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.

9/ MYTH: Electric vehicles (EV) reduce CO2 emissions.

Fact: EVs shift emissions from the tailpipe to the power plant. If the power source is dirty, so is the EV.

50%+ of new EV sales are expected in China where plants are mostly fueled by coal.

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.

13/ MYTH: Fossil fuels are running out.

Fact: Oil & natural gas reserves keep growing.

14/ Another fact: We’ll likely stop burning fossil fuels before we ever run out.

Oceanic methane hydrates could potentially supply the world with more than 1 million exajoules of energy, equivalent to 1,000s of years of current global energy demand.

15/ MYTH: More energy consumption is bad.

Fact: More energy consumption improves human flourishing & the environment.

Energy improves:

Health & nutrition
Climate risk
Water quality & sanitation
Habitat preservation
Gender inequality
16/ These myths distorted my view of the facts. I believed I was acting morally & protecting the well-being of people & the planet, but I was really harming both.

My ignorance prevented me from making a real difference, and I see other people making the same mistakes today.
17/ These myths are now driving bad investments & policy decisions.

Days & dollars spent on them cause harm & suffering to the poorest among us–a high cost for false moral comfort.

Let’s build an energy system that maximizes human flourishing & minimizes environmental harm.
18/ What We Need To Do:

End subsidies and incentives for solar & wind

Retire the dirtiest coal power plants

Build new efficient natural gas power plants (and hydro and geothermal where possible)

Reform regulations & build nuclear power plants

Invest in energy R&D

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More from @BrianGitt

15 Dec 21
Solar power harms both the environment & people—especially people with lower incomes.

I say this as someone who championed solar for over two decades. I thought I was helping to protect the environment, but I was wrong.

Some more reasoning behind this picture 🧵👇
2/ Evaluating the environmental and social impact of solar panels requires weighing the costs and benefits, & accounting for all the social & environmental costs of mining, manufacturing, installing, operating, and disposing of the solar panels.
3/ Solar panels are manufactured using minerals, toxic chemicals, and fossil fuels. In fact, solar panels require 10 times the minerals to deliver the same quantity of energy as a natural gas plant. Quartz, copper, silver, zinc, aluminum, and other rare earth minerals are mined.
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