Yes, we should continue searching for new energy sources that leave a lighter carbon footprint. But it is not practical — nor rational — to think we can just stop using fossil fuels, which are so completely woven into our daily lives. What we need is thoughtful debate, not reactionary thinking as thin as bumper stickers — which, by the way, use a petroleum-based adhesive.
How Mike Bloomberg, red-state businesses, and a lot of Midwestern lawyers are changing American energy faster than you think. Beyond Coal is the most extensive, expensive and effective campaign in the Sierra Club’s 123-year history, and maybe the history of the environmental movement. The front lines are not at the Environmental Protection Agency or the Supreme Court.
Inslee last week joined leaders of 11 other states and provinces in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Canada in signing an agreement that calls for cutting emissions of greenhouse gases to 80 percent to 95 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. That’s a steeper reduction than envisioned in a 2008 Washington law, which said the state would cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.
Labor groups representing port workers noted that Foss Maritime is employing more than 400 people already to service the Shell fleet. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, for his part, is strongly against hosting Shell’s fleet, warning that the port could face daily fines because it lacks the proper permit. Those fines would amount to no more than $500 a day for the port — a tiny drop in a very large barrel if Shell, one of the world’s largest companies, manages to recover billions of gallons of oil from the Arctic Ocean. Seattle’s environmentalists, however, have a sense that their time is now.
Wind serves to raise costs, complicate scheduling, destabilize markets, and adversely impact reliability all in a hopeless effort to receive “free” energy that is actually quite costly. It has been hoped that subsidies would make wind self-sustaining in short order, but wind appears no closer to economic viability today than years ago.