Saturday :: Aug 2, 2008

Failure to Dream

by paradox

An extremely puzzling report was issued by the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday, warning the State will likely miss its 20% renewable energy goal by 2010 without $60 billion invested for infrastructure and sure to miss it if the current tax credits for wind and solar plants expire. The utterly predictable bleating from Senators assuring corporate welfare to solve problems was as assured as the sun rising after the report was issued, but the baffling element to report was omission: where was conservation and home micro production?

Homeowners and citizens have no active role to play in reaching the pathetically low bar of 20% renewable energy production by 2010? No wonder the goal is so puny, how unsurprising we’re not going to make it, selling out the people of this country by incredulously leaving them out of solutions is a guaranteed way to fail.

Part of the problem here is lousy leadership that’s more concerned with holding State workers hostage to crush whatever social infrastructure it can (it doesn’t matter what, just so long as Republicans make sure government fails they’re satisfied) instead of leading us into the future, yes, but the yawning gap of comprehension here on how Californians can reach the goal of eliminating carbon-based energy production is simply a failure to dream, to truly believe and know Americans can thrive without burning oil or coal.

“…will require an infrastructure build-out on a scale and a timeline perhaps unparalleled in the world,” the report breathlessly blathers, how sick I am of this weenie grandiosity to some so un-reachable and so massively incomprehensible goal in scale, Jesus, one would think Americans had never collectively solved a problem before.

Solar and wind farms are very nice, yes, but the people of the United States can easily chop demand 30% in 2 years with conservation. My own home has undergone the drill: not one incandescent bulb, new appliances and water heater, double-paned windows, new well-fitting front door, wall and attic insulation, and re-insulated plumbing.

The roof, however, is still a sad vast wasteland of squandered sunlight, no solar panels for hot water and no photovoltaic cells for electricity production. The roof itself should be stripped and replaced and will have to be in five years, that $6,000 job should be done before the solar panel systems are installed with an approximate bill of $7,000. It’s a lot easier for me to keep paying a $140 monthly PG & E bill than to invest $13,000 on the roof for a home I may not even own in 10 years.

There’s nothing to stop government whatsoever from setting up the same reward and subsidy systems for homeownership that it does for corporations, except the explicit knowledge this country wasn’t set up for companies and profit, it was built for its people and their happiness in their homes. If we can ever get out of this new Gilded Age and re-learn that the people own this country, not Exxon, perhaps we’ll think of investing in American homes before corporations.

Not only would the corporate power structure have to be replaced with a more citizen-aligned one, but America would also have to give up its tragic petrol-imperialism, the resources required to get us off oil and coal currently are soaked up by aircraft carriers, tanks, planes, mortars, rifles, missiles and artillery of an infinite variety and deployment.

Looking at those goals of citizen-centric government and dismantling the military-industrial complex one could credibly ask who is being naïve and obtuse, the ridiculously idealistic author or the State of California.

Still, we dreamers empowered by Howard have leaders like Al Gore and Van Jones, men who carry a message of urgent truth and change. They know 100% independence from coal and oil by 2030 isn’t a dream, it’s an urgent necessity, we know what to do and have the technology, we just have to finally stop dreaming and demand that our government make it a reality.

Thank you David R. Baker, thank you San Francisco Chronicle.

paradox :: 7:11 AM :: Comments (5) :: Digg It!