Home Star – no, Energy Policy – no

UPDATE:  A few days ago my headline was Home Star – yes.  And I promised not to write any more on the energy policy subject.  But the politicians have surprised us once again.  Not even this stunted remainder of the energy bill managed to get to the vote.  The oil clean up provisions were just too onerous for the oil friendly (and oil financed) folks.  So – we keep waiting…

Here’s the original post, when I still had some shred of faith in the system:

No matter what you think of Eliot Spitzer, once New York’s fearless attorney general, he does write some sensible opinions.

Below are some extracts from his article in Slate magazine:

“…a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, and here we have wasted two of them. The momentum for change will now fade into the haze of a long, hot summer. Many Americans hoped that the BP leak would finally focus us on generating an energy/climate policy that would deal simultaneously with global warming and our dependence on fossil fuels. That hope has now totally disappeared. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the end of meaningful reform in the energy arena, and the politics after the midterm elections will make that issue even less palatable.”

Spitzer then proposes: “…adopt a carbon tax (supported by virtually all in the environmental community and some conservatives as well; see Pete Peterson in the Wall Street Journal)…”.   [Yes – but it won’t happen]

Left in the energy bill before the Senate are four items:

  • Force BP to pay for clean up in the Gulf of Mexico and help prevent future disasters [Sort of funny that the new BP chief sort of declares victory because the surface oil has vanished.  What about all that oil and the, almost equally noxious, dispersants still below the surface?]
  • Fund residential energy efficiency retrofit programs [That is the Home Star program that all us energy auditors and air sealers are really crossing our fingers for!]
  • Promote the development of natural gas fueled heavy vehicles.
  • Create clean energy jobs – but exactly how those jobs will be created is not clear.

Can Home Star exist without a comprehensive energy policy?  Probably yes, it’s better than nothing, but the system remains massively distorted when the real costs of fossil fuels are not being paid.  In the US we will gain some jobs and save some energy, but the industrial scale design contracts and the manufacture of PV panels, wind turbines and all the other high tech, high profit products and services will continue to flow to China and European industry leaders like Germany.

OK – enough gloom – I will not comment on national energy policy again – at least until after the November elections.  This site is supposed to be about practical information – for individual action.  Best individual action, on this topic, is to vote – correctly.

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