The precautionary principle outlined in The Bergen Agreement, signed by Canada in 1990, has become, over the past fifteen years, part of customary international law and has been included in virtually every recently adopted treaty and policy document related to the protection and preservation of the environment. It states: "policies must be based on the precautionary principle. Environmental measures must anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of environmental degradation. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation". The unprecedented rapidity with which industrial wind turbine developments are being proposed and constructed in Ontario, raises major concerns about the efficacy of the Green Energy Act which has allowed and promoted this phenomenon.
Adverse environmental effects from industrial wind turbines
- Industrial wind turbines do not have a benign environmental foot print as has been claimed.
- Biologists are observing habitat fragmentation and habitat loss, wildlife disturbance and life history disruption when turbines are placed in natural habitats.
- Bird and bat abundance declines at wind turbine sites and this can become more pronounced with time.
- Disruption of ecological links results in habitat abandonment by some species.
- The loss of population vigour and overall density resulting from reduced survival or reduced breeding productivity is a particular concern for declining populations.
- The cumulative effects of multiple on- and off-shore wind developments have not been considered.
- Collision mortality resulting from turbines and new transmission lines is increased during adverse weather conditions and migratory seasons. Especially vulnerable are raptors, passerines (songbirds), monarch butterflies, and bats. The consequential cost to agriculture from loss of pollination and natural insect control is a concern.
- In addition there are serious concerns that turbine noise impacts within and between-species communications, including predator defence.,
- Offshore installations have the added risk of causing waterfowl and waterbird displacement from feeding areas and migratory corridors, contaminant upwelling, and changes in fish communities.
- Placing turbines in close association with coastal wetlands can severely compromise movements and foraging of migratory waterfowl