Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Idealism Meets Realism

Having a pristine environment where it is always green is an ideal probably all of us can agree would be worth having, but the path to it often lies through some serious thickets of reality, as this article from the Bee about green power and power lines notes.

It is also an issue that developed in Australia, reported by the Wall Street Journal.

An excerpt from the Bee article.

“In the summer heat, Rockney Compton's spring-fed koi pond doubles as a swimming hole for his three kids, and in the spring it is a water bowl for his dogs.

“The pond is a centerpiece for an almost postcard-worthy vista of green, tree-lined hills near Round Mountain, a quiet stretch of Northern California's Shasta County.

“What keeps this landscape shy of perfect are the high-voltage power lines that cut through Compton's property, built in the 1960s to funnel electricity from mountain reservoirs to urban customers far away.

“Compton can't do anything about those lines. He believes he can, however, help halt plans to build two more sets of massive transmission towers and power lines through his tiny community, 28 miles northeast of Redding.

“The $1.5 billion project envisions stringing 600 miles of new lines from northeast California to Sacramento and the Bay Area with a targeted completion date of 2014. It would be the largest power infrastructure venture undertaken in Northern California in nearly two decades, sponsored by a consortium of 15 Northern California municipal power providers, including Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the city of Roseville.

“But it's also a new front in an emerging, nationwide fight over green power that pits environmental concerns against each other.”

An excerpt from the Wall Street Journal article.

“It's turning out that the biggest problem with carbon taxes is political reality. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has just announced he will delay implementing his trademark cap-and-trade emissions trading proposal until at least 2011. Mr. Rudd's March proposal would have imposed total carbon permit costs (taxes) of 11.5 billion Australian dollars (US$8.5 billion) in the first two years, starting in 2010. This would have increased consumer prices by about 1.1% and shaved 0.1% off annual GDP growth until at least 2050, according to Australia's Treasury. Support has fallen among business groups and individuals who earlier professed enthusiasm for Aussie cap and trade.”