By Michael Shellenberger, Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment”
I am a lifelong environmentalist writing to urge you to vote no on proposition 127, which would kill Arizona’s largest source of clean energy. Prop 127, masked as being for “clean energy” is anything but.
I have fought for clean energy all of my adult life, and in 2008 I was honored to be named a Time Magazine “Hero of the Environment.”
As a child, I was against nuclear energy. But I changed my mind after I learned the facts.
Every time a nuclear plant closes, it is replaced by fossil fuels. For those of you thinking that it could be replaced with solar and wind, stick with me.
In 2017, 80 percent of Arizona’s clean, zero-emissions electricity came from Palo Verde nuclear station.
But if Proposition 127 passes, Arizona will be forced to close Palo Verde. That’s because proposition 127 deliberately excludes nuclear from its misguided definition of clean energy.
Doing so is unscientific and plays to emotions rather than facts. According to the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change nuclear plants produce one-quarter of the emissions of solar. You read that correctly – per the experts, nuclear energy is cleaner than solar.
The loss of the economic engine that Palo Verde is to the state of Arizona should be worrisome enough to get you to vote no, but if Palo Verde is closed, what replaces it will cause pollution to increase the equivalence of adding 2.8 million cars to the road, and electricity prices will skyrocket.
Don’t believe me? Let California be a warning to Arizonans. We have been enacting policies similar to Prop 127. The result?
- California electricity prices have risen five times more than in other states since 2011.
- Pollution from California’s electricity is twice as high today as it would have been had the state kept open and built planned nuclear plants.
- Carbon emissions rose2% in California between 2011 and 2015, even as they declined 3.7% in the average over the remaining 49 states.
Unlike solar and wind, nuclear produces power reliably and cheaply, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
That matters because unreliable electricity is expensive electricity. California saw its electricity rates increase by 23% after it started closing nuclear plants and subsidizing solar.
The man who paid for proposition 127, says he cares about the environment, yet he made hundreds of millions investing in coal plants and according to The New York Times, “is the main financial backer of Greener Capital, a venture firm that invests in renewable energy start-ups” — and Greener Capital would stand to benefit mightily if proposition 127 passes.
I urge you not to repeat California’s mistake.
We spent $100 billion on solar, wind and the upgrades of fossil fuel power plants to back them up. But solar and wind still only comprised just 23 percent of California’s electricity in 2017!
Now consider that proposition 127 would require Arizona to receive more than twice as much electricity — 50 percent — from renewables as California! The cost to meet this mandate would fall on you, the consumer, not the utility companies.
The people of Arizona pay 57% less than what we pay in California for electricity at our homes, businesses, and schools. A big part of the reason is Palo Verde. If it closes, energy prices will increase and so will air pollution.
More expensive electricity especially hurts the poor and the elderly. Working people will suffer. Fixed-income households will suffer. Jobs will be lost.
But we all suffer when states go backwards on air pollution and climate change.
Faulty California energy ideas being pushed on Arizonans? It’s not fair, and it’s not environmental progress.
Please vote no on proposition 127 and save your state from the mess California has made.