I’m glad the NY Times did away with “Times Select.” I missed reading Thomas Friedman every week. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I learned that I could read full articles on Salon (without some kind of subscription) again. A few years back both Salon and The New Republic started charging, and I decided I’d pay for one… which ended up being TNR. Then came “Times Select,” and my golden age of internet politics reporting came to an end.
Please excuse me if my intro to this entry is a little incoherent. I’m doing some prescription meds for pain this afternoon.
Anyway, the point of this entry is not to rejoice in my good fortune, but to share with you an excerpt from Mr Friedman’s column this morning that got my head nodding in agreement.
Most of the Republican candidates seem to be brain-dead on the energy/climate challenge. And it is amazing to me how flat-out wrong some conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, can be on this issue.They can’t see what is staring us in the face — that in pushing American companies to become greener, we are pushing them to become more productive, more innovative, more efficient and more competitive. You can’t make a product greener without making it smarter and more in demand — whether it is a refrigerator or a microchip. Just ask G.E. or Wal-Mart or Sun Microsystems. You can’t make an army greener without making it more secure. Just ask the U.S. Army officers who are desperate for distributed solar power, so they won’t have to depend on diesel fuel to power their bases in Iraq — fuel that has to be trucked all across that country, only to get blown up by insurgents. In pushing our companies to go green we are spurring them to take the lead in the next great global industry — clean power.
People say that investing money in protecting the environment is bad because it’s a drain on the economy. As Mr Friedman suggests, I don’t think that has to be the case at all. It seems to me that protecting the environment can simutaneously save us from ourselves AND invigorate the economy with investment.
Although it’s not a sure thing, research often produces unanticipated scientific discoveries… so why no put more money in research of alternative energy sources?
People have already shown that they’ll buy cars with hybrid powertrains, so why not subsidize them (through more, non-expiring tax credits)? How does spuring car buying hurt the economy? The more people are buying them, the more incentive car makers have to perfect battery technology, and the closer we get to a car with no emissions.
Public works projects create decent paying jobs, so why not invest in more mass transit (and getting some people out of their cars altogether)? Some people say Americans don’t do mass transit. I’d respond that outside of big cities like New York, how would you know? I live in the most densely populated county in Florida, and we’ve got virtually no mass transit to speak of.
All of these things could put a big dent in the two of the big culprits in U.S. emissions: cars and coal fired power-plants. In the case of transportation, it seems to me we could realize a significant change in emissions rather quickly.