Columns in recent Daily News editions by our state representatives argue in favor of having Missouri side with some of the other states that have fought against the Clean Power Plan.

Columns in recent Daily News editions by our state representatives argue in favor of having Missouri side with some of the other states that have fought against the Clean Power Plan.
The plan was coordinated with the objectives of the 2015 United Nations Climate Conference and calls for a 32 percent decrease in power-sector carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Twenty-seven states are trying to kick the can down the road by suing to avoid re-allocation of their energy grids to accommodate solar and wind power input.
Looking at the statistics and recent studies, including the Bloomberg Business study by Tom Randall, find that renewable energy continues to decrease in cost and increase in sustainability and capacity. There still are those who have not done their homework who believe, or who want to believe, that clean and renewable energy, like wind and solar, can’t compete against the old, “cheap” and dirty fossil-fuel energy like coal, oil and gas.
Yet in 2015, renewable energy added more new power capacity than did coal, oil and gas combined (tinyurl.com/zjd8ssj). This is all the more impressive in comparison to temporarily falling prices of oil and coal during the same period.
The price of wind and solar power has plummeted as well and now is as cheap as, or in many cases, cheaper than fossil fuels all over the world (tinyurl.com/k6urudg). The future is in clean, renewable energy and green jobs.
A few months ago during the U.N. Climate Conference in Paris, 190 nations including the United States reached a unanimous international agreement to get tough on the effects of climate change and the pending crisis in global warming, rising sea levels, and air and water pollution associated with fossil fuels.
Additionally in the U.S., 100 mayors of big cities signed a commitment to work toward a clean-energy economy. The move to clean energy from wind and solar power is supported by Republicans and Democrats with exceptions coming from states that produce or are adjacent to coal, such as Wyoming, Kentucky, West Virginia, Montana, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Illinois.
By abandoning dirty fossil fuels and transitioning to clean energy, we reduce dangerous pollution and climate disruption, create thousands of green jobs, eliminate associated diseases and help our economy in the process. In addition, to show the world that we really try to be Reagan’s “shining city on a hill,” it would be foolhardy to participate in an international summit with a virtual 100 percent international agreement on renewable energy and then stand by and continue to burn dirty fossil fuels.
The question is not if the world will transition away from “clean coal” (an oxymoron), but rather how long will it take. It’s not a question of what it costs today, but a question of what it costs to delay.
Fossil fuel reserves are finite and limited, having taken millions of years to absorb solar energy and convert it under time and pressure into coal, oil and natural gas. It cannot be replenished in less time. Wind and solar energy are unending.
There are two problems with fossil fuel-fired plants. The so-called “clean” coal plants, a label that is successfully sold to politicians, remove some, but not all, of the toxic heavy metals by the use of “scrubbers,” but this leaves the problem of what to do with toxic waste removed.
It is usually placed in containment pits, which can leak into adjacent water supplies with heavy rains. An equally important problem, which is seldom discussed, is the massive carbon dioxide load, which is being released directly into the atmosphere and which is not being addressed by most of these plants.
By using solar and wind directly, we are bypassing the “middle man” and going directly to the source, eliminating CO2 emissions. We need to conserve fossil fuel energy for those applications that require it, such as powering aircraft engines and large commercial trucks, not squander it because we selfishly refuse to join the rest of the civilized world in the inevitable transition for our purely selfish economical or political purposes. We should lead, not follow, and certainly not talk tough and then hide in the shadows.

Mike Davis of Neosho writes a column for the Daily News.