Providence Business News: Karen Surman Paley - Feb 2015

We are very please to highlight Karen Surman Paley, an Independence Financial Partners Registered Representative, who had her Op-Ed piece printed in the Providence Busines News.

Taking stands on-key-issues

(Providence, RI - 2/21/2015) Karen Surman Paley, Guest Columnist, Providence Busines News

Today I feel happy and even proud to be a resident of Rhode Island. I live in a state where people take the human causes of climate change seriously. Our efforts take a variety of forms.

Providence Business News Article - Taking Stands on Key IssuesAs reported in the Providence Business News ("Officials launch Solarize programs in Tiverton, Little Compton," Jan. 29, 2015; "Solarize program launches in North Smithfield," Oct. 10, 2014), three towns have joined the Solarize Rhode Island program with help from the R.I. Commerce Corporation's renewable energy fund.

Additionally, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, proposed a bill on Nov. 19, 2014, to "provide for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emission fees." Fees would be imposed on facilities per ton of carbon emissions resulting from the combustion of coal, petroleum products and methane. Collected fees will go into the American Opportunity Fund, to be distributed as assistance to low-income households, as extra Social Security benefits or tuition assistance, or as dividends directly to taxpayers.

Whitehouse's bill is supported by the Providence chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, a group that writes Op-Ed pieces and lobbies members of Congress for a carbon fee and dividend plan, basing increasing fees on the CO2 level of the fuels at the first point of sale. CCL contracted a third party, Regional Economic Modeling Inc., to conduct a national study on the impact of its program. The study found that within 20 years, CO2 emissions would be reduced 50 percent below 1990 levels, national employment would increase by 2.8 million jobs and improved air quality would save 230,000 lives.

Other environmental groups such as Fossil Free Rhode Island and Fighting Against Natural Gas take a more activist approach over a locally controversial issue. They have demonstrated at the offices of Sen. Whitehouse in Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., to protest the expansion of the Algonquin natural gas pipeline through Burrillville. Fossil Free RI member and University of Rhode Island physics professor Peter Nightingale argues that methane emissions from harvesting natural gas are more dangerous than carbon dioxide.

RI Interfaith Power and Light, whose next planning meeting will be in March at the Westminster Unitarian Universalist Church in East Greenwich, helps faith-based communities to save energy and go green.

In June 2013, Seth Yurdin, majority leader of the Providence City Council, was the lead sponsor of the resolution directing the Board of Investment Commissioners to divest from coal, gas and oil companies within five years and to immediately cease purchasing any new investments in this sector.

The Council's concerns are local. A report from the Coastal Resources Center of the University of Rhode Island reports that Narragansett Bay is getting warmer and rising, threatening shellfish.

Finally, there are those of us in the financial services industry who work with interested investors to re-invest money harvested from selling off fossil fuel holdings. Our socially conscious clients want sustainable investments that take into account the future impact on the environment of current endeavors, such as alternative energies.

In short, I am pleased that so many people and businesses in Rhode Island are concerned about climate change and are taking actions that should lower the volume of greenhouse gases and, if climate scientists are correct, reduce extreme weather.

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