Weekly Mulch: Why is the U.S. Losing the Clean Energy Race to China? Blame the Climate Cranks

By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao touched on energy issues in the bilateral summit between the two countries this week.

“I believe that as the two largest energy consumers and emitters of greenhouses gases, the United States and China have a responsibility to combat climate change by building on the progress at Copenhagen and Cancun, and showing the way to a clean energy future. And President Hu indicated that he agrees with me on this issue,” President Obama said during a Wednesday press conference.

But can the United States step up as a leader on clean energy? The proliferation of politicians whom The Nation’s Mark Hertsgaard calls “climate cranks” suggests otherwise.

The biggest consumers

In international climate negotiations, the United State and China are the two key players, and if the world as a whole is to move forward on combating climate change, agreement between Presidents Obama and Hu would be a huge breakthrough. Mother Jones‘ Kate Sheppard notes that Hu also said the United States and China would work together on climate changes, but, she writes, “I can imagine, though, that the conversation on this subject wasn’t entirely as chummy as the remarks would imply, however. The US last month lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization about China’s subsidies for clean energy, arguing that the country is unfairly stacking the deck in favor of their products.”

At AlterNet, Tina Gerhardt and Lucia Green-Weiskel explain the background to those tensions and to the U.S.’s protectionist bent on clean energy projects. They write, “Energy Secretary Chu recently framed the new relationship between the U.S. and China as a ‘Sputnik Moment.’ Referencing the first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, which demonstrated its technological advantage and led to the Cold War-era space race, Chu warned that the U.S. risks falling behind China in the clean technology race.”

Stumbling blocks

China’s motivations for growing its clean energy sector may not be leafy green; new energy sources feed the country’s rapidly growing economy. But at least the country is committed to green energy sources, unlike our climate change-denying Congress. As Mark Hertsgaard argues at The Nation, this brand of American has become so pernicious, it’s time to stop adhering to the protocol that dubs them “climate deniers” and start calling them “climate cranks.” He explains:

True skepticism is invaluable to the scientific method, but an honest skeptic can be persuaded by facts, if they are sound. The cranks are impervious to facts, at least facts that contradict their wacky worldview. When virtually every national science academy in the developed world, including our own, and every major scientific organization (e.g., the American Geophysical Union, the American Physics Society) has affirmed that climate change is real and extremely dangerous, only a crank continues to insist that it’s all a left-wing plot.

Climate cranks attack

Unfortunately, climate cranks continue to interfere with both climate scientists and forward-thinking energy policy. At Change.org, Nikki Gloudeman writes about the ongoing saga of climate scientist Michael Mann, one of the climatologists embroiled in the Climategate brouhaha, who is still being attacked by climate-denying groups for his work. Gloudeman reports that although Mann has been investigated and found innocent of any misdeeds several times over, a group with a bias against climate change, the American Tradition Institute, is trying to obtain access to his work.

And in New Mexico, the state’s new conservative governor, Susana Martinez, “has attempted to subvert her own state constitution in order to stop [a] plan to begin reducing her state’s carbon emissions,” reports Dahr Jamail for Truthout. The plan, executed through state rules, would have reduced the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 3%, from 2010 levels, each year. The rules should have been made public, but Gov. Martinez kept them from being published, according to Truthout’s report. A local group, New Energy Economy, is fighting to implement them.

Bright spots

In some states, however, the clean energy economy is moving forward. As Care2’s Beth Buczynski reports, Clean Edge, a clean-tech advisory group, has identified the top ten states for clean energy leadership. They include California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Illinois.

“Rankings were derived from over 80 metrics including total electricity produced by clean-energy sources, hybrid vehicles on the road, and clean-energy venture and patent activity,” Buczynski reports.

And, as David Roberts writes at Grist, there is important work to be done at the local and regional level to both prepare for and prevent climate change. His preferred term for this challenge is “ruggedizing”—strengthening a community’s ability to respond to challenges brought on by climate change, such as flooding, droughts, or food shortages. The solutions to these problem, Roberts writes, often have the welcome side effect of decreasing carbon emissions, as well:

For instance, the residents of Brisbane are discovering that when disaster strikes, it’s not very handy to have everyone spread out all over the place and utterly dependent on cars to get anywhere. It’s more resilient to have people closer together, more able to walk or take shared transportation. It just so happens that also reduces vehicle emissions.

The advantage of this type of work—building the clean energy economy, ruggedizing communities—is that leaders don’t necessarily have to agree on the reality of climate change to move forward. But these are only partial solutions, and to address climate change on an international scale, the cranks will need to be quieted.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Breaking China--Legally

 

by Walter Brasch

 

        Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this past week has been met by both praise and political posturing. Hu, an intellectual with a strong sense of culture, hopes he is leading what he wishes to be "a Harmonious Society" with peaceful development. To that end, Hu said his government was prepared to “engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs” on human rights questions. Although it seems as if Hu is saying that he wants each nation to continue to conduct its business without interference, he also acknowledged that “A lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights."

           But, some politicians, apparently feeling a need to make sure their home base knows they aren't weak on Communism, have called him a dictator, gangster, and emperor. Very few have spoken out about American-owned companies downsizing and outsourcing everything to China from toys and clothing to book printing and building materials.

           Although China is the world's second largest economic power behind the U.S. and this country's largest creditor, there is no need to fear either its economy or its military power. It has already sown the seeds of its own destruction.

           In 1996, there were almost no lawyers in China. By 2000, there were 110,000. There are now almost 200,000.

           With a society of lawyers, China is likely to collapse. Let's take an example. Ling Chou is riding his bicycle on Chairman Mao Boulevard. He starts to turn left, but is hit by a bicycle being ridden by Chang Liu. Under the principles of Confucianism, before there were lawyers, the two would see if each other was hurt, help out if necessary, and apologize profusely. If a bicycle was dented, the other person would fix it. If there weren't injuries or dents, they would shake hands and go their own ways. With lawyers, you don't do that. Ling grabs his lawyers; Chang grabs his own lawyers. It takes six inches of paperwork, a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, and two, maybe three continuances before the case comes before a judge. Then there are the bailiffs, marshals, clerks, typists, stenographers, and court reporters. After a three-day trial—during which three doctors from each side testify, and get paid very well for their conflicting opinions about back injuries and mental trauma—the judge decides the case. The whole thing takes a year. Maybe two.

           Now, let's look at the criminal side of law. In the past, Chinese citizens could walk down any street late at night and wouldn't even worry about a "Boo!" Now, with lawyers, you have to have criminals. So, the crime statistics go up. More lawyers show up. Some to prosecute. Some to defend. Before lawyers, China had work camps. Now there will be guards and wardens and rehabilitative counselors and parole boards and committees for prisoner rights, followed by committees for victim rights.

           With everyone suing, defending themselves from criminals, or being criminals, the Chinese won't have time to sew cheap coats or launch any wars.

           However, in the past couple of years, President Hu's government has gotten wise to the proliferation of lawyers. The licensing tests have become harder—only about one-fifth of the applicants pass them; and the annual fees have increased significantly.

           This has caused even greater problems. When lawyers get tired of being lawyers, they become politicians, just as in the U.S. And, as in the U.S., it isn't scientists, social workers, teachers, and other decent people who are running our government. Imagine what will happen when the lawyers finally take over the Chinese government. In a country with four times America's population there will be four times as many mortgage crises scandals, four times as many morals scandals, and four times the number of self-serving statements that they weren't responsible for whatever it was that went wrong in the country.

           More important, there will no longer be just one Communist Party, but at least two, each one screaming at the other one, fighting meaningless battles, and filling radio, television, and the Internet with equally meaningless blather. It'll only be a short time until the lawyer-led political system paralyzes a 4,000-year-old civilization that has given us great literature, music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and the use of martial arts for peaceful reasons.

           With the rise of lawyers and political parties, even America's corporations wouldn't outsource their products to a nation like that—not for all the tea (parties) in China.

 

[Walter Brasch is a multiple award-winning humor and general/politics columnist in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, Pennsylvania Press Club, and Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. social issues columnist and He is the author of 17 books, most of which are available through amazon.com. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

Breaking China--Legally

 

by Walter Brasch

 

        Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this past week has been met by both praise and political posturing. Hu, an intellectual with a strong sense of culture, hopes he is leading what he wishes to be "a Harmonious Society" with peaceful development. To that end, Hu said his government was prepared to “engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs” on human rights questions. Although it seems as if Hu is saying that he wants each nation to continue to conduct its business without interference, he also acknowledged that “A lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights."

           But, some politicians, apparently feeling a need to make sure their home base knows they aren't weak on Communism, have called him a dictator, gangster, and emperor. Very few have spoken out about American-owned companies downsizing and outsourcing everything to China from toys and clothing to book printing and building materials.

           Although China is the world's second largest economic power behind the U.S. and this country's largest creditor, there is no need to fear either its economy or its military power. It has already sown the seeds of its own destruction.

           In 1996, there were almost no lawyers in China. By 2000, there were 110,000. There are now almost 200,000.

           With a society of lawyers, China is likely to collapse. Let's take an example. Ling Chou is riding his bicycle on Chairman Mao Boulevard. He starts to turn left, but is hit by a bicycle being ridden by Chang Liu. Under the principles of Confucianism, before there were lawyers, the two would see if each other was hurt, help out if necessary, and apologize profusely. If a bicycle was dented, the other person would fix it. If there weren't injuries or dents, they would shake hands and go their own ways. With lawyers, you don't do that. Ling grabs his lawyers; Chang grabs his own lawyers. It takes six inches of paperwork, a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, and two, maybe three continuances before the case comes before a judge. Then there are the bailiffs, marshals, clerks, typists, stenographers, and court reporters. After a three-day trial—during which three doctors from each side testify, and get paid very well for their conflicting opinions about back injuries and mental trauma—the judge decides the case. The whole thing takes a year. Maybe two.

           Now, let's look at the criminal side of law. In the past, Chinese citizens could walk down any street late at night and wouldn't even worry about a "Boo!" Now, with lawyers, you have to have criminals. So, the crime statistics go up. More lawyers show up. Some to prosecute. Some to defend. Before lawyers, China had work camps. Now there will be guards and wardens and rehabilitative counselors and parole boards and committees for prisoner rights, followed by committees for victim rights.

           With everyone suing, defending themselves from criminals, or being criminals, the Chinese won't have time to sew cheap coats or launch any wars.

           However, in the past couple of years, President Hu's government has gotten wise to the proliferation of lawyers. The licensing tests have become harder—only about one-fifth of the applicants pass them; and the annual fees have increased significantly.

           This has caused even greater problems. When lawyers get tired of being lawyers, they become politicians, just as in the U.S. And, as in the U.S., it isn't scientists, social workers, teachers, and other decent people who are running our government. Imagine what will happen when the lawyers finally take over the Chinese government. In a country with four times America's population there will be four times as many mortgage crises scandals, four times as many morals scandals, and four times the number of self-serving statements that they weren't responsible for whatever it was that went wrong in the country.

           More important, there will no longer be just one Communist Party, but at least two, each one screaming at the other one, fighting meaningless battles, and filling radio, television, and the Internet with equally meaningless blather. It'll only be a short time until the lawyer-led political system paralyzes a 4,000-year-old civilization that has given us great literature, music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and the use of martial arts for peaceful reasons.

           With the rise of lawyers and political parties, even America's corporations wouldn't outsource their products to a nation like that—not for all the tea (parties) in China.

 

[Walter Brasch is a multiple award-winning humor and general/politics columnist in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, Pennsylvania Press Club, and Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. social issues columnist and He is the author of 17 books, most of which are available through amazon.com. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

Breaking China--Legally

 

by Walter Brasch

 

        Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this past week has been met by both praise and political posturing. Hu, an intellectual with a strong sense of culture, hopes he is leading what he wishes to be "a Harmonious Society" with peaceful development. To that end, Hu said his government was prepared to “engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs” on human rights questions. Although it seems as if Hu is saying that he wants each nation to continue to conduct its business without interference, he also acknowledged that “A lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights."

           But, some politicians, apparently feeling a need to make sure their home base knows they aren't weak on Communism, have called him a dictator, gangster, and emperor. Very few have spoken out about American-owned companies downsizing and outsourcing everything to China from toys and clothing to book printing and building materials.

           Although China is the world's second largest economic power behind the U.S. and this country's largest creditor, there is no need to fear either its economy or its military power. It has already sown the seeds of its own destruction.

           In 1996, there were almost no lawyers in China. By 2000, there were 110,000. There are now almost 200,000.

           With a society of lawyers, China is likely to collapse. Let's take an example. Ling Chou is riding his bicycle on Chairman Mao Boulevard. He starts to turn left, but is hit by a bicycle being ridden by Chang Liu. Under the principles of Confucianism, before there were lawyers, the two would see if each other was hurt, help out if necessary, and apologize profusely. If a bicycle was dented, the other person would fix it. If there weren't injuries or dents, they would shake hands and go their own ways. With lawyers, you don't do that. Ling grabs his lawyers; Chang grabs his own lawyers. It takes six inches of paperwork, a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, and two, maybe three continuances before the case comes before a judge. Then there are the bailiffs, marshals, clerks, typists, stenographers, and court reporters. After a three-day trial—during which three doctors from each side testify, and get paid very well for their conflicting opinions about back injuries and mental trauma—the judge decides the case. The whole thing takes a year. Maybe two.

           Now, let's look at the criminal side of law. In the past, Chinese citizens could walk down any street late at night and wouldn't even worry about a "Boo!" Now, with lawyers, you have to have criminals. So, the crime statistics go up. More lawyers show up. Some to prosecute. Some to defend. Before lawyers, China had work camps. Now there will be guards and wardens and rehabilitative counselors and parole boards and committees for prisoner rights, followed by committees for victim rights.

           With everyone suing, defending themselves from criminals, or being criminals, the Chinese won't have time to sew cheap coats or launch any wars.

           However, in the past couple of years, President Hu's government has gotten wise to the proliferation of lawyers. The licensing tests have become harder—only about one-fifth of the applicants pass them; and the annual fees have increased significantly.

           This has caused even greater problems. When lawyers get tired of being lawyers, they become politicians, just as in the U.S. And, as in the U.S., it isn't scientists, social workers, teachers, and other decent people who are running our government. Imagine what will happen when the lawyers finally take over the Chinese government. In a country with four times America's population there will be four times as many mortgage crises scandals, four times as many morals scandals, and four times the number of self-serving statements that they weren't responsible for whatever it was that went wrong in the country.

           More important, there will no longer be just one Communist Party, but at least two, each one screaming at the other one, fighting meaningless battles, and filling radio, television, and the Internet with equally meaningless blather. It'll only be a short time until the lawyer-led political system paralyzes a 4,000-year-old civilization that has given us great literature, music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and the use of martial arts for peaceful reasons.

           With the rise of lawyers and political parties, even America's corporations wouldn't outsource their products to a nation like that—not for all the tea (parties) in China.

 

[Walter Brasch is a multiple award-winning humor and general/politics columnist in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, Pennsylvania Press Club, and Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. social issues columnist and He is the author of 17 books, most of which are available through amazon.com. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

Breaking China--Legally

 

by Walter Brasch

 

        Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States this past week has been met by both praise and political posturing. Hu, an intellectual with a strong sense of culture, hopes he is leading what he wishes to be "a Harmonious Society" with peaceful development. To that end, Hu said his government was prepared to “engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of noninterference in each other's internal affairs” on human rights questions. Although it seems as if Hu is saying that he wants each nation to continue to conduct its business without interference, he also acknowledged that “A lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights."

           But, some politicians, apparently feeling a need to make sure their home base knows they aren't weak on Communism, have called him a dictator, gangster, and emperor. Very few have spoken out about American-owned companies downsizing and outsourcing everything to China from toys and clothing to book printing and building materials.

           Although China is the world's second largest economic power behind the U.S. and this country's largest creditor, there is no need to fear either its economy or its military power. It has already sown the seeds of its own destruction.

           In 1996, there were almost no lawyers in China. By 2000, there were 110,000. There are now almost 200,000.

           With a society of lawyers, China is likely to collapse. Let's take an example. Ling Chou is riding his bicycle on Chairman Mao Boulevard. He starts to turn left, but is hit by a bicycle being ridden by Chang Liu. Under the principles of Confucianism, before there were lawyers, the two would see if each other was hurt, help out if necessary, and apologize profusely. If a bicycle was dented, the other person would fix it. If there weren't injuries or dents, they would shake hands and go their own ways. With lawyers, you don't do that. Ling grabs his lawyers; Chang grabs his own lawyers. It takes six inches of paperwork, a preliminary hearing before a magistrate, and two, maybe three continuances before the case comes before a judge. Then there are the bailiffs, marshals, clerks, typists, stenographers, and court reporters. After a three-day trial—during which three doctors from each side testify, and get paid very well for their conflicting opinions about back injuries and mental trauma—the judge decides the case. The whole thing takes a year. Maybe two.

           Now, let's look at the criminal side of law. In the past, Chinese citizens could walk down any street late at night and wouldn't even worry about a "Boo!" Now, with lawyers, you have to have criminals. So, the crime statistics go up. More lawyers show up. Some to prosecute. Some to defend. Before lawyers, China had work camps. Now there will be guards and wardens and rehabilitative counselors and parole boards and committees for prisoner rights, followed by committees for victim rights.

           With everyone suing, defending themselves from criminals, or being criminals, the Chinese won't have time to sew cheap coats or launch any wars.

           However, in the past couple of years, President Hu's government has gotten wise to the proliferation of lawyers. The licensing tests have become harder—only about one-fifth of the applicants pass them; and the annual fees have increased significantly.

           This has caused even greater problems. When lawyers get tired of being lawyers, they become politicians, just as in the U.S. And, as in the U.S., it isn't scientists, social workers, teachers, and other decent people who are running our government. Imagine what will happen when the lawyers finally take over the Chinese government. In a country with four times America's population there will be four times as many mortgage crises scandals, four times as many morals scandals, and four times the number of self-serving statements that they weren't responsible for whatever it was that went wrong in the country.

           More important, there will no longer be just one Communist Party, but at least two, each one screaming at the other one, fighting meaningless battles, and filling radio, television, and the Internet with equally meaningless blather. It'll only be a short time until the lawyer-led political system paralyzes a 4,000-year-old civilization that has given us great literature, music, sculpture, fashion, architecture, cuisine, and the use of martial arts for peaceful reasons.

           With the rise of lawyers and political parties, even America's corporations wouldn't outsource their products to a nation like that—not for all the tea (parties) in China.

 

[Walter Brasch is a multiple award-winning humor and general/politics columnist in competition sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Society of Professional Journalists, National Federation of Press Women, Pennsylvania Press Club, and Pennsylvania Women's Press Association. social issues columnist and He is the author of 17 books, most of which are available through amazon.com. You may contact him at walterbrasch@gmail.com]

 

 

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