Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My plea to the Utilities Commission to take a stand on climate change

Drought is a growing problem worldwide due to changes in rainfall patterns
from greenhouse gases, mainly CO2

Dear Commissioners:
I'm writing regarding Duke Energy's proposed Cliffside plants.
You as utility commissioners have so much power. You have the power to leave our fields and forests viable and productive, for the thousands of generations of humans who will follow us on this planet. If we ruin our atmosphere and continue to change the world's climate, the rest of humanity from here until the end of our species will have their survival choices limited by what we did and didn't do.
Already, in sub-Saharan Africa, the rainy season has changed substantially due to global warming. Their rainy season is too short. When the rain finally comes, it falls in torrents, eroding fields. Lakes are shrinking, mountain snowcaps are receding. Their crops are failing, and soon, agriculture around the world will be similarly impacted.
What will people eat in the year 2100 and 2200 and 2300, when the human population surpasses 10 billion? How will they produce enough food, with fields degraded by climate change? They won't have the choices we have today in 2007. When their choices for survival are limited, it will be because some of us in 2007 could not see beyond the political expediency of the moment, could not waver from the shortest route to shareholder profits.
But it is your duty to see beyond the convenience of the moment and business-as-usual. When you take on a job as a public servant, your duty is to the humans of 2200 as well. They depend on your clarity of vision and your integrity even more than we do.
Please do the right thing. Please don't let Duke Energy build the new Cliffside coal plants. Force them to turn to energy-efficiency and green sources of power, to invest in maximizing the potential for these options. Force them to offer real efficiency incentives and education to ratepayers.
We're depending on you.
Sally Kneidel, PhD

Coastal cities will be increasingly flooded in coming years as sea levels rise, and as the intensity and frequency of tropical storms increase.

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