In the wake of massive storms that scientists agree were made much worse by global warming, more than 300 national, state, and local groups have endorsed the OFF Act, proposed legislation that's been called "the strongest climate bill ever."
Ah, yes…the United States “must lead the way.” Good luck with that, We’re stuck in the 1950’s and must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
This year’s hurricane season is not yet over but the threat of next year’s season already looms. There is no way to pretend that these disasters will not happen again. Mega storms may happen every year from now on!
"C’mon in! The water’s fine! It’s so warm! - was their epitaph.
This looks like a great bill but with no chance of passing. It kind of makes you wonder how great things could be in Washington if the Republican Party was like a normal political party that actually cared about this planet and its human inhabitants. This bill would pass and be signed into the law by the end of the month.
This just shows we have so many organizations committed to political discussion rather than actual problem solving and solutions. The Off Act has several major issues, and never really describes a legitament plan of action to transition off of fossil fuel energy. Below are just some of the key issues I have with the bill:
Gabbard never discussed 27.7% of the current US electrical grid. Nuclear, hydro and biomass were simply excluded entirely from the bill. You cannot exclude nearly 1/3 of the US electrical infrastructure and say you have made a decent energy transition plan. https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=427&t=3
Gabbard’s “plan” for energy storage is funding to national laboratories and it will happen. That’s not a plan- that’s not even a moonshot. That’s called a wish. Inventions from National Laboratories like Argonne take decades to even reach commercial markets, much less become the competing standard for the market in less than 18 years. Furthermore, there are still fundamental problems with battery storage, and considering she doesn’t even talk about hydroelectric anywhere in her bill, I don’t think she would support pumped storage. https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/08/nation-sized-battery/
Gabbard talks about benzene pollution in inner cities, and states that we cannot let this happen, but her solution is “renewables”? There is no renewable technology that can replace benzene production. Wind, tides and light energy cannot produce the hydrocarbon molecule and chemical structure of benzene. It is impossible to make this chemical without petroleum. So her claim that renewables are a replacement for petrochemicals like benzene doesn’t make any sense in the slightest.
In her bill, Gabbard quotes :" Federal fossil-fuel subsidies in the United States totaled over $72,000,000,000, while Federal renewable-energy investments totaled $12,200,000,000". However, brilliantly Gabbard fails to recognize that those figures represent Total Fossil Fuel subsidies and NOT electrical generation subsides. That figure includes subsidies for fossil fuels in the petrochemical, transportation, construction and electricity industries. Renewables ONLY produce electricity, so this is not fair comparison in the slightest. In fact the EIA literally makes reports on electricity generation subsides, but if she had used that report instead she would have found that renewables actually receive more money per KW/h of electricity than anything else. https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf (pg. 7)
Gabbard claims we must place massive funding into national laboratories for a storage solution for renewables, but if funding was the major issue we could just as well use that money for cleaner fossil fuel technologies like PPT- Plasma Propulsion Fracturing or safer nuclear solutions like Molten Salt Reactors. Both of these technologies have greater private investment than any national battery storage partnership with the national laboratories.
Gabbard explicitly mentions helping Burlington Vermont reach their 100% renewable plan, but that plan almost exclusively (excess of 90%) requires hydroelectricity, which Gabbard does not define as clean energy nor renewable.
A just transition of labor sounds nice, but it fails to recognize the geographical supply for solar, tidal and wind. Some of the most affected coal communities are going to be in northern West Virginia, but West Virginia’s primary solar development will be in the southernmost part of the state. You cant just relocate tens of thousands of workers across state. This issue is never observed in this bill. Also the estimates for cost of such a program are insanely low as compared with studies from University of Chicago and Yale University.
In 18 years you expect 100% of transportation to electric? Based on what evidence or legitament projection? 99.99% of vehicles in the USA today are internal combustion. Tax credits and rebates are not going to convince Americans to pay $20,000 for a car that they don’t actually need, other than the government said they had to. Furthermore, there aren’t even gross commercial options for larger electric vehicles like trucks, semi-trucks, utility vans etc. So your “plan” is to invent new technology, force americans to buy cars they don’t need, drive up pseudo-competition with vehicles that may preform better than electric, and btw we have less than 20 years. Also this deadline is before peak demand for petroleum, so from an economics perspective you have to insert a major incentive to not continue buying internal combustion- keep in mind youd be competing with the used car market, which is less than 1/6 the cost new electric models (based on the new 2017 Tesla).
In North America the majority of out trains run on diesel. So you want to make them electric? First of all it is logistically impossible to replace all lines and convert them to electric in 18 years. What I mean by this is that if you add up all the construction projects needed to convert regular lines to electric, the timeframe for construction alone is greater than 18 years. Second of all, I don’t think she quite grasps how much this would cost. An electric light rail line costs between $40 million per mile to $440 million per mile, and heavy rail lines cost between $800 million per mile to $2 billion per mile. There are 150,000 miles of railroad in the USA.
Lets extremely low-ball the figures here: 150,000 X (.6) X $40 million = $3.6 Trillion or $200 Billion a year for 18 years. Gabbard’s bill provides less than $1 billion per year for railroad transformation.
What exactly is the plan for revenue to replace loss of energy product? In 2015 energy exports brought in over $167 billion, $12 billion was from crude alone. So whats this new product youre selling? Batteries? Not even close to being cost competitive with fuels at the moment. This idea that we can just stop all future midstream production, with zero economic consequences might be the most ambitious idea of the bill.
So what are the bets against Trump acting like his true Climate Change denier self?
Trump Still Hasn’t Changed His Mind About Climate Change After Hurricane Irma and Harvey
In 2012, Trump referred to climate change as a “myth” propagated by the Chinese, and campaigned for President on withdrawing from the Paris Accords, a pledge he followed through on in June, when he announced that the U.S. would leave the agreement.
Last month, the Trump administration did not renew the Advisory Committee for Sustained National Climate Assessment, which is designed to help U.S. employees understand the government’s climate reports. And Scott Pruitt, who Trump selected to appoint as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, was a key player in legal attempts to quash then-President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, a set of policies designed to combat climate change. Summary, Trump is horrific on the topic of Climate Change, another area presidents are supposed to be up to date on.
Whether or not this passes, I am really pleased. Leave to Tulsi of Hawaii to put the issue out like this. And all the people supporting it, nurses, physicians, all of it is a very auspicious note.
To a great degree, a positive future regarding what legacy we are leaving our kids starts with how we think, moment by moment. In order to clear the deck of the profligates at the helm at EPA and anywhere else Trump puts them, people have to see that there is a much different way of looking at it than the traditional “American” way. It’s not even cliche to say so, it’s simply true.
Pruitt is a lot more dangerous to us right now than most of the Cabinet. His actions already show it. With the nature of his job, he can obviously commit quick, deadly damage which is often irreversible. He needs to be removed, sooner than most Americans seem willing to admit to themselves.