Tuesday, June 25, 2013

President Obama: Finally on climate change ... by gimleteye

There is a lot of anticipation about the president's speech today at Georgetown, on climate change.

Unfortunately, the youtube video released by the White House offers heartburn to ideals of taming a rapidly warming climate.

The idea that we can grow our way to a "sustainable" energy future through corn, sugar, or ethanol or spin our way with wind: neither are scalable, practical or even close to economic.

So what is up with featuring those technologies? What is the point of subsidizing (Farm Bill policies in the case of corn, tax incentives in the case of wind) technologies that ineffectively nibble away at the edges of the problem: how to change the business models of electric utilities that profit from selling additional units of energy to businesses and consumers?

The Republican-leaning fossil fuel industries have a bottomless well of money to fund campaigns, media and political candidates who obstruct any efforts to limit the hydrocarbon economy.

But Democrats do harm to their own prospects to win over independents and fiscal conservatives by embracing a plan to reform our energy future with an "all of the above" approach. Wind power, with only a 25 percent efficiency and very limited storage capacity is an exercise in wealth creation for insiders. The rush to ethanol has come at a great cost to our food supply and security and environment. It has, however, cemented allegiances between a cosseted industry and Congress.

Throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks is no way to this fight.

Most citizens believe that mankind has unleashed extreme weather events that threaten our national security. Democrats -- at least those in positions of political authority -- are 'fighting the last war'. No one can really blame them, for being shell-shocked and traumatized by right wing extremists who radically pushed the center away from common sense and logic. Fighting the last war is pretty much understandable given the decades of investment in right wing media and climate denial by the fossil fuel lobby and billionaires like the Koch brothers.

I will listen carefully to President Obama this afternoon. I hope he clearly articulates it is time to fight the misinformation, disinformation, and to lay bare ALL the reckless subsidies. President Obama should insist on a scientific, fact-based approach to reforming our energy grid and consumption. It means solving the nuclear waste disposal riddle and fixing the nuclear licensing process. Period.

America needs leaders to dis-entangle the hair ball: nuclear in the wrong places (Turkey Point, South Florida), wind that is not viable, and a vulnerable, antiquated energy transmission system that desperately needs reform. This is not some imaginary quest: the first political party to sensibly outline an energy matrix that moves away from hydrocarbons will be the next party to control the White House.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama's number one objective has been to absolutely not end up like Jimmy Carter.