Wind Farms Kill Whales: Blubber on the Green Movement’s Hands

Ungreen energy

The price of wind?

The price of wind?

So wind farms don’t just despoil countryside, frighten horses, chop up birds, spontaneously combust, drive down property prices, madden those who live nearby with their subsonic humming, drive up electricity prices, promote rentseeking, make rich landowners richer (and everyone else poorer), ruin views, buy more electric sports cars for that dreadful Dale Vince character, require rare earth minerals which cause enormous environmental damage, destroy 3.7 real jobs for every fake “green” job they “create”, blight neighbourhoods, kill off tourism and ruin lives, but they also


According to researchers at the University of St Andrews, the sound of offshore wind farms is likely to mess with the whales’ sensitive sonar systems and drive them ashore, where they get stuck on beaches and die.

Has anyone else noticed the gentle irony here? Well, let me explain with the help of my magic sledgehammer: save possibly the polar bear and the mighty snail darter there is no creature on the planet more totemic of green values than the whale. Saving whales is what greens do. Or rather what they used to do in the days when greens were actually interested in caring for the environment instead of, say, trying to destroy the capitalist system. But now, here they are actively promoting a form of renewable energy which in the process of producing next to no energy very expensively also does the most stupendous damage to the environment and the eco-system.

I wonder how long it will be before the University of St Andrews team which came up with this research is accused of being in the pay of big oil.

And I wonder what Greenpeace co-founder Dr Patrick Moore – who in the mid-70s risked his life on many whale-saving expeditions – makes of it.

Actually I know what he makes of it because I’m reading his brilliant book: Confessions of A Greenpeace Dropout – The Making of A Sensible Environmentalist (Beatty Street).

I can’t recommend it highly enough. Moore is the real deal: a PhD ecologist who got into the environmental movement because he loved nature rather than because he hated mankind. He wanted to make the world a better place and he did: in those early days, Greenpeace did valuable work opposing nuclear testing, drift net fishing, industrial pollution and large scale whaling. But then, as he recounts in the book, the environmental movement lost its way:

Since I left Greenpeace, its members, and the majority of the movement have adopted policy after policy that reflects their antihuman bias, illustrates their rejection of science and technology and actually increases the risk of harm to people and the environment. They oppose forestry even though it provides our most abundant renewable resource. They have zero tolerance for genetically modified food crops, even though this technology reduces pesticide use and improves nutrition for people who suffer from malnutrition. They continue to oppose nuclear energy, even though it is the best technology to replace fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They campaign against hydroelectric projects despite the fact that hydro is by far the most abundant renewable source of electricity. And they support the vicious and misguided campaign against salmon farming, an industry that produces more than a million tons of heart-friendly food every year.”

And, no, he doesn’t think much of wind farms either:

“How can windmills be green when they require five times as much steel and concrete per unit of power produced compared to nuclear plants and when they occupy vast areas of land?”


It has been drawn to my attention that the man who led the St Andrews research team has violently, passionately and emphatically dissociated himself from the original Telegraph news item suggesting that his research showed wind farms to be deleterious to the health of whales. I am delighted to put this straight.

What this means is that, though at this stage we know for absolute certain that wind farms despoil countryside, frighten horses, chop up birds, spontaneously combust, drive down property prices, madden those who live nearby with their subsonic humming, drive up electricity prices, promote rentseeking, make rich landowners richer (and everyone else poorer), ruin views, buy more electric sports cars for that dreadful Dale Vince character, require rare earth minerals which cause enormous environmental damage, destroy 3.7 real jobs for every fake “green” job they “create”, blight neighbourhoods, kill off tourism and ruin lives, the possibility that they also lure whales to their doom remains at this stage an unproven hypothesis. (Just like Anthropogenic Global Warming theory, then.)

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14 thoughts on “Wind farms kill whales: blubber on the green movement’s hands”

  1. John D says:19th March 2011 at 11:32 amSo do sonars and ships, are we going to ban those too? Glass windows kill far more birds than wind farms, is the denial movement going to ban windows as well? Energy prices are already going up due to higher fuel prices…. and killing off 3.7 jobs, where do you get your dodgy statistics from?
  2. James Delingpole says:19th March 2011 at 2:57 pmOh dear, John. Do you know what a straw man argument is?
  3. John D says:20th March 2011 at 8:33 amNo James, but a strawlemming is a denialist who hasn’t time to read science but has plenty of time to bash science. Remember your interview with Paul Nurse?

    Watch this get censored…

  4. Nige Cook says:20th March 2011 at 5:57 pm“So do sonars and ships, are we going to ban those too? Glass windows kill far more birds than wind farms, is the denial movement going to ban windows as well?” – John D

    James makes this point in his book How to be right in the context of oil spill pollution at sea. It turns out that the number of sea birds covered in oil is trivial compared to the number killed by windows and windfarms.

    The point is, the green movement isn’t moral, right, just, honest, decent, and correct just because it has a left wing political agenda. It’s efforts to do away with safe, clean nuclear by lying about radiation will have serious environmental consequences, that make radiation look attractive and natural by comparison. The left lies in pretending background radiation is insignificant compared to radioactive pollution (it’s the other way around), and by pretending the fruit fly linear-response curve is still valid (it’s not, DNA repair enzymes have been proved to produce hormesis even at radiation levels well above natural radiation background, which is far above nuclear pollution levels).

    Unfortunately, if anyone in a position of authority in the health physics legislation quangos speaks up for the facts on radiation, they’ll be fired by Cameron and friends for the crime of political incorrectness.

  5. Nige Cook says:20th March 2011 at 6:34 pmWhat is curious is that the green movement fascists don’t even get the message here. The message is that windfarms, solar cells, etc., have environmental consequences, so they aren’t automatically safe just because they have green propaganda behind them. On the contrary, the politically correct power sources are provably the real danger, unlike nuclear power. I’ve experienced this before.

    You prove to the anti-nuclear propaganda politicians that “the radiation from nuclear power is trivial compared to natural background radiation”, and they honestly don’t get the message. They say “well we can’t stop background radiation but we can stop nuclear pollution, even if it’s trivial by comparison”. Then you explain, as Feynman did in the 1960s, that if they’re really worried about radiation, they should first ban people flying in aircraft, climing mountains, and living at high altitudes or in other places where the natural radioactive background is several times higher than in London. They then quieten down a bit but soon forget the facts and start again. They’re just too biased, which gives them protective stupidity, just as forecast by Orwell in his 1984:

    “Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity.” ( )

    First, alternatives produce very little energy, so you need an awful lot of them. Britain doesn’t get enough sunshine to make solar cells a substantial contributor even if every roof in the country is covered. So you need windfarms, and lots of them. You also need them in different places, to try to compensate for wind variations over the country. They shut down in both calm and gales, so you don’t generate any power in very hot weather (where there is a high pressure ridge over the country, with no breeze), or in very stormy weather. Both are times you get power surges for cooling (fans, aircon, etc.) or heating.

    Next, they cost lives to put up and maintain, because they’re high up and need maintenance, and people have to climb up there. Accidents happen.

    Then they pollute the skyline. Tidal power suffers from the maintenance problems, plus shipping hazards. The more clutter there is around the coasts, the more boating accidents will be caused. Also, extracting enough tidal energy to really make a difference is going to take that energy out of the tides around the coast. Energy is conserved. So there will be marine ecosystem effects, and the trials to date which extract negligible energy don’t indicate the environmental effects from enormous tidal energy systems that can provide useful power. More likely, however, the massive systems will simply break down (at great repair cost) during severe storms at sea. You’re not going to hear genuine negative criticisms from the scientists working on these projects, who have a vested interest in getting continued funding.

    The danger is that politically correct fashion will divert vast sums of money into not just down the drain, but into dangerous projects covering vast areas with environmentally threatening, high-maintenance technology that will break down just when most needed. All to appease the ignorant anti-nuclear propaganda lobby.

    The idea of using biofuels is just an inefficient version of electric solar power: biofuels are grown using solar energy (sunlight), then they have to be harvested, processed and more biofuel plants grown to take their place. Just as with solar power, biofuels require vast areas to be used if you want to replace existing power sources like oil.

  6. Chris P says:22nd March 2011 at 4:37 amIn the US cats kill over 500 million birds each year. Wind turbines less than 1 million.

    James is so bad at facts it’s not funny.

  7. James Stevens says:24th March 2011 at 9:29 pmJames, either you are deliberately misrepresenting what you read, or you simply do not know how to read scientific papers. Either way you are being highly irresponsible writing about scientific issues. The research you mention simply does not show what you claim it does above. See the link below for details.

  8. Martin Lack says:25th March 2011 at 11:09 amJames Stevens, I take my hat off to you. That is a wonderfully succinct comment; the like of which Nige Cook and I can but aspire to emulate.
  9. Nige Cook says:25th March 2011 at 3:09 pmMartin,

    If you want the scientific journal references, please see my draft paper on global climate change lies:

    Please see specifically the NOAA data in figure 1 which shows how H2O vapour fall (caused by a shift of global H2O from vapour to condensed cloud cover water, hence global dimming which stopped tree-ring data temp proxy working after 1960) has cancelled out CO2. Also, the recent evidence in figure 5 for strong negative feedback and its implications in fig 6 for predicted global temperatures in 2100 (all IPCC models rely on the false positive H2O feedback; with negative feedback there is zero temperature rise, and with zero feedback there is just 1C rise for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere).

  10. Nige Cook says:25th March 2011 at 3:38 pm(Correction: “it’s” in the first sentence of my abstract should be “its”. I’ll correct that before submitting to a journal. The point remains: the published NOAA data for a drop in humidity cancelling out CO2 effects is justified by the published data of Spencer, Braswell, Christy, & Hnilo’s paper “Cloud and Radiation Budget Changes Associated with Tropical Intraseasonal Oscillations”, Geophysical Research Letters, which shows that cloud cover has a strong negative feedback on temperature. CO2 simply pushes the down the ratio of H2O vapour/H2O cloud drops, while the overall amount of H2O is pretty much constant. The change in the ratio cancels out the CO2 effect on climate. You might have an increase in mean cloud cover from 61-62%, but you won’t get a temperature change due to CO2 in the real world, which simply isn’t a greenhouse because of cloud cover.)
  11. Nige Cook says:25th March 2011 at 3:52 pmTypo corrected:
  12. John D says:27th March 2011 at 4:46 amIf James says the green movement is killing whales and birds, does that James and his denialist movement is screaming for a ban on windows, planes, sonars, ships and all manner of modern technology because they kill birds and whales too?
  13. Nige Cook says:27th March 2011 at 10:46 amJohn D: James’ is putting the issue in perspective by pointing out the relative risks from other technologies. It’s just pathetic that the only response green fascists can make in reply, is to claim that James is “screaming for a ban on windows, planes, sonars, ship…”

    You’re deliberately misconstruing James’ very clear and funny sarcasm. It really has to be spelled out to you, doesn’t it, that James is being sarcastic. You’re so thick and prejudiced that you can’t see that “green” technologies are a far bigger danger than say nuclear scare mongering. The response of former New Scientist editor Jeremy Webb (an Exeter uni electronics graduate, who was a sound engineer at the BBC before joining New Scientist) in 2001 at the “New Scientist Global Environment Roadshow” to Dr Helene Guldberg (reported in her article “Eco-evangelism” on the website Spiked Science) was “Why take the risk?” She had asked Jeremy why nobody was being scientific and evaluating objections to scare-mongering.

    This proves that you need to understand relative risks or you have no perspective at all. Everything is risky. Unless you compare risks, you have no objectivity.

    People who smoke 20 cigarettes/day for 50 years have a 25-fold increase in the natural risk of lung cancer (Fig 1.1 at ). I.e., smoking 365,000 cigarettes gives a 2500% lung cancer risk increase, so if the dose-effect relationship were linear, you get a 1% increase in lung cancer risk for every 146 cigarettes smoked. However, if you look at the actual graph, it’s not linear but goes up by a curve whose gradient increases almost exponentially with increasing dose, so 20 per day for 20 years only doubles the natural risk, implying a 1% increase in risk for every 1,460 cigarettes smoked. So people who smoke at the same rate for 20 years have a risk per cigarette that is 10 times smaller than those who smoke at the same rate for 50 years.

    A more severe example, where the cause changes the effects in a qualitative way, not just quantitatively, is vitamin A. You first go blind and then your immune system packs in and you have increased cancer risks and genetic risks that make Hiroshima look like a picnic, if you don’t get sufficient vitamin A. Too much vitamin A, and you’re poisoned and die like many arctic explorers who ate the livers of polar bears or other polar mammals. So here the dose-mortality curve is not just non-linear, but has two peaks: 100% lethality at zero dose and at high doses.

    The same applies to things like proteins and sunshine, causing terrific problems for government advice. Government’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has finally been trying to “balance” the conflict that sunshine exposure permits vitamin D production, but also increases skin cancer risks. There is an endless controversy on this, caused by health experts advising on sunshine exposure to ensure people get enough vitamin D, and cancer researchers warning that sunshine ultraviolet radiation verges the soft X-ray spectrum, and is therefore ionizing and destructive to DNA with a cancer risk, like being exposed to large doses of nuclear radiation.

    In the real world, there are always counter-risks to any action. You can’t eliminate risk. People who quit smoking completely may end up drinking or eating to excess instead. You have to face all the facts, and take account of the consequences of other risks that emerge when you try to reduce one risk. Otherwise, you’re hyping deluded propaganda.

  14. John D says:28th March 2011 at 10:16 amTalk about pot calling kettle…

    Doesn’t James frequently goes off tangent accusing anyone not of the rightwing libertarian agenda of killing 3rd world people, whales, fascism etc etc. Then to add to that, uses 3 words in an email to destroy the reputation of one scientist without looking into the details of the 3 words?

    But when asked a question about whether to drink orange juice to cure a serious condition or follow the advice of the majority of experts in the field, blubbermouth Delingpole falls apart and accuses the BBC of a stitch up without answering the question!

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