This month, a new report warns that world governments are doubling down on fossil fuel production, a strategy inconsistent with controlling climate change events. This means George Will’s “Fossil fuel era isn’t done,” (Kingston Daily Freeman) is factually correct. But his unconcern about our continued reliance on oil and gas is troubling.
Here in the Hudson Valley, we have recently experienced the extreme heat, crop failures, and more intense storms that are already transforming lives, and not for the better. The costs to us include loss of life, increased air pollution, increased respiratory disease, and billions of dollars in taxpayer money ($2 billion in New York alone this last year).
Mr. Will suggests personal preferences are driving our fossil fuel dependence. However, fossil fuel companies’ disinformation campaigns play a role. They fund phony citizen groups that challenge solar and wind projects; they frighten people into thinking clean energy isn’t reliable when that isn’t true; and here in New York, they sue the state over its climate policies.
New Yorkers have already shown they care about our changing climate and want to forestall the damage caused by extreme weather events.
One way to do that is to encourage legislators and Gov. Kathy Hochul to support strong climate laws. One is the New York Home Energy Affordable Transition (NY HEAT) Act. This bill will align New York’s regulations with the state’s mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. It would manage a gradual phasing out of gas infrastructure, cap energy expenses for low- and moderate-income families, and end the subsidies customers pay for new gas hookups, whether they benefit from them or not.
We can prove Mr. Will wrong if we act together.