George Woodwell: Climate crisis calls for swift action on Cape Wind

As my colleague, Brandi Colander, wrote last week the trails for Cape Wind continue, but finally Secretary Salazar is personally engaged in the offshore wind projects permitting process and has committed to reaching a final decision by March 1. Today Salazar is meeting for the first time with a core group of stakeholders to see if he can’t wrangle some sort of consensus.

Back in November, NRDC called on Salazar to move quickly to find a way to permit the project, and I hope that the Secretary and everyone else in the meeting today understands how urgent the challenge of climate change is and how important moving forward with carefully sited renewables such as Cape Wind is to stopping global warming.

Today in an email, long-standing NRDC trustee George Woodwell put it concisely and forcefully. George founded the Woods Hole Research Center, is Director Emeritus and Senior Scientist there, and is a deep expert on impacts of climate change. Here’s what George had to say:

It is very important as I see the world to emphasize that we have a crisis, a present disaster underway with climate moving out from under this civilization rapidly and no national or international plan yet proportional to the need for correcting the trend. This step, the Cape Wind project, is essential, both in relieving the pressure on fossil fuels for the region and in showing that the US is seriously concerned about the crisis. And it is essential for the country to learn that progress is possible, that this wind farm plus other wind-based and solar panel-based installations will make a significant region of the Northeast substantially independent of fossil fuels for electrical power. The trend will be contagious ...and essential. Soon we shall have electric-powered vehicles charged regularly with locally produced renewable and inexpensive energy!

And one might notice conspicuously that the opposition is heavily represented and financed by interests invested in the fossil fuel business who have unabashedly prolonged their programs of poisoning the earth for profits as long as possible. It is the purpose of government to protect the public from such corruption of the general welfare and it is time for our government to rise to the challenge.

Editorials similar conclusions in major publications in the past several days including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe and Providence Journal.