Pick your $14/month alternate future: green dreams or new nukes

Like many of our readers, I was very happy to hear of Jerry Brown’s continued commitment to a renewables-based future; he recently set new targets for 2030 that will get California halfway to its 2050 energy goal of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gasses from 1990 levels.  “It’s a real test,” Brown said. “Not just for California, not just for America, but for the world. Can we rise above the parochialisms, the ethnocentric perspectives, the immediacy of I-want-I-need, to a vision, a way of life, that is sustainable?”  To get there, the state would have to double the energy efficiency of buildings and industry, get 50-60 percent of electricity from renewal sources, and dramatically increase hybrid and zero-emission cars.  Sounds like a lot to invest in!  But here’s the surprise: the projected cost for all this is just $14/month for each California household.  Sounds like a bargain, compared to the price of finding our way in a radically over-heated world.

Not fifteen minutes after filing this away as another reminder that systemic change doesn’t carry insurmountable costs, I came across an article that mentioned two new nuclear reactors that are under construction at the existing Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia (pictured above); as usual, things are running behind and over cost, to the degree that the new nukes have already raised the bills of Georgia ratepayers by … take a wild guess … yup, you got it: $14/month!

Alright then.  For the price of a couple of monthly sandwiches, you can invest in a comprehensive statewide efficiency, renewables, and electric car initiative, or build a couple of new nuclear reactors.  It’s your choice!

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