Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cats kill more birds than Wind Energy

Reporting from Virginia, Nuclear notes covers a discussion on alternative energy and its effects on the environment:

Mike began working the room immediately and recognized a fellow from the local Sierra Club that he had met at the state fair. This local environmental leader is NOT against nuclear power. In fact, he supports it as a means to combat pollution and global warming in the near-term. I shared a couple of quotes from James Lovelock. His feeling appears to be that the need is so urgent that we must use "less than perfect" technologies to save the environment...

They quoted American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) numbers that said building wind farms is cost-effective. A couple of times, the issue of bird and bat kills came up. I found one point they made rather interesting. They said that if 50% of US electricity was generated by wind the number of birds killed from the turbines would still be less than those killed by household cats...and global warming will kill even more birds than windmills anyway. Imagine if the nuclear industry tried to employ a similar argument...

Then Dudley Rochester from the American Lung Association gave a presentation on the health effects of air pollution, particularly pollution from power plants. Some of his numbers:

Annual mortality from Power plant pollution nationwide: 11 per 100,000
From tobacco: 153 per 100,000
From all air pollution: 60 per 100,000
From alcohol, guns, and cars: 55 per 100,000

Of course, in California, our motto is that the Perfect should be the enemy of the Good.