The Non-Solutions to the Climate Crisis

Future Hope column, Dec. 16, 2007

By Ted Glick

Word is that leadership in the House and Senate—meaning, in particular, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid—have agreed that there will be close to $40 billion in loan guarantees for nuclear power, coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas in the huge $520 billion or so omnibus spending bill for 2008.

Along with corn-based ethanol, nuclear power and non-existent “clean coal” are the three major “solutions” to the climate crisis that most Republicans and too many Democrats see as the way out of the climate crisis. They’re not, and that’s why lots of people need to be making calls THIS MONDAY December 17th, Tuesday at the latest, to Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s office to ask if the reports of $40 billion in loan guarantees for coal and nukes are true.

It’s important to call Monday or as soon as possible because voting on this bill could happen as early as Monday afternoon.

They should be flooded with calls and faxes. They should understand that we haven’t taken off for holiday vacation yet. We continue to watch and act as necessary to demand that our tax money be used not for continued war in Iraq and non-solutions to the climate crisis but for peace and what our threatened ecosystem desperately needs—tens of billions of dollars each year for energy conservation and energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. We want that money being wasted to kill and destroy used in a positive way here at home!

House Speaker Pelosi’s phone number is 202-225-0100, and the fax is 202-225-4188.

Senate Majority Leader Reid’s phone number is 202-224-3542, and the fax is 202-224-7327.

The message is simple: no money or loan guarantees for nukes or coal-to-oil or coal-to-gas in the omnibus spending bill, and we’re watching!

And be sure to call your Senators and Congresspeople too with the same message. The general Capitol Hill switchboard number is 202-224-3121.

Nukes, coal and corn-based ethanol—what do they have in common?

The primary commonality is that they are all sources of energy that cannot be produced for human use without the involvement of powerful corporate interests. Ethanol-producing plants are owned by corporations like ADM. And you can’t mine coal or set up a mini-nuke plant in your backyard.

Saving energy and making consumer choices that make our use of energy more efficient, on the other hand, is something that we can have some control over. Similarly, once the initial work is done to put the solar panels on a roof or the geothermal system under the ground, or even a windmill or two or three in a neighborhood or town, the potential exists for long-term, lower-cost, local self-sufficiency in energy production. And guess who won’t be making anywhere near as much in profits?

That’s the thing about this clean energy revolution that just keeps building and building, not far enough and fast enough yet but getting there. More and more of us are seeing how this shift to clean and safe renewable energy sources could be tremendously empowering for local communities, for the countries of the Global South. It could accelerate significantly the kind of economic development and personal and community empowerment that helps to erode and undercut the empire-builders and imperialists who currently rule over us.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to feel the heat from those of us who understand that this struggle for a clean energy revolution isn’t just about saving the polar bears and the thousands of species threatened with extinction. It isn’t just about getting off of Middle East oil, extricating the U.S. from a region of the world where our attempts to dominate it have led to blow-back in the form of Al Qaeda terrorism. And it isn’t just about creating millions of new jobs as we weatherize, rewire, produce and install on a massive scale.

It’s about bringing power to the people. Power in the form of clean energy, and political power over our government as we get rid of the stranglehold over it by unaccountable and destructive mega-corporations.

Let’s make those calls on Monday!

Ted Glick is on the 104th day of a Climate Emergency Fast ( He can be reached at