Liddick: A radical plan to save the Earth
Let’s assume for a moment, despite the recently revealed book-cooking and data-dumping, that the anthropogenic global-warming crowd is on to something. If we’re really going to cook within 20 years, we better do more than commit economic suicide at the upcoming Copenhagen speechfest.
Instead, let’s use the threat of imminent roastage to institute a full-throttle, all-hands-on-deck, no-holds-barred campaign to develop new sources of energy. “The equivalent of war,” to borrow a phrase from a former president. And let’s see how many of those currently finger-wagging over our production of greenhouse gasses are willing to go along. The following are a few of the steps which will be required – if we’re serious.
Treble the federal tax on petroleum-based motor fuels to 55 cents a gallon, and mandate that all states do the same. Yes, that will immediately raise the price of just about everything any American buys since transportation is a significant cost element, and yes, “the poor” are going to be shellacked by these increases, but sacrifices are necessary – we have a planet to save. Right? Oh, and no subsidies for anyone. All this money – potentially, more than $170 billion annually – is going to build “smart” transportation infrastructure.
Impose an additional 10 percent Federal Excise Tax on electricity not produced by wind, solar, hydropower or nuclear plants. Use the tens of billions of dollars generated to fund research into alternative and renewable energy sources. Eliminate all subsidies and tax breaks for “green” building or retrofitting, also applying the money saved to research and development. That’s going to increase the real cost of installing energy-efficient appliances, but if “Earth is in the balance,” it’s high time people stepped up and did the right thing without being bribed. We’ll bludgeon them instead. And I’m certain the National Renewable Energy Laboratory would be happy to expand many times as a result.
Streamline the process for licensing new nuclear power plants, and establish a program within the Department of Energy to bring them online fast. That means, among other things, exemptions from nuisance lawsuits. Nuclear plants produce large amounts of baseload electricity – necessary in a Brave New World of wind and solar, which are by their nature intermittent – and they do it without producing carbon dioxide. So if that gas is really the villain of the piece, we’ve got to use every tool in the shed to do away with it, right?
And yes, part of the above will be opening the national Nuclear Waste Repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. If it really is a choice between the desertification of North America and a few people having to conquer their quasi-religious fear of spent nuclear fuel, well … out of the way, Harry Reid. You can’t be a roadblock to saving the Earth.
Speaking of roadblocks: if we are serious about developing wind and solar as alternate energy sources, major portions of our environmental laws are going to have to be rewritten, particularly pertaining to protected species. Right now, a lawsuit over the presence of two – count ’em, two – Mojave Flat-Tailed Lizards has halted construction of a 10-square-mile solar power facility in California’s Mojave Desert. If our situation is as dire as it has been portrayed, sorry – lizards have even less right than Senator Reid to impede efforts to stave off the climatological apocalypse. Besides, I hear that properly cooked, they taste like chicken …
Similar adjustments are necessary for wind turbine farms – too bad for all those small Eastern-plains towns who don’t particularly care to morph into Dr. Frankenstein’s version of Holland, but … you know the drill. Oh, and we’re going to have to repeal most of the laws on “view impingement,” since many more high-tension transmission lines are going to have to be built. No use building solar or wind farms if you can’t get the power to market.
So undertaken, a program that dedicates our national focus and treasure (sorry, no national health. Gotta save the planet first …) might create more than it destroys. True, many Americans would be impoverished and unemployed – at least until they got the proper job skills. And the national economy would go through a major downturn, until it adjusted to far more expensive energy. But Westinghouse, or General Electric, or a company no one’s heard of yet may come up with new technologies that once again make our country an economic powerhouse, saving the Earth and enriching its stockholders beyond the dreams of avarice.
All it takes is for those who wail about our profligate ways to agree that we need not concede our economic future to India and China, but to begin a concerted effort, now. And to stand fast when the howling from their allies of convenience on the Left gets loud, as a succession of oxen are gored.
I feel cooler already.
Summit County resident Morgan Liddick pens a Tuesday column. E-mail him at email@example.com. Also, comment on this column at www.summitdaily.com.
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