Greens sacrifice wildlife to appease the sky dragon

Caption: It’s a sacrifice that greens are happy for wildlife to make

James Delingpole calls wind turbines ?bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes?, and research shows that he?s hardly exaggerating.

A 2013 paper published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin showed that, not only had the estimates of the wildlife carnage inflicted by wind turbines been grossly – and perhaps deliberately – under-estimated, the likely true numbers were shocking and are only going to get worse. Smallwood (2013) estimated that one-and-a-half million birds and bats were being smashed, sliced and diced every year by North American wind turbines.

Since then, the number of wind turbines in North America has increased by 25%. Even on a simple, linear progression, that means that nearly two million wild animals are being slaughtered in North America alone. For a measly 5% of America?s total energy production.

Previous estimates of wildlife fatalities were almost certainly grossly underestimated, or worse, data was not collected at all, or kept secret. Quote:

Many reports of fatalities have been kept confidential, including reports of monitoring at most wind-energy projects in Texas. End of quote.

Texas is easily the largest producer of wind energy in the United States. If the biggest chunk of data is excluded, that is undeniably going to bias the results. Environmentalists would never accept such secrecy from oil or gas drillers.

Even then, though, the data is shocking. Quote:

I estimated annual fatalities of about 651,000?888,000 bats?nearly 83,000 raptors, and about 573,000 birds of all types?My fatality rate estimate was 20 greater than Erickson et al.?s estimate for all birds and 89 greater for raptors. End of quote.

There is, perhaps, some good(ish) news. Quote:

Red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and all raptor fatality rates correlated inversely with increasing wind-turbine size?but bat fatality rates did not correlate with turbine size. End of quote.

Turbine design can help reduce fatalities among some bird species, but the bats still cop it in the neck, no matter what. This is due to the way turbines affect each. Bird fatalities are spectacularly simple: wind turbines are giant, whirling blades that hack and smash birds. Bigger, slower-moving blades are somewhat easier to dodge.

It might be thought that echo-locating bats would be able to dodge the sweeping blades of doom. But they are affected in an even worse way.

One puzzling phenomenon observed among the bat carcasses piling up around turbines is that 90% showed internal haemorrhaging, even though only half of them showed any sign of physical contact with turbines. It appears that the drop in air pressure by the massive, swooshing blades causes the delicate lungs of bats to simply explode. Just like a scuba diver experiencing explosive decompression.

This mass-killing of bats has dire ecological implications, including for humans. Bats are long-lived, and only reproduce slowly. Killing large numbers of adult bats devastates populations. Scientists question whether bats can survive the continued annual slaughter inflicted by wind turbines. Human cost will be incurred because insect-eating bats are an invaluable asset to farmers. But environmentalists who work themselves into a lather about (largely non-existent) threats to bees keep mum when their beloved wind turbines are at fault.

The greens? fixation on wind turbines is purely symbolic. Wind contributes very little to overall energy supply and places huge stresses on the power grid. But turbines are big, impressive symbols that inspire almost religious devotion amongst greens. So, while the cost, not just in wasteful, rent-seeking subsidies, but also in wildlife genocide, is shocking, the worship at the whirling altars of Gaia continues.

The same activists who want to ban cats for killing wildlife happily watch millions of wild animals get chopped and blown to pieces every year by their holy eco-swords. Greens who chain themselves to the gates at the merest hint that a mining project might threaten some obscure frog species prostrate themselves before their bat-chomping, bird-slicing eco-crucifixes with all the zeal of 14th-century flagellants.