Editor’s note: This commentary is by Bob Stannard, an author, musician and former lobbyist. This piece first appeared in the Bennington Banner.
Today our country is being led by a man who is being led by men who control the fossil fuel industry. Since the 2016 presidential campaign all we heard was that we are going to bring back the burning of coal. Brilliant. Burning more and more fossil fuel is destroying our planet so let’s bring back the worst fossil fuel out there.
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You will constantly hear from the numerous 501(c)(3) nonprofits that were created by Charles and David Koch that climate change is a hoax and burning fossil fuels (which is their bedrock corporation) is good for us. They have known for decades that burning fossil fuels will deplete our ozone and cause serious environmental damage to the world, but they don’t care. For them it’s simply about making more money. Having billions of dollars isn’t enough; they want billions more.
The Kochs have invested heavily in their efforts to buy our elected leaders and they’ve done a darned good job. They own the president of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, along with just about every other elected representative in Washington. They have invested hundreds of millions of dollars and they darned well expect a return on their investment. They are seeing a great return with the current president.
While the rest of the world is racing full steam ahead to rid their countries of fossil fuels and converting over to renewables America is going in the opposite direction. We have a president who insists on resurrecting an industry that is on its way out, or should be.
The irony is that as the president is scrubbing our government websites of anything that has to do with renewable energy and climate change, Arab nations, flooded with oil, are investing heavily in solar power. Think about that for a minute. Dubai has enough oil, yet according to The Times UK “Less than 5 percent of Dubai’s economy is based on hydrocarbons.”
And this from Forbes: “As of today, the Noor Abu Dhabi project with a total capacity of 1,177MW is the largest operational single site solar project in the world. The Noor Abu Dhabi project, which is not state-financed, is the work of a consortium that includes Abu Dhabi Power Corporation, Japan’s Marubeni Corp and Chinese solar manufacturer Jinko Solar. The $870 million project was the result of a competitive tender process that will see electricity from the site sold to the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) for around 2.4 cents per kWh, a record at the time of the auction and a record for any completed solar project. It was built by the Indian firm Sterling & Wilson with nearly 3000 people working on site during the peak of activity. ‘Noor Abu Dhabi will generate renewable energy and will enable us to improve the use of our natural resources,’ said Othman Jumaa Al Ali, CEO, EWEC.”
Yes, the city of Noor Abu Dhabi wants to “improve the use of their natural resources” by converting from using their oil to using renewable energy. Why? So they can sell their oil to fools who have been convinced by the rich and powerful that they have to burn oil, because solar power doesn’t work.
As this is being written we are experiencing another major, disastrous storm in Louisiana. Europe is experiencing record high temperatures and June was declared the hottest month on record. Yet, we want to bring back coal mining and coal burning. We want to keep right on burning fossil fuels, because we’re told by those who control these fossil fuels that renewables don’t work. Oddly renewables seem to work for oil producing countries, but not for us. While China and the Arab Emirates work overtime to beat us in the race for cleaner sources of fuel we’re being driven back to the 1950s.
There are some smart folks out there who are working equally as hard to create efficient battery storage so that solar and wind power can be stored. Here’s an example.
The problem is complex. We must wrestle our government out of the hands of rich, multinational corporations that now control our government — and by default, us. Their special interests are most certainly not in our best interests. They’ve made it clear that they are willing to do whatever it takes to deceive us into thinking that we have no options but to burn fossil fuels. That’s not true and the rest of the world is proving it’s not true.
For more information on how we’ve found ourselves where we are read “Dark Money” by Jane Mayer. Then start getting involved in your future … or you might not have one.