Year 3, Month 1, Day 3: TSTS

Florida Today’s Randall Parkinson has a good analysis of our industrial policy paralysis:

This year, China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest investor in green technology.

The country is rapidly emerging as the world’s leader in clean-energy innovation and manufacturing. It now produces more wind turbines and solar panels each year than any other country.

This was accomplished remarkably fast because China recognized its rising economic power can be sustained only by ensuring access to abundant energy, food and water resources. This requires development of noncarbon-based energy and a stable climate.

Many other countries, like Japan, South Korea and India, also are facilitating the commercial development of green technologies.

Unfortunately, efforts to create a similar technology boom in the United States have paled by comparison, thanks to a very small group of lobbyists.

These merchants of doubt have convinced some members of Congress climate change is not real and the country’s long-term energy policy should focus on more, not less, fossil fuel exploration and production. As a consequence, we have ceded growth in green technology, jobs and related income to overseas companies that now profitably export their goods and expertise to the U.S.

I consider myself a proud American. Watching this shit go on (and on and on and on) is an utter embarrassment. Sent December 30:

Those same political candidates fetishizing American exceptionalism enthusiastically advocate policies that would permanently cement our nation’s status as an also-ran. Nowhere is this disconnect between rhetoric and action more evident than in our laggardly response to the challenge of global climate change. Although scientific evidence demonstrates to all but the willfully deluded that the greenhouse effect is wreaking havoc on the planetary ecosystems that sustain our species, self-styled “deficit hawks” relentlessly advocate for failure.

We must fail to develop new energy sources, to mount a robust response to a genuine existential threat, to retool our infrastructure to cope with the extreme weather events triggered by atmospheric warning, to educate our citizens about the dangers ahead, to take responsibility for our century of massive greenhouse emissions.

Why must we fail? The “fiscally conservative” answer: we can’t afford it. Meet the new face of penny-wise, pound-foolish American exceptionalism: too stingy to succeed.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 7, Day 2: We’re Number What?

The Bonn talks conclude today, June 17; Mexico and Papua New Guinea have a proposal on the table:

After years of incremental progress in U.N. climate talks, a proposal is on the table to change the rules.

The joint initiative from Mexico and Papua New Guinea is meant to break what some delegates call built-in deadlock, where a handful of nations — or even a single delegation — can stymie agreements.

The plan is to allow the 193 nations to adopt decisions by an “overwhelming” majority vote.

But the proposal faces Herculean obstacles from countries both large and small who jealously protect their power to influence, delay and ultimately block

I figured this was a good time to play the shame card, and I did it by exploiting the news that Bangladesh is amending its constitution to give its government the powers needed to address climate change. Unlike America, where we’re reluctant to admit that our government has any powers at all, unless it’s to bomb brown people or read our own citizens’ mail. Sheesh.

Sent June 17:

The appalling political stalemate on display at the Bonn Climate Conference is a demonstration of systemic failure on the part of our governing institutions; not just those of the United States, but of industrialized societies worldwide. The inability of the richest and most developed countries to take responsibility for the side-effects of their own successes is a grotesque object lesson for the rest of the world — especially those nations which have the most at stake in the battle against the effects of global heating. Nations like Bangladesh, which plans to amend its constitution to include a provision outlining the government’s responsibilities in addressing climate change. By seizing the initiative, the poorest and most vulnerable members of the international community have shamed the rest of the world. To be first of the nations where partisan gamesmanship has rendered meaningful policy essentially impossible is an especially tragic sort of American exceptionalism.

Warren Senders