Energy & Climate Change

I am very concerned about energy and climate change. In my firefighter work in the Open Space areas surrounding Boulder, I see first-hand the effects of climate change. The period referred to as our “active fire season” grows longer every year. Soon “fire season” may exist all year long.

The data from climate scientists is clear: global warming is here and carbon loading of the atmosphere, from human activities, is a major driving factor.

There are other environmental considerations in addition to global warming: combustion of fossil fuels produces a host of other pollutants. These pollutants pose environmental risks ranging from acid rain to human respiratory problems including asthma, emphysema, and lung cancer.

There are even more considerations when it comes to energy. Many of our fossil fuels are not local, or not even of U.S. origin. This means our energy dollars spent on them are leaving our national, state, and local economy. Whereas, the U.S. has more than enough renewable energy resources – in the form of solar irradiation, naturally-occurring wind, and potential biofuels – to be self-sufficient from an energy standpoint. Energy self-sufficiency also means greater international stability and security, from not having to depend on foreign energy.

And so I support clean, domestic energy in the form of renewable energy. For that reason, I believe that a municipal utility should continue to be explored. I would support a municipal utility for Boulder if the rates and reliability are equal to or better than Xcel’s. The Muni picture will be increasingly clarified over the coming weeks and I intend to closely follow the developments. Meanwhile, the City can enhance its supports to home and business owners so that they can utilize more renewable energy.

But we should also focus on energy efficiency. A unit of energy saved is a unit of energy that doesn’t have to be produced. This is better from all standpoints. Thus, I believe that Boulder should strongly emphasize energy efficiency, in residential and commercial buildings, in manufacturing, and in transportation.

Energy efficiency and energy issues are inexorably linked to building codes and transportation issues. I support the Green Points program in construction. I support mass transit and alternative transportation, including biking and walking. I would like to explore the idea of community-wide Eco-Passes. If we’re really going to meet our Climate Action goals and reduce traffic, we need to explore numerous and varied strategies.

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