Culture War Dispatches

from a Progressive People's Republic

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Obama Green Revolution

Earlier this month Obama revealed his energy program to Wesleyan graduates:
At a time when our ice caps are melting and our oceans are rising, we need you to help lead a green revolution. We still have time to avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change if we get serious about investing in renewable sources of energy, and if we get a generation of volunteers to work on renewable energy projects, and teach folks about conservation, and help clean up polluted areas.

The four-point Obama green revolution:

1. “Getting serious about investing in renewable sources of energy”: renewable energy is a great thing, but Obama doesn’t specify where the money for all this investing will come from. My guess is that he means that government officials will take money from you and redistribute it to industries that they, with expertise gained from majoring in political science, deem worthy of support, with helpful advice from renewable energy experts, a.k.a., lobbyists for the renewable energy industry. These lobbyists are not to be confused with oil industry lobbyists, because they are only interested in serving the planet. Unlike the American Petroleum Institute, they have no interest in attracting government funding to their clients’ projects.

2. “A generation of volunteers [working] on renewable energy projects.’ Volunteers? Tom Friedman talks about a hundred thousand Manhattan Projects. Obama wants them staffed with volunteers? It must be part of the “path of service”he recommends to Wesleyan graduates. It’s what Michelle Obama calls “the helping industry,” as opposed to the “money-making industry.” So either get down to the local food pantry and stock some shelves, or drop by the community renewable energy pantry and pitch in on the nuclear fusion car project. Yes, we can!

3. “Teach folks about conservation” because “folks” are kind of dumb and they need some teaching. Once you 21-year-old Wesleyan kids explain to us folks how we are buying the wrong light bulbs and driving the wrong cars, viva la revolution!

4. “Help clean up polluted areas.” Everybody hates pollution, so this is a good closing point. Except for Republicans who like pollution because it means they make bigger profits by avoiding clean-up costs. But is Obama talking about getting a bunch of eighth graders to pick up trash in an abandoned lot in Southside Chicago? Shampooing seagulls after the Exxon Valdez oil spill? Okay, pollution cleanup ought to be part of any good green revolution, but how does this help us “avoid the catastrophic consequences of climate change”? Perhaps since carbon dioxide has been defined as pollution, Obama wants the Wesleyan green revolutionaries to stop driving, cooking, heating their houses and breathing?

By the way, a study released in January 2008 by NASA offers a glimpse at the “catastrophic consequences of climate change.” Under the headline, Antarctic Ice Loss Speeds Up”we learn that ice melt has increased by 75% in the last ten years! This “sharp jump” is "enough ice to raise global sea level by .01 inches a year in 1996, to .02 inches a year in 2006"! It may not sound like much, but in that means that in 2106, the sea will be TWO INCHES higher! Vote Obama before it’s too late!