Sunday, December 2, 2012

Old vs. New Energy: Why the old arguments are just as dirty as fossil fuels

For the life of me, I cannot understand why so many people continue to argue against investing in green energy, especially when all the fossil-fuel apologists keep repeating the same old tiresome arguments. For instance, there’s the idea that green energy is a job killer. Give me a break!


It takes work to build and install solar panels, windmills, and the many other types of non-polluting equipment used to generate and deliver all that glorious power just waiting to be gleaned from the renewable resources and natural forces of our planet. Then there are all the people who will be needed to run and maintain green energy-generating equipment. Just what do the hordes of old-energy protagonists call those jobs? Chopped liver?

Green energy won’t kill any more jobs than fossil-fuel energy does. In fact, just as old energy powered so many new industries during the 20th-century, clean energy from wind, sunlight, steam, etc., will spur even more industries that are yet to be born, or even conceived, well into the future.


Actually, I confess that there are some jobs green energy will kill. As we switch from old energy to clean green energy over the years, there’s bound to be a diminishing need for the high cost of cleaning up the environment from all the damage now being done by filthy fossil fuels. This means our society will enjoy gradually lower rates of the vast range of physical ills now being triggered and aggravated by that same pollution. We’ll experience dwindling costs for treating asthma, heart disease, various types of cancer, and much, much more. Then there are all the lives that will be saved because fewer people will work in fossil-fuel industries who now die much too early, from job-induced illnesses and the more immediate dangers of explosions and mine cave-ins.


And all the arguments against fossil fuels go double for the most dangerous energy industry of all. Atomic power plants are more expensive to build than all the others, and there are more things that can go wrong with them. Most important of all is the fact that a single accident can destroy the viability of an entire region in mere hours, after the resulting poison in the atmosphere kills or sickens untold numbers of people. Why anyone would want to continue to use such a dangerous resource is beyond me. It’s about time our society stopped playing with the most volatile elements on the planet for nothing more than filthy lucre and turn to the least dangerous--and eventually, the least costly--of all the resources available for the benefit of mankind.


But what about the cost of investing in the development, production, and installation of equipment to capture and deliver power from wind, sunlight, and more, energy that’s now going to waste? Well, just how much money did it take to develop, build, and install all the power generation and delivery systems that depend on fossil fuels that will run out in the foreseeable future? Just what do old-energy propagandists think our industries and vehicles are supposed to do for go-juice once those fossil fuels do run out?

Oh, yes, they predict that oil and gas are going to last another century, and we’ll enjoy the benefits of coal (which they claim is ‘clean’ now, but more about that below) for at least another couple of centuries. But what happens after that? And what about the fact that long before these filthy resources completely run out, our society will experience more inconveniences and higher prices for the fossil fuels they now worship with such reverence? The fact is, there’s going to be a growing scarcity of those resources, and few but the wealthiest among us will actually be able to afford them anyway. If we haven’t already developed the requisite clean-energy replacements for all that dirty oil and coal by the time they do run out, all the modern conveniences we now take for granted will be totally useless.


Lately, the coal industry has been paying a ton of cash to advertise that not only is coal going to last longer than any other fossil fuel, it’s also much cleaner than it used to be. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, their lobbyists are spending more wads of the industry’s profits to convince politicians that it would cost them too much to install and run the equipment needed to actually clean up their product,. They want the government to abolish regulations that require the clean-energy treatments they tout in their spurious ads. The truth is, they intend to keep on polluting the environment the way they always have. Coal-industry advocates don’t want anyone to put two and two together and realize how much they’re contradicting themselves. Owners and executives of coal companies simply do not want to be responsible members of society. It’s long past time we made sure they do nothing less than the right thing for a change.


Then there’s the last--and lately, the most popular--argument that switching from dirty old fossil fuels to clean green energy is going to make electricity rates go up. This is the least valid argument of all. The current low rates of old-energy electricity and vehicle fuels are a direct result of the many tax manipulations that benefit fossil-fuel corporations and allow them to provide their products at lower rates while continuing to reap obscene profits. Similar tax support would allow the development and installation of green energy facilities. Even better, in the long run, the lower costs of running and maintaining these new, 21st-century industries would actually result in much lower rates than we now pay for fossil fuel products--even without tax advantages.


We must focus as much of our resources as we can toward developing clean energy right now, without delay. In fact, it would make perfect sense for all the old-fuel industries to start investing their ungodly profits in that effort. That way they’ll be even richer in the far-flung future than they are today. Otherwise, we, and the traditional energy sector, are headed for even worse economic disaster than anything experienced before. Not only must we make every effort to support the development of green energy industries, we must also do everything in our power to stop the perpetuation of the filthy, polluting old-energy industries that are now enjoying too much advantage in our economy and society.

That’s why I’ve posted the following video, in which Robert Redford explains why we must stop the oil industry from building the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline straight through the heart of our country:

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1 comment:

  1. I have been studing the cause for Clean Coal. I don't understand how they can call it clead coal.
    Someone please expound on the Subject. Thanks