By Justin Haskins
Published March 09, 2019
The nonbinding Green New Deal resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is being sold by its supporters as a necessary part of environmentalists’ plan to save animals and humans from the long-term effects of catastrophic climate change.
But if the proposal were to become law, it would result in untold millions of birds being slaughtered by Democrats’ supposedly “environmentally friendly” green energy sources, including wind farms and solar energy facilities.
The Green New Deal aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by eliminating nearly all fossil fuel use in the United States, including all electricity generation from coal, natural gas and oil. It would also impose “upgrades” to every home and business building in the country, require the eventual elimination of gasoline-powered cars and airplanes, and create a number of costly welfare programs, including a federal jobs guarantee and single-payer health care.
Among the major Democratic Party presidential candidates who have endorsed the Green New Deal are Senators Cory Booker, D-N.J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
Ocasio-Cortez and other congressional Green New Deal supporters say they would replace existing conventional energy sources powered by fossil fuels primarily with wind and solar power. This would be tremendously harmful to the environment, especially animals.
Wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of birds every year. One study published in the academic journal Biological Conservation estimates as many as 328,000 birds are killed annually from collisions with wind turbines, even though wind turbines accounted for only 6.6 percent of U.S. energy generation in 2018.
Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution would require most energy generation to come from wind and solar power. Powering half the United States using wind power would necessitate about 234,000 additional wind turbines, resulting in the death of as many as 1.5 million more birds every year from wind-turbine collisions. If the entire country were to be powered by wind turbines, as many as 3 million birds would die from wind-turbine collisions annually, or about 30 million per decade.
As stunning as these figures are, they represent just one relatively small part of the Green New Deal’s bird-pocalypse. Currently, 8 million to 57 million birds die each year from colliding with power lines. This figure would likely increase substantially if the Green New Deal were to become law.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar require much more land and facilities to generate power than many forms of existing electricity generation, such as nuclear and natural gas power. That means more transmission lines would be needed if existing energy facilities were replaced.
As Forbes writer Michael Shellenberger noted in a 2018 article about renewable energy transmission lines, “It would take 18 of California’s Ivanpah solar farms to produce the same amount of electricity that comes from our Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. And where just one set of transmission lines are required to bring power from Diablo Canyon, 18 separate transmission lines would be required to bring power from solar farms like Ivanpha.”
Some environmentalists have argued that the death of hundreds of millions of birds is justifiable, because global warming is going to cause harm to birds too. Even if the premise of that argument is accepted, the truth is the Green New Deal would do nothing to avert global warming.
Not only would the Green New Deal require more energy facilities, but those facilities would also likely end up being located farther away from population centers than current power plants, requiring even more transmission lines.
One reason this is probable is that many Americans, even those who support renewable energy, don’t want giant wind turbines and solar panels in their backyards. A second reason is that many parts of the United States are not conducive to wind and solar, because they don’t receive enough wind or sunshine.
Transmitting power from the windy Great Plains states and America’s sunny deserts means more transmission lines, killing millions of additional birds. If transmission lines were to increase by just 25 percent, it would mean 2 million to 14.25 million additional birds would be killed annually.
Together, these figures indicate over a few decades it’s possible a half-billion birds would die as a result of the Green New Deal’s mandates – and the number could be even worse, depending on how much of the country’s future electricity generation comes from wind turbines.
The huge number of deaths that would likely result from the Green New Deal creates a moral dilemma for environmentalists, and it could pose significant legal challenges, too. The Green New Deal’s hundreds of thousands of new wind turbines, solar facilities and transmission lines wouldn’t just kill birds with large populations, they would also kill many endangered birds and other animals protected by federal law, including the golden eagle.
Some environmentalists have argued that the death of hundreds of millions of birds is justifiable, because global warming is going to cause harm to birds, too. Even if the premise of that argument is accepted, the truth is the Green New Deal would do nothing to avert global warming.
The world, especially nations like China and India, are increasing their carbon dioxide emissions at such a rapid pace that any cuts we make over the next decade in the United States – including a total elimination of all CO2 emissions – would be more than offset by the rest of the world’s increases.
If humans’ CO2 emissions are causing global warming, the Green New Deal won’t stop it. So, why should we sacrifice hundreds of millions of birds, tear up tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of acres of land, and decimate the U.S. economy in the process of rolling out this disastrous legislation?
Members of the environmental left know about these problems (and many more, too) but they are more concerned about advancing socialism than actually protecting the environment.