An Open Letter to the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis


The U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released a Request for Information this fall, seeking policy recommendations from a broad range of perspective on how to address the climate crisis. The deadline for responses was Friday, November 22, 2019.

Excerpts from my full response include.

Energy efficiency should be a key component of clean energy standard design, to reduce demand on all utilities, no matter how renewable their portfolio is.  Policies and incentives for efficient equipment in new and existing buildings, weatherization programs and more should be a portion of program roll-out.”

A requirement of U.S. investment should be that new technology manufacturing sites are based in the U.S.  Manufacturing sites should also be targeted to areas hit hardest by contraction of fossil fuels: Native American reservations; Appalachia; Oklahoma; Inner city areas devastated by the withdrawal of manufacturing jobs; and other coal, oil, and gas producing communities. “

Carbon pricing must be a part of the solution, on the order of $50 – $100/ton.  There is a “social cost of carbon”, that is, the social and environmental costs through the problems that are created every time a home, vehicle or business emits a ton of CO2 emissions . . . Our government, via the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of GHG, set that cost at $36/ton in 2016. However, that cost is insufficient to meet social cost.  Modeling by Stanford University researchers (2015) and NRDC/University of Cambridge (2012) suggest a price on carbon of $220 – $260 per ton is required as an upper bound to ensure costs are covered. $50 – $100/ton is a good start, ratcheting up to real costs over time.”

In addition to pricing carbon, it is critical to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. The IMF calculated in May 2019 that the U.S. spent $649 billion on fossil fuel subsidies in 2015. That compares with a $599 billion expenditure on the Pentagon. That money can then be redirected to infrastructure projects, renewable energy installation, reforestation, carbon farming/regenerative agriculture and low-income tax alleviation.


Find the entire letter here. If you submitted recommendations, please do share in the comments below!