Thursday, April 17, 2008

Does government always find a way to pass the buck?

At the Belmont Green Advisory Committee meeting there were a lot of great ideas on how to green the city for climate change. However we never set a base line on how to measure emissions or what goal we were going to develop policy for (more later).

We know at the federal level that there is very little happening. Renewable energy was still underfunded and big oil and coal continue to rack in the subsidies. Almost a 6/1 difference. And the President continues to drag his feet. CA ability to regulate tailpipe emissions is attacked. And the feds are doing everything to keep 1493 from becoming law.

At the state level we got AB32 which mandates changes. However the implementation is seriously struggling. AB 2744 by Huffman would allow MTC to charge 10 cents per gallon for 25 years to fund transit. Its stalled in committee with a 6-7 vote today. And incredibly Southern California, is pursuing its own gas fee at 3% of the retail value of gas which looks like 12 cents at present prices and may be a better way to access it.

But it will probably have a harder time in committee.

On a national level NY was unable to move congestion pricing through because of a conflict between the mayor and the legislature and governor in Albany which doesn’t bode well for cross jurisdictional agreements.

Global Warming is caused by the use of fossil fuels which requires an infrastructure of power lines and fueling stations and roads all of which are built by city government. 80% of the fossil fuels we consume need to stay in the ground through 2300 because of the 200 year lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere. That means that to a rough extent we need to live on 20% of the infrastructure we have.

Can Belmont address its challenges without pointing fingers at state and federal sources?

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