Obama’s Energiewende?

Picture of Obama Victory Celebrations

Obama Victory!

Congratulations to Barack Obama. His victory is good news for America and for us all. The prospect of a climate change denying, socially regressive President Romney would have been a calamity for humanity. Hurricane Sandy crashing into New York just days before the vote belatedly brought climate change into the campaign, as Suzanne Goldenberg points out in a very interesting article in the Guardian Weekly.

Meanwhile much of Europe is leading the World in the Energiewende, to use the German term coined by Angela Merkel, meaning ‘energy transition’, away from an inefficient polluting and fossil fuel based economy to an energy efficient renewables based economy. There are powerful economic arguments to be made as well as the ecological imperative. The cost of mining coal in the USA is going up just as renewables are becoming cheaper: market economics are now on the side of the environment.

Bill McKibben and the excellent 350.org folks, along of course with countless others, are working hard to bring Climate Change up the global political agenda, and help bring about an American and a global Energiewende.

Obama faces many problems, not least the unsustainable level of debt and high unemployment. Now is the time for the USA to try and catch-up with the best that Europe has to offer in terms of an Energiewende. Obama should raise taxes on the rich, introduce Pigovian pollution taxes and invest heavily in renewable energy and energy efficieny. As Wilkinson and Pickett demonstrate all too claerly in ‘The Spirit Level’ the USA is in danger of becoming such a profoundly unequal society that it becomes terminally socially dysfunctional: so along with investments in the Energiewende need to be massive investments in health, education and a raft of socially progressive measure to help give hope and purpose to America’s dispossessed.


Suzanne Goldenberg article in the Guardian Weekly. http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/viewer.aspx

David Roberts grist blog on cost of coal in USA

Lots of good stuff as ever on the 350.org site

For more on American Debt see this blog from Aug 2011 and for a more of the kind of policies Obama should enact see my Global Wish list from Nov 2011.

Good article on the Energiewende