On October 29th in Japan, EU countries committed themselves with other members of the international convention to give protection status to 17% of the land on the planet. The purpose of this Nagoya summit was to protect biodiversity in a context of rapid human expansion, unsustainable exploitation of natural habitats, and the resulting regression of plant and wildlife leading to the extinction of a great many species.
The success of the summit has been applauded, as it should be, but in a less publicized document released practically at the same time* the EU reaffirms that its own protected areas will not be off limits to industrial development, and in particular to windfarms.
* EU guidance document on Windfarms in Natura 2000 areas – October 2010
Conservationists worldwide are disappointed, to say the least, by this double talk from the European Union.
Save The Eagles International (STEI) have warned the European Commission about the deleterious effects of wind turbines on bird and bat populations. In a recent release, the conservation organization provided evidence that a biased environmental assessment had condemned the endangered Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagle to extinction through mortality by collision with wind turbines. STEI president, Mark Duchamp, stressed the fact that, depending on wind speed, the turbine blades travel at 150-300 kph at the tip, and that raptors, like bats, are attracted to windfarms. This has been demonstrated time and again, he said, by Dr Shawn Smallwood in his extensive studies on the matter.
Duchamp regrets that the EU has turned a deaf ear to their whistle blowing, ignoring scientific documents and bird kill statistics submitted as evidence. Likewise, he notes that bird societies have failed to publish this crucial information on their websites, conflicting as it does with their policy of advocacy and activism in favor of the wind industry.
Building windfarms in the EU’s “Natura 2000” network of nature reserves is not much different from Tanzania´s current plan to build a highway across the Serengeti National Park, he adds, and can only regret that the European Commission doesn’t know better.
STEI predict that, with such a gaping hole under the flotation line, the conservation of European biodiversity will be short-lived. As for the credibility of the EU’s green leadership, they regret to see it sink to new lows.
It is hardly responsible, says Duchamp, to sacrifice biodiversity to the impossible promise of running the EU´s economy on unreliable energy, costing (including backup and new transmission lines) three to five times more than conventional methods.
He concludes: absurdity is creating nature reserves and opening their gates to industrial development.