Climate Change and the Threat of Northeast Blackouts

Does anyone notice that the same arguments that people use to deny that climate change is happening are also used to justify the effects of air and water pollution, harmful medicines, genetically modified food, and power lines, etc., on our health?

 Here they are: * It’s not true, the science is flawed or incomplete. * It may be happening but it’s not harmful. * It may be happening and may cause some harm, but to stop it will cost the economy too much in the long run. * Repair costs for problems will be passed on to consumers, not the corporations.

 It’s sort of like saying, whatever compromises health can be justified. Somehow, the pivotal factor seems to be some corporation’s ability to make huge profits. Even the cap and trade dance needs to be watch-dogged.

 Cap and trade was originally set up so that specific sources of air pollution would be given a certain number of allowances. Facilities that have pollution control systems and come in under the allowable limit have pollution credits which they can then sell to facilities that pollute. Supposedly, this allows polluters to gradually make costly improvements on their systems. Some polluters do try to upgrade to less pollution but others just go right on polluting, knowing it’s cheaper to just buy credits than to upgrade.

 We don’t need more reports to convince us that climate change is happening. We can see for ourselves the crazy intensive rain and lightening patterns right here in NH.

 I shudder at the possibility of plugging into Hydro Quebec’s hugely centralized energy grid that would make NH vulnerable to massive Northeast blackouts in the future. Quebec’s grid is planned to span all the New England states. That’s a huge area that would be affected. When you consider that Quebec has over 200 dams and dykes to generate power from their rivers, one intense storm can wreak havoc gouging out those rivers, roads and facilities, and polluting water supplies. 

Canada has been gradually buying up power in NH, most recently with the purchase of National Grid of NH to Canadian owned Liberty Utilities for $285 m, according to the Concord Monitor. More power slipping out of the communities of NH.

 Everywhere I go in Northern NH, Irene’s calling card brags about the damage it did last September, lifting rocks and shifting soil as it carved out river banks, dumped rocks and debris that destroyed campgrounds and roads and made some hiking trails impassable. Costly repairs were made; other areas were abandoned or put on a list for ‘later.’

 We can expect more dramatic natural or conflict driven events that challenge our health and way of living. Bottom line is: the more localized we are, the safer we’ll be to recover. The Northern Pass project is not just about property rights and health effects of high voltage; it’s a stealthy link to potential natural catastrophic phenomena. The more centralized we become, the more vulnerable we are to major effects. Bigger is not better. Silence gives consent to corporation coffers. Your voice and vote count. Will we choose short-term access to more power and corporate greed or long-term access to the possibility of  healthy lives and autonomous community resilience?

 

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