If Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyFlorida students turn to activism in wake of shooting House Dem joins protest at NRA headquarters following Florida school shooting Trump budget threatens local transit projects MORE (D-Va.) and Scott Peters (D-Calif.) really believe that we are headed for more extreme weather, they should be boosting America’s most affordable and reliable energy sources to cope with these hazards. After all, more electricity would be needed to handle greater demands for air conditioning and heating. More power would be required to irrigate lands, build dikes, strengthen public infrastructure and relocate populations living on flood plains or at risk from tornadoes and hurricanes.
Yet, in discussing their solutions to these dangers, Tonko, Connolly and Peters promote wind and solar power, the least reliable and most expensive options available. They should be supporting an expansion of the most reliable and cheapest energy sources such as coal, from which comes about half of America’s electricity.

Moving away from inexpensive, steady power sources to wind and solar because of weather extremes makes about as much sense as a ship captain ordering the crew into lifeboats when a severe storm is approaching. It would be suicide to abandon ship exactly when the protection of a sturdy vessel was most needed. It will also be suicide for America to attempt to replace coal and other base-load energy sources with flimsy wind and solar power.
Harris is executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition.