A group for discussing what "sustainability" means for local government and our profession.
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Funding and design assistance available for rural communities! The Citizen's Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) invites communities to host design workshops that address specific local design challenges. Up to six communities will be selected to receive a $10,000 stipend and in-kind professional design expertise from CIRD to organize a two-and-a-half-day design workshop on a topic chosen by the community.
See CIRD’s 2016-2017 Request for Proposals here: http://www.rural-des..
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I am interested in an opportunity to do pro bono work for a local government or NGO in the early stages of a green building project (also known as high-performance and energy-efficient buildings or sustainable buildings). I was recently credentialed as a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Green Associate (LEED GA) from the Green Building Certification Institute. My background is in the valuation of real estate for local taxation, but am expanding my specialization to include the valuation of sustainable buildings (new construction and retrofits).
Evidence-based analysis of sustainability initiatives. Part 3: Subsidies and externalities.
William Goetz William Goetz | March 25, 2014
Energy production from fossil fuels is estimated to cause 30,000 excess deaths per year in the US from pollution. More US citizen die every year from this pollution than the cumulative deaths from all the years of our recent wars. It causes an estimated 400,000 deaths worldwide.
On top of this, its global warming costs are estimated to be in the range of trillions of dollars.
Such hidden costs, also known as externalities, disrupt the economic, political, geologic, biologic, geographic, and social equilibrium of governments and citizens, thus upsetting global, transnational, national, homeland, and individual security (Homeland Security Affairs Journal, https://www.hsaj.org..).
The National Academy of Sciences estimates the hidden health costs of pollution from fossil fuels in the US to be in excess of $130B per year. The environmental costs add billions more. ("The Hidden Costs of Energy." http://www.nap.edu/o..).
Despite this, the US subsidizes fossil fuel energy producers to the tune of more than $500 Billion per year $500,000,000,000 - note the number of zeroes). Globally, the subsidies account for $2.4 Trillion annually ($2,400,000,000,000), or about 3% of the world’s GDP, and 8% of global government revenues (International Monetary Fund, https://www.imf.org/..).
The fossil fuel subsidies noted above are vigorously supported by the same free market advocates who vehemently decry renewable energy subsidies as an anathema to “free market” principles. Yet, in total, these current fossil fuel subsidies make any proposed renewable energy subsidies look like pocket change.
Because these subsidies and externalities (the aforementioned hidden health and environmental costs) are not reflected in the price of gasoline at the pump, this is a textbook example of the failure of free markets to set prices.
We might consider taking away these fossil fuel “entitlements” in a reasoned manner (see previous IMF reference for strategy). It would assuredly decrease jobs in the fossil fuel sectors. However, since every dollar into the renewable energy sector creates more jobs than money added to the fossil fuel sectors, more jobs would be created, with a net increase in GDP.
If we transferred only a portion of these eliminated “entitlements” from fossil fuel producers to the DOD, we could refund our military. If we transferred another portion to the DOH and states, we could recoup any unanticipated costs of Obamacare “entitlements,” which are so decried by free market advocates.
Fossil fuel “entitlements”, along with the consequent negative effects of global warming, represent the most costly failure of the free market in human history.
The elimination of these fossil fuel “entitlements” would save countless lives, now and in the future.
How many lives does your gallon of gasoline cost?
William F. Goetz, MD
Carlo Cavallaro Dec 14 2010, 3.14 MB, PPT
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