Crisis is everywhere. We have the housing crisis, the credit crisis, the unemployment crisis; the list goes on and on. But in the midst of all of this crisis, what we also have is opportunity.
I was listening last week to On Point, Boston's NPR, with Tom Ashbrook. He had on his panel John Doerr from Menlo Park, California, a venture capitalist and member of Obama's new Economic Recovery Advisory Board. The show was about green technology and the cap and trade bill that is being reviewed by Congress.
When asked if green technology can really save our economy, Doerr made an interesting comparison between energy and the internet.
He said that currently the internet economy totals about 1 trillion dollars worldwide with approximately a billion and a half users. Keeping those figures in mind, he then said that the energy economy totals about 6 trillion with approximately 4 billion users. Doerr said that innovating green technology is "the largest economic opportunity of the 21st century."
An energy reform would stimulate the economy by calling for technological innovation that would create long term growth. It would provide new jobs here in the states, lessening our foreign dependence. Some California companies like Southern California Edison are already given incentive by the state to encourage their customers to conserve where they can.
The cost of energy may go up, but it's likely it will anyway making a transition from fossil fuels to green power that much more appealing and necessary.
The cap and trade bill is an essential step towards reform and energy independence. The goal of the bill is to reduce CO2 and other green house gas emissions in a cost effective way by limiting the amount of pollutants emitted by companies. Companies have to obtain permits for every ton of carbon dioxide they release with limits that become stricter until the reduction goal is met. More efficient companies can sell their permits to those that can't make reductions as easily.
Some criticize the proposal as being too costly, but I think they're forgetting about some of the spending sprees of the past. In the U.S. we dump about 70 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere everyday without considering the cost. The war in Iraq has cost this country billions and the majority of tax payers reaped zero benefits.
How can we sit around in the wake of great opportunity and refuse to embrace reform because it may add a few dollars onto the electric bill when less than a half a year ago we were paying nearly four dollars a gallon and funding a war?
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