Conservation Update - May 2014

By: Lucas Sabalka
 
The Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board wrote a compelling editorial this week encouraging action on climate change, including stating that probably the most effective way of mitigating climate change is "through a carbon tax", like the revenue-neutral tax proposed by Citizen's Climate Lobby.
 
Due in part to air quality concerns and in part to economic slowdown, China's coal consumption (the biggest driver of increased greenhouse gas emissions worldwide) has stayed below 3% for the last 3 years.
 
This paper from the University of Ottowa studied in detail the effects of a carbon tax in British Columbia -- now 6 years old -- on the agricultural sector.  It found "little evidence that the implementation of the carbon tax is associated with any meaningful effects on agricultural exports".  The report also discusses specific policy recommendations to improve outcomes for the agricultural sector.
 
An opinion editorial by Jon Huntsman, Jr.
 
The US National Climate Assessment, a joint report from 13 branches of government, was released on Tuesday.  This report echoes the messages of the similar reports this year from the Department of Defense, UN, National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The NCA has a chapter on the Great Plains, including Nebraska, and a chapter on agriculture.  See also theOmaha World Herald's article on it.
 
The third and final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change also came out, describing mitigation and adaptation pathways.  Two key messages are:  (1) time is short, with drastic action required by 2025, and (2) mitigating climate change is economically inexpensive, with median model cost estimates of .06% of global GDP, not including ancillary benefits like human health improvements, conflict prevention, fewer droughts, etc.
 
Polls on Energy
Many polls of US households continue to show overwhelming, bipartisan support for energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy generation.