Month 9, Day 12: In Some Parallel Universe, We Got Off Fossil Fuels in 1935.

Well, there are small mutterings that the Senate might try to pass a drastically stripped-down version of climate legislation in the lame duck session post-November. To wit, a Renewable Energy Standard, which would provide specific targets for alternatives to fossil fuels, and encourage them with tax credits.

Sometimes I think that writing to Harry Reid will actually put a jinx on it. Then I remember two things. First: I’m not superstitious. Second: Harry Reid has been wimping out on legislation for far longer than I’ve been writing letters.

Sorry, kids. It’s been fun.

Dear Senator Reid,

Environmentally aware citizens have had a steady diet of disappointment over the course of the past eighteen months. We knew that nothing would happen under a Bush presidency, but we did have hopes that the Obama administration would be able to muster the energy and political momentum to get wide support for meaningful climate legislation. Instead, we have witnessed failures of will from Democrats, exacerbated by failures of conscience and intellect from Republicans.

Now we are simply hoping that a single small crumb remains of what could have been a nourishing meal. What’s left of our aspirations for climate legislation? A Renewable Energy Standard.

Such a standard would be America’s first long-term policy supporting clean energy. Without such a policy, investors cannot plan for the long term; infrastructure cannot be developed; markets cannot be nurtured. When we do finally decide to get serious about climate change, we’re going to need those long-term plans, that infrastructure, those markets.

While we dither, China has left us behind; a recent study confirms that China is now the world leader for clean energy investment — a position that once was ours.

An R.E.S. would trigger investments and create jobs — not just jobs rebuilding older infrastructure, but jobs and opportunities for our country’s workers that will keep growing in the decades to come. We need a clear and unambiguous policy signal from our government: clean and renewable energy is the future of America, and we believe in our country’s future.

Please ensure that a Renewable Energy Standard comes to the floor of the Senate. It’s not what we were hoping for, a year and a half ago. But we’ll take it gladly.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders