Since 1998, as was recently detailed in the pages of the Union-Sun & Journal, fossil fuel companies have flooded the media with disinformation to undermine the science of climate change. Like the tobacco companies, they intentionally lied about the harm their products do. And now that most Americans can perceive the effects of the climate crisis, these companies just tweak the disinformation.
The disinformation campaign is happening on a local level in New York. For example, spokespeople for fossil fuel front groups pen op eds stating that electricity alone cannot provide enough energy for our needs, the grid cannot handle so much electricity, and that renewable sources are not reliable. This is being debunked in practice every day, as was detailed in a study by the Yale School of the Environment (https://e360.yale.edu/features/three-myths-about-renewable-energy-and-the-grid-debunked).
Take Germany, which has a higher percentage of renewables in its power mix than the U.S. Germany’s grid reliability is significantly superior to ours. How the Germans do it: energy storage and better energy management. The Yale report states: “as the percentage of electricity generated by renewables in Germany steadily grew, its grid reliability improved, and its coal burning and greenhouse gas emissions substantially decreased.”
Solar and wind are now the cheapest forms of new energy generation, and large-scale battery storage systems like Tesla is installing in California and Texas are proving that renewable energy is still available when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.
Getting that clean energy into our grid, and from there into our homes for heating and cooking, is urgently necessary. Governor Hochul has signaled her support for the All-Electric Building Act. Legislative leaders Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins must bring the bill up to a vote in the 2023 session. For the sake of the planet, we cannot wait. Disinformation must be denied and defeated.
LYNN SAXTON, Warsaw