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If we are to prevent the worst effects of climate change, a major shift in the world’s energy systems will be needed, including the construction of a massive number of clean energy facilities. Under one well-known scenario, this will require — along with many other actions — the construction of 230 wind farms the size of the proposed Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound; 1,000 large solar generating facilities of about ten square miles each; 1,400 natural gas-fired electric generating stations; 800 carbon capture and sequestration systems at coal-fired power plants; and 850 new nuclear power plants.

The Cape Wind project was first proposed in 2001. It has endured a long series of permit proceedings and lawsuits, and more appear to be on the way. Many other energy projects are in the midst of protracted efforts to obtain needed permits, or to keep them in the face of litigation. At this pace, the energy transition needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be imperiled.


Environmental Law | Law