Have We Thrown Our Clean Renewable Energy Babies Out With The Global Warming Bath Water?

I have to say, I’m looking at our empty environmental tub and I’m worried.

Was our “green” bandwagon only driven by concerns over global warming?

Prickly Saguaro – photo by Bethany Blankenship

What happened to our almost universal howl of outrage demanding energy independence and energy security when gas prices were $4 gallon? Did our independence and security leave the bath in a cleansing scrub of reduced gas prices? Are we now blindly hoping that energy prices will never rise again? And have we forgotten from whom we are buying the fossil fuels?

And what about our commitment to clean air, land and water? Did it circle the drain with the leaked emails of climategate? (Also known as scientists behaving badly or the confirmation of bad science, depending on which side of the global warming/climate change debate you favor. A fairly reasonable recap of climategate can be found here).

Because I have to say — those emails peppered with bluster and paranoid rants strike me as extremely disappointing and quite possibly career ending, but they are far from the earth shattering revelations of disinformation and misinformation that lead us to the Bush wars. Nor are they on par with the revelations of corruption and collusion in the political and corporate spheres that lead us to our current financial melt down.

Let’s face it, after the last few years we are all a bit jaded and skeptical about what trusted people in positions of power say and do. And rightly so.

Still, why would we letting these emails become an excuse to do nothing about clean renewable energy? Do we honestly think we can continue to consume and dispose of our resources at our current rate without taking responsibility for the consequences to future generations? Or are we merely shrugging it off as not our problem now?

Would we not be better served by agreeing to put aside the global warming/climate change debate for the moment and focus on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and strengthening our energy security with a clean, renewable energy foundation. One that would pave the way for new technologies and a renewed production based economy? And shouldn’t we agree to take the necessary steps to clean up our environment so we can create and promote strong healthy communities and productive lives?

And while we are in an agreeable mood, can we also agree that the Waxman-Markey legislation on cap-and-trade is a an obscene indulgence given to Wall Street and the energy industry (as I wrote about in Will Cap And Trade Be The Next Bubble?). It will be enacted at the expense of the American people. And it needs to be stopped as Annie Leonard points out in her excellent video explaining – The Story of Cap & Trade: Why You Can’t Solve A Problem With The Thinking That Created it.

And then let us gird our loin and bite the Carbon Fees with Rebate bullet.

As recognized by the February 2008 U.S. Congressional Budget Office report, carbon fees are the most efficient means to achieve meaningful emissions reductions in the necessary time-frame….Escalating carbon fees will have a more predictable impact on energy prices and will immediately create incentives for conservation and investments in alternative non-polluting energy technologies. …Carbon fees can be enacted and phased in much more quickly … more transparent and understandable …

Carbon fees imposed on all fossil fuels will spread the incentive for conservation and non-polluting innovation quickly throughout the economy…

Carbon fee revenues [in the form of rebates] can help protect individuals from the impact of higher energy costs …  in the form of reduced payroll tax or periodic payments to every person…

EPA lawyers Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel (each with nearly two decades of public-sector experience in environmental enforcement) discuss their opposition to the proposed legislative cap and trade tax program and explain the basics of Carbon Fees with Rebates in the video below.

Personally, I think we would be wise to make our Clean Renewable Energy babies strong and health and able to swim – just in case all our tubs starts to overflow.


In an interesting bit of related news from The New York Times C.I.A. Is Sharing Data With Climate Scientists

The nation’s top scientists and spies are collaborating on an effort to use the federal government’s intelligence assets — including spy satellites and other classified sensors — to assess the hidden complexities of environmental change. They seek insights from natural phenomena like clouds and glaciers, deserts and tropical forests.



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