Thursday, July 08, 2010

Consequences: Prepare Now

Catching up to President Obama's announcement on Saturday on a $2 billion federal investment in solar technologies: the significance of this is obvious economically and in the fight to save the farther future from runaway climate catastrophe.

Further, one of the technologies being financed includes ways to store sun-generated energy for use at another time--a key feature in an adapatable power generating and distribution system.

But investment in many solar and certain kinds of wind technologies have another important feature: these are decentralized, local power sources. The ability of communities and even households to be self-sustaining, especially in energy, are key to surviving the Climate Cataclysm period of the nearer future. Soon enough, the grid is going to be more expensive and less dependable. The entire nation will continue to be held hostage to oil supplying countries, or even to what other countries can do to our economy and currency. Wars over oil can continue to cripple our economy.

Anything that increases self-sufficiency, as part of the "resilience" that's become the buzzword in certain quarters, is important--like 82,000 homes to be weatherized this summer with funds from the Recovery Act.

And the homegrown answer can't be left up to coal, which is polluting in every possible way, damaging to the environment which more and more must sustain us, and leaves communities just as beholden to machinations from outside--maybe not in another nation, but in that other country of corporate rule.

So fortunately the ship of state is also turning away from coal, perhaps slowly and even quietly, but decisively. On Wednesday the Obama administration issued new rules governing coal plant pollution.

For the ever-moving target of now, jobs are a key to community and household stability. The writing is on the wall for fossil fuel related jobs. The Union of Concerned Scientists claim that wind power can generate two to three times the number of jobs as fossil fuels. I heard someone on TV assert than even now, there are more U.S. jobs in wind than in coal. Why is this a secret?

The answer for now, the near future, the far future, is all the same: clean local energy and conservation. Just think about what they both might mean for summers with more very hot days and nights, as well as winters with more snow and rain, when you really don't want blackouts and brownouts, or energy it is too expensive to use.

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