Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Environmentalism is unhealthy for the humans and the environment

Environmentalism is unhealthy for the humans –just ask all those millions who died from malaria after the DDT was banned to soothe the feelings of the environmentalists(rhetorically speaking, of course since one cannot query the dead –though some people claim to).


But environmentalism is bad for the environment too. Just a couple of instances.


Windmills Are Killing Our Birds

One standard for oil companies, another for green energy sources.

On Aug. 13, ExxonMobil pleaded guilty in federal court to killing 85 birds that had come into contact with crude oil or other pollutants in uncovered tanks or waste-water facilities on its properties. The birds were protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which dates back to 1918. The company agreed to pay $600,000 in fines and fees.


Yet there is one group of energy producers that are not being prosecuted for killing birds: wind-power companies. And wind-powered turbines are killing a vast number of birds every year.

A July 2008 study of the wind farm at Altamont Pass, Calif., estimated that its turbines kill an average of 80 golden eagles per year. The study, funded by the Alameda County Community Development Agency, also estimated that about 10,000 birds—nearly all protected by the migratory bird act—are being whacked every year at Altamont.


The number of birds killed by wind turbines is highly variable. And biologists believe Altamont, which uses older turbine technology, may be the worst example. But that said, the carnage there likely represents only a fraction of the number of birds killed by windmills. Michael Fry of the American Bird Conservancy estimates that U.S. wind turbines kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds per year. Yet the Justice Department is not bringing cases against wind companies.

"Somebody has given the wind industry a get-out-of-jail-free card," Mr. Fry told me. "If there were even one prosecution," he added, the wind industry would be forced to take the issue seriously.


Why aren't wind companies prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds? "The fix here is not easy or cheap," Mr. Lee told me. He added that he doesn't expect to see any prosecutions of the politically correct wind industry.

This is a double standard that more people—and not just bird lovers—should be paying attention to. In protecting America's wildlife, federal law-enforcement officials are turning a blind eye to the harm done by "green" energy.



And then this(this is actually two instances)-

When Renewable Is Not Sustainable

Ethanol and solar power deplete land and water resources.

It takes 2,500 gallons of water to grow enough corn to refine a single gallon of ethanol. Congress has mandated the production of 36 billion gallons of ethanol per year by 2022.


Energy production requires water. Producing petroleum, natural gas, coal or methane consumes a lot of water, but much less than it takes to make ethanol.


Consider the implications for California, which aspires to produce 1 billion gallons of ethanol annually. To grow the necessary corn would require using every drop of water currently diverted from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. That water irrigates 7 million acres in the Central Valley and provides critical supplies to Southern California’s cities—uses that can hardly be superseded by those of growing and refining corn for ethanol.


The solar energy industry is similarly benefiting from federal legislation that paid no attention to water and land availability.


For commercial power plants, solar companies use a technology known as “concentrating solar thermal” (CST). The sun heats a fluid that boils water. The steam spins a turbine that generates electricity. All thermal power plants produce waste heat as a byproduct and use cooling towers to release the waste heat to the ambient atmosphere—usually by the evaporation of water. Apart from the first step that uses the sun’s heat, CST is an old-fashioned thermal power plant that consumes vast quantities of water.


If these were ‘normal’, ‘non-green’ industries there would be such a hue and cry among the usual suspects –Sunita Narain would be issuing indignant reports and Vandana Shiva would be bouncing up and down in outrage. But environmentalist’s pet projects are unaccountable and untouchable.’Green’ rules do not apply to the ‘green’ programs. No wonder so many traditional businesses are jumping on the green bandwagon(among other reasons).Who can resist the no-questions-asked means of making easy money –especially if it is being subsidized by the taxpayers(ullu ka patthas* like you and me) as most green schemes are?


(emphasis mine)


*The colorful Indian language translator-

ullu ka pattha -“The phrase 'Ullu Ka Patha' is generally used as a curse and is considered a superlative degree of just the word 'Ullu' which is translated to a mild 'fool'.”