Federal clean-electricity policy, residential electrification, fossil-fuel supply issues, and more
As I said a few weeks ago, I am working my way through generating transcripts for past podcasts — getting them cleaned up so they read well. I’ve got three new ones for you today, also available in PDF form. Here are links, followed by a few juicy quotes from each.
Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) on the proposed federal Clean Electricity Payment Program
[T]he goal of achieving 80 percent clean power in the power sector nationally, on average, is set in stone. That was described in the Democratic budget resolutions that we passed at the end of the last session. That is described as the goal of the president. So to me, that's the starting point.
[C]lean power, including renewable energy, is rural energy. That's where it is most likely developed. In fact, West Virginia has abundant renewable energy assets that are waiting to be developed. If you care about wanting to be a part of this clean-energy transition — which is, by the way, going to happen — the question is: Do you want to lead?
Personally, I believe that the filibuster rule ought to be thrown out, and I didn't come to that easily. I believed for a long time that it was important that hard-won rights couldn't be taken away by a simple majority in the Senate. … But my perspective on this has really changed. I came to understand how fundamentally undemocratic it is to require a supermajority to get anything done.
Saul Griffith and Arch Rao on electrifying your house
There's a small number of big machines, and there's a large number of small machines. The small number of big machines is a few hundred coal plants and a few hundred LNG terminals and a few hundred oil tankers, but the real game in town is the 200 million vehicles, the 128 million households, the 70 million natural gas furnaces, etc. That's the large number of small machines, which is what we need to electrify when we electrify the household.
The electrical panel has a critical place in the electrical grid infrastructure, especially for your home. Without thinking about data controls and intelligence flowing in and out of it, it is very hard to envision a future state where switching over to electric appliances is practical or inexpensive.
What you really want is a country that has Australian rooftop solar policy, Californian or Norwegian electric vehicle policy, and South Korean or German heat-pump adoption. That's the country where the economics are very positive for the household. So we know how to do this, we just don't know how to do it in one place.
Tzeporah Berman on the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty
I have three university degrees, and I spent years trying to figure out, what am I for on climate change? It's like, “no cap-and-trade, no cap-and-trade and auction, and then is it carbon tax, but from this benchmark date, and not this.” And we wonder why millions of people are not getting involved.
[W]e don't have transparency or accountability. We don't even have a comprehensive database of how much coal, oil, and gas reserves, resources, and production is happening globally at any given time. It's not even accessible to decision-makers, let alone publicly accessible.
So the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is designed on the pillars of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. First of all, end the expansion. Second of all, manage a global phaseout of fossil fuel production. The third pillar is, ensure peaceful and just and equitable transition.
More transcripts to come!
(Thanks to Sarah Burkhalter and Maria Virginia Olano for their help with these.)