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.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

We Really Do Need Gummint Action

There’s all sorts of stuff we can and should be doing individually to create more sustainable energy systems and lifestyles. But in the end, the important changes that have to take place are systemic. We need gummint.

President Bush, in comments yesterday about the wonderful state to which his policies have brought the US economy said, in response to questions: 1. The government should not interfere in the economy by bailing out private investors, (“If your question is, ‘Should the government bail out private enterprise?’ the answer is no, it shouldn't.”) and; 2. Don’t worry, the FEDERAL Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) will continue to resuscitate failed banks (“My hope is, is that people take a deep breath and realize that their deposits are protected by our government”).

Well, he got that last part right, anyway (even a broken clock is right twice a day).

The VP, Lord Cheney, has famously derided conservation as “personal virtue.” While I applaud his willingness as a politician to publicly come out foursquare against virtue, this says a lot more about the real attitude of the hydrocarbon(aholic) industries than a New York Times full of pious ads about how they are diligently working to transition us off oil, coal, and gas, into a bright, clean, sustainable future.

The allegedly market-driven conservatives (subsidies for me, the bill for you) seem constitutionally unable even to get “incentivizing” right. Attempting to burnish both his green and bidness credentials, John McCain has suggested a $300 million dollar prize for the next gen battery capable of powering a plug-in hybrid.

News Flash: The company that develops this battery is not going to need the money once they succeed!

It would make a lot more sense to parcel this money out for research, cut any way you want. For purposes of comparison, MITs Technology Review reports that, “In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) devoted nearly $50 million to research and development for vehicle-related energy storage.”

We have inflated and popped any number of alternative energy bubbles in the last three decades (recall Uncle Reagan, upon taking office, tearing the solar panels off the White House roof—take that Saudi Arabia!).

We don’t price energy to reflect its true cost; we consistently and heavily subsidize rich, polluting, unsustainable energy companies, and; we turn on and off the trickle of subsidy to alternative energy companies—giving and then taking away tax breaks, for example.

We need government policies that support and help create a sustainable future rather than pouring money down the rat hole of the unsustainable hydrocarbon-based technologies of the past. We need politicians willing to do more than simply mouth supportive but empty platitudes.