Instead of fighting individual legislative battles for one regulation at a time, putting a price on carbon is comprehensive strategy to reduce emissions, mitigating climate change. It accounts for the actual cost of burning fossil fuels, creating a more competitive market for clean energy sources.
There are many proposals on the table to price carbon: carbon taxes, carbon fee & dividend, polluter penalties, and cap and trade schemes. We’re supportive of all, understanding the need to appeal to a diverse group of elected officials and constituents. We do strongly support proposals with a ‘just transition,’ where funds are utilized to transition to a low-carbon economy. Some proposals suggest a carbon tax in place of any carbon regulation, and we disagree with that. We know that pricing carbon paired with strong environmental regulations is the best way forward.
POW is currently working on carbon pricing legislation in state governments across the US. Learn more about the coalitions we have joined to put a price on carbon:
- Massachusetts: Campaign for a Clean Energy Future
- New York: NY Renews
- Oregon: Renew Oregon
- Vermont: Energy Independent Vermont
- Washington: Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy
POW’s founder Jeremy Jones and board member Naomi Oreskes published an op-ed in the Boston Globe in support of carbon pricing in MA: read it here.
Check out these introductory videos where Robert Reich and our own Angel Collinson explain carbon pricing schemes to you! Learn the basics of carbon pricing from the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition and their infographic on five reasons why carbon pricing is the future.
Ready to dive in? Check out The Union of Concerned Scientist’s Carbon Pricing 101 guide, which walks you through science considerations, equity concerns, and carbon pricing in action. Then, watch National Geographic’s Years Of Living Dangerously episode “Priceless,” via Hulu, Google Play, iTunes or Amazon (Season 2, Episode 6).
Listen to NPR’s 1A Podcast covering “Conservatives Make The Case For Action On Climate Change.” It’s the February 16th, 2017 recording, find it at NPR or iTunes.
The World Resources Institute published a paper titled “Putting A Price On Carbon: Reducing Emissions,” discussing how in order to achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80% by 2050, the United States could use a national carbon price. So crazed on pricing schemes that you frankly just need more reading? Check out this handy guide from our friends at Put a Price On It, read why Even Big Oil Wants a Carbon Tax, and study up on why Republicans see carbon pricing as a Conservative Climate Solution.
To realistically reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as a source of power, we have to utilize clean sources of energy. Solar energy is a sustainable source of energy with incredible potential for expansion and opportunity to develop on both the individual level and the commercial scale.
There are many policies that support the expansion of the solar industry, including financial investments for solar projects, setting renewable portfolio standards (how much electricity must come from renewable resources), and creating successful clean energy cash-back programs such as net metering (allowing solar customers to sell excess energy back to the grid). POW works to defend net-metering programs and solar tax credits, grow renewable portfolio standards, and support proposals for Green Banks.
POW is currently working on Utah’s net-metering fight against Rocky Mountain Power and solar tax credits with Utah Clean Energy, on the increase of Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard with Powered by Sunshine and Western Resource Advocates, and on bettering Maine’s net-metering and solar policies with the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Dive a little deeper with this Ted Ed video on How Solar Panels Work, and read up on the clean energy issues POW works on. What is net metering anyway? What is my state’s policy on net metering? What are Renewable Portfolio Standards? Check out the map of each state’s RPS policy. And, study up on Green Banks and how they could change the world.
Check out Climate Nexus’ article on net metering policy fights around the country, the 2015 solar set-back in Nevada, and why this has become such a big issue. Learn how Patagonia is working to finance Residential Solar Installation, and get more information on how Tesla is pioneering solar storage with its Powerwall.
Fire up the popcorn maker and settle in to watch Catching the Sun, a documentary film produced in 2016 by none other than Leonardo DiCaprio on solar as a solution to our climate and economic issues. Find it on Netflix! Or, get nerdy with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ article on the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act explaining how the legislation created a market for power from non-utility power producers (read: renewable energy).
Looking to ‘go solar’ yourself? Enter your zip code and learn about the policies and incentives near you through NC Clean Energy Technology Center’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency. Read up on Let’s Go Solar’s similar resources here. For those of you that rent or do not own your home, study up on the Solar Energy Industry Association’s guide to Community Solar. Interested in getting your business to go solar? Check out the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, making it easier for corporations to enter the renewables market.
In 2016, the transportation sector surpassed the electricity sector as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Given this impact, there is a clear need for strong advocacy on innovative solutions to reduce emissions and transform transportation.
Like all of three of our focus areas, there are many policies that support greenhouse gas emission reductions in the transportation sector. POW engages on on protecting the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulations on fuel efficiency and fuel economy standards as well as electric vehicle availability, infrastructure, and credit reform.
POW has been working in multiple states to direct as much funding as legally allowed from the Volkswagen lawsuit settlement towards electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Here’s an article about the lawsuit’s mandate of developing an environmental remediation fund and a zero emissions vehicle fund.
POW will work to fight rollbacks to our national fuel economy standards, set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Read up on A Brief History of US Fuel Efficiency Standards and Electric Vehicle Questions and Answers from the Union of Concerned Scientists, watch this intro video on Electric Vehicles 101 from the Department of Energy, and learn why the Future of Electric Vehicles is Bright from our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Study up on new MIT research, showing how EVs can make a dent in climate change, and read Climate Action Tracker’s piece on why we need zero emission vehicles to meet the Paris Climate Agreement.
Watch Years of Living Dangerously episode “Safe Passage,” where Ty Burrell covers the future of electric vehicles. You can watch it via Hulu, Google Play, iTunes or Amazon (Season 7, Episode 6). Then, read “The Road Ahead” – though dated, it’s a great piece on the benefits of strong fuel efficiency standards.
Get deep into CityLab and the Atlantic’s special issue on The Future of Transportation, which includes articles on topics from Tesla to Electric Bikes.
Thinking of replacing your car? Or getting an electric vehicle? Check out Business Insider’s tips on why buying a new car is better for the environment than driving an old one and buying guides from Plug In Cars and the Sierra Club. Still freaked out about EV’s range? Read The Washington Post’s take on why ‘range anxiety’ is overblown. Lastly, here’s Outside Online’s guide to adventure-ready cars, which does indeed include a few EVs!
It is no secret that our public lands are used for energy extraction, which contributes heavily to climate change. The extraction and burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses, including methane. The energy industry doesn’t own our public lands: we do. When we advocate to protect our public lands for recreation and conservation, let’s remember that protecting public lands protects our climate too.
POW supports both limiting development and regulating emissions on our treasured public lands. We advocate for balanced development that considers climate change. We therefore oppose major energy extraction development, such as coal mining expansions or oil leasing and drilling. In addition, we also work to reduce methane emissions (a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide in the short term and contributes to approximately 25 percent of global warming) from natural gas production.
We work to elevate the significance of climate change in the public lands protection narrative. POW has opposed the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of methane protections from both the Bureau of Land Management and the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, POW is currently working to push for stricter methane emission standards in its home state of Colorado. Lastly, POW has worked to oppose the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for drilling.
We’ve got you covered! Read POW’s blog post on the intersection between public lands and climate change to learn how the fight for Bears Ears, Grand Staircase Escalante, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are battles to limit fossil fuel development and emissions too.
Curious about our perspective on balancing energy development while protecting the climate? Learn from an expert! Watch POW Alliance Member Josh Jespersen speak at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. about the issue.
Our friends at The Wilderness Society developed the Federal Lands Emissions Accountability Tool. Sure, it sounds wonky, but you can actually explore the hidden impacts of coal, oil, and gas production on our public lands through a series of infographics. The key takeaway? If all U.S. public lands were combined into a country, its emissions would rank fifth in the world. Check it out here.
Spend some time exploring the many documentary films on public lands and energy extraction. Kick back to 2013, when Protect Our Winters released the film Momenta with Plus M Productions, which covers the then-proposed expansion of coal mining in the Powder River Basin and coal exports in the Pacific Northwest (which was defeated!).