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December 4, 2014

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Dave's Comments to EPA About the Clean Power Plan

December 4, 2014



For 150 years, until about 1950, the developed and developing world thought that the Earth had blessed humanity with cheap and plentiful energy in the form of fossil fuels that would power rapid growth, incredible increases in living standards, and geometric gains in income and wealth—all without significant downsides.  For the last 60 years, however, we have realized that this cheap and plentiful energy came with extremely destructive downsides—it is rapidly warming the earth, causing extreme changes to climates, which causes changes to hydrological cycles, which harms all life forms; it is acidifying and warming the oceans, putting the ocean ecosystems at risk and putting terrestrial life forms at great risk as a result; it is melting the cryosphere, changing ecosystems in the Arctic and Antarctic, disrupting the subsistence lifestyles of indigenous peoples in the Arctic, and raising sea levels; it is causing disease vectors to migrate northward in the northern hemisphere; and, it is causing rapid climatic disruption to plants and animals, and accelerating the sixth great extinction of life forms since life appeared on the planet.  And even though the Earth does not need humans, humans need the Earth and its balanced ecosystems.  This process of destruction to the balanced natural systems must stop immediately.


Because corporations, especially the fossil fuel industry and public utilities, have a stranglehold on our Congress, nothing is being done of substance to begin the urgent task of mitigating climate change by rapidly transitioning our energy sources away from fossil fuels and to clean and non-polluting renewables.


The EPA has a chance to make a meaningful change in this worrisome outcome.  The EPA can make the Clean Power Plan rules even more aggressive in order to eliminate even more carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and it can facilitate a rapid adoption of renewables, especially wind and solar.


You must not consider natural gas, especially gas harvested by the extremely destructive method of hydraulic fracturing, as some sort of bridge to give us more time to move away from coal and oil.  It is now well known that the methane that is leaked into the atmosphere during the drilling process and capture of the gas stream makes natural gas more damaging than even coal for the first 50 years after it is emitted.  For the first 20 years after it is emitted into the atmosphere, methane is 86 times more effective as a greenhouse gas in blocking heat from escaping the Earth than is carbon dioxide, this according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  


Because of the influence of money on our Congress, that body now favors the corporate good and the short term instead of the common good and the long term.  The EPA has the means to move us toward a cleaner and more stable future for us, our children and our grandchildren, even without the legislative branch of our government which is charged with promoting the general welfare, but which has chosen to promote corporate welfare instead.  It is a shameful state of affairs, and the EPA must be the voice of reason to begin solving the greatest existential problem facing humanity since the advent of nuclear weapons.


Stand your ground and require the greatest reduction to carbon emissions possible.





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