While politics is too much of an “ends justify the means” activity for me, politicians (and creators of initiatives) sometimes have interesting policy ideas.
**Anyone who would like to submit a guest post about their own candidates/states initiatives related to forests or federal lands issues please consider yourself invited** I know there is a carbon tax initiative with (some) funding that would go to forests that sounds interesting in Washington State.
It all started when I was on gubernatorial candidate’s website here (Jared Polis of Colorado) doing research prior to filling out my ballot. “I’m running on a plan to bring Colorado to 100% renewable energy by 2040, we can’t afford to wait.” Now I live in a part of Colorado where propane tanks are pretty obviously providing the main source of heat. This was concerning to me, as I am still paying for a new energy-efficient gas tankless water heater. I thought of us converting to electric heat, or researchers finding a carbon-free substitute that will work in natural gas appliances. So I typed in a convenient chatbox on the Polis website and found out that 100% renewable really meant electricity. Whew!
I read further on the site:
“Some of our highest-skilled, and hardest working, women and men in the state currently work in coal or oil & gas development, and we cannot ignore the impact the transition to a renewable energy economy is having on our friends and neighbors. As Governor, I would recognize the importance of skills learned in coal and oil & gas development towards building a 21st century energy portfolio that will revitalize our rural communities and create jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing, and renewable energy development.
In both the short and long term, this transition will help fuel a vibrant Colorado economy. Projections show that reaching our renewable energy goals in Colorado will create over 49,000 construction jobs and over 21,000 operations jobs while saving consumers 10 percent on energy costs. “
It kind of sounds like if we have 100% renewable electricity, we won’t need natural gas, so geologists and others can retrain (or start a beer business and run for office, like our current governor, John Hickenlooper). But won’t we still need those folks to find and develop natural gas for the other uses (and other states)?
So I thought, well maybe, even though natural gas in heating and cooking occurs, it’s nowhere on the scale of natural gas used in electrical power generation, so we’ll need a lot fewer folks. But when I went to the ever-handy EIA tables (for example, here), it looks like more is used for residential than for electric power in the cold months. I found the same pattern in California, which has about 10x the industrial use of Colorado and uses it year-round. I’m assuming I’m reading these correctly, but if I’m not please let me know.
Well, back to the federal lands angle:
I’ll collaborate with everyone willing to contribute to achieve this goal. This has been my exact approach in Congress. For instance, I teamed up with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) to streamline permitting procedures for solar, wind, and geothermal projects on public lands. Working with Republicans, Democrats, and other constituencies to cut red-tape and compliance costs around clean energy projects is an important and necessary bipartisan route to success.
Hmm..one person’s “red tape and compliance costs that need to be reduced” could be someone else’s “vital environmental protections.” Since we seem to be using natural gas for the foreseeable future, why not honor the folks who can make its extraction and use more environmentally friendly?