Opinion » Letters

Atomic power is necessary



People hear about global warming, but few understand its dire threat to people.

A natural level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the earth’s atmosphere traps just enough heat from the sun to enable earth to support life, around 200 parts per million among all atmospheric gases.

Around 1870 in the Industrial Revolution, mankind began burning wood, oil, coal, and gas for energy to run machines. That burning started increasing the CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere.

Today CO2 is at more than 400 parts per million for the first time in man’s history. NASA and many scientists say that is much too high, and too much of the sun’s heat is being trapped in our atmosphere.

Even small increases in global temperatures can cause abnormal changes in earth currents of air and sea and other natural processes. Those changes, in turn, affect rainfall and droughts, which can reduce our food and water supply.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we need to greatly reduce the burning of fossil fuels like natural gas, coal, and oil to keep earth livable for our children and grandchildren.

Many people falsely believe wind generators and solar panels can do this job, but wind now accounts for only about 4 percent of our total U.S. energy and solar accounts for 0.4 percent, which isn’t even half of 1 percent. We can’t scale those up fast enough to stop global warming, say scientists like James Hansen and top Google engineers.

Power from the atom offers hope. It creates no CO2 and is 20 percent of our energy output today. With proper funding, it can be increased to levels that could stop global warming increases. It may be expensive, but what is the value of our children’s and grandchildren’s future lives?

The U.S. Navy has had such success and safety with atomic power that 100 percent of its largest ships, like submarines and aircraft carriers, are now powered by safe atomic reactors.

Tell your Congress person, Senator, and county supervisors you want your family to be safe from fossil fuel pollutants and you want your energy from the atom.

-- William Gloege - Santa Maria

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