Letter: Rep. Becky Edwards and climate change, by Jan Freed

Congrats to Utah House Rep. Becky Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, for her sober and clear view of the climate crisis. Warming is occurring. Our use of fossil fuels, so helpful for so long, is, unfortunately, the primary cause. But, fortunately, alternative energy can take their place.

The solution? We cannot remove the 1.5 trillion tons of carbon dioxide humans have emitted from these fuels. Last year, extreme events caused untold misery in the U.S. and cost us $306 billion, or about $950 per person. These events have increased in frequency and severity.

How do we quicken the transition to alternatives? Economists say, “Put a price on carbon,” which makes low-carbon products more economical. The Citizens Climate Lobby adds that we should “rebate those carbon fees to the consumer.” Government doesn’t keep a dime. Though not a conservative myself, I like this small-government solution.

Studies show a sharp reduction in emissions over 20 years. Other benefits include hundreds of thousands of lives saved (pollution kills), millions of jobs saved (the rebate acts as a stimulus) and hundreds of billions added to gross domestic product.

Including a border tax on carbon would protect domestic industries and incentivize other countries to “go low” in carbon to avoid the border tax.

It is a beautiful solution to a deadly problem. And it is bipartisan. But, unless you choose national leaders who really do care as much as Ms. Edwards, it hasn’t a prayer.

Jan Freed
Los Angeles, California
Deseret News



The markets were up

Re your request for a favorite political joke (Aug. 8), I recall this cartoon from The New Yorker:

A man sits with some small children in a cave. He wears a tattered suit, and the children are looking up at him. He says, “Yes, the planet got destroyed, but for a beautiful moment in time we created a lot of value for shareholders.”

Jan Freed, Eagle Rock
Pasadena Star News

Guest Opinion | Pasadena’s Draft Climate Action Plan: A Key Roadmap to Improve Our Local Environment

It has been two years in the making, but it was well worth the wait. Last month the Pasadena Planning and Economic Development Department released the City’s Draft Climate Action Plan (CAP).
The 100-page document is very readable. It provides citizens with a comprehensive guide on how the City and residents can join forces to combat climate change. The CAP represents perhaps the most important environmental guidance document produced by Pasadena since the release of the Green City Action Plan in 2006. The plan describes early actions by 2020, and long-range actions out to 2030 and 2035 – the timing and purpose are designed to be consistent with the City’s General Plan.
Pasadena obtained a $100,000 grant from the California Strategic Growth Council – a state agency which disburses a portion of California’s Cap and Trade revenue. The City retained Rincon Consultants to produce the CAP. Several City Departments worked with Rincon and the Planning Department to produce dozens of proposed actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels consistent with California’s climate action targets.
98% of Pasadena’s greenhouse gas sources that need sharp reductions are in the transportation and buildings sectors. Although they do not represent major greenhouse gas emissions or solutions, the remaining focus areas in the CAP (water conservation, better waste management, and urban greening) are very important in their own right.
It is significant that City practices alone (such as tree planting, waste management, building management, fleet management, etc.) compose only 6% of the proposed plans for greenhouse gas emission reductions. The remaining 94% of the proposed reductions relies on behavior changes in the community. Are we up to the task?
Major decisions will be made by the City Council in late 2018 when the Council reviews Pasadena Water and Power’s Integrated Resource Plan recommendations. The IRP roadmap will likely focus on the future of the City’s ‘take or pay’ contract to purchase coal-fired power from the Intermountain Power Plant in Utah, and how far the City should pursue its commitment to deploy renewable energy and demand-side management.
The CAP is moving through the process. Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission unanimously endorsed the CAP at its meeting on January 18. The City Council’s Municipal Services Committee was briefed on the CAP on January 23. Public comments on the plan are due by February 10. The City Council has scheduled a public hearing on the CAP for March 5.
The CAP is a positive opportunity for citizens to learn more about Pasadena and explore ways to work with the City to improve our local environment.
Morey Wolfson
(Morey Wolfson is a Member of Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission, although the views in this opinion editorial are his alone.)
Pasadena News Now – Published : Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Re: California’s proposed car ban is the perfect mix of hubris and silliness

Steven Greenhut’s piece is the perfect mix of arrogance and ignorance. Yes, governments ban things all the time that would harm us — think of lead in paint or perhaps meat produced with large doses of antibiotics.

These are more accurate corollaries to the phasing out of gas vehicles. The comparison to banning meat altogether is either intentionally misleading or intellectually lazy. Why? Because gas cars are just one type of car, and there are good alternatives.

The clean-car bill is just a way to get carmakers to speed the development of those alternatives. What is Greenhut’s alternative? If he proposed a steadily rising fee on carbon, which economists recommend, perhaps he would convince me that we don’t need heavy-handed mandates. But until then, we need to pull out all the stops so that our children inherit a livable planet.

Daniel Brotman, Glendale
(Member of Pasadena Citizens Climate Lobby (website: pasadenaccl.wordpress.com/))

Glendale Gas Plant Proposal

Glendale Water & Power has proposed building a large new gas plant in Glendale to replace the aging Grayson facility. They claim it is the best option to provide cheap, reliable electricity to Glendale. But in the current regulatory and market environment, a new gas plant makes little sense. No wonder Los Angeles has put a moratorium on them.

The Grayson facility is aging and expensive to operate. A new source of power needs to be found. There’s no debate on this.

One has to do with California’s new cap and trade program. Cap and trade forces utilities, refiners and others to buy permits for each ton of carbon they emit. While no one knows exactly what the permits will cost over time, economists most familiar with the program project a range of $25 to $85 per ton in 2030 with a probability-weighted price for 2030 at $55. In contrast, GWP’s model uses a price of about $30 in 2030. Every extra dollar GWP has to pay for carbon weakens the financial argument for gas over renewables.

Another stems from legislation in Sacramento that will mandate 100% zero carbon electricity by 2045. If this passes, as is expected, anything GWP builds today will have to be mothballed in 25 years. And when that happens, rate payers will be on the hook for the unamortized costs. Shouldn’t we instead spend this money on systems to move us faster toward a clean energy future?

While state policy has been evolving, energy and storage markets have been undergoing a massive transformation. Prices for wind and solar have fallen to a fraction of what they were just a few years ago and in many parts of the country are already cheaper than coal and gas. The challenge with wind and solar is that they are intermittent, but that’s where the storage revolution comes in. In the last few years, battery technologies have come of age and prices for these systems are also falling fast. Just this year, Tesla and Southern California Edison (SCE) installed the world’s largest battery facility at Mira Loma. At 20 megawatts, this facility can store enough energy to power 2,500 homes for a day. SCE will use it to store cheap solar power during the day and deliver it to consumers when the sun goes down at night. Glendale could do the same.

We know the climate crisis is upon us — just look at the annual temperature records and melting polar ice. At the Paris summit in 2015, world leaders agreed that we must completely decarbonize by mid-century to avoid catastrophic consequences, and most are stepping up to do their part. As our leaders in Washington obfuscate and deny, the onus on us here in Glendale is to insist that any future power projects support the Paris Agreement. Building an expensive, oversized gas plant does not.

Daniel Brotman
(Daniel Brotman is an adjunct professor of economics at Glendale College)

Shake off false reassurances

Bakersfield Californian 7/23/17

I realize environmental groups were critical of the recent extension of cap and trade; it won’t do the job of emissions reductions in time.

Your Associated Press article (“Republican lawmakers give climate law a boost,” July 18), though, made sense. The story noted, “But …. California’s bipartisan approach is one that can be replicated elsewhere.” Hopefully bipartisan action continues in Congress..

A bipartisan Congressional group, the Climate Solutions Caucus recently opposed an amendment that would have forbidden the Dept. of Defense from acting in response to changes in climate and sea levels. The amendment failed.

Congress also can pass a national ‘carbon fee and dividend’ bill.

The carbon fees are paid by polluter industries and all fees are rebated to citizens. Rebates slowly increase and ‘pay’ consumers to find low carbon goods and services; most citizens come out ahead.

Estimates (REMI, Treasury Department) are so positive! Millions of new jobs created, emissions drop rapidly, many thousands are lives saved from illness and death (pollution kills).

We can stop climate change as the real death spiral, happening in our children’s lives and on for generations. We must shake off false reassurances from the Carbon Lobby.

Jan Freed, Pasadena




Readers weigh in on Glendale’s support of Climate Change Accord

Re: “Council supports climate initiative,” July 15-16. Thank you to leaders of the Jewel City for taking a public stand on the climate crisis, without doubt the No. 1 challenge we face as a society. Gov. Jerry Brown recently called climate change a threat to the existence of organized humanity, and he was right.

It is sadly no exaggeration to say that Glendale will be unlivable within the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren if we fail to respond quickly and aggressively. I look forward to working with the council on next steps, including a serious Climate Action Plan that includes a commitment to move to 100% renewable energy by no later than 2035, and a serious second look at whether we should be building a new CO2 spewing 250 megawatt gas plant at the site of the Grayson facility n south Glendale.

Dan Brotman

Glendale News Press http://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/opinion/tn-gnp-me-mailbag-20170720-story.html