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A response to the city of SLO's climate goals

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As far as achieving carbon-neutrality goals, there is a solution to the projected 104,160 metric ton shortfall for the city of SLO ("SLO lays out long-term path to get 70 percent of the way to its net-zero goal," Dec. 26), and it is simple and easy: Keep Diablo Canyon open. That alone would keep 6.9 million tons per year of CO2 out of the atmosphere, or about a 100 million tons by 2035. I don't know how many trees that would take, but I am pretty sure we are talking in the range of a few national forests, and probably many thousands of kilometers of bike paths. Not only that, halting the closure would also help our community to retain some 1,500 high-paying jobs, keep hundreds of millions in local taxes rolling in along with more than a billion dollars a year in indirect economic benefits, and avoid the forced relocation of more than a thousand of our neighbors and their families who have lived and worked in this community for decades. Looks like a win-win to me.

Unfortunately, this is not going to happen. That is because state and local politicians, particularly those of the Democratic persuasion in California, are more dedicated to their Party than the community they serve, and the Democratic Party finds it useful to cling to the archaic and unrealistic '70s Jane Fonda, China Syndrome, anti-nuke policy, since it allows them to continue to collect contributions from oil and gas, renewables, and utilities that will all benefit greatly from the closure of Diablo Canyon and the extinction of nuclear power. Our community and the climate will suffer greatly. These same politicians further earn their keep by over-promoting renewables to the benefit of oil and gas, which will end up with most of the production, and by diverting the focus of the masses to ambiguous activities like reducing car trips, streamlining bike projects, diverting organic waste, community choice energy, etc., that will not only have little substantial effect on the existential and global climate crisis, but are also unlikely to greatly interfere with fossil-fuel profits.

In summary, if we are ever going to realistically deal with climate issues, we all need to remember (Democrats, Republicans, and independents) that there is an election coming up, and the best place to start would be to do some serious local house-cleaning and get rid of the self-serving political hacks that put the interests their party and major contributors before the interests of those that they serve, just like we used to do when America was still a democracy.

Mark Henry

San Luis Obispo


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