Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Climate Change No Longer Being Ignored

*2 Day Diet progress follows post

Climate Change is back in the news, and it seems like, except for a few die-hards on right wing talk radio, the conversation is finally changing from whether it’s real to what to do about it. It started on May 6 with the release of the National Climate Assessment (I recommend visiting the website), a comprehensive document which confirms that everything most of us saw was happening to be true: the climate is changing; it’s the result of burning fossil fuels; severe weather and droughts are becoming more severe and more frequent; they will continue to get worse unless global emissions are severely reduced (and maybe even if they are); and human health, water supply, infrastructure, agriculture, oceans, and indigenous peoples are all threatened.

And now, after years of Congressional inaction, the EPA has proposed regulations forcing states to confront the emissions from power plants in an effort to reduce carbon emissions by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. It sounds like a lot, but in fact we are already almost halfway there because of rules in place for new power plants and competition from cheaper natural gas. Contrary to rhetoric from those who scream, “War on Coal” this merely continues the retirement of older coal-fired power plants that cannot meet current standards and encourages a better mix of energy sources. Coal is still expected to supply about 30% of America’s energy needs. These regulations do nothing to control carbon emissions from other sources such as vehicles, homes, and factories. It is not a comprehensive carbon policy.

Republicans and some Democratic lawmakers in coal states like ours complain about EPA overreach, but a recent poll by the Washington Post showed 70% of Americans willing to pay more for electricity to lower carbon emissions. Lawsuits will be filed in an effort to stop or delay implementation. But if lawmakers don’t think we should be regulating carbon emissions, there are proposals for market-based solutions to a problem that even they are finally having to admit exists and must be addressed. The one most likely to be palatable to Republicans is referred to as a “Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee.” It also referred to as a carbon tax, but most Republicans prefer the word fee, even though the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the individual health insurance mandate equated the two words.

If this were to become law, the cost of emitting carbon would be applied to every household and business in America and also to imports from countries that did not adopt a similar fee. This fee, or tax, would start low, but increase every year for ten years giving businesses a predictable cost curve. And the revenue neutral part means the government would not keep the fees. Instead, it would return the money equally to every citizen of the United States. This would offset the costs for those who use a moderate amount of carbon and would even pay a dividend to some households, who, for instance, do not own a car.

While I would support allowing government to withhold some of the revenue to use to offer aid to those whose jobs may be lost and for alternative energy production, this legislation offers Republicans a way to decrease carbon emissions without expanding government, without regulations, and that is market based. We should urge all of our state and national lawmakers and the candidates to consider this proposal. You can learn more about it at citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-tax.

My 2-Day Diet Progress Week 30, June 2, 2014 
Beginning weight 11/3/13: 209 lbs.
Height 5'8" Age: 62
Goal weight: 165 lbs.
Total loss goal: 44 lbs.
Beginning waist size: 43 in.
Current waist size: 38 in.
Weight end of this week:  177 lbs.
Gain/Loss this week:  +1 lb.
Total Gain/Loss:  -32 lbs.

No comments:

Post a Comment