McCormack Speaks

December 8, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Renewable Energy: Where Perception and Reality Collide

by Thomas Nee, McCormack Graduate School student

confused man with his hands on his headPeople often believe what they want to believe despite contrary information. “It is remarkable that large groups of people can coalesce around a common belief when few of them individually possess the requisite knowledge to support it.” (Fernbach and Sloman, 2017). I examine here how perception and reality collide regarding climate change not whether it exists but what to do about it.

People trust experts. But what happens when experts contradict long-held beliefs?  “(S)witch off the radio, change channels, only like the Facebook pages that give you the kind of news you prefer. You can construct a pillow fort of the information that’s comfortable.” (Beck, 2017). Listen to trusted authorities who share your opinions and suppress the rest. False beliefs are often a social phenomenon.

Many people believe that “renewable” energy of any type is preferable to burning fossil fuels. Hydroelectric power is a proven form of renewable energy but it is not “free.” It costs money, manpower, and resources to develop a plant. Any carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted is greatly outweighed by the plant’s lifetime output. This may not be the case with all renewable systems. Continue Reading →

September 29, 2017
by McCormack Speaks
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Who has the keys to electric vehicles?

This originally appeared in The Boston Globe as an op-ed written by David W. Cash, dean of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies.

electric carRecently, Volvo announced that by 2019, all of its new cars will be either fully electric or hybrids, and Tesla said it is beginning production of its mass-market Model 3. In Frankfurt’s annual auto show, electric vehicles dominated. In the United States, more than 33 models of electric vehicles are already on display, promising consumer driving that is cleaner — and also cheaper.

Soon, electric vehicles will no longer be niche cars driven by the environmentally conscious. They will be lined up at the Dunkin’ drive-thru. They will be vans driven by soccer moms. They will be the only kind of cars carried by Avis and Hertz. They will make up the fleets of self-driving car services, as well as buses and trucks. Continue Reading →

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