Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hysteria over the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act

We live in a winner-take-all society, where the object of aspiration of everyone, is how to make extra money, grab more power and prestige, and stay close to an exit strategy with a golden parachute if the bottom falls out of the cash cows. The news that companies as Nike, Pacific Gas and Electric and others are resigning from the US Chamber of Commerce because of their opposition to the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act, introduced by Senator Kerry and Boxer today, should not come as a surprise to anyone. These companies depend on the burning of coal and carbon to oil the engine of their money maker.To introduce a bill in Congress that will restrict this opportunity, in any form or shape, or curtail the ability of these companies to continue to reap the benefit of burning more carbon, is obviously an affront. These companies will not sit back and watch their cash cows brutalized by mere men in Congress. They have taken their stand, with respect to the burning of carbon, whether the world likes it of not: They do not want to cut down on the green-house effect of carbon burning, and one of the ways to loose in the cut-throat competitive business market, is to adopt new business models or strategies that can cut into their profit. The companies believe, adopting new strategies to cut down on carbon burning , can only lead to them loosing money. If they loose money, they loose power and prestige, and if they loose these basic accolades of a winner-take-all society, they become relatively irrelevant. Knowing this fact is very discomforting to the Chief Executives at many of these Fortune 500 American Companies. They will pick their marbles and go home rather than share any of their profit in any shape or form with the public, even if it has to do with taking the initiative to reduce carbon emission in their vast industries spread over the globe.

To the multinational Corporations, the issue is not curbing the green-house effects of their operations or practices; rather, the issue is the requirement of being made responsible for the status of the environment, when similar corporations in nations as China and India are least required of this obligation. Corporations in the developing countries that flaunt the rules regarding green-house gas emission limits probably do not suffer financially as much as the American Multinationals. No amount of education or persuasion in the works in Copenhagen or Washington DC would encourage these die-hard corporations to buy into the clean energy job and power act. Adopting practices that will cut green-house emissions or create greener jobs, would not only greatly increase overhead cost of operations, it would probably not lead to a competitive edge in the process of manufacturing and delivering goods and services at a reasonable profit for these corporations. And, to the American Corporations’ Chief Executives in time of recession like ours, who wants to listen to the epistle of the green-house nuts? The endorsement by Congress of policies to encourage reduction in green house gas emission through the introduction of the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act is not looked upon very favorably. If you ask some of the multinational Corporations’ Chief Executives, their response probably will be: “Just not right now!”

So what exactly are these corporations disagreeable with? Senators Kerry and Boxer introduced the bill with a caveat that, the legislation will create clean energy jobs, reduce pollution and protect America security by enhancing domestic energy production and combating global climate change. They justify the essence of the bill with the following quotations:
• "This is a security bill that puts Americans back in charge of our energy future and makes it clear that we will combat global climate change with American ingenuity. It is our country's defense against the harms of pollution and the security risks of global climate change" - Senator Kerry
• "Our health, our security, our economy, our environment, all demands we reinvent the way America uses energy. Our addiction to foreign oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and risks our security. By taking decisive action, we can and will stop climate change from becoming a ‘threat multiplier' that makes an already dangerous world staggeringly more so.” - Senator Kerry.
• "We know clean energy is the ticket to strong, stable economic growth -- it's right here in front of us, in the ingenuity of our workers and the vision of our entrepreneurs. We must seize this opportunity, or others will move ahead. This is our time. Global warming is our challenge. Economic recovery is our challenge. American leadership is our challenge. Let's step up right now. Let's not quit until we have fulfilled our responsibility to our children and our grandchildren.” – Senator Boxer

Here are the major highlights of the Clean Energy Jobs and America Power Act:
• Reduction in emission limits: reduction in greenhouse pollution limit is jerked up by 20% below the 2005 limits advanced previously in Waxman-Markey’s bill before congress;
• Green Transportation: push for green transportation, devoting a guaranteed share of revenues from carbon regulation to transit, bike paths, and other green modes of transport;
• Coal Plant Greenhouse Gas Regulation: environmental protection agency must be given the authority to regulate coal plants under the Clean Air Act.
• Ensuring National Security: there is need to redirect our oil expenditures, as much of our expenditures on gas goes to countries that do not like us. We also need to consider that carbon pollution threatens our children’s health and radically and irreversibly alter our climate for the worse.

Probably like other Multinational American Corporations who may not want to be identified yet, Nike believes US businesses must advocate for aggressive climate change legislation and that the United States needs to move rapidly into a sustainable economy to remain competitive and ensure continued economic growth. Be that as it may, these corporations are not ready to buy into the currency that climate change is an issue that needs urgent actions, in light of the economic condition we now have. Whether this is true or not, we shall explore this angle of argument this month in our succeeding blogs, barring any new development with the American Health Care Reform Bill.
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