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Bird kills in perspective -- Scientific study
1 February 2009
Wind power scores well in a review of the environmental impacts of low carbon energy sources, including wave, tidal, nuclear and solar power, by Mark Z Jacobson of Stanford University in California. The study looks at a wide range of environmental issues, including land use, the effects on water supply and wildlife and other "side effects." Jacobson studied in detail the issue of bird deaths in wind farms. He concludes that if world wind capacity was sufficient to eliminate all man-made carbon dioxide emissions, bird mortality involving wind turbines would account for less than 1% of bird deaths from other causes. According to Jacobson, wind turbines in the United States are currently the cause of about 10,000-40,000 bird deaths annually, while between five million and 50 million birds die each year after collisions with the 80,000 communication towers in the US. Birds are attracted by tower lights and collide with them or their guy wires during night migration. Another 90 million birds are killed colliding with windows and many more are killed by cats in the US each year. In 2005, 200 million birds were lost to avian flu worldwide. The author does not seem to account for bird deaths due to road vehicles, which are likely to account for tens of millions per annum in the US. Jacobson's study, Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security, was published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
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