Posted by Admin on Saturday, October 17th, 2009
The “green new deal” it is called. The promising miracle cure for the pressing problems resulting from the crisis triple pack: melting markets, melting ice caps and melting oil inventories. Killing three birds with one stone!
The world goes electric with wind- and solarpower from huge production sites somewhere in the desert or offshore. America is on the search for private enterprises as investing contractors for their future smart electricity grid, just when GMs Chevrolet Volt is about to be released to the road by 2010; the British contemplate fundraising through issuance of carbon bonds to the public for their fancied offshore windfarms and the German Government puts €170 mllions into research for developing their own batteries for the new generation of electric cars, of which one million are expected to cruise on Germany’s roads by 2020. “It is important that we couple a hopefully decreasing dependency on oil imports with not suddenly becoming dependent on battery imports,” said the German Economy Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.
“Energy independence” is an argument often used by the political advocates of the new green deal. But then the vision of Desertec’s massive solar and wind power plant in the North African and Middle Eastern desert with connecting wires to the point of use in central Europe seems to violate just this idea. There exists a considerable vulnerability of transcontinental cables, poles and wires to blackmail or sabotage – it would not really take much to effectively switch off the lights on Europe’s bedside tables…
Neither should we cherish an illusion of a soon to come carbon free world, as of course as long as there is a drop of oil to be pumped and sold, it will be fed into the present system – probably at rapidly increasing prices – nobody will want to give away something for free. Therefore the talk is about cutting emissions, capitalizing emissions and trading emissions – and not about abolishing bad practice. “50% – 85% by 2050” is the latest bargain that the Prince of Wales proposes to the world leaders on the Copenhagen Summit – he therefore has enlisted the help of 500 leading international companies from more than 50 countries. The bill will have to be settled by the consumers and by the nations that cannot afford the exorbitant investments in order to go green – the developing countries. “Take it from the poor and give it to the rich” is obviously a rule that will persist and not undergo change in the wake of establishing the new (refurbished) green (with pink glasses) deal (steal). Of course the rich nations and their energy corporations will generously extend their help to destitute nations in building the necessary infrastructure – just like an empathetic vampire will offer you gladly to check your pulse.
There is quite a haste to get all the treaties and legislations aligned (somehow reminds of the push during US Senate bailout negotiations). No wonder as even the Prince of Wales insists that after 84 months the atmospheric carbon levels will reach the height of irreversible damage – the point of no return (hope he did the math and checked the consistency with his a.m. proposal)! Everyone seems to agree: we need to cut emissions, we need green energy, we need jobs, we need markets, we need investing capital …We need to close the loop: investments will create jobs, jobs will create income; income will allow to consume what is produced. This time though it’s ‘low carb’ consumerism that will make everyone happy – especially the energy giants that have succesfully managed to remain BIG (monopolistic) and at the same time exchange their dirty fossil for a clean electric cash cow.
Unfortunately this beautiful vivid dream is slightly clouded by certain circumstances that lie outside the control of the vision impaired visionaries of wired power: first there is some kind of internal competition going on between the oilies and the nukies: the nuclear industry wants its share of the cake and insists that – apart from the waste problem that still needs solving – nuclear power is a safe, sustainable and green source of energy and should be promoted along with wind and solar schemes. Their strong lobby is not likely to give in easily in setting up the legal frameworks and distribution models unless they are appropriately allowing for increased future nuclear power generation. Secondly there is the big question mark associated with the provenience of funds for financing the whole green new deal: unfortunately much of the cash needed has just evaporated recently and it is highly unlikely that private bodies will go after novel, unproven and risky ventures with their remaining assets. Especially Britains envisioned model of financing their investments in the amount of “tens of billions of Pounds” through issuance of public bonds will have to pass the reality check. The UK government will have to prove their trustworthiness in handling public money after the recent turmoil over wasted taxpayers money. The third major obstacle to be overcome is more of a technical nature: While it is feasible to produce batteries and cars with electric motors it is not absolutely clear, how to bring the power from the wall socket to the car. If you have a house with an own parking lot or a garage you will just need an extension cord. But what if you happen to park somewhere in the street? (And how about aircrafts – are they going to be electric too?)
How sincere is this entire plan, how realistic is this plan, and – how fast can this plan be implemented and show results? Will this plan save our climate, our planet and our selves? I fear not. Although it undeniably is a very creative (‘clever’ would be the appropriate term) scheme, it still seems slightly out of touch with reality. And this is the dangerous thing about it. I am not at all opposed to change and new inventive strategies to make this world a better place. I am not even opposed to measure carbon emissions as a means to monitor and sanction pollution – but it should be carbon MONOXIDE (next to sulfur and nitrogen compounds and other toxic fumes) in order to get a true picture of manmade pollution (which by the way does not only consist of air pollution – think about the dumping of toxic wastes into the oceans or the contamination of soil with all kind of poisonous chemicals). And the measures to go green and tune into the rythms of nature should not stop there. This is just the beginning: if humanity (including the economic, political, scientific and environmental experts) is truly interested in safeguarding the planet and its inhabiting species – ours included – then there is much much more to do than to talk, patch, offset, cap and trade. We need to honestly assess our present situation on a profound level, diagnose and admit systemic weaknesses and behavioral failures, determine suitable remedies and solutions and then act on the base of these findings. In order to do so, we might need to let go of selfish economic interests and allocate resources to an independent scientific body that deserves this designation. Then we will need to open up towards novel ideas and approaches irrespective of the cost (the loss) for established (mal)practice. And finally we will need to opt for best practice, cooperation and solidarity to rebuild a truly sustainable world which operates in harmony with nature and aims at the common welfare of the entire human race.
Very simple, isn’t it?