Today’s energy and environment headlines have me wondering … where the heck are we supposed to get our energy? TreeHugger tells us that Denmark is saying ‘goodbye’ to fossil fuels, The Guardian confirms that nuclear is being phased out in Germany, and USA TODAY suggests renewables won’t be the solution because a Republican-led House is set to destroy clean energy loans and subsidies.
This worries me.
The scariest part? I understand where all of the options fall short.
Fossil fuels are scarce, dirty, unhealthy and so 2010. Nuclear energy is still scarce (requires Uranium), produces dangerous nuclear waste, is a target for terrorist attacks, and is prone to accidents and natural disasters (Nebraskans are still under threat and no one has forgotten Fukushima, I hope).
So what’s the deal with renewables? Surely solar, wind and water are harmless.
Not in the eyes of Congress. But can you blame them? They’re having trouble staying within a $14.3 trillion debt limit. The last thing on their minds at this moment is putting money toward some solar panels and wind turbines. Still, there’s no reason why we can’t reduce emissions from the power sources we already have in place.
I was pleased to read earlier this week that California courts ruled the state can proceed with developing cap-and-trade programs to gradually reduce emissions from power plants. But then the Los Angeles Times confirmed today that the carbon trading programs have been delayed for a year because of “the need for all necessary elements to be in place and fully functional,” according to Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.
This game of push and pull simply can’t last much longer.
If Denmark can move from fossil fuels to clean energy, and Germany can move from nuclear (already a cleaner source of energy) to renewables, there must be a way that the United States can take its first baby step towards emissions reductions before the end of this year. If we don’t, our domestic markets will only fall farther behind in the world economy and we will only have larger public health and safety issues on our hands.