‘We must balance our economy’

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from The Paris Climate Control Accord.  The cries were loud and frequent that this would mark the end of civilization as we know it.

These doomsday predictions may or may not prove accurate. Years ago, Al Gore predicted horrors by 2017; not much has changed since then.

All should agree that each of us wants clean air and water. We do not want individuals or companies to do those things that will harm our environment. At the same time, we must understand that there must be a balance in all things. What we must do is try to find solutions that will actually accomplish cleaner air and water while protecting our need for jobs.

All who have taken the time and effort to read the Paris Accord understand that it was not a serious commitment to the environment. It is simply words on paper with no enforcement powers. It relied on each nation acting voluntarily. Some might live up to their commitments while others would only wink at them.

In the case of China and India, they are free to spew out more and more air pollution with no limits until 2030.  Then they say they would let 2030’s status quo be their maximum.  The United States, however, was expected to curtail our pollution almost immediately with no consideration of the billions of dollars that we have already invested in pollution control devises in past years.

Withdrawing from the Accord does not mean that there should not be continued voluntary efforts on behalf of the effort. Businesses will, in many cases, continue to find reasonable solutions.

Currently, Dominion Power is building a mix of energy production facilities with greater reliability on wind and solar and greater reliance on cleaner natural gas. Other companies are likewise looking for ways to reduce pollution.

Likewise, some rich folks, like the former mayor of New York, Bloomberg, have agreed to donate big dollars to replace funds that former President Barack Obama had committed to the Paris Accord. I expect there will be others.

What some do not seem to understand is that there is a cost to everything. If we spend resources in pursuing one good thing, it comes at the cost to other good things. In Germany, because of commitments to different types of power production, it is already driving heating and cooling costs up over 70 percent.

Those dollars being spent for power limits the less fortunate especially hard. It affects already fragile budgets. Likewise, businesses will have to downsize as home budgets decline and as their power bills also rise. Prices, in some cases, will be rising as merchandise demand drops.

In a Utopian situation, we could have perfect everything. However, we must balance our economy taking into consideration the need and desire for clean air and water but also the need for jobs and other financial demands.

Frank Ruff represents Lunenburg in the Virginia Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.