The need for action is significant, if a U.N. report is on target. It foresees a “catastrophic” increase of 4.9 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century compared to the end of the 1800s.
Here – as in many other places around the country – resistance to the necessary adaptations is high. Whether it’s erecting wind farms, on land or in water, or laying out arrays of solar panels, people object. They prefer the pastoral looks of fields and unimpeded views of lakes and hills. Who doesn’t?
But the facts intervene. We need energy and we can’t continue to rely on fossil fuels, as even that industry seems to understand: A secretly recorded conversation recently revealed an Exxon official boasting of corporate efforts to spread misinformation about climate science.
In the Niagara County Town of Cambria, lawn signs sprout like cornstalks opposing “industrial solar.” In the Southern Tier and along Lake Ontario, local groups have opposed the placement of wind turbines.
But two things are obvious today: One is that the country and the world need to change the way they produce power. The evidence and the consequences of a warming climate are incontrovertible. Even the administration of former President Donald Trump concluded not only that the climate is warming, but that the change is caused by humans.
Second is that energy production always disrupts the status quo. Ask the people who live along the Niagara River gorge if the power plant there doesn’t mar a spectacular view. Of course it does. So do the power lines that trace virtually every roadway in the country. It’s part of modern life.