Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peak Coal?

The idea of peak oil is not new news, but the idea of peak coal might be. No journalist covers the coal industry better than Ken Ward Jr. at the Charleston Gazette. This is how he covers peak coal. For Ward, it is the future of Appalachia. For us, it is tied to energy use. As utilities switch from coal to natural gas, even the cost of heating our homes will go up.

With the future of energy production in the US questionable, how can Greens best act to ensure that we all of a future? In my previous post, I commented on the absolute necessity to defeat Pro 23. This time, I am going to suggest that we take the issue to local government. What are they doing to prepare our communities for a new energy future? In my community of Morgan Hill, the Mayor and half of the city council are up for re-election. I am asking each of the candidates to be very specific about what they are willing to do and whether they are willing to spend local money on it. Then, I will use a column in the local newspaper to try and make this a defining issue for the city council.

I hope that Greens all over this state are going to do the same. The more people who are willing to vote primarily on the basis of a candidate's position on climate change and energy, the more certain our future.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What to do about climate change?

It has been a long time since I posted to California Greening. That has given me time to think about a lot of things… more than I have time to write or you to read. But, I keep coming back to one question: Is climate change really the most important issue that faces the Green Party, America, mankind? I have come to the conclusion that the answer is “yes”. Now, what should we be doing about it?

It is pretty clear that the political right thinks that attacking the very idea of human caused global warming is good politics. David Roberts' recent Grist column outlines the denialist strategy. It is playing out here in California with the oil company backed proposition 23 on the November ballot.

The major Republican candidates, Whitman and Fiorina, dance around the subject, supporting Prop 23 while not being so silly as to deny that climate change is happening. They only say that we can't afford to do anything now since that would “be a job killer.” Of course, it has always been positioned as a job killer by those of a Libertarian bent and conservative ideologues. Taking action will never, ever be acceptable to them. So, the more they talk, the longer we wait until, eventually, it will be too late. Personally, I believe that eventually just about here.

It must be the prerogative of old people to tell the truth. So while many Republicans bow to the great god Reagan, his one time chief of staff and Sec. of State, George Schulz has some harsh words for the deniers and those like Fiorina for whom it is just a political ploy to garner a few more votes from the brain dead.