I don’t understand what all the cheering is about.
On December 18, the House overwhelmingly passed the energy bill, and Nancy Pelosi hailed it as “a moment of real change.” On December 19, President Bush signed the bill, claiming it "represents a major step forward."
Some environmental groups in the United States also praised it because it finally lifts the miles per gallon requirement on cars and trucks to 35.
This is the first increase since—if you can believe it—1985. Today, the standard is 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 22.2 mpg for light trucks and SUVs.
No wonder global warming is galloping along.
We’ve done jack for more than two decades, even as the evidence of global warming has become irrefutable and the dangers so imminent.
And now I’m supposed to applaud this bill, which does nothing to require the utilities to use more renewable sources of energy, and does nothing to subsidize wind, solar, or geothermal?
And I’m supposed to applaud this bill for raising the fuel efficiency standards, even though the bill won’t require that change to be fully implemented until—get this!—the year 2020.
Come on! We don’t have the time—or the CO2—to burn.
Leading experts on global warming tell us that we may already be at, or past, the tipping point, and we’re going to keep fiddling for another dozen years?
“We have failed to meet nature’s deadline,” Ross Gelbspan writes in a crucially important online article for Grist.
“In the next few years, this world will experience progressively more ominous and destabilizing changes. These will happen either incrementally—or in sudden, abrupt jumps. Under either scenario, it seems inevitable that we will soon be confronted by water shortages, crop failures, increasing damages from extreme weather events, collapsing infrastructures, and potentially, breakdowns in the democratic process itself.”
The pathetic character of the energy bill comes into sharp relief when you consider that Europe and Japan already are getting more than 40 miles per gallon with their fleet, today. And Volkswagen has a car on the European market that’s getting 78 miles per gallon, right now.
Why should we have to wait till 2020 to get only 35 mpg?
To call this a victory is to wave the white flag.