politics

Involvement in the political process required for sustainability

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No Interest in the Political Process?

Politics are based on a principle of comprise.  Otherwise nothing gets accomplished. As much as some involved in sustainability may not want to get involved in political process participation may be required or else our nation will never be sustainable as possible.

Two examples include the attempt to implement a Carbon Tax and the attempt to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in California.

The Carbon Tax

Carbon dioxide released by burning oil, coal and natural gas makes up 82% of total greenhouse gas emissions according to the Federal Department of Energy.

Many believe the transformation to a system based on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable fuels won’t happen without carbon fees or taxes.

The tax would be paid at the wholesale level of the fuel supply chain, as far upstream as practicable. Generators of electricity will pay a mandated carbon tax to their suppliers, who would forward the payment to the government. The generators then would pass along the tax to their utilities which in turn will charge it to customers. The carbon tax gives consumers and producers a monetary incentive to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

Implementation of this measures will rely on politicians passing the legislation, in many cases, are supported by the majority of their constituents.                                                      

Fracking Ban in California

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves injecting a high pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to extract natural gas.

California’s rich history of oil and gas extraction dates to the late 1800s. The amount of oil extraction declined in the 1980’s, yet California, is still the third highest crude oil producer in the country.

New techniques to extract petroleum product such as fracking have be revealed in the past decade, making unrecoverable oil easier to extract.

While California supports some of the most stringent regulations in the country some residents in California want to eliminate fracking altogether. The advocates of banning fracking assert toxins will inevitably make their way into the drinking water supply.

The state Senate voted against a fracking moratorium in 2014. Inaction on a state level has energized California’s anti-fracking movement to pursue county-wide fracking bans.

The success of the campaign to ban fracking will depend, in similar case with the carbon tax, on the decisions of the politicians who are elected to public office.

Where is my local politician?

The legislation regarding the carbon tax and the fracking bin highlight the importance politicians play in enacting policies to safeguard our planet. What sustainability objectives will you’re reaching out to your politicians to push forward?

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