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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Six climate change solutions we can all agree on

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  • …people of every political persuasion have shared values to build upon: to feel safe and secure in their homes and communities; …value clean air and water; care about the environment and support energy security; …know that economic growth and national security are essential. Here are six solutions that could help advance these goals…

September 22, 2017 by Renee Cho, Earth Institute, Columbia University  Read full article here

1- Green Infrastructure: …In urban areas, green infrastructure creates permeable expanses where water can be absorbed instead of flooding the sewers. The vegetation filters out pollutants, helps keep streets cooler, cleans the air, restores biodiversity, sequesters greenhouse gases and increases property values, health, and well-being. Green roofs can reduce demand as well as cooling and heating costs. Restored and created ecosystems such as streams, rivers, and wetlands are considered green infrastructure as well. While they perform the same functions as urban green infrastructure, they also help prevent flooding and recharge aquifer..
2. Modernization of the grid…The grid needs to be modernized so that it can be smarter, more efficient, and more resilient to extreme weather; it needs to be able to better integrate and be more secure….The nation’s electric grid includes more than 9,200 electricity-generating units and over 600,000 miles of transmission lines. Most of the transmission lines, which were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s and expected to last 50 years, are aging… In 2014, a study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revealed that incapacitating just nine key substations could cause a coast–to-coast blackout.

3. Renewable energy…Over the last decade, the U.S. has generated eight times as much electricity from wind and solar as it did in 2007. Between 2008 and 2015, utility scale solar prices fell 64 percent; rooftop solar prices fell 54 percent, and wind has fallen 41 percent. A report from the Environment New York Research and Policy Center predicts that solar prices will be cheaper than coal by 2025….In 2014, solar power created 50 percent more jobs than oil and gas pipeline construction and petroleum and natural gas extraction combined; and as of 2015, solar energy employed more people than coal mining. Solar job growth has climbed 123 percent over the last six years and is continuing apace. In 2016, 2.5 million Americans worked in “clean tech,” including and energy efficiency technology.
4. Carbon pricing…fossil fuels are heavily subsidized because the true cost of the impacts resulting from the they generate—extreme heat, drought, floods, and health effects—are paid for by taxpayers, not by the industries that produce the emissions. The International Monetary Fund estimated that globally, fossil fuels are receiving $5.3 trillion of subsidies… The Climate Leadership Council, founded by Republican politicians, business leaders and economists, authored The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends, a proposal for a revenue neutral tax on carbon. Major international businesses, including General Motors, ExxonMobil, BP, Johnson & Johnson support the idea. Under this proposal, companies would pay a tax of $40 per ton of carbon (resulting in an approximately 36-cent increase per gallon of gas), with the rate rising over time…
5. Carbon capture and storage…A bipartisan group in Congress is pushing for an extended and enhanced tax credit to encourage the development and utilization of and sequestration.
6. Energy efficiency…Energy efficiency is the easiest and most cost-effective way to cut energy use and save people money…

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