Sunday, 24 October 2010

Which kills more birds - massive oil spills or wind farms?

"Affect heuristic'" is a fancy name for a pretty obvious concept, namely that we discount the drawbacks of things we are emotionally in favor of. For example, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill certainly killed about 1,300 birds, maybe a few more. Wind turbines in America kill between 75,000 and 275,000 birds every year, generally of rarer species, such as eagles. Yet wind companies receive neither the enforcement, nor the opprobrium, that oil companies do.

By Matt Ridley. I do enjoy his books.

2 comments:

Brian said...

Ooops, posted on wrong story: Here ya go:

It is a wee tad early to be putting a tally on the bird kill of the gulf oil spill don’t ya think? After all the Exxon Valdez spill is still having its effects on the wildlife and environment.
Plus the hundreds of thousands of migratory birds have just stated their summer migration into the Gulf of Mexico.
75, 000 to 275, 000, man that is a great estimate in it? Mumbo jumbo economies 101.
Lets ignore the damage oil spills do on other aspects of the ecology and sea life shall we.

Brendan said...

Let's put this into context now, in the USA; Transmission and Distribution lines kill 130 to 174 million bird deaths a year. Collisions with automobiles and trucks result in the deaths of between 60 and 80 million birds annually. While there are no required ongoing studies of bird mortality due to buildings or house windows, the best estimates put the toll due collisions with these structures at between 100 million and a staggering 1 billion deaths annually.