New report debunks 33 false claims about solar, wind and electric vehicles – the state of the planet

Meeting the United States’ ambitious emissions reduction goals depends largely on the rapid deployment of wind and solar power and the electrification of consumer vehicles. However, disinformation and coordinated disinformation about renewable energy is widespread and threatens to undermine public support for the transition. In a new report, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law identifies and analyzes 33 of the most common false claims about solar energy, wind energy and electric vehicles to promote a more informed discussion.

Renewable energy.  Photo: Kenueone / Pixabay
Photo: Kenueone / Pixabay

Many of these false claims focus on three categories of impacts commonly attributed to renewable energy development: environmental impacts, human health impacts, and economic impacts. For example, our report examines common misconceptions that electric vehicles have a net detrimental effect on climate change (they do not); that electromagnetic radiation from wind turbines poses a risk to human health (it does not); and that the development of solar energy negatively affects US jobs (it does not). Some of the misconceptions examined in the report, such as the idea that whale deaths are due to noise from wind farm research, are completely unfounded. Others have some factual basis but are widely repeated without the necessary context: for example, the idea that solar panels produce significant amounts of waste, without the context that fossil fuel energy produces much more.

To identify the most common false claims about wind, solar and electric vehicles, the authors of the new Sabin Center report first reviewed social media groups and pages created to oppose renewable energy projects or policies, as well as existing reports of misinformation. The authors then developed transparent, fact-based responses to these false claims, relying as much as possible on peer-reviewed academic literature and government publications. The authors designed the report so that citizens can form balanced and informed opinions on frequently contested topics related to renewable energy and electric vehicle adoption.

The Sabin Center report should be read in conjunction with other fact-checks and studies debunking false claims about renewable energy and electric vehicles, such as those published by EPA, RMI, USA Today, Carbon Brief, Center for American Progress, Annenberg Public Policy Center website, Brown Climate and Development Lab and Heated.

Read the full report here.

This press release was originally published by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, a division of Columbia Climate School.