Nov 252012
 

Fossil fuel energy companies have made a fortune, because they have been allowed to externalize the costs of the health and environmental damage they cause onto private individuals and US taxpayers, creating artificially low energy prices and erecting a barrier to entry by green technology into the energy market.  More than any other factor, the carbon we pump into the atmosphere every day, because the companies don’t have to pay for the damage, has increased the acceleration toward global climate change.

25global_climateRepresentatives from 194 countries will meet in Doha, Qatar from November 26 to December 7 for the latest round of international climate talks.

The key question for many is whether or not President Obama will chart new territory for leadership by the United States, a country which has long refused to make the necessary commitments that scientists say are necessary to avert a 2°C rise in global temperatures and the associated climate change such warming is likely to trigger.

As this question about Obama lingers environmental campaigners in the US, global leaders more broadly are being called to the challenge as well. On Friday, the UN expert on global solidarity said that without international unity, the fight against climate change would not be won.

Virginia Dandan, charged by the UN to report on issues of global solidarity, urged world governments to see beyond the cost of climate change in terms of money, and to adopt a strong commitment to international cooperation as a key element towards a successful round of talks in Doha… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Common Dreams>

Photo credit: One Green Gnome

I fully agree with the author that international cooperation is needed, and I am not satisfied with Obama’s environmental record.  In his defense, however, the presence of eight Democratic Senators who would goose step with Republicans on energy policy made progress impossible.  The following DINOS have joined Republicans to support the Keystone XL Pipeline: Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.).

I also recognize Obama’s need to walk a fine line to protect the recovery in progress and his need to depend on fossil fuels until green energy sources are sufficiently developed to take over the load of US energy consumption.

For now, I would propose two things, which Obama cannot do on his own.  First, eliminate all subsidies for fossil fuel companies, except for subsidies to programs for carbon removal.  Second, institute a carbon tax just high enough to make it less expensive for energy companies to upgrade to the best anti-carbon technology available than to pay the tax.  The savings from the subsidies and proceeds from the tax, should be divided between deficit reduction, carbon removal, and green energy subsidies and R&D.  I certainly would love to see other suggestions.

We need to take every opportunity to pressure our elected officials in both parties to join the international effort to stop climate change.

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  11 Responses to “Climate Change: The Need for Unity”

  1. I fully agree with the author that international cooperation is needed, and I am not satisfied with Obama’s environmental record.  In his defense, however, the presence of eight Democratic Senators who would goose step with Republicans on energy policy made progress impossible.  The following DINOS have joined Republicans to support the Keystone XL Pipeline: Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Jim Webb (D-Va.)
     
    These names need to be made more Public; I think , among the points made by the Election results-  accountability is  real–to be respected-
    How many of these Dinos are up for election in 2014? Hold them accountable—!!

    • I agree, hold them accountable.  But, the local committees have to do that by finding other candidates with the right backbone that can stand up to the DINO first in a "primary" and then to other party candidates.  A DINO is probably better than a died in the bag teabagger, especially when it comes to the Congressional numbers game.

    • I agree with Lynn here/  Begich, Landrieu, and Manchin would be voted out in  hot minute if they voted otherwise, because their states are so dependent on big energy.  The alternative, a goose stepping Republican on all issues, not just some, would be worse in practice and would count towards Republican control of the Senate.  Instead we need to educate the residents of these states that they are as much the victims of big energy as the beneficiaries.

  2. Like with so many things, we need to have a consensus around the globe on moving forward to fight climate change.  It has already been proven by volcanic ash and nuclear meltdowns, to name two ways, that events happening in one area can affect other regions.  Cases in point — volcanic ash from Mt St Helens and more recently the volcanic eruption in Iceland, and the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl — each of which travelled great distances on wind currents.
     
    Wasn't there a case oe cases where the tobacco companies were required to pay penalties and large sums towards medical treatments that were necessitated by the harmful effects of tobacco use?  It seems that there should be similar penalties in the oil and gas industries, and others like asbestos and coal.
     
    Your suggestions sound good to me.  BTW, loved that sign in today's Open Thread:  A solar energy spill is called 'a nice day', or words to that effect.

    • I agree except that the tobacco settlements were with states, who put the money into their general funds.  Red states used for 1% welfare, and blue states used it to keep programs alive that Republican policies would have killed.  The big losers were those harmed.

  3. I am hoping and praying that President Obama takes the lead this year and is aggressive in charting new territory for leadership by the United States. we have been slack for too long.
     
    I am so disappointed in the DINOS. Don't they realize they are going to become extinct like their predecessors eons ago?

  4. The ideas that Obama proposes are rather outrageous! Fracking must be banned altogether regardless of the damned demruglicans! This will definitely compromise our water and heat the world faster than the coal that stockpiled in so many countries! I'm calling Cuomo every week sometimes more than once a week – there's a bill on O's desk to ok a pipeline going into the Rockaways (part of the devastated area in NY that was flooded due to our "frankenstorm") - another storm with a pipeline  will create fire – I've petitioned him to veto it - there was an explosion in Mass over the weekend due to natural gas – it's insanity!!!! We cannot invest in natural gas – otherwise sure go ahead and tax and block loopholes, but we're talking apocalyptic horror here – I don't really give a "F" about what sacrifices must be made or how much money we'll lose – the warming is already costing the country more than it can afford with weather conditions, fire, hurricanes, drought! We cannot wait – this is a world problem, one that should be worked on globally for the sake of survival! Shut down the big oil – make them invest in green energy

    • Lee, while I agree, in principle, with part of what you're saying, the manner of your ranting will do more to harm your cause than help it.

  5. I am not satisfied with Obama’s environmental record. In his defense, however, the presence of eight Democratic Senators who would goose step with Republicans on energy policy made progress impossible.

    This reminds me of a history channel show, "The Doom-sayers". We need to come together for the survival of the planet…