Does Kabila Intend to Repeat Burundi’s Nkurunziza?

first_imgThere are many who blame the African cult of chieftaincy and personality for the rigid, age-old tendency of African leaders to be dictatorial and to hold on indefinitely to power.Many ordinary Africans, too, not just the leaders, Africans selfishly benefitting from the personality cult of their leaders, defend this outdated, inimical (hostile, unfavorable) syndrome and hypocritically contend that “Africa is not yet ready for democracy.”Why? Because they are “enjoying” the dictatorship, not realizing that change is inevitable and that when it is indefinitely delayed or postponed, things could suddenly end with tragic and destabilizing consequences beyond imagination.See what happened to Tunisia and other African and Middle Eastern nations caught up in the Arab Spring! See, alas! What has happened and continues to happen to Syria and the hapless, tragedy-stricken Syrian masses, including many in its middle and even upper middle class citizenry, who have suddenly and rudely found themselves thrown into desperation and destitution in hopeless and degrading refugee camps in countries they do not even know! See what happened to Liberia, known for over a century as the citadel of peace and stability in Africa.Remember Dr. Amos Sawyer’s Independence Day Oration in 1982, when he called for an end to “the cult of personality.” Dr. Sawyer, a Liberian historian, was reflecting on the Tubman and Tolbert regimes, but especially Tubman’s, whose personality cult dominated Liberian politics and Liberia for nearly three decades. Tolbert was on his way to the exact same thing—his associates, for their own selfish interests, would have made sure of that. But Samuel Doe and all of his associates, military and civilian alike, would hear none of that—Sawyer’s call for an end to the personality cult. So they, especially his(Doe’s) ethnic clique, turned him into a hardened and ruthless despot. And where did all that lead them—and us? We all know the history. Has President Joseph Kabila (of D. R. Congo) not learned from recent history? Why, we wonder, is he so blind, so dumb, so bereft of hearing, when God has given him good eyes, good ears and a sound mind? Why is he insisting on clinging on to power, when he knows his time is up? Does he not realize his own country’s recent history—what happened to dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko? What happened to all the wealth he stole from his mineral-rich country, leaving millions of his people in abject poverty? He was overthrown and died on September 7, 1997 in Rabat, Morocco. Does President Kabila not remember what happened to his own father – Mobutu’s successor – who, due to no fault of his—for he was ill-prepared for leadership—performed so incompetently that his people summarily and unceremoniously removed him from power?As the Prophet Jeremiah once wrote, “The heart is desperately wicked; who can know it?” We ask today, reflecting on recent and distant past experiences, who can know the mind of the Zairian masses when they get fed up with misrule?See what happened to Liberia after over a century of True Whig Party domination: It all came to an abrupt end on the fateful morning of April 12, 1980, with most tragic and destabilizing consequences that were to take us to the brink of extinction as a nation state!See what happened to the absolute monarch King John of England on June 15, 1215. Confronted by 40 rebellious barons (tycoons, bosses), who demanded that he relinquish some of his powers or risk civil war, King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta (the Great Charter). Probably the most celebrated political document in history, the Magna Carta paved the way for parliamentary democracy, not only in England but the United States, Europe and throughout the world.President Kabila must not risk repeating the irrational and reckless mistakes of his counterpart in East Africa, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. Unlike Nkurunziza, Kabila must realize that in this life, there is one thing ONLY that is certain: CHANGE. That is why it is always preferable to practice JUSTICE. You might not believe in God, but that does not detract one inch from eternal truth of the Bible as the Word of God. As the Prophet Amos challenges us, “Let justice run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”Anyone of us, surely any leader, who fails to obey or live by this prophecy, just as we have seen throughout history, has got to watch out. For no one knows when things will suddenly change. Oh Change—the inevitable and totally unpredictable phenomenon!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Read More →

Sophia man jailed for B&E

first_imgA North Sophia, Georgetown resident was on Tuesday sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan after he broke and entered a clothing store located on Garnett Street, Campbellville.Jose Hamilton of Lot M 41 North Sophia, Georgetown, who is no stranger to the court admitted to the charge which stated that between February 1 and 2, 2019, at Campbellville, he stole a quantity of items valued $625,000; property of David Mitchel.Reports are at about 18:00h on February 1, the Virtual Complainant, who is the owner of the boutique, secured the building and left the premises. However, on his return on February 2, he noticed that a window was opened and items were missing from the store.A report was made to the Kitty Police Station and an investigation was launched. The prosecution is contending that based on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage which was reviewed, the defendant was seen removing the items from the building.According to the police, the 41-year old man was subsequently arrested and when questioned, he admitted to stealing the items. The police are contending that the defendant led the police to a location where he took the items and called out for a man (name given) whom he is alleging bought the stolen articles.Further, the court was informed that Hamilton was released from prison recently after serving a six-week sentence for a charge of similar nature.After handing down her sentence, Magistrate McLennan advised the man to stay away from criminal activities.last_img read more

Read More →

Behind the scenes in pre-season: Gooners will be pleased to see this

first_imgPre-season is an interesting time of year for football fans and players alike as Premier League clubs get ready for a new campaign.Teams have new players turning out for the very first time and of course, there are some great initiations – Newcastle’s Sammy Ameobi shares Ayoze Perez’s and Lubomir Satka’s embarrassment by putting their singing attempts online. Meanwhile, QPR’s Joey Barton laughs it up at Danny Simpson’s expense for not leaving new signing Rio Ferdinand alone, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey ponders his facial hair problems and Tottenham invite LA Lakers star Steve Nash to train with them.Check out all the best posts from the Premier League stars below. Theo Walcott missed the second half of the season with injury 1last_img read more

Read More →

Man City team news: Citizens to go all guns blazing against Everton in League Cup clash?

first_img 42. Yaya Toure (central midfield) 13. Willy Caballero (goalkeeper) 25. Fernandinho (central midfield) 10. Sergio Aguero (striker) 21. David Silva (attacking midfield) 11 11 11 Manchester City host Everton on Wedneday night hoping to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg to make the League Cup final at Wembley on 28 February.City were outplayed in an entertaining 90 minutes of the Goodison Park semi-final two weeks ago but Jesus Navas’ away goal has given them every chance of toppling the Merseysiders.City have fluctuated between the divine and benign all season long, blowing teams away at times but struggling massively on their travels in the Premier League.But their form at the Etihad, aside from defeats to West Ham and Liverpool, has been pretty emphatic and has ultimately kept them in the title race.So will home advantage prove pivotal against the Toffees? talkSPORT thinks Manuel Pellegrini will go for broke knowing his side need to win to reach the final.Click the yellow arrow above, right, to see the Citizens’ predicted line up… 11 17. Kevin De Bruyne (attacking midfield) 11 22. Gael Clichy (left-back) 30. Nicolas Otamendi (centre-back) 11 11 11 11 26. Martin Demichelis (centre-back) 11 11 7. Raheem Sterling (attacking midfield) 2. Bacary Sagna (right-back) – click the arrow above, right, to see Man City’s predicted line up v Everton in squad number order last_img read more

Read More →

HERITAGE WALKING WEEKEND IN FALCARRAGH – SIÚLÓIDÍ OIDHREACHTA THULACH BHEAGLAÍOCH

first_imgOn this May bank holiday weekend (3 – 5 May 2013) a weekend of activities to celebrate the 21st walk from Gaoth Dobhair across Taobh a’Leithead to Gort a’Choirce and on to Falcarrach takes place – Siúloid Tulach a’Beaglaoich – to the historical burial graveyard & 13th century church walls at Baile an Teampall outside Falcarragh.This is the first of 4 Gathering Events in Falcarragh this year.Estimated distance 15 miles. As it is the 21st walk (having started in 1992 but having had to cancel the walk in 2001 due to the Foot & Mouth outbreak) and also as this is the Gathering year it was decided to extend to a weekend event.‘Gaoth Dobhair was, until 1834 part of the Tullaghbegley parish. As a result the graveyard in Baile an Teampall served that area also. The remains were carried by four teams of four men over Taobh a’Leithead, through Caoldroim to the Glenea river, through Caiseal gap, across the Tullaghbegley river and to the graveyard’.As a commemoration of our heritage & history the weekend 3 – 5 May will include a talk/presentation on the historical background of Tullaghbegley graveyard as the then burial place for the Rosses, Gaoth Dobhair and Cloughaneely communities. A walk on the old Railway line and Muckish mountain on the Saturday and the now annual Tullaghbegley mountain walk on Sunday are among the events taking place.Back in the early 90’s three young women from coiste Glór na nGael had among its heritage plans and actions the cleaning, restoration and documentation of the history of Tullaghabegley graveyard. The restoration works commenced in February 1992 as did the first commentorative walk on the 16 February. Little did the coiste Glór na nGael members Maire Nic Suibhne, Maire Nic Gairbhe, Mairín Ní Dubhchoin think that the walk would become an annual event and see this years walk come of age with the 21st siúloid. Cumann Staire Cloich Cheann Fhaola, the organisers of the heritage weekend, extend an invitation to all past walkers & groups to join with current walkers and visitors to take part in the weekend of commemoration.Clár don Deireadh Seachtaine / Weekend ProgrammeDé hAoine / Friday 3/5/2013 – An tSeanbheairic6.00 i.n. Turas stairiúil / Visit local Historical Sites Lainseáil Learscáil Stairiúil a dhearaigh Páistí Scoil Fhionáin Launch of Historical Map designed by Scoil Fhionáin pupils7.30 i.n. Taispeántas de Ghriangrafanna “ Siúlóid Thulach Beaglaigh Thar na mBlianta” Exhibition of Photographs of previous walks Píosa Físe / Video of previous walksOscailt Oifigiúil / Official OpeningLéacht Stairiúil / History of Tullaghobegley le Seán Ó ConnacháinSeisiún Ceoil / Music Session Dé Sathairn / Saturday 4/5/2013 – An tSeanbheairic12.00 Siúlóidí Treoraithe ag fágail ón tSeanbheairic Guided Walks leaving from An tSeanbheairicBealach an Bhóthair Iarainn / Old Railway Walk (Moderate walk)An Mhucais / Muckish Mountain (Challenging Walk)• Bring rainproof clothing, water and lunch• Proper footwear must be worn7.30 Toraíocht Taisce Stairiúil / Historical Treasure Hunt leaving from Shamrock Lodge10.00 Ceol sna Tithe Tabhairne / MusicDé Dómhnaigh / Sunday 5/5/2013 – Loistín na Seanróige12.00 nóin Bus ag fágail ón Fhálcarrach12.30 i.n. An 21ú Siúlóid – Turas an tSleibhe / Mountain Walk6.00 p.m Suipéar sa tSeamrock do na siúloirí / Walkers stew10.00i.n. Céilí / Ceol sna Tithe TabhairneEolas: www.anfalcarrachlecheile.comwww.thedonegalgathering.comsuibhnem@eircom.net087 9238132 nó 074 9135300 nó 074 9162787Oifig Eolais: An tSeanbheairic 074 9180655.HERITAGE WALKING WEEKEND IN FALCARRAGH – SIÚLÓIDÍ OIDHREACHTA THULACH BHEAGLAÍOCH was last modified: March 29th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:HERITAGE WALKING WEEKEND IN FALCARRAGH – SIÚLÓIDÍ OIDHREACHTA THULACH BHEAGLAÍOCHlast_img read more

Read More →

EMMET RUSHE: EAT MORE FAT TO STAY HEALTHY?

first_img“Eat more FAT to stay HEALTHY: Food experts at war over new advice on nation’s diet” This was a headline from the Daily Express during the week.Leading doctors and scientists said popular ‘low fat’ dieting messages have had a disastrous impact on public health.But they have angered the health establishment which has called them ‘irresponsible’ despite the report having the support of an international coalition of doctors, dieticians, nutritionists, sports scientists and activists. The National Obesity Forum said it was time to ‘bring back the fat’ with ‘real food’, like steak, eggs, butter and full-fat milk.It’s great that the message is finally starting to filter through that fat isn’t bad.For years we were told to avoid it as it would make us fat and that low fat alternatives were the way to go.As with anything, extreme behaviours are never good, but thankfully, the “low-fat” era seems to finally be over. The report gathered together dozens of pieces of research that shatter the myth that ‘low fat’ is good. 
In the wake of this, the report’s authors also called for an urgent overhaul of dietary advice.However, the doctors and scientists that were championing these messages seem to have missed the point when they were reading the research and making their findings.Instead of a low fat diet, they are now suggesting a diet that is calling for people to eat more fat, cut out carbs and ignore calories.Have they just gone from one extreme to the next?If we look at fat as a macronutrient, it actually has the most calories per gram. 
(9kcals per gram as opposed to protein and carbohydrates which both have 4kcals per gram.) If we look at fat dense foods, we find that they are usually foods where you can get large amounts of fat and calories from a small portion of these foods.• Butter• Nuts• Oils• SeedsThese are all foods where a small serving can have huge amounts of calories.Their advice that if you cut carbs, increase your fat levels and ignore calories is misleading at best.If you cut your carbohydrates, you will lose weight. 

After all, you are removing a macronutrient and an entire selection of foods from your diet. 
Carbohydrates also retain water and glycogen stores in your muscles, so whenever you lower or remove them you will get an initial drop in weight as your body ‘dumps’ water.However, if you were to fill in the carbohydrates with increasing fats and you didn’t keep your calories in check, it would be very easy to put yourself into a calorie surplus and wonder why your weight loss has stalled. Professor John Wass, the Royal College of Physicians’ special adviser on obesity, agrees with this sentiment.He said: 
”What is needed is a balanced diet, regular physical activity and a normal healthy weight. To quote selective studies risks misleading the public. International health organisations agree that obesity is caused by too many calories.”When it comes to diets, everything works.You could talk to 100 people and you would probably get 100 conflicting reports on what works and what doesn’t.The 2 main things you will find with all successful diets are a calories deficit and consistency.The reason we are in an obesity epidemic at the moment is because both these things are not being met.People are eating without regard to their own health or their family’s health.We are so far removed from what actual food is, whenever people are asked to eat real food, when they begin a diet, they protest:• Normal food has no taste.• It’s bland and boring.• I don’t eat vegetables• I don’t like this or that.We have become so used to the taste of processed foods, that are highly flavoured and high in calories, that we don’t know what real food tastes like anymore, so we tell ourselves that we don’t like it before we try it.Again, we need “balanced diet, regular physical activity and a normal healthy weight”.Eat a balanced diet where the majority of it is made up of whole food that you like and you can allow for some fun stuff when the occasion arises.Add in some exercise to keep yourself healthy and active, again, make it something you enjoy.Do you need to cut fat?
No
Do you need to cut carbohydrates?
No.Just don’t eat huge amounts of them all at once, and have protein with every meal.That’s it.It’s that simple.There will always be conflicting advice on nutrition and you can be sure that if the media is championing something, it’s probably for their own benefit. 
#TrainSmartIf you would like more information on the subject, please contact me through the link below
https://www.facebook.com/Rushe-Fitness-120518884715118/EMMET RUSHE: EAT MORE FAT TO STAY HEALTHY? was last modified: May 27th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:emmet rusheFatHealthySportlast_img read more

Read More →

Few films now worth cash, time

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Why aren’t people rushing to the movies in droves? While Hollywood madly polls potential movie-goers and scratches its collective head (fixated on marketing strategy) trying to answer that question, the reasons seem obvious – to me, anyway. But, then, my brain was formed during a prolific period of amazing filmmaking, when Hollywood took chances. I grew up in the late 1960s and 1970s watching films like “Easy Rider,” “The Graduate,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Annie Hall,” “American Graffiti” and on and on. I became spoiled. I expected, more often than not, a positive and memorable experience at the movie theater. Only later, when I was old enough to rent my first apartment and make my own moronic choices, did I realize the consequences of paying for an amazingly bad movie. Though I should have taken a cue from the title, I handed over my last few dollars for a ticket to see “Howard the Duck.” Yes, that’s right, I spent the money I could have used to buy a week’s worth of canned soups and corn flakes on “Howard the Duck.” The pain lingers to this day. I still can’t hear that movie title without feeling the pain of hunger stabbing my stomach. A reasonable person would have learned after seeing “Howard the Duck” to choose films more wisely. Unfortunately, it took many years of bad movies for me to finally become discerning. Until recently, I’ve foolishly paid rising box office prices and rented DVDs, prompted by an idealistic hope that the next film will be like the ones I grew up seeing, the kind of film I’d be willing to starve to see. Now I’d rather clean out my refrigerator than watch most of what Hollywood’s been producing lately. I finally got tired of having to practically mortgage my house to afford movie tickets, popcorn and soda. And if the film is bad, which happens too often, I’ve not only wasted my money, but also my time – about two hours, counting the previews. If I add up all the time I’ve spent in lousy movies, it would probably total weeks – months, actually. Just thinking about that gets me angry. Though I believe movies should provoke emotions, I don’t think they should cause anger for having seen them. But how should I react after I’ve paid my money and my time without receiving a benefit? It seems the Hollywood-audience relationship has become dysfunctional. We in the audience give and give, and Hollywood takes us for granted. While I hand the industry the last remaining dollars in my bank account, Hollywood gives me remakes of bad sitcoms. Or plots so formulaic I can figure out the ending during the first scene. I’m not psychic. I’ve just seen the same three or four stories repackaged over and over again. In recent years, I’ve had the misfortune of seeing so many bad films that I even considered making a movie myself. But then I came to my senses when I realized I don’t have a different, interesting and well-thought-out concept. I just wish Kevin Spacey could have been as thoughtful before deciding that “Beyond the Sea,” his Bobby Darin biopic, was a good idea. Fortunately, I rented that one. But, oh, the regret that washes over me when I realize what I could have done with those hours. I could have scrubbed the inside of my refrigerator vegetable bins. But no, those hours are gone. And, yes, I realize I could have turned off the DVD player, but, as I mentioned, I always have hope. Maybe, I think to myself, the next scene will be better, and, then, maybe the ending will redeem the entire film. As an optimist, I want to believe Hollywood will stop catering to 14-year-old boys, stop treating moviegoers as if we’re stupid, stop polling audiences and start taking chances again. And then, maybe, we movie lovers will consider spending our hard-earned money and our valuable time. But until that day comes, I’ll leave you with a quote from the movie “Network,” made in 1976, which I believe really says it best: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Now I’m off to clean out my vegetable bins. !ital!Michele Gardiner is a freelance writer in Winnetka.last_img read more

Read More →

LETTERKENNY APARTMENT TO GO UNDER HAMMER FOR JUST €12,000!

first_imgThe Letterkenny apartment for sale is on Lower Main Street with a reserve of 12kAllsop Space have announced the commercial and residential properties that they will sell at public auction at the RDS in Dublin on 15th October next – and it includes a Co Donegal apartment for just €12,000! The properties from Co. Donegal also include a 48 bedroom hotel in Moville with a reserve of €175,000, the long leasehold ground floor two bedroom apartment in Letterkenny with a reserve of €12,000 and a freehold plot of land of 10 hectares in Drumkeen with a reserve of €30,000.The apartment is No3 Westside Apartments, Lower Main Street. The company used the announcement to reaffirm its pledge- in conjunction with several interest groups- not to offer for sale any repossessed family homes at this or any future auction.Speaking at the launch Allsop Space Director of Auctions, Robert Hoban, said “The commercial properties on sale here will house the future businesses and enterprises that will support jobs, growth and investment all across Ireland.“The people who will come here to buy shops, factory units and offices are the people who will work to get Ireland out of its current difficulties. Essentially the purchasers here are buying the cradles of Ireland’s future prosperity. We wish them all well and are happy that we at Allsop Space are aiding this much needed process.“We are also really delighted to be part of what I hope is a new beginning for Irish property and how Irish property isbought and sold here. The published reserve price is key to this system and we believe that will become the gold standard for all auctions in the future. I think the large number of residential properties that are on sale here are an unequivocal vote of confidence by Irish people in our open way of doing business.”  LETTERKENNY APARTMENT TO GO UNDER HAMMER FOR JUST €12,000! was last modified: October 1st, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:ALLSOP SPACEDonegal Dailyfor auctionfor autionletterkennylast_img read more

Read More →

Zuma, Charlize Theron discuss HIV

first_img29 July 2013President Jacob Zuma met with Academy Award-winning actor and activist Charlize Theron in Pretoria on Monday. The two discussed South Africa’s response to HIV/Aids and Theron’s role in the fight against the disease.In 2008, the United Nations named South African-born Theron as its Messenger of Peace, tasked with promoting efforts to end violence against women.Following their meeting on Monday, Zuma said Theron’s UN humanitarian role continued to give South Africa’s fight against HIV a big boost.Representing South Africa“She has been a pillar of strength in promoting our programmes,” Zuma said. “Today has been a very special day with this good citizen of ours joining us, she is representing South Africa in many respects.“We believe the education of young people goes a long way to prevent any escalation of the disease. That’s what Charlize has been doing,” Zuma said.Flanked by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and UNAids executive director Michel Sidibe, Zuma said South Africa could play a leading role in the fight against HIV on the continent.“We believe the successes we make in South Africa will have a big impact on the continent.”HIV prevention: ‘keep conversation going’Theron urged youngsters in South Africa not to stop the conversation on HIV prevention.“We can never stop talking about this disease,” she said. “If we don’t feel safe in our environment to talk about it, we cannot combat it. We have to create the environment through which the youth of South Africa can talk about this and ask any question.“It’s always very special to return home and when I’m able to lend my support,” Theron added. “We have come so far in this country with our HIV programme. We have the highest number of people who are on HIV treatment, but we still have challenges … Young girls should be empowered enough to protect themselves … The school environment should be safe for that to happen.”Motsoaledi said that since South Africa’s new voluntary counselling and testing campaign was launched in 2010, the stigma surrounding the virus in the country had dropped dramatically.“You can go to any clinic. People are no longer ashamed to say, ‘I’m on ARVs’.”Africa Outreach ProjectTheron is recognised for her grassroots work focusing on social issues, particularly in South Africa, where she helps to drive the Africa Outreach Project, which provides funding for a mobile health and computer clinic that visits high schools in rural communities affected by HIV/Aids.The project has provided about 5 000 students in remote communities with access to counselling and testing for HIV and other health issues, as well as computer training and health education, with a special focus on preventing HIV.Theron has also participated in a series of public service announcements in support of the Cape Town Rape Crisis Centre, urging no tolerance for rape and domestic violence.Theron won the 2004 Oscar for best actress for her role in the Hollywood drama Monster, in which she played Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer whose youth was characterized by abuse.Source: SAnews.gov.zalast_img read more

Read More →

Energy Efficiency Incentives Need Updating

first_imgA broad coalition representing millions of Americans earlier this month urged Congress to modernize and extend expired energy efficiency tax incentives, touting the enormous, long-term benefits for both the industry and U.S. consumers. The coalition is comprised of environmental and efficiency groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, alongside leading manufacturers of windows, air conditioners, insulation, and other efficiency components that generate a significant number of U.S. jobs. (In total, energy efficiency supports 2.3 million U.S. workers.) Energy efficiency is generally considered the most effective solution for addressing climate change. But as the letter addressed to House and Senate leaders points out, three efficiency incentives expired on Dec. 31, 2017, leaving the tax code without any direct inducements to cut energy waste.RELATED ARTICLES‘All New Construction and Retrofits Must Be Carbon-Neutral’‘Always On’ Electronics and Appliances Waste BillionsA Fight Ahead For Solar Equipment Tax CreditsA (Potentially) Stronger Weatherization StimulusA Big Plan for Energy Retrofits in New York Meanwhile these incentives, as originally written, are outdated. They reference older building codes or efficiency thresholds, and offer dollar amounts that don’t reflect the current market prices for building technologies and high-efficiency equipment, the letter notes. For example, the incentive to buy a high-efficiency air conditioning system is capped at $300, which isn’t enough to meaningfully affect purchasing decisions on equipment and installation that often runs $10,000 or more. However, the letter says, this “glaring and urgent omission” also represents a golden, bipartisan opportunity. Not only would implementing efficiency credits significantly lower carbon emissions, it would also reduce energy costs for consumers, stimulate job creation, and promote economic opportunity. Tax credits have a proven track record of driving clean energy investments at minimal cost to taxpayers, so lawmakers should be eager to get on board. But because tax incentives have repeatedly expired and been reinstated, consumers, manufacturers, and contractors have found themselves uncertain about their availability, and unable to plan upgrades to the energy efficiency of their buildings accordingly. Thus, the letter also urges Congress to pass a “forward-looking, multi-year extension” that would offer a sense of security to get the most of out of the incentives. The letter calls for increased maximum credits for both new home construction under the Section 45L Energy Efficient Home Credit, as well as homeowner efficiency improvements under the Section 25C Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit for existing homes. It also supports a “modernized, forward-looking, multi-year extension” of the Section 179D incentive for commercial building efficiency improvements. Acting now will cut energy waste for decades Homes and buildings constructed or renovated today will still be in use 50 or 100 years from now; energy-intensive equipment like air conditioners and furnaces will be used for a decade or longer. Because the residential and commercial sector accounts for 40% of U.S. energy consumption, failing to update these incentives now guarantees unnecessary energy waste and carbon emissions for many decades to come. Improved efficiency, on the other hand, will save businesses and consumers hundreds of millions of dollars annually on energy bills, reduce the demand on the utility grid, and make the U.S. more economically competitive. The letter makes note of evidence showing that incentives are utilized more when they are set at meaningful dollar amounts. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, efficiency incentives for home improvements were increased, and nearly 7 million taxpayers claimed them in 2010. In the following years, that number fell to just 2.2 million in 2015, after the incentives dropped to pre-stimulus levels. Proposed changes Previously, the 45L Energy Efficient Home Credit provided builders up to $2,000 for homes that use 50% less energy than 2006 building codes for heating and cooling and a $1,000 tax credit for new manufactured homes that achieved 30% energy savings for heating and cooling or met Energy Star requirements. The proposed increase supported by the group would raise the maximum credit to $2,500 for new homes that meet requirements. Since 45L was enacted in 2005, the number of homes that qualified by using 30% to 50% less energy on heating and cooling rose from less than 1% to around 11%. Similarly, the 25C incentive previously provided a 10% tax credit for the purchase of certain nonbusiness energy-efficient measures up to $500. In 2015, more than $1.6 billion in tax credits were claimed by homeowners who invested in clean energy improvements, with over two-thirds of the benefits going to households with gross incomes under $100,000. The new proposal would raise incentives to provide a 15% tax credit up to $1,200, and also see some individual product category caps eliminated or raised, which would allow homeowners to do multiple projects. Efficiency tax incentives are especially crucial now, as the Trump administration continues its push for more climate-polluting fossil fuels while attempting to undermine the excellent and important progress on energy efficiency. The International Energy Agency reports that efficiency alone can account for at least 40% of the emissions reductions needed to meet global targets. Restoring and improving these incentives offers a bipartisan opportunity that would accomplish goals across the board. Lauren Urbanek is senior energy policy advocate in the Climate & Clean Energy Program of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Republished with permission from the NRDC.last_img read more

Read More →