Ryan Zinke Blames Wind Turbines for Contributing to Global Warming
At the CERAWeek energy industry conference in Houston this week, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he's "pro-energy across the board" but made it clear that he's in favor of oil and gas over other types of domestic energy production.
According to Bloomberg, Zinke praised the Trump administration's push for fossil fuels, from expanding offshore oil drilling to slashing regulations. He also advocated for a partnership with oil and gas companies.
"Interior should not be in the business of being an adversary. We should be in the business of being a partner," the former Montana Congressman said in front of representatives from energy companies and oil-producing countries.
Zinke admitted that "certainly oil and gas and coal have a consequence on carbon," but he then slammed wind turbines for their carbon footprint and for killing birds—a notorious charge from his windmill-hating boss in the White House.
"We probably chop us as many as 750,000 birds a year with wind, and the carbon footprint on wind is significant," Zinke said.
Zinke's remark is peculiar for two reasons. First, as TIME pointed out:
"Spread out over the life cycle of a typical turbine, scientists estimate that the typical wind plant generates between .02 and .04 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced. Even at the high end, that's less than 3 percent of the emissions from coal-generated electricity and less than 7 percent of the emissions from natural gas-generated electricity."
Secondly, yes, birds are killed by turbines, but "Zinke is exaggerating the figure beyond virtually all published estimates," Axios noted, adding "turbines are a drop in the bucket when it comes to the human-related causes of bird deaths."
Here's a graph from Zinke's own agency for measure. Note how oil pits kill far many more birds than turbines.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
"Wind turbines kill an estimated 140,000 to 328,000 birds each year, but the biggest threat to birds is climate change," said Garry George, Audubon's director of renewable energy. "More than half of the bird species in North America could lose at least half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures."
The Audubon favors properly-sited and operated wind and solar power, as renewable energy sources that help reduce the threats posed to birds and people by climate change.
During the same CERAWeek talk, Zinke ranted against solar facilities built on public lands for taking up hunting and recreational space, Bloomberg reported.
However, the interior secretary sure doesn't seem to object when oil and gas interests want to take the lands.
‘Plastic Is Lethal’: Groundbreaking Report Reveals Health Risks at Every Stage in Plastics Life Cycle
With eight million metric tons of plastic entering the world's oceans every year, there is growing concern about the proliferation of plastics in the environment. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about the full impact of plastic pollution on human health.
But a first-of-its-kind study released Tuesday sets out to change that. The study, Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet, is especially groundbreaking because it looks at the health impacts of every stage in the life cycle of plastics, from the extraction of the fossil fuels that make them to their permanence in the environment. While previous studies have focused on particular products, manufacturing processes or moments in the creation and use of plastics, this study shows that plastics pose serious health risks at every stage in their production, use and disposal.
Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.
But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.
A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.