Gar W. Lipow and the Visions Sub-committee of the Olympia FOR Climate Crisis Committee
The American PRIDE (Promote Renewable Infrastructure & Develop Efficiency) is a~250 billion a year proposal that makes a social profit by reducing greenhouse gas pollution, while creating two to five million new jobs per year, reducing U.S. oil use by a third within ten years, and reducing U.S. greenhouse gases around 60% by 2025. It phases out close to 90% of U.S. emissions by 2035 and reduces greenhouse gas pollution to around zero by 2045. The proposal is produced at the request of the committee for the following purposes:
Since FOR is both a national and international organization, this document is Olympia’s contribution to FOR’s development of its national and international program.
The Olympia Climate Crisis Committee will be working with many national organizations. This document will serve as a set of criteria to help us decide who we can work with on what issue. It will never be the sole set of criteria, but it will be a useful way of determining how close our views are to a particular organization
While most of our efforts will be on the local and state level, this type of national program will provide a context to help shape our more immediate work. Knowing where we want to go will help decide what direction to take.
Possible technical means
To show that this political proposal is reality based, it includes one feasible technical path for carrying out the policy proposed without claiming this path is the best implementation.
Solar and wind energy (along with hydro and geothermal) can produce almost 90% of U.S. electricity by 2025, and almost all by 2035 [i].
The Building Sector has potential major energy savings and use of solar water and space heating, and for substituting renewable electricity for most remaining needs in the buildings sector.
In transportation we fund sidewalks and bike paths and encourage smart development. We electrify buses in the short run and build new light rail in the long run. Telecommuting and on-line shopping also can reduce miles driven. Electric car manufacturing might become large scale beginning in 2020, but that is not certain. We can replace most long haul trucking with greatly upgraded electric freight rail. The proposal also discusses means of reducing emissions from air traffic, shipping, boating and pipelines.
In industry we focus on indirect means of saving emissions. These include longer product lifespans, less packaging, substituting less greenhouse gas intensive materials (such as Grancreteii for Portland cement), reducing solid waste in manufacturing and increased recycling. Direct methods such as more efficient boilers, and more efficient pumps and motors, and process changes such as producing steel via Direct Reduction rather than Basic Oxygen Furnaces are also important.
In agriculture, animal husbandry and forestry means include green grazing, holistic soil management and other techniques that drastically reduce inputs and transform the production of row crops, meat and fiber from net greenhouse gas emitters to net greenhouse gas sequestrators.
Policy to produce these results
Electricity: a double renewable standard to require a minimum of 75%of electricity generated be from wind and sun, and 80% from renewable or ultra-low carbon sources by 2025 - 50% subsidized. By 2035, the grid would be 95% or more driven by sun and wind, 99% driven by total renewable sources. These are minimum standards, and the goal would be to do even better. R&D would also be funded, and in general an attempt would be made encourage continuous improvement and dynamic incorporation of new technology as it was developed.
Fund publicly owned mini-utilities that in turn fund efficiency improvements and renewables in buildings, along with conversion from direct use of fuel to renewable electricity - either produced on site, or purchased from the renewable grid.
Mini-utilities would be legally responsible for reducing per capita direct greenhouse gas pollution in buildings within their districts about 80% compared to average pollution within buildings in comparable climate zones by 2025. Financing would be reinforced by regulations that required the same emissions reductions, plus efficiency standards for home appliances and office equipment. By 2035, remaining emissions would be reduced to almost zero, either by additional efficiency and integrated building renewables, or simply by replacing fuel use in buildings with purchased renewable electricity.
Transport improvement would include public financing for upgrading and electrifying freight rail so that it could move 85% of the ton-miles currently carried by long haul trucking[iii]. Public investment would also fund at least a 100,000 miles of new light rail, more if electric cars were not practical by 2020. For short term savings we would fund electrification of the most heavily used bus routes, and also fund preservation of existing transit - thus breaking the vicious cycle where fares rise and routes are cut whenever use of transit increases due to a poor economy or high fuel prices. Where it made economic sense, electric vans might replace some buses. In addition we would subsidize multiple forms of car-sharing. These would include the Zip Car model, where users subscribed to car sharing services, and the van or car pool model where multiple families jointly owned or had access to a single van or car. In addition we would subsidize access screening apps which would allow ad hoc car sharing - essentially making hitchhiking safer by screening drivers to reduce the chance of the driver being axe murderers, and making picking up hitchhikers safer by screening them to reduce the chance of the hitchhikers being axe murderers. There are a variety of smart-phone apps that do this already, but subsidies could ensure they were free to users for the long term while funding the needed databases to make them as effective as possible.
Just as importantly, we would fund the "other public transit" - bicycle paths and sidewalks.
We would fund internet improvements, including publicly owned internet services, so that everyone in the U.S. had access to low-cost world-class broadband, and encourage more telecommuting and shopping on-line. We also subsidize employers to support telecommuting, use of transit, bicycles and so forth. Subsidizing delivery costs could encourage greater use of internet shopping; it would also encourage shopping by bicycle, transit and walking, since packages could be delivered rather than carried by customers.
Starting in 2016, the automobile fleet should have to meet an average standard of 40 mpg. From 2020 forward, new cars will either be fully electric, or capable of running 50 miles on an electric battery before switching to gasoline. If manufacturers cannot produce a full fleet meeting those standards, then resources that would have gone into creating electric cars will be used to massively deploy light rail beyond the 100,000 miles specified.
Air travel impact on global warming could be drastically reduced by diverting flights over the Arctic to other routes. Even though this would increase oil consumption slightly, it has been shown that vapor trails over the Arctic are responsible for as much as 20%[iv] of Arctic warming, and thus could slow the melting of the icecaps, which is a major feedback increasing the speed at which the average temperature of the planet rise. Black carbon emissions from high altitude aircraft also contribute disproportionately to global warming, so a decrease in airplane particulates could further reduce their global warming impact[v]. Thus we would fund deployment of known means to reduce such particulate, and fund R&D of further possible methods.
We could reduce industrial emissions by rules that indirectly increase industrial efficiency. Life-cycle emissions are reduced via lifespan requirement, regulations requiring multi-year warranties for most manufactured goods, and manufacturer responsibility for product end-of-life. Regulations will also require reductions in embodied emissions in construction and manufactured goods at the same time reductions in operating emissions are required. Regulations should also require reductions in water use and pollution, reductions in toxic waste, and reductions in solid waste, since these all indirectly create greenhouse gas pollution.
Further indirect emissions reductions could be produced through regulations that require drastically reduced packaging. Public subsidies should be provided to industries that drastically reduce their waste profile, both by reducing waste to begin with and by repurposing such waste as something useful. Similarly we should subsidize local public waste districts to find creative ways to drastically reduce domestic and urban waste, both by reduce production of such waste to begin with and by processing it into useful processes. The long term goal should be to encourage reuse, repair and recycling to the point where we came as close to zero waste as practical.
Direct industrial efficiency in use of energy should be required to be doubled for better, and a majority of remaining direct fuel use should be replace by renewable electricity.
Agriculture and Forestry
In agriculture and forestry subsidies will be switched from industrial meat and corn and ethanol and logging to green grazing, row crops and forestry that use holistic soil management to drastically lower dirty inputs, and to build rather than destroy soil and biological diversity. Strong rules will require this same switch, so that a conversion to green agriculture and forestry will both be encouraged by public investment, and required by regulations.
End subsidies to polluters
Tax breaks and other forms of subsidy to the coal, oil and gas industries should be ended.
Greenhouse Gas Pollution Fee and Dividend
To prevent rebound effects, to drive change in industry and to generally reinforce these public investments and regulations, the proposal also advocates a greenhouse gas fee where most of the revenue generated is returned in equal amounts to the public. The fee should be levied as far upstream as possible – at the wellhead for domestic oil and gas, at the mine level for domestic coal, when imported for imported fossil fuels. Imported goods would also be charged a fee for the greenhouse gas emitted in manufacturing them, minus any paid in their nation of origin via a carbon tax or cap and trade system. Fees on other greenhouse gases should be levied when they are manufactured or emitted, wherever they can first be detected.
The greenhouse gas pollution fees should be returned to the residents of the United States in much the same way that revenue from the Alaska Pipeline is returned to residents of Alaska. This means actual checks written, or direct deposits made, or fee-free prepaid debit cards issued. Unlike the Alaska pipeline, revenues would be divided equally among all long term U.S. residents, and provided on a monthly rather than annual or quarterly basis.
Broader Social change
In addition, we need to support broader social change that makes this transition easier and that indirectly reduces emissions. We need to understand greenhouse gases are fundamentally a form of waste, and that waste is the result of inequality, injustice, war, and militarization. So that moving towards a more just, equal and less militarized society will indirectly reduce greenhouse gases.
Grabbing land from Native Americans led to deforestation and the burning of coal.
Slavery helped make practical large scale cultivation of soil-robbing crops like cotton. Coffee, sugar cane and jute.
Women's labor not being valued helped drive the switch from delivery groceries to self-service in the early 20th century. This lowered prices but required women to spend more time spent shopping and driving. That tradeoff was seen as a good value because women's time was “free”
Energy companies can afford longer time horizons when considering investments to produce more energy than consumers can when considering investments to save energy
Businesses, when choosing where to invest capital, require much higher estimated rates of return for investments that save energy, water, materials and other “flow costs” than for investments they expect to save labor. Reduced labor costs equal more leverage over labor.
Also social consumption (such as education) uses less energy per unit of GDP than consumer goods. Healthcare is less energy intensive than Amway.
Possible social improvements
Peace, less aggressive military
Upper income tier tax rate – 70%
Eliminate differential treatment for capital gains
Convert personal income tax deductions to non-refundable capped credits
Tax all wages for social security remove the ~110K limit for such taxes, but keep limit in place for benefits. Tax profits and interest and dividends for Social Security, not just wages
1/2% Tobin tax on financial and currency transactions including derivatives and custom financial instruments. Not only revenue source, helps avoid risk of bubbles like the one that led to the last crash
Wealth tax on wealth over 600,000 net worth
Public ownership of natural resources, and of natural monopolies – such as utilities (including broadband providers).
Higher minimum wage:
Single Payer Health, including dental – reduces inequality
Public universal day care
Full funding of public education – reverse state budget cuts in education through Federal aid, plus full Federal funding of public (not private) universities through Masters, full Federal funding of public vocational schools, and full Federal funding of apprenticeship programs
Lower Social Security age, Increase minimum social security pension
Increased funding of water and sewer repairs, including upgrades to recover waste for fertilizer
Public funding of road repair and maintenance and bridge safety and maintenance – repair and safety only no upgrades (except upgrades that allow increased transit)
Full funding of drug and alcohol rehab programs
Full funding of mental health programs
Full funding of in-home care and group homes to reduce need for nursing homes.
Full funding of nursing home care
Structural Upgrade Program for Enhancement and Reclamation (SUPER) – new civilian conservation chore program provides a 15/ hour a job to anyone who wants one – choice of 20, 30 and 40 hour week – plus overtime may be available
Housing subsidies, especially in walkable transit friendly areas, but also in rural areas
More leisure – shorter work week – may reduce consumption, and increased equality
i Archer, Cristina L., and Mark Z. Jacobson. "Evaluation of Global Wind Power." Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres 110, no. D12 30-Jun 2005. American Geophysical Union. http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/winds/2004jd005462.pdf. D12110 DOI:10.1029/2004JD005462. Accessed 20-Jan-2008
Gerhard Knies, Deserts as Sustainable Powerhouses and Inexhaustible Waterworks for the World, Sep-2006). Sep 2006. Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation - (Formed by The Club of Rome, The Hamburg Climate Protection Foundation, and the National Energy Research Center of Jordan), 3/Jan/2007 .
Mark Z Jacobson & Mark A. Delucchi, "A Plan for a Sustainable Future: How to Get all Power from Wind, Water and Solar Power by 2030", Scientific American (Nov, 2009)
iii Drake et al., Evaluating the Creation of a Parallel Non-Oil Transportation System in an Oil Constrained Future, (Arlington: Millenium Institute, Jan-2008),1-18, http://www.millenniuminstitute.net/resources/elibrary/papers/Transportation_MI09.pdf (accessed Jan-31-2010).
ivMark Z. Jacobson , Jordan T. Wilkerson ,Sathya Balasubramanian ,Wayne W. Cooper Jr. and Nina Mohleji. 2012. “The effects of rerouting aircraft around the arctic circle on arctic and global climate.” Climactic Change 115(3-4):709-24. http://www.stanford.edu/group/efmh/jacobson/Articles/VIII/PolarReroutingClimChang12.pdf
vM.Z. Jacobson 2010. “Short-term effects of controlling fossil-fuel soot, biofuel soot and gases, and methane on climate
, Arctic ice, and air pollution health.” Journal of Geophysical Research