Support solar, wind energy sources

January 27, 2023

We recently returned from driving to Boston in our EV (our safest car yet); its range is over 300 miles with an efficiency of 130 mpg. We stopped twice, for 30 minutes of easily accessed charge during which we stretched, used the restrooms and chatted with other friendly EV drivers. The standard heated seats kept us plenty warm, and the range was unaffected by cold. Given all the benefits, by 2035, General Motors and most major car makers will only make EVs. The popular Chevy Bolt lists for $27,000 with a range nearing 275 miles, over five hours of driving. Ultimate causes of our energy and climate challenges help explain our need to embrace EVs, the advanced clean car standards and capturing energy from the sun.

Many argue the human population, at 3 billion in 1960 and now at 8 billion, already has exceeded the earth’s carrying capacity. Sussex County’s population has grown by 20% in 10 years, growth which threatens the landscape, its biodiversity and ecosystem services, those driven by the sun and valued at over $33 trillion annually (Costanza et al, 1997, Nature). Air and water pollution costs millions in healthcare and lost productivity, and many Delawareans struggle with asthma due to unhealthy air. Other assaults include landscapes crisscrossed with traffic-choked highways (e.g. Route 1), loss of fertile farmland to sprawling housing developments, and a CO2-laden atmosphere which, well analyzed by more than 2,000 of the world’s leading climatologists, permits less escaping heat because of the increasing activities of a burgeoning, consumptive population. CO2 generated from the burning of fossil fuels now threatens coastlines here in Delaware and beyond.

To protect ourselves and the remaining landscape, let’s support renewable, nonpolluting energy sources like solar and wind, and adoption of the advanced clean car standards, already embraced by Maryland and New Jersey. The cost for renewable energy is now less than that from fossil fuels and is far less once savings are appreciated, that is savings from no air and water pollution (e.g. less asthma), and diminished chance of catastrophic climate-related weather events, those costing billions of dollars and thousands of lives annually.

To plan for the future, we need to care for each other and our resources. Answers to overpopulation include education, family planning, fair and resolute immigration policy, and the empowerment of women. Rehoboth now has recycle bins along its Boardwalk, and Lewes and other communities could do the same. Recycling aluminum cans saves 95% in energy costs. To foster awareness and appreciation, let’s take our children outside, to our backyards, to local parks, free from the computer and television and other distraction, and immerse them in the intrigue and beauty of the natural world. The challenge is pressing, but the solutions are many and include investments and technological improvement to accompany visionary thinking; it’s tough to argue about an EV requiring few repairs and getting over 100 mpg.

Let's follow the thoughtful example of Native Americans who make decisions with future generations in mind, and let’s well appreciate the benefits of advanced clean car standards, of creating health by depending more on the sun.

Peter Kleppinger McLean, Ph.D.
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