’t matter. Up to the present day, for all its faults, humanity has largely kept to the Cities and built roads between them and in general avoided massive disturbance to the wild areas. Now thanks to these loony green, cerebrally challenged, unsustainable numbskulls who presume to know what is best for the planet we are marching the industrial windflails across the very wild areas that up until now were left for the Eagles, the raptors, the geese, and the bats. Shame on these vile people for using their creed to destroy what is left of our wild creatures in the name of their discredited religion.

    Ivor Ward

  15. Thank you

    Anyone who thinks CAGW is about ‘saving the environment’ instead of de-development and wealth re-distribution should read this essay. The fact the WWF, Greenpeace and the UN is not screaming bloody murder tells you this is not about the environment but about Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren’s famous quote.

    A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States

    Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries,” Holdren and his co-authors wrote. “This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”

    Agenda 21 is the plan economists came up with. Of course the redistribution of wealth is from the poor and middle class to our Masters.

  16. This is too much, how hypocritical and arrogant these two faced greens are. Let’s face it they don’t give a S**T about the bats or the bird’s. Meanwhile I haven’t met a CAGW skeptic who doesn’t care about the environment and nature, it’s one of the main reasons we strive so hard to expose these frauds.

  17. Makes me want to scream,so I think I will.
    GIVE ME STRENGTH.
    When my cat kills a Mockingbird it is in self defense.
    Have you ever watched two Mockingbirds torture cat,
    they will not leave a cat alone. they will pick a poor thing to death.
    But every once in a while….
    Besides, cat gets 2-3 birds a year,and they were ready to go anyway
    Alfred

  18. trafamadore says:
    April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

    “That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!”

    For perspective, cats in the US kill a hundred times more:

    They kill one-hundredth as many bats. (The main topic of this thread.)

  19. Make no mistake, I think windmills are nothing more than monuments to greed and environmentalism run amok.
    But to quote Willis, “show me the bodies”.
    I’ve not seen anything that would begin to reflect the death rates being thrown around.
    (by “seen” I mean photographic evidence).

  20. Lately, I’ve been hearing the meme, from greens like trafamadore, that ‘cats kill more birds than wind turbines’. I don’t think they’re killing many bald or golden eagles. In fact, I think it might be the other way around.

  21. @ Jim: OT Jo Nova’s site: first check Twitter. I don’t twit if I can avoid it but it is useful for some things :-)

    https://twitter.com/JoanneNova

    “Back Soon! There is short routine maintenance on the server host. It will be short & was expected. Sorry to readers, I should have warned u.”

  22. DaveG says: “Meanwhile I haven’t met a CAGW skeptic who doesn’t care about the environment and nature, it’s one of the main reasons we strive so hard to expose these frauds.

    Thanks Dave … because I was thinking of resigning from a local campaign to save our nature reserve from being built on … because in the long run it is more important for humanity that we stop these idiotic windmills than that I save our local nature reserve … perhaps I should rethink that.

  23. There is serious money in “sighting” a rare species. Lots of trough money for the placement of an animal in the right location. Rent a bat must be doing well.

  24. trafamadore [April 7, 2013 at 10:28 am] says:

    “That means the more than 40,000 turbines operating in the United States, often in or near important habitats, could easily be killing 13 million to 39 million birds and bats every year!”

    “For perspective, cats in the US kill a hundred times more:”

    ——————————–

    That comment is pure garbage. Typical of the twisted logic enviro-whackos use to justify their illogical beliefs. Let’s go over it one more time. Try to concentrate and understand: cats don’t annihilate bald and golden eagles, raptors, bats, and other rare birds, as they soar, with turbine blades traveling 100-200 mph. Furthermore, do you then believe that since cats kill birds that it then justifies bird deaths caused by wind farms, and do you also believe then that we should wipe out cats since they kill so many birds?

  25. and when the mosquito and other flying insect populations soar, they will used as proof of climate change :)

  26. Bats are endangered – the Emerald Ash Borer is decimating the supply of raw material for Louisville sluggers, but hockey sticks aren’t affected.

  27. You people are so funny. On one hand you are complaining about highways and damn projects being put on hold because of endangered species and then you pine over bats and birds being taken out because of windmills…..And then you complain about environmentalists being as hypocritical as you.

    You look in the mirror, see everything is opposite, and miss the irony completely.

    As I said, pretty funny.

  28. trafamadore says:

    April 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    You people are so funny. On one hand you are complaining about highways and damn projects being put on hold because of endangered species and then you pine over bats and birds being taken out because of windmills…..And then you complain about environmentalists being as hypocritical as you.

    You look in the mirror, see everything is opposite, and miss the irony completely.

    As I said, pretty funny.
    ===============
    You spread quite the wide net, with your dispersions.
    Care to highlight one ?

  29. Oh great, I want to put in a serious comment, and I’m up after Tralfamadore. Wasn’t that the real, original name of George Jetson’s dog Astro? Move along, come back later.

    REPLY: No, that was Tralfaz – Anthony

  30. Martin Clark says April 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    @ Jim: OT Jo Nova’s site: first check Twitter. I don’t twit if I can avoid it but it is useful for some things :-)

    https://twitter.com/JoanneNova

    “Back Soon! There is short routine maintenance on the server host. It will be short & was expected. Sorry to readers, I should have warned u.”

    Thanks Martin – I’ll book mark that for future use!

    .

  31. I was once required to construct several “deer ramps” over a 1,000-foot-long, 3-foot-high geothermal pipeline. I called them “handicapped deer ramps” because any “regular deer” could surely either spring over or walk around such a minor obstacle. Then there was the “four-fish-condominium”, the purported loss of which I was required to mitigate. No one even pretended that four Atlantic salmon had actually lived there; only that “they could have if they’d wanted to”. Then there was the “endangered grass” episode….

    It would seem that currently fashionable wind and solar projects get a pass on environmental requirements that plague less “green desirable” efforts such as geothermal, hydro and, it would appear, roads.

  32. James Dellingpole who seems to have stirred up quite a bit in the prior article was also the author on the article about windmills killing birds and the RSPB ignoring it in England. Sadly the same thing can be said for the Audubon Society, the EPA, Sierra Club, and the other organizations who claim environmental purity. When I was growing up a long time ago we trusted the government (Eisenhower was president) but now that we have more sources of information and our experience has broadened we trust nothing the government says or does. Situations like the changing of the rules so that windmills can kill bats and birds just prove our lack of faith. Sad state for the country.

  33. u.k.(us) says: “Make no mistake, I think windmills are nothing more than monuments to greed and environmentalism run amok. But to quote Willis, show me the bodies.”

    This comment is not directed to only ukus.

    Don’t take my previous comments to mean that wind farms aren’t a bird and bat problem, I only meant to suggest they aren’t contributing to local extinctions at a level compared to habitat destruction and, for some species, hunting, and, in general, are minor compared to cat kills, something most people ignore…

    However, I have sat thru more than a few talks by environmental biologists complaining about the lost of birds due to turbines and simple google searches will get you (ukus) the numbers. But learning more can at least help to control the problem. Do we move turbines off the ridge tops so we get fewer raptor ‘whack’s? Do we shutdown the mills at night when the songbirds are migrating? ( I never knew so many species migrate at night…who knows this stuff!)

    The answers to these issues are complex and probably involve trade offs; reducing them to “you do this but then you do this” is for the feeble brained.

  34. “Don’t take my previous comments to mean that wind farms aren’t a bird and bat problem, I only meant to suggest they aren’t contributing to local extinctions at a level compared to habitat destruction and, for some species, hunting, and, in general, are MINOR compared to cat kills, something most people ignore…”

    Come on, have you any REAL numbers on Bald or Golden Eagles or Cranes or Vultures or Owls or Herons killed by cats ??????????. Or is a broad statement like “are minor….” OK ?

    How about the number of bats killed by cats ????? I have several very agile cats, I have a very hard time imagining them leaping 10-20 feet into the air to capture a Bat in flight.

    Most of the birds killed by cats are seed eating birds on the ground, funny thing, most seeds seem to like to drop to the ground (a convenient place to germinate, perhaps ?). And most of these bird species migrate from the Northern Hemisphere to the Southern Hemisphere yearly. Many Cats (Serval, Jagurandi, etc.) exist naturally in the Southern Hemisphere and have been feeding on birds for eon’s. The birds have adapted.

    Funny that bats have not adapted to turbine blades.

    Your reasoning is a lot like; Well, sure I started that building on fire for no good purpose, but, DID YOU SEE THAT OTHER BUILDING ON FIRE, IT SURE LOOKS BIGGER…………..

    Cheers, Kevin.

  35. I live up here in NW Indiana and enjoy bike riding amongst the bird choppers. Our bike club’s jersey even features a elegant drawing against a pale blue sky of these evil devices. (I chose not to buy one of these jerseys – hate to ride with propaganda on)

    I really feel for these poor farmers though. They get a lot of money leasing the land for these giant Cuisinarts yet when the companies that run them go bust when the Federal subsidies stop, these same farmers will be stuck with ultimate removal of these evil contraptions at about 5 million apiece (the number I read of the Massachusetts town that’s decided to remove their Cuisinart’s due to low frequency human health issues).

    If the biofuel and wind energy sectors don’t get an order of magnitude cheaper as they are scaled up, then they should not be subsidized. It ends up being a scam. And we had the experience of Spain to look at yet redid the scam anyway.

    I’ve always thought that if this country was truly serious about displacing the fossil fuel industry for whatever reason, then rather than spend all this money on very diffuse and environmentally disastrous projects like solar panel farms and wind farms, spend the money instead on making fusion feasible. This could follow research along the cavitation bubble collapsing method of fusion as well as the more conventional and better researched laser implosion methods. At least these dollars might bring some windfall (pun intended) discoveries that could lead to our nation’s energy independence while avoiding the political issues of fission based energy production.

    If we are to go this low Co2 route some type of nuclear is really the only choice to maintain or expand the standard of living.

    Yet, why should I expect logic from these folks that really want to see the disease of man removed from infecting mother earth.

  36. KevinK says: Funny that bats have not adapted to turbine blades.
    Adapting is a learned experience. The impact of a wind turbine blade is not something that a parent bat can pass on to the young and I suspect their “auditory radar” is not effective against a large rotating blade in which almost all of the area of the danger plane is empty.

  37. For the people who insist on “seeing the bodies”. I suggest the following experiment:

    Take a dead mouse. Put it somewhere quite visible in an open field.
    Repeat every day for a couple of months.

    Then measure how long it takes before a crow/fox “disappears” the next mouse.

    Scavengers aren’t stupid. They will quickly learn where carrion can be found. I have a pair of ravens near my home patrol who patrol the local highway at the crack of dawn every day.

  38. Wow. I had not appreciated the damage that wind farms are doing to bat populations. It is frustrating to see the impact of “green” technology on wildlife. I guess we all like the idea of using other forms of energy but most of them seem to come with a higher price – either via subsidy or via an un-imagined impact on the environment .

  39. trafamadore says:
    April 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    You people are so funny. On one hand you are complaining about highways and damn projects being put on hold because of endangered species and then you pine over bats and birds being taken out because of windmills…..And then you complain about environmentalists being as hypocritical as you.

    shortly followed by

    trafamadore says:
    April 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm
    ….
    The answers to these issues are complex and probably involve trade offs; reducing them to “you do this but then you do this” is for the feeble brained.

    Further comment would appear to be superfluous

  40. Isn’t it funny that in politics, words mean the opposite of reality. Eg, Peoples Democratic Republic of Korea. Green energy is the same – an absurd oxymoron that is so outrageous that it would sit comfortably within the covers of Orwell’s 1984. In fact, I’m sure Orwell would have replaced the original Big Brother idea had he been writing in more recent times. Perhaps he would have named in 1988 (after Hansen).

    In Orwell’s alternative novel, “Green” activists would be happily advocating the farming of whales – a sustainable source of “bio-oil”, just as they would be advocating ravaging the air with bird shredders, covering the land under vast swathes of sunlight robbing solar panels and ripping up rainforests to plant palm oil.

    Orwell would have worked out that the conventional legal frameworks to protect the environment and wildlife would have to be subverted to allow such an outrage to occur. He may have hit upon the clever wheeze of granting “licences” to kill based on so many birds per ton of CO2 abated. As for the great masses – all they would know is they are the greenest generation ever. And as long as there is no media to challenge that lie (Press regulations act) they can continue in their blissful ignorance – much like the deluded citizens in Logan’s Run.

  41. ****
    Blade says:
    April 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm
    ****

    Blade — quite right. Very few bats are taken by cats, which is what is post is about. Birds, yes (one of my cats is a bird-expert), but I see no overall effect from it on my bird-feeder. Just as many birds as usual, and they are “smarter” & more wary as a result of my cat hanging around nearby.

  42. JPS wrote:
    “If a single wind turbine kills 300-1000 birds a years, and twice as many bats, the area below the wind turbine would be littered with bird and bat carcasses (carcai?). i cannot say that I have ever been at the bottom of a wind turbine and perhaps someone can lead me to pictures of this carnage, but for what it is worth color me skeptical.”

    The problem is that most of these turbines are not publicly accessible. You can’t just walk up to one and start poking around. They are routinely visited by maintenance crews who also collect the carcasses. Then you also have predators who are quick to dispose of many carcasses. Once the predators become accustomed to having a regular feeding ground, they clean up the mess even faster. The combined bird/bat number of 900-3000/year averages out to 3-8/day. Between the predators and the crews, the mountain of bodies you might expect to see never has a chance to build up. Plus, many of these turbines are surrounded by grassland. Only the larger bodies (eagles, hawks, vultures) would be practical to hunt for. The rest are so small as to easily miss them.

    The only way to get an accurate tally would be to have these things video monitored 24/7, and catch the killing blows. No company is going to allow that, and you can’t get close enough to the things to set up your own video monitoring.

  43. The point of this — for policy discussions — is to properly characterize each technology used for energy production. To identify its advantages and disadvantages, including its impact on the environment before manufacturing (e.g. material recovery), during manufacturing, throughout its functional lifetime (e.g. displacement), and finally to its disposal or reclamation.

    The cat argument is mostly nonsense. This discussion is not about impact from natural elements of the ecosystem, but from anthropogenic effects. This may include cats by measure of their population density due to urbanization, but it does not specifically include cats, bacteria, or any other naturally occurring actor or effect.

    The fact is that “green” technology is not green, even by the criteria used in marketing campaigns. It is not green when recovering materials used for development of the technology; it is not green when manufacturing the technology; it is not green while deployed and functioning; and it is not green when it is finally disposed. It has negative impacts throughout its life cycle, which are exacerbated when buffering technologies (e.g. batteries) are included to compensate for inconsistent drivers and limited operating environments.

    The only part of “green” technology which is green, and renewable, is the driver (e.g. sun, wind).

  44. For me the scary point is that people seem to feel pet cats are a natural part of the ecology! But no pet is a “natural” resident of any ecology. Pets are a human introduction, as much as highways and windmills. And consider- some bat populations do hunt near the ground.
    If we take anything away from this conversation, please spay and neuter *all* house-cats, dogs, and non-native pets: These are known drivers of extinction. Should we re-consider that? The impact is only beginning to be assessed. We’re all blind to local effects of keeping pets:

    http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-31/national/36650863_1_outdoor-cats-feral-cat-george-h-fenwick

    But the exploding numbers of our pets threaten even far-flung systems. Beyond birds, today we exploit the oceans as significant sources for commercial pet foods. All this represents a human-controlled force upon planetary ecology. We alone are responsible for the consequence of our domestic animals- even our so-called ‘independent’ cats.

  45. Most of us who read here regularly know that wind turbines are a gigantic boondoggle long before we even get to the issue of their toll on wildlife such as birds and bats. I suspect that the low-frequency vibrations and racing shadows of the gigantic whirligigs may affect ground-dwelling creatures as well.

    beng says:
    April 8, 2013 at 7:13 am
    ****
    Blade says:
    April 7, 2013 at 12:10 pm
    ****

    Blade — quite right. Very few bats are taken by cats, which is what is post is about. Birds, yes (one of my cats is a bird-expert), but I see no overall effect from it on my bird-feeder. Just as many birds as usual, and they are “smarter” & more wary as a result of my cat hanging around nearby.

    Quite wrong, according to the Bat Conservation Trust:

    Cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties.

    Bats do have other natural predators (such as birds of prey) but cats, particularly, will learn the location of the bat roost and catch bats as they emerge.

    My bold

    http://www.bats.org.uk/pages/cat_attacks_on_bats_and_other_predators.html

    I’m glad I found that so quickly. It was the third return on my Google search argument: bats and cats. Clever, aren’t I?

    I seem to recall that some snakes somewhere also learn this trick. Sorry to be so vague, but I’m not clever enough to do a more thorough search, since the question of snakes and bats is straying a bit off the topic of wind turbines anyway, unless we are using snakes in a more figurative sense.

    We don’t need the whirligigs, and I submit we really don’t need all the pet and feral cats either. If you keep cats (and/or dogs), you also share their fecal bacteria, but now I am straying off topic.

    -sp

  46. Based on above comments, it appears to me that claims of the number
    of birds and bats killed by wind turbines are not easy to verify.

    Also, the bat claims look high to me. I have seen bats consistently
    avoiding collisions with objects of all sizes, and tracking moving objects.

    And, birds and bats sure seem to avoid colliding with moving airborne
    things other than wind turbine blades.

    So, I wonder if these claims are in the same category as the globe
    warming by 6 degrees C this century, high figures for annual body count
    from second smoke, and a CFL getting broken in your home requiring
    people in moon suits? I suspect they are.

  47. Am I missing something here? I really don’t know if there is proof that there are thousands of bats lying dead below a wind turbine tower. Got pictures? Bats can avoid just about anything with their sonar. Why would they fly into a turbine?

    And the statement: “turbines are especially busy at night”. Are you kidding? Most winds are during the day except for storms and fronts. They are driven (mostly) by the sun, not the moon. I am not sure what planet this opinion came from.

    I think wind power is good in the places where it makes sense. Same with Solar. Inefficient as hell, but if it akes, sense, do it. But I am sick and tired of stupid statments about wind and solar from ignorant people who don’t have a clue.

    It is as bad as telling us all the honey bees were dying because of global warming, when the problem was something totally different.

    *GEEZ!!!!*

  48. Donald L. Klipstein says:
    April 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    And, birds and bats sure seem to avoid colliding with moving airborne
    things other than wind turbine blades.

    ‘Ever hear of collisions between birds and aircraft?

    Almost 75 commercial planes have hit birds this year while taking off or landing at Washington’s three major airports alone, and in more than than a dozen instances in the past five years, the aircraft have suffered major damage.

    Bird-airplane collisions are up five-fold since 1990.

    Mike Strong says:
    April 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Am I missing something here?[…]Bats can avoid just about anything with their sonar. Why would they fly into a turbine?

    Yes, you are missing something ‘here’. The turbine blades fly into the bats.

    […] this cave, close to a wind farm, houses thousands of hibernating bats during the winter. “The first year, they found 430 dead bats and I think 50 dead birds in a very preliminary sketchy study. The expert that analyzed those numbers, Dr. Tom Kunz from Boston University, estimated that finding 430 dead bats meant that actually 10,000 bats had been killed in one year,” she said.

    That’s because the carcasses are scavenged by foxes, crows and other predators.

    Wind Turbines Take Steep Toll On Birds And Bats

    Mike Strong also said:

    But I am sick and tired of stupid statments (sic) about wind and solar from ignorant people who don’t have a clue.

    Do you have a specific example, other than your own?

    -sp

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