Instead of Tariffs, Let The Sun Do Its Work

Instead of Tariffs, Let The Sun Do Its Work

Gustave Dore, 1868

Watching the fierce sun melt snow off my windows and roof before it is even 8 a.m. got me thinking about solar power. Yes, I’m a renewable energy type. And Trump’s new tariffs on solar panels are bad news on that front.

A woodcutter had broken or lost the wooden hilt of his axe. The loss could not be immediately repaired. So the forest had a period of respite.

Finally, the man begged the forest, with humility, to let him ever so gently take one single branch to refashion a hilt. He would go elsewhere to make his living. He would leave so many oaks and so many pines standing; those trees that everyone respected for their age and charms.

The innocent forest furnished him with new armaments. To her regret.

He re-tooled his iron and hilt. The miserable man used it for nothing but stripping his benefactor of her principal adornments. She whimpered at every moment. Her gift became her torture.

Here’s the way of the world and its cult followers. The good deed is used against its doer. I’m so tired of talking about it. That such gentle shaded havens should be exposed to these outrages; who wouldn’t be opposed!

Alas! I have pounded my fists and made myself altogether inconvenient, but the ingratitude and abuses are not less in fashion.

Trump’s move against solar power mystified me. Was he actually golfing with renewable energy business leaders who had asked for the tariff ? This is the man who garnered huge support from the coal towns. This is the man who pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Then the penny dropped. Perhaps he imagines that the biggest beneficiary could be the coal industry. Make renewables unaffordable. Force people back to coal. And this just at the moment when solar was becoming price competitive.

What a backward idea. Instead of moving forward; instead of seeing that the relentless downturn of the coal industry has been driven by shifts in consumer imperatives; instead of solving for the unemployment problem with something like, say, a Basic Income guarantee, which enables time for re-training without fear and anger — he retards progress.

Yes, the issue is complex. Chinese solar panel manufacturing subsidies create trade imbalances. Strangely, the biggest beneficiary of the new tariff is US-based Sunniva, majority owned by a Hong Kong listed company.

Here is the simple.

We are cutting down the forest. Stripping the earth of its charms. Losing our gentle, shaded havens to make a buck; instead of using the sun, which will bathe us in its light until long after we are gone.

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