Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Want a Green Revolution? Build it from the Center and Work Outward - FAST

The Metamorphosis

Want a Green Revolution? Build it from the Center and Work Outward - FAST
Pathways to a Sustainable and Bipartisan “Green New Deal”

The Bipartisan Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act Reduces Carbon Pollution and Income Inequality and could form the foundation of a real and profound shift toward a cooler planet and a more democratic economy.

In every small cafe, bistro and coffee shop here in the shadow of Rattlesnake Ridge there is growing buzz about the “Green New Deal”. Mostly, on both ends of the political spectrum, it’s a knee jerk reaction on one side or the other based on ideology. Most folks, though, are just puzzled by it because they can’t seem to put their arms around what exactly it is, and with good reason, even the sponsors don’t really know.

Some present it as an effort to save the planet, but let’s be real. Mother earth doesn’t need to be saved. . . we do; along with more than a million species who share this planet with us.

Whether we reverse climate change or not, the earth will continue to spin and, until the day our Sun either explodes or simply engulfs the planets, it will continue to spin. Oceans will rise, currents will change directions or shift, catastrophic geologic and atmospheric events will increase, at some point the planet will be plunged into another ice age even, as the effects of warming will, in the geologic cycle of change, be followed by a cooling event. But the earth will go on. The question is: will Homo Sapiens?

Further, the recent alarming UN Report on extinction suggests that we are on the verge of an extinction event for more than one million other species who share the planet with us.

Most experts agree that - at best - we have two decades before the effects of climate change will be irreversible, many insist that 10 years, perhaps fifteen if we are fortunate, is a more accurate number.

We don’t have time to engage in a pitched partisan battle of the extremes, that will only drag this out and in the end the bitter divisions that today cause us to fear for our Republic will become the divisions that threaten the human race.

The good news is that we can have a Green Revolution built from the center out where people of good-will, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and non-voters alike join together to act and act fast.

The even better news is that this provides an opportunity for Americans to rally around a cause and perhaps find a way beyond the poisonous partisanship that has infected our country.

In actuality “The Green New Deal” is more a set of goals or a Call to Action on the most serious existential threat that humanity has ever faced. How we achieve those goals - even what they are - is completely up to us.

First and foremost, we must be willing to speak with one another and, more important, to listen to one another. Last month one prominent Democrat dismissed out of hand a set of proposals by Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) focusing mostly on Research and Development, despite the fact that it had some very good ideas incorporated into it. More important, Alexander acknowledged the fact of Climate Change and put forward constructive ideas for addressing the problem. If that Democratic Congresswoman had simply welcomed the contributions of Alexander and brought him into the tent, we would now be one vote closer to a tipping point. She, alas, was more interested in partisan political advantage than the crisis at hand.

Make no mistake about it, those who use this crisis to gain partisan political advantage are as guilty as those who deny Climate Change. . . perhaps more because they are cynically exploiting the good will of those who want to solve this problem while inserting a poison pill into the process.

I would have much preferred a different name. “A Green Moon Shot” or something less divisive than a reference to the New Deal, but I’m late to the party when it comes to positioning statements on Climate Change. That horse has already left the barn.

The bottom line is that we need action. The vast majority of our citizens know that we are facing a crisis. They want action.

What we need is to face this challenge as our parents and grandparents faced Hitler. Without regard to political advantage and partisan bickering.

No one checked political party status when the Greatest Generation stepped forward to save Democracy. No ideology was protected from the mortars and machine guns trained at Omaha Beach; No soldier was spared on the Bataan Death March in the Philippines because he was in the “right” political party. The Climate Crisis is a threat to all humanity. Those who seek to use it for partisan advantage, irrespective of what side they are on, will receive - and deserve - the scorn and condemnation heaped upon them by future generations; if we are lucky enough to have future generations.

The good news is that most of us believe there is still time, though precious little. Furthermore there is a path to get there with equal parts market-based practices and activist government, something for everyone to love . . . and perhaps hate. There is even a social-justice component built right into that path. Without the need for so ham-handedly inserting it into the process as the “authors” of the Green New Deal propose. Yet there is room for both progressives and conservatives aboard this high speed train. It’s not the only path but it’s one with real promise. Right now time is of the essence.

It begins with HR 763 The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act. The idea was first proposed by two Republican statesmen George Schultz and James Baker. In 2018, a bill with many similarities to the Baker/Schultz plan called “The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” became the first bipartisan carbon fee and dividend bill to be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. When it was introduced in the Senate three weeks later, it became the first bipartisan carbon fee and dividend bill to be active in both houses of the U.S. Congress. With a new Congress just seated in January, it was reintroduced in the House of Representatives on January 24, as H.R. 763. and is sponsored by a bi-partisan group of US Representatives including Ted Deutch (D-FL-22) and Francis Rooney (R-FL-19) and more than 20 others in both parties - most recently Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-28).

HR 763 The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act has four major components:

The Carbon Fee: The core of the bill assesses a fee on carbon-emitting fuels, like coal, oil or gas, assessed at the mine, the well, or the port of entry.

Because it is assessed upstream, the fee is very simple and cost effective to administer - only a few thousand entities will pay this “tax” - yet it efficiently cov
The Dividend: The revenues from those fees are distributed equally as a monthly dividend to every American household equally. Rich, poor, black, white, latino, Native American, Asian, every adult and child qualifies for the dividend. The average family of four will see a dividend of about $2,000 per year and as the fee rises the benefit will increase.

70% of households will receive a net increase in their annual income. In other words, the increase in prices of fuel and other related products will be LESS than the dividend they receive. Every action they take to proactively reduce their carbon footprint will increase their individual net income, thereby driving conservation and alternative energy production.

For the first time ever, carbon emitting industries will pay for the cost of CO2 pollution and the American people will receive the dividend. This market-based solution will reduce carbon by 40% or more in the first decade; make a sizeable dent in the savage income disparity that has ballooned in the past 50 years, and, drive local innovation and entrepreneurial activity as citizens work to reduce their own carbon footprint, minimizing their dependence on carbon based fuels and increasing their net income.

Border Carbon Adjustment: Finally to assure that US industry is not disadvantaged by this policy an adjustment is applied on both imports and exports that produce CO2 and other related emissions. The adjustment applies ONLY to products from countries that are not assessing a commensurate fee on carbon. The beauty of this adjustment is that it will create a tipping point to bring the rest of the world’s economies along with the leadership of the United States.

The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act is supported by a virtual “Who’s Who” of scientists, economists and activists among them: former Obama Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu; Internationally renowned Oceanographer William Boicourt; Martin Feldstein, Chairman of President Reagan’s Economic Advisory Council; Retired Rear-Admiral David W. Titley, Pennsylvania State University founding director of their Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk. He was also NOAA’s chief operating officer from 2012-2013 and the chief oceanographer of the U.S. Navy, in which he served for 32 years; Professor Emeritus Barbara Love, a Professor Emeritus of Social Justice Education at UMass-Amherst; Dr. Shi-Ling Hsu the D’Alemberte Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Environmental Programs at the Florida State University College of Law; Actors Bradley Whitford and Don Cheadle; Oceanographer, Explorer, Author and Lecturer; National Geographic Society Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia A. Earle; Dr. James Hansen, formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he directs a program in Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions.

The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act also has high level buy in from both oil, gas and other carbon-based industries and Environmental Organizations.

With this as the basis for agreement we can then build a sustainable future that looks to private individuals, entrepreneurs, and the private sector to push changes from the grassroots and look to government for the big research and development and infrastructure changes that only government can make happen.

From the grassroots will develop shoots.

To borrow a phrase from George H.W. Bush, we will create the opportunity for a hundred thousand points of sustainable light and energy to push up, lowering individual carbon footprints, innovating to create new ideas for clean energy generation on a local level while the power and resources of carefully targeted investments through government research and development creates a smart grid for the distribution of energy; finds more effective ways of energy storage that permit a safer, more secure, and sustainable, distributed energy paradigm to replace the existing vulnerable grid and inefficient storage and production of power.

Now, let’s face it. There are some folks who will still deny Climate Change - in Australia they have taken to calling them “Fossil Fools”, an apt moniker that I suggest we adopt - But to succeed, we must find a way for the rest of us to work together.

Those on the left will need to rise above the opportunity to exploit this crisis for partisan gain. After all, it’s easy to be dogmatic about this - Just watch how Donald Trump works his base and do the same thing he does with yours. Please don’t be tempted by this. Think back on how you have felt over the last two years.

To the Republicans we need to say, “come home”. Let your better angels guide you. Remember that the roots of the environmental movement in this country are the legacy of the Republican Party. All will be forgiven if you will join in the effort to save humanity and our fellow critters.

Even if we disagree on almost everything else right now, let this be the one place where we come together, stand together to sing the American song.

Finally, this approach allows us to test, on a national basis, the idea for an American Dividend that includes people at every level in the economic success of the nation. Fifty years of growing income disparity demand a new capitalism that recognizes the role that every American plays in the success of our economy and creates a broad-based system of sharing in those successes.

Can you imagine it? No more talk about reparations that divide us - because we are all due reparations from the indigenous people who were first here to every immigrant who came later, voluntarily or not.

Perhaps, then, we can get on with the business of forming a “more perfect Union.”

The Radical Centrist Podcast: Beyond Carbon Series:
Ep 05 Carbon Dividend Flannery Winchester CCL 2 by The Radical Centrist

Ripples of Hope: The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative
EP 07 Parei Sandra Jones Peter Adams 4 27 19 by The Radical Centrist

The Energy Innovation Act: https://energyinnovationact.org/
The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends

About Wayne D. King: Wayne King is an author, artist, activist and recovering politician. A three term State Senator, 1994 Democratic nominee for Governor, former publisher of Heart of New Hampshire Magazine and CEO of MOP Environmental Solutions Inc., and now host of two new Podcasts - The Radical Centrist (www.theradicalcentrist.us) and NH Secrets, Legends and Lore (www.nhsecrets.blogspot.com). His art is exhibited nationally in galleries and he has published three books of his images and a novel "Sacred Trust" a vicarious, high voltage adventure to stop a private powerline all available on Amazon.com. He lives in the White Mountains where his family has been for ten thousand years or more. His website is: http://bit.ly/WayneDKing . You can support his work at www.Patreon.com/TheRadicalCentrist .

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Episode 9 Global Citizens Circle and the Dunfey Family

This is an incredible opportunity to participate in a livestream conversation on May 30th at 4:00pm EST with amazing discussion leaders, Dolores Huerta, Lauren Hogg and Ramla Sahid, moderated by Jada Hebra! For more information, go toglobalcitizenscircle.squarespace.com

From Wikipedia

In 1855 An informal monthly gathering in Boston, Massachusetts, of writers, scientists, philosophers, historians, and other notable thinkers of the mid-Nineteenth Century came together to form what would become known as the "Saturday Club." The club was intended to share ideas on the big issues of the times as well as sharing their many talents with one another.

Publishing agent and lawyer Horatio Woodman first suggested the gatherings among his friends for food and conversation.[2] By 1856, the organization became more structured with a loose set of rules, with monthly meetings held over dinner at the Parker House.[1] The Parker House served as their place of meeting for many years. It is a hotel built in 1854 by Harvey D. Parker.[3][4]

The original members of the group included Woodman, Louis Agassiz, Richard Henry Dana Jr., and James Russell Lowell.[2] In the following years, membership was extended to Holmes, Cornelius Conway Felton, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and William Hickling Prescott.[6] Other members included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Asa Gray, John Lothrop Motley, Benjamin Peirce, Charles Sumner,

The gatherings led to many initiatives by members of the club. Probably most acclaimed among them was the creation of the Atlantic Monthly, to which many of the members contributed.[2] The name was suggested by early member Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.[5]

End Wikipedia reference

Over 100 years later when the Parker House was purchased by the Dunfey Family, while going through the Parker House archives the family members noted with interest the long and distinguished history of the Saturday club. The Dunfeys were not simply hoteliers they were a progressive activist family. Furthermore, their ownership of the Parker House coincided with a very turbulent historic moment. The assassinations of Dr. King and Bobby Kennedy - a close friend of the family and a regular at the Dunfey family homes for skiing trips to Waterville Valley, were still fresh in the minds of the country. Busing of school children to overcome years of segregation had divided the city as the Vietnam War was similarly dividing the country.

Thankfully, To the Dunfey family these crisis presented an opportunity - and the greatest challenge at its core was the need to bring together diverse voices in a civil dialog. Thus was born "The New England Circle" a regular gathering at the Parker House of socially and ideologically diverse individuals committed to the idea that the American Voice could overcome differences among people if we listened to it - and to one another.

Now heading into their 45th anniversary year, with a title that reflects their expanding reach and global ambitions, New England Circle has become "Global Citizens Circle". GCC has played critical roles in overcoming Apartheid in South Africa, bringing peace to Northern Ireland and today is teamed up with Southern New Hampshire University - perhaps the most unappreciated yet acclaimed University in the world, to bring education, dialog and activism together to create a place on which to stand together for constructive change.

Archimedes is credited with saying, when describing the lever: "Give me a place to stand and I will move the world." Global Citizen's Circle is the place to stand and the lever, and its thousands of citizen activists are the force by which constructive change can be forged in even the most turbulent of times.

You can join in a live stream of this year's Global Citizens award ceremony honoring Delores Huerta at 4pm May 30, 2019 or watch the archived edition at GCC's YouTube Channel.

In this podcast I speak with Theo Spanos Dunfey, Executive Director of Global Citizens Circle.


Global Citizens Circle

YouTube Channel
The Saturday Club

Friday, May 3, 2019

Episode 8 When Merit Guides Governance - Ralph Hough Radical Centrist

When Merit Guides Governance

An Interview with Former New Hampshire Senate President Ralph Hough

For those who long for more civil times when Republicans and Democrats saw one another as the loyal opposition. State Senate President Ralph Hough gave New Hampshire a Senate to remember in 1992.

Named as a Defendant in the nationally renowned Claremont v NH lawsuit over educational funding because of the constitutional office he held, Hough was a profile in courage when, he filed a brief on behalf of the Plaintiff School Districts and testified before the NH Supreme Court, asking them to side with the Schools. That year the Supreme Court Ruled on behalf of the Schools and the Children, though the struggle continues, this decision will set the precedent for a new lawsuit recently filed once again.

To my mind Ralph Hough is a hero and a living example of a Radical Centrist. Seeking to build consensus, to create both common ground and to build new ground upon which people of good-will could stand to find solutions to challenging problems.


Dance of a Woodland Elder
There is a lot of talk lately about how the 2018 election was the start of a shift in the fortunes of Republicans and Democrats . . . maybe so. But there is some early evidence that the shift may be nothing more than an exchange of one group of ideologues for another. If this is the case we will be no farther along on our new American journey than we are today and the divisions that plague our country will be just as stark.

However, there is a third way and the model for it can be found in the 1992 New Hampshire Senate. It affords an example for every legislature that is closely divided or where people of good will in both parties are willing to challenge the established dogmas to create meritocracies where what you know is more important than who you know . . . where allegiance is to country and state, not to political party.

In 1992 the NH Senate elections left the body divided 13 to 11 with the Republicans holding a slight advantage. In the typical spoils system that has afflicted us all too often, this would usually have resulted in the election of a Senate President and the Senate leadership from the majority party. Likewise all committee chairs would also be of the majority party, no matter how little they knew of their assigned committee’s responsibilities.

The Shadows We Cast Haiku

Just after the election then State Senator, and now US Senator Jeanne Shaheen and I, two Democrats, along with Concord’s beloved Senator Susan McLane and Ralph Hough of Lebanon, two Republicans, met quietly in Madbury to craft a bold plan: To create a Senate where party took a second seat to merit and where Democrats and Republicans worked together for the good of the state.

I honestly don’t remember who contacted whom with the idea and it doesn’t matter. Senator Hough had a reputation as a moderate to progressive Republican whose political hero was Teddy Roosevelt, Susan McLane was a progressive Republican, undeterred by the slings and arrows from the far right within her own party. Both represented the great historic tradition of pragmatic Republicans in the mold of Warren Rudman, Perkins Bass, Sherman Adams and Charlie Bass.

Senator Hough we surmised would not have won an election among Republican partisans, but if the 11 Democrats held together, along with at least 2 Republicans he could win.

Ultimately, that is just what happened; but on that day in Madbury we asked ourselves the more fundamental questions. How would we create a legislative body where people worked together; where Chairs and Vice Chairs were chosen for their expertise and their leadership ability; where fairness, transparency and achievement were the rule and not the exception?

At first we toyed with the idea of dividing everything equally between Republicans and Democrats, but that just seemed to be the same old wine in a different bottle.

We decided that parity would be considered a value but not the be-all-and-end-all. We obviously needed to have a Senate President as a presiding officer but what required us to have vice presidents, or other titles that established some kind of formal or informal pecking order within the Senate? So in our brainstorming – and later after Senator Hough had won, we did away with all these titles.

Since the goal was to create an atmosphere where Republicans and Democrats worked together for the common good developing consensus where possible and respecting differences where matters of personal principle made consensus impossible, we considered completely eliminating the separate pre-session caucuses, an age old tradition that generally has been a partisan planning session.

Senator Hough felt that he did not want to issue an edict preventing either party from gathering together when they felt it was important. Instead he announced that the entire Senate would be invited to lunch together before the session, in effect creating a bi-partisan caucus where we would have a final opportunity to develop consensus on contentious issues and if consensus were not possible to civilly alert one another that we were going to have a “floor fight.”

It was at these lunches that I developed a real and abiding respect for many of the Senators whom I had previously seen in a very adversarial way. Suddenly Senators, whom I had viewed only as adversaries, were no longer political enemies but colleagues with whom I often disagreed but who were human beings with whom I could break bread, talk, and, from time to time, compromise.

Senator Hough began the Senate term with a team building retreat for the entire Senate challenging us all to move beyond the constraints of party and to take risks for the good of our state. The retreat included not only Senators but staff members as well.

That year, as the country struggled to get its economy moving again the New Hampshire Senate – with a full sponsorship of both Republicans and Democrats passed five omnibus economic development bills creating an Office of International Trade; supported the creation of The Center for Earth, Oceans and Space at UNH - one of the first institutions in the Country to initiate studies of Climate Change - , expanded the Port of New Hampshire, strengthened the Business Finance Authority, took the first steps toward development of a Community College system throughout NH among other things, all while balancing the State’s budget

By the end of the two-year term I considered many of my former adversaries among the finest, most principled people with whom I had ever served. They had not changed. The dynamic had.

In years past, legislators had opportunities to experience one another as human beings, whether it was because they would gather together at the Highway Hotel for dinner or because they carpooled to legislative sessions. Today it is harder to find such opportunities but with some effort this small group of Senators upended years of partisan tradition to create what I believe was the most collegiate and cooperative group of Senators that I had seen in all my 12 years in the NH House and Senate.

I will never forget what Ralph Hough said at the end of one of our early meetings. “They will probably throw us all out for this, but it will be worth the ride.”

I won’t represent that we changed the face of politics in New Hampshire – we didn’t.

In the next election, Newt Gingrich's Contract with America election, Republicans dominated the election and the Senate returned to business as usual, more partisan than ever. It may have been the same if Democrats had dominated. But for one brief, shining moment, we glimpsed how things might be if change were built from the center out.

I hope that Ralph Hough still thinks it was worth the ride. I know I do.

Alton Washday Revisited

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Episode 07 Ripples of Hope - The Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative PAREI

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. 
Each time a man (or a woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy

This is a joint podcast of The Radical Centrist and New Hampshire Secrets, Legends and Lore and cross broadcast on both podcasts because of the unique nature of what PAREI has achieved and the tremendous promise that the work they do holds not only for the state of New Hampshire but as a model for similar organizations all across the country.

In this podcast - part 3 of our "Beyond Carbon" series I interview Peter Adams and Sandra Jones, Founders of what may very well be the first non profit in the country to focus exclusively on sustainable energy and conservation. Since their founding in 2003 a growing army of community volunteers and environmental patriots has worked with Peter and Sandra to help others plan their energy future. No one is asked what their beliefs are, what they drive, their political party, who they voted for. There are open arms and open hearts beginning with Peter and Sandra and the infectious effect of that openness and acceptance has spread throughout not only the organization but the community. It is one of the most important keys to their success.  Another is the axiom, "don't talk . . . do."  Experiment, take risks, make mistakes, learn from them and move on, celebrate your victories by sharing your knowledge so that others might benefit from it all. Today as many as 150 other communities from across America have requested the primer developed by PAREI to form their own Energy Initiatives.

So when Sandra and Peter and the army of PAREI began it may have seemed at times a lonely business, but in part from their efforts, A Renewable Energy Revolution has flowered. That Renewable Energy Revolution taking place in this country has many points of light, to use a phrase from President George H.W. Bush, each of them spread their warmth and illumination moving us with growing momentum and enthusiasm toward a distributed energy future that will allow us to live comfortably and still care for the planet and our neighbors, both humans and critters of all shapes and sizes, or as Free Joseph says, the earth and all its inhabitants.

To me, Sandra and Peter are living proof that heroes and patriots walk among us every day in our own communities. People who recognize that the changes we make here at the grassroots are the ripples of hope that build to create change at every level. 

Now if they were here right now, both of them would deflect the attention from themselves to the hundreds of volunteers now engaged with them in the work of PAREI. Of course they are right. But without the catalyst; without the stone dropped into the pond, the ripples would not rise up.

If it seems like I am immensely proud of my old friends, I plead guilty. How could I not be when their work gives me such hope for the future. For as long as citizens reach for the stars, it won't matter that our leaders are temporarily lost in a black hole of partisanship and ideology. Time and again throughout our history we have seen that If the people lead, the leaders will surely follow.

Plymouth Area Renewable Energy Initiative (PAREI)
Solar energy equipment supplier in Plymouth, New Hampshire
Address79 Highland St, Plymouth, NH 03264


RFK Ripple of Hope Speech

Episode 6 - New Hampshire’s Outsized Role in The Renewable Energy Revolution

Radical Centrist

By Wayne D. King

Last year as the fleeting pleasures of a North Country summer were quickly yielding to the bittersweet days of autumn along Rattlesnake Ridge where I live. I was ruminating on the book I had just finished "Sacred Trust" and thinking of how Autumn always seems to summon forth the highs and lows of our inner spirits; one moment we want to run and jump and throw our hands in the air, rejoicing at the beauty of the world around us and the next we are close to tears, often for reasons that seem completely unfathomable . . . careening between joy and sadness, though I suspect that the passage of time, more acutely felt, is the primary motivating force.

In a week or two the hills would be ablaze with color. At least so we all hoped. The effects of climate change seem to be having an effect on autumn foliage, but we really don’t know what the effect is. Some climate scientists say it will enhance colors, at least in the short term.

Others insist the leaves will turn from green to brown and simply fall off the tree, but we don’t know how much of that is because of climate change and how much is because of an extremely dry summer and fall. Scientists differ wildly in their predictions of the effect but there is not the slightest difference on the causality side of the equation . . . the changing climate of our earth mother.

In Sacred Trust, an existential environmental time bomb, in the form of a massive powerline, is about to explode an entire way of life for the people of the North Country. Nine unlikely oddballs: rock climbers, paddlers, a deer farmer and a former spook, are all that stands between the people and the powerline.
The Whisper of Wind - Signed Original

Most readers find themselves praying for the Oddballs. . . If the storyline sounds familiar it is at least in part because I was seeking a vicarious way to express my own frustration with the current situation here in New Hampshire, but also in states across the nation where the same scenario is taking shape.

The novel is somewhat unique, I think, in that the story divides itself between the heroes – citizens engaged in creative civil disobedience as the last defense against the powerline; a group of writers, calling themselves the Gazetteers, writing against the powerline project in the style of the authors of the Federalist Papers; and, finally, a serious-minded journalist who is writing a well researched analysis about both the project and the national and international challenges of the advancing “Age of Electricity.”

Dance of a Woodland Elder

It was, and is, my hope to create a work of fiction that was enjoyable to read but that also helped readers to understand some of the challenges and nuance of the world in which we are all living and the world we are beginning to see emerge . . . the post-carbon world. Whether this education occurs on an individual basis or as a creative tool for the classroom, or both, it was my hope that art could be harnessed to facilitate change and dialog.

In doing research for Sacred Trust I learned a great deal and found to my delight and surprise that New Hampshire played an outsized role in today’s Renewable Energy Revolution. Furthermore, there were some civics lessons that also could be gleaned from the process that has brought us to this place.

Most of the remainder of this column is taken, almost verbatim, from Chapter 57 of Sacred Trust, in which journalist James Kitchen discusses the renewable energy revolution and New Hampshire’s role in its genesis.
Changing Course

Kitchen begins by describing a shifting paradigm that replaces carbon-based energy sources with sustainable green energy and some of the choices, challenges and dilemmas associated with the changeover.

Understanding the choices that our nation faces as we struggle to build a new energy paradigm requires that we have at least a basic understanding about how we got to where we are today and that journey – strangely enough – winds right through New Hampshire. In more ways than one . . .

Most politicians and even most citizens in New Hampshire consider the place of our state in the national election process as sacrosanct. The First-in-the-Nation presidential primary provides a jolt of cash to the state’s economy every four years but most people, particularly the staunchest defenders of the Primary, will tell you that there are more important reasons for protecting our place as first in the nation.

They will explain that only in a small state like New Hampshire does a candidate with limited money – but a great message – have a chance. In larger states, where the election is dominated by big business, big labor, and exorbitant media costs a great candidate without deep pockets will never have such a chance.

New Hampshire folks take their role in the process of winnowing down the field of candidates in their primary very seriously. They study the issues, they vigorously question the candidates, and then, once they have made up their minds, they roll up their sleeves and get involved in one campaign or another.
Lakota Prayer Fine Art Poster

To understand where we are today we need to go back to the mid 1970s. Richard Nixon had resigned, to avoid being impeached, and Gerald Ford, appointed by Nixon after the untimely (and from many accounts unseemly) death of Nelson Rockefeller, was our first unelected President.

The Presidential primary of 1976 saw a very crowded contest among Democrats. Depending on who you count there were almost twenty people testing the waters or outright campaigning for the nomination. From that process, an unknown Governor named Jimmy Carter emerged and swept to the nomination as the “un-politician.”

Carter won in Iowa and during the last three weeks of the New Hampshire Primary, capitalized on his Iowa win and zoomed from a 2% standing to over 30%, capturing New Hampshire. These two wins would serve to create a groundswell and Carter would go on to win the Democratic nomination. By the time the General Election rolled around James Earl Carter had sold himself as the first “outsider” candidate of the modern era and he won handily over Gerald Ford.

Carter’s one-term presidency was roiled by controversy and crisis, from an Arab Oil Embargo to the taking of American hostages at the American Embassy in Iran and a disastrous attempt to rescue those hostages.

The Eye of the Stone

Hidden in the layers of these controversies and crises is a legislative record that created the framework for a renewable energy revolution that has, of late, taken the country by storm. Carter’s team shepherded through Congress the landmark Nation Energy Policy Act, including a section called PURPA – the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. These massive pieces of Federal legislation included the first national policies on renewable energy and energy conservation, among other things.

Two years before Carter ascended to the Presidency, New Hampshire held an election for a United States Senator to replace the retiring Norris Cotton. A close contest between the Democrat John Durkin and the Republican Louis Wyman led to two recounts; the first won by Durkin, by ten votes; and, the second, won by Wyman, by 2 votes. Any citizen who wonders if their vote counts, need only look at the outcome of this election. Finally, at an impasse, a new election was declared by the US Senate an election that Durkin won handily. Two years later, as the Carter Energy policy was moving through the Congress, John Durkin quietly and without fanfare, added an amendment into the PURPA act. The amendment required that utility companies purchase power – at market rates – from any producer of electricity generating fewer than 80 megawatts from a renewable energy source.

Durkin originally believed that he was helping to establish a foothold for wood to energy biomass and trash to energy co-generation, and he was; but the door that he opened with his amendment turned out to be big enough for every dreamer and entrepreneur, with a viable idea for generating electricity renewably, to walk through. Thus began the renewable energy revolution.

Soon proposals for small hydro (also called low head hydro), solar power, wind power and other renewable resources were on the drawing board and underway.

The Energy Policy Act passed the Senate by 1 vote. Again, a civics lesson in the importance of every vote in a democracy.

The Rising Too

Over the years since then a few changes have been made to the Energy Act, but all continuing to move the country toward the day when renewable energy would account for a larger and larger portion of the power produced.

The changes of the 70s represented the first step in a changing relationship between America’s public utilities and the people and businesses who consumed the energy. Utilities no longer held complete monopoly power over both the sale and the purchase of electricity as well as its transmission.

To be fair to utility companies, it is important to note that these changes have created serious disruption in the model that they had been employing to govern their business plans and for many would come to represent an existential threat to their economic viability.

Different utility companies have approached the challenges posed by this deregulation in different ways. Almost immediately Vermont utilities formed a working group among utilities to come up with approaches that would allow them to create sustainable business models and one of the first things they did was to add ratepayers and citizens to the process to create forward momentum and a consensus building approach that made everyone a participant in a process that strengthened utility companies and encouraged the development of renewable energy.

Those who simply tried to squeeze more from a diminishing set of profit centers hastened toward crisis. The changes that have taken place over the past twenty years represent an existential challenge to many utility companies. They are casting around for ways to generate more profits in an era of shrinking opportunities.

The Gathering Storm Haiku

The more progressive utilities are doing this by working to build an infrastructure that enhances the opportunities for renewable energy and the organic job growth that comes with it. Others are simply clinging to the past and trying to enhance their bottom line through transmission proposals that link together large generators of power with lucrative markets.

There are many lessons to be learned from the approaches employed to enhance their sustainability by utility companies all across America. But there is no doubt about one thing.

One short paragraph, authored by John Durkin and his team, had successfully wrested monopoly control over the electric grid from the utility companies and opened the gates for a flood of small alternative power producers and eventually individual homeowners and businesses.

For the first time the American people, just beginning to experience a growing environmental consciousness back in the 70s, had a say in the kinds of energy that we were using and could participate in the creation of that energy. For that we can thank Jimmy Carter, John Durkin and the 95th Congress of the United States.


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In the Clouds

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Beyond Carbon: Part 1: The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act.

Episode 05 Show Notes
Beyond Carbon: Part 1: The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act.
Featuring: Flannery Winchester: Citizens Climate Action Lobby


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What do Steven Chu, Bradley Whitford, George Schultz, James Baker, Don Cheadle, William Boicourt and Fortune Magazine have in common? Support for an idea for reducing CO2 output by more than even the Paris Accords goals in two decades that essentially holds most middle class, working class and poor families harmless (70% of the population)to slightly higher costs on carbon-based products.
Flannery Winchester - Citizens Climate Action Lobby, Communications Coordinator 

Forget the band-aids! The most comprehensive bi-partisan measure ever proposed in the United States Congress is also the one attracting broad bi-partisan support (it also takes a big step toward dealing with income/wealth disparity!). The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act (Very similar to the Baker Schultz Carbon Dividend plan first proposed by American statesman George Schultz and and James Baker) HR 763 is gathering steam and support from across the political spectrum. A fascinating market-based solution that even carbon-based energy companies are starting to get behind. Real change may be on the horizon. Bucky Fuller would have loved this one!

Beyond Carbon
Ep 05 Carbon Dividend Flannery Winchester CCL 2 by The Radical Centrist

The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act
HR 763

Welcome to Episode 5 of the Radical Centrist.
There are literally hundreds of major issues that our country and our world faces today.

Some of these problems are what I'd call process issues finding ways to make our democracy work for every citizen and the economy serve everyone and not just those at the top of the food chain.
change and income disparity are among those. we don't take dramatic action on Climate change in two decades we will reap the whirlwind, literally and figuratively. reverse the dramatic and growing income disparity among Americans our political system is going to continue to melt down. For 50 years the gap between the top 10% of citizens and the remaining 90%, comprising the middle class, working class and the poor has grown. More and more Americans have fallen through the cracks.

Today, for the first time in more than 100 years the middle class is shrinking, not
growing as it should be in a vibrant democracy. personally, is not the cause of this. He is the symptom. A symptom of the fear and anxiety that so many Americans feel today about their future.
elsewhere, they do of course, but as the old saying goes "Physician heal thyself" . . . We need to address our own income disparity issues and allow other countries to find their own way based on their own political and economic systems.

The longer we wait to take serious steps the more painful the process will be. But let's not
delude ourselves. The imperative to heal the planet is not really to protect mother earth - she will be just fine in the end. Until the day that our sun explodes and engulfs the planets within the solar system, Mother Earth will carry on. The only real question seems to be will she carry on with us or
without us?

Our imperative is to find a way that we can be resilient with her. To protect ourselves and every living species on the planet today - all of us endangered by the recklessness of one single species Homo Sapiens.
A Child's Dream Among Lupine

To protect ourselves and every living species on the planet today - all of us endangered by the recklessness of one single species Homo Sapiens. hundred thousand books, documentaries, films, blogs, speeches and conversations.

Humanity's recklessness is documented well in a hundred thousand books, documentaries, films, blogs, speeches and conversations.

But for every tale about our recklessness, beginning in the modern era with the work of Rachel Carson and others, who issued a clarion call to action, there is a story about extraordinary people who's love for the planet and our people are healing the planet. Led at first by individuals like Carl Sagan and his brilliant wife Ann Druyan, Winona LaDuke,  Buckminster Fuller, Jane Goodall,  Kurt Vonnegut, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Edward Abby, Dian Fossey, Paulo Soleri, Wangari Maathai, todays heroes have picked up the torch and moved forward at every level to play their part. 

No one person, no one act, will suffice. There is no magic bullet, no genie's lamp to halt the Climate Change that will make Mother Earth uninhabitable to her current tenants. There is only us.

As Bobby Kennedy said in his famed Ripple of Hope Speech:

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. 
Each time a man (or a woman) stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy 1966

In the end, there is only us. The random ripples that we make can create the current that brings real and lasting change. 

These ripples of change must come from every level: from individual acts of courage to collaborative efforts at the community, state and federal level. 

In this Episode we will begin what will be a multi episode series entitled "Beyond Carbon" starting with a look at what is surely the most sweeping and innovative approach to dealing with climate change ever to emerge from the United States Congress.

In the next "Beyond Carbon" Radical Centrist podcast we'll introduce you to Peter Adams and Sandra Jones whose local Energy Organization PAREI is creating its own ripples of hope and a lot of Buzz around the country. Stay tuned for that.

That was Flannery Winchester Communications Coordinator for Citizens Climate Action Lobby a non profit solely focused on addressing the issue of Climate Change and now leading the charge for the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
So now . . . Beyond Carbon
The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act
HR 763

For the first time since Climate change came onto the national and International agenda there is a bi-partisan proposal in the US Congress that will dramatically reduce CO2 emissions and actually meet the climate goals of the Paris accord using market forces and democratic oversight. It will also take a first major step toward addressing the massive income disparities that are destabilizing our democratic system of government.

In a happy coincidence, it may also be the first step in addressing the savage income disparity that has developed over the last half-century as well. Intrigued? Listen on. . .

I know, this is a big claim, particularly with the hundreds of small band-aids that have been put forth in Washington and state capitals around the nation in the hope of giving the appearance of moving toward a carbon free future.

The genesis of this idea came from two American statesmen, Former Secretary of State James Baker and Former Director of Office of Management and Budget and Secretary of Labor George Schultz.

This policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low, and grows over time. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries, and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.

Dance of a Woodland Elder

So how does it work?

  1. Carbon Fee
    This policy puts a fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. It starts low, and grows over time. It will drive down carbon pollution because energy companies, industries, and consumers will move toward cleaner, cheaper options.
  2. Carbon Dividend
    The money collected from the carbon fee is allocated in equal shares every month to the American people to spend as they see fit. Program costs are paid from the fees collected. The government does not keep any of the money from the carbon fee.
  3. Border Carbon Adjustment
    To protect U.S. manufacturers and jobs, imported goods will be assessed a border carbon adjustment, and goods exported from the United States will receive a refund under this policy.
  4. Regulatory Adjustment
    This policy preserves effective current regulations, like auto mileage standards, but pauses the EPA authority to regulate the CO2 and equivalent emissions covered by the fee, for the first 10 years after the policy is enacted. If emission targets are not being met after 10 years, Congress gives clear direction to the EPA to regulate those emissions to meet those targets. The pause does not impact EPA regulations related to water quality, air quality, health or other issues. This policy’s price on pollution will lower carbon emissions far more than existing and pending EPA regulations.


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The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends

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Energy Innovation Act Q&A

Starting a Local Chapter
CCL chapters form the backbone of the CCL organization. People from all walks of life who understand the urgency of climate change have started local CCL chapters across the world. This training points to resources to help get a new chapter up and running.

Regional Coordinators

Students for Carbon Dividends

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The most comprehensive and innovative Climate proposal in history is gathering a head of steam. First proposed by Goe Schultz and James Baker: Ep 05 The Radical Centrist: http://bit.ly/BeyondCarbon1

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