TED Conversations

Noel Laporte

This conversation is closed.

What form of renewable energy has or will have the lowest impact on biodiversity?

Climate change, air pollution, rising sea levels and species extinction can all be attributed to the increasing usage of non-renewable energy in the world today. Non-renewable energy reserves are diminishing and finite with an ever-increasing demand from countries around the world. Coal, natural gas and oil all have detrimental effects on the environment. These effects are both local and global, harming species throughout the world. As we consider different renewable forms of energy, can we rank their potential impacts on biodiversity?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Apr 24 2013: As important as the environmental impact of producing the power is the environmental impact of producing what produces the power. The blades of a wind turbine are made from aluminum, which must be mined or recycled, and composites that include plastics made from petroleum. Producing the average Mega Watt of photovoltaic electricity takes 4-5 tons of copper, an increasingly scarce and expensive metal. Moving and installing components is still largely dependent on a diesel powered infrastructure. We can't just look at the method of producing power alone when assessing its impact.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.