A truly big problem
A strategy of obstructing projects like the Keystone XL may ultimately raise the cost of oil production but does nothing to directly fund alternatives. Increasing costs in this way will do more to benefit teams of lawyers and regulators than fund the renewable infrastructure we need to replace that oil. The only way to do that is a robust carbon tax.
Throwing sticks and stones at the fossil fuel juggernaut might generate some attention but only money, the thing that keeps it going, will bring it to heal. Money changes behavior a lot faster and changing attitudes and we don’t have the luxury of lots of time.
Can we really do this? I don’t know. But who would have imagined just a few years ago that today we’d be tolerating gas prices close to $4 a gallon. Remember the good old days when gas was in the $2 range? If we had enacted a $1 tax then we’d have a good down payment towards real solutions and reduced demand that would have likely kept prices down below where they are today.
Of course, there’s no reason to do any of this. No reason to build large scale wind on some of our ridgelines. No reason to invest lots of money on solar panels. No reason, of course, except global climate change. The word “global” should be the one that gets our attention. Yes, it’s that big and that important. To really address it we need to start thinking really big, and soon.
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