Doing What We Can – Summary of 2/26/15 meeting – Boise, Idaho USA

I.  One of our members made a presentation on the “Clean Power Plan” (Plan). Here are some highlights:

The Plan is a set of rules proposed by the EPA designed to limit carbon pollution emitted by power plants. The federal Clean Air Act is the legal authority for the proposed rules. The Plan is premised on the following:

  •  Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the US, consisting of approximately 1/3 of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions;
  • The Plan will cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30% from 2005 levels;
  • States will have flexibility in establishing plans to meet the carbon reduction goals;
  • The Plan will cut wasted energy, improve efficiency and reduce pollution while still maintaining adequate power to grow our economy and maintain the US’s competitive edge;
  • The Plan will keep the US and US businesses at the forefront of a global movement to produce and consume energy in a more sustainable way.

Handouts were presented, containing information showing, as of 2013:

  • China was the leader in carbon emissions, with the US coming in second;
  • The US and Saudi Arabia tied for the highest per capita emissions, with Canada coming in second;
  • India, with its huge population had about 1/10 the emissions per capita of the US and Saudi Arabia. The concern was expressed that if nations with huge populations that are currently low emitters per capita should rise to the level of US emitters, the climate crisis would be exacerbated to an increasingly alarming degree.
  • The UK had less than ½ the emissions per capita than the US and Saudi Arabia;
  • In 2013-2014, use of coal as energy constituted approximately 32% of total emissions.

The rules are expected to be finalized in the summer of 2015. President Obama is expected to use the Plan at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21 or CMP11) to be held in November and December 2015 in Paris to showcase US efforts to address the climate crisis.

The group discussed the rules and what we can do to support them.

WHAT WE CAN DO:  Write to our representatives both in Congress and in the Idaho Legislature to let them know we’re concerned about climate change and wish to support the Clean Power Plan.

II.  The attendees discussed how to further membership in our group, and ideas were presented as to how our group can make a difference in solving the climate crisis, including joining with other groups in that mission. Education of the public on climate change was identified as a major goal and perhaps holding an all-state climate rally in the foreseeable future. One suggestion was for our group to make presentations on a local radio stations regarding climate change and what we can do to address it.

WHAT WE CAN DO: Discuss these issues further at our next meeting and develop a plan to implement the best ideas.

III. The group discussed developments in the climate movement since our February meeting, to include President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, Divestment Days on February 13-14, Pacific Island nations being displaced due to rising sea waters (Kiribati), possible extinction of monarch butterflies, aerospace engineer Willie Soon (whose work is relied on by climate deniers) being exposed as funded by the fossil fuel industry, and serious water shortages happening now in Brazil and Pakistan.

IV.  Michael Richardson, founder of the Idaho Climate Think Tank, informed us of the work he is doing on energy issues in Idaho, including through proposed legislation, and working with officials from Idaho Power. He also briefly discussed the current effort by Idaho Power to limit the 20-year duration of solar contracts to two years. Such change would effectively defeat solar power in Idaho due to the inability to obtain adequate financing under that time constraint.

V.  Individuals associated with Idaho 350.org and the Snake River Alliance joined our meeting and shared their ideas.

VI.  Our next meeting will be held on March 26, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Flicks Theatre meeting room in Boise, Idaho. A presentation regarding the Koch Brothers and their influence on climate denial will be given.

 

FOUNDER’S COMMENTS:

The following website offers further information about the “Clean Power Plan.”

http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-pHerlan-proposed-rule

Climate deniers are sharpening their sabers to defeat the Clean Power Plan.

Check out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stance:

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/mcconnell-tells-states-blow-off-epa

How about Sen. James Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/sen-jim-inhofe-throws-snowball-senate-floor-attempt/story?id=29255635

This from a senator from Oklahoma, a state that has experienced fracking-induced earthquakes. But that’s another story. See:

http://www.newsweek.com/industry-pressure-kept-oklahomas-scientists-silent-earthquake-fracking-link-311307#.VPjXtGsGH4o.mailto

Idaho’s Senator Michael Crapo is a denier, at least according to my recent review of his website. Amazing, considering the fact that he is a Harvard-educated attorney.

Because Congress holds the “power of the purse,” we can expect Congressional deniers to threaten defunding the EPA as a way to thwart the rules. Stay tuned on that.

We’ll have to closely watch Idaho Power’s stance in the discussion of the Clean Power Plan in Idaho. Idaho Power owns shares in three out of state coal fired plants. Check out Idaho Power’s website for more information.

Please join us at our next meeting.

Alyson R. Martin, JD