In a recent rally in South Carolina, Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, launched an unfounded attack on wind turbines, claiming that they were causing the deaths of whales. He stated that windmills were making the cetaceans “crazy” and “a little batty.” Trump further alleged that the windmills were responsible for an increase in whale strandings.
This is not the first time that Trump has made false claims regarding renewable energy. He has previously argued that the noise from wind turbines can cause cancer and that they “kill all the birds.” However, experts have refuted these claims, stating that there is no scientific evidence to support them. In fact, they argue that wind turbines have minimal impact on bird populations compared to other causes such as cats or fossil fuel infrastructure.
In the case of whales, researchers and marine mammal experts have dismissed Trump’s assertions. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that wind turbines or surveys for wind turbines are causing whale deaths. The main threats to whales come from boat collisions and entanglement in fishing gear, as well as the warming oceans due to climate change.
The US has been relatively slow in developing offshore wind farms compared to other countries. However, several projects are now underway off the east coast, supported by President Joe Biden as a way to boost clean energy and combat the climate crisis. Critics of these projects have raised concerns about their impact on whales, but scientists have largely dismissed these claims. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated that there is no scientific evidence linking offshore wind site surveys to whale mortality.
Opposition to wind turbines, fueled by the recent strandings of dead whales along the coasts of New York and New Jersey, has been embraced as part of the culture war and supported by fossil fuel interests. Right-wing groups funded by these interests have organized protests against wind farms, manipulating concerns for whale welfare to further their own agenda.
It is important to separate fact from fiction and rely on scientific evidence when evaluating the impact of wind turbines on wildlife. In the case of whales, while there are broader concerns about the industrialization of oceans, the main threats they face are not from wind turbines but from human activities such as boat collisions and fishing gear entanglement.