Bernie Finally Announced His Overly Ambitious Socialized Energy Plan

On Monday, Vermont Senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders announced his highly aggressive energy plan to forcefully deal with climate change. You can read his published plan here.

“The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real,” said Sanders. “We will act boldly to move our energy system away from fossil fuels, toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources like wind, solar, and geothermal because we have a moral responsibility to leave our kids a planet that is healthy and habitable.”

 To do all that, Sanders’ plan would outright ban offshore drilling, ban Arctic drilling, block natural gas exports, stop attempts to lift a decades-old ban on crude oil exports, support states trying to ban natural gas fracking, and ban mountaintop removal coal mining. That’s a whole lot of current private sector jobs he’d be killing to bring his plan to fruition.  But it does appear that he intends to create 10 million public-sector(?) clean energy jobs that would replace them.  Many however, may not possess the requisite skills to fill those clean energy jobs, so I hope he’s planning to provide re-skilling education programs as part of his overall plan he’s going to impact the overall economy with a gigantic thud.

The major points of his plans are as follows:

  1. Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House. (That’s nice, what about all the lobbyists who take precedence over actual constituents over in the House and the Senate?)
  2. End the huge subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies.  (First, he’s going to need someone in the House and the Senate to propose that, then he’s going to need to get that out of committee and on the floor of each house for a vote, AND, he’s going to need 60 votes in the Senate or it’s going absolutely nowhere, because he cannot do that via executive order or fiat.)
  3. Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the heightened public health risks faced by low-income and minority communities. (A plan that recognizes that?  How about some constructive action to correct not just the risks, but the actual health conditions resulting from continual exposure?)
  4. Bring climate deniers to justice so we can aggressively tackle climate change. (Would that be his fellow Senators and Representatives from the House … or the corporations that are their financial backers?)
  5. Fight to overturn Citizens United. (Ok? Not sure why that one is in his “Energy/Climate Change” proposal.  Seems like that should be in an “Election Reform” proposal.  At best it’s just going to show us which energy companies are buying whom.)
  6. Embrace a science-based standard for carbon pollution emissions reductions. (and decrease our carbon pollution emissions by at least 8o% from 1990s levels by 2050?  Does he fully comprehend how much pass-down costs are going to cripple our economy?  He’s already indicated he has plans to increase even middle class taxes.  Now he wants to dramatically increase the cost of absolutely anything and everything we buy as those costs to comply are passed down and marked up on every single commodity.)
  7. Put a price on carbon. (Well, that’s the only good thing in the plan so far given that we own 9kw worth of solar on the roof.  If he sets up a credit system, maybe there’s something in it for the investment we made.)
  8. Work toward a 100 percent clean energy system and create millions of jobs. (Would those be private or public sector jobs?  It’s already being intimated that Sanders is proposing the creation of 10 million “federal” jobs.  I can already hear right-wing heads exploding over the idea of a socialized energy workforce and the demise of the for profit energy industry.)
  9. Invest in clean, sustainable energy sources powered by the sun, wind and Earth’s heat. (I really do believe that truly is something our federal tax dollars should be used for instead of bankrolling BigOil profit margins, but it won’t go over well.  Didn’t Obama try that and get crucified by the GOP?  I can already hear and see in my mind’s eye, one commercial after another ad nauseum, raving about the failed Solyndra Solar development and how the Bernie wants to waste even more of our precious tax dollars on such frivilous endeavors.)
  10. Invest in advanced renewable fuels and keep our energy dollars at home. (I do believe we’re already doing that.  Net imports accounted for 27% of the petroleum consumed in the United States, the lowest annual average since 1985.)
  11. Invest in solar energy and put money back in the pockets of consumers. (Well I’m all for his support for net metering, but clearly he hasn’t been watching with the good Republicans of Nevada and other states around the nation have been doing to charge net-metered accounts higher “minimum cost to serve” bills and introducing schemes to credit net-metered accounts with only one-half a KW for every full KW taken by the utility.  Will he be putting an end to those predatory schemes?)
  12. Invest in making all American homes more energy efficient. (I’m sorry, but isn’t it the responsibility of home owners to invest in the maintenance and update of their homes?  I can see maybe making that process more affordable via reduced rate energy improvement loans and assistance programs.  But, we can’t do everything for everybody.)
  13. Build electric vehicle charging stations. (Wait a minute?  The Federal Government is going to do that? We’re going to take that out of the hands of the private sector? Is he also going to require all vehicles that burn fossil fuels to be off the road by some magic date?  That might work fine in urban centers, but it’s 2.5 hours at 75mph for us to be able to get to the nearest significant “urban center” and a single charge just isn’t gonna get us there without a significant stop for a serious re-charge … and then there’s the cost of that new electric car to add into the mix of things to come.)
  14. Build high-speed passenger and cargo rail. (Amtrack serves a limited number of cities across our nation, and the small rural town in which I reside does happen to be one of them, but many other small rural towns along its path are not so lucky. It seems to me that while this proposal may help those along the eastern and western seaboards and maybe some of the bigger urban centers across the nation, it will be at the expense of rural Americans for the benefit of big urban centers.)
  15. Convene a climate summit with the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities in his first 100 days. (Really?  Didn’t we just have one of those and didn’t leaders from around the globe just agree on some serious curtailment goals …. is didn’t the Republican Congress just tell President Obama to go take a flying leap? )
  16. Lead countries in cutting climate change.  (I think before we start telling everybody else what they should be doing, we better get our act together here at home!  When we have leaders in both houses of Congress not just denying climate change, but science altogether and claiming that Noah carried two of each type of Dinosaur and woolly mammoths on the ark along with two of every animal known to mankind today … maybe we need to concentrate on building a consensus at home.)
  17. Plan for peace to avoid international climate-fueled conflict. (What exactly does that mean? Do we all need to start watching “prepper” videos on YouTube and stalking our pantries?)

That definitely sets him apart from Hillary Clinton and assuredly proposes to take on BIG oil, but at what cost?

His staff did go all out to detail how his plan would work, complete with an interactive US map that pops out a target clean energy breakdown for each state. Here’s an animation of the pop-out for Nevada, as an example:

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The 2050 Energy Costs slide claiming folks will save on average $98/person is a bit odd. Really?  Folks are going to have to buy solar, trash their current car and buy a new car (or give up your car altogether to use a bicycle or walk), all to achieve $98/person … in 2050(?).  Maybe I’m missing something here, but that’s a seriously steep selling curve even to the most avid climate change fanatics amongst us. And the “Money in your Pocket” for “Annual energy, health and climate cost savings/person” (again in 2050) section also makes no sense to me whatsoever.  I don’t come close to spending that much per year on energy, health or climate now and I’m reaching those elder years where one expects to start having to pay a bunch on health care issues.

Take some time and see if you can make some sense of where he wants to take our nation, how drastically quick he wants to get there and whether you think his approach is even do-able given our currently ideologically split nation.  If Bernie’s our party’s nominee, we’re all signing on “revolutionary” ideas to remake our nation.

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Boulder Taking On Golliath

When you’ve got giant energy companies this scared, you must be doing something right.

The only way to counter the monies golliath corporations can flood communities with outright propaganda and lies is with people running a truly grassroots campaign advocating to put their values into action.  Only an army of “people” can defeat the war chests of corporation after corporation.

A Watershed Moment Against Keystone XL?

The Keystone XL fight is now, officially, on our terms.

In a surprise announcement, in his first major address on climate change in four-and-a-half years as President, Barack Obama said that he would not approve Keystone XL if it significantly increased carbon emissions.1

This is huge. It is a huge sign that the pressure we have put on the administration is working.  More than 62,000 people have pledged to engage in civil disobedience if necessary to stop Keystone XL, precisely because it will lead to “game over for the climate” by lighting the fuse to detonate the carbon bomb of the Alberta tar sands into our atmosphere.

It is also a huge sign that we must keep our pressure on. After all, the State Department’s first sham environmental evaluation found that Keystone XL would not substantially increase climate emissions – flying in the face of the EPA,2 climate scientists,3 and the economists and oil industry executives who know that Keystone XL will speed development of the tar sands.

Deciding Keystone XL based on its climate impacts is a fight we can win – but only if we keep fighting.

Also in today’s speech was the President’s announcement that his administration was moving forward on a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. This too is huge news, and something that CREDO and our activists have been pushing the President to do since before the failure of the climate bill in 2009.

Taken together, setting the terms for rejecting Keystone XL and moving forward on limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants, were the two most important things President Obama could have done today. More than anything else, we are grateful for this leadership.

We know the President will be facing ferocious opposition and attacks from the fossil fuel industry, and the science-denying Republican obstructionists who serve them. So while we have a lot of work to do, today is an important day to thank the President for his leadership.

Of course, the speech wasn’t perfect – far from it. In addition to disappointing calls to expand natural gas development, the steps laid out today simply weren’t enough to solve our climate change problem on their own.

But this is a significant step forward from an administration that for years was afraid to even say the word “climate,” and today gave a full-throated endorsement of the need for our action, and for global leadership to fulfill our moral obligation to protect people all around the world from the damage that has already begun.

This is a testament to your pressure and your activism. And it only affirms our commitment to redoubling all of our efforts, including the Pledge of Resistance, to oppose Keystone XL and fight climate change.

There’s a lot more to do, but mostly today, we are shocked by this surprise announcement, and grateful that the president is finally leading in the fight against climate change. Click the button below to sign the petition thanking President Obama.

Thanks for standing with us.

Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

sign-the-petition

 

 

Learn more about this campaign

1. “In climate speech, Obama sets carbon limits on Keystone project,” The Hill, 6/25/13
2. “How much does EPA’s objection to Keystone XL matter? A lot.” Washington Post, 4/25/13
3. “Scientists: Key Parts of State Dept Keystone Review Are ‘Without Merit’,” Inside Climate, 6/4/12

Cleaner Air Isn’t Just Good For Our Lungs; It’s Good For Our Economy

Earth Justice
May 9, 2012
Miles Grant, National Wildlife Federation, (202) 797-6855
Jared Saylor, Earthjustice, (202) 745-5213

If politicians in Washington know that protecting the air we breathe not only protects people and wildlife, but also helps spur our economy, then why are they trying to gut Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean air standards? On Thursday, May 10, the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund (NWF Action Fund) and Earthjustice are launching a seven-figure TV ad buy that highlights the economic and health benefits associated with a transition to a greener economy, while also raising public awareness and support for EPA’s new clean air standards to limit industrial air pollution from power plants.

Watch the ad:

“Clean air protects health and enhances our economy,” said Martin Hayden, vice president of policy and legislation at Earthjustice. “According to a Brookings Institute study, between 2003 and 2010, the clean tech sector outperformed the national economy as a whole, expanding 3.4 percent annually. Letting the EPA enforce the Clean Air Act and limit dangerous air pollution spewing from smokestacks will not only make it easier for Americans to breathe, it will also boost the clean technology sector and help create more jobs.”The ad focuses attention on a recent Department of Labor study showing that transitioning away from dirty sources of energy to clean technology development and innovation in turn creates jobs. In fact, the Labor Department study concludes that the transition to cleaner energy and technology has already created 3.1 million jobs (Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2012).

“Whether aimed at toxic air pollutants like mercury or dangerous carbon pollution, there are multiple benefits from job-creating clean air standards,” said Joe Mendelson, global warming policy director at the National Wildlife Federation, the sister organization of NWF Action Fund. “EPA air standards that clean up power plants are good for our economy, the health of our families and communities, addressing climate change and for protecting wildlife and their habitat.”

Congress is currently considering several legislative proposals to prevent the EPA from protecting public health with new clean air standards that would reduce air pollution from toxic substances like mercury, arsenic, soot, smog, carbon and other pollutants. Many of these new standards would save thousands of lives each year.

The ad campaign, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation Action Fund and Earthjustice will appear in 12 major media markets in three states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (including Washington, D.C. cable only). NWF Action Fund ads will appear in Cincinnati, OH; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Toledo, OH; and Pittsburgh, PA. Earthjustice ads will appear in Harrisburg, PA; Philadelphia, PA; Wilkes-Barre, PA; Norfolk, VA; Richmond, VA; and Roanoke, VA. See the ad at: http://earthjustice.org/greener

Berkley Promotes Clean Energy Mfgrg Jobs Bill in Reno

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2012
Contact: Eric Koch 702.675.6711 or Julie McClain 702.483.0768

“Clean Energy Jobs Act” Will Help Put Nevadans Back to Work
By Taking Advantage of Sun, Wind, Geothermal Energy

Reno– Congresswoman Shelley Berkley visited the Desert Research Institute today to promote the “Clean Energy Jobs Act” in Reno. The bill will increase the number of clean energy jobs in Nevada, cementing its place at the forefront of the clean energy economy by creating good paying middle-class jobs. Berkley was joined by Richard Hamilton of the Clean Energy Center and Walt Borland of the Nevada Institute for renewable Energy Commercialization, experts in the clean energy field.

“Creating good paying jobs that can’t be shipped overseas needs to be our number one priority, not protecting Wall Street and Big Oil while they rake in record profits,” said Berkley. “The clear choice in this election is between my commitment to putting people back to work with programs like the Clean Energy Jobs Act and Dean Heller’s Wall Street agenda of prioritizing Wall Street and Big Oil over Nevada’s middle class.”

“Shelley Berkley’s Clean Energy Jobs Act will incentivize the creation of thousands of new manufacturing jobs right here in Nevada and put skilled workers back on the job,” said Richard Hamilton of the Clean Energy Center

“This legislation is an important step in the right direction. Congresswoman Berkley’s initiative will create jobs by expanding the clean energy manufacturing sector in Nevada. This bill will incentivize companies to innovate and grow by taking advantage of our abundant natural resources like wind, solar and geothermal energy,” said Walt Borland of the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy.

Fully paid for by rolling back the taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil executives that unelected Senator Dean Heller voted to protect eight times in the House and Senate, Berkley’s bill will extend a 30 percent tax credit for domestic companies that build capacity for new clean energy sources, such as wind turbines and solar panels.  The tax credit, which Berkley is seeking to extend, is estimated to have generated more than 17,000 jobs nationwide and hundreds of jobs in Nevada. This bill will incentivize companies to expand and create good-paying clean energy jobs in Reno.

Berkley has long been a leader in promoting and expanding the clean energy industry in Nevada. She championed a 235-mile long clean energy transmission line linking White Pine and Clark counties that will attract clean energy jobs to the state.

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. DRI conducts cutting-edge applied research in air, land and life, and water quality across Nevada, including many projects in the clean energy field.