[Paleopsych] Geo-Greening by Example
shovland at mindspring.com
Sun Mar 27 16:02:15 UTC 2005
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 27, 2005
How will future historians explain it? How will they possibly explain why
President George W. Bush decided to ignore the energy crisis staring us in
the face and chose instead to spend all his electoral capital on a futile
effort to undo the New Deal, by partially privatizing Social Security? We
are, quite simply, witnessing one of the greatest examples of misplaced
priorities in the history of the U.S. presidency.
"Ah, Friedman, but you overstate the case." No, I understate it. Look at
the opportunities our country is missing - and the risks we are assuming -
by having a president and vice president who refuse to lift a finger to put
together a "geo-green" strategy that would marry geopolitics, energy policy
By doing nothing to lower U.S. oil consumption, we are financing both sides
in the war on terrorism and strengthening the worst governments in the
world. That is, we are financing the U.S. military with our tax dollars and
we are financing the jihadists - and the Saudi, Sudanese and Iranian
mosques and charities that support them - through our gasoline purchases.
The oil boom is also entrenching the autocrats in Russia and Venezuela,
which is becoming Castro's Cuba with oil. By doing nothing to reduce U.S.
oil consumption we are also setting up a global competition with China for
energy resources, including right on our doorstep in Canada and Venezuela.
Don't kid yourself: China's foreign policy today is very simple - holding
on to Taiwan and looking for oil.
Finally, by doing nothing to reduce U.S. oil consumption we are only
hastening the climate change crisis, and the Bush officials who scoff at
the science around this should hang their heads in shame. And it is only
going to get worse the longer we do nothing. Wired magazine did an
excellent piece in its April issue about hybrid cars, which get 40 to 50
miles to the gallon with very low emissions. One paragraph jumped out at
me: "Right now, there are about 800 million cars in active use. By 2050, as
cars become ubiquitous in China and India, it'll be 3.25 billion. That
increase represents ... an almost unimaginable threat to our environment.
Quadruple the cars means quadruple the carbon dioxide emissions - unless
cleaner, less gas-hungry vehicles become the norm."
All the elements of what I like to call a geo-green strategy are known:
We need a gasoline tax that would keep pump prices fixed at $4 a gallon,
even if crude oil prices go down. At $4 a gallon (premium gasoline averages
about $6 a gallon in Europe), we could change the car-buying habits of a
large segment of the U.S. public, which would make it profitable for the
car companies to convert more of their fleets to hybrid or ethanol engines,
which over time could sharply reduce our oil consumption.
We need to start building nuclear power plants again. The new nuclear
technology is safer and cleaner than ever. "The risks of climate change by
continuing to rely on hydrocarbons are much greater than the risks of
nuclear power," said Peter Schwartz, chairman of Global Business Network, a
leading energy and strategy consulting firm. "Climate change is real and it
poses a civilizational threat that [could] transform the carrying capacity
of the entire planet."
And we need some kind of carbon tax that would move more industries from
coal to wind, hydro and solar power, or other, cleaner fuels. The revenue
from these taxes would go to pay down the deficit and the reduction in oil
imports would help to strengthen the dollar and defuse competition for
energy with China.
It's smart geopolitics. It's smart fiscal policy. It is smart climate
policy. Most of all - it's smart politics! Even evangelicals are speaking
out about our need to protect God's green earth. "The Republican Party is
much greener than George Bush or Dick Cheney," remarked Mr. Schwartz.
"There is now a near convergence of support on the environmental issue.
Look at how popular [Arnold] Schwarzenegger, a green Republican, is
becoming because of what he has done on the environment in California."
Imagine if George Bush declared that he was getting rid of his limousine
for an armor-plated Ford Escape hybrid, adopting a geo-green strategy and
building an alliance of neocons, evangelicals and greens to sustain it. His
popularity at home - and abroad - would soar. The country is dying to be
led on this. Instead, he prefers to squander his personal energy trying to
take apart the New Deal and throwing red meat to right-to-life fanatics.
What a waste of a presidency. How will future historians explain it?
Subj: The Bush crime family doesn't care about real problems
They only care about stealing as much as
they can for as long as they can.
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