Imagine how you would feel if you had to abandon a very lucrative business that you had run all your life, one that you planned to leave to your grandkids, just to see all your hopes and dreams smashed, because scientists claim your lifeswork literally threatens our species' survival.
This is the horror that faces the fossilfuel titans of what I now realize are not so much Red States, but what we should call Brown States.
It is not easy being Brown.
It is very understandable that the individuals who live off the fossilfuel dependant oil, coal and auto industries resist accepting the science of our dire future when it clashes with their own personal hopes and dreams. Its human nature to resist what harms you and your family, and resisting the massive infrastructure destruction it means to your Brown industry.
Even if that harms everyone else.
So its natural that they want to influence policymakers to resist the science that threatens them and their loved ones. Just as you and I want to influence the policymakers: thats why many of us are here. To sway opinion to save our loved ones from harm. No one wants to be hurt. Everyone wants to safeguard their loved ones.
Currently our interests, and their interests clash.
I think we all had a wakeup call when we saw a couple of defecting Democrats resisting our own side's new Green Energy policy legislation. I for one had always assumed that the battlelines were between Red States and Blue States. Us and them. And it was mostly Republican Senators and the TVA that killed the RPS bill. (“Forcing Tennesseans to either build 40-story wind turbines on our pristine mountaintops or to pay billions in penalty taxes to the federal government amounts to a judge giving a defendant the choice to be hanged or shot,” warned the Republican Senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander) What I see now is that the real battle is between the Brown States and the Green States.
The Brown states make a living from extractive energy. It has been called the curse of energy, because it seems to kill all other initiative.
There is considerable overlap between the Red (Brown) States and the Blue(Green) States...
States that already have adopted the Renewable Portfolio Standard:
...because the preponderance of the universities that are fueling Green innovation are in the Blue states, so the Green innovators tend to start their green businesses near where they laid down roots as young adults, attracting more brains to that state to develop those innovation industries. More brainy people are Bluer than brawny people who are more attracted to the Brown states. This is not to say that brainy people are not in brown states. Texas is a good example of a Brown State being turned Green by enough stakeholders invested in its wind industry.
In May of 2006, the Department of Energy announced it is seeking partners to build a new facility capable of testing blades up to a minimum of 70 meters long. In addition to Texas, the states of Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Virginia submitted applications for the test facility. The NREL Newsroom2 reports that access to waterways was a key factor in deciding that Large Wind Turbine Blade test facilities would be in Massachusetts and Texas. Both states include sites for off-shore wind farms....and decent tech universities!
The Lone Star Wind Alliance, a Texas-led coalition of universities, government agencies and corporate partners created to prepare the proposal for submission to the federal government.
The Lone Star Wind Alliance includes the
University of Houston’s Cullen College of Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Texas A&M University,
Texas Tech University,
West Texas A&M University,
the Houston Advanced Research Center,
Stanford University,...note the assistance of 3 universities from out of state: to turn brown States Green, we need Bluebrain states to invest in the Brownbrawn states
Montana State University,...most of the best wind potential in this country is in Montana, Idaho, and South Dakota has enough wind to run half the country, but no transmission lines to get it there:
The United States Senate passed U.S. Senator John Thune's energy transmission amendment to the energy bill, which would promote the development of energy transmission infrastructure, on June 19.
"Today's vote in the Senate is a major step in the direction of clean, alternative energy"
"This legislation is critical to promoting the development of wind energy in South Dakota and around the country. As the windiest state in the nation, South Dakota will greatly benefit from these provisions. Today's vote in the Senate is a major step in the direction of clean, alternative energy," said Thune.
Thune's amendment, #1609, would promote the creation of energy corridors that would facilitate the transference of wind energy generated in South Dakota to high-demand areas.
"We have the wind energy in South Dakota that the major power consumers in our nation need.
...for instance Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota achieves nearly 100% of their electrical energy requirements from wind energy systems located near their installations.
New Mexico State University,...I suspect Senator Bingaman (D-NM) Chairman of the Senate Energy Comittee had something to do with this. He seems more and more to me to be a clever alliance- builder in designing policy that helps turn Brown States Green.
Old Dominion University,
the Texas General Land Office,
the State Energy Conservation Office,
the Texas Workforce Commission,
Governor Rick Perry,
Dow Chemical Company,
Huntsman and Good Company Associates.
(Texas industries, including Dow Chemical Company and Huntsman also donated toward the effort.)
The Port of Corpus Christi provided non-monetary support.
The facility will be built through an innovative public-private partnership, organized through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. Private wind turbine and blade manufacturers are expected to fully fund the operations of the facility within five years of its construction.
The Texas Legislature played a crucial role in securing the facility, pledging $5 million toward its construction. State Sen. Judith Zaffirini carried the $5 million request, and Gov. Perry signed off on it in the final budget. Another $5 million is pending final approval through the state’s Emerging Technology Fund.
Patterson has likened the potential impact of the test facility to that of NASA in Houston during the space race in the 1960s.
I think, rather than simply heaping scorn on the Senators and Representatives of Brown States voting the Brown interests of their constituencies, we should create legislation that turns them into Green States, aligning their interests with ours.
The rest of humanity is Green even if we don't think of ourselves that way. I have to confess that I myself, and I'm a dEVoted member of the dailykos environmentalists was never particularly Green till it dawned on me that our own survival as a species is at stake. When the Brown States decide to align with us and our Green interests, it will be easy to save humankind from the climate crisis that otherwise will doom our species to have lasted a mere blip in geologic time, far less than the millennia that the dinosaurs ruled this planet with the thermostat set to their liking.
The way to align their interests with ours is to build the Green economy in the Brown states.
I don't think this includes the biomass waste industries that will on a large scale would deplete our soil of the needed nutrients (nature has no waste!) and deprive low water states of water for food crops...as others have diaried here.
But I do think we could design policy to deliberately shift the manufacturing of the parts needed for the new Green economy to the Brown States.
The Europeans who are far ahead of us in these industries because they conceded the problem a decade ago (and the average UK citizen now emits a mere 11 tons a year to our 19-22 tons of carbon per person), have among many others too numerous for this diary, this interesting idea that they could power Europe all the way from the Sahara."Solar power from the desert rather than desert in Germany"with the help of efficient HVDC transmission.
By switching to DC lines they do not lose any power in long distance transmission lines. This is an idea that we in the USA could consider, because so much of our energy potential is far from where its needed.
And because it could be a way to turn our Brown States Green.
Which states should build the new transmissionlines from our sparsely populated windy states to the rest of us? From our sunny deserts to the rest of us? Which states should build the turbines we will need? Which states should print the solar film? Build the new electric auto industry?
Build the vast turbines that gather ocean power:
I think you can see from these maps which states need a stake in the Green economy.
One Green energy resource that is missing from this map is ocean power. Two states: Oregon and Alaska could have 100% of their own power needs met by ocean power, per this energy comittee hearing's witnesses on the bureaucratic roadblocks to ocean energy.
The Democrats are far ahead in creating green legislation.
As noted yesterday:
The six energy-related measures passed this month alone include:
* H.R. 2304, Advanced Geothermal Energy Research and Development Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
yay, Go Jerry!
* H.R. 2313, Marine Renewable Energy Research and Development Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR)
* H.R. 906, Global Climate Change Research Data and Management Act of 2007, introduced by Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairman Mark Udall (D-CO)Duh!
* H.R. 1933, Department of Energy Carbon Capture and Storage Research, Development, and Demonstration Act of 2007, introduced by Mr. Udall
...thats good as we may solve it if we try, don't try, cant find a solution: this is different from expanding the use of coal to use as 119% dirtier gasoline
* H.R. 2773, Biofuels Research and Development Enhancement Act, introduced by Energy and Environment Subcommitee Chairman Nick Lampson (D-TX)
... from the hearing I think this probably is about DMF the 6Carbons 1Oxygen fuel that has no CO2 that sounds very promising if you MUSt use an IC engine...)
* H.R. 2774, Solar Energy Research and Advancement Act of 2007, introduced by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)
...and since that passed the evil BushCo DOE actually added a Solar button to their webpage! Previously their energy options were oil gas coal nuclear, I kid you not. They even per a recent renewable energy access podcast claimed even geothermal has zero potential!!! and tyhats why they didn't list even that.
I suggest we devise legislation that would offer a real incentive to the Green innovation industries to move and set up shop in Brown States. For instance making that ocean power equipment to
get two of us (Alaska and Oregon) off the grid could be in the Southeast.
But it's not only our own states that need a new Green energy infrastructure built. China wants to build 120,000 Megawatts of windpower (equaling 10% of their energy by 2020) and we have Brown states that need Green energy jobs.
I think we need a kind of Marshall Plan for revamping the economies of the states that provided our power yesterday and today, with a fuel that has just happened to turn out to be detrimental to our future into being the states that will power our tomorrow with Green power.
I think we all owe it to the Brown States to devise policy to replace Brown jobs with Green ones.