Last week, it was announced that Arizona is one of the 24 states officially suing the Environmental Protection Agency over the Clean Power Plan. The Arizona Corporation Commission says that “the Clean Power Plan exceeds the federal government’s bounds to infringe on individual state legislation.” Those on the commission believe that investing in renewable energy and limiting CO2 emissions will cause a spike in utility costs for Arizona residents. It is completely logical to be concerned about the affordability, accessibility, and reliability of how power is being supplied to those who need it. However, this concern is fiscally incorrect, as well as irresponsible with regard to our planet and people’s future. The Clean Power Plan will be costly, but it seems no one is considering the cost of being reactive rather than proactive about climate change and the health issues that ensue because of it.
By year 2030, with the enactment of the CPP, up to 3,600 premature deaths, 1,700 non-fatal heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks in kids, and 300,000 missed work/school days will be prevented. The country in totality will have saved between $26-$45 billion by then. Costs for renewable energy, such as solar panels, have actually decreased and will continue to decrease as the need for it increases. The price of utilities will go up exponentially without the interference of renewable energy. If we choose to invest now, the savings will be evident, and effective immediately.
Our climate is observably changing, the science is clear, and we humans are a major contributor to it. Science tells us that roughly 80% of all the fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground for us to maintain a habitable planet for human beings. Whether or not one agrees with climate change, there is no downside to healthy and clean air, water, soil, forests, rivers, lakes, and wildlife. Winston Churchill said “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” The truth is, there are more than enough free clean energy resources in renewables that we can meet our energy needs several times over without poisoning the air and water around us.
The Clean Power Plan is the catalyst to shift us towards substantial deployment of renewables. We will get the power we need and a better world in the process. We will also free ourselves from relying on energy sources from outside of the U.S. We possess the technology to do the right thing now, and that is the reason the EPA, the Clean Power Plan, and a future that considered intergenerational justice on a finite planet should be supported by our state. We all place ourselves in danger to one degree or another every time we stand up, but we place our children and grandchildren in even greater danger when we don’t.
–Brandon Cheshire is owner of SunHarvest Solar.