Rep. Mina Morita's Blog


When 9/10 of a Loaf is Better Than None

Posted in Clean Energy,Environmental Protection,Issues,Legislation/Capitol by Mina Morita on March 19, 2010

When the renewable portfolio standard and net metering laws were first passed in 2001, what started out as separate bills were merged into one bill by another chair leaving me frustrated because the net meeting language was an okay first step, but the renewable portfolio standard was meaningless. I had the option of killing the bill, and both concepts, completely and walking away with nothing or taking half a loaf. Begrudgingly, I took half a loaf. After amending these laws over the past eight years, net metered households and businesses have increased significantly statewide and Hawaii has one of the most aggressive renewable portfolio standards in the nation long with an energy efficiency portfolio standard.

Last week at the Senate public hearings for House Bill 2421 (the barrel tax), well-intentioned people opposed the bill and recommended that the bill be killed because it does not tax coal or bio-fuels, specifically palm oil. While it may be true that the coal burning power plants have higher levels of carbon dioxide emissions than the petroleum burning power plants, as the below graph depicts, the more significant problem is the oil as it is used to meet 86% of Hawaii energy needs versus coal at 7.9%. The use of bio-fuels is insignificant at the present time.

The failure to include a tax on bio-fuels and coal, the two biggest culprits in global warming have left people like Henry Curtis and Kat Brady of Life of the Land as opposing House Bill 2421. Kat has been quoted in the Honolulu Weekly saying “If you’re going to do something about climate change, why would you not include the two biggest contributors to greenhouse gases?”

Here’s the answer. In Hawaii we are doing something to address Hawaii’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gases, which is oil, funding a long-term strategy through the barrel tax. House Bill 2421 cannot solve the global issue of greenhouse gas emissions, but we can start in our backyard by implementing policies and actions we have full control over. It will take resources to put these policies to action. The barrel taxes addresses funding issues. So isn’t 9/10 of a loaf better than none?

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2 Responses to 'When 9/10 of a Loaf is Better Than None'

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  1. Kauaibrad said,

    Re: “So isn’t 9/10 of a loaf better than none?”

    Yes, well said.

  2. 808pundit said,

    Did I miss something? Since when do biofuels get lumped into the same category as petrol oil in terms of greenhouse gas emissions? Biofuels are close to being carbon neutral since CO2 output of biofuel combustion is close to CO2 intake from the plants that the oil is derived from. And is the representative not aware of the latest news of the fraud surrounding global warming?


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