Saturday, January 10, 2009

Crist "overjoyed" at latest environmental victory

The St. Petersburg Times has the skinny on a big step for Governor Charlie Crist's "20 by 2020" program.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday won an important victory in his plans to slash Florida's greenhouse gas emissions and boost renewable energy.

The Florida Public Service Commission unanimously agreed to require the state's utilities to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2020, resisting industry efforts to weaken Crist's goal. The vote sets the agenda for state legislators, who will have the final say later this year.

"That's great!" Crist said, when told about the targets Friday evening in Miami. "I am overjoyed. I praise their courage."

Two comments. One, the only green people seem to care about right now is $. There's the old Samuel Johnson quote about the prospect of death working wonders to concentrate a man's mind. Well, the same thing with debt.

More to the point, skeptical environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg has noted:

The main environmental challenge of the 21st century is poverty. When you don't know where your next meal is coming from, it's hard to consider the environment 100 years down the line. When your kids are starving, you will slash-and-burn the rain forest; when you're rich, you'll be a Web designer and vote green.

(Ea.) Two, even some environmentalists aren't crazy about Crist's "20 by 2020" program. Writing in yesterday's Orlando Sentinel, Mike Thomas calls the plan "very expensive pixie dust".

Wind power can be even more whimsical than the sun.

Look at it this way. Would you feel comfortable with your hospital ventilator plugged into a windmill or a solar cell? Or would you prefer a nuke or coal plant?

It depends. If my ventilator kept me alive, would I have to watch Benjamin Button again?