AUGUST 9, 2012
BREAKING NEWS! A solar power refinery in Illinois exploded this morning, causing a massive fireball and sending toxic fumes thousands of feet into the air and throughout the neighboring communities. Two people are dead, and dozens more are being treated for respiratory problems.
"Massive fireball" and "toxic fumes" are two phrases you won't hear when discussing the safety of solar, wind or even geothermal energy. Unlike fossil fuels, which rely on combustion to generate power, green energy sources take advantage of the inherent power in nature (wind, the sun, the heat of the Earth).
The danger of living next to a solar farm are almost non-existent, especially when compared to living in Richmond, California, near the San Francisco Bay, where one of Chevron's refineries exploded earlier this week, sending hundreds of people to the hospital with breathing problems.
The incident underscores the importance of getting America off oil and on to clean, green energy. Besides the danger of explosions, pipeline spills and offshore disasters (BP's Gulf of Mexico disaster, Exxon's Valdez spill . . .), there is the little issue of global warming, in which temperatures are rising higher and faster than ever thanks to the burning of fossil fuels. Global warming is already causing extreme heat waves, dangerous storms, droughts and wildfires across the world.
Solar and wind power don't offer such risks, and they hold the key to slowing global warming and maybe even reversing it. (Grist, btw, has a good article on the relative dangers of different energy sources, which you can read here.)
At Environmental Action, we're attacking this issue on two fronts: global warming and the Billion Dollar Big Oil Boondoggle. We want Congress both to take actions to reduce the threat of global warming, and to stop giving tens of billions of dollars each year to the fossil fuel industry in the name of tax breaks and subsidies, giving those perks to the clean energy industry instead.
Please sign our petition asking Congress and the President to do something about global warming immediately.