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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 19th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

THIS ARTICLE HAS IN IT A LOT OF TRUTH – BUT PLEASE – DO NOT REACH OUT TO OIL INDUSTRY EXPERTS WHEN THE ISSUE IS HOW TO MAKE THE WORLD LESS DEPENDENT ON MIDDLE EAST OIL AND SAFER AND MORE SECURE IN REGARD TO THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

ALSO, TODAY’S REPUBLICANS, BACKED BY MONEY FROM LUMINARIES LIKE THE KOCH BROTHERS AND Mr. ADELSON, PEOPLE THAT DO NOT WANT TO SEE THE EFFECTS OF CO2 EMISSIONS AND BACKED GROUPS LIKE THE HEARTLAND INSTITUTE, IN ORDER TO EXTEND THE AGE OF OIL THAT BUILT THEIR FORTUNES. LOTS OF AMERICANS HAVE INVESTED IN OIL,GAS, COAL, THE OLD AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY, AND THE WALL STREET THAT THRIVES ON THOSE INDUSTRIES, AND HAVE FOUGHT AGAINST THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES THAT DECREASE THE USE OF OIL AND PROVIDE FOR ALTERNATE SOURCES OF ENERGY. MAKING IT HARD TO BRING IN THESE OTHER TECHNOLOGIES. THEY ACHIEVED THE GOALS THEY SAT OUT TO PROMOTE – THE SAFEKEEPING OF THE IS AND AVOIDANCE OF THE BETTER.

DAVID BROOKS IS RIGHT – THESE FOLKS WON AND THEIR CHAMPION TODAY – Mr. ROMNEY HAS FORCED THE DEBATE TO MOVE AWAY FROM ATTEMPTS AT CHANGE. THE THIRD AND LAST DEBATE – THE ONE THIS COMING MONDAY AT LYNN UNIVERSITY IN BOCA RATON, FLORIDA, WILL DEAL WITH FOREIGN POLICY AND HAS THE CHANCE TO COVER THE FORCED DEPENDENCE OF THE WORLD AT LARGE ON MIDDLE EAST OIL THAT IS ALSO THE CAUSE OF THE WEST’S INTRUSION IN THE ISLAMIC WORLD, THE BACKING OF THEIR DICTATORSHIPS AS GUARDIANS OF THE OUTFLOW OF OIL, AND THE NEW CLASH WITH ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS THAT FIRST ROSE AGAINST THEIR OWN GOVERNMENTS AND THEN ATTACKED THEIR GOVERNMENTS’ FRIEND – THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

GETTING BACK TO SQUARE ONE – DEPENDENCE ON OIL AND GAS FROM ANY SOURCES – EVEN WHEN PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES – IS A NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE FOR THE UNITED STATES – A VERY CONSERVATIVE CONCEPT THAT TRUE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVES OUGHT TO UNDERSTAND. JOBS AND MIGRATION ARE ISSUES THAT CAN BE TACKLED IF DISCUSSED WITH OPEN MINDS RATHER THEN UNDER PRESSURE FROM A FEW SELF-SERVING MULTI-BILLIONAIRES THAT HAUL ALONG MANY MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS AFRAID OF MEANINGFUL CHANGE.

WE COVERED THE RIO2012 CONFERENCE AND CAME BACK WITH THE NEW GLOBAL CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL NEEDED IN ORDER TO BUILD A BRIDGE OF SUSTAINABILITY TO FUTURE GENERATIONS. THIS IS THE LONG TERM CONCEPT THAT WILL PREVAIL AFTER THE DUST SETTLES FROM THE ELEPHANT AND DONKEY FIGHT IN THE US. EVEN A ROMNEY ADMINISTRATION COULD NOT AVOID THIS UNLESS THEY CONCENTRATE ON THE CONQUEST OF ANOTHER PLANET AFTER HAVING CLASHED WITH CHINA, INDIA AND BRAZIL, THE EU, AND RUSSIA, EXITED AFRICA, ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA – JUST TO REPAY A FEW SPONSORS AND A MASS OF IGNORANT AMERICANS.

POINTING A FINGER AT Mr. AL GORE FOR HAVING EARNED A PITTANCE OF $100 MILLION FROM THE TECHNOLOGIES HE PROMOTED OPENLY, IS NOTHING MORE THEN CHECKING INTO THE PLACE OF BIRTH OF THE US PRESIDENT – THE BAMBOOZLE THAT AVOIDS DEALING WITH REAL ISSUES. THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE BROOKS ARTICLE IS THE ONE THAT TELLS ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF ALL THESE OTHER COUNTRIES THAT MOVED INTO THE ALTERNATE ENERGY AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY AREAS MORE VIGOROUSLY THEN THE US – AND THUS CAME OUT AHEAD OF THE US. WE KNOW THE PRESIDENT OF AL GORE’S COMPANY AND WHAT THESE PEOPLE DID WAS SIMPLY TO MOVE AHEAD AND TOOK RISKS IN AN AREA THEY BELIEVED IN – SOME OF THEM GOT CLOBBERED BECAUSE OVERSEAS THERE WAS MORE ENTHUSIASM WITH THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES. IN THE END, THOSE COUNTRIES WILL BE AHEAD OF THE US AND THEIR ECONOMIES WILL THRIVE.

Uri Avnery of Israel made the following comment: “By the way, Barack Obama’s inept performance (the whole thing is a performance, after all) in the first debate was most glaring when Romney sneered at Obama’s “green” donors. That should have been the cue for Obama to jump and attack Romney’s donors. I suppose Obama was just not listening to his opponent, but thinking about his own next line – always a fatal error in a debate.”

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Op-Ed Columnist

A Sad Green Story

By
Published: October 18, 2012 12 Comments

The period around 2003 was the golden spring of green technology. John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bipartisan bill to curb global warming. I got my first ride in a Prius from a conservative foreign policy hawk who said that these new technologies were going to help us end our dependence on Middle Eastern despots. You’d go to Silicon Valley and all the venture capitalists, it seemed, were rushing into clean tech.

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From that date on the story begins to get a little sadder.

Al Gore released his movie “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006. The global warming issue became associated with the highly partisan former vice president. Gore mobilized liberals, but, once he became the global warming spokesman, no Republican could stand shoulder to shoulder with him and survive. Any slim chance of building a bipartisan national consensus was gone.

Then, in 2008, Barack Obama seized upon green technology and decided to make it the centerpiece of his jobs program. During his presidential campaign he promised to create five million green tech jobs. Renewable energy has many virtues, but it is not a jobs program. Obama’s stimulus package set aside $90 billion for renewable energy loans and grants, but the number of actual jobs created has been small. Articles began to appear in the press of green technology grants that were costing $2 million per job created. The program began to look like a wasteful disappointment.

Federal subsidies also created a network of green tech corporations hoping to benefit from taxpayer dollars. One of the players in this network was, again, Al Gore. As Carol Leonnig reported in The Washington Post last week, Gore left public office in 2001 worth less than $2 million. Today his wealth is estimated to be around $100 million.

Leonnig reports that 14 green tech firms that Gore invested in received or directly benefited from more than $2.5 billion in federal loans, grants and tax breaks. Suddenly, green tech looks less like a gleaming beacon of virtue and more like corporate welfare, further enriching already affluent investors.

The federal agencies invested in many winners, but they also invested in some spectacular losers, from Solyndra to the battery maker A123 Systems, which just filed for bankruptcy protection. Private investors can shake off bad investments. But when a political entity like the federal government makes a bad investment, the nasty publicity tarnishes the whole program.

The U.S. government wasn’t the only one investing in renewables. Governments around the world were also doing it, and the result has been gigantic oversupply, a green tech bubble. Keith Bradsher of The Times reported earlier this month that China’s biggest solar panel makers are suffering losses of up to $1 for every $3 in sales. Panel prices have fallen by three-fourths since 2008. Manufacturers will need huge subsidies far into the future — as Bradsher writes, “a looming financial disaster.” The U.S. share of the global market, meanwhile, has fallen from 7 percent to 3 percent since 2008.

The biggest blow to green tech has come from the marketplace itself. Fossil fuel technology has advanced more quickly than renewables technology. People used to worry that the world would soon run out of oil, but few worry about that now. Shale gas, meanwhile, has become the current hot, revolutionary fuel of the future.

Writing in Foreign Policy magazine, Daniel Yergin projects that in 2030 the worldwide fuel mix will not be too different than what it is today. That is, there will be more solar and wind power generated, but these sources will still account for a small fraction of total supply. Fossil fuels will still be the default fuel for decades ahead.

The Financial Post in Canada recently surveyed the gloom across the clean energy sector. “Revenues from renewable and alternative energy fell a little more than 12%” in 2011, the paper reported. Research and development spending on renewables is set to decline next year, according to United Nations figures, while the oil and gas sector is investing a whopping $490 billion a year in exploration.

All in all, the once bright green future is looking grimmer. Green tech is decidedly less glamorous, tarnished by political and technological disappointments.

The shifting mood was certainly evident in the presidential debate this week. Global warming was off the radar. Meanwhile, President Obama and Mitt Romney competed to see who could most ardently support coal and new pipelines. Obama is running radio ads in Ohio touting his record as a coal champion.

This is not where we thought we’d be back in 2003.

Global warming is still real. Green technology is still important. Personally, I’d support a carbon tax to give it a boost. But he who lives by the subsidy dies by the subsidy. Government planners should not be betting on what technologies will develop fastest. They should certainly not be betting on individual companies.

This is a story of overreach, misjudgments and disappointment.

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