To the editor of THE EAGLE:
At the recent Lenox town meeting, citizens voted -- by a healthy margin -- to oppose fracked gas pipelines within the borders of the town. We should thank them for their foresight, and thank the Lenox Select Board in advance for supporting this non-binding resolution. As the board chair so eloquently reminded us, the town meeting is participatory democracy at its best. And we welcome future public discussions on this subject [in addition to the vote recorded at the town meeting, and not in lieu of it.
I am at a loss as to why we even continue to have a discussion over fossil fuels versus renewables. Is there anyone who is not yet aware of the cataclysmic consequences of continuing to burn fossil fuels? Twenty-two countries commissioned an independent study that concludes that by the year 2030 -- only 16 summers from now -- 100 million people will have died as a direct consequence of climate change, and that number then begins to swiftly rise. A rise of four degrees Celsius and life becomes unable to adapt to environmental changes; a rise of five degrees and world-around agriculture collapses. We are on track to raise global temperatures by six degrees Celsius.
Who actually believes we have a choice other than to throw ourselves fully behind the implementation of renewable technologies? Who can justify the continued burning of fossil fuels for any reason? There is the misconception that we don’t yet have the renewable technologies. I could cite hundreds of examples to counter that argument, but I will offer you just one: according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Technical Report No. NREL/ TP-840-40665, in the United States, the geothermal energy within two miles of the Earth’s surface is approximately three million quads, or enough energy to provide for America’s needs for the next 30,000 years.
Renewables cost too much? Wrong again. Efficiency increases and costs drop, courtesy of technological evolution. And even if we would need to subsidize the development of renewables -- as we have so generously done for the fossil fuel industries over the past 40 years -- what justification could we provide not to? Renewables will usher in new jobs, new industries, reverse the degradation of our soil, water, and air, lower the need for health care by improving the overall quality of life, stop contributing to the effects of a warming climate, and provide an overabundance of clean energy.
Who, among those favoring Kinder Morgan’s pipeline through Massachusetts, does not desire this quality of life for herself and her loved ones? I encourage readers to visit TheSolutionsProject.org in order to view the very first road map -- developed by a team at Stanford University -- that will provide directions for the citizens of Massachusetts to achieve 100 percent renewable by 2050. Why don’t we instead come together and focus our collective energy on that ?