Clean energy now or chaos

Money and water and air

To the Editor:

There are a lot of climate change scoffers who pride themselves as tight-fisted when it comes to federal spending. In fact, there's a whole political party that fits that category.
But the Republican mayor of New York City, having experienced Hurricane Sandy as a monumental disaster, has just announced a $19.5 billion plan to "prepare for the impacts of changing climate." The plan has 250 specific recommendations.

To quote Mayor Bloomberg: "By mid-century up to a quarter of New York City's land area will be in the flood plain. Forty miles of our waterfront could see flooding on a regular basis just during normal high tides. We no longer have the luxury of ideological debates. The bottom line is we can't run the risk."

Of course it's not just a NYC problem. 39% of all Americans, 123 million of us, live in coastal communities. 50% of our nation's shoreline --- 11,200 miles of it --- are highly vulnerable to sea level rise. NOAA warns that extra water is a threat in storms, flooding previously safe areas.

In just the last two years natural disasters have cost the U.S. Treasury $188 billion. That is $2 billion per week! We averaged 56 major disasters per year from 2000 to 2010, in contrast with only 18 per year in the 1960s.

If the Republicans in Washington don't make a complete about-face we simply cannot afford to keep them there. Their stubborn ignorance will cause our coastline to swallow many Cape and Island properties at the same time it is flooding America's coastal cities.

And it's not just Washington politicians who are endangering us. In a plucky 11 year endeavor Cape Wind has all of the permits needed for construction. It is the only offshore turbine project in the country that is ready to go. Other enterprises like it are waiting to see it start building, and if it is balked by the fossil fuel industry's last-ditch efforts, no other wind farm will be harvesting all that gift from nature.

The Barnstable town government was succored into being Bill Koch's shill. The town is the front for a Koch lawsuit challenging the FAA's approval, claiming the wind farm endangers air traffic. That seems kind of weird, considering that state Senator Dan Wolf, a commercial pilot himself, founder of Cape Air, and someone who went to Denmark to see for himself all aspects of offshore wind installations, sees no threat to air traffic from Cape Wind. So why does the town officialdom worry so? What causes them to do Koch's bidding instead of reflecting the will of the majority of their constituents? It's clean energy now or chaos.

Richard C. Bartlett
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