Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clean Energy: what's broken with America

I finished reading the book "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas Freidman this past week.  It's an energetic  wake-up-call of a read challenging America (and the larger world) to get with it, to let good science speak louder than politics, to look long-term for solutions to our current economical and environmental problems instead of to short-term political gain by those running for office in the next 2-4 years and/or  financial gain by multinationals.  Newsweek recently ran an other clear and concise article on the impasse in which we sentence ourselves entitled "Clean energy should trump politics"

You have to wonder why is it that we repeatedly let politicians cower in the wake of screaming plebite citizens who have barely graduated high school and demand that we drill in the oceans, burn coal like crazy and keep gas cheap all to keep them happy today?  What about their children?  My children?  While we let states filled with oil and coal dictate our national policy, or even continue to allow Detroit - awash in bail-out money - insist on keeping the status quo in order to sell their gas-guzzlers, or ignorant MSNBC or FOX news driven fans shape our national energy policy, while we turn a deaf ear to PhDs formed and working in that field?

I recently filled up the car that we have here in France with gas.  It cost me about 50 euros.  That's roughly $80 US.  It's not a hummer.  It's a car that's a tad smaller than a VW Bug and that it gets great gas mileage.  Gas is about 1.3 euros / liter.  That's about 5.2 euros a gallon, or a tad shy of $7 / gallon.  While we gawk at paying $3 a gallon, it's more than double in Europe.  It's not that way because they love taxes, but because such high prices discourage people from driving mindlessly.  It forces you to consider take public transportation, riding a bike, consolidating your errands, or god-forbid walking.  While the US Government is still to shy to enact such a gasoline tax, and while most scientists say it would do us good forcing us to drive more reasonably (and consequently produce less CO2) and also force the economy (ie. Detroit) to change and to empower the renewable energy companies to create more efficient and cost-effective alternatives to oil.  Plus the tax money we would pay would stay here in America as opposed to being exported to Saudia Arabia, Iran and Venezuela.

Why do we repeatedly let plumbers, cable news entertainers and ineffective CEOs set our national agenda while we turn a deaf-ear to some of the best educated scientists on the planet?


Patchizinho said...

because scientists are either socialists or elitists. or worse - Europeans!!!! :o)

Monte said...