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Debt and the Scariest Repo Man

mroberts's picture

Debt and the Scariest Repo Man

There is a raging political debate that is consuming the airwaves of late - apparently 4 guys in North Carolina and 3 women in Nevada can't tell the difference between the presidential candidates positions on.....just about everything (Early on, I was taught to avoid political discussions in new business settings, and I treat these posts as new business settings. I want the readers to evaluate the substance of biodiesel, rather than the ephemeral policy of biodiesel. So, I will attempt to employ objectivity from here on).

One of the "hot buttons" of this Fall's political debates is the need to address the crazy, unsustainable debt levels that our once triple A rated country is currently carrying. On one side of the economic divide is the group that wants to "grow" us out of debt (this entails ignoring the debt, near-term, and "spurring" growth); on the other side is the group that wants to "cut" us out of debt (this entails a substantial reduction in current government expenditures). The Latter group, in particular, implores us not to leave our children with unsustainable debts that will cripple their chances to meet, let alone, surpass their parents level of success, comfort, happiness, etc.

What's not to like? I can believe we overspent and we need get our country's fiscal accounts in order. There is a debt problem and curing it should be a priority. The debate about how to do so, seems reasonable (remember, I'm employing objectivity). However, the debate about our county's finances and the argument that we are betraying future generations should also be applied to another topic that seems, inexplicably, to have fallen off the the Top Ten Chart of both the Growers and the Cutters. Neither group of "debt fixers" has the audacity to highlight our obvious, dangerous and serially ignored Environmental Balance Sheet. You see, the REAL debt debate we should be having involves our number one creditor, Planet Earth.

Now, I'm not trying to encourage you to rock out with the Grateful Dead and tell you to tread more lightly, recycle and eat more soy. I'm here to tell you that we have not only built an unsustainable debt to the environment, but that we are on a trajectory to grow that debt astronomically, AND NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT IT AS A POLITICAL ISSUE! The stupidity and hypocrisy of ignoring climate change is beyond articulation. For those of us who pay attention to facts (and believe in evolution = critical qualifier), we know that the balance has tipped already. In thirty years, even if we were to magically transition to an all solar economy tomorrow, the planet will be hotter, agricultural regions will migrate, water sheds will change, sea levels will rise and the overall acidity of the ocean will be higher. Geopolitics will be radically different and less stable; today's naysayers will either have exited stage right or be denying that they were deniers, and later generations will curse our selfish inaction.

You see, the earth's environmental systems move methodically. Geologic time is radically out of sync with Human time. Battleship Earth has already received her instructions - 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere as of May 31st of this year - and nothing we do now will change the impact and direction of the systematic climate change that will occur as a result of today's 400ppm CO2 "instruction set". All we can do is try and manage those changes and take steps, now, to bring future GHG emissions down - pay our debts - and change the trajectory of environmental wreckage that follows increases in average global temperatures.

To fix the financial debt problem is important, of course. But to have a debt free nation on a planet that is measurably less livable remains a significant "downgrade" for our children and grandchildren.

Importantly, financial downgrades can be addressed and weathered. GM, that stalwart of CAFE-fighting, market share losing automotive intransigence, has taught us that in the financial world even bankruptcies can be "cured" and cured quickly. Unfortunately, environmental "cures" take a long time and they don't make exceptions, turn blind eyes or play favorites.

For me, a CEO of an alternative energy company and a father of 3 three future super heroes, this issue is so obvious that I get headaches just reading about the rank stupidity espoused by so called climate change deniers like Jim Inhofe or by Big Oil that sees our salvation as more drilling, cheaper oil and higher CO2ppm counts - REALLY?

If you've gotten this far, perhaps the most important advice I can leave with you is to read Bill MckKibbon's article: Take 20 minutes and read his thoughtful, fact-filled article and then decide to whether or not you think Environmental Issues should be something important to the US and global policy debate.

If we continue to ignore the debt we owe the environment, "little" issues like national solvency will pale in comparison to the actions of Mother Earth's Repo Man.

Mark J. Roberts
Springboard Biodiesel, LLC
The Cure for Diesel™

341 Huss Drive | Chico, CA 95928 | 530.894.1793 - tel | 530.894.1048 - fax | | skype:mjroberts27 |