Monday, November 30, 2015

Crash and Burn

Going into the COP-21 Paris climate talks, the U.S. position is reportedly to emulate Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act, bringing carbon emissions for the whole country down 27% by 2025.  I imagine this won't be very hard, since peak oil and financial disaster will force us down that path eventually, anyway.

Meanwhile, Maryland can't seem to see the forest for the trees of gas lines crisscrossing the state. Though informed in 2010 that Maryland's abundant biomass could provide a portion of the state's energy, clean power investment has favored natural gas, solar, and wind power.

It would be comforting if Maryland would ban fracking like New York did this year. Otherwise, investments in cleaner power plants, such as the PSEG Keys Energy Center being built up in Brandywine, may end up as incentives to further damage the environment.  While it may beat coal and gas export in terms of carbon emissions, natural gas is non-renewable and only sets us up for a big gap when we deplete it without adequate alternatives.  Solar and wind won't come close to providing the level of energy that we get from fossil fuels.  Wood biomass could help some, but we have to begin putting the infrastructure in place.  In addition to building new types of facility-scale power plants, we need to reshape the workforce to concentrate it on sustainable forestry.  It is time to turn the corner, even if we have to slow down in doing so.

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