Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Energy, don’t worry your pretty little heads:


As in most tragedies that surround corporate disasters—like the recent the BP Oil Spill, the West Virginia coal mine explosion, and the Japan nuclear disaster—we find out that those who were supposed to make sure they were following all the rules were not. 

They were ignoring the rules.  They were dismissing public concerns.  They were violating public trust.  They do it all the time and yet when reassurances are asked by our reporters and our government officials that all is being done to make sure dangerous activities like mining for coal, operating a nuclear power plant, or drilling down into our oceans is being done with the utmost care—we find out afterwards that they haven’t been so diligent and forthcoming. 

And, when a new project comes up, like more drilling in our waters and land, these corporations say they can do it safely and environmentally friendly and we go ahead and let them do it. 

Are we stupid, or are we so afraid that our way of life will be jeopardized that we still think we can treat our environment in the same ole haphazard way and expect different results? 

We want to believe that rich corporations can drill for oil and mine for coal and run nuclear power plants and give us cheap energy and that we can still have a sustainable environment. 

BTW: I was perusing a list of new books and I saw one about how the renewable energy industries are telling folks a great big lie. Their point, you cannot have a thriving economy and go whole hog on green energy.  I thought to myself, what a cynical and depraved attitude.  In their attempts to curb Climate Change, provide jobs, and change our behavior so we can have a sustainable environment, renewable energy companies cannot actually do that—this book alleges.  The forces of ‘we have to pollute so us fossil fuel people can go on making zillions of bucks, ‘ marches out the argument that the green industries are lying to you. 

But the whole point is this: we as a society have to make renewable energy work—or Climate Change will ruin our planet.  If the present way of running our economy isn’t working, it must change because the physics of Climate Change cannot change.  This is why the anti-renewable folks view is unsustainable—we are dealing with physics not ideology. 

And, renewable energy doesn’t get billions in tax subsidies, like the oil industry has, and will continue to have:

Democratic bill to end oil subsidies is defeated in the Senate - “Washington (CNN) -- On a mostly party-line vote, the Senate on Tuesday defeated a Democratic measure to strip major oil companies of about $20 billion in tax subsidies over the next 10 years and use the savings to pay down the deficit. Three Democrats and two Republicans crossed sides in the 52-48 vote, preventing the bill from reaching a required 60-vote threshold for passage. Republicans opposed the measure, arguing the big five oil companies would pass any tax increases to consumers in the form of higher gas prices.”  (5/17/2011)

So anyway, things will go on the way they are—until (bumping up against the laws of physics) they cannot.  It looks like the great trust that the Japanese people put into the nuclear power officials were misplaced, as they usually are:

Japanese Officials Long Ignored or Concealed Nuclear Dangers - OMAEZAKI, Japan — The nuclear power plant, lawyers argued, could not withstand the kind of major earthquake that new seismic research now suggested was likely. If such a quake struck, electrical power could fail, along with backup generators, crippling the cooling system, the lawyers predicted. The reactors would then suffer a meltdown and start spewing radiation into the air and sea. Tens of thousands in the area would be forced to flee. (May 18, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

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