In California, they’re gathering signatures to put a measure on the ballot that would delay implementation of the signature air-cleaning law passed in 2006, AB 32. It evidently postpones carbon emission curbs on factories and power plants until the state’s unemployment drops. If this line of argument weren’t so old, it might be funny. Now, it’s just farcically, transparently, money grubbing.
We’ve been hearing these arguments for something like two decades. When will it be time to act? Would these same people, who proudly proclaim their business acumen, postpone, for even a year, investments that are critical, vital to their own businesses’ survival? What about dozens of years? Would they knowingly allow their competitors (in this case China is the main example) to get ahead of them in adopting, developing, and becoming masters of technologies of the future? Clearly, they wouldn’t. And that’s what carbon-related, or greenhouse gas (GHG) based legislation is all about. Our “business” is this planet. We’ve used it for tens of thousands of years, and in the last two centuries abused it. Now, it’s time to give a little back so we can continue to live here for more millennia.
Yet, there are people who refuse to see this out of what I can only assume is shear, narrow-minded selfishness. Maybe some of them might suffer when newer technologies displace what they have to offer, but the other billions of us, not to mention the economy, will benefit. Seems like a very easy, straightforward cost-benefit analysis.
Not to be outdone, three nitwits in the House of Representatives have taken it upon themselves to change the Clean Air Act to prevent the EPA from regulating carbon emissions. I learned of this from a Wall Street Journal editorial lauding this effort. And, what’s really fascinating is that this “bastion of freedom” is even more supportive because this would “require the Administration to use democratic debate and persuasion”. How laughable that the mouthpiece of the richest, most corporate, and narrowest interests in the U.S. is all of a sudden an advocate of public discussion of policy. Their circles usually buy the legislation they want, or stop it, similarly through money.
An egregious recent example is the soda tax. Given sky high levels of obesity among children (and adults), the possibility of a “soda tax” was floated in the Congress. The idea is to reduce soda consumption by raising its cost to consumers, much as has been done with cancer-sticks (cigarettes). As soon as the soda sellers got wind of this, they ramped up their lobbying and contributions, not just to our elected, but also to various civic organizations to effectively buy their silence. Many succumbed. Result? A beneficial idea that was being considered seriously is now moribund.
An analogous plot may be a-hatching over GHG regulation. We must not allow it to happen. It impacts us directly in the U.S. It impacts Armenia through the effects on the planet, not to mention that Armenia may be poised to become a respectable player in the solar panel industry (see Jason Sohigian’s “Listening to the Wind of Change: Renewable Energy in Armenia”). Let your Congressmember know you don’t want the EPA’s regulatory authority compromised. If you’re in California, let signature gatherers for that wrong-headed ballot measure know you wouldn’t support them in a million years. If they ask why, tell them it’s because you’d like to have your progeny be able to live decent lives on this planet.