The Earth is “cooking with gas.” Remember that ad? Large amounts of methane leak from fracking and gas lines. Since methane is 100 times more powerful as a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide, that heats up the Earth.
On our farm, it’s so hot and dry that we run the drip irrigation almost every day and put up shade cloth for midday hours to keep our vegetables growing. Workers in agriculture, construction, streets: Everyone working outside is dripping with sweat.
News from around the world reminds us daily of the devastation caused by weather: Evacuations and migrations because of droughts and wildfires, floods and a new hurricane season, tornadoes like the ones that ripped apart east Greensboro. It’s so bad, we want to change the weather forecast.
Unfortunately, weather forecasts are already being changed, for the worse, by the dumping of regulations that were protecting our air and water from the gas, coal and oil industries.
“Switching from coal to shale gas is accelerating rather than slowing global warming,” said Robert Howarth of Cornell University.
Scott Pruitt recently resigned as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency for scandals related to financial conflicts of interest but was welcomed home to Oklahoma by the gas and oil industries on whose behalf he previously sued the EPA. His real scandal is contributing to a hotter Earth by overturning regulations that protect air and water. Andrew Wheeler, acting in his place at EPA, was a lobbyist for the coal industry, so these reckless policies will continue. They both show complete disregard for people and every living thing in order to increase profits for the fossil-fuel industries that they support.
Coal-burning and ash-producing power plants pollute water and contribute to warming temperatures. Natural gas is then advertised as the “clean” fuel because gas-fired power plants produce less carbon dioxide than coal — but hydraulic drilling for gas and transporting it over gas lines emits heat-trapping methane into the atmosphere.
Duke Energy continues using coal while moving toward gas, making it one of the largest polluters in the country, despite all those “Clean Energy” advertisements.
Piedmont Natural Gas is now part of Duke’s regulated monopoly.
Face it, those onerous regulations that utilities and fossil-fuel industries want to get rid of: We only need regulations because not all companies voluntarily protect our air, water and future. We only need enforcement when profits are a higher priority for companies than our community well-being. But when coal and gas industries and their lobbyists-turned-decision-makers write the regulations, fossil-fuel industries get protected rather than the rest of us.
So the weather forecast gets worse and worse.
Watch what happens next. Hotter days, more power usage for air conditioning, higher utility bills. Melting polar ice, rising sea levels, flooding coastal regions, displaced residents. Struggling farmers, hungry people on the move.
Wouldn’t it make more sense (financially as well as ethically) to regulate fossil fuels and invest in sun and wind? If North Carolina communities promoted renewable energy and energy efficiency, we would create green jobs, reduce utility bills and keep carbon dioxide and methane out of the atmosphere.
Imagine: solar panels on roofs and covered parking lots with storage for when the sun doesn’t shine, young people and older workers learning new skills and seniors able to afford both electricity and food — all without turning up the gas. If we invest as much in shifting to truly clean energy as we do in addressing the damage caused by extreme weather, we still have a chance to reduce greenhouse gases. Read NC WARN’s CleanPath2025.
Cooking the Earth for short-term profit is outrageous.