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Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

We Worry About the Wrong Things

LNG tanker Berge Boston in Boston Harbor in January. A congressional study questions how prepared the government is to handle a terrorist attack on an LNG facility. Photo: Luke Pinneo, U.S. Coast Guard

Joanne Coons

It was a special day. I got to go to Boston to attend the NESEA Green Building Conference in March 2017, with two of my favorite people and husband. The bonus was they just purchased a Tesla S and we drove out together in it. Before returning back to the Albany capital region, we stopped at a restaurant on the Boston waterfront and more good luck was with us as we snagged a table overlooking the harbor. During dinner we suddenly saw many police boats, fire boats, and coast guard boats enter the harbor. I had never seen anything like it. Was it a drill? Was there a problem? It certainly was unsettling to see such a response so close to where we were. And then, like a giant mountain range, appeared the biggest ship I ever saw. It rose above and silhouetted our horizontal view-scape. It was a delivery of liquefied natural gas. This event was one of the most ominous and scary memories I have, and I will not forget it. The “what if” question is even scarier.

Coast Guard Seaman Darcy McGrail mans an M-240-B machine gun during a security escort of the liquid natural gas tanker Berge Boston.

We had just been to Halifax, Nova Scotia the year before and learned about the 1917 boat explosion that killed 2000 and injured 9000 which connected Boston and Halifax in a special way. The Boston Red Cross responded immediately to assist the injured and, to this day, Halifax provides Boston with a Christmas tree as a sign of appreciation. It is beyond me why anyone would site something so dangerous in such a highly populated and important place. I feel almost as much fear when a gas tanker passes me on a highway or a “bomb train” goes by on the railroad.

I feel strongly that we need to electrify everything, heating, cooling, cooking, and get away from fossil fuels. They aren’t good for the health of our planet which includes us. The sun delivers free, non-combustible energy which is both healthy and safe. It’s a truism that the sun doesn’t shine at night, by tamping down our night energy usage and supplementing with other renewables, we can supply what we need. We have adjusted our lives and schedules during Covid-19; we can adjust our energy usage to accommodate our supply.

Dr Richard Perez, SUNY Albany professor has researched solar energy all of his career and has developed a road map for a safe, clean energy future. He spells out his solution in a 26-minute YouTube video http://bit.ly/Perez-video. Or you can read his research paper at http://bit.ly/Perez-paper

Let us pause and reflect on how our actions can have unintended consequences. What we choose to do today might solve an immediate problem, but it could create bigger ones down the road.

Some resources that describe the dangers of LNG transport:

http://bit.ly/LNG-danger-1

http://bit.ly/LNG-danger-2

Joanne Coons is an adjunct professor at Hudson Valley Community College, TEC-SMART facility teaching PV Theory and Design. She is a member of NYSES (New York Solar Energy Society), NY GEO, HeatSmart Capital Region and the Town of Clifton Park GREEN Committee.

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