We need to transition to renewable energy. Anyone with a sense of stewardship should be able to see this. At some point we will exhaust our fossil fuels. Using them until they are gone and going with Oops, we need something else is the worst of management.
Likewise, shutting down production and obstructing transport of fossil fuels or diverting it to more expensive modes of transport is likewise the worst of management.
Change management professionals know that when there is a forced change, there must be a safe landing area. That landing area must be in the target area for the change. There can be no safe landing going back.
The problem is that if the safe landing area is too far away or unreachable, chaos ensues. No place is safe.
Let’s say we need to transition from fossil fuels (mainly oil and gas) to other forms of energy (solar, wind, nuclear, etc.). A comfortable transition might take 50 years, and likely won’t happen within that time frame because it’s unforced and doing nothing different is comfortable. Those 50 years will become 100 without some outside force acting upon the energy production system.
A super-fast transition would be 20 years, and such a short time frame (this is a short time on a national and governmental scale) would come with recurring disruptions. The solution obviously is somewhere in between.
So, we would target 25 years and gauge success by most sources being converted in 35 years. Considering the inefficiency and self-serving nature of government (ask ‘who profits’ by shutting down the pipeline), 40 years is the most likely target date that we might reasonably achieve without self-destruction.
What does that mean in practical terms?
Build the Keystone Pipeline. It will have 20-30 years of service life before the transition to other energy forms is complete and will help us maintain energy independence.
Provide some government incentives for renewable energy. Solar and wind have been with us enough that they stand or fall on their own. Their subsidies should become less each year.
Reward the innovators not the scammers with government money for energy production that shows both promise and affordability. New energy sources that can transition to something that will prevail in the marketplace is essential.
If we really want to go green—and that wasn’t a bad thing until it was pushed to absurdity—then let’s set aggressive—not impossible—targets and have a compliance range that goes a little beyond the target. In government, that 10 years.
So, let’s target 2050 as a renewable energy source date and consider having 75% of our energy coming from renewable sources by 2060 a victory.
We don’t have to kill the nation to accomplish this. The 2050-2060 decade as a safe landing area is doable and we can skip much of the chaos being imposed by this most recent administration.
We can go green and build the pipeline without dissonance. The surgeon doesn’t stop the heart to do a kidney transplant so there will be less bleeding. A successful transplant in a dead patient is ridiculous.
A representative government set upon the course of serving the nation and its people can make this transition. A government set on retaining power, profiting at the expense of the electorate, and living high on the hog disconnected from the people they should represent, will continue to play the shell game with manufactured crises so you forget what you sent them to Washington to do in the first place.
We can get better without destroying ourselves but we may have to cut out the cancer in our government first.
Smart, dedicated, and unselfish public servants can accomplish this transition. We should settle for nothing less.