Paul Tullis's Grim Tidings

Bitter musings on politics and policy

Climate change legislation now!

with 2 comments

Christ almighty, am I sick of industry and their paid minions in Congress complaining that now is not the time to mandate or even encourage meaningful reduction in greenhouse gas emissions—whenever “now” is.

Their delay, obfucation and lies have gotten us to the point that it in fact may already be too late. These are the same myopic ingrates whose three-month time horizon for their own companies contributed to the insane stock bubbles of the late 90’s and mid-00’s; we are supposed to trust their outlook on anything that happens later than their next quarterly report?

These people are so selfish they don’t even appear to care that their grandchildren be granted the same joy as they themselves have experienced in raising children; without meaningful reduction in GHG emissions, if their grandchildren are born in 2040 they will experience during middle age a planet that hasn’t existed in more than 10,000 years. Do these polluters think it was a coincidence that at the same time the climate settled into its current state, humans began tending livestock and tilling the soil? Do they seriously want their grandchildren to be hunter-gatherers? Because if global average temperatures continue to rise at current rates there will be a radical dislocation of food production on this planet.

The rhetorical device used by proponents of business-as-usual is to argue the most obvious and adaptable result as if it were their unique discovery and something about which nothing can be done: Cap-and-trade is going to result in increased energy prices. Yeah, no shit, homeslice.

But as we saw last summer with $4-a-gallon gas, and as we see every time the economy sags and GHG emissions go down with it, the only thing that gets people to reduce their energy use is its increased relative cost. It’s not like the amount of energy people use is fixed. People waste energy because it is cheap. Make its cost significant and watch people treat polluting with the respect it deserves.

A drive toward renewable energy will be a huge boon to the economy. If Clinton’s BTU tax has been enacted in 1993, do you think the leading wind-turbine manufacturer in the world today would be Danish? Opponents estimated the tax would have cost a family of four $300 a year; people spend much more money insuring against their house burning down—a far less likely, and far more adaptable, occurrence than the drastic planetary emergency we’re facing.

And this is not even taking into account the savings to the economy from the health care costs of asthma, skin cancer, lung disease, cholera, malaria (some now incurred, some bound to rise) from the burning of fossil fuels.

Where will you save money in reducing your emissions?

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2 Responses

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  1. […] My friend and colleague Paul Tullis is back in California and blogging prolifically. He has a lot to say about (and to) the boobs standing in the way of new emissions standards: […]

  2. […] espouses—that you can do something by changing nothing— is absurd. And, as I’ve written elsewhere, the sacrifices that must be made are quite minor. But whatever the means, some sacrifices must be […]

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