Today, President Obama went where no President has gone before. With a long overdue yet still breakthrough announcement, the President at once took bold action and made climate change the urgent national and global priority it is. His unprecedented limits on carbon pollution by power plants finally attempts to curb the power industry from dumping their waste into our atmosphere without cost or consequence.
The Middle East is seeing heat dome temperatures exceeding 160F. Much of the US is in a heat wave of its own. Snow in Buffalo and Boston from a record winter is just now melting away. California is in the midst of a severe drought while scores of square miles are literally ablaze. And glaciers are actually retreating faster than any models have predicted. Addressing climate change is our #1 global priority, not just to save humanity, but because tackling human-caused warming is our best chance to reinvigorate the much-beleaguered US middle class.
Dealing with the climate crises isn’t adverse to our economic interests; it is an enabler of a multi-trillion dollar economic opportunity. However, unleashing that economic revolution will take more than just President Obama’s plan to curtail carbon emissions from power plants. The President needs to now continue his ‘Flutie-esque’ fourth quarter surge by calling for a trillion dollar infrastructure and research stimulus bill. A stimulus that provides much needed funds to repair and rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges and schools…creating high paying middle class jobs that cannot be outsourced. A stimulus that provides for a renewed national focus on innovation in health and medicine, in space, in technology and in areas yet undiscovered. All of which create high paying middle class jobs.
Most importantly, a stimulus largely devoted to the research, development and deployment of a 21st century energy industry. One that will create millions of middle class jobs and establish the US as the global leader in clean energy for decades to come. Just the state of the art of home battery technologies, and the pace of innovation in solar, wind and wave power are breathtaking enough. Imagine that super-charged by resources and a national focus equal to the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced since we eradicated widespread death from communicable disease.
The obvious jobs are in things like solar installation and manufacture and rebuilding the nation’s power grid. But the exciting Gedanken is about the jobs we don’t know about yet, in industries that don’t exist yet, created by technologies not invented yet. The hallmark of our global leadership is an unequaled national focus on turning science fiction into science reality by government research and investment enabling private industry.
Is a trillion dollars the exact right amount? Who knows, it could be twice that. Who cares, really? Nominally speaking, a trillion dollars is a lot of money. Compared to a decades long economic boon that, oh by the way, saves the planet from humanity…for humanity, a trillion dollars is a pittance. It isn’t just me that thinks so. Nobel Prize winning economists have argued that stimulus programs pay themselves back many times over. How much did the RD that created the Internet cost? I have no idea, and neither do you. Q.E.D – no one cares about the costs when trillions of dollars of economic value are created.
The President took a huge and courageous first step. Let’s support him with our voices, our votes and our words so that he can take the lead on completing the journey from addressing a problem to unlocking potential.