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Why is it that climate activists do not have the equivalent of the right wing corporate ALEC, to provide model climate legislation, regulation, and programs to state and local governments?

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That is an excellent point. I'll pass it on.

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Is the Institute for Local Self Reliance still around? Something like that could be formed to focus on climate activism and State level policy solutions. Just one example: I've been frustrated to see lots of anti-pipeline activist time and energy and money mis-focused and diverted on FERC legal proceedings (a total waste of time) while real regulatory tools under the Clean Water Act (401 WQC) that could be the subject to targeted campaigns on Governors are completely ignored (NY State killed 2 pipelines, Connecticut did as well using State 401 WQC power.)

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Indeed, they are. And looking at their site, what do I find? Something that seems close to your suggestion. Glad you called them out. Gotta dig in.https://ilsr.org/fighting-monopoly-power/

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Thank you for your insights. Working at the local and state level is always important. However, there is a blind spot in your analysis. Our federal public lands in the West play an important role in climate mitigation and adaptation, even desert lands. Check out this report: https://suwa.org/the-role-of-americas-red-rock-wilderness-act-in-protecting-biodiversity-and-mitigating-the-climate-crisis/. Thank Senator Murray for cosponsoring the America's Red Rock Wilderness Action (S.1535) and the WA House Ds for cosponsoring the House version, (H. 3780) here: https://suwa.org/cosponsors-americas-red-rock-wilderness-act-117th-congress/. There are 30 million acres of Bureau of Land Management lands in the West that qualify as Wilderness Study Areas which would protect them from oil, gas, and mining development but have not been designated due to a 2003 Bush Administration settlement with the then Governor of Utah. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland can reverse this. We can't stop paying attention to what is happening on our federal lands no matter who is in the majority if we want to address the climate crisis.

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No disagreement there. We may have to resort to protecting them with direct action, as we did during the forest wars.

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Removed (Banned)Feb 24, 2022
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We better get going, and offering real economic alternatives that make ecological sense is the key. For example, sustainable forestry that supplies high-quality wood products with long-rotation forests, rather than the short-rotation plywood tree farms of today. Craft-made furniture and house kits. Harvesting of high value products such as mushrooms and plants with medicinal value. Paying private owners for carbon sequestration, and I'm talking about actual drawdown of carbon from the atmosphere paid by carbon taxes, not offsets. Public financing for cooperative and community ownership of sawmills and other rural industries would win some friends. The problem is that the environmental movement is primarily urban and leaves rural people behind. I've lived in both the urban and rural Northwest, giving me some insight on this. I even wrote an article about this back in 1989 when I was active in the forest movement called "The Spotted Owl as Scapegoat," laying out alternatives I thought the movement should forward.

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As I have come to expect, your reasoning is insightful and well-supported. I look forward to each email notification of a new post. It is certainly true that the climate action/no action pendulum will likely swing back over 2022-24. A return to the climate advocacy trench is in the cards, raising another question: why should something so fundamentally important be subject to such whiplashing and see-sawing?

Pollution from cars gets reduced in one of three ways:

1. Less driving

2. More fuel-efficient vehicles

3. Conversion to non-carbon generating vehicles

With California’s 2002 legislation forming something of a gold standard for other states, are there ways to convert imposed restrictions into beneficial options?

Here is what I mean...

If the tailpipe solution standards imposed by California resulted in 30% less CO2 per vehicle by 2016, I am assuming that was due to technologies introduced by automobile manufacturers. Those technologies probably included cleaner emissions and greater fuel efficiency (vehicles travelling the same distance would burn less fuel). Less fuel burned means less fuel sold, a result naturally resisted by the fossil fuel producers.

Meanwhile, the auto manufacturers were successful in implementing those new technologies. Consumers were, I am sure, happy for the increased fuel efficiency. In the worst case, they were likely indifferent to the reduced emissions, unless there was a noticeable performance hit, or an appreciable purchase price increase.

And what about production costs? Having redesigned and retooled to produce vehicles conforming to California’s restrictions, what benefit would there be in reverting to the old tech? Would vehicles become cheaper to produce and to own? Certainly, the fossil fuel mavens would be thrilled, but what about the consumers? If they are now driving more fuel-efficient vehicles (producing lower emissions), how receptive would they be in going backwards?

Auto manufacturers too would be unlikely to want a reversal. They are already pumping huge money into an electric vehicles future (however protracted the conversion looks). Sure, they have long been cozy bedfellows with Fossil Flintstone

There are a lot of assumptions in what I have laid out here, but keeping consumers focussed on their self-interest seems to be the line of least resistance - even those consumers whose knee-jerk response is always to resist regulation and government interference would not welcome paying more for less.

Speaking of self-interest, greenwashing politicians flip in the wind fanned by their constituents, and the special interest who fund the campaigns (perhaps not in that order). The opposing narrative to that of the climate change resisters should be an engagement in consumer/constituent self interest. Also, if a restriction put in place by an old or previous administration has demonstrably improved the lives of the citizens, would not a removal of that restriction be an act of political (big government) interference by the in-coming opposing party?

A Closing Point

Regarding the Columbia River Bridge expansion, we should avoid undermining the benefit by conflating the problem. Increased transportation and ease of movement are arguably good things. Disregarding for a moment the environmental impact of construction, the problem (emissions) produced by increased transportation exists only so long as fossil fuels are the driver. Yes, it may well be true that an electrified future is decades away. But it should not sway us from redoubling our efforts to narrow that margin. All eyes, minds, money and resources should be trained on bringing that about.

Energy capture, distribution, storage and delivery are the biggest hurdles being overcome to leverage the work being done by auto manufacturers to design and sell affordable, efficient, and worry-free vehicles. And let us remember the responsibility we all bear in not just creating jobs in the burgeoning renewable energy industry, but that we minimize the impact being felt by the multi-generational contribution made to the fossil fuel industry. We are all in this together, and the benefits to be had are enormous.

Thank you, Patrick, for all you are doing.

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Automakers have been meeting the CO2 standard by improving fuel efficiency. But they also make more money selling SUVs and trucks. So they have a financial incentive to sell less fuel efficient vehicles that needs to be overcome with regulation. Unfortunately, around 80% of light vehicles sold in the US are SUVs and trucks, so when fuel prices are relatively cheap, we can't rely purely on consumer preference. World events right now are driving up fuel prices, but we can't rely on that. There needs to be a framework that ensures the public good. It seems clear that the momentum to EVs is unstoppable. But transition will take years, and regulation is pushing the momentum to low-carbon vehicles harder.

Why reversals? Because the system is caught up in interest, and the fossil fuel industry is immensely powerful. Only people power can overcome this.

In terms of the bridge, like I reported, it is a Clark County sprawl machine, which involves a lot of land use change, which entails its own carbon releases. As you will see in my response to your comment on my most recent story, we need more compact land use that facilitates public transit, electrified of course, biking and walking. There is a carbon cost to make EVs, and some carbon released in charging them until we have a 100% clean grid, so we really need to do more than replicate the current system. We need more transformative change.

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