Where, oh where, is Long Island's wind farm?
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How ironic, I thought, that Law kowtowed to the naysayers, in particular a small group of concerned citizens called Save Jones Beach, which formed to defeat the offshore wind farm. Then, in December 2011, the Town of Hempstead, led by one of the South Shore’s great environmentalists, Supervisor Kate Murray, erected a giant windmill on dry land, a stone’s throw from Jones Beach.
Save Jones Beach’s argument was simple: The windmills would look ugly from the beach. I challenge anyone — even the most ardent member of the now-dormant Save Jones Beach — to stand atop the 100-foot-high “Mt. Merrick,” at the center of the Levy Preserve, look south to Lido Beach and tell me that the town’s windmill detracts from the view. Quite the opposite; it enhances it. And, by the way, the distance in a straight line from the park to the windmill is roughly four miles, the same distance that the offshore wind farm would have been from the beach.
Why do I care so much about a wind farm, particularly one that would raise my electric rate by a couple of dollars a month? Because it would be a start. We have to begin somewhere, anywhere, in what will inevitably be a long, trying battle to wean our nation from its wrenching addiction to fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — the carbon-intensive energy sources that largely power the country.
If we continue to burn them as we have for so long, the atmospheric carbon dioxide level will surely reach 450 parts per million by the middle of the century — we’re now at 394 ppm and climbing. Carbon dioxide, we know, is the main ingredient that drives climate change, a.k.a. global warming. If we hit 450 ppm, scientists say, climate change will be irreversible.
Global warming causes ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica to melt and flow into the oceans, raising sea level, which is threatening coastal communities around the globe. Imagine the destructive power of Hurricane Sandy if sea level were two, three, even four feet higher than it is today. Then you begin to understand the crisis at hand.