Beyond Fossil Fuels

In his State of the Union speech on January 25, 2011, the President of the U.S. has understandably and rightfully focused on the issue of jobs. But he is not listening to the right people. Not only do we need to snuff out the attitudes and actions on Wall Street and elsewhere that led to the economic crisis in the fall of 2009 but we need to be looking ahead instead of remaining mired in the past when it comes to energy.

President Obama has given every indication that he supports the continued use of fossil fuels in the U.S. He has surrounded himself with people in those polluting industries and recently touted the so-called benefits of natural gas. The federal government to this day maintains its subsidies of oil, gas, coal and nuclear with dollars from U.S. taxpayers to the tune of $72 billion between 2002-2008. As a country, the U.S. needs to move rapidly to a green economy. All subsidies to fossil fuel corporations must be repealed. Simultaneously, incentives for the manufacture,  and installation of solar, solar thermal, small-scale wind, geothermal must be increased above their current levels, which are not nearly enough to address the multiple needs of job development, climate change and health security. The U.S. lags way behind China and Germany in conversion from a fossil economy to a renewable, sustainable economy, including houses well insulated and people engaging in more conservation when it comes to using fossil fueled energy. The U.S. needs to move rapidly towards doing whatever it can to prevent yet another solar panel manufacturing company moving to China, resulting in the loss of 800 jobs.

It is also very surprising, even to the editors of the New York Times, that in November of 2010 the President expressed enthusiasm about drilling for natural gas in the U.S. This enthusiasm flies in the face of the mountains of evidence that the entire multiple processes involved, from the mining of the frack sand to the frack fluid spills on farm land, to the dead cows, to the breakdown and jack- knifing of heavy trucks and machinery on rural hilly roads in WVA and PA, to the noise and deadly fumes from compressor stations, in hydrofracking for natural gas results in a dirty, toxic and health destroying enterprise, the only response to which must be a total and complete ban.

With much of the northeast U.S. in a continued deep freeze this January, we look to Mr. Obama to speak truth to power and turn his back on the lobbyists with their pleas on behalf of multi-million dollar fossil fuel corporations but instead heed the call of climate justice as well as the health and welfare of working people in the U.S. A rapid conversion to renewable sources of energy will result in a rapid increase in good paying jobs, a healthier economy, and improved health for all people in the country.

Cecile Lawrence, Ph.D., Green Party NY 2010 candidate for U.S. Senate

3 Comments on "Beyond Fossil Fuels"

  1. Russell Honicker | January 25, 2011 at 5:49 pm |

    What is a sustainable system? Creating resources that produce more
    than they consume is the best definition
    I’ve encountered. Living within our solar allowance with green houses and massive
    tree reforestation seems to be our best shot; but such a scenario does not coincide with maintaining our war department. It does not coincide with
    a car industry, or electricity run through a national grid. It does not coincide with industrial agriculture or nuclear power. Such a sustainable system does not coincide with the nation state with fighter planes, and missiles. A world of villages: how do we get there?

  2. David C. Mace | January 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm |

    `but such a scenario does not coincide with maintaining our war department`
    dead on
    ending the foriegn wars would be the best place to start as > 60% of the people are on our side right now; every demonstration must point to the drain of treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan; it is unfortuante that the drain of blood affects to few Americans to be telling
    Demonstrations everywhere on April 9th

  3. I like the idea of Obama turning his back on million-dollar lobbyists for billion dollar industries. Any chance? No chance.

    As far as government leadership, we have elected leaders like Bernie Sanders of VT, Kent Conrad of ND, and Dennis Kucinich of OH to look at, and perhaps to recall wistfully Van Jones the green jobs czar appointed by Obama once upon a time. I would suggest we even recall the US Mayor´s Agreement started by ex-mayor Nichols of Seattle with its paltry Kyoto goals, but admirable gusto. The EPA´s Green Power Partners list of larger green purchases by enterprises is also inspiring. Feed-in Tariff legislation in places like Vermont, California, and one Florida City have planted some seeds, and show the likely road to eventual national legislation, local democracy and enterprise.
    Stopping the defense industry and related national policy will not happen otherwise, I suggest for all of our full consideration.

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