When Nelly told the world “It’s getting hot in herre,” climatologists found the grammatically incorrect anthem they had long been seeking.
Since the song hit number 1 on the billboard charts, the world has recorded 15 of the 16 hottest years on record. Unless we make some drastic changes to move away from fossil fuels consumption, industrial farming, deforestation, and general pollution, we are likely to see a deterioration of both environmental, economic and our physical health.
What this means for us as a country, is that we have just been presented with the greatest opportunity of our lifetimes. Clean air, clean water and clean energy technologies can be our future.
We will reduce fossil fuel consumption through a number of key new policies:
Ban Fracking - Fracking threatens our air and water. Disposal of wastewater from fracking causes earthquakes. Fracking is a large-scale industrial process that threatens our air and water, and even induces earthquakes. This shouldn’t happen in anyone’s backyard, nor does it deserve exemption from laws that protect the health of our children.
Ban Arctic Oil Drilling - Research shows that drilling in the Arctic is inconsistent with efforts to prevent catastrophic global temperature increases. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which spans 19.6 million acres in Alaska and boasts the greatest biodiversity of any protected area north of the Arctic Circle.
End Oil and Gas Corporate Subsidies - Partly tied to our new corporate tax rate which includes no loopholes, we will end the $15 billion in federal subsidies they receive. The vast majority of these subsidies go to already profitable companies, yet they socialize the cost of their business through pollution.
Carbon Cap and Trade Market - In a cap-and-trade system, government puts a firm limit, or cap, on the overall level of carbon pollution from industry and reduces that cap year after year to reach a set pollution target. The US already has a cap and trade system in place to reduce sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide that is very successful, we will piggyback off this and launch a new cap and trade market for carbon emissions, going head to head to compete with the Chinese market.
Phase Out Internal Combustion Vehicles - By the year 2025, all non-commercial vehicles sold in the US will be taxed at 10%, by the year 2030 they will be taxed at 25% and by the year 2050 they will be taxed at 100%. All proceeds will go to help the development of alternative energy or battery powered vehicles, public transportation and improved, new infrastructure.
While reducing fossil fuels, we will increase investments into new, clean energy technologies that will power the future.
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) - A pitiful budget number of $696mil, just 0.2% of the budget and 0.04% of GDP, we will increase this number dramatically. This department is one of the most successful when it comes to investing in and developing new technologies in which America can lead the world. We will move this budget number up to $15 billion a year (the entire offset of the federal oil and gas subsidies).
Green Job Incentives - if you currently work for an oil, gas or coal company or have been laid off by one in the last 3 years, the government will pay you $20k if you quit and go work for a renewable energy operation of any kind (solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, hydrogen or smart grid technologies). Tied to employment, you will get $3k tax free 90 days after you are hired, the second $7k, also tax free, will come at the end of the 1 year mark and the final $10k will be earned at the 2 year anniversary.
Energy Efficient Homes - An easy item to tackle, for every dollar invested in energy efficiency technologies, like weatherization and efficient light bulbs, energy customers can enjoy up to four dollars in savings. The Renewable Energy Savings Act is one of the most positive and progressive pieces of legislation that can assist with valuable energy savings.
Electric / Clean Fuels Infrastructure - We are going to move away from gas powered cars and into electric vehicles, tied with our non-commercial vehicle tax. We can ensure a smoother transition into this world by readying the infrastructure needed to charge and power these vehicles.
Invent One New Source of Clean Energy - Not really a policy issue but a dream worth pursuing. Nuclear power didn’t exist until we designed it. I want us to invent one new technology that can be equal to or better than the current set of technologies on the market. This new, and currently unknown, technology can be paired with all the known sources to create a more advanced clean energy future. The government will spotlight and fund numerous projects that involve bringing a new technology to the forefront.
Let's become a leaner, meaner and greener economy. Let's lead the world in an issue that affects every individual on this planet. Our time is now, we need to be #AmericaConnected.