I attended a 350.org meeting tonight.
One group A group presenting there called “Fighting Against Natural Gas” applauded themselves for assailing Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island for his supportive position on natural gas pipelines. Now, I am no friend of natural gas or pipelines. Indeed, I’ve spent a lot of my recent activist time opposing and impeding them. I think building any fossil fuel infrastructure is a completely stupid thing to do. Essentially, they who build it are very likely to eat the costs of doing so before they are reimbursed by revenues. How about that. And they’ll then want to get the political structure to reimburse them for their extraordinarily loss. Poor stupid babies. It’s like, well, they did not know how the free market actually works.
The trouble is that 350.org is either (a) apparently totally ignorant about the poltical process in the USA, or (b) is so enthralled with what they perceive to be their increase in political power, they are willing to impede the efforts of their former champions by silly public demonstrations.
Senator Whitehouse did this in the United States Senate:
and was the only official member of federal government to attend the Forward On The Climate rally in Washington, DC, in January 2013, which I attended:
350.org owes Senator Whitehouse an apology.
And if they can be so stupid on this, what else can you trust them on?
Added, 3 April 2015, 16:44 EDT
Added, 4th April 2015
My connecting 350.org with the opposition to Senator Whitehouse has been implicitly challenged in the comments. Where they were involved or supported is detailed at the following links:
- Tell Sen. Whitehouse Fracked Gas is not a climate solution
- Laugh Rioters Interrupt Fracking Champion Senator Whitehouse
- Capitalism vs the Climate
These links show additional evidence of Senator Whitehouse’s continued efforts to make the United States take responsibility for its damage to the atmosphere:
- In 83 Speeches, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Pushes For Climate Change Action
- Senators Call On Obama To Regulate Methane Emissions From Oil And Gas Development
Again, I am no supporter of any additional fossil fuel infrastructure development. But I think Senator Whitehouse has more than properly bought himself some slack and understanding from those trying to advance the United States on the most preliminary of steps towards ending its role bringing the climate change emergency down on our collective heads.
And, philosophically, I think the choice highlighted in one of the links above is just wrong: Capitalism vs the climate. No, by the logic of the proponents of that position, they are trying to convince the American public to give up their conveniences and comforts. That is a fool’s errand and is so absurd that, as I’ve written, it means they who hold it do not take the climate emergency seriously enough. I don’t for a moment expect any fossil fuel energy company to help any more than Kodak could achieve the present market use of the digital camera. (See my post above.) However, there are the strong counterexamples of Elon Musk through Tesla Motors and Solar City, Risky Business, Unilever, Branson’s The B Team, the Walt Disney Company, and Google.
I’m not sure how you can mix all that stuff in your third paragraph and leave it on the lap of the progressive movement, but it reminds me of Will Rogers old saying: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”
I’m not sure if you’ve kept up with France’s breeder program but they are having long-term issues. On the other hand Thorium Reactors and other “Next Gen” programs are developing a more modular approach to energy in this country. Think retrofit vs. new construction. I do believe in researching all areas of alternative energy, maybe it should be funded with a Carbon Tax. 🙂
I don’t know about you – but when the political party that controls both houses congress starts to move beyond denial to claim there is a conspiracy of climate change… I don’t see much of a negotiation position. Yale University has a great (and scary!) paper describing national opinions on climate change. It’s up to a few states like Masschusetts to act as incubators of democracy and demonstrate that working to reduce emissions can have significant environmental, health and economic benefits. Check out this World Resources Institute report.
The conservative movement has had stranger bedfellows as long as I can remember. Not only are they denying climate change, but also support the belief that the earth is ten thousand years old and mankind appeared here under divine intervention. They are watching out for special interests of the fossil fuel (primary) and other (secondary) industries. They also support the right for citizens to own military weapons of mass destruction, they are against marriage equality, that want to make abortion and other methods of birth control unavailable in large parts of the country.
Take a close look at the political landscape around the country. Any effort to reduce emissions will require an active, outbound grass roots campaign that needs to build a coalition including many different advocates. To think that “pro-environmentalists” can overturn elections alone is short-sighted. “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” predates the Tea Party by centuries, it is the core of any democracy. The thing is, if we can convince climate change, gay rights, gun control advocates, etc. all want the same thing, there is a good chance that Republican Party will do quite poorly in the 2016 election. After that, they can only hope that there are enough moderates left to rebuild the party starting with a new set of fundamentals. That could take decades.
And why is it, then, that conservative Texas dwarfs everyone with installed wind power, twenty times that of all of liberal New England combined?
See the (new) graphic at the bottom of the post.
The idea that sufficiently progress at the national level can be made without strong allies is political tomfoolery. To the degree people want perfect politicians and perfect solutions shows the degree to which they don’t get the urgency, and are not capable of doing proper triage. While building fossil fuel infrastructure is rubbish and silliness, so is opposition to nuclear power. 350MA.org sought an environmental engineering firm to do a health study on the pipelines, but rejected any and all that ever did contracts for energy companies. Engineering firms do work for competing interests all the time and manage to keep their ethics straight.
Our present inability to have clean energy is in part due to the opposition to the fast breeder program during Clinton-Gore by environmental groups.
And the commingling of progressive issues with opposition to fossil fuels sets the cause up for failure, because it alienates people like former South Carolina Senator Bob Inglis, moderates like Professors Kerry Emanuel and James Hansen, and creates weird positions, such as supporting the closing of Brayton Point but mourning the loss of the jobs there, and insisting that Citizens United be overturned on the way to establishing a Carbon Tax.
Reducing emissions to ZERO is the ONLY important issue. It is difficult enough. Other matters and issues need to wait.
Senator Inohofe should be called on the lies he propagates – Senator Whitehouse was easy on him.
Also being at the meeting I had a different perspective. Last night’s meeting was all about fracked natural gas distribution in New England. There is political Kool-Aid flavored to position natural gas as the cleanest fossil fuel available. This is deceptive to say the least, and claiming that we need to significantly expand the natural gas infrastructure in New England (which Senator Whitehouse supported) to “keep up with demand” ignores declining demand. The work of the presenters showed that support from a politician can be changed – and that’s a good thing.
Apology, no. Grateful thanks for changing his opinion, absolutely! Also – to give credit were credit is due: the group than changed Senator Whitehouse’s opinion was FANG (Fighting Against Natural Gas, see: http://bit.ly/1BWoKsw ) not 350.
The fossil fuel industry would rather position natural gas as a bridge fuel vs. non-fuel energy generation (wind, solar). Why build out an infrastructure and increase our dependency on fuels? Renewable energy creates local energy sources – and reduces our dependency on imported fuels. Fusion energy will provide abundant energy from a plentiful source, but political forces have been stalling research in this area for a half-century. Recent advancements puts this technology closer than people know. See: http://bit.ly/1J08Frj