State Party Infrastucture

Proposed Platform: Lance Christy (Draft 6 Jul 09)

Source: Lance Christie
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This is from an e-mail dated 8:30am July 7, 2009 from Lance Christie. - Please click here to join this portal as a publisher. Call me (801.274.0882) or Craig ((801) 328-1212) with any questions. - Cliff
 

Download: "Proposed.ENVIRONMENTAL PLATFORM.doc"

Below is my draft from my notes at the Environmental Caucus at the Utah Democratic State Convention to which I was a delegate from Grand County, Utah.  As I briefly mentioned to you in the buzzing confusion at the end of the caucus meeting, I recommend sending this out to the caucus membership for review.  The objective I recommend is to achieve a platform statement on which there is consensus among the caucus members, with "consensus" meaning everyone can live with it. -  Lance Christie8:30am July 7, 2009.


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ENVIRONMENTAL CAUCUS
UTAH DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Proposed ENVIRONMENTAL PLATFORM: Lance Christie
(Draft 6 Jul 09)

 

Plank 1: Greenhouse gas emissions abatement

Accomplish significant greenhouse gas emissions abatement.  Goals: 30% reduction relative to 1990 levels by 2030, 80% reduction relative to 1990 levels by 2050.  Accomplishing this will require substitution of renewable energy sources which are not subject to depletion for carbon-based and uranium fossil fuels which present problems with wastes from the fuel cycle and will be utterly exhausted in, at best, a century given current and projected world demand.  Immediate steps which will send effective market price signals to catalyze conversion from fossil carbon energy to renewable energy sources are:


$300 tax per carbon-dioxide-equivalent ton

Institute a $300 tax per carbon-dioxide-equivalent ton on greenhouse gas emissions.  The Earth Policy Institute recommends, as do we, phasing in this tax at the rate of $50 dollars per ton per year.   This tax internalizes the real costs of greenhouse gas emissions into the cost of carbon fuel use, which are currently externalized (socialized) onto the taxpayer, creating a de facto subsidy for global warming pollution.  This “carbon tax” is a market mechanism for correcting price signals.


Feed-in tariff system

Adopt a feed-in tariff system as developed in Germany and now adopted throughout Europe and being considered for adoption in Canada’s parliament.  Germany’s feed-in tariff system has been found by various economic reviews1 to be the most effective and free-market-oriented mechanism to encourage private capital investment in renewable energy source development without the need for any other government regulation or subsidy.  The tariff is administered by national legislation that provides for guaranteed access by a renewable energy provider to utility energy sale, and executes a 30-year contract at a given price per kilowatt hour for all energy produced by the private renewable energy generator.  This price is different for different sources, e.g., wind; photovoltaic solar mounted on existing structures versus photovoltaic solar arrays on open land; geothermal; biomass, based on the current cost of generating a kwh with that type of renewable technology and social policy, e.g., encouraging mounting photovoltaics on existing structures versus placing them in open land by paying more per kwh for building-mounted photovoltaic energy.  The price paid for each form of renewable energy in the 30-year contract decreases with each passing year, reflecting the dropping costs of renewable source (e.g., approximately 30% per installed wind turbine kilowatt capacity each five years to date).  The guaranteed sale at a fixed price for produced energy removes risk from private capital investment and enables calculation of profit to be earned from the investment over the 30-year amortized life of the energy source facility.  Despite having indifferent renewable energy potential (1 watt per square meter insolation in Germany versus 5.5 watts per square meter in southern Utah), the feed-in tariff has resulted in Germany having 40 percent of the world’s installed photovoltaic capacity, and being second among all nations in the percentage of energy generated from renewable sources (Denmark is first because of offshore wind).

 

Plank 2: Science-based, transparent decision-making

Demand a science-based, transparent decision-making process by government agencies, including publishing data used to make regulatory decisions affecting the environment and citing the sources of such information.  This spring President Obama formally asked the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a plan aimed at preventing political interference in federal science.  The president set forth the following principles to be served by the plan:

  • Federal agencies should make public any non-classified scientific information considered in policy decisions.
  • Candidates for executive-branch scientific positions should be chosen based on their knowledge and experience.
  • Agencies should adopt procedures that allow political interference in science to be reported and addressed.

We advocate that a similar plan be developed for agencies of the Utah state government.

 

Plank 3: “Green job” creation

Analyze and publicize the “green job” creation, economic stability, general prosperity, public health benefits, and resiliency which will result from building a renewables-based energy economy, in addition to the environmental benefits of building this economy.

 

Plank 4: Use the MIT “energy profitability” model

Use the concepts of “energy profitability” (as developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and water use efficiency to evaluate and choose among alternative energy source development proposals; e.g., binary geothermal, concentrating and photovoltaic solar, wind turbines, biomass fuels, “unconventional” oil and gas development, oil shale, tar sands, coal-fired power plants, and nuclear power.  Energy profitability analyzes the cost of producing a unit of energy from each source as a function of the capital investment in its development and operation through the entire operating and energy-delivery cycle.  Water use efficiency calculates the quantity of water which must be used to produce a given amount of energy delivered to the customer from each source; this is of particular importance in arid Utah where existing water rights exceed available water in our river basins and aquifers and climate change is reducing Colorado River basin average annual flows.

 

Plank 5: Enforcement

Enforce existing environmental laws; monitor pollution of air, water and soil and make that monitoring data available on the Internet.
 

Plank 6: Wildlife

Promote wildlife recovery and aid wildlife adaptation to climate change by restoring and protecting core habitat and wildlife corridor connectivity based on conservation-biology-based scientific assessment.

1 In Economics of Climate Change, Nicholas Stern, former head of the World Bank, wrote “Comparisons between deployment support through tradable quotas [Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS)/Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)] and feed-in tariff price support suggest that feed-in mechanisms (REPs) achieve larger deployment at lower costs.”  Independent auditors Ernst & Young state: “...The EEG [Germany’s Renewable Energy Payment] has delivered greater output of renewable power for less money than the RO [The UK’s Renewable Obligation (RPS/RECs)] hence is arguably better value for money.”

Glossary

Citation

Lyon, C. (2009). Proposed Platform: Lance Christy (Draft 6 Jul 09). Retrieved from http://environmental.utdem.org/view/article/51cbeb397896bb431f687ac9

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