Tax reform is the big buzz in Washington, D.C. this week, but notable for climate hawks is the fact that the program is attacking renewable energy. This reform is more of a “tax cut” program, and it slashes many of the direct credits on the taxes paid by the renewable energy industry. That credit is critical for making renewable energy proposals financially viable. Notably, these credits were part of a major bipartisan deal reached in December 2015.
In a turn of strange, but good news, however, the federal government released the most recent National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA says that climate change is driven almost entirely by the burning of fossil fuels and details climate damage across the United States that is already unfolding. This report provides robust support for the endangerment finding, which is the root statement that carbon dioxide is a polluting gas and must be regulated by the Supreme Court. It is a crucial piece of documentation that can be used in the efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground.
Globally, an interesting but unclear situation is happening in Saudi Arabia that will have consequences for climate issues over the coming decades. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is consolidating power and making radical changes in Saudi Arabia. The young prince wants to go public with Saudi Aramco and reinvest it into things like green energy. He recognizes that there is a post-oil future and he wants to be on the top of it. While this could be good news for renewable energy, there is a dark side to his major foreign policy moves. History has shown that these types of initiatives often collapse into destabilizing international quagmires. It is certainly something to watch. Tune in for more details.
The reading list:
Because we recognize the necessity of personal accountability for our actions, because we accept responsibility for building a durable future and because we believe it is our patriotic duty as citizens to speak out, we must insist that the United States put a price on carbon.