Americans of a certain age and predilection often like to say things just to be provocative. I am about to say something provocative, and I want to reassure you that it is not because I am trying to be provocative. It is because I am, at the end of the day, very old-fashioned.
So here it is: I love Robert Moses. I think neighborhoods like the one above, the ones he got built, are awesome. I know, I grew up in ‘em. It was a muscly ambitious society what threw up these buildings 5 years before I was born. It is a sad thing for the environment that we no longer build stuff like this.
Robert Moses, he got stuff built.
Which brings us to California and the future of the planet. The great state of California recently approved no less than nine solar-thermal power plants. They would produce collectively 4.2 gigawatts of power, or 4% of the state’s total generating capacity. Keep that up for twenty years, in a place that gets as much sun as regularly as the Mohave desert, and you could shove aside a big chunk of natural gas. I am a fan of natural gas when the alternative is coal or freezing in the dark; in the Golden State, the alternative is sunpower. The Schwarzenegger Administration set the stage with its energy laws, and the Bush Administration helped the goal along when it opened federal lands to development on 2006. (When the opposition does good things, I give credit, and the energy policy of the second Bush Administration was nothing less than a big improvement on the status quo.)
But ... now come the lawsuits. Protection of protected species. “Impacts to Native American culture.” The Sierra Club and the Cuña de Aztlán Sacred Sites Protection Circle Advisory Committee united with the Tea Party people to keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. The Sierra Club worries about Calico project and the desert tortoise. La Cuña de Aztlán fears for the impact of the Imperial Valley project on the Quechan tribe’s origin story. The Tea Party all the projects because they hate subsidies. There are reasonable worries over the Genesis Project’s diversion of Colorado River water ... or they would be reasonable if the way we currently use the river made any damn sense.
I cannot sum up my hostile reaction to the anti-solar opposition inside the American political spectrum. Where is our Robert Moses? Anyway, attempts to talk me down would be very welcome. Tell me why I shouldn’t be angry at these people.