Friday, September 23, 2016

Chip Evans, The Progressive Democrat In Northern Nevada Who Understands Why The Time To Deal With Climate Change Is Right Now


The Nevada caucuses this year were fraught with the kind of ugly partisan corruption anyone who understands Harry Reid would have predicted. Whether you want to admit that Reid and his machine stole the process for Hillary or not, it was still clear that Bernie won the sprawling 2nd congressional district, basically all of northern Nevada. Most of the voters live in Washoe County, which Bernie took 54.2-45.7%. He also won Carson City and took Lander County 69.6-29.0% and Eureka County 86.4-13.6%, margins too massive even for the Reid machine to turn around.

The enthusiasm for Bernie's brand of progressive populism carried over into the June 14 congressional primaries and in the 3-way primary in the 2nd, the Bernie House candidate, Chip Evans, was the clear winner:
Chip Evans- 11,328 (45.1%)
Rick Shepherd- 8,970 (35.7%)
Vance Alm- 4,799 (19.1%)
When a progressive wins a primary, that just angers the DCCC and they have no interest in the race at all and are offering no help to Evans. The 2nd district is Nevada's reddest but definitely winnable. Obama fought McCain to a virtual 49-49% tie in 2008 and Trump's presence on the ballot has boosted Latino registration all over Nevada. Almost a quarter of the district's residents are Hispanic and Native American. And the lackluster Republican incumbent, Mark Amodei, isn't just supporting Trump, he's the chairman of Trump's Nevada campaign, all the senior GOP officials-- including Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller-- having said "thanks, but no thanks."

Chip, formerly the chairman of the Washoe County Democratic Party, is probably best known as the host of The Chip Evans Show on radio station KCKQ (1180 AM). We asked Chip if there was a critical and crucial issue where he felt he would make a significant difference if voters replaced Amodei with him. He didn't hesitate:

The Time Is Now For Climate Change Deniers To Follow Or Get Out Of The Way
-Chip Evans

The consequences of continuing to deny science and dither are too dire. As a nation, we must fully embrace the ongoing national movement towards clean, sustainable, renewable energy and start a rapid transition away from fossil fuel energy to a job-creating green economy.

Climate change has been at the forefront of the minds of the common-sense crowd for the last decade. Individuals, businesses, and even countries are affected daily by rising temperatures and extreme volatility in weather. From productivity in our workforce, to health risks, to affecting our wildlife and eco-system, climate change truly affects everyone’s daily lives.

When people normally look at climate change, the focus usually starts with the impact to the environment. While that’s a critical component of why we can no longer wait, there is another important component that we need to keep in mind – the impact of climate change on productivity and people’s health and well-being.

The Harvard School of Public Health found that high CO2 emissions has a direct negative impact on our ability to make decisions, as well as an effect on cognition. Our workforce, our citizens, and our families face serious health risks and impairment as we move further into the 21st century. That must stop.

There is no mistaking that human activity has been the greatest accelerant of climate change.

By remaining reliant upon fossil fuels, we not only show our inability to adapt to the world around us, but it shows our hesitance towards an environment-friendly job market. Far too often, we see partner countries around the world attempt to step up to the plate, while China, a coal giant, and the Republican naysayers in the country continue to attempt to defy logic.

There’s been this knew-jerk reaction to say that if all countries don’t make a change, then why should we bother? I feel this a paper thin argument. We don’t use that same paradigm when trying to deal with other critical issues that face our states or our country-- public safety, travel, licensing requirements to drive or have a certain profession.

We must stop with the baby steps or lame blame on others. None of it has slowed the progression of climate change. What we have done so far has not had the impact we so desperately need. It’s time we move to a full sprint before our children, and our children’s children face the real ramifications of our inaction.

We need to take strong, meaningful steps towards clean, green energy and creating greener jobs. Both public and private initiatives must be created to train workers displaced from the fossil fuel industry. We need reliable power systems and grids.

We need to think globally and act locally.

Take northern Nevada for example. It’s a state where the environmental impact of climate change can act as a stand in for many other locales across this great country.

Here in Nevada, we have seen the telltale signs-- more droughts, higher temperatures, and changing rain and snow patterns. Like many places around the country, Nevada is slowly recovering from the great recession and stymied in its’ opportunity to capitalize on its’ natural resources of abundant sun, wind and thermal springs.

Many good-paying jobs that sustained families were lost and are very slow to return. Families are forced to take on multiple part-time jobs with no benefits, when they can be found, to survive. At the very same time, a monopoly utility with government help is destroying Nevada’s fledgling solar industry and there is very little infrastructure investment underway.

What’s wrong with this picture? A lot.

As a life-long environmentalist, I approach economic development and job creation with a determination that it be part of a sustainable ecosystem. Nevada exists with both abundance and scarcity. Yes, we have some natural resources in abundance but water is scarce relative to the need to sustain human life and the needs of industry, ranching and farming. Our few large population centers are straining to grow amid constraints on school capacity, sewage treatment, housing, electric capacity, high-speed data flow infrastructure and functional commercial spaces.

With challenge comes opportunity, so what are some smart things to do now?

Step One-- Focus on job creation first.

From my days as the founding director of the Cleantech Open in Nevada, I am aware of many technologies that are market-ready or in development to make, store and discharge energy sourced from a multitude of sources. Each of these technologies creates a clear opportunity to create good-paying green jobs. Our northern Nevada unions already have extensive training programs underway or at the ready to get workers up to speed and job-ready in a short period.

Step Two-- Facilitate growth of our newly-arriving technology companies.

We must invest in and develop a robust internet highway to all the corners of Nevada. We need a state-of-the-art data highway, especially to our communities along existing major roadways and highways, that would allow growth of satellite businesses outside of the main metropolitan areas. The data highway would help repopulate the downtowns of our rural communities. We will also need high-speed internet connections for the surrounding residential communities to meet the needs and expectations of the technology workers that come with these businesses.

To create this rapid data highway will require a public/private partnership. From a public point of view, this data highway is a critical part of the needed infrastructure of a healthy community. The private sector cannot handle the upfront expense for a still small customer base alone.

We have a compelling example of such a public/private partnership with the development and construction of the national highway system back in the fifties. This investment in infrastructure literally paved the way for an economic boom and the rapid and efficient movement of people and commerce. In the twenty-first century, the only thing keeping us from doing the same thing with a data highway is the will of our elected officials.

Step Three-- Remove road blocks and monopolies to open up energy-choice/independence.

Another key ingredient of progress will be untethering consumers from current independent energy-related constraints and a return to both accommodation and incentives to lessen reliance on grid-provided power. This may be an area for federal legislation to begin the transition from the decades old national strategy of constantly extending the grid to one that encourages more independent off-grid configurations. The result would be an increase in national security as the devastating effects of an attack on the grid would be of less consequence.

Again, this policy change would result in more good-paying jobs and has the added benefit of lessening the need for large coal-fired or nuclear power plants-- a great outcome for our environment and the people of Nevada.

This November, we must consider the cost of our votes. We must consider whether or not it’s worth it to elect anyone who represents climate deniers and the status quo, or someone with new energy, fresh ideas and is willing to get stuff done.

It’s time we accept the facts: Climate change is here. Climate change is real. Delay in addressing it is unacceptable.

Whether it’s in Nevada, or any other state, we need to work together to get stuff done and create more green energy platforms, and move away from our dependence on fossil fuels.

The planet and the fate of humanity depends on our collective actions.

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At 9:59 PM, Blogger opit said...

Replaying the 'denying science' meme, I see. Kindly point me to any data which indicates clearly that mankind has learned to control the weather - to its detriment - via the route of burning fossil fuels. Surely there must be a prize - one which has eluded the IPCC in all its years of existence promoting a harebrained fantasy as 'established science.' It isn't established until you can point to it.


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