Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Baby steps are not enough

"Depletion" and "global warming" are this administration's four-letter words, which are never uttered in public. As mankind hurtles toward an increasingly certain future, and as these two major threats converge to become inseparable and ever larger, we find ourselves devoid of leadership at a critical juncture of our history. Washington has become a giant "black hole." Lousy timing.

This paper and various local groups have pleaded with us to roll up our sleeves and individually get to work by changing our homes, building standards and driving habits. We can do that, but it's piecemeal, utterly inconsequential, at best a feel-good palliative. We, and the world, need top-down, Manhattan Project-style initiatives. In spite of our boo-boos, the world still looks to us for leadership, and we are the largest energy consumer. We have to be "on point" on this quintessentially global issue.

If, tomorrow, 10 of us decide to stop using energy (how?) we would save a lot. In China, one new conventional coal-fired power plant comes on line every several days. One hour's operation uses up all that the 10 of us saved.

It has been shown that policy drives investment. State and federal government initiatives would jump start alternate fuels/materials industries that would create good-paying jobs a]l over America. Assured of sales, businesses will follow the demand. Right now, Japan, France and Germany are way ahead of us in the manufacture and deployment of alternate energy products and services. The last thing we need is to lag behind in another industry.

The gauntlet has been thrown down. Do we, the American people, have the psychological, social and political will to regain mastery of our own fate?

Bali Szabo


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