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Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: PA-08

7:13 am in Uncategorized by Lowell Feld nrdcactionfund

Where does Rep. Murphy stand on clean energy and environmental issues? In 2009, Murphy received a 93% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Murphy also voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), about which he correctly says, it "will create millions of new American jobs, limit the pollution that causes climate change, and reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil by investing in American-made clean energy." In addition, Murphy co-sponsored H.R. 890, the American Renewable Energy Act, as well as H.R. 2222, the Green Communities Act and H.R. 1778, the Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) Program, among other excellent environmental legislation. Finally, Rep. Murphy touts the fact that "Bucks County is home to the fourth largest solar field in the United States – the largest east of the Mississippi River" and that "Nearly 1,000 people have been put to work building components for wind turbines and solar panels at the old U.S. Steel site in Fairless Hills in Bucks County."

In contrast, Mike Fitzpatrick says he "oppose[s] legislation currently being considered by [C]ongress that would implement a carbon ‘cap and trade’ system." Fitzpatrick also says he supports "a balanced national energy policy that includes safe, nuclear power, clean coal, responsible offshore drilling and economical, renewable energy." When he served in Congress, Fitzpatrick received a 61% League of Conservation Voters rating in 2005 and a 73% League of Conservation Voters rating in 2006. Fitzpatrick also was a co-cosponsor with Rep. Henry Waxman on the Safe Climate Act of 2006 – which would have cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 – but now says he is against "Cap and Trade."

We believe that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Take action today for a cleaner, stronger, and more sustainable future. Join NRDC Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest environmental issues and actions you can take to help protect our planet.

Congressional Candidates’ Views on Clean Energy, Climate Change: VA-05

12:53 pm in Uncategorized by Lowell Feld nrdcactionfund

Where does Rep. Perriello stand on clean energy and environmental issues? In 2009, Perriello received a 71% rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Perriello also voted for the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) and has “touted development of a clean energy economy as a way of creating jobs; improving energy efficiency; increasing this country’s energy supplies and sources and reducing reliance on foreign energy, which also would benefit this country’s national security; and other benefits.” With regard to his ACES vote, Perriello says that he “believes there are ‘huge upsides’ in manufacturing and agriculture in a clean energy economy.” As the Union of Concerned Scientists points out, Perriello is exactly right about the agricultural sector, as “Wind, solar, and biomass energy can be harvested forever, providing farmers with a long-term source of income.” And, as California’s experience has shown, Perriello is right about the manufacturing sector as well.

Perriello does, however, favor some things that many environmentalists disagree with. For instance, Perriello says he supports an “’everything and the kitchen sink’ national energy strategy that includes an expansion of oil drilling.” On the other hand, it should be noted that Perriello’s support for oil drilling comes in the context of his overall support for “using market-based solutions to create a carbon-limited economy.”

The Republican candidate, Virginia State Sen. Robert Hurt, has views on energy and the environment contrast sharply with Perriello’s. In this video, for instance, Hurt incorrectly claims that cap and trade legislation would “absolutely raise the cost of energy in this country and it will hurt individuals and it will hurt businesses.” In fact, as studies like this one show, “the Waxman-Markey climate bill makes economic sense, offering benefits worth at least twice as much as it costs, if not more.” And, as this study concludes, the climate legislation already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives “would produce an average net energy spending reduction of $354 per household and an increase of nearly 425,000 jobs” by 2030. Finally, a recent study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds that the comprehensive climate and clean energy “American Power Act” being considered in the U.S. Senate would produce increases in income “almost 60 times greater than the estimated $185 annual investment** cost, exceeding $11,000 per year on average” while reducing U.S. oil imports “1.9 to 2.4 million barrels per day by 2035.”

For whatever reason, Robert Hurt has ignored or discounted these studies, not to mention the overwhelming scientific evidence regarding the urgent need to act on climate change. Thus, instead of advocating for a transformation from the dirty fuels of the past, to a prosperous economy based on energy efficiency and clean energy that will never run out, Hurt’s solution is essentially the same-old, same-old: “opening up drilling in off the coast of Virginia, something I have supported year after year.” Hurt adds, “We have to include drilling all over this country in order to meet the demands for our society, the demands for our businesses.”

In reality, of course, the United States contains only 3% of the world’s oil reserves and is considered by geologists to be a “mature oil province.” In common language, the meaning is simple: our oil production has long since “peaked,” which means we can’t “drill our way out of it.” Fortunately, we can open up tremendous opportunities for our nation through policies and investments that encourage energy efficiency – also known as “Invisible Energy” – and clean, renewable energy. For whatever reason, Robert Hurt disagrees and instead is pushing to move us backwards in this area.

In general, Sen. Hurt’s environmental record is unimpressive, with a 20% Virginia League of Conservation Voters rating in 2009 and a 38% rating in 2010. During the 2010 Virginia General Assembly session, Hurt voted the “wrong” way – in the view of the LCV – on HB 787, which states that “it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to support oil and natural gas exploration, development, and production 50 miles or more off Virginia’s coast.” Hurt also voted for HB 1300, which “[p]rohibits the Air Pollution Control Board from requiring that electric generating facilities located in a nonattainment area meet NOx and SO2 compliance obligations without the purchase of allowances from in-state or out-of-state facilities.” Obviously, Robert Hurt is no friend of clean energy or the environment.

That concludes our environmental profile of the Democratic and Republican candidates running in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District this year. We believe that it is important for the public in general, and the voters of specific Congressional districts, be aware of this information as they weigh their choices for November.

Take action today for a cleaner, stronger, and more sustainable future. Join NRDC Action Fund on Facebook and Twitter and stay up-to-date on the latest environmental issues and actions you can take to help protect our planet.

More Nails in the Coffins of the Climate Change Deniers

8:58 am in Uncategorized by Lowell Feld nrdcactionfund

This exoneration should close the book on the absurd episode in which climate scientists were unjustly attacked when in fact they have been providing a great public service. The attacks on scientists were a manufactured distraction, and today’s report is a welcome return to common sense. While scientists can now focus on their work, policy makers need to address the very real problem of climate change.

Well said, Congressman, and keep up the great work, Professor Mann!

Next, just to pound the final nails into the coffins of the climate change deniers, a major, independent review by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency was released on July 5. The report’s main conclusions were crystal clear:

*"no errors that would undermine the main conclusions in the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on possible future regional impacts of climate change"

*"the summary conclusions are considered well founded, none have been found to contain any significant errors"

*"ample observational evidence of regional climate change impacts, which have been projected to pose substantial risks to most parts of the world, under increasing temperatures"

In fairness, the Dutch report leveled several criticisms of the IPCC report: 1) even the few, minor errors shouldn’t have been allowed to slip by; 2) the report’s summary statement should have been written to provide a higher amount of transparency regarding its sources and methods; and 3) the report tended to focus solely on the adverse consequences of climate change, not on potentially positive impacts. These are non-trivial issues that need to be addressed. Having said that, as Joe Romm points out, "the overwhelming majority of research since the IPCC has found that the IPCC has consistently underestimated many key current and future impacts, particularly sea level rise (and carbon-cycle feedbacks)."

In the end, the bottom line from these reports is clear: the science behind human-induced climate change has emerged from this entire, ridiculous, episode overwhelmingly intact — if not strengthened. The only real question now is, what are we going to do about it?