Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

February 2012 Conservation Notes

Solar v. Nuclear

First some worrisome news: According to NASA , the Arctic in 2011 broke its high temperature record set in 2010. The agency's temperature records go back to 1880. The Arctic has warmed considerably faster since the late 1970s.


As the Arctic warms, floating sea ice shrinks. On Sept. 9, 2011, Arctic sea had shrunk to just above the lowest area ever measured -- in 2007. 


Equally important, the volume of sea ice decined to a new low in 2011, meaning that the floating sea ice is becoming thinner. Another federal agency, NOAA reported that the speed of Arctic sea ice decline in area and volume is unprecedented for at least the last 1,450 years.


In the Dec. 1, 2011 journal Nature, several scientists including Edward A. G. Schuur of the U. of Florida warned that greenhouse gas emitted by thawing Arctic permafrost "will be released more quickly than models suggest, and at levels that are cause for serious concern".


Now for some encouraging news from another area:


Progress Energy announced it intends to cancel its principal construction contract for building a $22 billion nuclear power plant in Levy County. So far the utility has spent $1.1 billion on the project. Under Florida law, Progress Energy can collect all of those dollars by raising the electricity rates of its 1.6 million customers, even if the plant is never built. In the Nov. 2011 Skimmer, I summarized most of the reasons why the Levy County nuclear power plant was a terrible project.


More recently three Gainesville residents drove to the Nature Coast to testify against the Progress Energy nuclear project in a federal agency hearing. My report on the hearing was featured on the Gainesville Sun website .  If you can't get it directly from this link, you can Google: Lee Bidgood, Jr. : Keep Levy County Nuclear-Free.

The last point in my report: "The $22 billion of mainly rate-payer and taxpayer dollars could fund more than a half million Florida rooftop and other small solar installations and create far more jobs than a nuclear plant."


Let's go solar!


Lee Bidgood, Jr.

Gainesville, Florida