Year 2, Month 5, Day 12: Pretty Soon You’re Talking Real Money

In a business section column in the San Francisco Chronicle, Andrew Ross skirts discussion of climate and energy, instead averring that (gasp!) the deficit is the biggest threat we face as a nation. Sigh. Time to drag out “quibbling over the cost of sandbags” again.

Sent May 3:

Mr. Ross’ analysis touches briefly on the elements that comprise the most significant threat to our country’s long-term security, but neglects them in favor of advocating for deficit reduction. Now, I’m all for reducing the deficit, and the Department of Defense, the biggest public sector spender, is ripe for massive cutting — but the plain and simple fact is that the devastating long-term effects of climate change will make deficit reduction (no matter where it happens) irrelevant. Without immediate steps to transform our energy economy and prepare for the consequences of climatic transformations we’ve already set in motion, no spending cuts will save us. Scientists have warned us over and over; we can no longer plead ignorance — and to resist spending on infrastructure development and disaster preparation will prove far more expensive in the long run. When floodwaters are rising is not the time to economize on sandbags.

Warren Senders

Month 8, Day 12: Common-Sense Deficit Syndrome? GAFB!

Sometimes I just want to bang my head against a wall.

Solar industry officials are pleading with President Obama to restore billions of dollars in renewable energy loan guarantees that Congress is at least temporarily cutting to pay for emergency education and Medicaid help to states and other policy priorities.

The loss of these loan guarantee funds could help “send solar development into a tailspin that will be difficult to reverse,” according to a letter to Obama sent Monday from Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

House lawmakers Tuesday are slated to approve a $26.1 billion state education and Medicaid funding package the Senate passed last week that would be partially paid for by slashing $1.5 billion in renewable energy-loan guarantees approved in last year’s economic stimulus bill.

What Al Gore said

“These rescissions put into jeopardy the green jobs that the administration has touted as part of our clean-energy future and put us further behind the rest of the world,” Gore said on his website Monday afternoon.

I’m not a professional Leftist; I’m more of an amateur. But by Grabthar’s Hammer, I am pretty fucking pissed off about this.

My emotional state is concealed, however, by my erudition.

Dear President Obama and Speaker Pelosi —

It is of the utmost importance that the $3.5 billion which has been taken from the renewable energy and transmission loan-guarantee program be restored. While deficit reduction must be part of our thinking, there is no alternative to pursuing renewable energy with all our attention, enthusiasm and funding.

We cannot continue to burn oil and coal in the years to come. Not only is our national security complicated by our financial entanglements with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries, our long-term survival is at stake. With atmospheric CO2 well on track to be over 400 ppm within a year or two, the fight against global warming has already been significantly compromised. In order to maintain a world climate suitable for human survival and prosperity, we must change our energy economy without delay.

If the United States is to maintain a role as a world leader, then we cannot afford to shrug off the problems of smaller states; we cannot afford to wait for India and China to reduce their carbon footprints before acting on our own. The laws of physics pay no heed to political exigencies; greenhouse gases know nothing of election-year strategies. The problem of global climate change is the defining one of our generation, and we must tackle it on all levels: as individuals, as communities, as regions, as states, as a country, and as part of a global society.

At this moment in the world’s history, cutting funding for renewable energy is a grotesque abdication of our responsibilities to one another and the planet as a whole. Please act with dispatch and resolve to ensure that financial resources are restored to renewable energy programs. Failing to spend that money is a foolishness we cannot afford.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders