AZ can act now to begin reducing global warming pollution
Although it seems like every day we see more evidence of the dangers of global warming, Arizona can act now to reduce its share of global warming pollution by adopting policies which would lead to cleaner cars, the more efficient use of our energy and more solar/other clean renewable energy sources.
The Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund’s recent report, “A Blueprint For Action: Policy Options To Reduce Arizona’s Contribution to Global Warming,” contains 14 policy strategies that if adopted would help Arizona stabilize its emissions despite dramatic population growth.
The following strategies would improve Arizona’s energy security, begin the technological shifts necessary to reduce Arizona’s emissions of global warming pollution to levels that do not have a harmful effect on the climate, and would take advantage of readily available savings at low cost, or even net economic benefit, to Arizona.
To reduce emissions from transportation:
• Adopt the clean cars program, which will put increasing numbers of hybrid-electric cars on Arizona’s roads and impose limits on vehicle carbon dioxide emissions.
• Require the sale of low-rolling resistance replacement tires that improve vehicle efficiency without negatively affecting safety.
• Establish a revenue-neutral “fee-back” program to reward the purchase of more fuel-efficient vehicles.
• Require automobile insures to offer pay-as-you-drive automobile insurance, in which insurance rates are calculated by the mile.
• Adopt policies that would reduce growth in vehicle miles traveled by cars and light trucks on Arizona’s highways, such as measures to encourage the use of transit and other transportation alternatives.
• Establish a renewable fuels standard, such that a portion of motor fuel comes from renewable sources.
To reduce emissions from homes, businesses and industry:
• Expand electric and natural gas utilities energy efficiency programs provided by.
• Expand appliance efficiency standards for residential and commercial products, saving money for consumers and reducing emissions.
• Improve the efficiency of new commercial and residential buildings and thereby reduce building-related energy costs and global warming pollution.
• Expand the use of energy-efficient combined heat and power systems in industry and commercial buildings.
To reduce emissions from electricity generation:
• Dramatically increase the installation of solar photovoltaic and thermal energy systems on homes and businesses through direct incentives and new methods of financing.
• Expand and strengthen the state’s proposed Renewable Energy Standard so that 30 percent of all electricity consumed in Arizona comes from clean, renewable sources.
• Stop the growth in emissions from coal-fired power plants.
To reduce emissions from other strategies:
• Reduce government sector emissions through “lead by example” measures, such as the purchase of renewable power, cutting energy consumption in new buildings in half, increased energy efficiency, and purchasing more efficient vehicles for state fleets.
These recommendations are a starting point. By creating and implementing programs to achieve the greatest emission savings, the state can significantly reduce its global warming pollution. Investing now in our growing infrastructure can make enormous differences down the road.
(Diane E. Brown is the Executive Director of the Arizona Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. The Arizona PIRG Education Fund conducts research and education on public interest issues. The report can be found at www.arizonapirg.org)
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