Many have given up hope for climate legislation or a national RES (renewable energy standard) because Republicans control the House. They may be right, but there’s no reason for these issues to be so two-sided. Businesses who invest in energy efficiency and clean energy are seeing huge payouts. New clean energy projects are creating more jobs and that investment is also working towards research and improving the technology. An increase in efficiency, and clean energy benefits everyone!
There are some issues that are very detail oriented, but not impossible to deal with. Things like the intermittency of wind and solar can be difficult for balancing the load on grids, but other sources like natural gas power plants can act as remedies until battery technology and renewable installations can make it a non-issue. But honestly, the only thing holding us back seems to be the politicians who have aligned themselves with “Big Coal” and “Big Oil”.
Jeff Goodell wrote a book called Big Coal that points out all the destruction that coal causes from mining to disposal in terms of health, safety, economics, and the environment. Coal is indeed the biggest giant to slay in promoting renewable energy and solutions to climate change.
In Obama’s most recent State of the Union he called for 80% “clean” energy by 2035, an audacious and unrealistic goal. But his definition of clean energy turns out to include nuclear, natural gas, “clean” coal, as well as truly renewable energy. To me, this means the only enemy is dirty coal. The coal that emits 40% of the U.S. carbon dioxide emissions [PDF]. But as all coal is dirty for now (and will be for at least 10 or 20 years), so the coal industry is stopping all progress.
So the EPA is the focus now, with the coming rules on carbon emissions. But like clockwork, here come a bunch of bills to block them.