Message to Washington: Conservation is Conservative

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Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Citizen’s Climate Lobby’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C., along with 5 other volunteers from central and western NY. We visited the office of Claudia Tenney to urge Congress to do more to address the cause of escalating climate extremes and protect New York residents. We presented some solutions, including the PROVE IT Act, legislation that would require the Department of Energy (DOE) to study and compare the carbon emissions of products produced in the United States vs. other countries. We also pointed out the need for comprehensive permit reform as the current process is too slow for bringing new clean energy transmission lines online.

As a lifelong Republican, I feel privileged to be in a group that works across the aisle and values all points of view. CCL supports solutions that expand the economy, strengthen the electrical grid and lowers costs for consumers. I believe that climate change can be solved not by expanding the government, but rather by harnessing the forces of capitalism. I went to Capitol Hill to tell Congress that Conservation is Conservative!

Rob Johnson

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5 thoughts on “Message to Washington: Conservation is Conservative

  1. Mr. Mars, nothing I said was based on faith.

    I could just as easily accuse you of having blind faith in climate denialism.

    I appreciate that fuel efficiency is getting better. We need to continue to innovate personal transportation in ways that reduce emissions. A carbon fee and dividend policy would incentivize that. Some conservative leaders favor such a policy.

    Also, I’m not much of a show off — I mean, have you seen the 2019 Ioniq! But it has no trouble operating in Upstate winters.

    • Actually I didn’t “deny” anything. I just asked questions and observed that the current climate orthodoxy wouldn’t stand the scrutiny of realism in a Corporate business plan. (which apparently is frowned upon in the Church of Climatology ). I don’t think there is a “we” here. If gutting our personal transport and accepting a reduced standard of living is the strategy , somebody better consult the consumer (aka the free market) , not force down elimination of ICE access for consumers and School Districts from DC or Albany. While you are bucking snow banks with your Ioniq, I hope your happy that the power generation required to charge it came mostly from fossil fuel (Nat Gas) . The same is true this winter when you plug in your electric blanket. (So you better get that solar panel installed on your roof asap) to off set all of this climate disruptive pollution you are generating. (be careful up there when you sweeping the snow off it…)

  2. This letter is a lot of things, “conservative” isn’t one of them IMO. Exactly what “escalating climate extremes” are you trying to protect New Yorkers from? (Hopefully you are not part of the misguided crowd that conflates “climate” with day-to-day weather). ” compare the carbon emissions of products produced in the United States vs. other countries”? You mean countries that the US taxpayer is on the hook to protect militarily because they can’t defend themselves? These are the practices that you want to emulate? “Permit Reform” ? In laymen’s terms this means override local governments for starters. Part of Albany’s pitch in the late 60s for local Zoning enactment was that the local community’s inputs for growth and planning would be represented and heard in the Zoning Code and via local Zoning /Planning Boards. Now that this has become inconvenient because it interferes with Albany’s grand vision for Upstate , you people want to over-ride it and simply have it all run by Albany. “harnessing the forces of capitalism”? Nothing that you have advocated here is “capitalist” ! To reference this bureaucracy you are so enamored with, where are the Economic and Environmental impact statements? According to the census > than 200,000 residents migrated from the State last year, and that’s about the annual average of emigres for the last few years. How is forcing more Albany sourced regulation (and a heavier tax burden) on these local communities going to help stem that outflow. With every grant to paint a local school, a mandate like forced conversion to EV School busses (which don’t have the range to take kids to/fr school) flows from Albany. Not to mention banning every alternative form of heat except for electric in new Contruction , , banning the sale of gas furnaces etc, further taxing grid capacity that doesn’t exist. Many of these “renewables” are not clean and not cost effective. I’m glad you had a nice junket with the Congresswoman, (but that’s all it was) . I doubt she bought into any of this, in the unlikely event she has, I’m for her opponent in the upcoming primary.

    • Mr. Mars, I don’t disagree that a transition off fossil fuels will be challenging, but at least the original writer is advocating for solutions. You can vote how you want, but for over three decades, our leaders have not taken effective action to reduce fossil fuel emissions to avoid the threat of climate change. Now, we’re rapidly approaching the 1.5 degrees warming threshold, which most of the world is trying to avoid crossing.

      Citizens Climate Lobby, by the way, has a long history of advocating for a carbon fee and dividend policy to reduce emissions. It’s a solution strategy that’s garnered support from Democrats and Republicans, as well as conservative-leaning advocacy groups, like the Climate Leadership Council and Alliance for Market Solutions. Even the US Chamber of Commerce has voiced some support for it. Economic and environmental impact studies have found that such a policy would create jobs and lower emissions.

      I myself support such a policy, but I also support setting gradually declining limits on emissions, using an auction system for permissions to pollute (cap and trade), and then spending most of the revenue on a rebate program to US households. But I am not an economist.

      In New York State, I will be pleasantly surprised if any of these market-based mechanisms are enacted, but we still need to reduce emissions, as targeted in the NYS’s 2019 Climate Law. In line with the Paris Agreement’s emission limits, NYS is seeking to reduce emissions 40% by 2030 and at least 85% by 2050. Yes, as you stated, this is going to require electrification and a large increase in non-emitting energy production. For my household, we are beginning the process of ending our personal use of fossil fuels for transportation, home heating, and water heating. We already have an electric stove and lawn mower. We bought an efficient EV in 2019 for less than 25k, and it’s been great! The whole process looks doable, but we’re also learning that old-fashioned energy conservation is a key part. We’ve replaced our old fridge and are turning off so-called phantom energy users. With a new smart meter, we’ll be able to track it. But to make it work for everyone, we need strategy. That’s why I’m happy to see more local communities working on this issue and Monroe County developing an action plan.

      I know I’m not conservative, and I understand that not everyone is going to embrace the actions I am willing to take. But the impacts of warming warrant at least a substantial, committed attempt to avoid it. And we have to remember, need drives innovation. An economy that knows we’re committing ourselves to end fossil fuel combustion will respond with creativity. Yes, there will be changes to adjust to, but millions of lives won’t be lost in climate-change-driven extreme weather events, famine, disease, warfare, etc., not to mention the impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity. This isn’t climate hysteria either. These threats are acknowledged by a wide range of experts, ranging from climate and environmental scientists, to financial institutions and the US military.

      We don’t want fossil-fuel climate change. We should try to avoid and minimize it. If you don’t like what’s being proposed, then what’s your solution?

      • My solution would be first to apply engineering methods to confirm there is a problem, and if so define what the problem is, and what the problem is not. Given the Trillions of dollars of cost, the standard of living reduction proposed by the climate orthodoxy, and the questionable payback, lack of unanimity etc in that no competent Board of Directors acting in the fiduciary interests of their constituents would spend this amount of their money in pursuit of this Holy Grail, it obviously can only flourish via politicians and lobbyists trying to gain more control over our citizenry. Its amazing how much of so-called Climate Science resembles religion with its faith-based followers.

        You do your own cause a disservice by forcing this on people like Covid mitigation. (to the point of overriding local home rule) Even the former Undersecretary for Science for the Obama Admin said this week (@ the video link below) said the data is evolving and the public is developing “climate fatigue” which they will respond to this top down forcing of choices via push back.

        “We” HAVE taken action to reduce emissions. Cars get the best fuel economy ever in the history of the Automobile industry resulting in reduced emissions. Many Coal power plants have been taken off-line in lieu of cleaner Nat Gas for starters.

        While you are showing off your climate gadgets, let us know how that EV works when you are bucking it down your driveway and highway in a foot of snowfall. (with the heater on, that should give you a good case of range anxiety) Let us know what type of Solar panel you have installed on your roof, wattage, sell-back etc. Glad you are able to unplug your household. You realize if this was done on a mass scale NYSEG would seek a rate increase and negate your savings.

        New York State doesn’t need more oppressive costly regulation and requirements to live here amidst the current population flight. (unless your solution is no people =no emissions)

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