Green Energy Future?

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My thanks to David Remer for permitting me to blog here at Poliwatch. I am an independent voter with a heavy lean and support for the Green Party.

I want to address the convergence of America's desperate reach for a sustainable energy policy. And America's ability to maintain and produce an even healthier environment. Such a convergence is not on track at this time.

It is a mistake for the public to believe all the Green ads by the likes of Exxon/Mobil and the Coal industry, who are spending 100's of millions a year to shore up their public image in the face of enormous controversy over their profits and subsidies, as well as their lobbying against measures that would truly move energy into the Green zone.

The Waste Management corporation, for example, is a leading provider of comprehensive trash and waste removal, recycling, and so called "environmentally safe waste management services". They advertise regularly featuring their landfill methane recovery to add to our energy resources. I visited one such site North of New Braunfels, Texas recently. A literal mountain of trash and garbage many stories high, with pipes coming up out of the ground to funnel captured methane into holding tanks.

One problem, for miles one can smell both the methane and stench of garbage (bacteria emitted greenhouse gases from consuming organic wastes). Which means, these mountains of buried organic materials from soiled diapers to cat litter waste to yard clippings are in fact leaking enormous amounts of methane into the atmosphere. The capture methods are incredibly inefficient, and methane is a major atmospheric greenhouse gas. It is good they are capturing a percentage of the methane, but, the fact is they are a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Advertising themselves as green, is misleading, bordering on a lie. I say bordering, because if Waste Management didn't collect our garbage into landfills, we would create dumps of our own in our own neighborhood empty lots, and no methane would be recaptured in these dumps. To truly address this issue, Waste Management would have to work to end its current line of business by lobbying for an American wide effort to minimize organic waste and maximize constructive organic waste recycling.

This is why Steve Spence at Green Trust writes of a professor Seymore Garte's book entitled, WHERE WE STAND: A Surprising Look at the Real State of Our Planet :

Garte points out the fallacies in standard right- and left-wing approaches—the planet is not in imminent danger of imploding, he says, but neither will it be saved by the free market—and shows how most improvements over the past 40 years have been the result of government intervention.

The Free Marketplace has only two priorities, survival against competitors and profits. All of their actions are motivated directly or indirectly by those two motives. Any measure that will increase the cost of doing business without the benefit of compensatory increase in revenues and profits, will be avoided and fought. This is a maxim of the free marketplace. Is is very important for the American public to come to understand this basic driver in the relationship between capitalist lobbyists and government. Because if elected officials rely on the capitalist lobbyists to form public policy, neither energy independence nor a safe ecological future will exist for our children.

Coal. Coal is dirty. Coal is organic waste (carbon based), which nature buried and sequestered millions of years ago. And here we are digging it up and sending all that carbon back into our environment. Coal proponents like VP Dick Cheney and Sen. Larry Craig, are singing the praises of carbon sequestration, which is a fancy way of saying we burn or synthesize coal for energy and capture the carbon emissions and rebury them in the ground.

Mining coal remains dirty and polluting. The concept of permanently burying trillions of tons annually of coal waste gas underground without leaking back into the air of our children and grandchildren is a 'pipe dream'. We may clean the smokestacks and recapture CO2, but, burning coal releases a host of other toxic gases and they aren't on the radar in the new Energy Bill proposal.

Congress and the Bush administration are approaching this problem completely backwards. They are taking the present situation of global pollution and climate change and asking what can we do to improve it without offending or costing anyone too much. The approach that is needed is the JFK man on the moon approach. This approach specifically sets the goals that will meet the needs of the next generation for a safe and dramatically reduced cost basis for independently produced energy, and works back to the present, with investments in the research to meet the milestones to getting there, as well as making the sacrifices of choices that will keep the time table intact.

The American people may as well wait for Santa Clause to deliver a better future if they intend to await Congress and the corporations that black mail and bribe Congress to deliver such a future. Such a future will require homeowners to create their own energy with small capital investments. Such a future will require mass transit quadrupling, and dramatic changes to city and housing planning with jobs and business in the hub of housing, allowing folks to walk to work again or ride a bike. Such a future requires home based recycling of family wastes and dramatically altering packaging into reusable and recyclable products by residents at home. Such a future requires paring dependence on fossil fuels to an absolute minimum and mission critical use only.

General Motors waited until it was long past its window of opportunity to compete with foreign manufacturers delivering on smaller, lighter, and more economical vehicles for one simple reason. Annual profitability and investor demand for profits per share demanded it. So it will be with the oil companies, that the ravages of global climate change will be well upon us and them before they will accept more costly and less profitable measures. And they will never give up their position as supplier of energy for a profit in favor of individual produced energy production measures.

The people, the voters, must demand that better future for their children by refusing to vote for the politicians now in office who simply cannot and will not share that vision of the future. The best chance America has is if voters increasingly rely upon new politicians elected on campaign platforms built by public demand for that better future.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on March 28, 2008 2:14 PM.

NYTimes: American Taxes Too Low! was the previous entry in this blog.

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