On the day of release of the newest Mark Lynas book “The god species” I have bought the Kindle edition and can now start reading and discussing it.
This post will discuss chapter five about land use.
First, things I agree with.
Obviously, one advantage of nuclear in comparison to solar or wind is that fact that it uses much less space. That is true when only counting the actual plant site. But it would probably still be true if one designated a 30 kilometer evacuation zone around each nuclear plant (like after the Fukushima accident) even before anything happens. That would have the added benefit of working as a national park, giving wildlife some place to develop without getting disturbed by humans.
I strongly disagree with Lynas’ idea that one should refrain from building large scale solar energy in the desert because that might disturb some turtles or eagles.
For one, in contrast to wind energy that might be deadly for birds, I don’t see why turtles can’t survive with solar energy around. Those plants will be large, but they won’t cover the whole desert.
And even if there was a choice between large-scale energy from the desert and preserving a couple of species, I think the stakes are too high to give biodiversity a priority. If we can’t stop global meltdown, no life will be possible on the planet. The luxury of keeping all the species might be defensible if we were really all powerful gods. We are not. We have to choose our goals.
Again, the climate boundary is the most important of them all. It needs to trump everything else, especially the mostly sentimental biodiversity boundary.
With wind energy, I recognize the need to keep damage to birds and bats as low as possible. But again, if I have to choose between conserving a species of eagles already almost extinct anyway and increasing our chances of avoiding four degrees or more of heat, my choice is not the sentimental one.
There should be some research in proper technology to make birds avoid flying in the turbines. Have some radar surveillance and some warning sound system, some nets mounted before the turbines, or whatever else might work.