links about us archives search home
SustainabiliTankSustainabilitank menu graphic
SustainabiliTank

 
 
Follow us on Twitter

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 30th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)


The Opinion Pages | Op-Ed Contributor to The New York Times

The Carbon Dividend

Chris Van Hollen to Introduce Plan to Auction Pollution Permits.

By JAMES K. BOYCE    JULY 29, 2014
 
AMHERST, Mass. — FROM the scorched earth of climate debates a bold idea is rising — one that just might succeed in breaking the nation’s current political impasse on reducing carbon emissions. That’s because it would bring tangible gains for American families here and now.
A major obstacle to climate policy in the United States has been the perception that the government is telling us how to live today in the name of those who will live tomorrow. Present-day pain for future gain is never an easy sell. And many Americans have a deep aversion to anything that smells like bigger government.
What if we could find a way to put more money in the pockets of families and less carbon in the atmosphere without expanding government? If the combination sounds too good to be true, read on.
Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat of Maryland, plans to introduce legislation today that would require coal, oil and natural gas companies to buy a permit for each ton of carbon in the fuels they sell. Permits would be auctioned, and 100 percent of the proceeds would be returned straight to the American people as equal dividends for every woman, man and child.
Paying dividends to all isn’t rocket science. The state of Alaska has been doing it since 1982. That’s when the Alaska Permanent Fund, the brainchild of Gov. Jay S. Hammond, a Republican, began to pay dividends from oil royalties based on the principle that the state’s natural wealth belonged to all its people. Residents claim their dividends by filling out an online form. Not surprisingly, the Alaska Permanent Fund is permanently popular among Alaskans. From 1982 through 2009, the fund paid out $17.5 billion. The biggest payout, by the way, came under Gov. Sarah Palin.
The main difference between Alaska’s fund and the one Mr. Van Hollen is proposing is that instead of creating an incentive to pump more oil, his legislation creates an incentive to burn less oil and other carbon-based fuels.
The number of permits initially would be capped at the level of our 2005 carbon dioxide emissions. This cap would gradually ratchet down to 80 percent below that level by 2050. Prices of fossil fuels would rise as the cap tightened, spurring private investment in energy efficiency and clean energy. Energy companies would pass the cost of permits to consumers in the form of higher fuel prices. But for most families, the gain in carbon dividends would be greater than the pain. In fact, my calculations show that more than 80 percent of American households would come out ahead financially — and that doesn’t even count the benefits of cleaner air and a cooler planet.
As the cap tightened, prices of fossil fuels would rise faster than quantity would fall, so total revenues would rise. The tighter the cap, the bigger the dividend. Voters not only would want to keep the policy in place for the duration of the clean energy transition, they would want to strengthen it.
The net effect on any household would depend on its carbon footprint — how much it spent, directly and indirectly, on fossil fuels. The less carbon it consumed, the bigger its net benefit. But why would a vast majority emerge as winners?
There are two reasons. First, among final consumers, households account for about two-thirds of fossil fuel use in the United States. Most of the remainder is consumed by government. In Mr. Van Hollen’s bill, households would receive these other carbon dollars, too.
Republicans should welcome this feature, since over the years it would return billions of dollars from the government to the people. Unlike a carbon tax, which brings in more revenue for the government, Mr. Van Hollen’s bill is, in effect, a tax cut.
The second reason is the dramatic skew in household incomes. The outsize consumption — and outsize carbon footprints — of the richest 10 percent of Americans means that they’ll furnish a similarly high fraction of the carbon dollars generated by household spending on gasoline, electricity, airplane trips and so on. For these households, the dividends won’t outweigh the costs. But the affluent can afford to pay for their emissions.
Does this bill stand a snowball’s chance in the partisan hell of Washington?
Its main political weakness is that no one stands to make a killing on it.
The bill’s main strength is that it protects the incomes of ordinary Americans as it protects the planet for their grandchildren.
In a democracy, this outcome is not too good to be true. If any climate bill can win bipartisan support, this is it. But it will succeed only if the American people — in blue states, red states and everywhere in between — come together to make Congress act.
———————–
James K. Boyce is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
===========================
17th Annual Congressional
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency EXPO + Policy Forum
See preliminary speaking schedule below** Free Gifford’s Ice Cream after 12:30pm, while supplies last **

Thursday, July 31, 2014

 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM

Cannon House Office Building
Exhibits in Room 345
Policy Forum in Room 334 
Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE
Washington D.C. 
Free and open to the public

 

A live webcast of the policy forum in Room 334 will be streamed at 9:30 AM EDT at

www.eesi.org/livecast (wireless connection permitting)

 

 

The Expo is free for attendees, open to the public, and no RSVPs are required.

Learn more at sustainableenergy.orgexpo.

 

 

Honorary Co-Hosts:

 

    House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus

    Senate Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus

 

 

In partnership with:

 

    Energy Savings Performance Contracts Caucus

    Higher Performance Buildings Caucus

    House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC)

    Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Caucus

 

 

schedulePlease note that the speaker schedule is subject to change.


EXPO — CANNON CAUCUS ROOM 345 — SPEAKER SCHEDULE 


10:30 AM
11:00 AM

Administration speakers:

Edward Thomas Morehouse, Jr, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Energy & Sustainability) Rear Admiral Kevin R. Slates, Director of Energy and Environmental Readiness Division, U.S. Navy.

 Dr. David T. Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

Rear Admiral Steven G. Smith (RET), Director of the Office of Disaster Planning & Risk Management, U.S. Small Business Administration

11:00 AM
12:00 PM

Members of Congress expected:

Rep. David G. Reichert, R-WA (Co-chair of the House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus)Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MD (Co-chair of the House Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Caucus)Rep. Jim Himes, D-CT

Rep. Paul Tonko, D-NY


POLICY FORUM — CANNON ROOM 334 — SPEAKER SCHEDULE


9:30 AM
10:10 AM

PANEL 1: OVERVIEW – POLICY ISSUES

Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd.; Adjunct Professor, George Washington University Zoe Berkery, Manager (Federal Policy), Business Council for Sustainable Energy
BSCE’s Sustainable Energy in America Factbook Lena Moffitt, Manager (Federal Policy, Climate and Energy), National Wildlife Federation
The carbon pollution standard and the opportunity it presents for clean technology.

 Tom Carlson, Government Affairs and Policy Associate, Advanced Energy Economy
Innovative State Policy Advancing Our Energy System
How states have been leading the way with policies that advance our energy system and where we could go from here within the context of EPA’s new carbon regulations for the power sector.

10:15 AM
10:35 AM

PANEL 2: DEFENSE

Captain James C. Goudreau, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy)Richard Kidd, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Energy & Sustainability)
12:25 PM
1:05 PM

PANEL 3: FUEL CELLS – GEOTHERMAL – SOLAR – ENERGY FROM WASTE

Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association
The Geothermal Industry in 2014
A review of the industry’s status in 2014 and of the growth trends in the U.S. and international geothermal markets.Bud DeFlavis, Director of Government Affairs, Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy Association
The fuel-cell industryLaToya Glenn, Renewable Energy Business Manager, Waste Management
WM Recovering Energy Value from the Materials We Manage.

David Biderman, VP of Advocacy, National Waste & Recycling Association
Waste-based energy (energy from landfill gas collection and waste-to-energy facilities) currently generates enough power in the U.S. to power about 3 million homes.

Dave Buemi, Vice President-Federal Markets, M+W Group
The economic benefits and job creation associated with commercial- and utility-scale solar projects.

1:10 PM
1:50 PM

PANEL 4: HYDROPOWER AND WATER TECHNOLOGIES

Matthew Nocella, Manager of Strategic Communications, National Hydropower Association
Hydropower’s Role in Our Clean Energy Future
Hydropower has tremendous opportunity to grow its role in the nation’s energy portfolio through various technologies, including conventional, new marine, and pumped storage applications.Jacob Irving, President, Canadian Hydropower Association
Bill Libro, Director of Federal Affairs, Minnesota Power
A Case Study for International Cooperation on Hydropower: Minnesota Power
Canadian companies are teaming up with their U.S. counterparts to help enable the development of renewable energy in the United States. Minnesota Power, for instance, is working with Canadian companies to develop renewables on both sides of the border.Thomas Horner, Vice President, Water Management, Inc.
One Water
Water, sewere, stormwater, and the water/energy nexus

Jason Busch, Boardmember, Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition; Executive Director, Oregon Wave Energy Trust.
Marine Renewable Energy: A New Addition to the Mix
The Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition is a national trade group that is leading the U.S. effort to develop the burgeoning forms of renewable energy derived from the waves, tides, and currents of our oceans and rivers. These sources are clean, reliable and perpetual, and can provide a significant new source of power both in the United State and around the world. This new industry will also provide a tremendous new opportunity for economic development around manufacturing and the marine supply chain.

 

2:05 PM
2:35 PM

PANEL 5: BIOENERGY

Tim Rials, Director, Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems
Deploying an Advanced Biofuels Industry in the Southeast
Funded by USDA-NIFA, The Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) is developing today’s forest resources for near-term progress while advancing energy crop supply systems optimized for infrastructure-compatible fuels production.Terry Nipp, Executive Director, Sun Grant Initiative
This presentation will showcase a collaborative effort by land grant universities to support research and education projects on bioenergy and biobased products. With support from USDA, DOE and DOT, we have implemented over $70 million in research projects over the past 6-7 years, with more than 200 projects with collaborating scientists in over 90% of the states.Morgan Pitts, Public Relations & Communications Manager, Enviva
Wood pellets and other processed woody biomass fuels can power generation and industrial customers seeking to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels and reduce their carbon footprint.
2:40 PM
3:20 PM

PANEL 6: BEHIND THE SCENES: FINANCE, GRID, AND STORAGE ISSUES

Fran Teplitz, Policy Director, Green America; Board Co-Chair, American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund
Clean Energy Victory Bonds   Katherine Hamilton, Policy Director, Energy Storage Association
Energy Storage: Enabling a Cleaner, More Efficient and Resilient Grid
Energy policies that include energy storage will be key to enabling all resources-including renewable energy and energy efficiency–to operate more efficiently and effectively on the grid. This presentation will describe those legislative policy initiatives and their importance to the grid of the future in a carbon-constrained world.

Diana Rivera, Director of Market Development and Regulatory Affairs, Clean Line Energy 

Delivering low-cost renewable energy to market
Clean Line is developing long-haul transmission lines to deliver thousands of megawatts of wind power from the windiest parts of the U.S. to communities and cities that lack access to new, low-cost renewable power. These clean energy infrastructure projects will create thousands of jobs, benefit electricity consumers and reduce carbon emissions by millions of tons per year.
Len Jornlin, Chief Executive Officer, Empower Energies

A Path to Resiliency

The rationale for an integrated, renewable, distributed generation approach as a path to resiliency. How Solar and Combined Heat and Power (CHP)  applications can provide energy savings and resiliency now for military, government agency, and private sector organizations, and how to finance those installations.

3:25 PM
4:05 PM

PANEL 7: ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Bruce Quinn, Vice President, Government Affairs for Rockwell Automation; Industrial Energy Efficiency Coalition
The Opportunity of Industrial Energy Efficiency
Often overlooked in the policy arena, the energy savings opportunity in the manufacturing and industrial sector is massive, as industry accounts for one-third of U.S. energy use, and there are technologies available today making industrial processes far more energy efficient.John Pouland, Vice-President (Government Affairs and Solutions), Philips Lighting
The Importance of Energy Efficiency in the Private and Public Space
John will focus on the rapid development of LED technologies and the economic and environmental impacts this technology has for consumers and the Government (particularly the military) alike.Gregory B Johnson, President, Blue Penguin Corporation
Blue Penguin tracks and reduces companies’ energy use. Using a suite of hardware and proprietary software, Blue Penguin can see where waste is and eliminate it.

Tom Herron, Senior Manager (Communications and Marketing), National Fenestration Rating Council
The National Fenestration Rating Council provides accurate information to measure and compare energy performance of windows, doors and skylights.
Harrison Godfrey, Manager (National Policy & Partnerships), Opower

Opower: Unlocking Efficiency through Behavior & Information
Behavioral Energy Efficiency, as pioneered by Opower, has the potential to save the United States almost 19,000 GWhs of energy each year, or roughly $2.1 billion in energy expenditures. This presentation talks about just what Behavioral Energy Efficiency is, where it’s already at work today, and how government policy can unleash this potential.

Exhibitors:  

  • Abengoa Solar
  • Advanced Energy Economy
  • American Council On Renewable Energy
  • American Sustainable Business Council Action Fund
  • Blue Penguin Corporation
  • Business Council for Sustainable Energy
  • Canadian Hydropower Association
  • Clean Line Energy
  • Covanta
  • Empower Energies
  • Energy Storage Association
  • Environmental and Energy Study Institute
  • Enviva, LP
  • Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association
  • Geothermal Energy Association
  • Geothermal Exchange Organization
  • Green America
  • GRID Alternatives
  • Industrial Energy Efficiency Coalition
  • Labor Management Cooperative Trust
  • M+W Group
  • National Association of College and University Business Officers
  • National Biodiesel Board
  • National Electrical Manufacturers Assn.
  • National Fenestration Rating Council
  • National Hydropower Association
  • National Renewable Energy Lab
  • National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
  • National Waste & Recycling Association
  • National Wildlife Federation
  • Nextek Power Systems
  • Ocean Renewable Energy Coalition
  • Philips Lighting
  • Renewable Fuels Association
  • Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems
  • Sun Grant Initiative
  • Sustainable Energy Coalition
  • The Stella Group
  • US Department of Energy SunShot Initiative
  • US Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR Program
  • Waste Management
  • Water Management

 

Location:

Cannon House Office Building

Caucus Room 345 (Expo)

Room 334 (Policy Forum) 

Independence Avenue and 1st Street SE
Nearest metro station: Capitol South (blue/orange lines)

   

Exhibitors:

If you would like to apply to be an exhibitor, please register online.

Registrations will be considered and accepted until all available exhibit spaces are filled.

 

For information about the EXPO or if you have other questions, please contact:

Rachel Pierson
SEC Expo Coordinator
info@sustainableenergy.org
sustainableenergy.org/2014-expo

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment for this article

###