Climate Justice and Alternative Energy
I support changing the way we consume, produce and transmit energy. I believe that if we do not alter our energy use soon and drastically the ecological crisis may be exacerbated past a point where it can be resolved. A comprehensive energy policy must be a critical element of our environmental thinking. Investing in ENERGY EFFICIENCY and RENEWABLE ENERGY is key to sustainability. Just as ecological materials management is governed by the concept of “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (in priority order), ecological energy management must be governed by the principle of Conservation, Efficiency, and Clean Renewables. Of highest importance is to use less, then to use wisely, and to have clean production of what is used. In solidarity with the Green Party of the United States, I support the following energy policy recommendations:
1. Extensive conservation measures will bring huge resource savings for both the economy and the environment. Conservation, along with energy efficiency and renewables, is an essential part of an effective energy policy.
2. Development of STATE ENERGY POLICIES that include taxes and/or fines on energy “waste, and the funding of energy research, including credits for alternative and sustainable energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass.
3. I support enacting mandatory carbon reduction measures and setting the bar for carbon emissions at a percentage well below the best appropriate technology.
4. In order to aid in the rapid replacement of extremely polluting energy systems (nuclear and coal-fired power plants), natural gas power plants could help provide needed replacement power until conservation, efficiency and truly clean renewables are fully phased in. Natural gas power plants should not be used to feed an increase in energy demand.
5. Thanks to technological innovation prompted by regrettably limited federal support, photovoltaic cells now cost one-tenth what they did 20 years ago, and wind-generated power costs one-fifth what it did 10 years ago. It is now estimated that the total RENEWABLE ENERGY contribution to our nation’s energy use could realistically be 10% by the year 2010 and 20% by the year 2020 but only if increased emphasis is placed on renewable energy. I urge that new construction be required to achieve substantial portions of its heating energy from the sun in the next few years. Incentives/disincentives should be put in place to move utilities toward establishing SOLAR POWER STATIONS to augment and eventually supplant fossil-fuel generated electricity.
6. “TRUE-COST PRICING, which reflects the “realistic cost of products including ecological damage and externalities caused during the manufacturing process, must be adopted to achieve accurate financial accounting. Only with a shift in the way we are seeing, can we accurately assess our energy choices and costs and the long-term impacts of the energy decisions we are making.
7. The demand for printing paper puts pressure on dwindling forests. Clear cutting continues with all the attendant environmental damage. The pollution caused by mills is considerable, and the production of white paper is particularly damaging. Alternative paper stock, and recycled papers, should become the norm.
8. The excessive amounts of plastic, cardboard and Styrofoam many manufacturers use to package computers and software are an increasing problem. These non-biodegradable materials contribute layers to landfills. It’s time to have a complete makeover of the electronics packaging industry.
9. It is time for gradual phase-out of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Until gasoline driven cars can be replaced, we advocate FUEL EFFICIENCY standards, a “gas guzzler tax on new low mileage vehicles, and a “gas sipper rebate on high mileage vehicles.
10. I advocate fair “buybacks of the most polluting and least efficient vehicles to remove these vehicles from the road.
11. I oppose further development of our nation’s outer continental shelf for oil drilling or exploration.
12. Public ownership and/or strong public regulation of UTILITIES should be encouraged to advance energy efficient policies. Appropriate tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to finance public ownership in utilities. Tax-exempt bonds should be authorized to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy projects.
13. Overall, it is essential in the long-term that ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS be put in place that produce goods that are durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using both non-toxic materials and nonpolluting production methods.
14. Ultimately, environmentally destructive technologies, processes, and products should be replaced with alternatives that are environmentally benign. Producers/manufacturers must look to redesigning their products. Legislation that will assist this transition (including bans, taxation, recycled content standards and economic incentives/disincentives such as taxation, special fees, and/or deposits) will be required in a any concerted move toward system-wide sustainability.
15. It is time to begin providing a broad range of incentives for ALTERNATIVE TRANSPORTATION, including natural gas vehicles, solar and electric vehicles, bicycles and bikeways, and MASS TRANSIT.
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