In your most recent issue of The Owego Pennysaver you included an article about the proposed solar array farm on Montrose Turnpike. It is clear that some local residents are upset. However, I think your article failed to articulate the scope of the problem we face.
The climate is changing, and we are the cause. I know some of your readers do not necessarily trust me when I say that. But the fact of it is that human activity is causing climate change.
Carbon dioxide traps radiation that the Earth emits. So, the more carbon dioxide we put in the atmosphere, the more radiation gets trapped and the planet warms. Carbon dioxide is why Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system and not Mercury. Its atmosphere is 96% carbon dioxide – so despite being further from the Sun, Venus has a surface temperature of 870 degrees Fahrenheit. That is the power of the greenhouse effect.
We cannot act like everything is business as usual. We cannot continue to burn fossil fuels with abandon. You may not be around to see the worst effects of climate change, but I will be, and so will my children. It is up to my generation and the next to right the ship.
More solar energy hits the Earth in a day than the entire United States uses in a year. Fighting this solar farm is just fighting the inevitable. We have all of the energy we need – we just need to figure out how better to harness it. Is it perfect? Of course not. But the cost of continuing to burn fossil fuels is far greater.
In 2005 we had a “100-year” flood. In 2006 it was a “500-year” flood. And in 2011 we had a “1000-year” flood. Then in 2016 we had the worst drought we’ve had since the 1960s, costing New York agriculture over $1 Billion. All in the span of ten years.
I am not saying climate change caused these incidents – but it is highly likely that climate change made them worse. And our most advanced, state-of-the-art climate models tell us to expect more of the same. It’s how we can go from a very dry summer in 2020 to one of the snowiest winters we’ve ever had happening right now.
We need new solutions. And I don’t know about you all, but every time I drive by the new solar farm on Route 96 just outside of town, I am in awe of what we can achieve and how we’ve been able to discover a way to harness the power of the Sun. It’s truly incredible when you stop and think about it. Please, please consider the broader impact of what this solar farm means. We only have this one planet – we have to take care of it.
PhD Candidate, Atmospheric Science, Cornell University