Emergency: Why Not Fund Alternative Energy the Way We Did Nuclear?

We threw away billions on nuke and oil subsidies, where’s the urgency to transition to alternative energy?

With global warming being nearly universally accepted as fact – even if some still stubbornly refuse to admit that human activity is the main cause – can we please begin to tackle the problem in a real way?

And can someone please tell me why funding alternative energy now isn’t at least as important as funding oil and nuclear energy was in past decades?

According to Charles Komanoff, co-founder of the Carbon Tax Center, nuclear reactor subsidies from 1950-1990 totaled $154 billion, or $3.75 billion a year. Meanwhile, wind power subsidies from 1983-2007 totaled the same as nuclear’s yearly average, $3.75 billion (just $150 million a year).

And according to Energy Fact Check (energyfactcheck.org):

“In cumulative dollar amounts, over the lifetimes of their respective subsidies, the oil, coal, gas and nuclear industries have received approximately $630 billion in U.S. government subsidies, while wind, solar, biofuels and other renewable sectors have received a total of roughly $50 billion in government investments.”

And further:

“According to a 2012 study from the Worldwatch Institute (WWI), global energy subsidies total between $775 billion and more than $1 trillion in 2012, while renewables clocked in at around $66 billion in 2010.”

Imagine if those kind of resources were diverted into alternative energy, starting today. One trillion dollars would go a long, long way toward ending our fossil fuel addiction (even George W. Bush called it an addiction!) and saving the planet from the worst of climate change’s effects.

Some fossil fools on TV, changing tack in the face of overwhelming agreement (yet still firmly implanted in their pro-corporate fantasy bubble) are now saying that, basically, it’s too late, why bother? Funding alternative energy will hurt the economy, they say.

It’s true that the latent effects of the carbon already released into the environment can’t be reversed, and that we’re in for some rough weather no matter what we do. However, it could get far, far worse if we do nothing, even to the point of our own extinction as a species. We can still mitigate the worst of global warming’s effects, and we must, for future generations. The sooner we get started – and the more we invest in alternative energy – the better.

Besides, the side-effect is a boost to the economy, not a drag! With a trillion dollars invested in building new alternative energy capacity, how could it not create millions of new jobs and provide a much-needed stimulus? The only ones it would hurt are the dinosaurs still invested in fossil fuels. And that’s one species I wouldn’t mind seeing go extinct!


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James Israel
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