Don Ogden: Solar farms and the environment 

Published: 08-14-2023 7:23 PM

The recent guest column “Wrongly blocking solar in Shutesbury,” [Gazette, July 22] by Dan Winslow, president of the New England Legal Foundation “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that advocates for free enterprise, property rights, rule of law, and inclusive growth” seems a fitting example of how libertarian principles come undone in the face of the climate crisis.

Winslow claims “While it will not be possible to develop necessary solar farms without cutting trees, according to EPA data, solar farms offset the production of more carbon than the trees such developments replace.” Trees and forests, left undisturbed, continue natural carbon capture of CO2 emissions throughout their hundreds of years lifetime service to the climate and environment. Most solar panels (which require a good deal of CO2 emissions during production, transportation and installation) last only 10 to 20 years after which they must be replaced with more panels and their own carbon footprint. Further, the claim “it will not be possible to develop necessary solar farms without cutting trees” is patently false. Studies prove otherwise (see www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-25720-2 and escholarship.org/content/qt4dv9c3df/qt4dv9c3df.pdf, among others.

We are in the throes of an existential threat from the climate crisis. Business-as-usual with regard to economics and fake science will only make matters worse. What’s truly “wrong” is putting profits over precaution.

Don Ogden

Leverett

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