Saturday, October 04, 2008

A reluctant No to Cal. Prop. 7 and to James Hansen

(I'm throwing Hansen in there just for effect, he's one of the celebrity endorsers of Prop. 7.)

I attended a Community Media Center debate on California Proposition 7, which attempts to double the current legislative mandate to increase renewable power percentages, from a 1% increase to 2% annually. The Investor-Owned-Utilities oppose it, unsurprisingly, but so do virtually all environmental groups and renewable energy business associations. That's weird.

The No campaign says it's poorly written (every No campaign says that, but that doesn't mean it's not true). In the debate, they said that it locks in cost increases, freezes out small renewable producers, and limits financial punishment for utilities that fail to meet mandates. Afterwards, I asked the No proponent why it had been so poorly written - didn't the Yes side come talk to the environmentalists? He said they had but only in a cursory manner and weren't willing to change anything.

So this measure is some billionaire's idea. I suppose it's possible that the enviros have spent too much time working with the utilities to know when to oppose them and support a drastic change (I don't know So Cal Edison, but I do know that PG&E is about as pro-environment as you're going to find in a major corporation). All in all though, my best guess is that the groups oppose it for the reasons they say. Too bad. Maybe we can get a drastic measure that works in 2o10.

(I'll also just insert a waffle statement here, that I could be wrong and will see what else I learn about Prop 7.)

In other climate news, the US Geological Survey discusses "wetland carbon farming." Restoring farmed, former wetlands to actual wetlands in the San Francisco Bay Delta can store significant amounts of carbon while rebuilding the wetland soils. They're trying to verify that it more than makes up for methane emissions. I've read elsewhere that tidal wetlands don't have methane emissions, so we need that type of restoration even more.

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