Solar is strong option for planet-friendly electricity amidst global warning crisis

Posted 24 January 2022 at 3:56 pm


As I drove down Route 31 on the way to Buffalo the other day, I saw a bunch of signs that said “No Solar Energy.” I decided to do some research on it to see what all the hub-bub was about.

Do we really need solar and other renewable energy? Is this whole global warming thing real or is it just a bunch of propaganda that people are feeding us? As I read numerous articles from reputable sources, I made my independent decision based on the facts.

First, is climate change real? According to NASA (an independent/non-political agency) an average of 1.2 trillion tons of ice is melting in the Arctic each year! Current estimates are that the entire Arctic ice sheet will completely melt by 2035 and that will raise the ocean levels by 20 feet. That would put most of New York City, Florida, and Louisiana underwater.

If/when the Antarctic melts that will raise ocean levels another 200 feet. That would put 130 million Americans underwater and bankrupt insurance companies and our country.

We can still slow the progression of global warming. How? Electric cars and trucks for starters. Transportation makes up 29% of global warming. Since most major automotive manufacturers plan to stop selling internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030 to 2035, that will help. It will also help our people because EV’s by that time should get 1,000 miles per charge and cost much less to run, purchase, and maintain.

The bigger part of the equation, making up 61% of the problem, is electricity use and emissions from power generation, homes, and businesses. The energy sources that contribute the least to climate change are hydroelectric, solar, wind and nuclear.

Unfortunately, hydro is limited to having powerful rivers and lakes to dam (we are fortunate to have Niagara Falls and two small hydro plants in Orleans County in our area). Nuclear plants cost about $10 billion to build and risk leaking of radioactive materials. It is reported that 45 of the existing 61 nuclear plants in the U.S. have been leaked radioactive materials, and we could still have another (or worse) 3 Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima.

That leaves wind and solar as our best options. I’ve heard the argument that industrial solar farms are ugly and they ruin the landscape. There is a simple fix for that – town ordinances requiring a fence around them with plastic sheeting to obstruct the view. Out of sight, out of mind.

There is no one-size-fits-all perfect solution. But if you want your kids to have a habitable planet, pick your (not so) poison option. I’m going with solar.

Walter E. Dunn