The climate bill is a 1,400 page embarrassment of clean energy dreams and big business handouts. While it’s been put on the back burner, as the Senate tackles healthcare, supposedly, Barbara Boxer is working on tightening up the Senate’s versions of the bill.
When it finally makes an appearance, here are the six most important things that should be in the bill, according to Jeffry Sachs, of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
1. A price signal on carbon. A tax would be better, but politicians fear taxes. So we get cap and trade, which is better than nothing since it adds impetus to transition to low-carbon technologies.
2. Nuclear power. Says Sachs, it’s “the most scalable, cost-competitive, base-load source of non-carbon electricity.”
3. Carbon capture. Coal isn’t going anywhere. You can fight it all you want, or you can try to clean it up. Sachs says the latter is better.
4. More solar! “The Mojave Desert alone could provide up to half of electricity needs in the U.S. if a high-voltage direct current transmission grid were available to carry the power to major population centres, and if the remaining technological obstacles and cost factors can be resolved.”
5. Electric cars. “Either America will learn to produce such cars competitively or we’ll end up importing them from China, Europe and Japan, which are also gearing up for this historic change. There is a good bet that the entire world will make the transition to electric vehicles in the next 20 years.”
6. Efficiency! We think this should be number one on the list. It’s the easiest to implement and results in immediate savings.
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