US president Donald Trump ranted about wind energy, describing it as something he 'never understood' despite having 'studied it better than anybody'
- Donald Trump renewed his longstanding attacks on wind energy when addressing pro-Trump student organization Turning Point USA.
- He claimed that he "never understood wind" even though, he said: "I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody I know."
- Trump said that windmills are "noisy" and "kill the birds," and complained about "fumes" that they give off, while describing himself as an "environmentalist."
- Trump has long criticised renewable energy forms and has falsely claimed that wind farms cause cancer. He also actively campaigned against a wind farm near his Scottish golf course in Scotland, but ultimately lost his battle.
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US President Donald Trump ranted about wind energy in a speech to a conservative youth group, claiming he "never understood wind" even though he has "studied it better than anybody".
In a speech to pro-Trump student organization Turning Point USA on Saturday, Trump turned to berating windmills after criticizing the Green New Deal - proposed, progressive-Democrat-backed legislation to address climate change and inequality in the US.
Trump claimed the windmills are "noisy" and "kill the birds," and was critical of the fact that many are built in places outside of the US as he repeated his longstanding distaste for the renewable energy source.
"I never understood wind. You know, I know windmills very much. I've studied it better than anybody I know. It's very expensive. They're made in China and Germany mostly - very few made here, almost none," he said.
Trump also criticized the manufacturing process of the wind turbines for creating "fumes."
"But they're manufactured tremendous - if you're into this - tremendous fumes. Gases are spewing into the atmosphere. You know we have a world, right? So the world is tiny compared to the universe. So tremendous, tremendous amount of fumes and everything. You talk about the carbon footprint - fumes are spewing into the air. Right? Spewing. Whether it's in China, Germany, it's going into the air. It's our air, their air, everything - right?"
The American Wind Energy Association found that, while carbon emissions are created from windmill construction, most wind power projects repay their own carbon footprints within six months of starting operations.
A gas called sulfur hexafluoride, or SF6, is often used in projects like wind turbines to stop electrical accidents and fires, but the gas is "the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity," according to the BBC, though concentrations of it in the atmosphere are currently very small.
Trump also claimed they were an issue for anyone living near them: "And if you own a house within vision of some of these monsters, your house is worth 50% of the price. They're noisy."
But much of Trump's speech about the wind turbines focused on their effects on birds: "They kill the birds. You want to see a bird graveyard? You just go. Take a look. A bird graveyard. Go under a windmill someday. You'll see more birds than you've ever seen ever in your life. "
"You know, in California, they were killing the bald eagle. If you shoot a bald eagle, they want to put you in jail for 10 years. A windmill will kill many bald eagles. It's true."
Trump later said of bald eagles: "If you killed one they put you in jail. That's okay. But why is it okay for these windmills to destroy the bird population? And that's what they're doing."
While birds are killed by flying into wind turbines, many more are killed by flying into things like cellphone and radio towers - or in encounters with cats.
One audience then replied "Because they're idiots!," according to the official White House transcript.
Trump then laughed, and said: "This is a conservative group, Dan. No, but it's true. Am I right?"
Trump said that he thought windmills are "Ok in industrial areas," and that he likes "all forms of energy."
But he said that one of his issues with their appearance: "I've seen the most beautiful fields, farms, fields - most gorgeous things you've ever seen, and then you have these ugly things going up."
And among Trump's issues are the fact that different companies make them, meaning they might not all match in appearance, and the idea that "after 10 years, they look like hell."
During his speech, Trump added: "I'm an environmentalist. I am. I want the cleanest water on the planet. I want the cleanest air anywhere - crystal-clean water. I want perfectly clean air."
But Trump has repeatedly criticized renewable energy forms, and has taken actions including taking the US out of the Paris climate agreement.
On wind energy, Trump has previously falsely claimed that wind farms cause cancer - a theory rejected by scientists.
He actively campaigned against the construction of a wind farm near his golf course in Scotland, even running TV ads about the topic, but ultimately lost his battle.
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