And the chain. And the pedals. And the handle bars. Oh but the stickers on the frame are okay? No, anonymous NYT Op-Ed writer, you don’t get to do that:
It is one thing to argue that professionals should be willing to serve a bad president in the interests of public service, and it is quite another to argue that the officials working for the president are entitled to disregard and override the president’s decisions because the president happens to be an ignorant buffoon.
Their only option is to come clean, resign in protest and protection of their own good conscience, ability to beg forgiveness and be trusted with an unpaid internship sorting recyclables at the landfill.
Use any other metaphor as needed – spouse abuser, drug addict, anyone known to be a danger to themselves and those around them. Only the context this time is global. You’re stopping them or you’re an enabler. The longer this goes on, the longer it goes on.
And the same goes for the Times op-ed page.
Paris talks but clean energy patents fly, it seems. This Bloomberg feature on the boom and bust of the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota has the look of a high speed news reel that is, maybe, not quite how we imagined it. But once the process shows itself from beginning to end so quickly in this way, you can imagine happening over and over again. The pollution, the waste, the overbuilding, the exodus:
The discovery last decade that fossil fuels could be tapped from deep beneath the windswept prairies of North Dakota acted like a magnet on American working people. By the thousands they came, from as far as Texas and California, fortune-seekers in a modern-day Gold Rush. Together with visionary companies like Continental Resources and industry behemoths ExxonMobil and Norway’s Statoil, they exploited a new technology called fracking — blasting the underground Bakken rock formation with sand and water and slurping up the crude that was hiding there for millennia — to increase oil output in the region 12-fold from 2006 to 2014. The bonanza helped drive the U.S. closer to energy self-sufficiency than it’s been since the 1980s.
The frenzied production exacted a price — oversupply was one reason the U.S. crude price took a nosedive, losing more than half its value from a June 2014 peak. The number of rigs pumping crude from the Bakken plummeted to about 70 from a high of 200, and the tide of workers began to ebb.
Meanwhile, clean energy patents are at their all time high, which may also be a frenzied if inelegant prologue to the next age that is also not as previously imagined. In what remains of the capitalist economy, money still rushes in first, not pretty, sometimes not even choosy. But at least we can be a little more sanguine about what’s left to choose from, that the new ideas are exploding with quiet steam instead of smokey emissions, that maybe growth now will be slow and visible like the gentle oscillation of giant windmills. I know, poetry is sometimes like the explicit sunset in the image: not sure whether it’s rising or setting unless we understand the direction we’re facing.
Image: David Acker/Bloomberg, fishing in the frozen Missouri River.
A new national 10-year plan from Brazil shows that the country will triple its use of renewable energy by 2020 and that a lot of that energy will be wind energy.
Going from 9 GW of wind, biomass and small hydropower in 2010, the country intends to hit 27 GW by 2020. It wants to have 16% of its electricity supply coming from renewables in 10 years.
On wind energy, the country hit the 1 GW milestone in May but plans to get to 12 GW by 2020. Last year’s 10-year plan only had the country getting 6 GW from wind by 2019, so you can see that the country is really stepping up its wind energy goals.
By comparison, renewables met 8% of total energy demand in the U.S. during 2009 and 10% of total electricity generation. We don’t expect to hit the 17% mark until 2035. Which is not a goal, but more like a foul.
Our research shows that the clean energy sector around the world has roared back from flat recessionary levels, increasing 30 percent from 2009 to achieve a record $243 billion2 worth of finance and investment in 2010. More than 90 percent of all clean energy investments were directed to companies and projects in the G-20. Excluding research and development funding, clean energy finance and investment in the G-20 countries totaled $198 billion, 33 percent more than was invested in 2009.
That’s from the Pew Charitable Trusts report, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” You can guess the nature of part the next:
The Americas region is a distant third in the race for clean energy investment, attracting $65.8 billion overall in 2010. Investments in the United States rebounded 51 percent over 2009 levels to reach $34 billion, but the United States continued to slide down the top 10 list, falling from second to third. Given uncertainties surrounding key policies and incentives, the United States’ competitive position in the clean energy sector is at risk. Growth is sharper in Latin America, where private clean energy investment in Argentina increased by 568 percent and in Mexico by 273 percent, the highest growth rates among G-20 members.
That’s right. Growth is sharper in Latin America. I mean, God bless ’em and all, but this is actually too serious to be an embarrassment. Our competitive position in the clean energy sector, such that it is, is at risk in the toilet because of a failure to face up to the facts. Instead we just want to debate them. Opportunity knocking a plenty, but only others answering.
The filing asks the Office of the United States Trade Representative to begin formal consultations with China, which would lead to proceedings at the W.T.O. in Geneva if Beijing did not agree to repeal the subsidies.
“Unless China’s policies are urgently addressed, the U.S. may never get a fair shot at making the green technologies of the future,” the filing said.
You can’t see me but I’m shaking my head. We’re filing a petition with the WTO against China for unfair export subsidies for clean energy. Put another way, China is pursuing its own unfair competitive advantage against us for stuff we’re not doing.
China’s manufacture of solar panels, wind power turbines and other clean energy products — with the strong support of its government, through land grants and low-interest loans — has turned that nation into the global leader in those markets. China has more than one million jobs in all clean energy industries combined.
Meanwhile, American and other Western manufacturers of solar and wind power equipment have struggled to compete. Some American clean energy companies have scaled back production and laid off workers, while moving operations to China.
Exasperation mine. I think this whole ‘American’ and “Chinese” set of distinctions is really old hat. Business moves at the speed of business… don’t these countries watch commercials? A communist country is out-capitalisming us. Remember: rules… Ha!
And, speaking of “Hey – you can’t do that!” How about all the wingnut kvetching on Operation burn-the-Koran? As little as a few days ago they were all-hate all-the-time, but now it’s, “we’re weren’t saying you should actually burn the holy book, No way!” Hate speech is hate speech and anti-Muslim (or anti-black, or anti-latino, or anti-Obama, or anti-tax or anti-whatever) rhetoric can escalate, so you should damn well think about that before you engage in stirring it up. Especially if you want to stake out some high ground later. If there is any.