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California's Transition from a Dirty to Clean Energy Economy - Progress?

AB32 is an economic stimulus package as much as a health measure -- or is that backwards?

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By 2020, Californians are mandated to reduce emissions by more than 25%. That's AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Our Clean Energy Future

Is there such a thing as "clean energy"? Maybe "cleaner" energy. But even human energy comes at a price. So does transportation fuel, electricity, even techniques such as wind energy, solar and geothermal. They all require mining of materials, manufacturing, transport, the transport of workers, and delivery to their final destinations. That's not "green".

In 2007, nearly 1.8 billion dollars were invested in California companies -- almost a 50% increase over the year before. The most significant stimulant to this money flow was the passage of AB32, according to members of CARB staff in Capitol Weekly.

Clean technology is now the third largest and fastest growin catgory of venture capital investment. AB32 brought more of that money to California than before. According to Clean Edge Inc, by 2017, total worldwide revenue from clean energy technologies -- $77 billion in 2007 -- is projected to grow to $254 billion.

The ecomomic impact of AB32 is not limited to clean technology sectors. Energy efficiency represents a savings for all consumers in California. For more than 30 years, California's groundbreaking energy efficiency standards have saved billions, helped grow the economy to one of the largest in the world and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

California consumers have lower electricity bills per capita than the rest of the nation, according to Collaborative Economics and Next Ten (research organizations) -- and one of the country's cleanest electric systems.

According to the International Energy Agency:

...every $1 spent on high-efficiency electrical equipment, appliances, and buildings avoids more than $2 in spending on power plants.

Faith-Based Strategies

Rev. Charlotte Myers, California Interfaith Power and Light, in an editorial for Capital Weekly says that "People of faith are charged with caring for all God's creation and caring for the poor." In response to this crisis, faith-based organizations are calling for immediate, effective action.

They advocate that "polluters pay and revenue be used to speed the transition to a clean energy future, as well as to assist low-income communities with energy costs, investment in energy efficiency, and green jobs skills training."

She projects that a clean energy economy could "save consumers money, generate green jobs and improve the air quality of the very neighborhoods that need it most."

Exporting California Energy Dollars

In 2006, California exported $30 billion -- $2,500 from every California household -- to buy fossil fuels. Costs have doubled since then.

Implementation of AB32 will keep more of that money here in California and because clean energy production is distributed broadly, every part of the state will share in the jobs that it creates.

Implementation of AB 32 Comes Next

California Air Resources Board (CARB) releases its initial blueprint (draft “Scoping Plan”) for achieving the state’s global warming goals under AB 32. The law requires California to reduce heat-trapping pollution to 1990 levels by 2020, and a final Scoping Plan is required to be adopted by the end of the year.

The analysis found that measures achieving the greatest carbon dioxide reductions – cleaner cars and trucks, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and smart growth – also will drive down emissions of smog-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM). These air pollutants are linked with numerous respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses including asthma, heart attacks and premature death.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Power plants, cement plants, and oil refineries – account for 20 percent of California’s global warming pollution. These major sources of global warming pollution in California disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color within the state.

Green Energy Isn't the Solution for More Unbridled Energy Use

Maybe the only green energy is a "siesta"! And who is going to accept that as a solution?

Restoration of nature's systems is the other alternative. Human efforts might tear down mother earth...but only mother earth has the system to regenerate itself. But we've blunted that as well.

Putting efforts into cleaner energy is a good thing. But it's not enough. If we do NOT restore natural system to full function, we will continue to degrade those same natural systems. If we take more nutrients out of the soil than the earth can regenerate -- all the biofuel in the world will only make the problem worse. The same holds for organic food, solar generated electricity, geothermal or wind power.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus...?

SOURCES: www.CapitolWeekly.net and www.nrdc.org/

Edited by Carolyn Allen
| ab32 | clean technology | clean energy | social responsibility |

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