Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saving the Planet... One License Plate at a Time

From homemade diesel fuel made from cooking oil, to organic t-shirts made from used water bottles, to islands made out of plastic containers the search for the solution to the energy crisis never ceases to be one of intrigue and downright unorthodoxy. After passing senate bill 186 last April, the Colorado state government introduced the newest entrant into the spectrum of "save the planet" solutions - a promotional vanity license plate by the Colorado Carbon Fund. In order to proudly display your devotion to Mother Earth via a pretty blue, mountain-y license plate, you better be ready to fork over a hefty $25 donation to the CCF. God forbid (well CCF forbid) you have a car over 16,000 pounds... you're not wanted in the Green Revolution!

The CCF is an initiative of the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) in Colorado created to offset carbon emissions through voluntary grassroots mobilization efforts. Their mission statement is to "support new energy efficiency and renewable energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado." According to the official website, “the Colorado Carbon Fund will only support new, verifiable, greenhouse gas reduction projects that are developed in Colorado. The GEO is partnering with The Climate Trust, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, to manage this program, so donations to the Colorado Carbon Fund are tax deductible.” The CCF is a unique venture in that they only invest in renewable energy projects in Colorado, limiting their scope and thus improving their lobby efficacy.

The enactment of this recent bill characterizes the latest green impetus in the Colorado state government. A short list of some of the most recent environmental policy action in the state legislature is below:
  • House Bill 1270: prohibits homeowners associations from restricting energy efficient technologies
  • House Bill 1160: allows Coloradans to generate their own energy through wind turbines and solar panels while remaining on the overall energy grid.
  • House Bill 1350: gives cities and counties the authority to issue low and no-interest loans to both homeowners and businesses that want renewable energy systems.
  • The Clean Energy Home Financing Act: allows renewable energy loans to be paid back through property liens
The job the Colorado government has done for the green movement is laudable, but green license plates? I'm of the opinion that there are better ways to save the world than with a $75, tax-deductible license plate.

Here's a thought... lose the car.


No comments: