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Sustainability Mercer Island, USA and Earth via Fusion | Letter

I am on the mailing list of Sustainability Mercer Island.

We earthlings “live in an era of immense creativity and the destructive capacity to end mankind in the next 45 minutes, but 99 percent of the eight billion people on planet earth are unaware of it.” That’s California Gov.Brown talking.

He tells us the two greatest threats to mankind are nuclear war and climate change.

We must leave the vast remaining reserves of oil, coal and gas underground. Those reserves are the basis of the value of some of the wealthiest companies in history, and they plan to keep burning them.

We can do the same thing we did in the financial crisis of 2008. We can buy out the fossil fuel industry. We bought out the banks in 2008. We can buy out Chevron, et al in 2018.

We must do it to save the planet. We erred in our buyout of the banks. We did not require them to rescue distressed homeowners by refinancing their mortgages.

This time, we must buy out 51 percent of the fossil fuel industry, order them to leave the reserves in the ground and invest their new cash in the most rapid, job-creating transition to a low carbon economy: fusion.

That would require $1.15 trillion. By the time we finish paying for Iraq and Afghanistan, including the cost of caring for the veterans, we will have spent $4 to $7 trillion.

The Fed and U.S. Tresaury could enact the buyout with a few computer keystrokes. There would be no tax consequences. No unleashing of ruinous inflation.

Fusion is safe and clean, the cost near zero, and there is enough of it to last millions of years. It powers the sun and stars. We need only engineer and generate fusion at a low enough operating cost to produce electricity. We are close to knowing how to do it.

C. F. Baumgartner

Mercer Island