By Jerry Mooney
Even though Ohio University recently called alternative energy one of the six industries primed for growth, there is growing concern that the current pace to transition off of fossil fuels isn’t fast enough. A recent study shows that we can transition away from fossil fuels in a decade if we have the will and make a concerted effort, but that’s where we must wake up. The consensus is in and we must reverse direction on the most dangerous experiment in human history.
It’s understandable how we got here. Inventions like the car, airplane and electricity have created a massive hunger for energy. This energy was provided by fossil fuels over recent history because their consequences were unknown. It made sense to develop gas burning engines and coal burning factories. They were a natural evolution.
Now, however, we must stop pretending that these aren’t issues because they are economically disruptive. We are acting like we’re on a sinking ship and we could bail the water out, but the buckets that are on the ship are too expensive for the passengers and crew. This makes no sense. There is no point in having an economy on a planet absent of people.
The good news is that developments in alternative energy and various technologies can, albeit ironic, save us from this reality. Why ironic? Because it was technology and the need to fuel it that got us in the mess. However, developments like solar power, wind, geothermal can rescue us if we are willing to make the transition.
Currently there is great economic incentive to not change. Tax laws have created an uneven playing field between fossil fuels and alternative energy. Again, there is ironic good news: the same forces that created this uneven playing field have the power to reverse these laws. But it will take more than that and it will take more than conventional solutions like a carbon tax. We must actively, deliberately and hurriedly invest in the change.
When the will of the people combined with the backing of the government move to affect change, as cited above, the obstacles become insignificant. This spirit was captured in the ramp up from a peacetime economy to a military economy during WWII. Then, the country got on board to fight the Nazis at home and abroad.
What it took was the collective perception that there is a dangerous enemy that must be vanquished. That enemy exists now, and it is more dangerous than any dictator. But there has been a massive and concerted effort to dilute the perception that human contributions to global warming have put us in danger.
Today, however, a scientific consensus confirms that climate change is real, caused by humans and potentially catastrophic. So the evolution of our energy needs must reflect this. Once this reality sinks in, perhaps we can all work together to reverse our fortunes instead of arguing over the inconvenient details brought forth by those who have gained the most in bringing us to this dangerous point in time.
Jerry Mooney is co-founder and managing editor of Zenruption and the author of History Yoghurt and the Moon. He studied at the University of Munich and Lewis and Clark College where he received his BA in International Affairs and West European Studies. He has recently taught Language and Communications at a small, private college and owned various businesses, including an investment company that made him a millionaire before the age of 40. Jerry is committed to zenrupting the forces that block social, political and economic justice. He can also be found on Twitter@JerryMooney