July 14, 2017

TITLE: Getting on the right side of America's renewable energy future

Last time I noted that renewable energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) are FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HUMAN HISTORY cheaper than fossil fuels.

Business Insider's Graham Rapier notes that we're at an inflection point: "Renewables will be the cheapest form of new power generation by 2020... solar and wind are quickly becoming as cheap -- even cheaper -- than their carbon-intensive counterparts like coal," writes Rapier.

And new research from none other than that august organ of socialist propaganda, (ahem) Morgan Stanley, estimates that renewables will be the cheapest source of power in the world in less than three years. “Numerous key markets recently reached an inflection point where renewables have become the cheapest form of new power generation,” the bank said in a note.

That also means we're at the first point in history when any of us now living who cling to the old argument, "it's too expensive," will be viewed as someone who in reality was merely afraid of change.

Hey, cheer up; we're lucky. The hard work has already been done. All each of us needs to do is shake off the old ways of thinking and resist bending to the will of entrenched interests certain to wrestle renewable energy down to the mat, hair-pulling and eye-gouging all the way.

So why not get on the side that is certain to be the winner?

In addition to important things like letting your senators and congressperson know that you're converting that backyard coal mining operation for which you never got a County permit to a sunflower garden, here are a few things you might want to consider:

>>> Make a personal statement right in your own neighborhood by installing solar panels. They're already cheaper than conventional energy when you factor in that any number of companies out there will install them for free and lease them back to you over 15 or 20 years at less than your average electric bill. Admittedly they're not the most beautiful thing to put up on a roof, but they're infinitely more attractive than smoke stacks belching smoke -- and those stacks are part of your 'home' as well. Start thinking about displaying solar panels the way you think of displaying our glorious flag.

>>> Say goodbye to interim solutions. Yes, that means nuclear. The title of last week's column was "Our descendents are watching." If I'd factored in nuclear with its quarter million years of nightmarish toxic waste, I would have made that title "Our decendants' descendants' x10,000 are watching."

>>> Stop framing the future of our planet in political terms. If the first word you think of when someone mentions solar power is "Solyndra" (the solar panel manufacturer that abused a Dept. of Energy loan guarantee about 10 years ago), you're not helping. Every change is messy and there are always charlatans. We could fill this newspaper a hundred times over with Solyndra-level scandals over the course of this nation's 200 year fossil fuel development cycle. Move on.

>>> And for goodness sake, stop 'pooh poohing' renewables when the subject comes up in day-to-day conversation. Surprise people by saying something like, "I don't believe in climate change and I was against all this renewable stuff when it was more expensive than oil and coal. But now that it's cheaper, well, I believe in capitalism and that means I'm all for it." Just keep some smelling salts handy for when they hit the floor.

>>> Fellow 'southpaws' -- liberals who love living in the Southland and actually LIKE living where they can affect others -- our lot is sometimes frustrating and sometimes lonely, but hang in there. Be patient, stay ahead of the curve, prepared to inform. People ARE becoming increasingly receptive. And, if climate change is as imminent as we're told, every moment -- and every mind -- matters.

Thanks for reading. To some of you righties who've been writing me: don't get mad -- get a gift subscription to this great little publication for that liberal in your life to show them you're 'cooler' (and more open-minded) than they thought you were!

See you next time.

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Multiple award-winner author Charles Carr has written thousands of columns and articles for The Union-Tribune, The Orange County Register, The Reader, The Californian, Parent Magazine, and many others. Thousands have attended Carr's original theater productions at prominent venues throughout So Cal. He is also co-founder of Art Animates Life Films. More info and contact at charlescarr.com.