It’s been 20 years since the nations of the world met at the Rio Conference to address the problem of global warming and little has happened other than the problem has grown much worse. One of the reasons for this lack of a response is the failure of US leadership. Justice Party presidential candidate Rocky Anderson, a former mayor of Salt Lake City, claims he can provide such leadership. His campaign lists a 15-point plan for accomplishing this.
1. Put the United States on course for a zero-net-carbon economy by mid-century.
2. End all taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels and shift the revenues to a crash program of research, development, and commercialization of clean and renewable energy resources. This includes subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration.
3. Insist on full funding and scientific integrity in the national climate change science program, as well as U.S. support for the ongoing research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
4. Champion a market-based approach to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, but support and defend the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if market mechanisms are not promptly put in place by Congress or prove insufficient.
5. Fully use the authorities past Congresses have granted the President to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations and to aggressive goals for government use of low-carbon materials and resources. Fight for sufficient funding by Congress to make the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, leaders in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
6. Direct appropriate federal agencies to modify their grant and loan programs to support low-carbon development and climate adaptation measures by state and local governments and the private sector.
7. Use the bully pulpit to push for greater economy-wide transparency on climate risks.
8. Reinstate FEMA’s Project Impact, a program under the Clinton Administration that helped communities create public-private partnerships to prevent and respond to natural disasters.
9. Institute policies to make carbon “visible”, including carbon-impact statements for federally funded projects and carbon-impact analysis of federal agency budget requests.
10. Make the reduction of America’s carbon debt as high a priority as reducing its financial debt; and deliver a “State of the Nation’s Ecosystems” address to a joint session of Congress each Earth Day.
11. Direct the EPA and Energy Information Administration to count the carbon impact of America’s imports when they calculate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
12. Direct America’s National Laboratories to increase their collaboration with U.S. industry in the development of critical carbon-cutting technologies, including advanced batteries, utility-scale energy storage, cellulosic ethanol and low-wind-speed turbines.
13. Make the United States a constructive and proactive leader in the effort to negotiate an effective and enforceable international treaty that reduces the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, conserves the world’s forests, and transfers clean energy technologies to developing nations.
14. Champion reforms in national transportation policy to favor funding for mass transit and non-vehicular mobility over funding for roads.
15. Direct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to develop guidelines for designs and materials that reduce the carbon footprints and increase the resilience of America’s infrastructure, particularly as it is repaired and modernized in the years ahead.
That’s an ambitious program and makes far more sense than President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy which he has been recently trying to sell to the country.