Morning Widdershins: Jimmy Carter Was Right.
Posted November 20, 2012on:
After the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the issue of climate change is being raised anew. Now, I’m not a huge fan of many of the things the German government does (Austerity being one of them). But ya know, they sure seem to have the political will to deal with the undeniable reality of climate change.
Since 2000, Germany has converted 25 percent of its power grid to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass. The architects of the clean energy movement Energiewende, which translates to “energy transformation,” estimate that from 80 percent to 100 percent of Germany’s electricity will come from renewable sources by 2050.
Germans are baffled that the United States has not taken the same path. Not only is the U.S. the wealthiest nation in the world, but it’s also credited with jump-starting Germany’s green movement 40 years ago.
“This is a very American idea,” Arne Jungjohann, a director at the Heinrich Boll Stiftung Foundation (HBSF), said at a press conference Tuesday morning in Washington, D.C. “We got this from Jimmy Carter.”
Poor, naive Germans! They don’t understand that Ronald Raygun was saving America when he ripped Jimmeh’s Commie pinko solar panels off the White House. Anyway, Lee Atwater told me that the Soviets were using those things to spy on the President! ZOMG!!!111!!!!
Somehow, they also must have avoided the floods of dark money that have propagandized the American people into doubting the very real, and obviously man-made, price of our addiction to petrochemicals. Must be nice to live in a place where corporations aren’t people. In fact, people end up producing their own energy – and getting paid for it.
In the end, ratepayers control the program, not the government. This adds consistency, Davidson says. If the government itself paid, it would be easy for a new finance minister to cut the program upon taking office. Funding is not at the whim of politicians as it is in the U.S.
“Everyone has skin in the game,” says writer Osha Gray Davidson. “The movement is decentralized and democratized, and that’s why it works. Anybody in Germany can be a utility.”
The urgency of dealing with global warming was recently recognized by that ultra-liberal (snort) organization, the World Bank. The nations of the world are not doing enough to slow or stop the warming of the earth, concluded its white paper entitled “Turn Down the Heat.” The World Bank’s scientific study found that the consequences of even a 4-degree Centigrade rise in the temperature of the earth’s core would be catastrophic.
The 4°C scenarios are devastating: the inundation of coastal cities; increasing risks for food production potentially leading to higher malnutrition rates; many dry regions becoming dryer, wet regions wetter; unprecedented heat waves in many regions, especially in the tropics; substantially exacerbated water scarcity in many regions; increased frequency of high-intensity tropical cyclones; and irreversible loss of biodiversity, including coral reef systems.
And most importantly, a 4°C world is so different from the current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.
The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.
Sadly, thanks to our DINO of a President, who is still playing footsie with XL about the Keystone Pipeline, thinks that it’s just fine and dandy that we’re slated to be the biggest oil and gas producer in the world by 2020. We’re going backwards instead of forwards. I wonder why?
The largest difference, panelists said, between Germany and the U.S. is how reactive the government is to its citizens. Democracy in Germany has meant keeping and strengthening regulatory agencies while forming policies that put public ownership ahead of private ownership.
Or perhaps, the largest difference is that today’s German government recognizes a good and necessary idea when they hear it…even if it came from a buck-toothed guy wearing a sweater vest 46 years ago, or even a man who “wears earth tones” and “sighs.”
Let’s hope that someday soon, Americans will show the same discernment.
This is an open thread.
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