Now that's what I call a footprint

Guardian: Renewable energy projects will devour huge amounts of land, warns researcher

Large-scale renewable energy projects will cause widespread environmental damage by industrialising vast swaths of countryside, a leading scientist claims today. The warning follows an analysis of the amount of land that renewable energy resources, including wind farms, biofuel crops and photovoltaic solar cells, require to produce substantial amounts of power.

Jesse Ausubel, a professor of environmental science and director of the Human Environment programme at Rockefeller University in New York, found that enormous stretches of countryside would have to be converted into intensive farmland or developed with buildings and access roads for renewable energy plants to make a significant contribution to global energy demands…

The report breaks what Prof Ausubel calls the "taboo of talking about the strong negative aspects of renewables", by focusing on examples that highlight their limitations. "When most people think of renewables and their impact, they're mistaking pleasant landscaping with what would be a massive industrial transformation of the landscape," he said…

Prof Ausubel said that despite technical and political concerns, nuclear power plants still ranked as the most environmentally-friendly for large conurbations. "The good news about nuclear is that over the past 50 years all of the forms of waste storage seem to have worked."


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