In the 2012 election season, the usual political platitudes once again substituted for serious discussion about our future. Several people said this quite well in the run-up to the balloting that returned President Obama to office.
Denis Hayes, Earth Day co-founder and former leader of the Solar Energy Research Institute, said this in the Seattle Times:
Utterly lost amid the arguments about unemployment rates, housing starts, and automobile sales are a raft of critical global issues that should be on a president’s desk. As an environmentalist, I’d like to hear a thoughtful discussion about how to use, and constrain, the power our corporations have acquired to change the face of the planet.
We are causing huge, planet-wide disruptions in the carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle and the hydrological cycle. We are radically accelerating natural processes of erosion and introducing hormone-like chemicals into even the most remote niches of the planet. We are blowing the tops off coal-bearing mountains; decimating tropical rain forests; swiftly acidifying the oceans; creating enormous “dead zones” at the mouths of major rivers; and producing an epidemic of extinction among the world’s wild vertebrates. These issues were barely mentioned in the presidential and our state’s gubernatorial debates.
There was very little debate over tax incentives, as former Congressman Berkeley Bedell noted:
With Republican Mitt Romney advocating an end to the current tax incentive for wind energy, investors are reluctant to make the investment in wind generators, not knowing whether or not that tax incentive will continue. That tax benefit needs to be renewed not just for a year, but for at least four years to give investors confidence that their investment will not be subject to the votes of short sighted politicians.