ALEC Agenda Reveals Anti-Renewable Energy Strategies for December Summit
For the first time, ALEC posted an online agenda for its Energy, Environment and Agriculture (EEA) task force, which will meet at the States and Nation Policy Summit Dec. 4-6 in Washington D.C. The agenda is seemingly filled with resolutions aimed at slowing the growth of key elements within the renewable energy sector.
First, the group, whose members consist of natural gas companies like Koch Industries and Exxon Mobil, will consider a resolution that would encourage legislators across the country to enforce utility payments on residents who generate their own electricity and interconnect to the grid. ALEC believes those who use solar and other distributed generation (DG) systems have an unfair advantage because they get credit for energy generation through net metering.
"When net-metered customers are credited for the full retail cost of electricity, they effectively avoid paying the grid costs, and these costs for maintaining the grid then are shifted to those customers without rooftop solar or other DG systems through higher utility bills," the resolution reads.
Though a recent report from ProgressNow details failed attempts by ALEC to eliminate renewable portfolio standards throughout 2013, ALEC is calling on states to update net metering policies so that anyone who uses the grid in any way—even adding energy to it—would have to pay a fixed charge or some other rate mechanism.
The agenda also includes two resolutions with updated language to reiterate ALEC's desire to halt the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed greenhouse gas emission standards for new and existing power plants and the agency's plan to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.
"These two draft resolutions are the newest in ALEC’s ongoing work to block policy solutions to climate change, mainly by slowing down the inevitable phaseout of carbon pollution from coal plants," said Greenpeace researcher Connor Gibson. "[The emission standards resolution] includes more specific references to EPA’s New Source Performance Standards and the development of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. ALEC member utilities will likely argue behind the scenes over this language at next month’s meeting since some ALEC members are already developing CCS, and the ALEC resolution lambasts the technology."
ALEC notes on the agenda that model policies are not official until passing its Commerce Task Force and national board of directors. Both groups have sessions scheduled before the EEA meets.
ALEC will introduce a new member on the final day of the event, America's Natarual Gas Alliance, which was partly founded by former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. Chesapeake Energy is also an ALEC member and known as one of the country's largest fracking companies.
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
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The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
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