Monday, August 13, 2007

Nero fiddled

The story is told that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Whether is it true or not, it does make a good analogy to what we are doing while our world is changing all around us.

The current Flex your Power TV Ad Campaign makes the same point. The point? Our reaction to climate change is a choice. It is not based on a lack of knowledge.

As I have sorted through much of the rhetoric surrounding the climate change issue I find two major flaws. The first is that the question of personal action is always one of giving up something without immediately getting something in return. The second it that the only policy positions that have been put forward come from those with a special economic interest in selling a product (corn, coal, nuclear power plants) and not a humanitarian solution interest.

Now, from tine Institute for Energy and Enviornmental Research (IEER) comes the first policy proposal that I have seen which promises an economic future that is both carbon free and nuclear free. This is outlined by Arjun Makhijani (PhD) in the most recent Science for Demorcrtic Action newsletter. Makhijani attempts to answer three questions:
  • Is it possible to physically eliminate CO2 emissions from the U.S. energy sector without resort to nuclear power, which has serious security and other vulnerabilities?
  • Is a zero-CO2 economy possible without purchasing offsets from other countries – that is, without purchasing from other countries the right to continue emitting CO2 in the United States?
  • Is it possible to accomplish the above at reasonable cost?

If there is a single issue which will define the physical characteristics of the world we leave our children, this is it. Flex your Power is right in that regard. I would suggest that everyone read Makhijani's report and that we build those proposals into a positive plan for the future. It will mean calling the current political posturing what it is. Our Governor seems to hold forth a bright hope from trying yet again to allow the flow of "pollution credits" to accomplish what they profess as a goal. They failed in the past and there is not reason to believe that they will succeed now.

There are three issues which should be at the top of the Green Party agenda. Two of them, the Iraq War and Impeachment, are closely related. The third is Global Climate Change, unfortunately not a major Green Party issue at the national or state level. I hope that we are no all taking violin lessons.

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