Emissions Boost Case for Clean Energy

Emissions Boost Case for Clean Energy

Two facts make clean energy unbeatable: air pollution and its friend climate change.

Sure there are naysayers. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was quoted as saying, “Scientists are ‘coming forward daily’ to disavow a ‘theory that remains unproven,'” in a tweet by New   clean energy   Hampshire Public Radio.

And James Delingpole on sarcastically says, “It now seems that Mother Gaia may have a deadly new weapon up her sleeve: KILLER MUTANT SHARKS!!!”

Whatever. Delingpole takes issue with a news item that indicates sharks may be adapting to climate change. Good for the sharks.

Acknowledgment dawns

Here’s the situation — continued and accelerated burning of fossil fuels not only taps the supply of easy-to-extract oil but the proof of its effects mounts. And sure, domestic coal is plentiful. But blacken the skies so that even those who live in the countryside can’t see more than a mile or two, and supporters — even those who hail jobs, jobs, jobs — start to go the way of passenger pigeons.

Corporations are beginning to pay attention, and not just with lip service. Sustainability has taken root in boardrooms across the globe, and investment in practices and technology that prevents destruction of the environment is rocketing upward faster than anybody thought possible.

Cheap oil is great. Canada’s oil sands are amazing. And that Bakken oil shale formation under Parshall, N.D. could be a game changer — if we could somehow export it off-planet and use its rich extracts on recently terra-formed and pristine Earth-like worlds.

But here we’ve got to deal with an environment that’s had more than enough of our rapid technological ascent. If mankind continues to push the devastation thing, not only will the economy collapse, but most of us will get sick and die long before we get old.

Political avoidance

GOP contenders Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich sidestep the issue of clean energy on the campaign trail. This, however, contrasts mightily with the mood of many in the private sector, which Newt and Mitt say they support hands-down. Corporations and small businesses are publicly embracing the concept of sustainability, energy efficiency, waste reduction and even green chemistry. It would appear corporate boards and business owners see value in going green.

Romney pokes fun at President Obama’s support of green jobs, saying on his website that the president’s administration “seems to be operating more on faith than on fact-based economic calculation.” Romney says, “‘Green’ technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace, and studies have shown that for every ‘green’ job created there are actually more jobs destroyed.”

Gingrich says he would “finance cleaner energy research and projects with new oil and gas royalties,” but then goes on to promote oil shale development and the destruction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Hardly clean or green.

So yeah, lop off another mountain to extract coal, fire up the power plant and dust the neighborhood. “Fire in the hole,” as Boyd Crowder would say on FX’s “Justified.”

Green sneaks in

Sentiment toward clean energy and sustainable practices is maturing. True believers come from both ends of the U.S. political spectrum. Economic practicality will do that. Not only is solar at or near parity with fossil fuels but wind’s getting closer and innovation is increasingly resulting in more sophisticated smart products that can navigate the new reality of variable power sources, maximize energy and reduce waste in every possible metric.


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