[Marxism] [Pen-l] Price Fossil Fuels Out of the Market--economic common sense from China!

Shane Mage shmage at pipeline.com
Sat Nov 16 11:55:59 MST 2013

(Note: this is reposted from the NYT op-ed page)

On Nov 16, 2013, at 1:46 PM, Shane Mage wrote:

> Zhao Zhong, a former nuclear engineer at the Chinese Academy of  
> Sciences, is the China program coordinator at Pacific Environment,  
> an environmental group.
> I agree that we should move away from our dependence on greenhouse  
> gas-emitting fossil fuels at a faster pace and find replacements for  
> our energy needs at magnitudes much greater than current expectations.
> Championing one technology, though, is a distraction. There’s little  
> to be gained in engaging folks in a “solar versus nuclear” battle.
> The single most important thing we must do is place a high price, or  
> a strict cap, on carbon emissions to make fossil fuel energy less  
> attractive when compared to other energy sources. We are at the  
> beginning stages of capping coal in China but much more needs to be  
> done. If we price coal and other fossil fuels to capture their true  
> costs, it will immediately make all the alternatives to fossil fuels  
> more competitive and drive innovations in the clean energy sector.
> In China there is huge room for growth in energy efficiency, solar  
> and wind. Nuclear might have a role too, but I predict that it will  
> be more limited than what these climate scientists were suggesting  
> in their recent appeal.
> Nuclear has problems. To many of us in China and nearby regions, the  
> Fukushima accident was a huge wake-up call on the dangers of nuclear  
> power. First it set off a panic about food safety as millions rushed  
> to grocery stores to buy salt, which helps to prevent illnesses  
> associated with radiation. But more important, we realized that  
> nuclear power creates serious environmental justice burdens: nearby  
> communities face hugely disproportionate risks from a nuclear  
> catastrophe. Nuclear energy itself is also not as low carbon as  
> people think when you factor in true lifecycle costs, including  
> mining uranium.
> I’d rather see our society focus on new technologies and policy  
> incentives that promote the many safer, truly clean forms of energy.  
> But it all starts with pricing fossil fuels out of the market.  
> That’s the first step and the most important one.

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