Home > Energy, Environment, Microeconomics > People Face Trade-offs: Pollution and Eagles Edition

People Face Trade-offs: Pollution and Eagles Edition

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One of the ten principles of economics in our text’s first chapter is that people face trade-offs.

Here’s a good example:

Wind energy reduces pollution. It’s a cleaner form of energy generation than, say, burning coal.

But it’s not entirely without costs. There are some important trade-offs. For cleaner energy, what do we have to give up as a society?

Besides the visual impact (at first, windmill farms looked futuristic and cool; after 20 or 30 years, they start to look like clutter on the horizon), the noise pollution they generate, and the cost of the materials to build them and transport them to the best locations, they kill birds.

Some of the birds they kill are relatively rare, and therefore prized by conservationists and environmentalists.

Should we build more windmills? Might there be any other trade-offs we haven’t thought of?

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