U.S. must turn from fossil fuels to renewable energy

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We stand at an energy crossroads, and our decision regarding the path we choose could not be more important. The choices are clear, although one side has purposefully clouded the debate in a petrochemical haze.

The choice is fossil fuels or renewable energy. Moving forward now into a future amply powered with renewable energy is by far the best choice on virtually every level.

Renewable energy systems are robust, clean, healthful and inexhaustible. They are available right now. Once they are in place, they produce no greenhouse gases or unhealthful air pollution, and except for minor maintenance costs, the energy they produce is free.

Fossil fuels, on the other hand, involve invasive exploration, extraction, storage, transmission and combustion systems that despoil our land, water, air and our private property. Air pollution from fossil fuels kills 200,000 Americans and 6.5 million people worldwide per year.

Fracking is especially harmful to those nearby. Greenhouse gas levels in our atmosphere from fossil fuels have risen well above any level in the past 800,000 years, and those levels will remain there for decades and centuries to come due to the very slow breakdown of carbon dioxide and methane. We have already created a dangerous heat-trapping atmosphere that will remain in place for many generations. More greenhouse gases will only make it worse. Fossil fuel-induced climate change could be a civilization-ending event — unless we stop using fossil fuels now.

We have the technology and the American work ethic to move our energy infrastructure and portfolio forward by investing in clean, available and affordable renewable energy, rather than continuing to live in the dark ages of costly fossil fuel extraction, environmental degradation and pollution, which places our health and welfare — and our future — in grave jeopardy.

William Limpert
Warm Springs, Virginia