Congress completely solves energy crisis in mere days since elections

Dr. Even T. Ually, the prominent Washington environmental scientist, announced an agreement reached today between the House and the Senate that has wide-ranging impact on global climate change and domestic energy production.

Leaders from both branches will soon employ a new scientific technique that harnesses gasses emitted during the creation of the Congressional Record, a process that traps the carbon emitted and sends it to congressional bunkers for underground conversion to electricity.

“At its peak, the Congressional Record represents some  40,000 pages a year of verbatim coverage of, among other things, the 4,175 recently introduced bits of legislation recorded in the Record,” noted Dr. Ually. “The volume of gas it takes for that much speech equals enough carbon production to cut fossil fuel imports for years. We can now rely entirely on domestic production.”

The ability to trap Congressional gasses came as a result of a scientific breakthrough which transforms carbon emissions from human speech into DC electrical energy.

“Global human respiration accounts for about 8% of all man-made CO2 emissions as noted by the EPA,” said Dr. Ually, “but of course we would not consider the congressional wisdom captured in the Congressional Record as a pollutant. Nevertheless, this new ability to convert Congressional emissions into electricity means Americans can be assured of a never-ending supply of the new energy.”

Dr. Ually further noted that a study was underway to compare the verbal output of reelected officials to Freshmen Congressmen and woman, pointing out that preliminary laboratory results suggest a direct relationship between a representatives’ years in Congress and his or her ability to fill the Congressional Record with future energy.

“That’s good news,” Dr. Ually noted, “because in the long run, the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United will keep the most loquacious representatives in Congress for ages, insuring our reserve of gas-based electricity.

The energy crisis solved, Congress is moving smartly on to the deficit.

The green war ahead

Nobody said it would be easy, but the E.P.A. has taken on a powerful adversary in its effort to get industry to go public with data on hydro fluorocarbon emissions.  Efforts to get the facts out have set loose the lobbying mercenaries of the oil producers and refiners, steel companies and the aluminum manufacturers who argue collectively that it’s enough for the public to know that emissions are a problem; but that there’s no need to go public with specific data on the actual amounts of greenhouse gasses shed.

Industry insists such detailed disclosures give away company secrets and telegraph the specifics of internal plant operations to competitors. They oppose the E.P.A. proposal to make public the underlying data used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions. Unsaid but obvious is that they balk at providing specifics on heat trapping gases because it arms E.P.A. efforts to make industry mitigate CO2 pollution, efforts that come with complex rules and costly procedures.

As the battle forces take their positions, industry lobbyists gulp coffee and work the phones late to block what the E.P.A itself has described as some of the most ambitious regulatory controls in history. Most importantly, it’s expected that the EPA will declare CO2 a pollutant that is dangerous to the public health, a declaration leading to a matrix of regulations that industry will spend millions to avoid.

It’s coming down to a choice seen by heavy industry as the lesser of two dreaded evils.  Either the EPA is going to be a CO2 emissions watchdog with strict regulatory standards and the power to oversee industrial production; or, industry will have to accept congressional legislation, likely to produce a carbon cap system. While wanting neither, forced to the wall industry will prefer to deal with congress, knowing legislators will respond to their lobbyists while the E.P.A. will not.

In the strange bedfellows department, heavy industry and the Obama administration curiously will be allies as the drama unfolds. The Obama administration prefers a congressional solution with cap and trade legislation, thereby sharing the political liability with Congress. Watch for the Obama team to wave the scenario of an expanded E.P.A. regulatory bureaucracy like a red flag, as a means of encouraging coal, oil, and heavy industries to accept a cap and trade system.

In either case, full disclosure of emissions details belongs in the public record. The sin of omission merely delays the inevitable.

Green jobs are not the wave of the future.

Growing green jobs

Suppose you are asked:

“Who sells more, the U.S. car industry or the American recycling industry?”

You’ll say the auto industry, and you’d be right – but surprisingly you’re not right by much. U.S. recycling sales in 2009 totaled $236 billion while auto industry sales totaled $250 billion.

As a growth industry, sales charts reveal recycling’s steady, predictable growth compared to the auto industry’s roller coaster history. It’s a less bumpy ride

Staying with our comparison, recycling will outpace auto industry sales before the end of the next decade, because of these market realities:

•  It is less costly to manufacture using recycled materials than to produce them from virgin metals, woods or plastics
•  The carbon impact of producing from recycled materials is significantly lower
Quick example: if we recycle three quarters of the aluminum cans we toss out, we reduce carbon emissions by 11.8 million metric tons compared with producing those same cans from virgin aluminum.
•  Recycling slows the depletion of Earth’s rapidly dwindling resources
•  Manufacturing from recycled materials uses considerably less precious water to make the same product, like paper for example.
But the real dynamo driving green growth has to do with what’s on everyone’s tongue this political season: jobs, jobs and jobs. In this context, the green job scene has exploded. Very quietly. 1.1 million Americans have jobs in the recycling industry, which itself is only a small part of green-related commerce.

What’s happening with green jobs gets clearer if we take a vertical micro-slice of green jobs in a single state, using Massachusetts as our example.

For the year 2009, according to the Massachusetts Recycling Coalition, 1,437 recycling and reuse firms operated in the commonwealth state. These firms produced $3.5 billion in sales, creating tons, so to speak, of jobs. They paid 19,445 workers a total $577 million in salaries.
How about tax contributions?
Glad you asked. The state collected $64 million from recycle and reuse businesses.
Peering deeper, there are four major categories within the recycling industry and if you look at the relative contribution of each to Massachusetts last year, the sectors breakout as follows:
  • Collection and reprocessing businesses had sales of $923 million and salaries of $142 million, paid to 4,642 employees.
  • Manufacturing from collected recycled raw materials employed 10,120 people with a payroll of $330 million. This sector raked in sales of over $2.1 billion.
  • Reuse and refurbishing manufacturing had sales of $342 million, employing 3,443 people and a $67 million payroll
  • Consulting, engineering, brokering and other support jobs rang up $535 million in sales and accounted for 3,397 jobs.
Multiply the Massachusetts picture by 50 states and even the most curmudgeonly green-shade legislator has to reconsider green growth legislation, if not for moral reasons then simply because green means more jobs for the state. Big time.
Visit My Green Mind for more on the politics of green.