Show people what you believe! Hydrocarbsanon Gear:

5% of proceeds from any purchase at our stores at Skreened, Cafepress, Zazzle, or Spreadshirt goes to e-BlueHorizonssm which uses the money to retire greenhouse gas credits.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Where Have All the Grownups Gone?

I’m a little confused lately about where all the grown ups have gone.

President Bush has, mildly, changed his tune about global climate change. He concedes that it’s a problem; someone needs to do something about it; but, y’know, not him, not now, and not in any way that might be, uhm, burdensome.

John McCain has offered a “gas tax holiday.” We’ll see if Obama caves on this too. . .

Some Congressional Democrats want to break into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in hopes of lowering gas prices (given the possibility that someone might bomb Iran—or Iran might bomb someone—and the Persian Gulf might become “less navigable” that doesn’t sound like a great idea).

And they’re also holding hearings to look into the possibility that high prices are the result of nefarious speculation.

They used to call Social Security “the third rail” of American politics; touch it and you’re dead. Is the third rail now the making of logical connections?

1. We are running out of oil—finite supply; growing demand from China and India, among other places—and 2. If we had an infinite supply, this would only allow us to more quickly and efficiently poison our environment. (I’m sure I’ve mentioned yeast before but they’re worth mentioning again: feed them sugar and they piss out alcohol until they poison themselves; silly yeast; would that we were smarter.)

I don’t hear this leading to, 3. We have to radically and as quickly as possible change our behavior, the way we live, the way we power our lives.

I do see that you can’t buy a Toyota Prius anymore because they’re sold out; I do see that sales of ridiculously large pick ups and SUVs have gone downpossibly taking General Motors down with them; I do see that we are driving fewer miles.

So people are beginning to change in response to economic reality.

But I mostly hear politicians commiserating with how difficult this is (it is and, to some degree, they should) and stopping there. Wouldn’t want to suggest more painful changes. . .

Perhaps the problem is that there has been no Pearl Harbor moment—9/11 would have fit the bill, but we were told that the patriotic thing to do as the towers burned was to go shopping.

We are now belatedly springing into action on the energy front with legislation like the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which mandates that we get CAFÉ standards up to 35 mpg by 2020—in the last year my family got rid of two cars that got that kind of mileage because it wasn’t enough for us.

Imagine if the response to Pearl Harbor had been a twelve year plan—because politicians felt that the American people couldn’t handle the kind of sacrifice that a faster and more direct response would take. Imagine if the gist of Churchill’s famous “We Will Fight Them on the Beaches” speech, in 1940 had been “we are studying the problem and coming up with a balanced approach and we will fight them in 1952!”

No comments: