Sunday, July 25, 2010

Climate Bill is Dead: Good

So repugs and Blue Dogs are determined to take the nation and planet down in flames. Fine.

Because now the EPA gets to regulate carbon as it sees fit.

Yes, every time we depend on the Obama maladministration to do the right thing we end up drunk in a dive bar, crying our disappointment on a stranger's shoulder, but there is cause for hope.

ENDA never got a hearing in Congress, but President Obama extended full family benefits to federal employees who are gay. Barely registers on the scale of needed change, but it indicates that the president may understand the power of the executive order and bureaucratic regulation.

So fuck the Senate: Obama can slash carbon emissions without Congress. Christian Parenti at The Nation explains:

A redirection of government purchasing would create massive markets for clean power, electric vehicles and efficient buildings, as well as for more sustainably produced furniture, paper, cleaning supplies, uniforms, food and services. If government bought green, it would drive down marketplace prices sufficiently that the momentum toward green tech would become self-reinforcing and spread to the private sector.


Government has tremendous latitude to leverage green procurement because it requires no new taxes, programs or spending, nor is it hostage to the holy grail of sixty votes in the Senate. It is simply a matter of changing how the government buys its energy, vehicles and services. Yes, in many cases clean tech costs more up front, but in most cases savings arrive soon afterward. And government—because of its size—is a market mover that has already shown it can leverage money-saving deals.


So let's get real. The fourth path is the best: a robust program of green procurement is the most immediate and politically feasible thing government can do to boost the clean-tech sector. And the only number that approaches the scale of the energy economy is government spending on energy. We need to be talking not about millions or billions but trillions of dollars going in a new direction. If the government is serious about electric vehicles—then just buy them already!

At one level, the mad Tea Partyers are correct: government is leviathan—a monster. But it is our monster, and with proper leadership even this government in the current climate could jump-start a clean-energy revolution.

Read the whole thing.

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