Leah Meredith, from the electrify-everything activist group, Advanced Energy Economy, responded negatively to my April 26 opinion piece explaining how propane school buses are a more environmentally conscious choice for New York school districts. Meredith’s dismissal of the facts associated with battery electric vehicles and grid electricity is astonishing.

Today, propane school buses are, in fact, more carbon-clean than battery electric buses. The massive and expensive battery packs required for school buses contain an array of rare metals, strip-mined in unregulated operations in China and the Congo by diesel-powered equipment. The carbon intensity of that extraction alone makes battery electric school buses a clean illusion.

What’s more, for many years to come, electricity in New York will continue to be produced by hundreds of fossil fuel-burning power plants. Battery electric buses don’t eliminate emissions; they simply move those emissions upstream to generators often located near vulnerable communities. Meredith waves this inconvenience off, telling us that 18 years from now, the grid will be clean. None of today’s buses will be in service then, so why wait? The urgency for decarbonization is now, and new renewable propane blends just entering the market today produce zero carbon emissions.

My advice? When you’re told there’s only one solution to a problem as enormous as climate change, become a skeptic immediately.

-Tucker Perkins, President & CEO, Propane Education and Research Council