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Global Warming and Snake Oil

The Supreme Court decision affirming the right of states to limit greenhouse gas emissions is an important, though dangerously narrow victory for the environmental movement.

Mandating strict limits on the emmision of greenhouse gases is one crucial step in the battle against global warming. Limits should encourage conservation and stimulate innovation, research and development of alternative energy technologies.

There are billions of bucks to be made by innovative entrepreneurs doing good scientific research and developing sustainable energy technologies. There's also plenty of money for snake oil salesmen to pocket pimping off the surge of interest in all things green -- as in greenbacks.

Generalismo George Bush II has already hit the road promoting "clean coal technology," along with corn-fed ethanol, "safe" nuclear power, and other profitable fantasies.

Though the notions of "clean coal" and "safe" nuclear power are equally absurd, Bush is not one to be confused by the facts. The nation needs to be "energy-independent" he declares, to protect us from evildoers in nations like Venezuela, Iran and, well Iraq.

Now to add insult to injury, Bush and the big corporations he represents ask: Why not use food for fuel? To hear Bush talk one would believe this is a terrific idear -- you know just use stuff that ya can GROW -- like corn! So what if poor people have rioted in Mexico when they couldn't afford to buy tortillas? Why not eat them wheat tortillas, you know, the white ones they use to make bor-REAT-toes?

Yet while visiting an ethanol laboratory in North Carolina, Bush explained that there are some problems with corn-bred ethanol.

"We got a lot of hog growers around the United States," Bush said, "and a lot of them here in North Carolina, who are beginning to feel the pinch as a result of high corn prices."

Tarnation! The doggone pig farmers (read giant corporations) are gonna have to pay more to feed dem pigs. Course HUMANS gonna have to pay a lot more fer corn, too. Hell they might not even be able to afford to BUY it.

Not an issue for the Generalismo...

"I like the idea of a president being able to say, Wow, the crop report is in, we're growing more corn than ever before, which means we're importing less oil from overseas," Bush later declared, showing no concern whatsoever about the environmental consequences of such intense corn cultivation.

Clearly the Bush/Cheney junta is searching for energy sources that can be controlled, and ethanol can be. (In fact it already is, by agribusiness giants like ADM, which already produces 25% of the ethanol in the U.S.) Or controlled like nuclear power, for example. Though there have been some pretty serious problems controlling that technology, Generalismo Bush proposed spending $405 million to develop it, and $9 billion in loan guarantees to create a "new generation" of nuclear power plants worldwide.

Except in Iran and North Korea, of course. They'd best stick to opium poppies -- or else.

And never mind that the government has already spent about $50 billion on nuclear research and development since 1974, or about four times as much as for research on renewable energy.

Everyone knows that Bush is no friend of the environment, unless it is one where smart bombs have cleared the land and oil derricks bob up and down like a red rocking-horse in his fondest childhood memory.

But there are others who have relative success masquerading as environmentalists, claiming a spot on the vast stretch of space separating Bush and Dick Cheney from rational human beings, a place they like to call "The Center." Those who occupy "the center" in the debate about what we should do regarding global warming include Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Ca.) and other "environmentalists," such as Tom Carper (D) from Delaware, John McCain (R) from Arizona, and the Shell Oil Company.

Feinstein and other "centrists" insist we should "start small." That "start" would be very small, indeed--about the same space that separates Feinstein from corporate donors like PG&E.

Her bill would "cap" emissions of greenhouse gases by electric companies at 2006 levels by 2015, though some suggest the Senator may need to use a threshold date that is more "realistic": the year 2008, perhaps.

The Feinstein bill is one of at least five to be introduced in the Senate, all ballyhooed as efforts to curb global warming.

Feinstein introduced her "think small" effort because of concern that a measure introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) might be too "perfect."

"What worries me most is that people will let the perfect become the enemy of the good, and in this area, that's catastrophic," Feinstein told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"The Good," she refers to is her effort to start small. "The Perfect," a bill proposed by Boxer and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would require energy firms to reduce emissions by 80 percent from their 1990 levels by 2050. Feinstein apparently believes 43 years is not enough time for energy giants and others to comply with emission reductions.

While Feinstein and weak-kneed liberals quarrel over what we should do to quite literally stem the tide of global warming, the obvious starting point --and the public is ready for it--is an ambitious, far-reaching energy R&D project to develop alternative sources of energy, a project like that put forth by the Apollo Alliance, www.apolloalliance.org/, a coalition of environmentalists and labor unions. The other is to end the Fossil Fuel Wars in Iraq and the Middle East.

Both efforts will require a considerable amount of energy.

There are those who suggest it is impossible to achieve either as long as the Bush/Cheney Regime remains in power.

There is a simple solution to that vexing problem: Impeach them, then try them in a court of law for treason.

"Wait! Hold on!" many will cry. "That will never happen! What you are asking is for the impossible!"

Have you read the scientific data about global warming lately?

We can and we must reduce and reverse global warming. To do that we must pull the plug on the military industrial complex, and those who have seized political power on their behalf.

April 10, 2007

 

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