Climate Change: Vigilance and Neglect

Solyndra, backed by $535 million in loan guarantees from US government to make solar panels in America, filed for bankruptcy protection two weeks ago and laid off 1,100 workers. Solyndra becomes the third US solar company in one month to tow the Chapter 11 line. After Obama’s visit 15 months ago, Solyndra was unable to cope with price pressures to low cost solar panels from China. In summary over $1bn venture capital fund for Solyndra goes down the drain putting an end to an establishment we thought will bring fossil fuel establishment to its knees.   I feel a bit down that budding enterprises that should usher the world into the green revolution are pulling the brakes and halting the march against fossil fuel.

The biggest insight I have to the climate change and sustainability is not to set off the alarms on the risks of impending storms, drought and catastrophes but to evangelize the profit opportunity on a whole new vista of opportunities that abound. That for the ages of Guttenberg Presses, automobiles by Ford Motor Company, the Wright brothers and the airplane, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, IBM, Bill Gates and Tim Berners Lee  who at a time redefined human civilization, the green revolution should be another page in human history. The current climate crisis fuelled by greenhouse emissions does not go beyond the ability of man to rethink and remodel the global system.

The climate movement might be wrong with the alarms and how scary we have presented the issues in fiction movies by injecting fear rather than propelling an opportunity for the carbon shift.  But this is understandable with floods, cyclones, drought that humanity is threatened with. I believe that we can agree that humans are tampering with the balance of nature and that we are stretching the natural resources beyond ecological limits. We should be on the same page that present growth at the expense of dwindling global resources is not sustainable and we need to stop treating this earthly space as a linear element. This environment is a reflection of Karma, whatever we do by action or inaction comes back to us.

To understand how the green revolution will take place, there will be losers like Solyndra. The greatest winners we have to contend with are the beneficiaries of global oil subsidies especially in developed economies. Big oil companies with a financial warchest are polluting the environment and they have indirectly hijacked government apparatus to further their own interests. When the globe is talking of greenhouse emissions, and its reduction, Canada is leading the exploration of tar sands which is 30 times deadlier than oil and Obama is reversing himself on Clean Air Act. The $13bn Keystone XL pipeline would cross 1,904 rivers, streams and reservoirs along its route and one can but wonder if there is clean energy future in still in momentum to pump the dirtiest of fossil fuel.

The biggest problem with fossil fuel is its huge global supply and how established our own production systems have been adapted to it. To factor the environmental pollution of oil into its cost has been treated carelessly and we itching the wound by giving oil subsidies to companies and individuals. How will clean energy companies grow in such environment that unjustly benefit fossil fuel companies? Kyoto Protocol expires next year with almost no successor in sight; climate struggle has been turned meaningless with political systems preferring to pursue growth in traditional ways. It is not time for the political systems to wean themselves from oil interests and stop this hide and seek game with the facts of climate change and shift to green economy. Global governments are turning the climate change to a PR exercise, oil companies are doing it on newspaper adverts and the climate denials are getting stronger with their convictions.  Only few European countries and China are making the clean energy their short term focus, we needs a moment of silence. We need to listen to immortal words of Martin Luther King:

“The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect”