Monday, April 21, 2014

An Iowa Post On Climate Change

It’s time to clear the cob webs away here. There’s certainly no shortage of energy items for Iowa energy wonks to digest these days. I’ve just been engaged on other issues. Just a quick post today for us to get back in the swing of things.

I’ve filed a petition to contest MidAmerican’s wind property tax assessments in my local county, so you can expect another post on that subject. You can also expect an in depth post on Iowa distributed energy doings at the legislature and our Utilities Board that you probably won’t find elsewhere in our state social or print media. 

Today though,   Climate change... As a farmer deeply interested in renewables, I’ve understood for a quite a while that agriculture has the potential to be a part of the solution. Just look at what farmers have accomplished in Germany. Policy in the states is not friendly for farmers to help on the climate issue yet. From tax policy to fair treatment on interconnection, to getting a fair price for our electricity, policy in the U.S.A. mostly discourages farmers from adopting renewables. Farmers can be a stubborn lot, and sometimes we still make progress here, though the deck is often stacked against us. Guess I’ll take a closer look here as well.    

Climate change… David Roberts, one of my favorite energy writers, took a year off to recharge. He surfaced surprisingly at a recent climate conference in Washington State, so let's include the video of that conference that features his panel, along with a couple posts of his on climate change.    The first,   'Environmentalism' can never address climate change, was written after the national Cap and trade effort failed. A quote -  “Environmentalism” is simply not equipped to transform the basis of human culture. It grew up to address a specific, bounded set of issues. For 50 years, American environmental politics has been about restraining the amount of damage industries can do. Environmental campaigners have developed a set of strategies for that purpose, designed to overcome the resistance of industries and politicians to such restraints. And they’ve been successful in a number of areas. So when climate change entered American politics via environmentalism, that is the model into which it was slotted. Environmental campaigners set about restraining the amount of greenhouse gases industry can emit, and industry set about resisting.” 

The second - Climate change and “environmental journalism”  will probably be of interest to readers as well. “Climate change is not “a story,” but a background condition for all future stories. The idea that it should or could be adequately covered by a subset of “environmental journalists” was always an insane fiction.“ 

This isn’t a partisan issue, although it is used as one frequently. Unfortunately, that keeps most people from engaging about this. Here are a couple posts, one from George Lakoff, criticizing progressives on climate discussion, among other things - "Liberals Do Everything Wrong", the other, an interview with retiredArmy Brig. Gen. Chris King laid out the military’s thinking on climate change, contains some messaging that should resonate with conservatives. 

As a farmer, I simply go to the idea that makes sense to me – advocating for policy that enables farmers and non-farmers alike to adopt bottom up solutions… the old positive messaging approach! John Farrell seems to one of the best at articulating this approach.  But as we look at positive examples of folks who are making a difference, let’s remember that there is a lot of heavy lifting to do to enable people to start adopting their own renewable energy solutions.  

Thanks for checking out the blog!

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