This is good stuff overall, although vague enough that even coal industry shill Sen. Joe Manchin could sign it. Also, sorry, but this “all-of-the-above” approach is simply not going to cut it; with the climate already past the danger point, we need to get off fossil fuels ASAP. I’d further point out that the reference to “low-carbon fossil energy” is pretty much a farce. They’re referring, of course, to natural gas, which certainly is lower in carbon content than coal or oil. The problems with natural gas are multifold, however: 1) its production releases the potent greenhouse gas methane; 2) it still contains climate-heating carbon; 3) in the U.S., the main way to produce it is via the dangerous, dirty, water-wasting, earthquake-causing technique called “fracking;” 4) to the extent we subsidize (implicitly and explicitly) natural gas production, we’re both pulling money out of true clean energy (efficiency, wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, etc.) and also undercutting true clean energy in terms of the economics; and 5) in sum, natural gas is a “bridge” in only one sense – a bridge to nowhere.
Last but not least, I’d point out that many of these Senators – including both Warner and Kaine – support things that are fundamentally incompatible with the goals laid out here: for starters, there’s no way to make offshore oil drilling or mountaintop removal coal mining clean, let alone to “[keep] our air and water clean for generations to come”. I haven’t heard the Obama administration or anyone who supports the so-called “all-of-the-above” strategy explain how that gets us to where the science tells us we need to be. And I know I never will, because the short answer is that continued reliance on fossil fuels is fundamentally incompatible with the future of a habitable planet for humans and other species.
P.S. Also notice the dearth of Republicans on this letter? That’s truly pathetic, but sadly not unexpected from these fossil fuel industry tools.
June 29, 2015
We believe it is time for the U.S. Senate to consider the first update to our nation’s energy policies in almost a decade. In particular, we believe the U.S. must establish a framework that helps unleash investment in our infrastructure sufficient to ensure all American citizens and businesses have access to affordable, efficient, reliable and cleaner energy; and that we must do so in a way that cuts carbon emissions, in order to address climate change and the substantial impacts it is already having on communities across the country.
We are writing to ask your support for the following goals. Your feedback will help us collectively craft a path forward on an energy policy that unleashes America’s limitless capacity for innovation, rewards middle-class families for making smart energy choices, and keeps our air and water clean for generations to come. In particular we believe in the following principles:
Investing in clean energy: The U.S. should continue on a trajectory that encourages investment, invention and deployment of the clean energy technologies that are creating jobs today, and will continue to do so for decades to come-from renewable energy and low-carbon fossil energy, to storage and advanced grid systems.
Empowering consumers: We must protect consumers, ensure the safety, physical security and cybersecurity of our infrastructure, and empower our citizens and businesses to make their own energy choices.
Modernizing infrastructure: We must modernize our energy infrastructure, to ensure we have reliable and resilient systems in place that can respond to the complex needs of a 21st Century economy.
Cutting pollution and waste: We must cut pollution and end needless waste in both the way we use energy, and in the way in which governments execute our energy policy objectives.
Investing in research and development: Finally, we must continue to make foundational investments in the research and development that ensure U.S. businesses will successfully compete in growing global markets for new energy products and services.
In short, we recognize that the success of our efforts to address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities will continue to rely on a foundational partnership between federal policymakers and States. As such, we seek your input on policies consistent with these shared principles, to help guide our consideration of reasonable, commonsense updates to our nation’s energy policy.