Tuesday, June 19, 2012

EndFossilFuelSubsidies is an example of how to lose the public

We really need to get off fossil fuels and make changes to how we do business at many levels. But, this does not mean we need to engage in extremist activities. Some of the measures being pushed by extremists would not only do as much damage as what we are currently doing, but they alienate a large part of the public as well.

An example of this is the activist group known as EndFossilFuelSubsidies. I am in favor of this, but we need to be careful of how we go about doing it. There is this perception that we can just take some action and it will fix things. For instance, many people think that we can just stop using coal-fired power plants. No,we can't. The cost of replacing those plants will be enormous. That cost will be passed on to the customers. This would mean that people who are just barely getting by would suddenly see their electricity bills surge. Also, products made with that electricity would become more expensive, meaning that fewer products would be produced (or, they might just be replaced with imports) and that would mean layoffs. If we get rid of the coal-fired power plants we need to do it over a period of time. And, we must examine the alternatives. They can be just as bad, or even worse.

We need to make changes, but we must also win the public opinion battle. Extremist proposals won't do it.

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