By William “Coty” Keller, an ecologist
The latest report on solar energy in Florida (SACE’s Solar Energy in the Southeast) foretells disaster. We rank second to last, ahead of only Alabama, measured by solar generation per customer.
We need to elect officials who will remedy this situation. Join Florida’s climate voters to make this happen.
Why does this matter? What’s at stake? Simple economics for one. Solar electric power, including battery back-up, is the most competitive source of power for utilities and home/business owners.
Simply, it’s more efficient to power our homes and businesses with the sun’s free energy. Further, using the sun will help mitigate the climate crisis.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports we are already facing two dozen weather and climate disasters each year, costing $1 billion each. The UN panel on climate tells us that unless we reduce human caused emission by 70-100% before 2030, we will be facing severe economic and humanitarian crises. And it will get MUCH worse after that.
Unless something changes, we all are going to live our years facing economic and humanitarian crises. Worse is the thought of our children and grandchildren not being able to count on the oceans for food and living in a world where food production has crashed, and the weather is unpredictable – imagine our heirs experiencing killer events with NO warning.
The sun’s free energy, which emits no heat trapping gases, can and must play a big role if we are to avoid this fate.
Experts (including the Union of Concerned Scientist, Project Drawdown, and Bill Gates in his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster) tell us the way to stop the emission of heat trapping gasses is to electrify almost everything and then generate all our electricity from non-emitting energy sources such as solar.
You get the picture. Solar is a key to preserving life as we know it. But two things are standing in the way.
- Vested interests would rather (to use the works of Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything-Capitalism vs. The Climate) kill off life as we know it than leave profits in the ground. Fossil fuel interests are powerful and hold too many politicians under their influence.
- Florida lacks an important policy, the low-carbon electric portfolio standard. The Union of Concerned Scientist, Bill Gates and others tell us that this is the highest priority state level policy, and a necessary ingredient to eliminate emissions.
If we had a state law that mandated 100% of electricity be generated by non-emitting energy by 2030, Florida would be able to do its share to create a stable climate. Plus, we would have cheap electricity and create plenty of jobs. What’s not to like about that? This is the question our state politicians must answer.
Florida politicians have been unable to enact any electric portfolio standard, much less one that eliminates harmful emissions from the generation of electricity. It’s time they were replaced. Here’s where the Climate Voter comes in.
Electing politicians who will enact an electric portfolio standard will take a lot of work but given the stakes, it is worth it. Spread the word on the problem and its causes. Find and support candidates who will promise to enact a low-carbon electric portfolio standard, one that will require Florida utilities to generate 100% of electricity by non-emitting energy by 2030.
These climate candidates will be, in most cases, different people than who are in office now. These are the people who, no matter their political party, we need to elect and send to Tallahassee.
William “Coty” Keller is an ecologist, working to conserve and restore the natural relationships among living things and the environment. He lives and works in Port Charlotte. https://www.ecopapak.org/. This article was originally published in the fall 2021 edition of Critical Times.
“The Invading Sea” is the opinion arm of the Florida Climate Reporting Network, a collaborative of news organizations across the state focusing on the threats posed by the warming climate.