Year 2, Month 5, Day 25: How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?

The Seattle Times’ Lance Dickie reports on a speech by Bill Gates, urging a change in the way we do things:

Gates made a strong case for the federal government to lead and fund basic energy research. Private money is involved, including his own, but he laid out a simple truth: Vested interests will keep the energy industry doing what it does — fighting to maintain the status quo.

Gates nailed it, and not just because his pithy observation came on the 142nd anniversary of the golden spike that linked the transcontinental railway at Promontory, Utah. — a triumph of government-financed risk taking for a better future.

So the doyen of Davos got me thinking. Take all the federal money pumped into the oil industry, in the form of tax breaks, depletion allowances and other gravy, and put the savings toward energy research, not deficits.

Finance basic research on nuclear power and storage capacity for renewable energy.

Despite nuclear power’s avoidance of climate-changing carbon emissions, solving the lethal legacy of nuclear waste never gets much beyond fighting over holes in the ground and creation of a petroglyph that still translates to “Run!!” in 7011.

Sent May 14:

There are some whose allegiance to ideology is stronger than self-interest and common sense when it comes to the facts of global climate change. And some may admit that the world’s atmosphere is warming, but deny the need for bold action on reducing humanity’s greenhouse emissions — because they’re confident that we’ll be able to find a technical solution to the problem before it’s too late. Perhaps; we clever apes have solved quite a few complex puzzles in our time. But if our brightest minds and our most sophisticated tools are to tackle anthropogenic global warming, they need massive support. The United States government’s investment focus must be on the development of sustainable energy sources rather than rewarding the fossil fuel industries — and on a scale commensurate with the magnitude of the problem. Bill Gates may be awfully rich, but he’s not rich enough to do it by himself.

Warren Senders

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