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Band-Aids won’t fix our Energy Problem

Band-Aids won’t fix our Energy Problem

In recent months, we have seen some pretty historic shifts in America. After eight years of the Bush administration, we not only have a new President, but one of African decent. On an equally historic but less positive note, we have also experienced the lowest economic recession since the 1930′s. Amidst these momentous events, there’s something else bubbling under the surface – something just as important, but perhaps harder to define.

It is beginning to become clear that there’s something wrong with the way we are living our lives. We have been plowing through our natural resources as if there was no tomorrow, and it’s finally catching up with us. Now that peak everything is in sight, we have to make some changes. As we all know, change can be a scary thing, and for a capitalist society, change is especially unappealing if no money is involved. Unfortunately, no one owns the sun or the wind or other sustainable resources that could reduce our dependency on things like the ever-disappearing, environment-destroying, war-provoking monster we call Oil.

But just because no one will ever own the sun doesn’t mean that tapping into sustainable resources can’t be a profitable enterprise. We just need to change our thinking, our actions and our policies. So far, we have tried slapping Band-Aids over our energy problems. Talk about not sustainable. Since the way we think about energy is institutionalized, change is going to have to start from the bottom-up.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act is an example of a policy that attempts to get to the root of the problem. Why isn’t it just a Band-Aid? This bill will:

  • establish a strong global warming pollution cap for electric utilities, oil companies and other large industries.
  • require utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2025.
  • promote green jobs and job assistance in new fields such as clean energy technologies and green construction.
  • provide rebates to businesses to cover increased energy costs they may face in the short run. This cushion helps our companies remain competitive in the global market until other countries also commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

There won’t be an easy or quick fix to our energy problems, but we need to start implementing this type of policy if we want to make some ground on the issue. We also need to get a dialogue going – as friends, as family, as a community and as a society. What facets of our energy problems do we need to be especially wary of? How can we best address the solutions? And how can we change an institutionalized way of thinking about energy?

The Energy and Commerce Committee has already passed The American Clean Energy and Security Act; make sure Congress no longer delays passing this bill by signing the petition today.

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17 comments

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11:47PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thank you.

11:46PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thank you.

11:45PM PST on Jan 26, 2013

Thank you.

10:54AM PDT on Jun 21, 2009

Alan Alan Apurim, windmill generators ARE windmill turbines-in the short term some costs may be high, but in the long run, the cost are almost negligible as energy/electricity woud be almost free. A new technology has JUST arrived using the radio freuency around us to produce electricity to charge cell phones, possibly MORE items in the future. Radio frequency in itself has harmful effects.
Here a quote and link-" Pardon the cliche, but it's one of the holiest of Holy Grails of technology: Wireless power. And while early lab experiments have been able to "beam" electricity a few feet to power a light bulb, the day when our laptops and cell phones can charge without having to plug them in to a wall socket still seems decades in the future.

Nokia, however, has taken another baby step in that direction with the invention of a cell phone that recharges itself using a unique system: It harvests ambient radio waves from the air, and turns that energy into usable power. Enough, at least, to keep a cell phone from running out of juice.

While "traditional" (if there is such a thing) wireless power systems are specifically designed with a transmitter and receiver in mind, Nokia's system isn't finicky about where it gets its wireless waves. TV, radio, other mobile phone systems -- all of this stuff just bounces around the air and most of it is wasted, absorbed into the environment or scattered into the ether. link:

http://tech.yahoo.com/blogs/null/143945

8:45AM PDT on Jun 16, 2009

I nag my congress-people on a daily basis.... they know my voice... wonder if they ever HEAR my voice.....

7:52AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009

We already know roughly what we need to do and we already have the means to do it- not without sacrifice, but simply. Saving power is cheaper than generating it. Buying some solar panels saves both the energy they replace and the distribution losses it requires without building a superconducting grid. Where I live you can become a net seller of green electricity for less than the cost of a family car. Super grids will one day join and smooth out power from disparate sources (eg from where it is day to where it is night) but not soon. We can however already replace our incandescents and compact fluoros with LED lights, insulate our homes and wear a coat inside when it is cold. If you, Joe Average, don't like the use of energy from oil or coal then you buy less of it even if it is cheap. Build a smaller house and buy a tiny car (I love my Smart car, I am now less of a danger to anyone I may hit, and I don't need to look at what gasoline costs.) You can lobby polititians re tomorrow's actions and hope for the best but the reality is that they actually have limited power to help. Dare to dream of a renewable energy future but dare to do today what can already be done about what energy you waste.

5:23AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009

. . . Although Clyde Nassif has a good summary of options, he needs further research into infrastructure construction costs. For example, better than windmills which tap a variable resource, turbines in the slow-but-powerful Gulf Stream can generate 24/7.
. . . But either way, what about the distance between power sources and power users? Present methods (wires in the air) are vulnerable to wind and ice damage, and with resistance, lose much of the energy in heat and EMF. Would piping electricity with no resistance through liquid hydrogen in insulated pipes be cheaper long-term? See http://PhoenixProjectFoundation.US - this part is discussed about halfway down the long-scroll page.
. . . Orbiting solar collectors may be more expensive (due to the huge gravity penalty that makes Earth-launches costly) compared to mining the metals at a Moon colony with robotic assistance and building collectors at the Moon's poles to beam back microwaved energy (no danger, if the signal strays off-target on Earth, the Moon transponder would quickly be shut off). See http://pepei.pennnet.com/display_article/158762/6/ARCHI/none/none/1/Scientists-study-prospects-for-electricity-generation-on-the-moon/
. . . Dena Calivas, perhaps many of the 3% opposed to the present proposal think it is not enough and takes too long!

8:49AM PDT on Jun 13, 2009

We also need to change strategy. Cap-and-trade is not the best we have. Cap-and-restructure would be simpler, less costly to manage, and more powerful.

See details at http://wavesofthefuture.net.

10:17PM PDT on Jun 11, 2009

SIGNED THANK-YOU

11:09AM PDT on Jun 11, 2009

If nothing happens we will all surely die and that is a fact!!!

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