The Dems Are Here Again

The Democrats now rule the congress and the Senate. At least for now. The Dems rode a wave of discontent to a majority in the congress, and a very slight advantage in the Senate. Now the real bickering will start. Unfortunately the victory, be it satisfying for the Dems, after being the minority party for the last twelve years, nevertheless does not amount to a general referendum on the principles of the softer party. I think the democrats likely know this(at least the wise ones do) and are seemingly eager to communicate and cooperate with those who lean somewhat to the right of the average Dem politician. I believe bitter experience at the poles has certainly been a great teacher of humility for the Democratic party over the past twelve years. Or rather I would hope so.

So what does this do for Global Warming? Well the real big issue on the table is alternative fuel. Yes I know that some in the democratic party who are especially active in environmental issues will want desperately to start a bonnified green revolution as quickly as possible, but the truth is that such a revolution is not really in the cards. We cannot afford a significant transformation to wind and solar power just yet, and hydrogen fuel technology is still two decades away from an efficient implementation. So what does that leave? OOPS, the dirty N-Word of alternative energy: Nuclear Power.

Unfortunately, be it the case that Nuclear power is quite ready for use, and would have an immediate impact on greenhouse emissions, the political problems surrounding its use are festering even before any serious discussion can begin, and political situations like those in Iran and Korea cannot make things any easier. The Democrats are not likely to embrace this rather nasty yet quite efficient alternative fuel, but will rather opt for the altruistic ideology of wind and solar power instead, even though there is little evidence that these systems can contribute anything significant to the general cause of reducing Greenhouse emissions just yet due to the paucity of power output that is actually available in these systems. To be sure some headway should definitely be made using these “green” alternatives, but implementation will be slow and will take decades, if not a century. Nuclear power can take decades itself, but it can significantly reduce emissions very quickly. So what is the outlook? I personally do not believe that Nuclear power will be used to solve our problems in the next two years, and I don’t believe that any other source of energy is quite ready to be used to replace oil. Even if the Dems should wish to comply with the Kyoto agreement, the President is not likely to sign on. In the end it doesn’t really look too good for Greenhouse gasses, but we cant rule out some small gains here and there. Certainly there is political pressure to reduce dependency on foreign oil and though the Republicans will resist this effort, the dems may still try to score some points in that direction.

The worst thing the Dems can do is to begin taxing the average person in some sort of gas tax maneuver. This will hurt them in the 2008 elections, and may well reverse the balance of power in two years again. The Democrats’ best bet is to go after the energy companies that can afford some cajoling in the right direction. Giving the oil companies some breaks on taxes may seem to be the stupidest thing ever suggested, but in fact it may have some positive effects. Too too often the democrats have failed to see the value of the stick, and the carrot. There are some efforts that may require some extra taxing. For the democrats, however, the tendency is to tax the wrong people, or the wrong institutions which all too often has resulted in direct popular backlashes, or adverse effects on the national and local economies. However giving corporations even rich corporations like the oil companies an alternative to taxing in the form of incentives to avoid the heaviest levies may induce these companies to apply some of their capital to moving away from oil. It is quite certain that the oil companies understand that oil is not going to last forever, and getting into the alternative market which itself may be extremely lucrative can be in the best interest of the big oil corporations after all. However, confronting all these corporations with nothing but taxes that will ultimately stagnate the economy may lead to unwanted results for the Democrats. Avoiding such pitfalls may well be the real objective of democratic leaders for the next two years. If they can avoid being the fall guy in the next two years, and if they manage some small gains in the right direction there is a good chance that the dems might well continue to advance in the year 2008, and this may lead to some significant results in the battle against global warming from 2009 onwards.

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