Sunday, 13 January 2013

Eco silliness

Sure, climate change is real, but are these the ways to stop it?  Wind farms and biofuels?

Wind power is coming under increasing fire from both right and left: for being inefficient to despoiling landscape.  They work only around 20-30% of the time, and when not working an alternative needs to kick in, which means you can't get rid of traditional power plants by planting wind turbines.  And of course many people, left and right, find them ugly.  In "Wind farms vs wildlife", Oxford lecturer in biological and human sciences Clive Hambler points out that they only last half as long as previously thought, making them even less economic than they are now (and as of now, the only way they can be installed is with government subsidies and tax breaks).
More: Hambler shows the devastation to birdlife from the proliferation of wind towers.  I'd always thought this danger to birds was a bit of a furphy, but he quotes various studies proving the devastation: about one bird per turbine per day, and twice as many bats. Wind-nuts have played this down, in pursuit of a fantasy.

In "Ozone From Biofuel Farms Could Cause Thousands of Deaths a Year", Tom Philpott in the nicely left-of-centre Mother Jones, points out the variety of drawbacks of biofuels: jacking up the price of food, pushing small-scale farmers off land, and contributing to, rather than reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  "Turns out they can also make you sick", says Philpott.  More.

Let's see more nuclear.  400 new nuclear plants world-wide would reduce CO2 emissions to zero! Or, as Mojo says, Thorium nuclear energy could save us all...

Oh, and fracking.  Turns out that the US has reduced its CO2 emissions much more than any country in Europe, or the UK, by shifting from coal to gas-fired power stations.  And that's without a climate policy.