Last week, 21 Senators sent a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid demanding the Senate pass clean energy and green jobs legislation this year. They wrote:
“Representing a diverse group of States and regions, we believe the United States Senate should consider bipartisan and comprehensive clean energy legislation this year with a renewed focus on jobs and reduced dependence on foreign oil. . .”
“While uncertainty hurts job creation, clean energy legislation can create jobs. Over the past decade, clean energy sectors have been creating jobs at over twice the rate of overall job growth. For established energy and manufacturing sectors, clean energy incentives will deploy the next generation of technologies that preserve and grow jobs in those sectors as well.”
This diverse group of Senators, from Al Franken to Mark Warner, should be applauded for stepping up and demanding action that will both create jobs and help to solve the climate crisis.
Best Buy has joined a growing list of Chamber of Commerce members to take a stand against the organization's position on the climate crisis. In their press release they wrote:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization with varied business stakeholders and interests. Those interests among industry don’t always align; on the issue of climate change legislation and regulatory actions, we have certainly seen this to be the case. Best Buy has stated that we are supportive of comprehensive climate change legislation and working to move toward a low carbon economy. With regard to the Chamber’s climate initiatives, the Chamber has not spoken for Best Buy on these issues. We have shared our views with the Chamber and will continue to do so. Best Buy’s commitment to sustainability aligns with global interests in addressing climate change. Best Buy is an innovator in offering our customers products and services that enable them to live more sustainably.”
Good for Best Buy. Unlike the Chamber, they recognize that comprehensive legislation will help our economy and create jobs.
Another corporation has stepped up to publicly support clean energy and green jobs legislation. According to the New York Times: [Link]
“Global timber giant Weyerhaeuser Co. said today it has joined the U.S. Climate Action Partnership group that is lobbying for comprehensive climate and energy legislation on Capitol Hill.”
“The Federal Way, Wash.-based company becomes the 29th member of the business-NGO lobbying coalition, alongside General Electric Co., General Motors Co. and the Natural Resources Defense Council.”
"The forest products industry will play a leading role in reducing dependence on fossil fuels and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide using biomass from forests, a sustainable resource and one of the best at sequestering carbon," Weyerhaeuser CEO Dan Fulton said in a press release. "The role of forest fiber in a low carbon economy will depend on the public policy concepts under debate in Washington, D.C."
It’s time to put to bed the myth that climate legislation will be harmful to our economy. Passing clean energy and green jobs legislation is not only an environmental necessity, it is an economic one as well.
Maggie Fox, CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, writes at the National Journal:
"The path to a secure energy future in America begins with clean, renewable sources here at home. Expanded oil drilling will simply continue our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, while doing little to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The President must now deliver a comprehensive plan for curbing carbon pollution so we can invest in the clean energy technologies we will need in the 21st century.
Read the rest of her post by clicking here.
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It is widely acknowledged that mountaintop mining causes extreme environmental damage, destroying forests and polluting rivers. Senators Lamar Alexander and Ben Cardin have stepped forward, writing legislation to ban the practice.
"The legislation, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), would redefine mining waste as a pollutant, thus barring companies from dumping debris into valleys below their mountaintop projects. The idea is that if it becomes too expensive to truck the debris off-site, then companies will stop blowing up mountains altogether. "
"The new EPA guidelines are useful in stopping some inappropriate coal mining in Appalachia but Congress still needs to pass the Cardin-Alexander legislation that would effectively end mountaintop removal mining," Alexander said in a statement issued Thursday. "By mountaintop removal, we mean blowing the tops off of mountains and dumping the waste in streams.""
We cant just move away from Mountaintop mining. We also need to move away from coal and other fossil fuels that contribute to the climate crisis.
Paul Krugman did a masterful job in an article last week, where he discussed the climate crisis from an economist’s perspective:
“If you listen to climate scientists — and despite the relentless campaign to discredit their work, you should — it is long past time to do something about emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. If we continue with business as usual, they say, we are facing a rise in global temperatures that will be little short of apocalyptic. And to avoid that apocalypse, we have to wean our economy from the use of fossil fuels, coal above all.”
“But is it possible to make drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions without destroying our economy?”
“Like the debate over climate change itself, the debate over climate economics looks very different from the inside than it often does in popular media. The casual reader might have the impression that there are real doubts about whether emissions can be reduced without inflicting severe damage on the economy. In fact, once you filter out the noise generated by special-interest groups, you discover that there is widespread agreement among environmental economists that a market-based program to deal with the threat of climate change — one that limits carbon emissions by putting a price on them — can achieve large results at modest, though not trivial, cost. There is, however, much less agreement on how fast we should move, whether major conservation efforts should start almost immediately or be gradually increased over the course of many decades.”
You can read the rest of this excellent piece by clicking here.
It’s not a surprise that some Texas oil companies are funding efforts to roll back California’s efforts to solve the climate crisis.
According to The New York Times:
“Several Texas oil companies are bankrolling a petition drive to suspend California’s path-breaking climate change law in a move that may prove a bellwether for national efforts to address global warming.”
“The Valero Energy Corporation, a San Antonio-based company that is one of the nation’s largest independent oil refiners and retailers, has contributed $500,000 to a ballot initiative that would halt the carrying out of the California climate law known as Assembly Bill 32, which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, signed in 2006. At least one other Texas oil company, Tesoro, with operations in California and a prominent antitax group are helping to finance the petition drive to place the initiative on the November general election ballot.”
“The California law, the first of its kind in the nation, is intended to reduce emissions of climate-altering gases by 15 percent below current levels by 2020 through a variety of means, including a regional cap-and-trade system. The bill also calls for greater efficiencies in buildings and transportation, more use of renewable sources of energy and greater reliance on clean-burning fuels. These are all major elements of climate change proposals now being discussed in Washington.”
At every level, legislation to solve the climate crisis is being opposed by those with a vested financial interest in the burning of fossil fuels. Not only can we beat them in states like California, but also by passing comprehensive clean energy and green jobs legislation in the Unites States Senate.
According to a poll by Lake Research Group:
"• Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan believe that ending our dependence on foreign oil is an important step for our national security. "
"• Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan support a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that invests in clean, renewable energy sources in America and that limits carbon pollution."
"• These veterans believe that such a bill would help create jobs that will help vets’ economic prospects after leaving the service, reduce the amount of oil purchased from hostile nations, and cut funding for terrorists from oil producing nations."
You can read the results of the poll and see the VoteVets TV ad by clicking here.
Another example of how solving the climate crisis can help increase our security here at home and create a more stable world:
“A strong cap on carbon would significantly cut the flow of petrodollars to Iran’s hostile regime, a Wonk Room analysis shows. The economic and political strength of Iran’s dictatorship is a threat to the national security of the United States and the world, and its nuclear ambitions threaten to destabilize the Middle East. Yesterday, diplomats from “six world powers have met for the first time to discuss imposing new sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend work on its controversial nuclear program,” but negotiators have not yet figured how to achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of being “consistent and steady in applying international pressure.”
"Iran, “which holds the world’s second-biggest oil and gas reserves and supplies about 4.5 percent of the world’s oil production,” uses its oil power “as a strategic asset.” Even though oil is “one of history’s Big Levers concerning Iran,” the idea of gas sanctions to control Iran’s oil income is not likely to succeed, and could even backfire."
"One mechanism to control the flow of petrodollars to Iran — whose oil production is worth $120 billion a year at current prices — is for the United States to control its appetite for oil. Based on an economic analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of a carbon cap that reduces global warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050, the Wonk Room has found that Iran would lose approximately $1.8 trillion worth of oil revenues over the next forty years — over $100 million a day."
Joe Romm is one of the most important and influential voices fighting for an end to the climate crisis. His blog, Climate Progress, is a must read.
Romm just published an important new book, titled Straight Up: America's Fiercest Climate Blogger Takes on the Status Quo Media, Politicians, and Clean Energy Solutions. In the book, Romm “cuts through the misinformation and presents the truth about humanity's most dire threat. His analysis is based on sophisticated knowledge of renewable technologies, climate impacts, and government policy, written in a style everyone can understand.”
If you are interested in the fight to solve the climate crisis, I recommend you read this book.
A new study, from Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, once again confirms that building a green economy creates jobs:
“The Georgia Tech-Duke analysis, released Monday, says "aggressive energy-efficiency initiatives" could keep energy consumption in the South's residential, commercial and industrial facilities "from growing over the next twenty years." That could lead to the retirement of 25 gigawatts of older power plants, and render unnecessary the construction of 49 gigawatts of new power plants.”
“The study also estimates that such measures would generate $2.25 in jobs and economic activity for every $1 spent on making residential, commercial and industrial facilities more energy efficient.”
Rhone Resch, President and CEO of the Solar-Energy Industries Association, wrote a guest post at Climate Progress to discuss some incredible job growth despite the recession:
“Environmental conservation and the free market shape our decisions for better or for worse. This week’s release of the 2009 US Solar Industry Year in Review report shows, thankfully, that Americans are beginning to make the right choice. Statistics show that despite a harsh recession, the solar industry added new solar electric installations totaling 441 megawatts, pulled in $1.4 billion in new venture capital investments, created 17,000 new jobs and grew by 36 percent in annual revenue.”
Read the entire post by clicking here.
A statement from the Alliance for Climate Protection and other groups:
“Everyday the Senate fails to pass clean energy and climate legislation we put our economy, our national security and our environment at greater risk. Americans are demanding the millions of jobs, energy independence, and clean air and water comprehensive legislation can deliver. Inaction is too costly, and the challenge is too urgent.”
“The tireless work of Senators Kerry, Graham and Lieberman is proof positive that bipartisan success is well within reach. The House has passed historic legislation; now it is time for the Senate and the White House to stay focused and finish the job. The moment is ours. Now is the time for our leaders to act.”
Last week The Wall Street Journal published a ridiculous op-ed titled “Climate Science in Denial” claiming that "global warming alarmists have been discredited, but you wouldn't know it from the rhetoric this Earth Day."
Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic does an exceptional job dismantling this ridiculous claim:
“Actually, the subhead should be revised: "Global warming denialists have been re-discredited, but you wouldn't know it from the rhetoric in today's Wall Street Journal." Far be it from me, a non-scientist, to dispute the scientific expertise of an MIT professor of meteorology, Richard Lindzen, but then again, Lindzen's selective recitation of the litany of arguments against global warming practically begs a rebuttal.”
“First, he mentions "Climate Gate" -- those e-mails from the Climate Research Unit from the University of East Anglia. He suggests that the e-mails show "unambiguous evidence of the unethical suppression of information and opposing viewpoints, and even data manipulation."”
“The e-mails were actually quite ambiguous and contained evidence of churlishness and defensiveness from scientists whose data had long been under attack from climate denialists.”
Much of the media has done a particularly bad job covering the climate crisis. Instead of informing the public about the facts, they have treated the issue as if the same political divisions they exuberantly cover also exist in the scientific community. They don't.
The Huffington Post has an excellent feature titled The Dirty Secrets of Coal:
“Coal is a dirty and dangerous business. It produces more than half of the energy in the U.S. because it is a cheap resource, but it comes at a high human and environmental cost. The coal industry is the single largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions -- and that's just the beginning. We're taking a look at some of the dirtiest secrets the coal industry doesn't want you to know.”
See the dirty secrets by clicking here.
Bill Gates and Chad Holliday called for energy innovation in the Washington Post this past Sunday:
“But our country is neglecting a field central to our national prospect and security: energy. Although the information technology and pharmaceutical industries spend 5 to 15 percent of their revenue on research and development each year, U.S. companies' spending on energy R&D has averaged only about one-quarter of 1 percent of revenue over the past 15 years.”
“And despite talk about the need for "21st-century" energy sources, federal spending on clean energy research -- less than $3 billion -- is also relatively small. Compare that with roughly $30 billion that the U.S. government annually spends on health research and $80 billion on defense research and development.”
According to Reuters:
“Spring comes about 10 days earlier in the United States than it did two decades ago, a consequence of climate change that favors invasive species over indigenous ones, scientists said on Tuesday.”
“The phenomenon known as "spring creep" has put various species of U.S. wildlife out of balance with their traditional habitats, from the rabbit-like American pika in the West to the roses and lilies in New England, the environmental experts said in a telephone news briefing.”