Mike Tidwell's answer to climate change in the form of "wind farms" ("Md.'s climate answer," Sept. 17) must not go unanswered. Anyone who has witnessed retreating glaciers or sea level rise would have to agree that climate change is occurring; however solving the problem cannot be accomplished by erecting hundreds of thousands of wind turbines either on shore or off shore for many reasons:
1. Wind turbines will not reduce in any meaningful way the carbon dioxide emissions that are the primary source of the green house gases that are causing climate change.
2. Wind turbines require a backup form of energy to supply the grid when the wind does not blow. That substitute will be chiefly supplied through fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas.
3. Wind turbines will not reduce our use of oil chiefly because oil accounts for a pittance of energy production.
4. Wind turbines could not get off the ground (or water) without enormous government incentives and subsidies, laws requiring clean energy as a part of the mix, and laws that exclude environmental examination.
5. The cost to consumers of wind energy will be far greater than that of any other type of energy produced except solar.
6. Wind turbines require an enormous footprint for the production of a relatively small amount of energy. That footprint causes enormous damage to the ecosystems, birds, bats, terrestrial wildlife and landscapes. Not enough is known about the ecological impacts of off shore wind turbines.
So what is the answer? It would have to be a clean energy, one that produces a steady, reliable source of energy, one that would require only a small footprint. Nuclear energy is the only one that really fits those requirements.
Ajax Eastman, Baltimore