Releasing a First Draft Outline of Climate Change Policy

February 6th, 2013

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For those who do not know, I had previously run for the United States Congress and I fully intend to do so again in the year 2014.   As a proponent of science and energy policy reform, the issue of global warming/climate change and how the US should respond to mitigate it is of special importance.

I have begun work on a detailed policy outline on the topic of greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them while maintaining a policy that does not result in draconian cuts on energy usage or resort to the use of carbon taxation.   This is accomplished by targeting sectors that produce the most greenhouse gasses and attempting to facilitate change through the creation of economically-beneficial alternatives.

The current draft is in outline form.  It is not a full report but only a skeleton version of the areas that will need to be addressed.   Still, it is sixteen pages long even as is.

It is very important to remember that this is only a draft.  This does not represent the final policy statement and is subject to change.   It is a first draft of what is expected to be several revisions before a final, detailed report is put together. Some of the items may end up being dropped if they turn out to be too expensive or have too little benefit.  In the first draft, all potential areas are included.  It thus may be viewed, at least in some ways, as a “wish list” of policies that should be considered.

The reason I am publishing this is I am hoping to get some constructive criticism and suggestions from readers.   I recognize that readers of this blog are often very insightful.  Also, I pride my campaign on being as open as possible and listening to others for input.

Full Outline in PDF Form

Again, remember it is not the final revision and is not what I have officially stated as my fixed policy.  It is only a draft under revision.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at 9:36 pm and is filed under Enviornment, Misc, personal, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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67 Responses to “Releasing a First Draft Outline of Climate Change Policy”

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  1. 51
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    There is some steps that operators can take, but the gains are not huge. See:

    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs/environment-ecofreight-air-aircraft-fuel-reduction-initiatives-96.htm

    The thing is that high fuel cost are in and of themselves more than enough motivation for the industry to be on top of the issue and indeed every new aircraft design is incorporates advances in squeezing more hours out of every kilo of fuel.

    And they have. Fuel costs are the single largest cost faced by airlines. And to this end, fuel efficiency is generally one of the highest (if not THE highest) concern in new aircraft designs.

    The 777 was designed to get more passengers for a given amount of fuel. The 787 even more so. One of the main selling points of the A380 is passengers per a given amount of fuel.

    By the way. I have examined all the various schemes out there for alternative aircraft fuels – hydrogen, ammonia and so on. They all strike me as totally unrealistic.


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  2. 52
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    By the way. I have examined all the various schemes out there for alternative aircraft fuels – hydrogen, ammonia and so on. They all strike me as totally unrealistic.

    Yes we will be burning kerosene for the foreseeable future although it may come from other feedstock than crude.

    It is however a valid point that alternatives like high speed rail should replace short-haul flights particularly in high traffic corridors, and this would mitigate GHG emissions.


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  3. 53
    Bryan J Says:

    Hello -

    I read the whole thing and I just want to mention one part I find especially interesting.

    You mention connecting airports and mention JFK and LGA and also state they should be connected to the rail network. It’s funny you should make that point because I was on the development committee in Queens many years ago and this idea has been around for a long time.

    It has always been hard to get to both of those airports. It was said a long long time ago you should be able to shuttle between them and also between Grand Central and Penn Station and the airports. It has always been so bad the only way to get to either is by taxi, eventhough there is great public transit in NYC.

    In the 1970′s, the MTA tried running a train to JFK. It was a special subway train. It ran on existing track but it was a special route. Times Square and Grand Central direct to Jamaica Station and then you would take a bus to JFK.

    It had limited success. They wanted to fix it by having a train route go right to JFK. It would have been LIRR or part of the subway. You would have been able to take a train right from Penn to JFK. It would have been great, but unfortunately, for a number of dumb reasons they decided against it and decided to go with the Airtrain. So they built the airtrain but it’s separate from the railroad.

    It is really too bad. If they had a direct rail link to LIRR then they could shuttle Penn to JFK and vice-versa and also, now they are doing the East Side Access so if it were a rail link they could do a simple and fast link JFK->Grand Central->Penn Station.

    LGA is still totally isolated. That is the other problem. Cross-layover was considered, but as is it would need a bus, and it would just take too long. In traffic it could be an hour. That is too long for layovers. It is too cumbersome.

    A proposal was made to extend the airtrain to LGA. It would be easier if it were regular rail because some rail already exists. It would follow existing rail track and then a highway median. That would connect JFK and LGA and connect them both to Jamaica Station.

    The problem is the air train would have to be on pillars the whole way because it is not compatible with regular RR track. However, it would be pretty fast. The route is only 15 miles and the airtrain cars can go over 60 mph.

    The original concept for the air train was it would go from the Queensboro bridge to LGA and JFK and connect at Howard Beach and Jamica Station. it had to be cut way down. It still cost $1.9 billion, which was a shame.

    So it is a good idea, but it probably won’t happen


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  4. 54
    DONM Says:

    I can picture little Al Gore sitting on the front porch of his fathers mansion, rubbing his chin, deep in thought, while his father talks to his buddies in his light southern drawl…”Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it”. (Boy, gee whiz, wouldn’t my dad be proud of me….)

    You have called it “Climate Change”. It has gone from Global Warming to Climate Change, and now through necessity it is moving toward “Climate Disruption”.

    By the time you get this out for your 2014 run the reality of what is actually happening may necessitate new terminology. How about “Climate Morphing”. That way the term can honestly represent the way the data is modeled/intrepreted depending on the desired outcome.

    … Picture a night football game … Picture the Lincoln Nebraska football stadium full of 80,000 fans dressed all in red & white (10,000 in white and 70,000 in red). Now picture 24 Michigan fans dispersed equally throughout the staduim all dressed in dark blue (can you see all 24 of them). Now add another 8 fans dressed in blue (can you see the difference, can you hear the difference, can it possibly make a difference). Maybe?

    We could call this “Fan Warming” because the dark blue absorbs more heat; that is until most people realize that the heat change is insignificant and the staduim as a whole is not really warming. We need a new descriptive term.

    We could skew the data by putting all the blue-clad fans in the same row and say they are likely to be doing the wave. We could call this “Fan Change”, but eventually people woud reckognize that even if they are doing the wave it is overwhelmed by the 70,000 fans in red that are doing the wave at the same time, and the 10,000 fans in white-with bull horns (they are the water vapor fans, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone else about that fact).

    We could imagine that the Michigan fans all clad in dark blue are drunk and throwing beer all over the Nebraska fans. This only impacts the area directly adjacent to the blue-clad fans, so we need to imagine that the blues are moved around the stadium during & throughout the game so everone is feels equally impacted. This is called “Fan Disruption”, but it only works if you make sure to rotate the blue-clad fans throughout the crowd and show them on the jumbo-tron to make the disruptions seem bigger than they are.

    In reality the Michigan fans don’t impact any part of the staduim (or the temperature). In this analogy the biggest factor is the Back Judge. If he starts throwing flags on every play it makes a big difference … if he closes his eyes on every play it makes a big difference. Can anyone guess who the Back Judge is? (no not Al Gore)

    It rhymes with fun.


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  5. 55
    fireofenergy Says:

    DONM,
    Are you suggesting morphing idealism into the scientific basis? I prefer to break it down to its component pieces:
    1, Has humanity emitted extra CO2 into the air?
    2, Has there been any measurements that suggest a prudent scientific evaluation?
    3, Determine the least expensive way to the most abundant clean energy option.
    4, Altering the air the biosphere depends on at this time is NOT a laughing matter.


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  6. 56
    SteveK9 Says:

    Heating:

    Live in NH and would like to escape from oil heating due to cost. Ground-source heat pumps are very expensive. I would like to use air-source but the local contractors say it is too cold in NH. Best might be air-source with direct heating as needed. They sell these units for motel rooms. Didn’t seem to be anything available for an entire house.

    I haven’t done much research yet. I think heat pumps powered by nuclear will be the future, but right now a bit difficult if you live in too cold a climate.


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  7. 57
    George Carty Says:

    Would replacing low-density suburbia with higher-density development also be an important part in fighting climate change, both by reducing automobile dependency (or at least, vehicle miles traveled) and by making district heating more viable?


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  8. 58
    Anon Says:

            George Carty said:

    Would replacing low-density suburbia with higher-density development also be an important part in fighting climate change, both by reducing automobile dependency (or at least, vehicle miles traveled) and by making district heating more viable?

    It would help, though you’ll need good public transport and it also makes ground source heat pumps less viable (and they turn out to be more efficient even than district heating).

    The main problem would be that people do for whatever reason have a preference for not living in high density. If land is in short supply then high density will be come the only option but if there’s room for sprawl there’ll be sprawl.


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  9. 59
    drbuzz0 Says:

            George Carty said:

    Would replacing low-density suburbia with higher-density development also be an important part in fighting climate change, both by reducing automobile dependency (or at least, vehicle miles traveled) and by making district heating more viable?

    I don’t know that this is realistic as an idea. We’ve spent the past century building suburbs. Literally trillions of dollars invested in homes, buildings and infrastructure. I’m not thinking we can really turn that around.

    Also, I just don’t think it is going to happen. The United States is lucky in that we have quite a bit of land per capita. Now, obviously, there are many who like living in cities. However, there is also good reason to be attracted to having a good sized house with a garage and a patio.

    It will be very hard to take this away from people. In fact, I think it’s a losing proposition.


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  10. 60
    drbuzz0 Says:

            SteveK9 said:

    Heating:

    Live in NH and would like to escape from oil heating due to cost. Ground-source heat pumps are very expensive. I would like to use air-source but the local contractors say it is too cold in NH. Best might be air-source with direct heating as needed. They sell these units for motel rooms. Didn’t seem to be anything available for an entire house.

    I haven’t done much research yet. I think heat pumps powered by nuclear will be the future, but right now a bit difficult if you live in too cold a climate.

    I’ve been giving this a lot more thought. I’ve reconsidered using LPG and gas for heating. Even though it is not as offensive as oil, environmentally or in terms of trade and imports. However, the goal is really to go to truly clean heat, so expanding gas or lpg is going to really just make that more drawn out.

    Thus, I’d consider LPG and natural gas to be more tolerable and a lower priority, in places where they already exist. I’d also tolerate further deployment, but certainly not encourage it. Really, the future has to be district heat for the cities and electric heat elsewhere.

    I agree that there are issues with ground sourced heat pumps. First, the capital cost is high. Secondly, you need some land to make them work. Additionally, there is the issue of maintenance and lifespan. I know people who have them and have had them and they can be troublesome. After a while, the tubes in the ground start to leak. This becomes a huge headache, plugging each leak as it happens. Eventually it’s just necessary to replace the whole thing, because it is springing so many leaks.

    I’m sure newer systems have better longevity, but still, it’s a big deal to have to dig up the whole yard and replace the thing, even if its only every 20 years.

    Air source heat pumps seem like the better way to go because you can just drop them in and they are good to go. They don’t cost much more than central air conditioning, and since central air is becoming more and more standard in temperate areas, it just makes sense to use air-sourced heat pumps, since they can operate in reverse as an air conditioning system.

    I imagine in a place like NH, an air sourced heat pump would be more than adequate for most of the fall and spring. It just would not be adequate sometimes, such as the colder times of the winter.

    So the issue is then how to address this. Fossil fuel does not seem like the best way. It would require a totally separate heating system. Thus, resistive electrical heat, as a way of picking up the slack, would be the most simple way of dealing with it.

    Yeah, I am familiar with those hotel units.

    I think a big factor that could make this a reality is insulation. With adequate insulation, even resistive electric heating becomes viable. We might just be getting to the point where this can work. For existing construction, it has always been damn hard to add very substantial insulation. You have to take down walls to stuff them with fiberglass and replace all the windows and doors.

    One of the absolute best insulation materials around is aerogel. It’s been around for a long time and its thermal properties are great for general insulation purposes. It has always been very expensive, but new methods of producing it now mean the price is dropping fast.

    We may be getting to the point where a thin blanket, a couple of centimeters thick or less of aerogel-based material could substantially increase the insulation of a building. That’s thin enough that it could be applied to the outside under new siding or perhaps even made into siding. Or it could be just layer over the beams in an attic or put up against the walls with a new layer of drywall or something like that.

    Of course, there are other considerations, like how airtight things are and the insulation of windows and doors. Still, I think we may be getting to the point where insulation can make a big difference and be economical enough to apply.

    The next question is how does one, from a government policy standpoint, make this happen. I’m generally not a fan of direct subsidies, if they can be avoided, especially because they are often so prone to abuse. However, it might be worthwhile to have some kind of way of funding this to make it happen as quickly as possible. Basically, some kind of “National Heating Oil Phase-Out Fund” where home and building owners could get assistance to upgrade their insulation and heating systems to end get rid of oil (and perhaps gas).

    Since I am so weary of these kind of programs, I’d want to first examine what kind of subsidized programs of this type have existed and which ones were actually effective and did not end up wasting huge amounts of money and then model it on that.

    The last thing we want is another “cash for clunkers” program. Gawd, what a boondoggle that was!


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  11. 61
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    We’ve spent the past century building suburbs. Literally trillions of dollars invested in homes, buildings and infrastructure. I’m not thinking we can really turn that around. Also, I just don’t think it is going to happen…..It will be very hard to take this away from people….

    The trend may be reversing on its own. The so-called ‘Millennials’ are not as likely to see the three bedroom suburban detached as something to aspire to. Particularly those that have grown up in these communities and more importantly, those who have the income to buy those units. They don’t seem to be as addicted to cars as previous generations, and tend to envision lifestyles that don’t see themselves tending the lawn every Saturday.

    You can see this trend in the gentrification of many inner city working class areas, that are now being colonized by young urban professionals who are choosing these neighborhoods to live in, often ironically the same ones their parents escaped.

    As well some places once considered suburbs, are being overtaken by expanding city cores, and this too will factor into the equation.

    It would appear that while the suburbs are not yet in danger of being abandoned, there does seem to be a slowing of the flight-to-the-fringe that started after WWII, so considering various energy solutions for high-density living may not be a waste of effort.


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  12. 62
    Engineer-Poet Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    [i]the future has to be district heat for the cities and electric heat elsewhere.[/i]

    [url="http://ergosphere.blogspot.com/2005/04/its-mine.html"]Great minds think alike.[/url]

    [i]Fossil fuel does not seem like the best way. It would require a totally separate heating system. Thus, resistive electrical heat, as a way of picking up the slack, would be the most simple way of dealing with it.[/i]

    Buildings with an existing fossil heating system could use resistance heat as a utility-controllable load; combustion would be the backup.  One possible solution to the problem of leaking ground-source heat exchangers is to pump groundwater instead.

    The problem with using resistance heat as the backup for electric heat pumps is that efficiency drops precipitously at exactly the point of maximum heating demand, causing electric consumption to spike.  This is hard to accomodate in the grid.  Since that spike would almost certainly be met by fossil-fired simple-cycle gas turbines, it makes far more sense to burn the fuel to make heat at 95% efficiency than making electricity at 46% efficiency.

    [i]a big factor that could make this a reality is insulation. With adequate insulation, even resistive electric heating becomes viable.[/i]

    That requires new building codes and several decades to remodel or replace the existing inefficient construction—definitely not a project for even a 2-term president.


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  13. 63
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Engineer-Poet said:

    That requires new building codes and several decades to remodel or replace the existing inefficient construction—definitely not a project for even a 2-term president.

    The problem with politicians is too many of them do not think in the long term. They think to the next election. In 20 years I don’t want to be complaining about how much better off we would be if we had been smarter back in 2013.

    But you are right that it would take a while. Any change in basic heating is going to take some time.


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  14. 64
    Engineer-Poet Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    The problem with politicians is too many of them do not think in the long term. They think to the next election.

    Something I got roughly a lifetime ago:  “What gets rewarded, gets done”.

    Politicians are not rewarded for thinking past the next election, save by fickle historians.  Arguably, that’s a bit part of the problem.

    There are possibilities for retrofitting buildings which don’t have the drawbacks of e.g. existing interior foam applications, but it would probably take a Manhattan Project level of commitment of geniuses working with everyone from chemists and process engineers to everyday construction workers to make a solution like the archetypical Fiat:  “Designed by geniuses to be built by idiots.”

    If anyone could get an R-8 window out there, it would take the world by storm.  Doubly so if it didn’t have the characteristic blue cast of aerogels precipitated in 1 G.


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  15. 65
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Engineer-Poet said:

    Something I got roughly a lifetime ago:  “What gets rewarded, gets done”.

    Politicians are not rewarded for thinking past the next election, save by fickle historians.  Arguably, that’s a bit part of the problem.

    IMHO, the politicians are looking for a “reward” besides the betterment of society. I guess that would call into question the honorability of their intent in seeking office, but we already knew that was questionable.

    I’m not running because I want the prestige or the power or because I like the fact that the pay is pretty damn good for a very limited number of working days.

    If I was only concerned about personal reward, this would be pointless.


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  16. 66
    drbuzz0 Says:

    Posted another major revision. Just hit the above link to download the new PDF

    This is the biggest revision yet. Completely changed the layout of some sections


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  17. 67
    Cassie Says:

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    We don’t get fat because of a lack of energy or from having your energy level fall off throughout the day, start heavy and lessen the level of glycogen and water in your body.


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