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Changes in energy sources being driven by market

An April 9 guest column (by Jim Willems) attacking renewable energy contained enough straw men and red herrings to throw a fish barbecue. But I suppose the fossil fuel industry has good cause to be nervous.

Renewable electricity plus battery storage is already cheaper than coal, and is becoming equal or cheaper than oil and gas. The change is not being driven by some liberal conspiracy but by the market.

I’d like to comment on a couple of specific statements. The writer claims that mitigating climate change will cost up to $200 trillion over next 100 years.

However, a July, 2017, Technology Review article clarifies that such figures only apply if we fail to reduce carbon emissions and end up having to use extremely expensive technology to actually suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. If we do nothing, as the letter writer recommends, the IPCC Fourth Climate Assessment estimates that the United States will lose $440 billion per year due to heat related deaths, coastal property losses, deaths from bad air quality and lost wages in outdoor industries alone.

This estimate does not include other factors such as crop losses from drought, flood and increasing temperatures.

On the positive side, a September 2018 article in the magazine Fast Company argues that fighting climate change could boost the globe’s economy by $26 trillion by 2030, create 65 million new jobs and prevent 700,000 premature deaths.

The letter writer also states that “Our new governor campaigned on 100 percent renewable energy for New Mexico in 12 years.” However, the Energy Transition Act (ETA), which the governor just signed, does no such thing.

The ETA mandates that electric utilities generate all electricity from renewable sources by 2045, with a longer time span for rural electric co-ops.

There’s a difference between “electricity” and “energy,” also between 26 years and 12 years.

The letter writer begins and ends by calling climate change the biggest scam in human history. Scam-wise, I’d vote for trickle-down economics – fighting poverty by cutting taxes on rich people.

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