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ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY OBSERVATIONS AND SOLUTIONS
  1. Key Observations
  • Combustion of carbon fuels, resulting in rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere (especially carbon dioxide), is the cause of warming of the global climate
  • Global warming is a strategic and possibly existential threat to the US
  • Dependence on foreign oil represents strategic military and economic threats to the US
  • Our energy system and the way we use energy represent quality of life threats to the US
  • Halting global warming can only be accomplished by decreasing worldwide carbon fuel use
    • Conservation
    • Efficiencies
    • Replacement with non-carbon alternative fuels
  • Only the US has the resources to lead a worldwide green revolution
  • A green revolution can revitalize the US’s economy and lead to millions of high-paying jobs
  1. Key Solutions
  • Acknowledge security threats posed by the current carbon energy system
  • Reach a national consensus to transform the US into a green energy economy to address these threats
  • Invoke national security concerns to advance green energy economy transformations
  • Spread the burden fairly and protect the poor
  • Enact a comprehensive energy bill with multi-pronged approach
    1. Smart development
    2. Mass transit (urban and inter-city)
    3. Carless urban zones
    4. Bike use
    5. Traffic optimizations
    6. Motor vehicle depreciation disclosure/labeling
    7. Targeted carbon tax
    8. Smart design standards and tax incentives
    9. Smart cars with CAFÉ and carbon emission standards
    10. Smart gasoline with low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS)
    11. Smart appliances standards
    12. Smart power with non-carbon alternative energy standards

Human activity resulting in increased atmospheric greenhouse gas levels has been proven to be warming the global climate, which can have disastrous implications for the planet. The predominant cause of the rise in greenhouse gas levels has been combustion of carbon fuels and secondary release of carbon dioxide. Thus, the only viable way to halt global warming is to decrease release of carbon dioxide into the environment, which can only be achieved by decreasing and eventually eliminating consumption of carbon fuels.

In the interim, switching to carbon fuels that emit less carbon dioxide (e.g., so-called ‘clean coal’) can be supportive. However, to substantially decrease consumption of carbon fuel, we must promote policy that results in increases in conservation, efficiencies, and replacement with non-carbon alternative energy sources. All three policies must be vigorously pursued in order to reduce carbon fuel consumption because worldwide energy demand has been rapidly increasing due to population growth and industrialization.

The potential consequence of global warming on weather, human habitation, animal and plant selection, and human disease is a strategic threat and possibly an existential threat to the United States. Energy dependence is a vital national security issue which makes the US dependent on foreign countries whose values and interests are often contrary to ours. Our dependence on foreign oil also represents strategic military and economic threats. This is because foreign oil dependence results in high military expenditures and troop deployments to protect oil supply lines, increases risk of wars, decreases options in international relations, funds hostile regimes and terrorists, transfers national wealth, and increases national debt. These economic costs are difficult to estimate, but for full disclosure, they should be included for more accurate calculations of the cost of oil.

Our energy system and the way we use energy also represent quality of life threats. This is because of increased commuting time and energy expenses, less leisure time and expendable income, poor air quality and secondary respiratory diseases, loss of open and natural space, loss of our country’s beauty, higher taxes to pay for wars, personal and family pain from combat casualties, and lower availability of government funds for other needs (e.g., health care, education).

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All policy makers, therefore, whether Democratic, Republican, or Independent, should place environment and energy policy at the top of their priority list. I believe only the US has the resources, capabilities, ingenuity, courage, and foresight to take the lead in slowing and reversing rising greenhouse gas levels. In order to achieve this goal before there is irreparable global damage, we must make rapid transformational changes to develop a ‘green economy’. I believe the US is up to the challenge. I also believe that we can garner as much economic benefit and job creation from a ‘green revolution’ as occurred with the ‘industrial revolution’ at the dawn of the previous century.

How then should the US transform to a green economy? First, we must acknowledge the potentially existential, strategic military and economic, and life-style threats posed by the current carbon-source energy economy. Second, we must agree on a national goal to transform into a green economy in order to address and preempt these threats. Third, we must invoke national security concerns, as necessary, in order to advance complex new public policies. Fourth, we must agree to spread burdens related to the transition across the country and across industries. Fifth, we will require that Congress act courageously, bypass partisan concerns, and protect the nation by enacting energy legislation pursuing a comprehensive multi-pronged program to make transformational changes towards a green economy.

Comprehensive energy reform program

  1. Decrease use of carbon fuels by decreasing absolute use
    • Decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by decreasing hours of car use (vehicle miles traveled)
      1. Smart development (construction and annual odometer reading tax incentives)
      2. Mass transit (massive investment, subsidies)
      3. Carless urban zones
      4. Bike use (bike paths and tax incentives)
      5. Traffic optimizations (signage, idling laws)
      6. Motor vehicle depreciation, maintenance, and repairs costs disclosure/labeling
      7. Targeted carbon tax
    • Decrease GHG emissions by decreasing hours of appliance use (residential/commercial buildings)
      1. Smart design standards and tax incentives (insulation, non-carbon alternative energy)
  2. Decrease use of carbon fuels by increasing efficiency
    • Decrease GHG emissions per mile driven (motor vehicles)
      1. Smart cars with CAFÉ and carbon emission standards and tax incentives, R&D
    • Decrease GHG emissions per mile driven (gasoline)
      1. Smart gasoline with low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS) and tax incentives, R&D
    • Decrease GHG emissions per hour of use (appliances)
      1. Smart appliances standards and tax incentives, R&D
    • Decrease GHG emissions per hour of use (power source)
      1. Smart power with non-carbon alternative energy standards and tax incentives, R&D
 
   
 
 
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