Tipping point? Investment in renewable energy tops fossil fuels for first time
Global investment in power plants fueled by renewable energy sources topped investment in fossil fuels for the first time in 2010, according to a new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).
The report placed investment in renewables at $187 billion for the year, compared with $157 billion for power plants fueled by coal, natural gas, and oil.
Where is the Push Back?
If you watch a bit of television, you may have seen commercials that promote sources of power that are vital to the American way of life. Such as coal, natural gas and the grandaddy of them all – oil. The shpeel touts the wonderful amount of jobs the industries could create if only the dagnabbit gumment would repeal many environmental regulations that have contributed to clean water, air and land over the past four decades.
For example – an ad by the American Petroleum Institute claims how wonderful it is “the deeper you go the more you learn about…” how much Bullshit I’m trying to sell you. Oh, and there is the one, oh, God, its so funny! I can’t stop laughing! Make it stop! The one where the voice-over dude is spewing claims about the state of the art monitoring equipment the fucking fracking industry uses to test water quality. What a killer! I get a stitch in my side every time I hear that. Whew!
So, with all of these spots designed to misinform the public I ask where is the push back from the real “clean” energy industry? I don’t see it. Groups like the Solar Energy Industries Association and the American Solar Energy Society, to name a few, must team up with the National Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club plus others to place ads across all media to be the counter to the pablum puke. The dirty, fossil fuel industry, in my view, is scared and desperate because why would they launch into a campaign of deception if not? Oil dupes the public (Chevron thinks your fucking stupid), coal lies (coal is clean) and natural gas fudges data.
Paul Atredies of Dune said, “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.” The dirty fuel industry wants people to be afraid because fearful people are easily manipulated. Scared people of America! I implore you to wake the fuck up! Take to heart the rest of Usul’s quote – “I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when my fear is gone I will turn and face fear’s path, and only I will remain.”
“In the late ’70s, when Manhattanites like Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger were turning Montauk and East Hampton into an epicurean Shangri-La for the Studio 54 crowd, my parents, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, were looking to become amateur dairy farmers. My first introduction to a cow was being taught how to milk it by hand. I’ll never forget the realization that fresh milk could be so much sweeter than what we bought in grocery stores. Although I was rarely able to persuade my schoolmates to leave Long Island for what seemed to them an unreasonably rural escapade, I was lucky enough to experience trout fishing instead of tennis lessons, swimming holes instead of swimming pools and campfires instead of cable television.
Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed. When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research. I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value.
Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word “clean” takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don’t be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won’t eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.
New York is lucky enough to have some of the best drinking water in the world. The well water on my family’s farm comes from the same watersheds that supply all the reservoirs in New York State. That means if our tap water gets dirty, so does New York City’s.
Gas produced this way is not climate- friendly. Within the first 20 years, methane escaping from within and around the wells, pipelines and compressor stations is 105 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. With more than a tiny amount of methane leakage, this gas is as bad as coal is for the climate; and since over half the wells leak eventually, it is not a small amount. Even more important, shale gas contains one of the earth’s largest carbon reserves, many times more than our atmosphere can absorb. Burning more than a small fraction of it will render the climate unlivable, raise the price of food and make coastlines unstable for generations.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, when speaking for “the voices in the sensible center,” seems to think the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the New York State Nurses Association and the Medical Society of the State of New York, not to mention Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea’s studies at Cornell University, are “loud voices at the extremes.” The mayor’s plan to “make sure that the gas is extracted carefully and in the right places” is akin to a smoker telling you, “Smoking lighter cigarettes in the right place at the right time makes it safe to smoke.”
Few people are aware that America’s Natural Gas Alliance has spent $80 million in a publicity campaign that includes the services of Hill and Knowlton — the public relations firm that through most of the ’50s and ’60s told America that tobacco had no verifiable links to cancer. Natural gas is clean, and cigarettes are healthy — talk about disinformation. To try to counteract this, my mother and I have started a group called Artists Against Fracking.”