U.S. president Barack Obama has recently refused a proposal to reinstall solar panels on the White House rooftops. The proposal came from Bill McKibben, the founder of a group of environmental activists, who went to Obama in a biodiesel-powered van.
Ex-president Jimmy Carter had installed the proposed solar panels on the White House back in 1979. They used to provide heat and were a logo of America’s will to free itself from foreign oil.
The panels Carter set up are obsolete now, and were dumped in 1986 during roof repairs, ending at Unity College in Maine, where they provided heat for the student cafeteria. They were ultimately dismantled in 2005 because they were too damaged to work any longer, but were now recovered by the environmental group led by McKibben.
“Clearly, a solar panel on the White House roof won’t solve climate change – and we’d rather have strong presidential leadership on energy transformation. But given the political scene, this may be as good as we’ll get for the moment,” McKibben said in a Washington Post comment this morning.
Actually, the Oval Office sent three representatives to talk to McKibben. What’s most strange is the fact that Sungevity, a CA-based company had offered to install latest-technology solar cells on the White House. These would have been much more efficient than Carter’s old-aged solar water heaters, but still the presidency refused the offer.
“They refused to take the Carter-era panel that we brought with us and said they would continue their deliberative process to figure out what is appropriate for the White House someday. I told them it would be nice to deliberate as fast as possible, since that is the rate at which the planet’s climate is deteriorating.”
The Pope installed solar panels on the Vatican’s rooftops – why shouldn’t Obama, himself a declared environmentalist and alternative energy activist? On the other hand, I can’t blame him for not doing that, because it’s more important investing money in long-term, large-area solar fields, and a small installation wouldn’t have done much good neither to the environment, nor to the White House’s image.
The most important thing in the world is what you actually do, not the image you display or what you want to be displayed about you. Really, I can’t blame Obama for not talking to “strangers” and not accepting the first company who knocked on his door to install solar panels. It’s more important what is done on the large scale, without all that mumbo-jumbo shows.
I mean, look at the Russians: how many times did you hear them brag about how environmentally-friendly they are, or how many bombs they built or what their latest technologies are? All their secrecy is a lesson good to be learned from. Not to be imitated entirely, only the good parts.