In a weird sort of environmental paradox, the Natural Resources Defense Council on Wednesday released maps of the American West showing areas that would be damaged if they're developed for renewable energy.
Renewable energy expansion is a priority of the Obama administration, but some of the land that could be used for wind or solar power also is home to endangered and threatened species.
It's an interesting example of environmental issues butting heads. Environmentalists generally support renewable energy projects because they reduce the amount of heat-trapping gases going into the atmosphere - and therefore help to slow global climate change. But this could be a sign they may oppose some wind and solar projects.
NRDC says the issues don't have to be in opposition. Careful planning could solve the conflict, the group says.
You can check out the maps on Google Earth.
Here's one example: a birding group mapped areas of Wyoming where the sage-grouse lives.
In my previous life as an environment reporter in Oklahoma, I wrote about how wind farms in that state are crossing paths with a funky bird called the lesser prairie chicken. The bird is so popular it even has YouTube videos.
What do you think? Can we ditch fossil fuels and protect wildlife? What should be the priorities?
Posted by: John D. Sutter -- CNN.com writer/producerFiled under: Animals Birds climate change endangered species Energy environment Politics solar energy
"Renewable energy expansion is a priority of the Obama administration"
It is all renewable, some has been stored for a long time, waiting our use
Mother Gaia saves energy for U$ — Wood, Coal, Oil, and undersea Methane
We also save some energy, by building power dams and insulating our homes
Refusing the bountiful energy, – Hiding CO2 — will starve both the plants and U$
Insulting Gaia, our Nurturing Mother of Nature, is not a good idea
Utopia of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, needed a lot of accomplices
Now, Globalize to 50% reduction, of the infestation called Human, is the goal ?
Renewable energy is the priority. Period.
You cannot use energy and turn it off too.
HOLY CRAP – GET OFF THE CROSS SOME IN NEW ORLEANS NEEDS IT TO BUILD A HOUSE. Look if we do not switch to alternative and renewable resource the CO2 will eventually wipe them out anyway. We can not have it all but we can strive to do less of a footprint to nature and this plant and with good planning and land usage I think those little critter and SURVIVE harmoniouly with the wind stations and the solar arrays – doing NOTHING and staying the course is not an option. COMMON SENSE but our governement and some enviromentalist are lacking in that. LORD! I have heard it all now!
Sad; but some people will never be happy with any energy program, renewable or not. Next will have the "save the tofu movement"
I'm an Environmental Studies major, and so I know a bit about these sort of things. Of course there isn't always a correct answer when two environmental goals contradict each other.
Not EVERY potential wind and solar site in the world needs to be developed. There are multitudes of sites for wind and solar that would not disrupt the habitats of any endangered species. Abandoned farms are great for wind, and sometimes active farms and wind farms can co-habitat the same geographic area.
Solar farms can be built on rooftops in cities, among other places.
Windmills can be built offshore.
If endangered species are extincted by invasion of their habitat, for whatever reason, those species are lost forever. Science is still discovering ways in which species interact and the importance of seemingly unimportant species on entire ecosystems.
Renewable energy will not prevent us from using up the earth's entire supply of fossil fuels in a relatively short time. The only thing that changes is the length of time we completely deplete it in. 50 years without renewables, 100 with them.
Reducing that potential lifetime for the remaining fossil fuels by a year or two, speeding up global climate change by 1% – won't be as harmful as extincting species.
Why isn't CNN/FOX/etc making sure every American knows of the following?
Whose interest is being protected and why?
BBC NEWS VIDEO:
The Air Powered Car
REUTERS NEWS VIDEO:
The Water Powered Car
For answers see here:
The 9/11 Truth Movement, Free Energy Suppression and the Global Elite’s Agenda
Carlos, don't you think that's very short sighted? Shouldn't we do it right this time – consider the envieronment as a whole, instead of looking at small pieces? If we cover wilderness with solar panels and switchgrass in order to get renewable energy, don't you suppose we'll be harming the planet almost as much as we're helping?
Seems to me now is exactly the time we should not rush headlong into action. Rather, now is the time to step back and make slow and deliberate steps to help the environment. That means making sure w'ere not making the problem worse, or introducing a problem that will come to bite us in fifty, a hundred or even a thousand years.
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but the bottom line is that regardless of the endangered species that may be effected by the re-newable energy resources, and the planning/construction needed to get the energy we need, a decision is going to have to be made.
If this is going to be a choice between the survival of the Human Race or the soft little fuzzy creatures of this planet, I think I will choose for the human race to survive.
We have too many endangered species on too many lists, and there are too many of them to continually save. I have sympathy about these creatures, but there comes a point in time where you are forced to choose.
And... whether you like it or not this is a choice between placing nuclear power plants across this nation or temporarily destroying a habitat in order to get the energy we require.
As for you Bunny Huggers getting ready to bash me about this opinion, let me just point out this fact. Many if not all of you have cars and homes. All of you require electricity for your homes and fuel for your vehicles. This fuel has to come from somewhere. Unless you are a person who has made every effort to convert over to a completely "Green" lifestyle, you must get your energy needs from somewhere and its provided from some type of public utility.
The bottom line, is that you are going to be forced to make a choice in the very near future that you may not like. It may include a choice that you will be forced to make in the benefit of your family or life line.
Having said this, let me be clear. I do not advocate the wholesale destruction of any environment. However, you must be intelligent enough to understand where you must draw the line. Many locations that are suitable for the Windmill Projects, are suitable shortly thereafter to continue to sustain the indiginous wild life with minimal impact.
This is something that folks really need to consider before getting upset about the expansion of a Dam, or the proposal of a Wind Gathering Energy Source for Electricity.
Its either that, or Nuclear Power. So my advise is to choose your fights carefully.
New Mexico has just passed a moratorium on the establishment of any commercial wind energy facilities, until the problems they cause can be studied more completely. In the meantime, the small wind generators don't create the same problems and we encourage communities to use these with confidence. Large generators kill bats by the hundreds and we need them to control the mosquito population. Also, we are bald eagle habitat and we will not risk that for money. Besides, the commercial wind towers make energy for a far away location. Transferring that energy such a distance causes "attenuation" or loss of energy along the way. This is not a very efficient plan, but it does make millions for all the former ENRON executives who are now running the commercial wind power companies. COMMUNITIES BEWARE!!
I agree with Carlos....and I think 'cooperation' is the key....
It's possible to protect wildlife and still move forward....mapping out risk areas is one idea....
??? Isn't it supposed to help the enviroment? And as Franko said, it's a renewable. It just takes awhile. We can't control nature. CO2 rises and falls naturally.
Both are of equal priority. But I believe that investing in renewable energy may eventually create an environment where endangered species or highliy localized species may increase in numbers since they may end up having a larger area with a climate that supports increase in their numbers.
I am for every type of renewable energy available. As time goes, more types will avail themselves. But now, windmills, solar panels, dams and their ilk destroy more environment and nature then they could ever save. Funny, watched the "science" programs the other day talking about "climate change". Found out that the temp on this dear old planet has swung as greatly as 20 degrees, plus and minus, in as little as TWO years!! Our ancestors couldn't build enough campfires or trap enough CO2 to accomplish that. And we are now worried about a 1.5 degree rise in 150 years!?!? Change happens...and the more we fight it, the worse it will be.
Looking at the Snow covered Mountains, in the picture, of this article,
Is a grim reminder that we will be tipping back into an Ice Age
There may be a few cute little Ice Spiders on the top of the mountain glaciers
But Humans before Bugs, - we gotta get our priorities right
Chop down those mountains, to increase the range of Gaia’s pets, (Humans)
Instead of having these large wind turbines that birds can get killed running into, how about creating many more "small" turbines that are designed so its impossible for an animal or bird to get killed by it?
what ever happened to survival of the fittest in the wild? or adaption? if the imediate envirnment changes by adding solar panels then shade would be created under the panels and might provide some animals a break from the sun and a place to rest. also windmills over time might provide birds of prey a nice place to sit on and look for a meal. i live in the desert and have noticed coyotes look both ways before they cross the road. but the rabbits just try to dash infront of cars still... my main point is that changing the imediate environment will provide niches for new species to survive in.
You "reviewers" should be reviewed. This isn't news, this is propaganda in its worst form. A person leaves a vaild comment (and I have left several) and it is never shown. "Doen't fit the current montra, doesn't beat the same drum." You are all pitiful, bitter souls.
To be honest, renewable energy is the more important issue, both for its own sake and for the sake of lessening our dependance on oil. However, the loss of an endangered species is irreversible. Personally, I think the best option would be to capture endangered animals to be bred in captivity so the land can be developed without risking complete extinction.
Solar panels are well and good until you have to carpet blanket the Mojave. Clearly, we should expand nuclear power instead. It's working out great for the French. Save the environment, fill Yucca Mountain to the brim instead.
I wonder how many people who are opposed to windmills would rather see a coal fired or nuclear power plant in it's place?
Balance should be the goal. We cannot survive on oil. I think the best road to take is solar and geo-thermal. Bulid it and they will come.
The first priority should be to use the energy source that we already have that is readily available. I'm talking about good old American coal! We've just begun to develop new uses for it. Coal gasification has a huge potential to provide us additional energy for powering our vehicles and homes. In addition "clean coal technology" should continue to be pursued for power and steam generation. Coal isn't anywhere near as bad as people have been led to believe and with additional research can be made very good.
Secondly, we need to immediately start building additional nuclear power plants. The present technology fission plants have proven themselves to be extremely safe (even when everything that could go wrong went wrong at 3 Mile Island nothing happened). Future generation fusion plants have even more potential for energy production. Electrical energy can easily be used to produce hydrogen from water for use as a fuel for our vehicles. Hydrogen's only by product when used as an automotive fuel is water which then was back into the cycle again.
The group's that are advocating a mass conversion to natural gas usage are very self centered. They control much of the National Gas resources and want demand to increase so prices will also increase and they'll just make more money. Natural gas is just as limited in supply as oil is, it's just not being used as fast at the present time.
Wind and solar power have good potential in certain regions but trying to create a distribution grid to move that power to where it's needed is expensive and also raises many environmental concerns.
The solution to our energy problems is not simple. It needs many different resources to be solved, there is no one perfect solution and everyone needs to realize that.
The implication that renewable energy facilities and threatened indigenous species are mutally exclusive is unfounded. Certainly, ecological studies are needed when new facilitiesare introduced. With a little modification, it's possible that these facilities can be used to enhance wildlife. Climate change, especially reduced precipitation, is far more likely to adversely impact western wildlife.
So keeping fossil fuels and burning coal is any better? So what environmentalists are saying is "lets not go green, lets choke the air and we all die."
If you leave out the nut cases on either side of an issue, you will obscure the center line. We here in Alaska, are plauged by these missunderstood issues. The solution to most problems involve finding that centerline in order to please the greatest number of the American public. For example, we may not want our children exposed to the danger of stray hungry wolves at the outskirts of our Villages and towns: but we must remember there are those that can only see a wolf as a furry puppy. There must be some area of compromise. Neither viewpoint must prevail at the expense of the other.
I'm constantly amazed – yet, sadly, unsurprised – at the fact-free ranting of global climate change deniers.
It is not the renewal of energy that is threatening, but the centralized nature of Mega projects! Renewable energy ideally needs distribution of it's production and/or storage to use nearby, rather than wastefully locating production far away from use with it's concomitant energy transmission waste and NIMBY resistance to conventional transmission grids (with the exception possibly of electrical production to fuel cell to h2 conversion to pipeline distibution for reconversion to electricity on the distributed end via neighborhood sized fuel cells ack to short haul neighborhood grids). Subsidization of production near use starts with 40% of intrinsic energy not lost in (archaic) transmission and continues year after year. If PV modules cost multiples of other sources of energy they retain approximately 80% of their production after 30 years. Yes, fossil fuels are initially cheaper, but you have to rape and the earth daily forever.
This is an example of the true goals of radical environmentalism. They will yell, scream and beat their chests about global warming (a scientific fraud), but pull the same stunt of alternative energy projects are proposed for an area they deem improper in some way. It is really all about social and economic agendas – and those agendas are socialist.
All decisions that can effect the environment need to look toward a BALANCE – to having the least negative environmental impact as possible. For too long the attitude has favored industry with no regard fo what was happening to the world around us. I don't believe that it should be the other way around, but we must try to limit the impact we have – do we really know if implementing some of these resources WILL negatively impact endangered species, or do we just not know? Impact studies should be in place before large-scale construction is started.
You are kidding me right?
Preserve the endangered species. Once they're gone, we won't be getting any more! Besides, man-made global warming may turn out to be nothing more than a lot of hooey.
I think the people that whine about where this stuff goes, should spend a winter without heat, or better yet, quit taking the space of the Funky Chicken, by leaving!
Let's be reasonable here. If we don't develop solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources, the sage-grouse and lesser prairie chicken will have lots of company in being extinguished!
Of course renewable energy is the most important issue, but that's no reason to be rash.
Like anything else I suppose environmental impact studies should be done. If there are suitable sites (or ways to develop the sites) which mitigate damage to the environment, then they should be developed.
We shouldn't let private energy companies dictate the terms of our future.
We can have 100% renewable energy without harming creatures. It's called solar.
Uh...Birds can't see windmills? Who cleans up the dead birds under all of the other windmills?
Bird impacts are EXTREMELY exagerated. Wind turbines have far less bird impacts than even 2 story buildings... but I doubt you'd get far passing some form of resolution banning BUILDINGS to protect birds.
Some accomodation must be made for society, and wind power requires far less accomodation than any other power source.
We need to do everything we can to promote the continued expansion of wind energy as quickly as possible. It and hydropower are the only competitive alternative energy sources, and we're running out of good places for new dams.
The only market issue surrounding the continued 30%/year growth in wind is the challenges of grid stability, and we have a solution for that: WindFuels.
Even if bird impacts were as significant as the zealots believe, one bird species vs billions of tons/year in CO2 emissions from coal plants. It's an easy choice.
Well, there's no such thing as a free lunch. There will always be trade-offs for any kind of power-engineering activities. Here's an application nobody has thought of.... Hippies in Hamster Wheels. Cheap, plentiful and easy-to-install, place your hippy in a giant hamster wheel and watch them run for hours, generating an endless supply of electricity for all to enjoy. Bongos and patchouli not included.
Every home should be equipped with solar panel roofing, and little turbines, like those weather gauges with roosters, on top to help produce energy for that home. Most energy use comes from the home anyway. It'll keep birds off your roof too. Better insulation and more efficient appliance would help too. We can do this, but we need these things to be subsidized if you cannot afford it. I think that would be a good use of the stimulus package.
Careful planning just like that already involved with wetlands and their mitigation is all that is needed. Instead of having the government do it have consulting environmental firms do it. This works in a multitude of ways by providing jobs for people doing the mapping of areas needed to be protected as well as areas suitable for production. It will create jobs in the government for compliance with laws, inspectors for environmental firms, and from businesses to meet with the other two parties as well as expanding renewable energy capacity. As long as suitable habitat patches are left undeveloped and connected for long term population viability and gene flow there really shouldn't be much problem.
Nuclear power solves both problems.
You won't hear any environmental groups admitting that they were wrong about nuclear power after all these years.
I can hardly wait to see where the projected 100,000-300,000 wind turbines finally get built in America. "Pristine wilderness" designations will be the politically correct buzz words for the ecosnobs and other wealthy folks to avoid having wind turbines or solar panels "in their backyard."
Thus proving that renewable energy works best when it is localized. Instead of giant wind farms, etc, supplying mega watts from remote locations, the plan should be to move energy generation to the rooftops that need it. Every building in the USA southwest & west ought to be wired for solar PV.
It is ridiculous that ANY environmentalists objects to these projects. Instead, they should be asking for modifications to them to BEST protect the animals.
As to Franko's post, I find it humourous. Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot were all about pushing massive projects such as large power plants. The small projects like AE were absolutely the opposite of what these ppl stood for. All three would regard AE as being against their good. With that above said, I do wish that Americans would get their act together. We need better projects. For example, a smart one would be to do Solar Thermal, with a backup of Natural gas to heat during night as well as cloudy periods. In addition, we would be investing large sums of money into geo-thermal power as well as providing major incentives to move from Coal/Oil/Natural Gas heating/Electrical AC to geo-thermal heat pumps. Much cheaper to run.
To say renewable energy, period..... is a bit strong. Nothing in life will work out without balance. Balance is key as I beleive we can have the best of both worlds.
Well, looks like then we need to re-locate our designated areas for renewable construction then? I suggest places for solar that have little vegitation and life(obviously) and for wind turbins ontop of mountains were the wing is more common, problem solved? We don't have to build everything near forests, right? Common sense is lacking these days..
I agree, that renewable energy needs to start coming up a lot more and the time is now, or we can wait and then it'll be too late to reverse any global weather change.
Who says renewable energy has to be put in the wilderness? What about the rooftops and surface area we could be using for solar power on any of our buildings? Also, everyone seems to assume solar and wind etc. all have to be on massive scales with huge plants but if more people would have their own solar panels (all issues in obtaining them aside please) or their own 'small wind' power, we can keep industrialization out of nature while still channeling reusable and sustainable energy. There are many things we can just take out of the earth and use for power but all of it is limited. Therefore we should do what we can to utilize low environmental impact processes and 'resources' such as sun and wind to power as much of our society as possible.
We can have both renewable energy and wildlife habitat. It's a matter of planning, and knowing where to place the renewable energy tools (windmills, solar panels, etc.), so that they don't interfere with wildlife. For example, windmills in the wrong place (within a migratory flyway) will lead to more migratory bird deaths. Many neotropical songbirds, for example, die during migration not only from hunger and exhaustion, but also from flying into oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Windmills proposed for inactive or abandoned oil rigs or along the land-based parts of the migratory flyway would pose the same problem.
Renewables can be done in urban areas, therefor not taking away and wildlife areas. Solar panels can go up on buildings and over car parks. Wind mills can be put up anywhere there is wind so there are many choices there. I am against using winderness for our energy needs unless it can be proven that the winderness will not suffer extensive damage.
Destroying the habitat of T&E species for any commercial development, even green development, should be avoided. I believe most states already have laws on the books for it.
That said, there's plenty of places in the west where wind farms would not create much of an ecological problem. Large solar collectors are a bit more iffy because of the reduction in net primary production. Still, both are much better options than hollowing out mountains and burning more coal.
I fail to see where the paradox lies.
Renewable energy is not environmentally friendly, seeing as how it supports a capitalist system that thrives on disposable consumerism and development. True, renewable energy is less hurtful, but anything that continues to support a lifestyle that is inevitably bad for the environment cannot, logically, be seen as a ‘green’ solution. The only thing that is truly Earth-friendly is a change in the way people think and the way people live their lives.
6.8 billion and counting. All of whom want to live as well as middle class Americans. Forget it, there is no solution – eco friendly or otherwise that includes an ever expanding population, and ever higher standard of living (and therefore ever growing energy demand). The planet is not infinite.
Unfortunately for some endangered species, it is more important to have renewable, non-carbon emitting, energy. If we don't stop global warming all species, including our own, will be endangered. Losing some to not lose all is a very hard situation to be in but that is the situation. That said, careful planning, siting and mitigation can save some of the species that would otherwise be critically endangered or lost.
this is a great but almost silly question....the idea that – once we finally have the political will to move away from coal – that a bird, or fly, or toad could stop us is – ironic – at best!!!
I don't understand why we worry so much about endangered species .....
if an ecological niche is vacated by a species dying out ... evolution will replace it with a stronger species in time .... and thus the whole system will slowly improve ...... right?
why do we humans want evolution to stop and become stagnant rather than continue to improve as a whole?
Have you seen what uranium mining does to the environment? Tailing ponds etc.
If renewable energy is not used, the environment being saved might be different than what it is now.
I also say nuclear....but not the massive plants we have today they use so much water. There is a new smaller unit in the works, about the size of a boxcar. Should be available in 5 years. Completely sealed and self sustaining. You bury it in the ground and it can provide energy for 20,000 homes for many years. It can be refueled when needed. This is what we need for the future of this country and the world.
So, if global warming really does exist, and I feel that it does, what is the "correct" temperature at which we can say, "OK we've done enough now because the earth is now at the right temperature."
Let me be clear, the reason I believe that global warming exists is because of natural cycles. I also believe that we should be good stewards of the earth, but am not anywhere near so arrogant as to believe that my actions somehow change the entire atmosphere like some crazy "butterfly effect."
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Nice post. Looks like wind power is really starting to get some serious consideration in Australia now.
Renewable energy is the future, why depend on fossil fuels when we can go renewable.;'*
Renewable Energy got into more focuse in this decade because everyone does not want to depend on Oil.*'`
renewable energy should be developed more coz fossil fuels are not good in the long term`'.
depending on fossil fuel is always a bad idea, we should always concentrate on renewable energy `..
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[...] a major NGO in the United States, the Natural Resources Defense Council, has released maps of 13 States in the western United States showing areas of land which needs to [...]
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