By MSH Board Member, John Kondos.
Originally Published in The Monadnock Shopper News, Green Monadnock column, January 2021.
As we move on to 2021, it’s worth sharing some good news from what has been a tough year:
- Global carbon emissions declined a record 7%! The 2.4 billion ton drop beat 1945’s 0.9 Bn. Scientists warn that to avoid an unlivable world of over 2 degrees C or 3.5 F hotter, we need to keep reducing by 1-2 Bn tons every year.
- NH saved $83 MN from small solar systems based on a study of 2014-19. New England saved $1.1 Bn, those states with more commitment to solar saved double NH’s $20/year per resident. It’s time NH cashes in on solar, we were # 41 in 2019, down two spots, MA is # 8, that sounds like a big NH disadvantage.
- Homeowners who go solar in 2021 or 2022 will be eligible for a 26% tax credit, raising the old 2021 credit of 22%. These credits are set to expire after a 22% credit for 2023.
- NH’s first large (30 MW) solar power project in Fitzwilliam was approved. Clean energy should be produced in NH, including offshore wind providing a strong economic boost.
- Keene has a clean energy plan, almost approved at this writing, that puts the city on a sustainable path.
- As a sun harvester, my electricity bills were under $30 in 9 months, an improvement over 2019, based on improved energy performance, fewer miles in my EV and thanks to logging that removed some afternoon shade.
This good news is comforting but the wasteful burning of fossil fuels is a clear and present danger. We face unprecedented changes because we have pumped so many tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere that it is changing our climate. This isn’t just an environmental issue, we’re on the verge of creating an unlivable world for millions before the end of this century, which impacts our health, personal finances, the economy, national security, infrastructure, and countless species.
As we emerge from the pandemic, we can reset the future of earth, our common home. Your future, our future depends on the choices you make. What comes after a pandemic: earth on fire or a clean energy renaissance?
We can start by putting a price on the pollution that’s clogging our atmosphere and focus on clean energy solutions. The most cost-effective way to reduce pollution is to put a price on it. The most equitable thing to do with the money collected is to compensate the people being harmed by the pollution. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) puts a price on carbon that brings greenhouse gas emissions down 40 percent by 2032 and gives the cash back to households as dividends.
The dividend is the key to making this something we can all embrace. By returning the funds collected to every citizen, we are all engaged and get to decide what to do with the dividends. This equitable economic stimulus is the key to enactment soon and shifting our economy to clean energy without increasing the deficit. Take a look at www.GreenMonadnock.org for more information & solutions.
About the Author
John Kondos is a founder of the Monadnock Sustainability Network, Home-Efficiency Resources and the Monadnock Chapter of Citizen Climate Lobby. He started his career in the renewable energy industry in the late 1970s with the goal of making a practical contribution to reducing our dependence on finite fossil fuels. He began at the contractor level and went on to work at a crystalline and later at a thin-film PV manufacturer.
John returned to solar in 2007 after a number of years in other industries. He has installed PV systems on three continents and solar water heaters in MA, NH and VT. John has a Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA from Fairfield University. He is committed to working on solutions to our greatest challenge- climate change caused by fossil fuel combustion- through energy conservation, renewable energy and land stewardship.