Don't Forget to Budget for Oxygen

By Maris Abelson | Our Voice Contributor

Trump, we are redeclaring our rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You have tweeted that global warming was “invented by the Chinese“, is “nonsense”, and is “a hoax”. Aside from your flat Earth rejection of what 97% of scientists consider true, your proposed budget cuts based on this pseudoscience are a direct threat to our existence.

While European countries are working toward cleaner air, water and a sustainable planet, American policy is about to reenter the Dark Ages of regulation when people died of black lung, cancer and poisoned water. Is that your vision of making America “great again”?

Over half of the earth’s oxygen comes from ocean phytoplankton, which are now dying as a result of global warming. In fact, rising ocean temperatures have already killed off 40% of the phytoplankton we had in 1950. Rising global temperatures are also creating massive fires and widespread tree die-offs. Forests worldwide are at risk, and therefore, so are we.

You can’t “make a deal” with oxygen. Let us enlighten you a little:

There is enough wind power potential in three states to power the entire country. So, if you consider the National Academies of Sciences a trustworthy source, we are energy-wealthy. The U.S. currently generates 4,066 Terawatt hours of electricity. Our wind potential in Texas, Kansas and Nebraska alone would create four times more energy than that. In fact, let’s do some math and add up how much wind power our sixteen windiest Midwest states can generate: It’s a huuuge number = 56,700 Terawatts of electricity. That’s 14 times more energy than we currently generate per year.

Guess what? Our solar energy potential is 400,000 Terawatts! That’s also a big league increase (almost 100 times more) from what we currently generate with our outdated, polluting power plants.

If we used the $17 billion in annual tax breaks we’ve been giving to the fossil fuel industry, we’d be well on our way to becoming 100% renewable.

You want a state by state plan?

The Stanford Solutions Project breaks down how each state can become 100% renewable, based on its geographic energy potential. Did you know that 75% of NY State’s energy needs could come from wind and solar? You wouldn’t have to worry about crusty old Indian Point nuclear plant melting down and making NYC unlivable.

West Virginia and Kentucky are prime solar market states. You’ve talked about bringing jobs there and to other coal states. Coal jobs currently represent only 2.7 percent of employment in West Virginia. However, both states have an immense amount of solar potential.

Your budget would eliminate the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state venture partnership for renewable energy production and job training for unemployed coal miners. Why would you do that? If you don’t cut them, existing federal programs in the region will continue to provide green jobs and training for veterans and the unemployed.

It’s simple. We invest in an energy sector that can save us, and create decent jobs. Anything else denies us our constitutional rights, and our children’s rights to a future on this planet.