Massachusetts Clears 5,000 Acres of Forest Land for Solar Arrays
Disturbing research by Mass Audubon and Harvard Forest finds that since 2010, Massachusetts has converted more than 5,000 acres of natural and working land for ground-mounted solar arrays, wiping out thousands of acres of forest.
As a result, wildlife habitats have been reduced, and the process of preventing more greenhouse gas emissions from being naturally captured and sequestered has been interrupted.
All of this is in the pursuit of environmentally-friendly green energy.
Massachusetts officials have set a goal for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. The Audubon and Harvard Forest report indicates that "we'll need five to seven more times as much solar energy in 2050 as we have now" in order to meet that objective.
The report concludes, "Massachusetts' current pattern of solar development is causing unnecessary harm to nature."
"Since 2010, more than 5,000 acres of natural and working lands have been destroyed for solar development in Massachusetts, resulting in the emission of over half a million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than the annual emissions of 100,000 passenger cars," the report states.
The researchers claim there are "199,000 acres of rooftops in Massachusetts that are viable to host solar panels." It also suggests "about 35,000 of the 55,000 acres covered by parking lots could host solar panel canopies above the surface."
Mass Audubon's website features an article titled "How Massachusetts Can Build the Solar We Need While Protecting the Nature We Have."
The article includes a link to Harvard Forest's website and some research it has conducted on the environment.
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