The real Super Bowl to watch: Climate Change vs Crude Oil

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I love football, yes despite being a life-long New York Jets fan. In fact, I’m already thinking of all the food, fun and bonding my friends/family will have watching the Super Bowl this Sunday. It’s amazing how the country comes together each year to watch the Big Game (over 111 million people watched the 2012 game, the largest watched single program in U.S. TV history). Just think for second about all the money being spent on the commercials this year (30-second ads on average will cost a record $3.8 million, up $0.3 million from 2012; in some cases they will even top $4 million). So it’s fair to say there is a ginormous amount of corporate investment that goes into advertising new products during the game. What if the country put as much money and emphasis on educating the general public about new, cleaner energy technologies as it does supporting the buildup to the Super Bowl and the actual game itself?

If the U.S.did put an increased focus on renewable next generation energy sources and actually prepared/announced a game-plan to defeat crude oil, we may be able to win the real Super Bowl, climate change. So while many sports fanatics are filling out box pools or making friendly wages on either the San Francisco 49’ers or the Baltimore Ravens, my mind drifts a bit and I wonder, what are the Las Vegas Odds for meeting the U.S. 2020 carbon goals? While you can bet on just about anything these days at casinos, there isn’t an actual barometer with odds for climate change.

However, maybe there should be odds so more people would pay attention to the pathetic attempt the country is actually making to beat global warming. It’s laughable to me how the government spends money to win the fight on climate change. I’d relate it to just how my beloved Jets thought bringing Tim Tebow to New York would make us contenders in 2012-2013. At the end of the day we can’t make serious moves on climate change without putting into place a serious agenda. Extending wind tax credits by one year, is not a move that screams touchdown to me – instead, it’s a lazy “punt” which gives the ball back to the other team (in this case that could mean U.S. wind manufacturers or technology companies look to leave the U.S. and move overseas where industry support is stronger than here at home. This occurrence would lead to American job loss – any number is a negative for domestic job growth).

It’s my view the U.S. can’t win the Big Game on energy playing a smash-mouth football approach which relies heavily on a strong running game (kind of how today we focus so much of our energy core on crude oil). Rather, we need to mix things up, get some real creativity from the top and implement a run and shoot energy offense with more options to get the ball moving forward with a stronger move to embrace energy storage as the ultimate way to advance new technologies in wind and solar power. Maybe the Department of Energy (DOE) needs new leadership, an offensive coordinator if you will, to bring some potency and excitement to our energy landscape (just like the St. Louis Rams did with their record breaking offense in 1999-2001 that earned the nickname “The Greatest Show on Turf”). Keep in mind there has been chatter that there is speculation Energy Secretary Steven Chu may soon resign so change may be coming on this front sooner than later.

Clearly, our country needs direction on energy policy and we can’t be afraid to try some new plays to help us get the results. Americans are weary from all the gasoline spikes, power disruptions and supply imbalances that result from escalating tensions in the Middle East. It’s time the U.S. called an audible at the line of scrimmage and moved much more swiftly on cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy, because as Secretary of State nominee John Kerry recently said, “global climate change is a life-threatening issue and the U.S. must play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that help contribute to global warming”.

So during this Sunday’s SuperBowl (XLVII), of course enjoy the game and all the commercials, but maybe also hold on to the thought that the children on the couch next to you may be the real SuperBowl MVP’s of the future. We should encourage the youth of America to focus on careers in science, engineering, mathematics and energy technologies of the future. We need to tell our kids they have a chance to do something the generations before us have thus far not been able to do – namely to make our country energy not just self-sufficient but a true leader in clean energy. That’s the real SuperBowl to me. We can claim to be making all the right moves during political campaigns and speeches but true success is measured in championships, not wins. Just ask the 2008 New England Patriots who lost a 19-0 perfect season thanks to the New York Giants (Super Bowl XLII). Simply stated, our nation’s energy initiative can’t fall short like the Patriots did in February of 2008, one of the biggest upsets in sports history.

Disclosure: I’m a New York Jets fan who despises the New England Patriots but also more importantly, I’m most passionate about my family and the future of energy.

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