Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, USA

Horseshoe Curve Museum grounds, western Pennsylvania. Click photo to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Dreaming Up Daily Birthday Quote

The Way It Is
"There's a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time's unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread."
--William Stafford

Monday, June 29, 2009

Here Comes the Sun (Maybe)

Positive analysis and consequences are following the House passage of the climate and energy bill. The President, his chief of staff, Speaker Pelosi are all getting political credits for getting it through. That it happened while German Chancellor Merkel was in Washington in itself has helped move forward the international process for a new climate treaty, just by being both surprising and encouraging. "The fact that with the United States we stand where we stand today is an enormous success, which I would not have thought possible a year ago -- let me be very serious," Merkel said. The EU needs the US to assert leadership by example, if the crucial cooperation of China, India and third world countries is to be obtained.

As for provisions of the bill itself, Joseph Hebert of AP wrote: "Congress has taken its first step toward an energy revolution, with the prospect of profound change for every household, business, industry and farm in the decades ahead." President Obama dismissed Republican charges that the bill would cost too much and cripple business and the economy. "He recalled similar warnings that the Clean Air Act and a national effort to combat acid rain would send costs soaring and kill jobs -- warnings, he said, that turned out to be false.He castigated opponents for "lying" about cost projections and "scaring the bejeezus" out of voters, and accused Republicans of being stuck in a 1990s-era debate on energy when the American people "have moved forward" with concerns about climate change and hope for renewable power."

He also noted that "What seems contentious now is going to seem like common sense in hindsight" and predicted the measure would "change the political conversation and the incentive structure for businesses in this country."

Just how much and how fast things could change was also suggested by an executive move announced by Secretary of Interior Salazar designating some 670,000 acres in six western states for a study to determine locations for solar power development. As the president of the Solar Energies Industries Association noted, there are some 7,000 permits for oil and gas drilling on public lands, but so far none for solar. Salazar expects construction on some 13 commercial-scale solar projects there by next year.

But the climate and energy bill itself must pass the Senate, and then survive conference committee to craft a final bill for the President's signature. That's likely to take months, while the momentous health care bill is being crafted and considered. But that there are other important issues, and always lots of momentary distractions, does not diminish the paramount importance of advancing clean energy and addressing the Climate Crisis.

Paul Krugman's strong column today accuses climate crisis deniers of treason. But it's not just the denying that's the problem--it's the distraction, the failure in the present moment to understand the priority for the future.

Joseph Romm of the Center for American Progress suggests what the stakes really are: "If we fail to stop catastrophic global warming, future generations will not care what we have done on issues like health care, the deficit and Iraq. If we fail to stop massive sea level rise, widespread desertification, and 10-degrees-Fahrenheit warming over much of the inland U.S. -- all of which we face on our current emissions path -- then every person who voted against this bill will be vilified by history. "

This is a pivotal moment, and we can't afford to let philandering governors and celebrity demises take our eye off the ball.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Dreaming Up Daily Quote

"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"
--Jean Jacques Rousseau. Painting by Paul Klee.