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For Sanity in an Editorial: A tip of the hat to The Tennessean

April 12th, 2009 · No Comments

Too much energy has to be expended taking on “faux and balanced” material in the nation’s newspapers of record, striving to foster sanity and truthfulness in the publications, rather than the  insanity and truthiness too often pandered in their pages. Swirling in the miasma of too often shoddy coverage and frequent deceit in the editorial pages, one can forget that there are are great journalists, that there are editors/editorial pages striving to speak truth to their readers, that there are people and institutions meriting pats on the back and tips of the hat.

A Tennessean editorial last week, Economy no excuse to ignore global warming, provided a strong voice of sanity meriting such a tip of the hat.

The entire editorial merits reading and, in fact, republication throughout the nation.

As it opens.

Contrary to what might be building as a popular excuse, the world cannot ignore the global warming issue by blaming the current economic crisis.

After all, it would be difficult for Wall Street to get its footing if it were under water.

The world must stay focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of economic factors. There has to be a plan with teeth in it, with aggressive incentives to dramatically curb the heat trap the world is currently feeding at alarming levels.

Wow. Not the typically expected weak statement from “supporters” of action in face of outright deceit by those fighting to prevent any action toward an energy smart future.

The editorial provides a brief review of the legislation situation of the WaxmanMarkey American Clean Energy and Security Act.

The Tennessean doesn’t shy from taking on critics.

Criticisms of cap-and-trade are already being heard. One of them is that such a plan amounts to a carbon tax, as though no one advocating the plan has acknowledged there would be costs involved. … It might be cheaper, economically, to do nothing. Environmentally, it’s a different story. Doing nothing on climate change should not be an option.

Sadly, while strong, those sentences suggest that it is, somehow, economy vs the environment when this is an absolute misconception and misrepresentation of reality.

The “costs” are, of course, only a portion of what we should consider. It is the “costs-benefits” equation.

And the benefits are tangible.

a climate change bill would “create jobs by the millions, save money by the billions and unleash energy investments by the trillions.” While critics may react to such statements as hyperbole, look no further than what is happening right now in Tennessee. This state has chosen to be a leader in renewable energy technology. The state has attracted huge recent investments in solar power … Together, those investments involve more than $2 trillion. That’s real money. …. The quest for new energy sources is not just a dream. It’s real. It’s happening. The only question is the level of commitment others will have to develop new energy sources. Tennessee is positioned to be a global leader. That didn’t happen by making excuses.

This is reality speaking. And, the sort of ‘real-speak’ that should silence those who deny the reality of American exceptionalism, who can’t see that the opportunity exists for Americans to again be great, to be world leaders toward something better — for Americans and the rest of humanity.

The reality is opportunities are in front of us, but is a very serious and dangerous set of challenges and threats that are creating the opportunities.

the United States was responsible for 7.3 billion tons of global warming emissions in 2007. The world can’t sit on its hands and wish this problem away. The job will require serious effort, long-range thinking and considerable political willpower. The world is about to see who is willing to step forward to confront this problem.

With voices like the Tennessean speaking out, perhaps it will be the United States of America stepping forward.

NOTE: That same day, the Tennessean published an OPED by Representative Jim Cooper, Energy reform key to economy, that helped make this a one-two punch of sanity.

Americans are spending a quarter of a trillion dollars each year to buy oil from countries that support terrorists. Aren’t we tired yet of paying for both sides of Persian Gulf wars? We pump billions of tons of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere every year. Increased carbon emissions will raise global temperatures by 3-7 degrees. (If you think that doesn’t sound like a lot, think how you feel when your body temperature is not 98.6 but 101.6.)

Our energy policies pose economic, national security and environmental threats. Yet, as we’ve seen in Tennessee, new ideas can create economic opportunities and thousands of jobs.

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Tags: climate change · Energy · environmental · Global Warming · government energy policy