Get certainty

Do I look like I’d pay 56 bucks a megawatt?

Do I look like I’d pay 56 bucks a megawatt?

(Come friend Aunt Ruthie on Facebook and let’s hang out.)

In Las Vegas, that impregnable home of risk and loss, the National Clean Energy Summit was held early in September with government and business leaders gathering for a town-hall discussion of the economics of green. According to the blog Climate Progress: “They don’t fear new rules to better control carbon pollution. What they fear is uncertainty about what those rules will be.” With billionaire T. Boone Pickens, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and John Podesta (Center for American Progress) in attendance, it was Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who named the tune:

“‘We’ve got to get certainty,’ Donohue said. ‘People want to invest and make money. Tell us what the deal is, and let’s get on with it!’ Every panelist agreed that certainty was the name of the game for … investors [who seek] certainty … so they know what businesses and industries to pour their private capital into, and what kinds of prices they can expect.”

Now, consider the role of uncertainty in your own life. Around every corner, right? Aunt Ruth faces uncertainty every time she sits down to write a column—the page, the mind are blank. Now what? And from those who gamble for a living—and that, ultimately, is the entrepreneurial zing of shareholding and investing—whininess is unbecoming.

But it was a “doh!” moment of empathy for Yer Auntie: As the regulatory climate for green capitalism wags this way and that, the very investors the environment will depend on must be getting a little spooked. And yet it is business interests—oil interests, to be specific—that are pouring money into Proposition 23.

The blog, co-written by author and activist Van Jones, goes on to note, “Proposition 23 would destroy half a million jobs in California by 2020 while costing the state $80 billion in gross domestic product.” This strikes Auntie R. as uncertainty incarnate.

So, where should scared publics turn when uncertainty reigns too supreme? Who can remove uncertainty from the green equation? Dear Italy, we turn our lonely eyes to you, where wind power is managed by the bastion of uncertainty removers: the Mafia. Inhabitat reports that generous government subsidies of wind power, coupled with the Mafia’s stranglehold over local politicians, has rendered wind energy fertile for organized crime, where they reportedly own a not-insignificant chunk of 30 wind farms in Sicily. Discuss among yourselves: Does that make American uncertainty look any more … certain?