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RE: the solar energy "threat" (Letter to Editor)

Dear Houston Chronicle:

I need to quibble with some of the wording in the otherwise excellent report on the emerging solar industry by L.M. Sixel on Monday Dec 2.

According to the article, “Solar, however, may pose an even greater threat because unlike wind, it produces the most power when demand is highest — hot, sunny summer afternoons.”

“Threat”? I find nothing threatening about using solar power. But when air pollution from fossil fuels annually causes 4-7 million premature deaths globally (WHO Report, 2014 & Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, 2017) and 75,000-100,000 domestically, I certainly feel threatened by the continued use of fossil fuels in Texas. Far from being a threat, solar is an encouraging sign, a reason to hope for the future. According to one economic analysis (U. of Mass, 2009– PDF), “clean energy investments create 16.7 jobs for every $1 million in spending. Spending on fossil fuels, by contrast, generates 5.3 jobs per $1 million in spending.”

Sometimes the overly effusive coverage by the Chronicle about the fossil fuel industry can be offputting. If an industry’s business model is dedicated to PERMANENTLY degrading the livable world for EVERY SINGLE baby born today, tomorrow, next year, next decade — even the next century, then it’s a no-brainer that we ought to act sooner rather than later to stop it, especially because we ALREADY HAVE the technology to solve the problem and already have a good idea about how to do it right.

Additional sources:

Mark Jacobson 30 minute video about transitioning to Wind/Water/Solar. (Here are the slides) . Highly recommended.

2 bills to fight climate change: Energy Innovation Act (aka, Citizen’s Climate Lobby ) and Carbon Dividends Plan (aka, Climate Leadership Council)

Riskybusiness.org report on climate change impacts on Southeastern US and Texas.

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