11485RE: [hreg] A Wake Up Call from Seattle - responding
- Jan 2, 2013
I have to disagree with your comment about subsidies.
1)Fossil fuel subsidies dwarf renewables subsidies, and the US nuclear power industry wouldn’t exist without them. Do you not consider the cost of our military presence in the Persian Gulf a form of subsidy? Who pays for it? We do. Oil and gas production on public lands? Not a subsidy?
2) It’s not realistic to think American technology can be competitive in the world marketplace without government support, for the simple reason that other nations are aggressively supporting their industries. Look at the success China has had in becoming the dominant player in wind, pv and solar thermal. They set a goal while we dithered, and now they are the dominant player, and we’re somewhere behind Italy…
The nature of advanced technologies is that most require some type of early support to facilitate their adoption. That isn’t a political statement, just reality.
The solar industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the US, creating thousands of jobs. That doesn’t deserve government support?
You are right in that eventually the market decides, but cheap gas is resulting in a loss of market share for coal, while California is on track to achieve 33% renewable power generation by 2020.
It’s projected solar generated power will cost $.06/kwh in California in 2020, while fossil fuels will hover around $.15.
The world is bathed in enough sunlight every 88 minutes to power it for a year. Seems like a good investment to me
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As of close today, the market cap of ExxonMobil alone was $404 Billion. Let’s see… 17.6M/404B = 0.004%. Add in the rest of the fossil fuels industry and we’re probably talking 0.0001%. I hardly think Seattle’s little statement will register, and I don’t see prudent pension and other fund managers following suit. Face it: the revitalization of natural gas due to shale gas/fracking is going to make for a very challenging time for wind power and other renewables. Market forces will prevail. Only when renewable technologies become competitive without subsidies can we expect to see massive inroads. Government entities like Seattle can make political statements, but it isn’t likely that a supermajority of Congress will turn against fossil fuels anytime soon. I think our challenge is to do what we can to promote continued R&D to improve energy efficiency and renewable source cost reduction. Eventually, regulatory bodies will be forced to admit the magnitude of climate change and then there will a shift. I suspect that is still many years down the road.
If you haven't heard already an alarm sounding off, you will soon. There's a loud wake up call coming out of Seattle. All you need to do is point your ears and telescope diagnally across the nation's mid-section to hear the message. With Houston being the energy capital of the world, the message is for US. And this alarm will reverberate on Wall Street, too.
The City of Seattle and its Mayor - Mike McGinn - just made a decision to divest ALL fossil fuels from its investment portfolio. The funds represent $17.6 million (only 0.9% of its current $1.9B total assets), but enough to make a statement and set an example for others to follow.
And the followers are lining up. Because Seattle's decision gives the Fossil Free Campaign more fuel to spread this ground-up revolution. (And if pressed for a prediction, I suspect the dominos will start falling next in California's direction. . .)
This is so reminiscent of Paul Revere. . .
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