Just once, I would like to hear someone in the public arena apply a little common sense to the issues of climate change and energy policy. Maybe something along these lines…
We should all be able to agree that global climate change has been a part of nature for as long as the earth has been in existence. The earth has gone through periods of cooling and warming long before man was able to have any significant impact on the environment. There are loud arguments from a number of corners about whether human activity has any impact now, much of it centered on the amount of fossil fuels being burned to generate energy. It may take some time before consensus can be reached on whether carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels has an impact on climate change. That does not mean that we should wait before we take responsible action.
We should also be able to agree that it is foolish to simply burn fossil fuels recklessly, drilling and fracking with abandon. There is no question that doing so pollutes the environment. We have been given stewardship over the Earth, to care for it responsibly. Therefore, to behave in such a fashion is contrary to our call. At the same time, we need to secure plentiful supplies of cheap energy without enriching those who are antagonistic to us and to our way of life. To put a moratorium on domestic drilling, artificially inflating the cost of fossil fuels is deleterious to our economy, our national security, and our collective health and wellbeing.
Finally, we should be able to agree that so-called “green energy” is not quite the panacea that some would like us to believe. Electric cars increase our need for energy and rely on toxic chemicals, the production of solar panels generates silicon tetrachloride, a highly toxic substance that poisons the environment, windmills present a threat to wildlife and are not efficient when it comes to generation and transmission of energy, and ethanol is more expensive and less efficient to produce than gasoline.
It may seem that the goals of responsible stewardship and plentiful, cheap energy are at odds, but they are not. By increasing our domestic production of fossil fuels, we decrease our dependence on foreign suppliers and help to improve national security. By removing the impediments that artificially inflate fuel prices, we allow the market to operate more efficiently, improving profitability while lowering costs. The more profitable the energy industry is, the more tax revenue is generated, without increasing taxes. By diverting money from tax revenues already collected by the government from the energy industry to help subsidize research and development of sustainable, alternative energy sources, we can speed up the development and deployment of those sources.
The devil, as always, is in the details, but if we set aside politics in the name of actually doing something good for our environment and ourselves, we might actually get somewhere.
Yup…something like that is what I would really like to hear from a politician. I could vote for someone like that in good conscience. Well…I can dream, can’t I?