Friday, August 16, 2013

Distributed Generation and Climate Policy Part 3

I’m going to post once more about the climate debate in an entertaining manner, then, since school will be  starting soon and a lot of summer is behind us… it’s time to get more serious. My next post will be an update on my effort to determine if MidAmerican is paying the correct amount of property taxes at their wind project in Pocahontas County. The quick answer is that I don’t think they are, but I’ll get into those details next time. I hope all the counties where MEC is planning wind projects thoroughly investigate this.
Let’s see… distributed generation and the great climate debate - part 3. If you have a sense of humor, a thick skin, and are strong of heart, proceed… otherwise… you have been warned.  

It seems that climate hawks and conservatives are totally unwilling to talk to each other about advancing climate policy that will help us, and the next generation more importantly. Liberals advocate for lifestyle changes, carbon taxes, and rapid deployment of renewables. The downfall, I think, is that they are content to allow most of the public passively watch this transition instead of encouraging widespread ownership of renewables.  I’ve been to more than one conference where the conversations sounded a lot like this. Remember, thick skins everyone. The full episode of that clip is here.  For the record, I drive a hybrid, but since it won’t do all the jobs at the farm, a gas guzzler still resides at the acreage as well. 
Conservatives have been just as disappointing to me. I tried to find a conservative clip in order to stay “fair and balanced”.  So far, nothing has surfaced. Feel free to send something my way.  A lot of conservatives seem to be here. Some of them seem to be here

David Roberts seems to think that conservatives have always been fated to oppose climate change policy. His has several recent thoughtful posts on this. I always enjoy reading his posts, but it seems to me that if conservatives had no choice but opposing climate policy, climate hawks seem to be fated to only try and change them, instead of advocating for policy that has beat this stalemate in other countries.

Chris Nelder wrote a very thoughtful piece about peoples tribal tendancies-      Storytelling our energy future – a fun quote -    “We believe people that we like and trust, and this is the basis of most of our beliefs. We don’t feel the same degree of belief with people we don’t like and trust, because it’s not emotionally and associatively compatible.”    Chris tells a personal story about how he felt both tribes wanted nothing to do with him. Take the middle position at your own risk. I found another post by Chris that discusses why he thinks current climate policy efforts have failed and why he’s ready to try “climate judo”, a national feed in tariff (FiT) instead.  Another quote - “A national FiT would take essentially the opposite approach to carbon mitigation than has been tried to date. Carbon taxes are all stick, while a FiT is all carrot. The benefits of this approach should be obvious.
It would create an alternative supply to fossil fuels first. It would not raise fears about being left in the dark. As the price of renewable power falls, it would naturally force coal and natural gas off the grid. Incumbents would find themselves losing creditworthiness as their business models are disrupted, as is already happening in Europe. That’s climate judo! “ 

Chris lays out a scenario where this could be done administratively instead of trying to get our dysfunctional senate and house to act. I’m definitely ready for a change to the current efforts and I like it, but unfortunately I think too many of us are stuck in zero sum game to be ready to talk about it yet. I’m hoping we don’t stay there.                

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