Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Cheaper Way to Save the Planet

Venus Loop (now available at Lillibridge Press: is a science fiction novella which tells the hypothetical tale of how a civilization on the planet Venus destroyed itself through industrial pollution resulting in global warming.  If present alarming trends in carbon emissions here on Earth are not curtailed soon, a similar fate may loom ahead for us in the real world.  Recent violent tornadoes sweeping a path of devastation across the southern United States are but the latest in a series of record-breaking storms, floods and droughts that are the harbingers of an escalating climate change disaster that has already changed our world and could someday destroy it.

Recent United Nations reports indicate industrial carbon emissions are at an all-time high.  But, many people still wonder what any of us can do to take on such a vast and far-reaching problem.  Well, there might be a surprisingly simple way to start:  Tax the use of fossil fuels.

 Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 3242.)This legislation would levy a carbon tax on fossil fuels.  See:

Congressman Stark is to be congratulated for taking so bold and direct an approach to so critical a problem.  

The controversial cap-and-trade approach to reducing carbon emissions has been only moderately successful in Europe and is essentially at the mercy of market volatility.  But, a direct tax on fossil fuels which would cut money out of the profits of big coal and oil companies and give them back to the American energy consumers for a change, is a far simpler, more direct and more reliable way to push our economy toward clean energy development and away from our dangerous and costly dependence on foreign oil.  If implemented, the Save Our Climate Act would, over the course of decades, reduce our country's carbon emissions dramatically, stabilizing our climate and environment with no harm to our economy.  The revenue resulting from such a tax would be enormous.  And, it  would be paid in a dividend to individual consumers, helping them to meet increased fuel and energy prices.  In short, the rich would get poorer and the poor richer for once, we wouldn't have to keep wasting precious lives and resources on wars over middle-eastern oil, and the ecological future of this planet would be secured for future generations.

Clean, renewable energy is definitely the future of this planet.  Studies have shown that wind-driven energy alone generates far more jobs than the coal-fired plants that dominate so much of our energy market now.  Mainland China is rapidly innovating toward the development of clean, renewable energy sources.  At this rate, China could become a global leader in the energy production of the future.  If the U.S. is not to be left behind in the dangerously antiquated world of fossil fuels, then let us revive the spirit of American competition through ingenuity and scientific innovation by gearing our economy toward safer, cleaner forms of lasting energy.  The technology is already largely within reach. If new technologies need to be developed, so much the better; America is at its best and employs the most people when we forge ahead into new realms of technological innovation.

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