“California’s Cap-and-Trade Revolt” – Wall Street Journal, 30 June 2014

While West Virginia and Kentucky Democrats are bucking Obama’s climate policy, California Democrats are also fighting similar policy in California, the state’s cap-and-trade program, which is directly effecting the poorest Californians.

Recently, 16 of members of California’s Democratic Assembly wrote a letter to the California Air Resources Board, encouraging the board to revise or postpone California’s cap-and-trade program. The program calls for big manufacturers and power plants to adhere to a state-ordered carbon cap by buying carbon permits or limiting emissions. Transportation fuel suppliers will also have to acquiesce to permits in 2015.

via SF Public Press

via SF Public Press

Assembly Democrats’ minds are on gas prices, which could surge anywhere from 15 to 40 cents per gallon. California has the highest gas prices in the country, in large part due to fuel blending obligations and taxes. In 2012, the Boston Consulting Group anticipated that gas prices would rise anywhere between $0.49 and $1.83 per gallon by 2020. While the program’s objectives are pure—boosting gas prices is supposed to persuade people to drive less, carpool, or purchase electric cars—California’s cap-and-trade is invariably hurting those who cannot afford it. A majority of the 16 Democratic Assembly Members represent minorities and low-income populations.

The Air Resources Board maintains that the objective of the program isn’t to finance new state governmental programs, though California’s 2014 budget does allocate $250 million from carbon permit auctions, as well as 25 percent of future yields, to fund a high-speed rail. The auctions will bring in anywhere between $12 billion to $45 billion by 2020.

Assembly Democrats are in agreement with the California Chamber of Commerce, which is suing the Air Resources Board to invalidate California’s program.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

June 30, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2013. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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“5 things you can do about climate change” – CNN, 6 May 2014

We here at Phinix are huge proponents of doing what you can at home to prevent any further impacts of climate change. The disastrous effects of global warming are stacking up, leading to higher temperatures and rising sea levels. More flooding, wildfires, and droughts are to be expected. Here are five things you can do to lend a helping hand to the environment.

Become Informed

Staying informed about what policy makers are doing and saying is paramount. If you stay educated on climate change, then you can make knowledgeable decisions when voting and electing politicians into office. It also wouldn’t hurt to know what the policy makers are discussing:

  • Lowering carbon dioxide levels—for example, establishing carbon taxes and carbon caps;
  • Changing the Earth’s response to the effects of climate change—for example, building seawalls to combat the rising sea levels; and
  • Adapting the Earth to counteract climate change—for example, changing our oceans to absorb more CO2.

Make Changes at Home

The EPA suggests you do the following to curb your greenhouse gas emissions, which will also save you money:

  • Change your five most-used light bulbs to products that have the EPA’s Energy Star label;
  • Heat and cool more efficiently, such as by using a programmable thermostat, changing air filters, and replacing old equipment with Energy Star products;
  • Seal and insulate your home;
  • Make use of recycling programs, and compost food and yard waste;
  • Reduce water waste;
  • Use green power, such as solar panels; and
  • Estimate how much greenhouse gas you emit with the EPA’s calculator.

Be Greener at the Office

You can also help out at the office. Here’s how:

  • Set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you’re not using them;
  • Use Energy Star equipment; and
  • Recycle and reuse whenever possible.

Reduce Emissions in Transit

You can reduce your emissions both in your daily and cross-country commutes:

  • Rely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling, or telecommuting instead of driving;
  • Use the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to help you make an informed choice about buying a car;
  • While driving, try to avoid hard accelerations, don’t spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes; and
  • Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.

When you’re traveling by plane, try these tricks:

  • Consider packing lighter because less fuel is consumed with less weight on the plane;
  • Fly during the day because night flights have a bigger impact on the climate; and
  • Buy carbon credits to compensate for the emissions on your flight.

Get Involved and Educate Others About the Bigger Picture

Though one person’s efforts might only have a small influence, involving and educating others will allow our impact to grow. Together, we can help to prevent any further damaging effects of climate change.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 13, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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U.S. Post Office “Go Green” Initiative: Tip #8: Share Rides

Last week we blogged on Tip #7: Use Efficient Light Bulbs. As part of our ongoing 15-week blog series promoting the United States Post Office “Go Green” Stamp Collection, this week we are blogging Tip #8: Share Rides.

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed various methods for reducing our carbon footprint when travelling or commuting, including biking and using public transportation. Ride sharing, or carpooling, is another great way to reduce the impact on the environment and your wallet.

What is carpooling?

According to Rideshare.511.org, “Carpooling is a fast, convenient and less-expensive way to get to work. And, carpooling keeps the air cleaner. Carpool as many days as you want, one way or round-trip. All you need is one or two other people. Carpool with neighbors, coworkers, family, friends from the gym.”

HowStuffWorks.com offers a more detailed definition, “Carpooling, which falls under the ridesharing umbrella and is closely related to van pooling, is simply when a group of people decide to ride together. They usually share the cost of the trip and take turns driving. Often, carpools are formed by commuters who want to avoid driving during rush hour. In a small way, these commuters help to alleviate that traffic. Carpools are also formed by parents who want to divide the task of driving children to and from school and extracurricular activities.”

The Benefits of Carpooling

Carpooling provides many great benefits. HowStuffWorks.com observes a few:

  • Cut down on gas prices by “sharing the energy burden” between several passengers.
  • Extend the life of your vehicle by reducing the daily wear and tear on your car.
  • Several organizations, such as the Clean Air Campaign, “offer reward programs to local carpoolers. You can log your carpool commute with these organizations and get cash in your wallet. Some insurance companies offer discounts to people who rideshare, and sometimes carpoolers receive access to special parking spots.”
  • Reduces traffic congestion.

Starting Your Own Carpool

Starting your own carpool may seem like a hassle, but with the power of the web at your fingertips, forming a carpool can actually be fairly simple. The following websites offer great information and resources for starting your own carpool, including a community of fellow ride-seekers in your local area:

This list is by no means comprehensive, but should provide a good starting point in your carpool search.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve found these carpooling tips to be helpful and informative. Ride sharing is an excellent way to conserve natural and financial resources, while reducing our daily carbon footprint.

Next week we will be blogging on Tip #9: Compost. Stay tuned.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney on January 5, 2012

All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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