You often hear people complain that our elected officials ignore the needs and desires of the folks on Main Street, but that's not really true, is it? Public opinion and perceptions play a major role in political campaigns, and a candidate ignores them at his or her own peril. But that doesn't mean we're getting closer to sound policy solutions either. Those opinions and perceptions can be manipulated by powerful people with an agenda, who sit back and watch each act of the play unfold.
The controversy surrounding Climate Change and the costs associated with remediation techniques has been raging for some time now, but with Congress gearing up to address the issue it will be front page news, and separating neutral assessments from agenda-driven creations is going to be difficult at best. But if you take the time to vet the sources and search for (real or potential) conflicts of interest, that separation may become more clear.
For instance, this NY Times article seems like a pretty objective piece:
A quarter century from now the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels will have declined only marginally, according to a projection from Black & Veatch, the engineering and energy consulting firm.
In 2034, a mix of coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels will supply 68 percent of the nation’s energy needs, compared to 76 percent today. The share of energy production from renewable sources, including solar and wind, in 2034 will rise to 13 percent from 5 percent. Nuclear power will supply only 2 percent more electricity than it does in 2010, the firm said.
But if you boil down the implications presented and fit them into the current debate, you get the conclusion "Very little will change" followed by "It's not worth the costs". And if you look at the Board of Directors of the company who did the assessment, you might get an idea why they would want you to think that way:
Dean Oskvig became President and CEO of B&V Energy in 2006, where he oversees the company's energy business on a global basis.
The division's seven business lines include Power Delivery; Gas, Oil & Chemicals; Combustion Turbine; Coal; Air Quality Control Systems; and Nuclear and Consulting Engineering Services. Mr. Oskvig is responsible for effectively deploying project management and production resources in these areas to the Americas, Asia and a third region comprised of the Middle East, India and Europe.
Up next, we have:
Don Buck joined the Black & Veatch Board of Directors in 2000 following a 26-year career with Fluor Daniel.
Formed in 1989, Duke/Fluor Daniel designs, builds, operates and maintains power plants on a global basis...Duke/Fluor Daniel provides comprehensive engineering, procurement, construction and operating plant services for fossil-fueled electric power generation facilities worldwide.
And then there's:
Fernandes had a 30-year career with the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) and retired as an Executive Vice President in 1999. He was a member of the ARCO BOD, Chairman of ARCO Chemical Company, a NYSE company 80% owned by ARCO, and also President of ARCO Coal, a subsidiary of ARCO, from 1990 to 1994.
Atlantic Richfield Company, better known as ARCO, is the seventh-largest U.S. oil company. A vertically integrated company, ARCO explores for, produces, refines, and markets crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. Although the company has operations in the North Sea, Indonesia, Russia, Venezuela, Pakistan, China, and Algeria, its largest reserves and most productive operations are in Alaska.
And you gotta have access:
Joseph Nemec, Jr., joined the Black & Veatch Board of Directors in 2000. He has more than 35 years of management consulting experience. Prior to joining Booz Allen in 1970, he was an assistant professor of engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
Citizens rely on government to deliver the services they need when they need them; government agencies rely on Booz Allen Hamilton to help improve their capability to meet this expectation. Booz Allen provides high-level management and technology consulting services to federal, state and local agencies, and not-for-profit organizations. Our work spans the full breadth of civil government including health and benefits, finance, energy, environment, international development and diplomacy, law enforcement, space, and transportation.
Also at the table:
Steven Wunning joined the Black & Veatch Board of Directors in 2004. Wunning is a group president and Executive Office member of Caterpillar Inc., the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines...a member of the Board of Directors of Kennametal Inc. in Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Mongolia’s revised minerals law further opens investment by foreign mining companies to extract hundreds of millions of tons of mineral resources of mainly, coal, copper and gold. Wagner Asia Equipment LLC is the Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT) dealer in Mongolia responsible for supplying the mining sites in the South Gobi region with heavy duty machines such as the 250 ton 785C mining trucks. The transportation and logistics is well coordinated from the factories in the mid-West to the desolate project sites with challenges once the shipments arrive in the border town of Zamyn-Uud, Mongolia a few miles across from the People’s Republic of China.
We offer a comprehensive selection of mining tools, accessories, and wear-related products. And we provide cutting system capabilities for designing, building, tooling, and servicing longwall shearers, continuous miners, roof bolters, surface miners, and crushers.
If you haven't got the picture in your head yet, consider this: That Board of Directors has over 120 years of employment in the fossil fuel industry, and I'm sure their stock portfolios reflect that. And your opinion of their opinion should reflect that, too.