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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Bill Tracker: HB 722 - Global Warming Task Force

Representative Lon Burnam's bill sets up a global warming task force to focus on the economic opportunities available for Texas businesses. The task force will perform three distinct tasks:

  1. Update the 1995 task force report on global warming in Texas;
  2. assess the feasibility of implementing a carbon emissions credit system in this state; and
  3. determine opportunities in the state for increasing:
    1. efficiency in the use of energy;
    2. the use of renewable sources of energy; and
    3. capture carbon emissions from the use of fossil fuels.

This task force would be different from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in two respects. First, the time frame for completing the task force's work would be finite. Second, the task force is looking at specific concerns versus the TCEQ which is charged with all Environmental issues for the state.

A carbon emission credit system can be implemented. The question is whether it is politically feasible. Will business and regulators arrive at a common ground that satisfies both sides? Politicians have been wrestling with this question for some time.

There have been some success stories in environmental credit systems. The Acid Rain Program, the European Union Trading Scheme, and the Kyoto Protocols are all such programs. Our challenge is to get Texas legislators, regulators, and businessman to act on what most scientists already know - we need to change our habits. One of the early criticisms of the Bush Administration's environmental policy was its unwillingness to sign off on the Kyoto Protocols.

The third area of emphasis for the Texas Global Warming Task Force is available at Home Depot every day of the week. Seriously, if we all took the time to update our houses to more efficient light bulbs, appliances, weather stripping, insulation, low water toilets and showers, xerascaping, etc., we would see tremendous efficiency increases in the use of energy.

Wind energy is being cultivated in West Texas, thermal energy and solar elsewhere. Yet until we change our net metering laws and practices there will be a disincentive to really turn the corner on renewable energy generation. Now, how do we convince energy to change its policies on net metering rates?

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