Increase Nuclear Energy Programs to Combat Climate Change

Undoubtedly the effects of climate change are being felt all over the world in a wide array of extreme weather patterns. Here in the Southwest, our blight has been chronic droughts coupled with the most extreme fires on record. Shorter and drier winters paired with hotter summers have left much of the West a tinderbox ready for ignition at a moment’s notice. Additionally, we are now experiencing the fallout of decades of poor forest and water management. Every year thousands of people are left homeless as their residences are turned to ash and countless others are left heartbroken as pristine woodlands are reduced to a charcoal scar. Fighting these fiery tempests also risks so many lives and costs the taxpayer billions of dollars. The irreparable devastation and almighty destruction of fires is only exacerbated by the uncontrollable flooding that occurs in their wake. And soon enough, it seems as if there won't be any trees left to burn nor water to put them out.

Assuredly, the climate crisis is a multifactorial enigma of problems all interwoven into an almost impossibly complex network of interconnected issues at play. Many of these relationships and associations are poorly understood. Yet, like any giant problem that seems almost insurmountable, the best way to begin is by addressing elements of the greater issue that are comprehensible. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions by decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels is certainly one of those relationships that is well researched.

Our current energy and resource policies here in Arizona have room for improvement as only 28% of our total power comes from nuclear energy. We are still heavily dependent on fossil fuels with natural gas and coal composing 43% and 13% of our energy production, respectively. Currently Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant is our only operational nuclear plant in the State. We collectively need to bring down carbon emissions by upping our utilization of atomic energy. Implementing new reactor facilities across the State could make Arizona an exemplary leader in clean energy independence.

Initiating further nuclear operations must also be met with an increase in individual responsibility. Conservation and protection are essential for safeguarding the remainder of our state’s inspiring landscapes and unparalleled diversity.