How many times have we been treated to hissy fits by the environmental left when it comes to species other than humans and their endangerment? What group has constantly pushed for laws that protect animals from humans? And where have the enviros been mostly silent as a particular group of animals is wantonly slaughtered daily in the name of green, renewable energy?
California’s massive Ivanpah solar power plant can produce enough electricity for 140,000 households — but the environmental cost is nothing less than an avian slaughter.
The plant’s 350,000 mirrors bounce sizzling sunlight to the tops of three 40-story boiler towers, heating steam for turbine electricity generators. Temperatures near the towers can reach up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, heat certainly sufficient to fry a fowl.
“Workers at the state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant’s concentrated sun rays — ‘streamers,’ for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair,” the Associated Press reports this week.
That’s a common occurrence, the AP continues; federal investigators saw a bird burn roughly every two minutes. Ivanpah owner BrightSource estimates that “about a thousand” die each year, and one environmental group says the plant kills up to 28,000 birds each year.
Of course, if you do the math (and account for 12 hours of darkness each day) it comes out to about 130,000 a year – assuming the observation that one bird “burns” every two minutes. And the outcry? Yeah, not so much.
And some of the birds it is killing are, among others, endangered:
As the plant prepared to begin operations, workers found the winged corpses of “a peregrine falcon, a grebe, two hawks, four nighthawks, and a variety of warblers and sparrows,” the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year.
You want a “silent spring”? Keep building these sorts of installations.
What about wind turbines? Well, Ivanpah comes up a piker in comparison:
Ivanpah isn’t the only green darling with a lot of bird blood on its hands, either. The American Bird Conservancy estimates wind turbines slay 440,000 birds each year, and the an analyst writing in the Wildlife Society Bulletin says it’s closer to 573,000 — in addition to 888,000 bats.
And, as usual, our federal government makes exceptions to the law for favored industries:
Federal wildlife officials on Friday for the first time agreed not to prosecute a developer if an endangered California condor is struck and killed by turbine blades at its proposed wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
You accidentally do it and watch how much of an exception they make for you.
In the meantime, with all this data showing massive bird kills among solar and wind turbine installations?
Crickets – unless they find some other sort of “green energy” source that happens to wipe them out too.
Myth one – wind power has no down side. Well, except for the fact that wind power needs fossil fuel backup to give it any consistency and thus can be hardly called strictly renewable or “clean energy”.
But in this case, I was thinking more on the endangered species side of things. The assumption is that wind power is an entirely eco-friendly way of generating power. Yeah, not so much if you’re a bird – especially, in the case of California, a golden eagle:
The death count along the ridgelines of the Bay Area’s Altamount Pass Wind Resource Area has averaged 67 a year for three decades.
The 200ft high turbines, which have been operating since the 1980s, lie in the heart of the grassy canyons that are home to one of the highest densities of nesting golden eagles in the US.
‘It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production,’ field biologist Doug Bell, manager of East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife programme, told the Los Angeles Times. ‘We only have 60 pairs,’ he added.
Interesting – the enviro-crowd will go to war for some tiny fish no one is heard of to stop a dam or some other project, but when something they mostly support grinds up endangered golden eagles at a rate at which they can’t replace themselves, crickets (endangered crickets, of course). In CA only the Audubon Society is speaking out.
Nationwide, about 440,000 birds are said to be accidentally killed at wind farms each year, as well as thousands more bats. With the government pushing for more wind energy farms, that statistic is likely to rise.
Can’t wait to see what comes of the Cape Wind project off of MA. The toll of birds is sure to rise, and my guess is it will become a favorite hang out for sharks – with the automatic chumming and all.
Myth two – we’re “deforesting” the earth and that is a major reason that the climate is changing and getting warmer (more CO2 generated by man , minus less CO2 capture by forests).
For years exponents of climate change theories have used images of deforestation to support their cause.
However, the density of forests and woodland across much of the world is actually increasing, according to a respected scientific study.
The change, which is being dubbed the ‘Great Reversal’, could be crucial in reducing atmospheric carbon, which is linked to climate change.
Seems that the density has in fact increased significantly enough to actually reverse what was claimed as irreversible a decade ago:
In countries from Finland to Malaysia, the thickening has taken place so quickly that it has reversed the carbon losses caused by deforestation between 1990 and 2010.
Of course, even if they acknowledge the results of the study, enviro types aren’t happy with the mix of the new density.
Environmentalists expressed concerns, however, that much of the increasing density is driven by huge new monoculture plantations.
In China, an ambitious reforestation programme has added three million hectares to the country’s forests every year over the past decade, but green campaigners believe this is predominantly composed of one species – eucalyptus.
But the study says the density, regardless of species, is having the effect of taking in more carbon that forest were taking in during the previous decade, regardless of species.
The research, carried out by teams from the University of Helsinki and New York’s Rockefeller University, shows that forests are thickening in 45 of 68 countries, which together account for 72 per cent of global forests. Traditionally, environmentalists have focused their concern solely on the dwindling extent of forested areas, but the authors believe evidence of denser forests could be crucial in reducing the world’s carbon footprint.
So – if you’re one of the global warming alarmists who want to do something about your carbon footprint – go plant a tree or two. As for the myth of deforestation – well, it’s just that, a myth. 10 million hectares of “new forest” are planted each year on newly felled woodland or reclaimed land. And, per the study, the density in which it is planted has, within a decade, “reversed” any theorized damage and has the world in a net positive situation for CO2 capture. That means, of course, that the alarmists no longer have this particular issue with which to hammer industries that use forest products – well except whine about what they’re planting.
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