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I was “in” the fossil fuel industry for years, so I know a little bit about it. They have been very successful in meeting our energy needs – which is great. They have accomplished this because we helped them to meet our energy needs. The Federal government helped out the fossil fuel industry by incentivizing them to a great deal. That is how corporate socialism works. But let’s all acknowledge that we and the fossil fuel companies have been getting away with dumping their/our combustion waste products into the air for free for over 100 years. This may have been understandable and beneficial when there were far fewer people on the Earth. Today this practice has caught up with us and we are now severely damaging our health, our economy, and our future.
Fortunately, there are other economical and cleaner energy options available to us today. We can stop burning these valuable resources and either use them for other purposes or keep them in the ground as a strategic resource in case we need them in the future. Hopefully, by then we will have learned how to use them with less harmful effects to our health and our future.
One way to accomplish a transition from our current, near total dependence on fossil fuels to a much greater use of clean and renewable energy alternatives is to implement a national “carbon cap” or a “carbon fee” to pay for the real and hidden costs to society of using these dirty fuels. Applying true costs to fossil fuel usage will allow the market to implement a smooth transition to alternatives. Last year we saw the majority of economists across the political spectrum endorse this strategy. After many years of debate they have concluded that “a carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary”. They went on to say that “by correcting a well-known market failure, a carbon tax will send a powerful price signal that harnesses the invisible hand of the marketplace to steer economic actors towards a low-carbon future”.
What are we waiting for? We just need to do it. Even Exxon/Mobil has supported this approach – of course the devil is in the details… the speed that the fee is implemented will be hotly contested. But the first thing we need to do is to get all the voices at the table to encourage the passage of one of these macro-economic tools ASAP. To get involved you can join/support the Citizens Climate Lobby, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, The Nature Conservancy, or others and keep pushing your representatives to support the passage of one of these carbon emission solutions (bills). This needs to happen now and we need to hold our representatives in DC accountable. I hope that each of you will get even more active today and then vote with climate issues foremost in your mind.
Put this on your refrigerator!!! All great changes require many small steps. We here at www.SavingThePlaces.com have created a simple, daily calendar of actions that you can take to help improve your health, the health of your neighborhood, and the health of the planet. These goals are achievable if we are deliberate in our commitment for a more sustainable and healthy world. Please pass this Behavior Change Model on by (more…)
The Howard County Council recently passed a bill introduced by the Kittleman administration to upgrade and enhance the seven year old Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES). The vote was unanimous. This is the result of a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of the OES over the past seven years during Ken Ulman’s Democratic administration and the important role it will play in Allan Kittleman’s Republican administration. It is a clear sign that (more…)
The (Frederick) Board of County Commissioners struck down plans Thursday for a regional waste-to-energy incinerator … by canceling the contract and related permits.“ Frederick News Post Friday, November 21, 2014
How on earth did we get to this point, when as recently as April 2014, both Carroll and Frederick Counties were under contract to build this 1500 ton per day incinerator and all the necessary permits had been issued?
Many people worked (more…)
Eight acres on the south side of Sugar Mountain in western North Carolina, remain in my family from the first permanent Scotch-Irish (and Welsh) settlement of the mountain by my ancestor Martin Banner and his brothers in 1848. Our family, as well as our adjacent relatives, retain most of the land in its natural state of forest and streams. As a result the biodiversity of the land remains such that 13 species of salamander can be found on it, enough for me to complete a doctoral dissertation on their communities. (Photo of salamander on tree -Plethodon jordani). This homestead remains our connection to the natural and cultural history of one of the most beautiful regions in the United States, the southern Blue Ridge mountains.
The forces threatening this and other southern Appalachian ecosystems include (more…)