PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

May 30, 2011

Sustainable Environmental Policies

Filed under: — frosty @ 5:37 pm

We believe that strong measures need to be taken toward reducing our country’s oil dependence and use of fossil fuels, while investing in public transportation, energy conservation technologies and alternative energy development. Hawaii has a unique potential and should lead the way toward these goals.

No issue reveals more clearly the flaws of the U.S. (and Hawaii) political-economic than global warming–the dominance of greed and corporate power over the public good, and the near-sighted focus on the short-term over the welfare of future generations. There is no better example of this than the environmental disaster that unfolded after the Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in 2010, dumping nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

A year later, it seems the government and oil companies are back to doing business as usual.

From the Center For American Progress:

Rebuilding our economy on the foundation of energy efficiency and clean renewable energy is essential to protect against further environmental catastrophe, and it is the best way forward for workers, industry, and strong communities. Capping and pricing carbon emissions is key to well-crafted policy to rein in greenhouse gasses. But there are five key policy areas to build a low-carbon economy that will drive investment in high-paying jobs, clean energy, and new industries.

  1. We must focus to reduce oil dependence on vehicles and transportation infrastructure, since 70% of oil is used in this sector and two-thirds of that is for passenger vehicles.
  2. We must place a high priority on establishing a strong national renewable energy standard that would require at least 25% of energy to be produced from renewable sources by 2025.
  3. We must make buildings more efficient. Energy efficiency is the cheapest, cleanest, and most abundant source of energy we have. Buildings account for 70% of all U.S. electricity consumption and 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
  4. The government must play a role in ensuring that financing is available to new clean energy investments. Programs, such as P.A.C.E. and grant-in-aid programs to aid wind farm developers can jump-start the production of clean energy in the short-term.
  5. National policy must not roll back state and local innovators’ ability to continue to lead. But it is also important to allow federal authorities like the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate in the public interest in light of the BP oil spill disaster. The American Power Act limits states’ and the EPA’s authority in kew ways and these measures should be reconsidered.

Along with climate change, invasive species are the most serious threat to native Hawaiian species and ecosystems. We need to do more to mitigate the invasive species that are already here and we need to be more aggressive in our fight to keep out additional invasive species from taking root here in our islands.

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