Facts and Renewable Power

From the beginning, The Power Line has been about ensuring that our readers have all the facts about the electrical system in WV and the US.  The large holding companies and speculators that run the US electrical system have a strong influence over what is presented in the media.  This influence shapes what facts are allowed into public discussion.  Here on The Power Line, we talk about facts and perspectives we don’t hear much about in the popular media.

Yesterday, the New York Times printed a piece by writer Rebecca Solnit that connects with our mission here at The Power Line.  Ms. Solnit compares the factual impacts on birds of concentrated solar plants in the US Southwest with the overall impacts of fossil fuel generation.  This approach is similar to my last post that looks closely at the facts of bird deaths from various causes, including wind farms.

Here is Ms. Solnit’s conclusion:

Climate change is everything, a story and a calamity bigger than any other. It’s the whole planet for the whole foreseeable future, the entire atmosphere, all the oceans, the poles; it’s weather and crop failure and famine and tropical diseases heading north and desertification and the uncertain fate of a great majority of species on earth. The stories about individual birds can distract us from the slow-motion calamity that will eventually threaten every bird.

I would go further than Ms. Solnit in one respect.  I would point out that stories about environmental impacts of renewable power, and the downplaying or ignoring of the impacts of fossil fuel power “distract us” because the corporate interests that control the US media have an interest in distracting “us.”  The ownership of NBC by General Electric comes immediately to mind.

As Ms. Solnit has done, I often look beyond media claims to include all the facts.  For example, I have posted repeatedly about how subsidies for renewable power are dwarfed by the direct and indirect subsidies the US government gives to fossil fuels.  These subsidies extend to the war against WV, KY and VA mountains waged by the coal industry and the failure to provide a safe workplace for US coal miners so that people in the US can have “cheap” electricity.  My electricity is not cheap if people have to die by the dozens every year to produce it.

Look again at the title of Ms. Solnit’s piece: “Are We Missing the Big Picture on Climate Change?”  Editorial page editors usually reserve the right to put their own titles on writers’ op-ed pieces.  If you read Ms. Solnit’s piece, you will see that there is no question in her mind that “we are missing the big picture on climate change.”  Yet the title of her piece is stated as a question.  Was this question posed by Ms. Solnit, or the editors at the New York Times?

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