July 4, 2008

CA Draft Scoping Plan comment:
Challenge the Status Quo

This is one of a series of comments submitted to the California Air Resources Board for their draft version of the California Climate Change Draft Scoping Plan. Other BIOenergy BlogRing comments are linked here:
Challenge the Status Quo
Recycling and Waste
Sustainable Forests

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Achieving the goals of this Climate Change Scoping Plan (an ambitious 30% reduction of greenhouse gases projected for 2020) will require major changes in the status quo fossil fuel paradigm - not only how electricity and biofuels are produced, but also the manufacture of a generation of new bioproducts based on biobased chemicals to replace fossil-based ones.

We live in the most dynamic state in the U.S. with research, manufacturing, investment capital, manpower, infrastructure, and natural resources that are the envy of the world. This combination has led to the achievement of many paradigm shifts in the past - aerospace, atomic energy, computers, software, telecommunications, biotechnology, and the internet. We are poised to develop the next paradigm in energy coupled with environmental sustainability.

However, to achieve our goals will require flexibility in our permitting standards. Currently, the choke point on energy and environmental technological deployments are held by state agencies - particularly CARB - housed in Sacramento. Our standards have become so idealistically high - i.e., Zero waste, Zero emissions - that promising technologies cannot be permitted for deployment within California. Specific examples include conversion technologies using thermochemical means that can convert municipal and environmental waste into carbon-neutral fuels and power.

The thresholds for permitting must enable promising innovations to be deployed. Without deployment most technologies will never be refined at commercial scale to approach delivering the highest standards expected by the idealists.

I recommend a graduated permitting scheme be developed by CARB for technologies of promise. Instead of comparing performance to an idealistically high standard, let's first compare it to the status quo. If, after deployment, the technologies cannot meet the graduated standards specified, the businesses can lose their permit to operate. But let's encourage deployment of first generation technologies in California.

Without deployment of promising technologies, the aims of this Scoping Plan will fail and the status quo will remain.

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1 comment:

grot86 said...

Thank you very much. This was a great help.