President Donald Trump said wind turbines kill 'all the birds.' Cats and radio towers kill far more.

Joshua Bote, USA TODAY
·2 min read

President Donald Trump’s crusade against wind turbin continued during Thursday’s presidential debate when he proclaimed that wind turbines kill “all the birds.”

In response to a follow-up to moderator Kristen Welker’s question on climate change, former Vice President Joe Biden criticized Trump’s opposition to his climate plan and called out the president’s previous comments in which he said “wind causes cancer.”

Trump then responded: “I know more about wind than you do. It’s extremely expensive, kills all the birds, it’s very intermittent. It's got a lot of problems and they happen to make the windmills in both Germany and China.”

But his claim that windmills pose a great threat to our avian friends is dubious at best. A 2014 study did find that windmills killed between 214,000 and 368,000 birds annually. That number is slight, compared to the estimated annual fatalities caused by cell and radio towers (around 6.6 million annually) and cats (around a couple billion).

Trump has repeatedly expressed his disdain for wind energy, both before and during his presidential tenure. In 2012, he criticized Scotland for proposing wind turbines near his luxury golf resort in Aberdeenshire.

At a 2019 National Republican Congressional Committee dinner Tuesday, he made the false claim that wind farms cause cancer. The National Institutes of Health found no threat to human life if turbines are sited properly, with minimal exposure to surrounding homes.

Do wind farms cause cancer? Some claims Trump made about the industry are just hot air.

The National Audubon Society, a bird conservation group, has been a critic of wind turbines in the past. But, they, too, admitted in a 2016 article that “birds are going to be threatened by climate change” and that wind energy may be a necessary evil.

Contributing: Ledyard King, Wendy Koch, USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump to Biden during 2020 debate: Wind turbines kill 'all the birds.'