Two (possibly three) members of Congress in Texas lost their seats in the Republican (and outside money) tsunami that swept the country-Rep. Chet Edwards, Ciro Rodriguez, and Solomon Ortiz – whose race is at this point still too close to call, but he trails his opponent by several hundred votes. Many in the punditocracy have tried to come up with one common denominator to explain the Republican tidal wave, and some have settled on the vote on climate change legislation, HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) or Waxman-Markey. Politico jumped (the shark?) to this conclusion: “House Democrats who voted for the 2009 bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions – dubbed cap-and-tax by GOP opponents – had a terrible night.”
Posts Tagged ‘ACES’
Posted in Campaign Finance, Global Warming, tagged 2010 elections, ACES, Campaign Finance, chet edwards, ciro rodriguez, independent expenditures, outside money, Solomon Ortiz, stealth PACs, Texas on November 4, 2010 | 6 Comments »
Texas is growing. In fact, we’re one of the fastest growing areas of the country. Growing communities and growing business usually means building more power plants, which would add to our already significant air quality problems not to mention all of the greenhouse gases we would spew.
But, rather than building Megawatts, we should be looking at Negawatts, or “creating” energy by simply using less of it, or at least so says a new study from Duke University’s Nichols Institute and Georgia Institute of Technology.
This would save us from not only pollution and global warming, but also from the cost of building new power plants. Efficiency gives a double payback, because not only are you not paying for more oil, gas, and coal, you save money on your electric bills because you use less electricity. And no, efficiency doesn’t mean turning off your air conditioner more in the summer so you sweat more– it means properly insulating your home to keep the cool in and the hot out, or vice versa in the winter, and it means using a better a/c unit that gives you more chills for less bills.
How much money? Well, investments in efficiency would save $13.7 billion in 2020 and $21.5 billion in 2030. These savings are equivalent to the amount of energy used by almost a million Texas households, or an average savings of $330 per household a year. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, we also get Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: 96,300 jobs by 2020, and 132,100 new jobs from efficiency in 2030.
And how do we get these magical green jobs and billions in savings? Why, through efficiency mandates, similar to the ones proposed in federal green energy bills like Waxman-Markey. Unfortunately, those goals were too weak to really produce the type of change we need, so it’s up to the Senate to do better. Early word of a draft bill by Senators Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman doesn’t look promising, and could even be WORSE than the anemic efficiency investments and mandates in Waxman-Markey.
Texas Ag Commissioner Todd Staples says Agriculture Hurt by Federal Climate Legislation – We beg to differ
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, Agriculture, Agriculture Commissioner, climate change, climate change legislation, Texas Department of Agriculture, Todd Staples, Twitter, USDA, Waxman-Markey bill on February 9, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Back in the movie/musical “Oklahoma”, we got a musical lesson that the farmer and the cowman should be friends. They seem to have bridged that divide rather well in the intervening decades, but today the question remains whether the farmers and ranchers and the climate should be friends.
Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples certainly doesn’t think so. On his Twitter account last week, he asked “How could anybody involved in agriculture think the proposed Cap &Trade legislation is good for Texas?”
Well, we’ll tell you. It’s a combination of solving the climate crisis which will disproportionately hurt agriculture in Texas, not using faulty studies cooked up for partisan purposes (which Staples does) and about the jobs and savings to everyday Texas families, which helps everyone whether you’re a farmer or not.
First, no other industry is so exposed as agriculture to the impacts of climate change. Agriculture is almost completely dependent on relatively stable patterns of rainfall and temperature to get a good yield. Climate change threatens not only how much rainfall we get, but also how we get it. Predictions are that some areas may actually see more rain, but in fits and starts with large storms that flood and then wash away topsoil rather than absorb moisture.
Texas is still in the midst of one of the worst droughts in its history. Australian scientists have linked 37% of this drought to anthropogenic climate change. Recent drought has brought record breaking agricultural losses to Texas both this last year in 2009 and in 2006, when billions of dollars in crops were lost and cattle had to be culled in mass numbers because feed and water was too expensive and they were dying in the field from the heat. Some are even asking if this prolonged drought is actually just the beginning of “the new normal,” a frightening prospect for anyone with a farm or ranch in West, Central, or South Texas where drought has been the most extreme.
The USDA’s study of impacts of climate change on agriculture, as part of the consensus opinion of 13 federal agencies, is that Texas stands to lose up to 35% of its agricultural yield from just 2 degrees of warming. And that’s not all — check out this press release from the USDA:
The report finds that climate change is already affecting U.S. water resources, agriculture, land resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so. Specific findings include: (more…)
Posted in Coal, Energy, Global Warming, tagged ACES, cap and trade, Carbon Dioxide, CEJAPA, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, climate change, Coal, coal plant, Congress, EPA, Global Warming, green jobs, Kerry-Boxer, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, senate, solar, waxman-markey on September 30, 2009 | 4 Comments »
This just in from EPA:
LOS ANGELES – U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson will announce today in a keynote address at the California Governor’s Global Climate Summit that the Agency has taken a significant step to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions under the Clean Air Act. The Administrator will announce a proposal requiring large industrial facilities that emit at least 25,000 tons of GHGs a year to obtain construction and operating permits covering these emissions. These permits must demonstrate the use of best available control technologies and energy efficiency measures to minimize GHG emissions when facilities are constructed or significantly modified.
The full text of the Administrators remarks will be posted at www.epa.gov later this afternoon.
UPDATED: that text is now available here.
“Wow” would be an understatement. This on the heels of the release of Senator Kerry and Boxer and their climate bill. Here’s my statement on that subject:
Sept. 30, 2009
Reaction to Boxer-Kerry Climate Change Discussion Draft
Statement of Andy Wilson, Global Warming Program Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
The Boxer-Kerry draft includes some important measures to address climate change and create new green jobs, but it is simply not sufficient to solve climate change or create the green jobs revolution we need. While an improvement in some ways over Waxman-Markey and its billions in giveaways to polluting special interests, the discussion draft put forth by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) still punts on many of the most contentious issues, such as how and to whom emissions allowances will be allocated or auctioned. Waxman-Markey started off similarly strong and vague but was weakened as it went through the committee hearing process. Sen. Boxer must work to strengthen the bill as she guides it through her Environment and Public Works Committee hearings.
The discussion draft calls for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas pollution from 2005 levels by 2020. This is a slight improvement over the 17 percent called for by Waxman-Markey, but is far short of the goals our best science tells us we need to make. Specifically, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us in order to avoid the worst of global climate catastrophe, we need to cut our pollution levels 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels.
Japan will cut its emissions 25 percent by 2020; the EU has signaled it may meet or beat that goal. Why would we set ourselves to lag behind the rest of the world? We must win the technology races in manufacturing advanced energy technology so we do not replace importing oil with importing solar cells.
The draft should be applauded for including strong language to protect consumers and protect the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate emissions in the future.
Among the changes we recommend to the draft are alterations to address these problems:
Allowances should be auctioned 100 percent. President Obama’s budget continues to show revenues from a 100 percent auction and EPA analysis of Waxman-Markey found this to be the least regressive method of implementation.
Subsidies for nuclear should be removed. Despite recent findings by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Commissioner Jon Wellinghoff that the United States will never need to build another traditional power plant, the bill spends considerable space on (Subtitle C, Sec 131) and would allocate significant resources to nuclear power. Nuclear is neither as carbon-free nor as safe as the draft language claims. Neither is it cost-effective. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated half of all federal loan guarantees for nuclear loan guarantees will fail, meaning any extension of these guarantees is a pre-emptive bailout of the nuclear industry leaving the taxpayers on the hook for up to half a trillion dollars.
The draft still relies on more than two billion tons in offsets – actually expanding permitted offsets from the Waxman-Markey language. This has huge potential consequences. It means that despite the intent of the draft, we could conceivably end up having failed to reduce emissions at all – and with major questions about whether alleged offsets were even achieved. While the offset oversight language is considerably better than in Waxman-Markey, it still is troubling that we are relying on offsets rather than actually decreasing our pollution.
The draft does nothing to improve vague language in Waxman-Markey, which could effectively grandfather more than 40 proposed coal-fired power plants, including up to a dozen in Texas alone. These proposed plants would be exempted from new performance standards in the bill, while a plant built just three years from now will have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by half.
With Kerry-Boxer maintaining EPA’s right to regulate CO2 as a pollutant, this sets the table nicely to try to get a bill passed which will both solve climate change and create the new energy economy we need. We just need to improve the ground of the special-interest-riddled Congress. Tip of my hat to Paul Krugman and Tom Friedman for their articles on this earlier this week about the severity of the problem that faces us and the relatively lame responses by our government. As a palate cleanser, please to enjoy this 15 second video from [adult swim] about what the REAL problem may be:
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, American Clean Energy and Securities, Coal, coal plant, cornyn, Global Warming, grandfather, hutchinson, john, kay bailey hutchinson, Public Citizen, senator, Texas, tour on September 20, 2009 | 5 Comments »
In 1977 Congress passed amendments to the Clean Air Act that provided exemptions to existing coal plants, allowing them to ignore the new emissions standards any new plants would have to adhere to. It was thought these plants would simply age and be retired quickly, but because these plants suddenly became much cheaper to operate (due to not having to meet stricter standards) the companies who owned them kept them operating for as long as possible. It wasn’t until almost 30 years later, in 2003, that this “grandfathering” loophole was finally closed and all plants had to come into compliance with the Clean Air Act.
Now that global warming legislation is on the horizon, there is a new rush to build an entire new fleet of coal plants throughout the country. The hope is to get similar “grandfathering” provisions into any climate change legislation so that these brand new coal plants (some already being constructed) will not have to adhere to the new CO2 emission standards. Already, language in the American Clean Energy and Securities Act has been added to try and exempt any plants from the new standards if they receive their permit before January 1, 2009. The new standard, as it is now in the pending legislation, would require all qualifying plants to reduce their CO2 emissions by half by 2025. If the current fleet of new plants being built across the country are grandfathered this will result in massive amounts of CO2 added to our atmosphere that would otherwise have been mitigated. The new plants in Texas alone (which has more coal and pet coke plants proposed than any other state), if grandfathered, would end up emitting about 38.5 million tons more CO2 every year that they would if forced to adhere to the new emission standards.
There is no reason why any of these modern plants being permitted and built today should be exempt from modern CO2 emission controls, especially when there are plenty of alternatives such as energy efficiency and renewables that can meet this need. These coal companies are simply trying to slip in under the wire and evade responsibility for their emissions. The people of Texas call upon Senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Cornyn to not vote for or allow any provisions in any CO2 or climate change legislation that would allow such grandfathering of this new fleet of coal plants.
Please go to the following sites to email the senators. You can simply copy and past the following brief statement, put it in your own words, or both:
The American Clean Energy and Securities Act is intended to address the grave threat of global warming. To do this it is setting new emissions standards for CO2 releases from industrial power plants. There are currently exemptions, however, that would allow new plants being permitted and built today to escape these new standards, effectively “grandfathering” them similar to the way that existing plants were grandfathered under the Clean Air Act in 1977. There is no reason why plants being permitted and built today should not be held to the new emission standards. Please do not vote for, or allow to be added, any provisions or exemptions that would allow grandfathering of these plants.
To email Senator Cornyn go here.
To email Senator Hutchinson go here.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, american clean energy and security act, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, astroturf, Carbon Dioxide, climate change, Congress, endangerment finding, EPA, funny, Global Warming, Massachusetts v EPA, Public Citizen, public citizen texas, scopes monkey trial, SEED Coalition, SNL, unfrozen caveman lawyer, US Chamber of Commerce, video, waxman-markey on August 26, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
The US Chamber of Commerce wants to put the science of global warming on trial. Not only that, they themselves claim they want this trial to be similar to the Scopes Monkey Trial where a Tennessee teacher was put on trial for teaching evolution, made even more famous by the play and film “Inherit the Wind.”
Because the only way to respond to this is through mockery and derision (surely they can’t actually be serious?), we present to you:
INHERIT THE HOT AIR!!! (a comedy in 3 acts)
We apologize for the numerous Saturday Night Live circa 1989 references (especially the somewhat obscure “Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer“) and the blatant callbacks to Inherit the Wind, and also ask people to please NOT place plastic bags on their heads and inhale deeply. No Andys were harmed in the filming of this video and I was able to breathe freely at all times. I promise.
On a serious note, what the Chamber is trying to do is to overturn and stall a process which is well underway. In 2007, the Supreme Court in Massachusetts v EPA stated that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it is linked to climate change, and the EPA should regulate it under the Clean Air Act. In compliance with this ruling, (and only after delays by the Bush Administration which kept this action from occurring), the EPA earlier this year presented an initial endangerment finding, the first step in allowing them to regulate CO2 and other greenhouse gases. They then opened the finding for public comment, which could be sent in by writing, and also held public meetings in Arlington, VA and Seattle, WA to gather public input.
According to documents posted at the Wonk Room, the US Chamber’s main argument is that previous public comment periods have somehow “Tainted” the process and that only an elaborate show trial, orchestrated by them and by putting their junk scientists on the stand, can eliminate the “taint.” (And you know, “Tainted Endangerment Finding” was one of my favorite 80′s songs.)
So, according to the Chamber, public comment is bad, but the opinion of big business and their sham scientists can remove the stain from input by the witless masses.
All of this seems far too much like the plot of a Coen Brothers (or Marx Brothers) movie. These are serious times which require serious thought and reflection, not comical misdirection. But like the Fool in King Lear, only through comedy can we confront the tragedy that surrounds us and point out the serious misdeeds taking place. And this sham by the Chamber of Commerce is even more destructive, because as long as we keep endlessly debating “Is It Happening?” we will never get around to “How Do We Solve It?”
In the words of Stan Lee, “Nuff Said.”
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, API, astroturf, Big Oil, cap and tax, cap and trade, climate change, crap and trade, Energy Citizens, energy rally, Global Warming, houston, Public Citizen, waxman-markey on August 20, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Posted in Campaign Finance, Global Warming, tagged #FrontGroupFAIL, ACES, API, astroturf, Big Oil, cap and tax, cap and trade, citizen sarah, climate change, crap and trade, Energy Citizens, Global Warming, Public Citizen, Texas, waxman-markey on August 19, 2009 | 6 Comments »
As you may have read elsewhere on our blog, we tried to attend the “Energy Citizens” rally in Houston yesterday but were turned away.
Even far-right teabaggers, brought out to the event by FreedomWorks and a promise of a free meal, weren’t allowed in, despite actually being sympatico with Big Oil’s agenda.
The offending item that got one kicked out? An American flag. Why does Big Oil hate our freedom?
This is just the 30 second trailer– a longer, more in-depth interview with people who were not allowed in the rally will be posted in the next 24 hours.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, API, astroturf, Big Oil, cap and tax, cap and trade, citizen sarah, climate change, crap and trade, Energy Citizens, Global Warming, Public Citizen, Texas, waxman-markey on August 19, 2009 | 21 Comments »
Yesterday the Public Citizen Texas team drove down to Houston to crash the American Petroleum Institute’s Energy Citizen event. Billed as a “grassroots” rally against the cap and trade bill currently before Congress, this event was nothing more than a company picnic.
About 2500 energy employees were brought by charter bus to the Verizon Wireless Theater, a private location that could be easily secured to keep undesirables out. David, Ryan, and Andy were all denied access, but stealthily dressed in Banana Republic and spectator pumps, I was able to blend in with the crowd and slip into the hot dog line.
Inside the theater it became evident quickly what a polished, professional event this was. Right at the door you could pick up a bright yellow t-shirt with a clever slogan on it like “I’ll pass on $4 gas”, “I’m an Energy Citizen!”, and “Congress, Don’t Take Away My Job!” The same lines could also be found on bumper stickers and the same kinds of cardboard signs you would wave at a football game.
In the middle of the arena was a giant action center where employees could voice their disapproval of climate change legislation through a variety of mechanisms. Six or seven computers were cued up with petitions to Sens. Hutchison and Cornyn, and attendees were invited to text JOBS to 363749(ENERGY) to get involved. Drop boxes for postcards were also positioned in the corners of the room, and “activists” could sharpie their signatures to 8 foot tall “shame on you” or “thank you” letters to Congressmen that voted for or against the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
My favorite aspect of the rally by far, however, was the high school marching band and star spangled dance team. When I asked one of the teenage dancers what she thought the rally was about, she told me she thought that it was about conserving energy.
I was able to interview several rally attendees, but the majority of folks regarded me with suspicion or didn’t want to talk to me. Others clearly didn’t have much of an opinion on the bill other than what they’d been told, but one gentleman I spoke to was actually concerned about the special interest carve-outs in the bill for dirty coal. Stay posted for the video of these interviews later today, with the working title “Energy Workers Say the Darndest Things.” Teaser:
After about an hour I started to run out out of room on my camera, so I moved toward the front doors to see if I could trade off cameras with Andy, who was still stationed outside. Big mistake. Once the chief security guard saw me make eye contact with a marked man, I was out of there. He grabbed my shoulder and asked “what energy company do you work for?” When I said I wasn’t with an energy company but was a member of the media, he said I was misrepresenting myself and summarily kicked me out.
I was a little disappointed to miss out on the great list of speakers, especially rodeo man Bill Bailey, who was master of ceremonies (irony, irony, irony, seeing as this rally was all hat and no cattle). But speaking to other individuals who had been denied access was even more enlightening than listening to Big Oil preach their sermon.
This was such a fake, Astroturf event that they didn’t know how to handle legitimate grassroots support. A couple of women who had been to some of the teabagger events and townhalls came down, armed with American flags and excited to protest “crap and tax” — but even THEY weren’t allowed in. Several others who had heard about the rally through Freedom Works, on right wing radio, or in the paper were also locked out.
Yesterday’s rally was the first of about twenty rallies that will be staged nationwide over the next few weeks. Thanks to Greenpeace, we already knew Big Oil’s game plan: rally up a bunch of Astroturf support to kill cap and trade. But now we know the full story — they don’t even want to hear the voices of their real grassroots. These events are by invitation only, and all other members of the public — for or against climate legislation — will be shut out. If you don’t work for the company, you’re not invited to the picnic.
Posted in Campaign Finance, Energy, Global Warming, Good Government, tagged ACES, API, astroturf, Carbon Dioxide, climate change, Coal, Energy, Energy Citizens, Global Warming, green jobs, houston, Public Citizen, public citizen texas, Texas, waxman-markey on August 19, 2009 | 3 Comments »
Your intrepid friends at Public Citizen tried to attend the astroturf “Energy Citizens” rally yesterday in Houston. We’re busy pulling together our bloggings and all the footage we shot, but keep checking back here for updates throughout the day.
We were not allowed in the meeting, as we did not work for an energy company, but we managed to sneak some great footage before being escorted out and being told to leave the premises.
Footage of the 34 busses used to bring people into the rally from different energy companies.
Normal Citizens who weren”t good enough to be “Energy Citizens”– people who weren’t allowed in the meeting, as this was for energy company employees only! Interviews include lots of crazy conservative teabaggers who hate cap and trade (I understand why Public Citizen and Sierra Club might not be allowed in– why weren’t even they allowed?), nice ladies who were escorted out of the building because they dared to bring American flags to the rally (why does Big Oil hate America?), and lots of people angry at oil companies because they’re hiding this from the public.
“Energy Company Employees Say the Darndest Things” — watch as your friends in the oil and gas industry display ignorance as to the salient details of the ACES bill and spout misinformation about it, or, the people who do know a lot about the bill talk about how it’s a bad piece of legislation because of corporate giveaways to the coal industry! Here’s one quick tidbit:
Want more? Read my full press statement after the jump:
Posted in Campaign Finance, Global Warming, Good Government, tagged ACCCE, ACES, API, astroturf, Balanced Energy choices, Big Oil, Campaign Finance, Citizen Power, climate change, Global Warming, Grass roots, grassroots politics, Lloyd Doggett, Public Citizen, Waxman-Markey bill on August 13, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
UPDATE: Greenpeace has just obtained an internal API memo detailing their astroturf plans. You can read the memo and Greenpeace’s reply here. Job “whale” done, Greenpeace!
Most people have a good general conception of what a real grassroots movement looks like: citizens get outraged over some injustice or inequity and get organized and get active. These campaigns are built from the bottom up.
And what happens when you don’t have a grassroots movement but want to make it look like you do? Well, then you Astro-turf a movement in, paying hired guns to pretend to be “activists” who then show up to townhall meetings and other public forums. Fake grass- sent from top down, rather than something grown naturally from the ground up. A lot of these protesters have been either astroturfed in or given specific instructions on how to disrupt these townhalls in an attempt to shout down opinions other than their own.
We in Texas know a thing about Astroturf, the name having originated as the name of the artificial turf used in the Houston Astrodome. (Coincidentally, the first ever Super Bowl played on astroturf was also in Houston at SuperBowl VIII in 1974.)
Many have criticized recent astroturf campaigns on healthcare, climate change, and the infamous tea-baggers because of their coordination by Washington lobbyists and special interests. In fact, Senator Dick Durbin (IL), the #2 Democrat in the Senate, Sunday told CNN’s John King,
“We have these screaming groups on either side. That isn’t helpful. Let’s be honest about this. . . this is clearly being orchestrated, and these folks have instructions. They come down from a Texas lobbyist in Washington.”
So what’s the difference between what Public Citizen does (educate, activate and organize citizens) and what the astroturfers do (hired guns, fomenting support based on misinformation for the purpose of financial gain)? Many groups engage in grassroots organizing, from Public Citizen to the League of Conservation Voters to the NRA, and use their membership to engage in activism, and some of this leadership comes from our paid staff in DC or Austin, etc. However, Public Citizen has a long history of never accepting donations from corporations or government grants, meaning we can always clearly represent only the interests of our membership without any conflicts of interest.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, these atroturf campaigns are actually schilling for major corporate interests who have a financial stake in climate change, health insurance, etc. The most glaring example is ACCCE, the coal industry group that represents 48 of the largest coal electricty utilities in the US with a combined net revenues last year of nearly $200 billion. ACCCE’s mission is to sell their false claims of clean coal technology. Haven’t heard of ACCCE? Well, maybe it’s because they used to be called “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices” but decided to “rebrand” since it became obvious that “balanced” energy choices meant all coal all the time.
Their ads became so ridiculous they became parodied like this, in this commercial from Oscar Winners Joel and Ethan Coen:
Anyway, they’re up to their old Orwellian tricks again.
In the weeks before the House voted on the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), ACCCE’s lobbyists forged letters to Congress, claiming to be representatives of minority and environmental justice groups such as NAACP. (A huge tip of the hat to to Kate Sheppard at Grist who has been following this very closely- also follow Kate on Twitter for the best enviro updates this side of @ClimateHaiku)
Even more amazing was that these letters claimed that enacting climate legislation would hurt low-income communities, even though the national NAACP (and many, many other social justice groups) had come down in support of ACES. No word yet how many fake letters they sent to members of Congress pretending to be average constituents, rather than important community members who could be easily verified, and we will probably never know the extent of the fraud they have perpetrated.
That is Astroturfing, my friends.
Another egregious example, coming soon to the theater near you, is that the American Petroleum Institute and National Association of Manufacturers along with other flat-earth anti-climate change legislation groups are teaming up to host townhall-style meetings in 20 key states to attempt to influence the passage of the climate bill in the Senate (see articles here and here). So, the deep, deep pockets of big oil and big business are trying to buy themselves a grassroots movement. Will they have any luck?
And then, as a corollary to astroturfing, we have the local example of Austin’s Congressman Lloyd Doggett, who has gained a lot of media attention because of the angry throngs showing up to mob him and yell “Just Say No!” to health care reform.
Depending on your view of Doggett, you may have shown up to his previous townhalls to lambaste, lampoon, or lavish praise on him. I have been to these neighborhood office hours before to speak with Congressman Doggett (he is, after all, my Representative in Washington) and I have never seen anything like what happened two weeks ago. Most people show up to politely engage the Congressman about a (more…)
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, Austin, Carbon Dioxide, Clean Energy, climate change, congressman lloyd doggett, Global Warming, Lloyd Doggett, Waxman-Markey bill on May 28, 2009 | Leave a Comment »
We’ve been disappointed by the process that the American Clean Energy and Security Act has gone through recently, so a few weeks ago I went to go see my Congressman during his “neighborhood office hours” (at the Randall’s at the corner of William Cannon and MoPac) and talk to him about climate change. Then this morning I opened up my email inbox to find a communique from Congressman Lloyd Doggett.
Needless to say, it made me happy, so I’m sharing it with all of you. This should serve as an example– contact your leaders and tell them how you feel about issues like climate change. They do listen! (Or if they don’t– make them!)
I also think his ideas about the “Safe Markets Development” would be a major improvement to any climate bill. Read on to find out that experts also think it’s a good idea!
Full text after the jump….
May 28, 2009
Mr. Andrew Wilson
5xxx Little Creek Trl
Austin, Texas 78744
Knowing of our shared interest in fighting global warming and creating a robust green jobs economy, I would like to update you about my work in Washington.
This is an exciting time for those of us who have long wanted to make renewable energy affordable. Never before has there been such a push from both politicians and concerned citizens like you to get something done.
We cannot allow the fossil fuel special interests to blacken our chances at achieving a strong, clean energy economy in the same way that they blacken our skies. It is critical that the climate legislation this Congress produces ensure both price stability and environmental integrity. To this end, I have introduced the Safe Markets Development Act. I designed this act to
-Cap carbon pollution;
-Head off market manipulation;
-And incentivize renewable energy technology.
I have also introduced the Green Transit Act, which would require metropolitan planning organizations to consider greenhouse gas emissions in long-range transportation plans and transportation improvement programs. Transportation is an integral factor in the transition to a clean energy (more…)
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, allowances, american clean energy and security act, andy wilson, cap and trade, carbon credits, Carbon Dioxide, charlie gonzalez, charlie melancon, climate change, ed markey, energy and commerce committee, EPA, Gene Green, giveaways, Global Warming, government accountability office, green jobs, henry waxman, hr 2454, ipcc, jim matheson, Joe Barton, john barrow, mike ross, president obama, rick boucher, union of concerned scientists on May 22, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Public Citizen disappointed by process as Big Money works to weaken, kill bill
Statement by Andy Wilson, Global Warming Program Director, Texas Office
This evening, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed HR 2454, The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES or ACESA), sponsored by Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA), by a margin of 33 – 25.
We would like to thank Gene Green (D-Houston) and Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) for their support of this step towards clean energy and saving the climate from runaway global warming. It is unfortunate, however, that they chose to weaken the energy efficiency and renewable energy sections of the bill, as stronger mandates would mean more local jobs and more savings for Texans.
They also supported giving away billions of dollars worth of carbon credits to polluters for free, despite knowing that these giveaways hurt low income households the most.
Big money was the deciding factor in this process, with the energy industry donating a total of $3.1 million on all members of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 2008 campaign cycle, with nearly $2.3 million of that going to committee Republicans, who presented nearly monolithic opposition to the bill and attempted to weaken it at every turn. Ranking member Joe Barton (R-TX) received $406,887 in campaign contributions from the energy industry, the largest amount of any member on the panel, and orchestrated the GOP opposition. Notable opposition to the bill came from Jim Matheson (D-UT), who received $103,097, Charlie Melancon (D-LA), who received $125,100, John Barrow (D-GA) who received $88,743, and Mike Ross (D-AR) who received $59,800. The first three of these received more money from the energy industry than any other Democrats on the panel, while Ross was the fifth largest recipient among Democrats.
The architects of the compromises which weakened the bill also received large contributions from the energy industry, including Rick Boucher (D-VA) who received $67,300 and was the architect of the plan to give coal-fired electric utilities nearly all of their pollution credits for free. A similar deal was struck with oil refineries, whose donations to Gene Green (D-TX) and Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) along with other energy industries was equal to $84,500 and $51,250, respectively.
Unfortunately, the bill leaves the committee weaker than it came in. It has moved to a short term reduction of CO2 emissions of only 17%, even though the research by the Nobel Prize winning IPCC shows that target needs to be closer to 30%. This bill is also potentially a budget buster, as it has moved away from President Obama’s original position of auctioning all of the pollution credits to giving away credits worth billions in revenue to industry for free. By giving away 85% of all carbon credits to industry, the Congress has also limited their ability to help low-income consumers and invest in efficiency, renewable energy, and international programs to aid lesser developed countries. Furthermore, they have added unlimited loan guarantees to the nuclear industry, even though the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated that it is likely that more than 50 percent of all nuclear loans will fail. The loan guarantees would be used to
Even worse, by giving away too many credits to special interests, we will repeat the mistakes of the European carbon market, where too many credits were given away at the outset and actual carbon reductions did not occur. Utilities still passed on “compliance costs” to their customers and prices increased, which led to the EPA’s analysis of the Waxman-Markey draft that any giveaways to industries are “highly regressive.”
A well designed cap and invest program with strong efficiency and renewable energy standards would save the average Texas household $900 per year according to a study by the Union of Concerned Scientists. We fear that by weakening the bill, as the Energy and Commerce Committee has, this savings could evaporate.
Now that the committee process has ended, it is now the responsibility of every Texas Representative to strengthen HR 2454. The bill needs to move back to scientifically and economically based goals in order to protect consumers and create a green jobs future for every family in the country.
Posted in Global Warming, tagged ACES, american clean energy and security act, climate change, congressman gonzalez, Gene Green, houston, patricia gonzalez, San Antonio, wcvi, william c velasquez institute, willie velasguez institute on May 11, 2009 | 2 Comments »