Friday, July 01, 2005

It's Gettin' Hot in Here...

So why not bash Kyoto? Bush told some Danish TV show that:

"Kyoto would have wrecked our economy. I couldn't in good faith have signed Kyoto"
So, wrecked the economy more or less than the billions per month we're chucking down the deep dark hole called Iraq? Here's the most hilarious part of the story:
"We're hooked on oil from the Middle East, which is a national security problem and an economic security problem," Bush said, adding that the United States was looking at alternatives fuels.
Notice they didn't directly quote him on that last point, about looking at alternative fuels. No doubt because Bush was giggling too much as he said it. And what exactly does “looking at alternative fuels” mean? Does Bush count all the times Dick Cheney has told him to stop staring at the sun or he’ll go blind as “looking at alternative fuels?”

So, would Kyoto really have "wrecked" the U.S. economy? The Natural Resources Defense Council doesn't think so (yeah, I know, big surprise):
Q. Would the Kyoto Protocol seriously harm the U.S. economy?

A. No. The Bush administration has done absolutely no analysis to substantiate its claim that the Kyoto Protocol or domestic policies to reduce carbon dioxide pollution from power plants would seriously harm the U.S. economy. While industry trade associations have published many misleading claims of economic harm, two comprehensive government analyses have shown that it is possible to reduce greenhouse pollution to levels called for in the Kyoto agreement without harming the U.S. economy.

In 1998, the White House Council of Economic Advisors concluded that the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol would be "modest" -- no more than a few tenths of 1 percent of gross domestic product in 2010, equivalent to adding no more than a month or two to a ten-year forecast for achieving a vastly increased level of wealth in this country. A subsequent and more detailed study by five Department of Energy national laboratories found that policies to promote increases in energy efficiency would allow the United States to make most of the emission reductions required to comply with the Kyoto Protocol through domestic measures that have the potential to improve economic performance over the long run.[3] The only study that President Bush cited in announcing his reversal on CO2 reductions, a report by the Energy Information Administration, failed to consider the inexpensive greenhouse pollution reductions that can be achieved through energy efficiency. The study also ignored the Kyoto Protocol's flexible market mechanisms, which the United States has spent the last three years negotiating with other signatories.
And there was a study done at the University of California that found:
Across a broad range of scenarios, the renewable energy sector generates more jobs than the fossil fuel-based energy sector per unit of energy delivered (i.e., per average megawatt).
In addition we find that the employment rate in fossil fuel-related industries has been declining steadily for reasons that have little to do with environmental regulation. Finally, we find that supporting renewables within a comprehensive and coordinated energy policy that also supports energy efficiency and sustainable transportation will yield far greater employment benefits than supporting one or two of these sectors separately.
While certain sectors of the economy may be net losers, policy interventions can help minimize the impact of a transition from the current fossil fuel dominated economy to a more balanced portfolio that includes significant amounts of clean energy. Further, generating local employment through the deployment of local and sustainable energy technologies is an important and underutilized way to enhance national security and international stability.
And here's an article about how the U.S. is falling behind in the alternative energy development race:
Ten years ago, American companies owned 50 percent of the market for solar photovoltaic panels -- the key technology necessary for solar power. Today, says Thomas Werner, CEO of SunPower, a solar-technology company based in Silicon Valley, the United States has just a 10 percent share.

Yet even as the U.S. has lost its lead in solar, the worldwide demand for it, and other renewable power sources, such as wind, has surged. According to one report, solar and wind power generation capacity has grown by more than 30 percent annually over the past five years. That's the kind of growth market high-tech venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are normally desperate for.

But while demand is growing, and countries such as Japan and Germany are pushing renewable energy technology development to the limit, the U.S. is lagging. For some energy experts, the failure is more than just a missed opportunity for profits -- it's a profound strategic and environmental screw-up. And the responsibility for it belongs right at the very top -- the energy policy formulated and executed by the current presidential administration. The high price of oil, the threat of global warming, the mandate to develop markets that will spur domestic job growth: all these factors call out for leadership that would push the development of new sources of energy, that would encourage the growth of markets that could literally save the world.
But, what should we expect from an administration in the pocket of oil and energy companies? Obviously not the kind of forward-thinking, long-term strategy that our country needs to stay competitive and clean up our environment. You know, considering that the U.S. is basically becoming a consumer nation that doesn't actually produce anything, it might be a good idea to start investing in developing technologies that the rest of the world is going to want. That might, you know, be good for our economy, AND help us reduce pollution and greenhouse gases.

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