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ACTION ALERT: House Tax Bill Attacks Clean Energy: Meanwhile, Costa Rica Has Been Carbon-free for 300 Days


November 26, 2017
Union of Concerned Scientists & Alexandra Jacobo / NationofChange

The tax bill being debated in the House is a bad deal. In addition to cutting taxes for the wealthy at the expense of middle class and low-income families, it poses a major threat to the success of electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies that save consumers money, create jobs, and reduce climate and air pollution. Meanwhile, as of November 22, Costa Rica had run on 100% renewable energy for more than 300 days. In 2016, the US generated only about 15 percent of its power from renewables.

Special to Environmentalists Against War

ACTION ALERT:
The House Tax Bill: An All Out Attack on Clean Energy

The Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (November 19, 2017) -- The tax bill being debated in the House is a bad deal. In addition to cutting taxes for the wealthy at the expense of middle class and low-income families, it also poses a major threat to the success of electric vehicles and renewable energy technologies that save consumers money, create jobs, and reduce climate and air pollution.

Federal tax credits are essential for innovative technologies to reach large scale markets and become cost competitive with conventional technologies. Exactly how quickly we can scale up these clean technologies will depend in large part on policy incentives.

Of course, dirty fossil fuel industries don't want to compete with cleaner technologies, so it's not surprising that their friends in Congress and the Trump Administration want to pull the plug on electric vehicles and hamstring renewable energy in their tax reform bill.

This plan is unacceptable. Call your representative today and urge them to oppose this harmful tax bill.

Here are just some of the things the bill does to undermine clean energy:
1. Eliminates the EV tax credit -- Federal tax credits of up to $7,500 to new electric vehicle (EV) buyers would be eliminated starting in 2018. The credit brings the cost of EVs more in line with conventional cars, which gives consumers more affordable clean vehicle choices in the showroom, spurs advancements in EV technologies, and cuts tailpipe pollution.

Battery electric cars are already cheaper to drive and maintain, and the Union of Concerned Scientists has forecast that EVs will become cost competitive by 2025. But until then, the federal tax credit remains a critical policy.

2. Creates a barrier to new solar and wind projects -- The production tax credit (PTC) for wind and the investment tax credit (ITC) for solar will have a shorter timeframe for eligible projects, reducing the value of these tax credits.

This shorter timeframe will reduce the number of projects that get built and the jobs, investments, and tax revenues in rural communities that go along with them. The PTC and ITC have helped double US wind capacity between 2009 and 2016, and bring the average cost of solar PV systems down by more than 60 percent.

ACTION: Don't let the House and President Trump pull the plug on a clean energy and transportation future. Stand up for clean vehicles and clean energy: tell Congress to oppose the tax reform bill.

Eleanor Fort is the Campaign Manager with the Clean Vehicles Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.



The House Tax Bill:
An All-Out Attack on Clean Energy


Leadership on vehicle electrification is critical to tackling climate change, protecting consumers from volatile oil prices, maintaining the competitiveness of US automakers, and creating 21st century manufacturing jobs. However, electric vehicles (EVs) currently cost more to manufacture than comparably sized gasoline-powered vehicles, which can mean higher prices and slower adoption.

Today's incentives encourage EV sales while automakers scale up manufacturing and technology improves. It may make sense to reduce incentives after EVs become more price competitive, but removing them too soon would stall US leadership in a critical technology. The federal tax credit, in particular, is a vital investment in the transition to electric vehicles.

Congress is threatening the progress we've made on electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy. The House tax reform bill is a dangerous blow to growing industries that reduce global warming emissions, clean our air, create jobs, and save consumers money.

In addition to cutting taxes for the wealthy at the expense of middle class and low-income families, the bill includes energy provisions that are nothing but a blatant handout to the fossil fuel industry.

The bill eliminates the EV tax credit that makes these clean vehicles more affordable to consumers, just when the industry is beginning to reach a scale to compete with gasoline-powered vehicles. It will also limit the ability of clean energy developers to use solar and wind tax credits.

We can't let Congress stall the progress we've made in building a domestic clean energy and transportation economy.

ACTION: Learn more about the importance of EV incentives and the recent growth of U.S. solar and wind.

CALL the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. An operator will connect you directly with the congressional representative you request.

TALKING POINTS TO GUIDE YOUR CALL
Hi, my name is [YOUR FULL NAME] and I'm a constituent from [YOUR TOWN/CITY].
* I am calling about the shortsighted House tax reform bill and its focus on creating tax breaks for the wealthy while undermining things that benefit everybody, such as clean energy.
* I strongly oppose eliminating the federal electric vehicle tax credit as part of this bill.
* I want to continue to have access to the $7,500 tax credit for new electric vehicle car buyers, so that EVs become more affordable and automakers continue to drive innovation.
* Although I don't think the electric vehicle tax credit will be necessary forever, we do need it now to continue to make the technology more cost competitive with conventional vehicles.
* I also would like to express my strong opposition to limiting eligibility for two critical renewable energy credits for wind and solar energy production, the PTC and ITC.
* These two tax credits are critical to growing our clean energy economy, which has led to new jobs, reliable access to affordable energy sources, new income for rural communities, and has greatly benefited our health and environment.
* It is hypocritical to claim we need to lose these tax credits -- which offer clean air, new jobs, and benefits to rural economies -- when you aren't cutting things like fossil fuels subsidies and are using the money for a tax cut for the most wealthy.
* I ask [REPRESENTATIVE] to oppose any cuts to Electric Vehicles Tax Credit, in Section 30 D of the tax code, as well as any changes to the wind and solar production tax credits.

If you reach voicemail, feel free to leave a message.
Please leave your full street address and zip code to ensure your call is tallied.





The Science Channel (November 22, 2017)

Costa Rica Runs
300 Days on Renewable Energy

Costa Rica has achieved something incredible and
shown the rest of the world what's possible with renewable energy

Alexandra Jacobo / NationofChange

(November 22, 2017) -- According to the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), Costa Rica has run entirely on renewable energy for more than 300 days in 2017, and they have not needed to resort to thermal backup to generate power since May 1.

This accomplishment adds to an already impressive renewable track record. Costa Rica ran on renewable energy for 299 and 271 days in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The US generated only about 15 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2016.

Currently, 99.62% of the Costa Rica's electricity production comes from its five clean energy sources: water, wind, sun, geothermal and biomass, with hydroelectricity generating the largest percentage of energy:
* Hydroelectric: 78.26%
* Wind: 10.29%
* Geothermal: 10.23%
* Solar and biomass: 0.84%

It's important to note that this incredible statistic can be misleading. We are talking about electricity consumption only.

According to Costa Rican clean development adviser Dr. Monica Araya, 99% renewable energy production is a "fantastic achievement," but "It hides a paradox, which is that nearly 70 per cent of all our energy consumption is oil."

And not all renewable electricity is created equal. Hydroelectric power provides the majority of the country's electricity, but dams can have negative environmental and social consequences.

Thankfully, wind energy production has also reached a record high in 2017, contributing 1,014.82 gigawatt hours just since January.

With 16 wind farms located in the provinces of San José and Guanacaste and winds expected to increase through the December, wind energy production is proving to be an important part of the renewable energy future in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has achieved something incredible and shown the rest of the world what's possible with renewable energy.

Alexandra Jacobo is a progressive writer, activist, and mother who began her political involvement in earnest passing out blankets to occupiers in Zuccotti Park in 2011. She is concerned with educating the public and inspiring them to take action on progressive issues that promote positive change at home and abroad.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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