Feeling like you’re doing the right thing doesn’t mean you are. For years, I felt like I was protecting the environment. I was wrong! But I couldn’t admit it. My sense of identity was tied to false beliefs about energy–myths that blinded me to what *does* help the planet:
2/ MYTH: Solar & wind power are the best ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: The biggest emissions reductions over the last 15 yrs have been due to shifts from coal to natural gas.
Natural gas produces only 10% of the air pollutants & 50% the CO2 that coal does.
3/ MYTH: The world is transitioning to solar, wind & batteries.
Fact A: Solar & wind produce only <3% of global energy, after $2.7 TRILLION invested over the last decade.
Fact B: Solar, wind & batteries over-consume minerals & land, & are too unreliable & expensive at scale.
4/ MYTH: Solar farms reduce household utility bills.
Fact: Households pay more for electricity where governments mandate solar power:
In the US: 11% more in the 29 states with solar mandates.
In CA: 80% more than the US avg.
In Germany: electric bills have doubled.
5/ MYTH: Nuclear power is dangerous.
Fact: Nuclear is the safest, most powerful & reliable way to generate low-emission electricity.
Only ~200 people have died as a result of nuclear energy in 60+ yrs. This number includes the Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island and Fukushima accidents.
Fact: EVEN IF you count the cancer diagnoses among people exposed to radiation, the harm from nuclear plant accidents remains minuscule, in contrast with the *millions* who die every year from the effects of air pollution from coal.
7/ MYTH: Nuclear waste is a big problem.
Fact: Nuclear is the only energy source that prevents waste from going into the environment.
All the nuclear fuel ever generated in the US is safely contained & can fit on a single football field stacked less than 10 yards high.
8/ Fact: Used nuclear fuel is not strictly “waste” because it can be recycled to make new fuel and byproducts in the future.
More than 90% of its potential energy still remains in the fuel, even after five years of operating in a reactor.
10/ MYTH: Climate risk is the biggest threat to developing countries.
Fact: Energy poverty is a bigger threat & causes 10M premature deaths per year. 2B ppl worldwide only get enough electricity to power a refrigerator. 1B have none & use wood or dung for cooking & heating.
11/ Fact: Reducing energy poverty & fueling economic growth have reduced deaths from natural disasters 95% in the past 100 years while promoting better healthcare, education & economic opportunity.
12/ MYTH: Countries honor their climate pledges.
Fact: Energy security takes precedence over environmental pledges.
Example: Japan plans to increase reliance on oil and gas from 34.7% in 2019 to more than 60% in 2040.