Dominion Energy has demonstrated the truth of the old saw: “There are lies, damn lies and statistics.”
Last May 1st Dominion Energy released its 2017 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) outlining how it intended to meet future electricity demand accompanied by a press statement that claimed under the plan “carbon emissions to meet energy needs of a typical residential customer would fall by up to 46% between 2007 and 2027.” In response, I posted a blog on Blue Virginia that same day entitled “Lies, Damn Lies and Dominion” in which I challenged that claim.
At that time, Dominion failed to provide sufficient data to assess its claim but based on its 2016 IRP, I speculated that this was nothing more than “greenwashing” directed at the public, and more importantly, at state legislators and the Governor.
Taken at face value Dominion’s numbers would be impressive and were clearly intended to mislead readers who may appreciate that climate scientists tell us we need to cut carbon pollution by 80% by 2050 if we are to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. One might get the impression from Dominion’s May 1st press statement that it is right on target to hit the 80% reduction mark with its 46% cut by 2027. That may be what Dominion Energy CEO Tom Farrell wanted you to believe, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Fortunately, very few media outlets picked up this Dominion sound bite because any reporter that has followed Dominion could tell this claim had to be based on fuzzy math. Dominion’s fuzzy math uses a carbon intensity calculation NOT actual reductions in carbon pollution to back up its claim, but you’d never know that reading its press statement.
The truth is Dominion has no intentions of reducing its carbon pollution unless the state or federal government force it to do so, and now we have the numbers to prove it. Those numbers were finally provided only as a result of formal legal proceedings before the State Corporation Commission.
On July 14th, in response to Interrogatories filed on Dominion by Sierra Club’s attorneys, we finally got the numbers that reflect what Dominion intends to do to reduce carbon pollution and save the planet. The answer: Nothing, nada, zip!
Based on 2017 estimated carbon pollution emissions of 40 million tons per year, Dominion proposes to increase its carbon pollution by 5% to 35% through 2042 depending upon which alternative plan it pursues. The bottom line is that every scenario Dominion considered increases, not decreases, its carbon pollution emissions.
Disappointingly, most Virginia public officials, even those who profess to care about climate change, never call out Dominion on this outrageously unethical corporate behavior and its violation of the public trust.
Only you can fix this. When those candidates for public office come asking for your vote tell them they need to speak up publicly challenging Dominion’s plans to ignore climate change and keep increasing its carbon pollution.