Keith O. Rattie gave a speech at the 22nd Annual UVU Symposium on Environmental Ethics at Utah Valley University about America's energy future under cap and trade.
The long term goal with cap and trade is "80 by 50" – an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Let's do the easy math on what "80 by 50" means to you, using Utah as an example. Utah's carbon footprint today is about 66 MM tons of CO2 per year. Utah's population today is 2.6 MM. You divide those two numbers, and the average Utahan today has a carbon footprint of about 25 tons of CO2 per year. An 80% reduction in Utah's carbon footprint by 2050 implies a reduction from 66 MM tons today to about 13 MM tons per year by 2050. But Utah's population is growing at over 2% per year, so by 2050 there will be about 6 MM people living in this state. 13 MM tons divided by 6 MM people = 2.2 tons per person per year. Under "80 by 50"‟ by the time you folks reach my age you'll have to live your lives with an annual carbon allowance of no more than 2.2 tons of CO2 per year.So the plan is to reduce us to a subsistence level in about forty years. You say you want a revolution? Now is the time.
Question: when was the last time Utah's carbon footprint was as low as 2.2 tons per person per year? Answer: probably not since Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers first entered the Salt Lake Valley (1847).
You reach a similar conclusion when you do the math on "80 by 50"‟ for the entire U.S. "80 by 50"‟ would require a reduction in America's CO2 emissions from about 20 tons per person per year today, to about 2 tons per person per year in 2050. When was the last time America‟s carbon footprint was as low as 2 tons per person per year? Probably not since the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
In short, "80 by 50" means that by the time you folks reach my age, you won’t be allowed to use anything made with – or made possible by – fossil fuels.
So I want to focus you on this critical question: "How on God's green earth – pun intended – are you going to do what my generation said we'd do but didn't – and that's wean yourselves from fossil fuels in just four decades?" That's a question that each of you, and indeed, all Americans need to ask now – because when it comes to "how" there clearly is no consensus. Simply put, with today's energy technologies, we can't get there from here.
Cross Posted at Classical Values