For the Birds: Audubon Society Stands Up in Support of Wind Energy
"When you look at a wind turbine, you can find the bird carcasses and count them. With a coal-fired power plant, you can't count the carcasses, but it's going to kill a lot more birds." - John Flicker, president, National Audubon Society.
In the November-December installment of the Audubon magazine, (the organization's President) John Flicker wrote a column stating that Audubon "strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source," pointing to the link between global warming and the birds and other wildlife that scientist say it will kill.
The venerable environmental organization and avian champion was now on record as embracing wind power.
Invisible carcasses - Bird Kills; Humans 10,000, Turbines 1
The endorsement makes a lot of sense, once the facts surrounding the issue are put in proper perspective. Birds are over 10,000 times more likely to be killed by other human-related causes (e.g., by buildings, vehicles, pet cats, pesticides, etc.) than by a wind turbine. Put another way, for every 10,000 birds killed by such human activities, less than one death is caused by a wind turbine.
In an interview with AWEA's Wind Energy Weekly industry newsletter, Flicker said that the organization's decision to speak out about wind came as a result of the recent increased urgency on the part of the scientific community with respect to global warming. Specifically, he cited a recent study by John Hansen for the National Academy of Sciences suggesting that if greenhouse gases are not reduced in the next decade, a significant number of plants and animals could face extinction by the middle of the century.
"It creates a sense of urgency beyond anything we have seen before," said Flicker, adding that he wants to ensure his organization is not an obstacle for wind power but a help. "I want to make sure Audubon is doing everything we can to promote both conservation and wind energy."
Openness and collaboration
...Cultivating such a culture of fact-based openness and cooperation, wind energy and bird interests continue to move forward at the wind power project level as well. Flicker noted in his column how Mass Audubon, an independent state Audubon organization in Massachusetts, recently completed an extensive review of the Cape Wind project, a study that "set a new standard for analyzing the potential effects of wind turbines on birds."
Flicker told Wind Energy Weekly that he would do everything he could to help advance wind power. "We want to figure out ways to cooperate as much as we can to make the wind industry grow while making wind power safer for birds," he said.
One concrete example of Flicker and Audubon advocating for wind power: in his column, he urged readers to contact Members of Congress and ask them to make the federal Production Tax Credit for wind power permanent.
(Reprinted from Renewable Energy Access)