‘Beware the fumes from scary windmills!’ Trump mocked for ludicrous climate change remarks in debate

President who has repeatedly called climate change a ‘hoax’ says he plans for a ‘trillion trees’

Louise Boyle
New York
Friday 23 October 2020 06:01 BST
President Trump: 'I know more about wind than you do. It's extremely expensive. Kills all the birds'

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Donald Trump made a bizarre series of statements during the climate change segment of the final face-to-face presidential debate with Joe Biden on Thursday. 

In the final minutes of the 90-minute long showdown, moderator Kristen Welker turned to climate change and asked each candidate how they planned to tackle the crisis. 

President Trump, who has repeatedly called climate change a “hoax”,  said he planned for a “trillion trees” before touting America’s “clean air”, “clean water” and lower carbon emissions (all of which are, at best, misleading, as The Independent has reported).

The president then pivoted to an attack on clean energy, taking particular issue with windmills

“He thinks wind causes cancer. Windmills,” Mr Biden noted.

"I know more about wind than you do," Mr Trump replied, before going on to say windmills are extremely expensive, “kill all the birds” and “the fumes coming up, if you’re a believer in carbon emission … for these massive windmills is more than anything we’re talking about with natural gas which is very clean”.

Mr Biden quipped: “Find me a scientist who will say that.”

The statement was met with immediate derision. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, from Oregon, tweeted: “Trump climate plan:  Beware of the fumes from the scary windmills!”

Cory Booker’s chief of staff, Matt Klapper, wrote: “Trump has done the most of any President to stop windmills from causing cancer since Abraham Lincoln.”

“BTW, Trump said ‘windmills kill all the birds’ as if he cares? His administration has (illegally) rolled back the 100-year Migratory Bird Treaty Act, gutting protections for hundreds of migratory bird species. #Debates2020” tweeted Emily Gertz, senior editor at WeAreDrilled .

The president has repeatedly lied about windmills. There is no evidence that wind turbines cause cancer, FactCheck.org reported last year, quoting The American Cancer Society which said it is “unaware of any credible evidence linking the noise from windmills to cancer.” 

It was the first extensive discussion on climate change in a presidential debate in 20 years.

Calling it an “existential crisis”, Mr Biden sounded the alarm for the world to address global warming, as Mr Trump took credit for pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accord, the international agreement aimed at doing precisely that.

Mr Trump said his focus was saving American jobs, while taking credit for some of the “cleanest air and water the nation has seen in generations" — partly down to regulations passed in the Obama era - and touted his  plan for a “trillion trees".

Mr Biden, zoned in on an issue of particular importance to his base, called for massive investment to create new environmentally-friendly industries. 

“Our health and our jobs are at stake,” he said, noting that not only environmentalists but labor unions have backed his $2 trillion climate plan. 

Mr Biden also spoke of a transition from the oil industry, which the president immediately seized upon, asking voters in Texas and Pennsylvania if they were listening.

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