By Die kalte Sonne
(Text translated by P Gosselin)
We have already reported about the very different views on trees in this blog. Perhaps this phenomenon has something to do with the fact that the words environmental protection and nature conservation are slowly but surely disappearing from our language and being displaced by climate protection. Everything has to subordinate itself to this, also environmental and nature protection. Sometimes this has has had disastrous consequences.
The value of trees is in the eye of the observer or his agenda
Trees are extremely valuable carbon stores. They are true CO2 sinks. It is estimated that a large tree removes and stores about 12.5 kg of CO2 per year from the atmosphere. Actually, one would have to think, we should not only reforest massively, as Professor Werner Sinn suggested in his lecture “How we save the climate and how not“, but also preserve existing tree populations.
Of course, trees are protected, sometimes with drastic means such as in the Hambach Forest. There, however, not for CO2 storage reasons but because the activists want to prevent lignite mining. Such actions are spectacular and get through the media. So this is about good trees.
Much less attention is paid to protests by residents of Grünheide in Brandenburg, who are mobilizing against the deforestation of an area the size of 420 football pitches, which are to make way for Tesla’s new megafactory. Here too, nature is losing carbon stores, and no activist is really itching because they are bad trees. Or were there demos of Fridays For Future (FFF) or Extinction Rebellion in Grünheide?
Weird swaps in Scotland
Just as little interest in Scotland. There it has now been discovered that almost 14 million trees have had to be felled since 2000 to build wind turbines (WTGs). According to the above calculation, Scotland has thus “given up” 175,000 tonnes of CO2 reduction per year in order to save the climate. Even planting 100,000 trees, as in Scotland, is of little use, as they only replace the lost capacity to a very limited extent. Trees simply need time until they are stately and can absorb the above-mentioned amount of CO2 annually.
Foundations and access
The areas for the foundations are still the least of the evils, although in Schleswig Holstein alone, a sealed area of 3 million square meters was assumed in 2018. Approximately 1300 cubic meters of concrete and 180 tons of steel disappear in such foundations.
Image: By Mussklprozz (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ )],via Wikimedia Commons
It is not even clear how such colossuses are to be removed from the forest later on, or how they can be removed at all. Anyone who has ever spent a holiday in France on the Atlantic Ocean knows that concrete remains, i.e. bunkers, of the 3rd Reich bunkers stubbornly refuse to decay on the coasts. Ina 1000 years probably only the bunkers of the Nazis or the foundations of wind turbines will remain.
Access to wind turbines is much more serious than the foundations, which only cover a relatively small area. Wind turbines are getting ever taller and the rotors ever bigger. The radius that the special transport vehicles now is so large that a massive quantities of trees have to make way for access roads. And since the wind turbines only have a limited lifetime, the access roads have to remain, because at some point they will have to be dismantled or maintained. The forest at this point is lost and chopped up.
German conservative CDU now poised to play along
The CDU Lower Saxony is now poised to go along with a proposal that more wind turbines in forests should be approved. Whether an impact assessment has been made here? Especially in forests, the population of birds of prey is high and one can only guess what will happen if huge rotors rotate over birds or their breeding grounds and habitat. These rotors are, as studies show, a considerable hazard for birds of prey.
Indeed the wind power lobby is trying to invalidate such studies, for example by pointing out the large number of songbirds and garden birds that are killed annually by windows, cars or cats. But if you use your common sense, here you see whataboutism in its purest form. Birds of prey very rarely die from windows, cars or cats and songbirds and garden birds rarely die from wind turbines. At the latest, when the census of seabirds in the Irish Sea – an area with a lot of wind turbines – shows that the population is declining massively, the windscreen/cat/car argument falls apart.
The same outcome, but completely different reactions
But it gets really crazy when we look at the situation in places like the Reinhardts Forest in the state of Hesse. This forest is very valuable, because it still has a virgin forest character in parts. Nevertheless, wind turbines are to be built there with all the consequences described above. Residents’ protests are being dismissed as an obstacle to technology and energy production transformation.
Yet, at the same time, the people go into collective outrage when the Amazon becomes smaller through slash-and-burn clearing. In both cases forests, biotopes and very same carbon reservoirs are lost, but with completely contrary reactions. Good and bad trees.
Used to be tranquility above the tree tops
But forests are much more. Many people pursue various activities there. A climate activist from Berlin Kreuzberg or Hamburg Ottensen may find this hard to imagine, but there are actually people who visit the forests enjoy tranquility or the sounds of nature. If the plans of wind power advocates are anything to go by, then in many forests this will soon be lost forever.