Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is really at stake.

When it comes to generating the political will to convert our economy from one dependent on limited fossil fuels over to a post carbon sustainable energy source, there seems to be a severe lack of backbone in Washington DC. Detractors cite the possible economic damage that might be done by taxing carbon and other efforts to reduce fossil fuel dependency.

But who would actually face the brunt of that economic damage? "Everybody" is the commonly held belief. Fossil fuel dependent agriculture will drive food prices sky high. Fossil fuel dependent consumer lifestyles will curtail growth in almost all sectors of the economy. This answer overlooks the fact that fossil fuel scarcity is a universal problem we will have to face eventually no matter what. Right now, while this resource exists, instead of squandering it for immediate profit, we could use it to convert as many systems as possible over to a sustainable model.

The truth is, in the current paradigm those who have the most to lose from eliminating the fossil fuel subsidy and encouraging the nation to reduce consumption are the moguls currently at the top of the energy sector. It is antithetical to the purpose of private sector companies to self regulate profits in order to encourage a healthy future for subsequent generations.

Right now, those capable of generating the strongest political will via campaign finance, are acting against long term national security. Traitors with convictions to act not in the interest of the American people, but solely for the short term profit of one corporation or another have taken control of the political system.

There is a clear first step towards removing this undue influence in government. Campaign finance reform will act as a separation of business and state. The coup that has stolen the voice of the average american and replaced it with a narrow folio of talking points quietly approved in backroom deals with financially interested parties must be stopped. If we as a nation are to once again have equal rights and equal representation, the for sale to the highest bidder style of political influence peddling has to be treated as though a cancer has spread and no malignant cell can be left to fester in the political body.

This is not to say that business interests do not deserve a voice in the political spectrum, just that they don't deserve to be the loudest and strongest voice. Politicians need to be free to weigh environmental and long term national security costs equally with the interests of business. It is in our best interest to have a strong economy after all, but not at the expense of everything else.

The future will be fraught with hard decisions as the effects of climate change gradually ramp up pressures. Even business will undoubtedly face hardships as infrastructure investments are threatened and livelihoods are swallowed up as familiar natural patterns are pushed to extremes. Business lacks the knowledge or even the self discipline to act in its own interest when it comes to massive scale changes that are going to be needed one way or another.

If we act soon and put profit motive behind us for awhile until we have secured a sustainable future for our nation, the cost associated (both in financial terms and human life) will with out a doubt be much less than if we wait until we are forced to face reality. The fantasy of an immutable earth capable of absorbing the damage done with out consequence to the human race cannot be the underpinning of the political narrative any longer. We need leadership grounded in reality and not self delusion cultured to excuse treason.

As always I encourage comment and critique, and will not edit or omit any posting.

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