Joe Biden's Climate Plan Would Be a Disaster for the Environment
Imagine an America where mountaintop ridges, coastal seashores, open plains, and most of our undeveloped lands are developed with wind turbines from coast to coast. Imagine an America where we are forced to transform two-thirds of the nation’s land mass into fields for industrial wind turbines, leaving little land left over for forests, open spaces, animal habitat, or anything else. That is exactly what Joe Biden’s climate plan would require. Under a Biden presidency, we must prepare for an environmental apocalypse.
According to Biden’s climate plan, America must run on 100 percent emissions-free power by 2050, with enforceable milestones as early as 2025. But the problem with this is there is much more to environmental protection than merely carbon dioxide emissions.
A recent Harvard University study found that in order to meet America’s current electricity needs, it would require covering one-third of the nation’s land mass with wind turbines. Furthermore, the Green New Deal, which Biden pledges to enact, would require an all-electric vehicle fleet as well.
The transportation sector produces more emissions than electricity, so that would require covering another third of America with wind turbines. The wind turbines to replace current electricity plus the wind turbines to cover transportation needs would ultimately cover two-thirds of America’s land.
Of course, people will continue to exist. People require housing, roads, commercial buildings, and land devoted to other human use.
Currently, because the footprint of land required for generating conventional energy is so small, there is plenty of room for people, undeveloped lands, andenergy generation. Biden’s climate plan would change that.
Wind turbines require 360 times more land to generate the same amount of power as nuclear power. The same discrepancy applies to coal and natural gas, as coal and natural gas land requirements are just as low as nuclear power.
Even worse, the mining of rare earth minerals that are necessary components of wind and solar equipment is perhaps the most environmentally destructive activity on the planet. The environmental destruction caused by rare earth mining is so devastating that only a select few nations freely allow it. China is one of them, which why they dominate global rare earth production.
Under Biden’s climate plan, either America will have to introduce rampant and environmentally devastating rare earth mining here in our country, or, we will deliberately make ourselves almost completely dependent on China for the materials needed to build and maintain our energy infrastructure. The choice is frightening and even dangerous.
Even if Biden breaks his promise and we only partially impose new wind and solar power, the environmental consequences will be devastating. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates wind turbines already kill between 140,000 and 500,000 birds each year, including many protected and endangered species.
Other studies put the number much higher. Moreover, wind turbines kill even more bats than birds. Increasing wind power from its current 7% share of U.S. electricity production to 35% would presumably increase bird and bat deaths five-fold; up to a million-plus bird kills and a million-plus bat kills each year.
Compounding the environmental harm, this would also require developing additional hundreds of thousands of square miles of land with wind turbines, devastating pristine lands and the plants and animals that live there.
Adding Kamala Harris to the ticket makes the Biden climate plan worse. Harris decommissioned her climate plan website last week after Biden picked her as his running mate. Nevertheless, her plan called for 100-percent emissions-free power by 2030, rather than Biden’s 2050.
That calls for destroying just as much land, habitat, and wildlife three times more quickly than Biden. We can only hope that Harris doesn’t make Biden’s already devastating climate plan even more extremist.
At the end of the day, Joe Biden would either devastate America’s environment or pull a bait-and-switch on the American people and admit his climate plan is unworkable. Perhaps it is unreasonable to think this, but can’t Biden speak honestly about his plans, not try to deceive the American people, and then keep his promises?
James Taylor (JTaylor@heartland.org) is President of the Heartland Institute.