NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

December 5, 2012

Pick one: fossil fuels or green energy

Climate change is accelerating like a three-tone, ‘50s V-8 muscle car with fins, while we are being left farther and farther behind in our ‘37 Dodge sedan, color black.

We’re helpless in the face of too much water — Sandy on the East Coast — and too little water — barges on the mighty Mississippi being tied up because of drought in the Midwest.

During the campaign that ended Nov. 6, the elephant in the room — on the trail and the debate stage — was climate change, which received mockery from the loser and only a passing mention from the victor.

How many Katrinas and Sandys, how many Plum Island close calls, how many droughts and wildfires do we need to realize that individual actions — even state actions — are no longer enough?

National and international leadership are now required, but therein lies a problem.

Our federal government — Congress, president and Supreme Court — is helpless to represent us in the face of the deluge of money and the drought of public service that the Supreme Court unleashed in its 2010 decision known as Citizens United.

Stimulus legislation, which presidents proposed and Congress approved — has included funds for the green energy industry — solar, wind, hydro, non-ethanol biofuel — giving emerging technology companies the boost needed to become viable producers of clean energy.

At the same time, we’re still subsidizing fossil fuel corporations despite their record profits, permitting pipeline construction to allow Canada to export its fossil fuels to other continents, allowing water-hungry hydraulic fracturing — known as fracking — to expand to more than half of the states and blowing off mountain tops to get at coal, while destroying water supplies.

In climate change terms, we can’t go full speed ahead with extracting fossil fuels in ever more damaging ways that help to cause the globe to get warmer and warmer, while paying to fix the damage from more and more extreme weather events more and more frequently with more and more new debt on top of what has already been borrowed for repairs.

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