Letter: Opportunities abound for a low carbon economy | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Opportunities abound for a low carbon economy

While reading of the formal resolutions coming out of Aspen intelligentsia urging Congress to adopt a nationwide carbon tax, I was concurrently pleased and disappointed. Quite pleased in the official act of adopting the carbon tax resolutions, but also disappointed in the economic model attached thereto. If the goal is a war on carbon, there is a far more devastating economic model for a national carbon tax than the one proposed.

Which brings me to the real reason for this open letter to the Aspen intelligentsia:

Because the global drought will not wait — and if you really want to intensify the war on carbon to an international scale, stop acting like what economists define as “rent seekers” and do something magnificent: Draft Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to establish legal residency in Aspen with the central goal of recalling Gov. John W. Hickenlooper and replace the recalled governor with Arnold.

Please be cognizant Aspen intelligentsia, circa 2005 through 2011, Schwarzenegger:

1. Established the hydrogen fuel-cell automobile program through the University of California at Davis, which proved the claims that hydrogen fuel-cell automobiles can operate easily and safely in California urban settings with 0 greenhouse-gas emissions, and

2. Schwarzenegger used his political powers and reached across the Atlantic to U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and established a low-carbon protocol toward a low-carbon econom, between California and the U.K.

Furthermore, on Sept. 27, 2006, Schwarzenegger signed a bill creating the nation’s first cap on greenhouse-gas emissions. The law set new regulations on the amount of emissions utilities, refineries and manufacturing that plants are allowed to release into the atmosphere. Schwarzenegger also signed a second global-warming bill that prohibits large utilities and corporations in California from making long-term contracts with suppliers who do not meet the state’s greenhouse-gas emission standards. The two bills are part of a plan to reduce California’s emissions by 25 percent to 1990s levels by 2020. As governor in 2005, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order calling to reduce greenhouse gases to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. Schwarzenegger signed another executive order Oct. 17, 2006, allowing California to work with the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. They plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by issuing a limited amount of carbon credits to each power plant in participating states. Any power plants that exceed emissions for the amount of carbon credits will have to purchase more credits to cover the difference. The plan took effect in 2009 under extreme controversy. In addition to using his political power to fight global warming, the governor has taken steps at his home to reduce his personal carbon footprint. To set an example for the world, Schwarzenegger has adapted one of his Hummers to run on hydrogen. He has also installed solar panels to heat his home. Finally, in 2011, Schwarzenegger founded the R20 Regions of Climate Action to develop a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

Tell Schwarzenegger, when you invite him to Aspen, that I know where there is more than $1 billion in untapped state of Colorado cash that can be leveraged 5 to 1 in public-private partnerships toward a photon-based, low-carbon economy.

Carl L. McWilliams

Glenwood Springs


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