Global Warming and Energy Independence

Is it possible to meld two concerns of the American Public so that the stalemate/gridlock on the energy independence and global warming issues might actually result in some action?

(See here) a piece written by Robert Bryce that appears on Counterpunch. Please note that I would describe Counterpunch as being almost anarchist in flavor. Nothing done in government by either political party is ever good enough.

Please note that Mr Bryce takes issue that Speaker of the House-elect Nancy Pelosi has stated that her party was going to be pushing for "energy independence and all that means." He then launches into how this will not be possible without opening up the potential of gulf shore oil and gas fields to exploration.

Hang on a second Mr Bryce. What you are asking for might be a little too much. Nancy leads the environmentalist friendly Democrat Party which seems to think the way to cut back on oil usage is not to pump more oil out of the ground. However her party will be motivated to introduce legislation that would bring renewable energy sources into the mix. There was not even a majority of Republicans, while they controlled Congress, that was willing to force opening of these fields to exploration, however now you expect the Democrats to do it? Take a pill and chill, Bob.

However, can Nancy help lead our government to at least some reduction of our dependence on foreign energy sources? The majority of her party is on board. Yes, she will be unable to do anything without compromising with moderate and conservative members of her caucus. However a consensus can be built if she approaches the problem in the manner she is. She will keep the environmentalists behind her by showing some progress in the right direction when it comes to the environment. She might even help our government do that which even Bill Clinton was incapable of doing. By approaching the problem from "breaking our addiction to oil" she might be able to get some legislation through Congress and even signed by the President.

(See here) another article that is interesting. This piece, written by Bill Berkowitz which appears on the Media Transparency website, reports on the Evangelical Climate Initiative. Why this is important is that it witnesses that even amongst the most conservative of our citizens, there is a growing concern about climate change. There is enough support for doing something about greenhouse gas emissions amongst evangelicals, that conservative politicians can now find cover in voting for legislation that might tiptoe into the greenhouse gas emission area and is not solely targeted at reducing our dependence on importing oil from the "evil, Muslim Arabs".

Amongst the reasons I have found myself voting for Democrat candidates for office recently is my concern about Global Warming. I am hopeful that the leadership the elected Democrats selected are up to the job of satisfying the concerns of enough of the general public, and the elected representatives of the general public, that the gridlock can be broken and something can actually be done.

With wise leadership, Nancy might even peel off a few Republican votes to replace any members of her caucus from her slim majority that refuse to go along. Remember, there is now enough Evangelical support for "Saving the World" that a Republican politician need not fear being described as being the Anti-Christ for enlisting in the effort with his/her vote.

What would I suggest? Target a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions which probably would mean an even larger percentage reduction in dependence on imported crude oil. Mandate that within a certain period of time, 10% of liquid fuel sold at gas stations and truckstops must be renewable biofuel. Included in this legislation (all or nothing) will be mandate that 10% of all electricity generated must come from greenhouse gas friendly sources. EVERY generator of electricity will be expected to meet this goal either through their own generating capacity or through carbon trading with those who have excess capacity.

To protect American business interests, include in the legislation that if developing countries such as India and China do not follow our lead, a tariff will be introduced on all imports coming from greenhouse gas unfriendly sources.

Nancy could explain to her environmentalist constituents that this is only the start, that she is not abandoning their goal of 100% elimination of greenhouse gas emissions eventually, but this is what can be done now.

Throwing a bone to Big Oil, which is going to balk at the expense of production and distribution of the 10% biofuel mandate, she can agree to allow exploitation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) oil fields. If her environmentalist constituents object, she can point out that if nothing is done about global warming, the "pristine" ecology of ANWR is going to be ruined anyway, and facts are this is already happening.

I would suggest they invest in the support of coal miners by endorsing the usage of gasified coal fuel sources as meeting the requirements of greenhouse gas friendly fuel sources through carbon capture. Temporarily, CO2 captured during the gasification process could be stored underground, however sufficient funding would need to be set aside in escrow for eventual removal and storage in the depths of the ocean. Perhaps an insignificant tax could be added to gasified coal to fund further research into ocean depth storage to continue the research into this storage method that is already underway at institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As a side note, from what I have seen, the brainiacs at MIT are furthest along in research on how to safely do this.

I would suggest that legislators also take into account how the increased usage of food as a fuel source will probably lead towards a hike in food prices. The general public is not going to be real happy with this, especially while they watch farmers suddenly become wealthy on the increased demand for what they grow. Explain to the farmers that we only embark on this solution with the understanding that somewhere along the line a windfall profits tax is going to be introduced so as to protect the lower and middle classes from increasing food prices. We will not take so much that they can not become wealthy, however we ARE going to get our "fair share" of the new wealth that is created.

Hopefully, the leaders of our government that our elected representatives selected will be up to the job that is set in front of them. I hope Nancy Pelosi does not fall flat on her face or else the progress of women in our government might be set back by an order of years if not a generation.

The iron is hot ready to be shaped. Now all our leaders have to do is learn to be a blacksmith.


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