Global Air Quality

I frequently tell people, if you are debating global warming and climate change with a climate skeptic you are “studying for the wrong test.” My quip means that climate change advocates, such as my self are unlikely to change the opinions of climate skeptics. Global warming and climate change is a theory, based on compelling data but still a theory we can’t definitively prove.

We can definitively say that human activities do cause pollution. If you have ever been to Los Angeles, Denver or Houston you can visibly see and smell the air pollution. The air quality in the People’s Republic of China and India are toxic. In mega-cities with populations over 20 million people, you can’t see your hand, if you fully extend your arm during the winter months. The NASA video eloquently measures and describes the changes in air quality across the world.

Another fact is renewable energy will save consumers money on their electric bills. In 2015, the Lazard Bank did a levelized study to evaluate the cost of power ($/kWh) for coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, onshore wind, solar, hydropower and geothermal power in the U.S. A levelized study took out all subsidies, tax incentives for all fuel types and included typical operating costs for each type of power plant.

In the Lazard Bank study, onshore wind had the lowest cost for electricity at 5.2 cents per kWh. The next cheapest types of fuel were solar, hydropower and natural gas at less than 6 cents per kWh. The average cost of residential electricity in 2018 in the U.S. was 12.5 cents per kWh. The most expensive fuels were oil, nuclear power and coal. The cost for coal and the associated transportation to the utility was more than double the cost of natural gas. This explains why utilities across the U.S. are moving from coal to renewables and natural gas.

In summary, let’s study for the right test and show definitive proof why America should continue to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

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