This is an excerpt from my new, self-published book, There Is No Planet B; Promise And Peril On Our Warming World.
Sustainable energy holds promise for a cleaner world and clear promise for economic prosperity. When more governments around the world realize that their economies will flourish in a sustainable energy future, the inevitable conversion to renewable energy will be triggered.
The perils of fossil fuel become more obvious every day as we foul our air, poison our water and push tides ever higher. About a century ago, fossil fuel was popular because it was plentiful and cheap and allowed nations to rebuild after a world war and modernize life for millions of people.
Decades later the unthinkable happened -- fossil fuel began to run out. Peak oil has long since been passed as reserves diminish and we must either squeeze oily sand or drill down miles below the floor of the deepest oceans in fragile, untouched ecosystems like the Arctic for ever more expensive oil.
Billions and billions of dollars in tax subsidies flow every year to the American Big Oil companies, who regularly post billions of dollars in profits. President Obama's attempt in March 2012 to slash $4 billion in subsidies every year to the big five oil companies; Exxon, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP and Shell, was thumped in the Senate.
Exxon made nearly $4.7 million an hour in 2012. If even a fraction of this largesse were to be diverted to greentech firms, then the assertion made by legendary CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, that "green is the new black" would be proven.
The past 10 years have been the warmest in the 160 years that records have been kept. The highly precise analyzers atop the Mauna Loa volcano have been sniffing carbon dioxide above Hawaii for over half a century. The reading reached the highest level in three million years in the 24 hour-period that ended at 8 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Thursday, May 10th 2012: 400 parts per million. It is long past time for us to realize that we are merely stewards of the Earth we will bequeath our children and grandchildren. Long past time for us to accept that there is no magical Planet B waiting for us to blast off to from our ruined Earth.
The Maldives archipelago is slowly being reclaimed by the sea but Maldivians are committed to carbon neutrality by 2020 and every child is educated in sustainability practices. There is an urgency there that can only be engendered by watching your homeland slowly being eaten away. We must all be Maldivians.
We must all feel the seawater rising inch by inch on our ankles. We must all stand as one and rage against the soulless corporations pillaging our earth with impunity. We must all rant at the spineless politicos slavishly doing their bidding. We must all roar with one voice at the greedy bastards gang-raping the earth: not on my watch.