The U.S. Has a Responsibility at This Point in History


Bill Moore, editor of has written a splendid article on the failure of certain of the early electric vehicle companies, in which he points out:

Breaking into the automotive business can be relatively easy; making a success of it is pretty damned near impossible, regardless of what type of propulsion system you favor: ICE-age or otherwise; and it’s especially tough if you decide to go electric. Beyond this, the reasons for individual failures are myriad and multiple: right product, wrong time, wrong product; wrong time, etc. Management missteps, unrealistic investor expectations and impatience, government responsiveness, inept marketing, unanticipated technical setbacks, product shortcomings, public resistance to change: the list is long.

I don’t dispute any of this, but let’s look at the subject from a “big picture” perspective. As a country, we’re still married to fossil fuels, and we’re doing essentially nothing about it In particular, we have no energy policy. Hell, we’re about to build an oil pipeline, the Keystone XL, right through the middle of the continent, one that may be unnecessary and that even some oil companies think is overpriced.

At the same time, we don’t have an iota of horsepower in Congress examining the big ideas. If I (or you) were there, we’d be saying:

Here’s a list of major reasons (I’ve left out the minor ones) to phase out fossil fuels aggressively:

  • National security / terrorism
  • Health / lung disease
  • Global climate change, ocean acidification and other ecological disasters
  • Skyrocketing / crippling debt
  • War which we can’t afford, and leave countless dead and wounded
  • Peak oil, coupled with burgeoning urban/consumer populations globally

You can argue about the relative importance of each of these, but for my money, we’ve spent enough time arguing about this garbage already. Now the time has come for action, and we’re going to take it, regardless of what the oil companies say. We have a responsibility at this time and place in history, and by God, we’re going to live up to it.

Gullible guy that I am, I still believe that someone in a position of power will ask me to draft a plan that phases fossil fuels out forcibly over the next 25 years, and eliminates them completely by 2050. As always, I’ll be happy to serve.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

Comments are closed.