For climate change deniers, a single dead bald eagle is a tragedy (but billions are just a statistic)
As the Trump administration figures out sneaky ways to funnel coronavirus relief funding to the oil and gas industry, it’s also found a sneaky way to take money from wind and solar: a retroactive $50 million bill for rent for energy generated on public lands.
While that’s certainly their biggest problem at the moment, the steady stream of attacks from the blogosphere haven’t let up either, for example with this post from anti-wind group Stop These Things: “State sanctioned slaughter: wind industry killing thousands of bald eagles with complete impunity.”
With a headline like that, one might expect to hear about how the government has made a policy of deputizing the wind industry for the sole purpose of killing bald eagles. Instead of anything that would even remotely justify the allegation of a state sanctioned slaughter of thousands of birds, the blog eventually gets to a story from the Toledo Blade about the death of one (1) single bald eagle, which was fatally struck after flying into the path of a turbine blade.
Which, sure, is sad. And yes, wind farms can and should do what they can do reduce the risk of harming birds. But the death of one bird is hardly a slaughter of thousands by policy, a particularly egregious exaggeration given that according to the story, there are only 707 bald eagle nests in the whole state of Ohio.
But wait, there’s more! Because last week at NoTricksZone, the climate denial blog that’s as honest as FoxNews is fair and balanced, Pierre Gosselin posted a pair of stories about Red Kites in Germany, a rare and protected species of hawk.
In the first post, Gosselin mentions that red kites are particularly threatened by wind turbines when the grass underneath has been mowed, and they swoop down to hunt. That’s what happened, and one died. The second example was that a red kite was shot in its nest, in an area that had been approved for a wind farm because no protected species like the kite were known to live there. Gosselin’s speculation is that the bird was “executed… to make the wind turbines possible.”
Except, for this Scooby Doo plotline to make any sense, the dastardly villain who murdered the bird would have removed the bird’s body, so as to not leave evidence of the fact that the bird lived there in the first place! If the point is to prove an animal doesn’t live in an area, killing it in its nest and leaving the evidence there for authorities to find does not exactly seem like the smartest move.
In the second post, Gosselin asks if there’s a “war on windpark-blocking red kites” because of a recent story about 11 red kite deaths reported since 2017 in one part of northern Germany.
Nine of them died from ingesting a banned insecticide, which most sane, rational and normal people would blame on people using a banned insecticide, not an entirely imagined environmentalist conspiracy to kill birds on behalf of the wind industry.
But of course these birds-martyred-by-wind-power attacks aren’t made in good-faith or motivated by any sort of concern about the well-being of birds.
And there’s a simple, obvious, numeric way to show that. These blogs have posted three times, about a total of 14 dead birds, with one dead eagle alone warranting a headline about the “state sanctioned slaughter” of “thousands” of birds.
But how many times did they post about the Trump administration’s move to let companies, (namely in the fossil fuel industry) off the hook for killing as many as a billion birds a year? How many posts about the literal state sanctioned slaughter of billions of birds?
Which, coincidentally, is exactly how much integrity can be found on these blogs.
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(Crossposted with DailyKos.)