Sunday Night Owls: Something else that needs Operation Warp Speed—the climate crisis

Sunday Night Owls: Something else that needs Operation Warp Speed—the climate crisis

Night Owls is a themed open thread appearing at Daily Kos seven days a week.

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Clive Thompson at Wired writes—Climate Change Needs an Operation Warp SpeedIf the COVID-19 vaccine push has proved anything, it’s that big government works.

IN THE DISMAL early days of the pandemic, a vaccine seemed depressingly far off. Historically, the average time to develop a new vaccine was 10 years—far too long for our current emergency. But then something happened to shift things into overdrive: serious government action.

The White House and Congress created Operation Warp Speed and started plowing some $18 billion into it. The feds authorized huge, multibillion-dollar preorders for vaccines, and with such a large guaranteed market, pharmaceuticals moved into high gear. The government also threw its logistical know-how at the hellish challenge of distributing the vaccines. Scientifically, of course, we were prepared and lucky. Genetic sequencing was advanced and speedy, and scientists cooperated globally. But it was the critical push from governments (the US and others) that propelled the fastest vaccine mobilization in history.

It’s also an object lesson for our troubled time: When you’re facing a world-threatening crisis, there’s no substitute for government leadership.

This is worth reflecting on, because we’re surrounded by existential threats. Principally, climate change. The scale of the problem is massive.
So is the answer: Operation Warp Speed for climate.
The US government should throw its muscle behind ramping up a mammoth, rapid rollout of all forms of renewable energy. That includes the ones we already know how to build—like solar and wind—but also experimental emerging sources like geothermal and small nuclear, and cutting-edge forms of energy storage or transmission. It’s not as if the feds have done nothing on renewables; tax credits for solar are partly why adoption is up and the price is down. But compared to the terrifying scale of the problem, the spending has been chump change. For the past 40 years, the US has spent 37 percent more on R&D for fossil fuels than for renewables. […]

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Call me old fashioned, but unity does not mean letting the instigators of an attempted coup off the hook.

— Robert Reich (@RBReich) January 18, 2021

QUOTATION

“If someone thinks that peace and love are just a cliche that must have been left behind in the 60s, that’s a problem. Peace and love are eternal.” ~~John Lennon

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2010—MA-Sen: Campaign Frenzy:

The first conversation you have with people in Massachusetts these days is about what phone calls they’ve gotten. “I was home today,” my father told me on Friday, “and the bulk of the phone calls we got were about the election: Bill Clinton, the DNC, a Coakley volunteer, the Brown campaign, my union president…” Saturday, it was a robocall from Scott Brown’s daughter complaining about the negative attacks against her father. (That is, against disclosure of his record and positions.) Today, my mother answered the phone and was asked if she believed that marriage was between a man and a woman. When she replied no, the National Organization for Marriage thanked her and signed off. Moments later, the phone rang. It was MassEquality calling to let people know NOM was making calls.

At Coakley campaign headquarters, and nearby at the Massachusetts Democratic Party, volunteer phonebankers often apologize for the volume of calls people are getting. But they keep calling, and the stacks of completed call sheets are added to as fast as they can be entered in the computers. The complacency that plagued us just a week ago has been thoroughly punctured and volunteers have flooded in.

No, Massachusetts is not accustomed to this kind of campaign.

Massachusetts is also not accustomed to a candidate as low-down and scum-sucking as Scott Brown, and once again the compressed schedule of what you might call the real campaign is an issue, forcing voters to absorb the rapid-fire succession of stories only now coming out about Brown, after he’s spent months defining himself as that telegenic guy who never says the word “Republican.”

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