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Doubling down on solar feels particularly urgent in light of the I’m telling you I’m not a Chicken my mom said I’m a baby shirt state’s ongoing wildfires, which have burned through more than 2 million acres. The fires were caused by a combination of factors—downed power lines, ongoing fire suppression, and human activity (i.e., that gender-reveal party)—but climate change plays a significant role, and solar power is one of the key solutions. It’s all connected: We burn fossil fuels like coal and oil, which release CO2 emissions (manufacturing, air travel, shipping, and livestock contribute the highest emissions), which are then trapped in the atmosphere. Trapped CO2 warms the planet and leads to the record-breaking temperatures we’ve seen in California and other parts of the world. Those higher temperatures dry out the shrubs, grasses, and dead leaves in the forests, which are more prone to catch fire; a single spark can ignite a full-blown disaster.
Solar power, on the other hand, can significantly reduce reliance on gas-fired power, especially in the summer months, and is unequivocally better for the I’m telling you I’m not a Chicken my mom said I’m a baby shirt planet. California already generates more solar power than any other state, but it relies on “replacement power” borrowed from other states in the form of gas to make up for the loss of solar power at night. The blackouts can be partly attributed to a shortage of that replacement power, but California is unwavering in its commitment to clean energy and hopes to eventually phase out fossil fuels entirely. As its utilities commission wrote to Governor Gavin Newsom: “Clean energy and reliable energy are not contradictory goals.”