To hasten switch to renewable energy, think of the lessons of WWII
Offshore wind is long overdue to become a major source of power in New England. Your March 29 editorial, “The best chance for offshore wind in Mass.,” outlines a practical approach for the new 800 megawatt project proposed for Southeastern Massachusetts. The recommendation that the committee award the bid to multiple contractors to balance the risks is sound advice.
In the meantime, all the scientific evidence points to the urgent need to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to avoid catastrophic climate change. During World War II, a similar era of challenge, the US government gave Detroit’s automakers just one month’s notice to switch from producing civilian vehicles to military jeeps, tanks, and planes. The auto companies had to quickly change their output to support their nation in a time of crisis. If Chrysler, Ford, and the long-gone Hudson plants could share responsibility for those military bids in the 1940s, surely several energy companies in Massachusetts can divide the work for this offshore wind project.
In the end, what is needed is a swift and effective switch to renewable energy, and we all need to do our part — politicians, regulators, corporations, and citizens.
As wind projects advance, Nantucket Sound remains unprotected
We live in a country where local opposition matters and helps drive what gets developed and where. In the case of Cape Wind, that meant the wildly expensive industrialization of pristine waters in Nantucket Sound by a private for-profit company was crushed, as it should have been. Now, better-located projects, with fewer conflicts, are moving forward, and the state soon will make a selection (“The best chance for offhsore wind in Mass.”).
However, with all of the focus on these new projects, let’s not forget about Nantucket Sound and the 15-year fight that led to the demise of Cape Wind. While Cape Wind is no longer a threat, Nantucket Sound remains unprotected from development — from another offshore wind project or even oil and gas exploration. That needs to end. We need to work to keep all industrial users out of this national treasure and preserve it for fishing, boating, and recreation. Future generations will thank us.
Baker has right idea to push for home energy audits
Governor Baker and his administration are smart to propose legislation requiring energy audits when we sell our homes (“Could your home make the grade?” Business, April 4).
A home is often the largest single purchase of our lives. Yet we know precious little about its operating costs before we buy. You can’t tell how many miles per gallon a car gets by just looking at it. That’s why we require that MPG sticker in the window. Refrigerators, washing machines, even light bulbs can be compared on the basis of their operating costs. This transparency creates a clear incentive for companies to make efficient products.
The governor sees that it is time houses had this same transparency. Under this bill, home buyers would be as informed as car or refrigerator buyers. And home sellers would see a positive market signal when they invest in energy efficiency. What’s more, energy audits through the Mass Save program are free.
While many realtors support this proposal, some mistakenly argue that it would hurt sales, particularly in lower-income communities. Years ago, realtors made the same arguments about lead disclosure, and their fears were misplaced. Cities such as Austin, Texas, and Portland, Ore., have initiated this efficiency disclosure, and the opposite has happened. In Austin, over 10 years, home sales and prices have climbed. In Massachusetts, many leading affordable-housing and antipoverty organizations support this proposal precisely because of benefits to the most vulnerable.
Kudos to the governor. This is great for the environment and the residents of the Commonwealth.
Fossil fuel industry fighting to hide its climate deception
For at least 40 years the fossil fuel industry reportedly has concealed the conclusions of its own scientists that carbon emissions are causing global warming. At the same time, industry leaders (ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, Shell, Peabody Energy, and others) have conducted a campaign of disinformation to deceive the public. This has come to light through lawsuits, leaks, and Freedom of Information requests. Much of this was revealed through the investigative efforts of the Columbia School of Journalism, the Los Angeles Times, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and others. The article “Judge dismisses Exxon lawsuit” (Metro, March 30) demonstrates that the fossil fuel industry is still fighting hard to hide its climate deception.
The fossil fuel industry’s playbook to cast doubt on climate science is eerily similar to the tobacco industry’s campaign to obfuscate the dangers of smoking. In fact, many of the same public relations firms, conservative think tanks, and researchers were used by both oil and tobacco firms. Let’s hope that the many current and future lawsuits against ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel firms will be as successful in recovering damages as the suits against the tobacco industry were years earlier.