There are a few weapons in my arsenel as an advocate for renewables, and one of them is a fairly comprehensive calendar of events. I use it primarily to schedule travel, trying, as I have all my adultlife, to maximize the value of each mile flown, by combining trips tosee clients, prospects, book interview subjects — as well as family andfriends. If you click on the link, you’ll notice that there arenormally half a dozen of so different energy-related events somewhere in the world — every day.
You’ll also notice that the preponderance of these events concernrenewables. There is an occasional symposium on shale gas, but most ofthe talk is on solar, wind, geothermal, storage, integration ofintermittent sources, clean energy financing, etc.
I suppose it’s good that people are speaking about clean energy – but it’s also part of the problem. Where renewables garners most of thetalk, most of the action — at least in the US, goes to oil, gas, andcoal — each working their hearts out to put a spear through renewablesfor as long as they possibly can hold us off.
A vintage example of that is Proposition 23 here in California. Funded almost exclusively by two Texas oil companies, Prop 23 would setthe cause of clean energy back by several decades. In a debate on thesubject the other day, its proponent told her audience that Californiagenerates only 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and thattherefore its air standards were inconsequential to the total. That is a deliberate attempt to miss the point. California is a leader in manysocial phenomena. If something new is successfully piloted inCalifornia, it tends to work its way quickly into the rest of the US,and often into other cultures around the world.
Prop 23 is an attempt to kill the migrations from fossil fuels — onethat uses grossly misleading advertising to forward its filthy position. On Tuesday, I’m going to join about 60% of my fellows here in votingthis measure down. But the fact that the oil companies have us debating the merits of clean energy mandates is just amazing to me.