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Thomas Friedman et al. April 14, 2009

Posted by Afflatus in Energy, World Affairs.

This morning I read Thomas Friedman’s article in the Sunday New York Times. He explains how Costa Rica has radically changed their energy policy, and is now gets 95% of their energy from renewable sources. It reminded me of one of his past articles where he essentially says the same thing vis-a-vis Denmark.

Similar articles appear regularly in the New York Times: they detail the more sustainable energy policies of other countries around the world. For good measure here is another that has stuck with me ever since I read it. It explains how the Irish government placed a tax on using plastic bags at a grocery store (as opposed to reusable cloth bags). This tax totally changed the culture surrounding plastic bag usuage, to the point where someone walking home with their groceries in a plastic bag would be glared at repeatedly.

So Ireland, Denmark, and Costa Rica all have superior – more sustainable – energy policies than the United States. What is the problem? Why can we not make drastic changes like them?

Is our country too big? Is there not enough public support here? Are not enough ordinary Americans willing to sacrifice (i.e. pay) to save the environment? Has the Right shifted the political spectrum as a whole to the right?

It is probably a combination of all of the above. Any thoughts? I do want to emphasize the last point: President Sarkozy, a center-right politician in France, would be called “a socialist” by most of the Republican party here. Sad isn’t it?


1. jflack4prez - April 14, 2009

I want to be clear that I am only upset with conservatives for attempting to label many liberal politicians as “socialist” who are nothing of the sort. They are still strongly in favor of a market-based economy.

In regards to their shifting of the political spectrum as a whole to the right, I wish it hadn’t happened, but I can’t blame them: that’s called being successful as a Party. I wish the Democratic Party, of which I am not necessarily a part, would do the same.

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