This is Ellen Gleason's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Ellen Gleason's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Ellen Gleason
Recent Activity
One thing that stood out while reading this piece was the proximity of these two large-scale projects to one another in Southern California. Energy companies, especially when partnering between two continents, must be focusing on the most cost-effective strategy when deciding where and in what capacity to undertake projects like these. I would be interested in knowing exactly what incentives California provides, whether tax-based or otherwise, in order to promote alternative energy projects like solar towers. Like Kate said, not all states have the amount of annual sunshine necessary for large solar plants. However, if other states could adopt legislation or tax changes similar to those implemented in California, would we see an increase in the number of alternative energy plants elsewhere in the United States?
As several people have stated, this article gave me hope about the potential for future gains in renewable energy. However, it seems highly unlikely that even a relatively progressive state like New York would decide to convert 100% of their energy production to renewable resources. Due to the high cost of implementation, and the passing off of costs to consumers who normally wouldn't have to pay (such as having to see large windmills, blocking views, etc). I think that the way to go would be suggesting investments in renewable energy capital in stages - not all at once. I think if the state government or other organizations attempt widespread environmental action on energy policy, there will be an overwhelmingly negative response.
As stated by many of the others, this article re-emphasized the particularly sad state of our political process when it comes to environmental legislation. The heightened partisanship and polarization in Congress surrounding issues of climate change and potential solutions defies logical thinking, but I agree with several people above who pointed out the lack of knowledge regarding these issues, and how that lack allows politicians to continue their lack of action without repercussion. I came away from this article wondering what it would take to force both sides of the political spectrum to work together in enacting forceful climate legislation. As science continually strengthens the case for anthropogenic climate change, I feel that there is a gradual, but positive, change in the nation's mindset with regard to the need for action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I can only hope that the change in thinking and attitude will begat progress before it's too late.
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2013 on Another Political Football at Jolly Green General
I agree with many of the other posts - ranking 33rd out of 34 countries in terms of our carbon tax does signal a real need for raising taxes. This solution is dual-sided; not only would it raise the real price of energy, reducing the demand and our carbon output, but this taxation would also give us a new revenue source to use towards offsetting the costs of natural disasters. At this point, the evidence in favor of instituting such a tax seems relatively strong. What I'm left with is the issue of the American public's reaction to such a tax. Especially during this past election cycle, when there was such a strong voter reaction to rising and fluctuating gas prices, we can expect that any effort to raise carbon taxes would be hard fought by both politicians and the majority of Americans. Accustomed to (relatively) cheap energy prices, as Will stated, the main issue with Americans will be educating people on the reasons behind such a tax.
While reading this article, the authors cited certain arguments of opponents of the RGGI that were so frustrating and seemingly unconnected from reality or hard facts that the piece was hard to read. Initially, I was blindsided by the idea that cap and trade legislation was no longer necessary due to "growing investments in energy efficiency and renewable electricity". Wouldn't the general consensus be that these investments in environmentally-friendly practice were due to the presence of cap-and-trade policies? From an economics standpoint, these changes in energy efficiency stem from the very policies opponents of the RGGI are trying to stop. To argue that cap-and-trade is no longer necessary due to the very investments that the policy has made profitable seems tantamount to shooting oneself in the foot. I thought that the authors' most convincing arguments was their discussion of the economic benefits connected to the RGGI. The fact that the policy program saved consumers $1.1 billion over ten years, while also generating $1.6 billion in economic growth by new consumption in local economies, is a huge argument in favor of continuing cap-and-trade policies. With such positive benefits, and with what seems like few negative associations, we should not only keep the RGGI on the path to reducing emissions, but continue to fight for more cap-and-trade policies throughout the U.S.
This article was not the first time I'd been introduced to the concepts of carbon taxes or the dangers presented by global warming, but I'd never thought of the connection and similarities between the two issues. After reading, the most prominent issue Friedman discussed was the very true possibility of reaching a "point of no return" in both our debt to GDP ratio and carbon emissions rate. This was the first time I'd ever heard of the large portion of permafrost made up of CO2 and menthol, and the enormous effect those emissions would have on our global atmosphere if warming conditions continue as they are currently. It seems to me that the potential to reach an atmospheric state where cutting emissions would no longer have any positive effect would be enough to pass legislation in order to deal with this problem now. But, as Emily said, there are problems with instituting a carbon tax that would need to be seriously examined. The ideal solution would be politicians working together with environmental experts to come up with emission-reducing policies while we still have the potential to return our atmosphere to a sustainable state. These environmental findings, combined with Friedman's emphasis on the not-so-distant possibility of our debt burden reaching the point where taxes and spending cuts would go solely to interest payments, reinforce the need to address these issues immediately. By connecting our federal debt problem with that of global warming, Friedman offers a new perspective and way to address both issues at the same time. However, no matter how effective economists predict a carbon tax would be to alleviate both problems, we do need to recognize the complications that would ensue. There would be a far greater need for increased regulation of energy producers to ensure they're fair in monitoring, reporting, and paying for carbon emissions. Although opponents of a carbon tax will cite complications associated with such a tax, any method adopted to decrease emissions and reduce our federal debt will have problems. There is no perfect solution, and Friedman's proposition of carbon taxes should be carefully considered because unlike many other potential solutions, this tax would work to alleviate both issues with one method.
Ellen Gleason is now following The Typepad Team
Jan 14, 2013