Part 1. Climate and Energy Series Last month, former Massey Energy Company CEO Don Blankenship went on trial in West Virginia for the explosion that killed 29 coal miners and laid bare years of safety and environmental violations. Last week, President Obama nixed the Keystone pipeline; while New York’s attorney general subpoenaed ExxonMobil to determine whether the company lied to the public about the impact of its activities on the climate and misled its shareholders about the value of their investment.
Several entwined but separate issues are involved. One is the risks posed by climate change and the most effective responses to deal with them. A second is the risks posed by the use of fossil fuels (particularly coal, which remains the world’s fastest growing source of energy), whether and how to curb our dependence on them, and what to replace them with. Finally, is alleged corporate misconduct and our comfort level with the influence large oil and coal companies have on public policy.
I’d like to start a new series, an interactive one, in which we collectively seek to define the issues and, more importantly, propose solutions. These matters have become so politicized across the spectrum that the search for solutions is lost in the noise of partisan intransigence.
I welcome your thoughts and ideas as the series progresses. Please send them to me, and I will edit them for length and post them (anonymously or not, as you wish). Most of us aren’t experts, but maybe we can make a contribution to a critical public debate.