Global warming is a useful lie. The world is too cold anyway, and warmer temps probably would save lives. But it is important to reduce our use of foreign hydrocarbons (oil and natural gas), to prevent hydrocarbon-exporting Gap states like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela from interfering with the integration of the Seam and the Core. The sun and the wind, ethanol and biodiesel, and of course nuclear power and coal are all options for us.
With that in mine, here are the sensible parts of Tom Friedman’s latest, which call for the Economic Stimulus to include environmentally friendly spending:
Op-Ed Columnist – Bailout (and Buildup) – NYTimes.com
The 2 is back. Last week, U.S. retail gasoline prices fell below $3 a gallon â€” to an average of $2.91 â€” the lowest level in almost a year. Why does this news leave me with mixed feelings?
Because in the middle of this wrenching economic crisis, with unemployment rising and 401(k)â€™s shrinking, it would be a real source of relief for many Americans to get a break at the pump. Todayâ€™s declining gasoline prices act like a tax cut for consumers and can save $15 to $20 a tank-full for an S.U.V.-driving family, compared with when gasoline was $4.11 a gallon in July.
Yet, it is impossible for me to ignore the fact that when gasoline hit $4.11 a gallon we changed â€” a lot. Americans drove less, polluted less, exercised more, rode more public transportation and, most importantly, overwhelmed Detroit with demands for smaller, more fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars. The clean energy and efficiency industries saw record growth â€” one of our few remaining engines of real quality job creation.
But with little credit available today for new energy start-ups, and lower oil prices making it harder for existing renewables like wind and solar to scale, and a weak economy making it nearly impossible for Congress to pass a carbon tax or gasoline tax that would make clean energy more competitive, what will become of our budding clean-tech revolution?
This moment feels to me like a bad B-movie rerun of the 1980s. And I know how this movie ends â€” with our re-addiction to oil and OPEC, as well as corrosive uncertainty for our economy, trade balance, security and environment.
â€œIs the economic crisis going to be the end of green?â€ asks David Rothkopf, energy consultant and author of â€œSuperclass.â€ â€œOr, could green be the way to end the economic crisis?â€
It has to be the latter. We canâ€™t afford a financial bailout that also isnâ€™t a green buildup â€” a buildup of a new clean energy industry that strengthens America and helps the planet.
But how do we do that without any policy to affect the price signal for gasoline and carbon?
Third, an idea offered by Andy Karsner, former assistant secretary of energy, would be to modify the tax code so that any company that invests in new domestic manufacturing capacity for clean energy technology â€” or procures any clean energy system or energy savings device that is made by an American manufacturer â€” can write down the entire cost of the investment via a tax credit and/or accelerated depreciation in the first year.
Finally, if Congress passes another stimulus package, it canâ€™t just be another round of $600 checks to go buy flat-screen TVs made in China. It has to also include bridges to somewhere â€” targeted investments in scientific research, mass transit, domestic clean-tech manufacturing and energy efficiency that will make us a more productive and innovative society, one with more skills, more competitiveness, more productivity and better infrastructure to lead the next great industrial revolution: E.T. â€” energy technology
The lower hydrocarbon prices go, the less influence that gap countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela have. And that’s a good thing.