In the same week the UN reported that for the first time ever, developing countries are leading in yearly investment in clean energy, (about $72 billion in spending in 2010, versus $70 billion in rich countries), Republicans in the U.S. congress want to repeal legislation on state and municipal rights to set efficiency standards for light bulbs that would reportedly save consumers $12 billion a year.
Why would Americans want to save money and do something simple to become more energy efficient? Let’s let China, India, and Brazil do it. If our “leaders” have their way, we’ll be paying through the nose for dirty energy that is becoming increasingly scarce instead of becoming more energy efficient and investing more in renewables. There is a reason why coal, oil, and natural gas are called non-renewable resources.
And which congressman is leading the charge against efficient incandescent bulbs? Rep. Joe Barton, who you may remember so humbly apologized to BP about how the company was treated after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Just keep kowtowing to the oil companies and supporting oil dependency instead of looking for ways to make our lives, communities and environment better. And that goes for the Obama Administration too.
We will get there eventually, but probably to the detriment of U.S. entrepreneurs, companies, and citizens. In India, local companies are tapping into unmet power needs and abundant sunshine to bring off-grid power to rural villagers who are tired of being subjected to power cuts at all hours of the day. The Indian government is investing in solar and renewables, launching its National Solar Mission in 2008 with a goal of 200 megawatts of off-grid solar power. You can read more about solar and rural Indian villages in this AP article. It also mentions the “Light a Billion Lives” campaign, which strives to bring 200 million solar-powered lanterns to rural homes, most of which rely on kerosene and paraffin lanterns to light their homes, and is a threat to health and environment.
Today India relies predominantly on coal, yet many of its leaders and decision-makers seem to understand that the future is in renewable energy. Who’s for sending Joe Barton and a majority of our elected officials to rural India to see how investment in renewables and energy efficiency can provide a big pay-off?