Gov. LePage’s predictable veto of the genius of home solar net-metering legislation disrespects both science and the majority vote of the Legislature. It should be overridden unanimously.
by Paul Liebow
Sun Journal op-ed
Mainers who can’t afford solar will benefit in the long run, not lose money, because unlimited harvesting of solar power will make it more difficult for fossil fuel monopolies to re-establish market control.
Why sacrifice hundreds of well-paying skilled jobs in solar installation?
This argument is like saying that mortgage deductions are unfair, when we have known for years that everyone benefits from that stimulus to the economy and long-term community values. Sort of like supporting medical research, highway safety and vaccines is not good for all Americans in the long run.
I recently attended a fascinating Natural Resources Council of Maine presentation on solar engineering. On a favorably oriented roof, solar can pay for itself before most Mainers’ mortgages expire. Title goes with the house when sold, increasing its value.
Soon solar panels will not be on the roof, they will be the roof. For complex chemical reasons, solar power generation is more efficient in a cold Maine winter. Why protect Emera’s corporate monopoly by limiting cooperative installation sharing to only seven families?
The only ultimate solution to the world’s accelerating energy, starvation, disease and climate refugee crises is solar power. Every other form of energy is barely even a stopgap measure. Coal and oil will eventually run out. Wind, wave and all other forms of water power will easily be termed-out, due to limited siting opportunities.
Nuclear will have to be used as a temporizing measure, but Chernobyl or Fukashima are still leaking and will have to be contained for tens of thousands of years. More than a hundred serious accidents threatening core meltdown/explosion have occurred worldwide.
A 40-by-40 mile solar array in the California desert could power the whole United States. Even Marco Rubio admits global warming is real — he’s just not intelligent enough to imagine lawmakers smart enough to start fixing the problem. Could Donald Trump actually be right on this one — that entrenched interests are unwilling to help solve problems for the benefit of the average hardworking American? The average hardworking citizen of the world?
This lovely country is besieged by the ugly politics of greed, power and personal ego-trips — a huge national embarrassment. Will the unanimous worldwide vote to work together at the Paris Climate Accord remain 196 to 0 or become195 to 1 — to our everlasting national embarrassment? The accord is nowhere near enough, but it is a start.
The most respected man in the world is Pope Francis, who crossed this land last fall. He has stated that, beyond any doubt, global warming is real, caused by human activity, and that every individual and every country must do everything possible to save this beautiful planet.
There was a dazzling visual display projected on the walls of the Vatican — so many of God’s grandest creatures that are being wiped out by mankind in what scientists universally are referring to as the Sixth Great Extinction. That becomes worse every day, not because of giant meteors or volcanoes, but because of human greed and stupidity.
The pope has written an encyclical in which he agrees with the entire world scientific community that global warming is real and that we must all do something about it together — immediately. The world is already running out of water and food — inalienable human rights — everywhere. The rise in sea level will inundate most of the world’s fertile river deltas where most of the food comes from and where most of the world’s people live. Dominion does not mean domination and destruction. It means thinking and taking responsibility.
That thinking played itself out so obviously as the pope crossed an African continent that lives perpetually on the edge of starvation and mass murder because of resource wars. Every day, we hear about human floods coming to Europe on leaky rafts from the deserts of the Middle East and Africa. So many are sent back,
Maine’s legislators must put the interests of Mainers above those of big business moguls and their interlocking directorate of non-taxpaying corporations.
And they must do it now.
Paul A. Liebow, MD FACEP, has a long history of involvement with environmental issues, including board membership on the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Climate Change Stake-holders Group, and as a founding member of the State Taxpayers Opposed to Pollution. He is a resident of Bucksport.