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Article
Like Water for Energy: The Water-Energy Nexus Through the Lens of Tax Policy
Colorado Law Review (2011)
  • Roberta F Mann, University of Oregon
Abstract
Water is essential for life. Inadequate potable water supplies lead to poverty, disease, starvation, and civil strife. Climate change is likely to put more pressure on the world’s supply of fresh water. Rising sea levels will introduce salt into some fresh water systems. As high mountain snow cover and glaciers decline, they will store less fresh water. As regions heat up, droughts will become more persistent. Producing energy uses water. How much water is used depends on the source of the energy. Yet in the rush to transition to a renewable energy economy, policy makers have paid little heed to the potential water consequences. Reducing CO2 emissions will not help society if the alternative energy sources use more water than the traditional energy sources they replace. This article examines the links between renewable energy tax incentives and water consumption. Tax incentives for renewable energy sources should account for water consumption as well as potential for reduced CO2 emissions. This article first reviews water usage statistics for traditional energy sources and compares water usage statistics from various renewable energy sources. Next, the article analyzes the U.S. federal tax incentives for energy sources, with particular attention to newer incentives for renewable sources and examining those incentives for water impact. Finally, the article provides some recommendations for legislative action.
Keywords
  • climate change,
  • water scarcity,
  • tax policy,
  • energy,
  • renewable energy
Publication Date
2011
Citation Information
Roberta F Mann. "Like Water for Energy: The Water-Energy Nexus Through the Lens of Tax Policy" Colorado Law Review Vol. 82 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/roberta_mann/5/