Archive for category Policy

Fighting Climate Change in Donald Trump’s America

Listening to Trump’s victory speech early Wednesday morning (and much of what he has said since then) has led many to wonder if the entire election campaign was a con, and we’re now going to see a new, more humane, Donald Trump as President. “Would the real Donald Trump stand up?” is a question several pundits have begun to ask. And in his first statement after the election, President Obama noted Trump’s “new tone,” and hoped it would continue.

Here’s a key excerpt from Trump’s speech:

I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

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Global Climate Deal and the Missing Link

The climate deal fleshed out in Lima, Peru, is that all countries can set their own climate goals [1,2,3]. But will this be effective in preventing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions? Very unlikely, writes Delton Chen (Geo-Hydrologist, Civil Engineer):

deltonDuring the past 250 years of industrial and technological revolution, the primary catalyst for innovation and the fundamental driver of economic growth has been the availability of fossil fuels (i.e. coal, oil and gas). To avoid extremely dangerous climate change, the global economic system must be re-organised at a fundamental level, and the new order must include a social transformation that grows exponentially; otherwise the required mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will be too slow to avoid a climate catastrophe.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was put into effect in 1994, and civilisation officially acknowledged that it was ‘addicted’ to fossil fuels. The ultimate aim of the UNFCCC is to prevent “…dangerous human interference with the climate system”[4]. The recent UNFCCC’s meeting in Lima, Peru, provides the latest update on civilisation’s de-carbonisation program, but the results of the Lima meeting signify global action will be further delayed given that nations are only obliged to make voluntary commitments. 

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Crowdfunding for PACE in New Jersey

JCloudStorerSmThe challenges we face in New Jersey as a result of climate change are significant, and so therefore are the opportunities. The experience of Superstorm Sandy showed us just how ill-prepared we are for the more frequent recurrence of extreme weather; and how important it is that we set an example for taking action to mitigate our own greenhouse gas emissions, as other states are doing around us. And there’s also no doubt about the urgency of it — as you can see from this remarkable video:
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Keep Your Hands Off My Obamacare

JCloudStorerSmSome Republicans in Congress are determined to “de-fund” Obamacare by holding the government’s entire budget hostage. I beg to differ from those in the Tea Party who are supporting this move.

Our personal story is that we have enjoyed company-supplied health care insurance up to the point where my wife got laid off in 2012, and since then have paid for COBRA at $1500 a month to maintain these benefits. This ends in November, and we fully intend to apply for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

This name says a lot — it’s private insurance that is expected to be affordable and held to important consumer-protection standards. We haven’t signed up yet, and we’ll be the first to complain if the system does not work properly when it’s launched in October. But there are currently a lot of good software engineers and designers working for the federal government, and we’re expecting to see any kinks ironed out as soon as they’re discovered.

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Seeking Sustainable Growth in the Wake of Sandy

The Center for Regenerative Community Solutions and Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc. have recently circulated a position paper on “Laying a Foundation for Sustainable Growth in New Jersey in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy” with policy makers and community leaders in the state. Here is a final version, and several excerpts. The authors are co-founders of the Center for Leadership in Sustainability, the Sustainable Leadership Forum, and Acumen Technology Group, LLC. Jonathan Cloud is Senior Fellow, Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Fairleigh Dickinson University and Managing Partner, Acumen Technology Group, LLC.Victoria Zelin is Principal, Regenerative Community Ventures, Inc., a licensee of Unified Field Corporation.

Superstorm Sandy has dramatically altered NJ’s economy as well as its geography for years to come. While there may be a short-­term “bounce” from the money spent on reconstruction, the thinking about how that rebuilding should be carried out is already moving very quickly toward the view that it needs to be substantially more hurricane-­proof and disaster-­resistant, more resilient, and — in a word — more sustainable.

This paper sets out some considerations and recommendations for creating a foundation for sustainable growth in New Jersey, describes some of the initiatives we are taking through our new nonprofit organization, the Center for Regenerative Community Solutions, and makes specific suggestions for policies and programs for state and local government to support these and similar initiatives from other organizations.

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What’s In a Name? – Help Needed

I need your help. For discussion purposes please assume the following:
  1. We need to phase out the use of fossil fuels.
  2. We need to incentivize people to burn less fossil fuel and one way to do this is to increase the prices of fossil fuels.
  3. An easy way to do this is to impose a tax on fossil fuels.
  4. The specific proposal here is to impose a tax on the CO2 that will be produced when the fuel is burned, and to collect this tax at the source of the fuel:  mine, well, or port of entry for imported oil and gas.  The tax will start low and increase by a predetermined amount each year.  All the revenue from this tax, except for a small administrative cost, will be returned directly and promptly to the public.  The revenue will be divided equally among all legal residents and checks will be sent out in December and June.  [Alaska does this for oil pipeline revenue and sends out a check each June.]

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Off Fossil Fuels by 2040: Proposed Democratic Resolution for Feb 1 Meeting

allen1Bernards Township Democratic Committee Resolution No. 2010-01

A RESOLUTION urging Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation to phase out the use of all fossil fuels by 2040, and urging the President of the United States to declare 2010 a year for national dialog on this program.

WHEREAS, the Bernards Township Democratic Committee is a duly organized local political committee under the laws of the State of New Jersey;

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