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The “100 by ’50 Act” Cannot Become Our “North Star”


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The “100 by ’50 Act” Cannot Become Our “North Star”

Ezra Silk

On Tuesday, Senators Jeff Merkley and Bernie Sanders are scheduled to introduce the “100 by ’50 Act,” billed as “the most ambitious piece of climate legislation Congress has ever seen.” 350.org’s Jason Kowalski has expressed hopes that the symbolic bill, which aims to build a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050, will become the “North Star” of the climate movement.[1] Yet the April 17th draft of the bill is incremental, non-comprehensive, and fails to meet the challe


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Thank you, Ezra Silk, for spreading Truth.


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Asserting that FDR rebuilt the US economy DURING WWII is misleading. Governor FDR started rebuilding the economy in New York within months of the 1929 crash, subsequently going national after becoming POTUS in 1933 with programs tested in New York, with many new programs added.

Concurrent with rebuilding the economy FDR also had to stop American fascists from supplying Hitler and his allies (offenders included Prescott Bush, Henry Ford, Texaco).

FDR did implement the War Production Board (WPB) during WWII to prioritize resource allocation, the most visible results being rationing fuel, food, etc. and limiting non military car and truck production..


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I feel alternately frustrated, amused, melancholy, incredulous (among others) when I read pieces that suggest that the climate catastrophe train can actually be stopped or even set on a different course. The extent of the problem is vastly bigger than simply shifting to renewable energy. Just a couple of examples:
1. How would renewables change the fact that every single year, an additional 25 MILLION human beings are added to the planet? (www.worldometers.info).
2. At the same time, the rate of extinction for plant and animal species is 100 to 1,000 species lost per million per year, mostly due to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change. This is compared to ONE species per million before humans were in the picture (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140529-conservation-science-animals-species-endangered-extinction).
3. I work in a hospital and in the US, hospitals create nearly 7,000 tons of waste every single day. (http://www.sustainabilityroadmap.org). Forget about hospitals in Europe, India, China, Australia, Russia or other countries with “advanced” health care. Forget about any other industry – especially that killing industry called the US military. And where does all of that waste end up? It ends up in places that destroy the ecosystems that animals rely on to survive and so, wonder of wonders, they don’t survive and go extinct.
4. In the hospital, there are people who refuse to die or whose families refuse to let them die. It costs tens of thousands of dollars to keep them alive for a week longer – and this is not including the cost to the environment and to the animal kingdom that graces the environment. The additional 25 million people added to the planet this year (and the parents and families of these humans) think that they have a right to live – a right that supersedes the rights of any other species.
5. Changing to renewables doesn’t change the fact that human beings will keep lights on all night – polluting the darkness upon which nocturnal animals rely for foraging and procreating. And so what happens to them? They die off.
6. Human induced pollution will not stop because of any shift to renewable energy. Would many of the 7.5 BILLION human beings on the planet (including yourself) willingly turn off the lights when the sun goes down so that another species could live in their own unique and beautiful way? I don’t. While I don’t have a TV or radio or wireless internet in my home, I do keep the lights on so that I can read. I go to the grocery store at night when the lights are on. My behaviour is part of the problem. And unless you live in a cave, so is yours.

There was an interview with Einstein published in the New York Times Magazine in 1946 titled, “The Real Problem is in the Hearts of Men.” A truer headline I’ve not seen (at least lately).

The Pachamama, Papatuanuku, Mother Earth knows that the time of the human being in its current form is over. She will change in a way that will no longer support the life of a human being as we are now. The idea that the human species can save Her is so full of hubris that it would be comical if not so heartbreaking. Best to be grateful to Her for what beauty She has brought into your life. And prepare to go gracefully through Her transition.


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If Americans don't want to hear even proposals such as Sanders' inadequate bill, how would they react to one whose extreme provisions were commensurate with the scale of the problem, the urgency to transform our economy from its roots, immediately? Can we assume they'd laugh it off, shut off the screen, vote it down? I'm not so sure--it's been a long, long time since Americans were asked to make any sacrifice...not since 1979 and Carter's infamous sweater appeal. And Americans clearly preferred Reagan's Morning in America drivel...but that was a long time ago, we've seen the consequences (to some degree). I think it's actually possible that a significant group would rally around an honest message with a clear plan, one which asks much of us. But only if the might of the PR and media industries were on board instead of opposed. Unlikely, since they are run by machines in essence...corporations which are programmed to move in the direction of increased profits and are incapable of conceiving, let alone caring about, the long-term good of humanity (or other species).