Climate scientist James Hansen gave a 30 minute talk in Sagaponack, NY on Friday, Aug 2. He backs a fee and dividend approach to reducing fossil fuel use. This idea has been taken up nationally by the Citizens Climate Lobby. A national carbon fee would slow rise over time; 100% of these proceeds would be returned back to citizens.
He cited Friday's New York Times Op Ed, A Republican Case for Climate Change, by former EPA administrators who back Obama's new climate plan. They conclude, "Mr. Obama's plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste."
Given a choice between natural gas and next generation nuclear plants, Hansen favors nukes. He doesn't believe that solar and wind can reliably provide for the nations and regions electric energy needs. The Citizens Climate Lobby model doesn't require picking any particular future energy strategies. Their approach focuses upon raising the price of carbon-based fuels and letting the market adjust accordingly.
Creating this centrist path between Democratic and Republican models may require a new third party in American politics.
I have been teaching Geography and Environmental Studies at Long Island University since 1993. I taught at LIU’s Southampton College and, more recently, the C.W. Post Campus. Most of my activities at LIU have related to sustainable development. In 2007 I initiated the Long Island Climate Solutions Network, http://www.licsn.org.