In 1824, Joseph Fourier demonstrated the presence of a greenhouse effect on Earth by showing the average global temperature of our planet would be lower if all other factors were accounted for. In 1856, Eunice Foote discovered that carbon dioxide and water vapor warmed the atmosphere by trapping infrared radiation. In 1896, Svante Arrhenius concluded that fossil fuels would enhance this natural effect, warning our planet by a few degrees Celcius if they doubled atmospheric CO2 levels.
That source of carbon has always been the problem. Carbon emissions resulting from the decay of plant matter merely serve as a distraction for the fossil fuels industry. It spent $27 million here last year because it wanted us to believe the vegetation the New England Clean Energy Connect would destroy mattered more than the carbon it would remove from the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, this industry knows how to disguise its efforts. It will often trigger and fund environmental activism that targets competition. Long before that it popularized carbon footprinting because it saw an opportunity to discourage public solutions while emphasizing individual efforts in it. They have the advantage that way.
This is how investment in community solar fits into the equation. It’s an obviously imperfect solution in a region that gets only a few hours of peak solar production on the sunniest of days, but it keeps generators burning fossil fuels in power if it’s utilized in place of some well planned public response. NextEra doesn’t lead the way in solar development because it wants to help. It leads the way because it wants control. That’s why they invested $20 million in the effort to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect from being constructed.