Sunday, August 16, 2015

Doublethink Climate Change energy policies won’t work

Although the fossil fuel industry is spending more money than ever to save itself at the cost of dramatically worsening Climate Change, there are signs of this industry’s demise. Educational institutions, faith groups, and pension funds are divesting from a carbon-based economy. Renewable energy, which doesn’t warm the planet or pollute the air, is on the rise.

“Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are all on the rise. At least 17,000 megawatts (MW) of these three energy sources are now under construction. According to the Energy Information Administration, renewable energy will account for about one-third of new electricity generation added to the U.S. grid over the next three years.” (U.S. Renewable Energy Growth Accelerates, 8/14/2015, Worldwide Institute)

Of course, we won’t stop using the fuel that fueled the Industrial Revolution tomorrow. But we must ask ourselves, ‘Will this planet-damaging energy option nose-dive on a scale and time frame that will matter?’ The COP21 Paris Summit coming up in a few months hopes to create a binding worldwide agreement to substantially reduce the world economy’s dependence on an energy option that is moving us into the danger zone. The intense efforts by nations to make this year’s COP (Conference of the Parties) successful highlights why reducing a carbon-based economy must be orchestrated from the level of a United Nations’ agreement—nothing else will work, else it would have already. Paris is a desperate act by desperate peoples trying to deal with their addiction to a lethal substance.
With the Clean Power Plan, President Obama hopes to demonstrate to the nations attending the Paris Summit that the United States is serious about leading the world’s Climate Change efforts. However, Obama is also allowing Shell to drill in the Arctic for oil.

Climate alarm bells are ringing, says Arctic-bound Obama  President to use Alaska meeting for global climate deal talks; critics say he can lead by stopping Shell drilling for oil (August 14, 2015)Responding to Climate Change (RTCC)

This instance of doublethink, where one holds two contrary beliefs at the same time, will not work with Climate Change. You cannot try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in one place on the planet and allow them to increase somewhere else. The final arbitrator in our historic battle with Climate Change is physics—and it doesn’t negotiate. To address Climate Change we must have policies that make sense. 

In New York State, Governor Cuomo banned Fracking and has demonstrated that our state is already stepping up to the plate on reducing GHGs:

Utilities: Shift in New York power New York won’t have much extra work to do to meet President Barack Obama’s mandated cut in carbon emissions from power plants. The state is on track to meet the mandate — which calls for a 32 percent nationwide cut — more than a decade before the federal Clean Power Plan’s 2030 deadline, boosted in large part by its own, more-aggressive goals laid out in an update to the New York State Energy Plan earlier this year. In late June, the state committed to three major energy benchmarks for the next 15 years: reducing all greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels, decreasing energy consumption in buildings by 23 percent from 2012 levels and making sure half of the state’s energy is produced from renewable sources. (August 8, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle 

But our governor is also mired in doublethink. By allowing the NYS Department of Conservation (DEC) to ignore businesses’ and citizens’ concerns about the massive methane storage project near Seneca Lake, Cuomo cannot also “’… lead on Climate Change”. The threat to our environment by allowing this dangerous buildup of more fossil fuel infrastructure doesn’t square with climate physics.

Adding insult to a massive disregard for our precious Finger Lakes ecosystem, the folks pushing for Crestwood’s plans don’t seem to care about the rising numbers of people willing to stand up against this move that jeopardizes the region’s tourism and wine businesses. (“The number of protestors arrested at the Crestwood Facility near Watkins Glen now totals 340.” --from R-CAUSE (Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction.) *Note the creation of the Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition, who’s mission is to “… lead Upstate economic development through wine-driven agritourism and sustainable business practices, unifying wineries, vineyards, local food producers, and creatives who are the stewards of Finger Lakes Wine Country.”

We hope Governor Cuomo’s and President Obama’s energy decisions quickly evolve into a coherent policy that matches the science.

Climate Change by its very nature cannot endure the sort of duplicity that has governed our way of life for so long. Our leaders cannot talk out of both sides of their mouth on Climate Change and energy because, unlike the public who can be fooled some of time, physics cannot ever be fooled.

Besides, trying to deal with the “GreedyLyingBastards” who’ll stop at nothing to save a dying fossil fuel industry is crazy. Those folks want it all.


Time passes. 

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