The false claim has now become a tool for President Trump to take his war on wind power to the next level. At a National Republican Congressional Committee event Tuesday night, he remarked: “they say the noise” from wind turbines causes Cancer.
“If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 percent in value,” Trump said, as The Independent reported. “And they say the noise causes cancer. You tell me that one, okay? Rerrrr rerrrr!”
Jonathan Chait pointed out in New York Magazine that the cancer claim is false. The long-standing beliefs in oppose to wind turbines are that low-frequency sound can create health problems like disturbance of sleep, triggering anxiety, causing nausea and other, The Atlantic explained. However, the claims have not been verified by any scientific experiments.
“Cancer is not caused by noises of any kind,” Chait wrote.
As per The Huffington Post report, social media countered Trump’s remarks quickly and Twitter users berated him after his claim. Maryn McKenna, the wired columnist, linked a study published in March in this relationship and that could not find any connection between the noise of wind turbine and heart attack or stroke. The study was conducted by the researchers to verify the claims that the noise from wind turbine was more annoying compared to noise from traffic.
Repeating his claims, Trump said during his remarks on Tuesday that they reduce property values and harm birds.
“And of course, it’s like a graveyard for birds,” he said Tuesday, as The Washington Post reported. “If you love birds, you’d never want to walk under a windmill.”
Yes, birds are killed by wind turbines but much less in number than other power forms. Chait cited a 2009 study which used US and European data on the death of birds to estimate the number of birds killed per unit of power generated by fossil fuel, wind, and nuclear power systems.
It concluded, “Wind farms and nuclear power stations are responsible each for between 0.3 and 0.4 fatalities per gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity while fossil-fuelled power stations are responsible for about 5.2 fatalities per GWh.”
The study also found that fossil-fuel plants killed almost 15 times the number of birds as compared to wind turbines. According to the estimation of the author, in 2006 wind farms killed approximately seven thousand birds in the US whereas nuclear and fossil-fuelled power plants killed about 327,000 and 14.5 million respectively. To put it in other words, where one bird got killed by a wind turbine, nuclear and fossil fuel powered plants killed 2,118 birds. So, it cannot be a cause for Trump to hate wind turbines so much.
President Trump’s hostile approach to wind power is nothing new. Philip Bump of The Washington Post wrote that in the past Trump had bought land to start a golf course off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland in 2006 and put up a fight against a wind farm that had been scheduled to go up there. Trump sued but was unsuccessful in stopping the farm.
Trump also initiated a public relations campaign against Scottish politicians supporting the project and against wind power itself, tweeting whatever negative coverage he could find. In 2012 he did retweet a story as part of the same blitz and claimed that wind power had negative health impacts. However, scientists have not confirmed any such results. Tuesday likely marks his first-time claim that wind power causes cancer, Bump said.
As per the observation of the Chait, Trump is selective in his health concerns when it comes to energy.
Surprisingly Trump loves and tried to strengthen coal, a power source and a dirty fuel that inevitably causes many health problems, including cancer, but in vain. Its cost of production is more compared to other sources of power and creates huge air pollution side effects including emissions of deadly greenhouse gases in large amounts. Even though this aspect has been confirmed by science, Trump rejects.
Trump’s anti-wind stance and Republican policy fit neatly together as noted by Bump.
“As climate change became a sharply polarized issue, Trump was prepared for the fight thanks to his battle over that wind farm near his golf course in Scotland,” Bump wrote.