The Dernogalizer

October 31, 2009

New York’s 23rd District and Clean Energy

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 2:58 pm
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If you’ve been watching the network news lately, you might have noticed the story about the Republican party eating its own candidates in the special election contest for New York’s 23rd Congressional District.  The 23rd district is being given up by Republican John McHugh, who is now serving in the Obama administration.  He was one of the 8 Republicans who voted for the Waxman-Markey climate legislation back in June.  The contest for this moderate district has been a three-way race between Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dierdre Scozzafava, and Conservative (tea-party) candidate Dan Hoffman.

In a strange turn of events, Scozzafava, the original favorite, has just dropped out of the race with 4 days to go, being deemed too liberal by the national republican party.  Many prominent Republicans such as Sarah Palin and Fred Thompson have been stumping for Dan Hoffman, and raising large amounts of cash for him in the process.  This led her to fall from the favorite to a distant 3rd place, while Owens and Hoffman were in a dead heat.  Now, it’s a two-way race between Owens and Hoffman, and there’s a good possibility a lot of the votes for Scozzafava are going to shift to Hoffman.  Of course, it goes without saying we don’t want a Tea Party congressman to take that seat.  But would the Democrat be much better?

Upon doing a little bit of research on the Democrat Bill Owens, I think he’s a fairly green candidate.  For starters, the vast majority of his commercials have him talking about investing in green jobs in upstate New York.  See the video above for a solid example.  The first plank of his “jobs” platform on his website says…

” Leading the Way on Green Energy:

Upstate New York has already taken strides to promote a green energy economy, and that’s creating good paying jobs for working families across the state.  Whether it is solar, wind, biomass or other technologies, our Congressional District is already up and running with a green energy industry.  We need to promote more of this kind of investment so we can continue to create better paying jobs for Upstate New York.”

A more thorough investigation through a LCV questionnaire reveals that Owens has a number of favorable positions for the climate movement.  He is for emissions cutting climate legislation, engaging the international community on a global climate treaty, says the green economy is one of his top priorities, supports a 25% clean RES, near zero emissions performance standards for new power plants, and supports the current moratorium on new oil and gas drilling.  There are of course some unfavorable or cautious statements, such as support for the nuclear industry, a yes and no answer on unconventional fuels, and he sometimes says “as long as it doesn’t cause the loss of jobs”.

If you’re looking for a champion on fighting global warming, Bill Owens isn’t going to be your hero.  If you want a champion for a clean energy economy, he’s got a chance.  His opponent will do everything he can to obstruct clean energy investment, environmental protection, and climate legislation.  My read on Owens is he’ll be proactive in addressing these issues in Congress.  He could even be an important House vote on the final product of climate legislation after conference committee.  So if you live in New York, or you’re actually in his district, I think it would be worth your time for the next few days to support Owens, whether it be financial, or grassroots activism.  Below is a key quote from the questionnaire.

“Global climate change is an issue we must address in Congress. The United States is in position to lead the world and be on the forefront of a “green” economy. In the 23rd Congressional District, there are many wind farms and renewable fuel facilities which not only preserve the environment but create jobs and stimulate the economy.”


 

October 29, 2009

UMD for Clean Energy’s Election Endorsements

The election phase of UMD for Clean Energy’s Green for College Park effort is winding down to a close.  Our political liaison Hilary Staver has an Op-Ed out in the Diamondback today releasing our endorsements.

Guest column: A ‘clean’ election

There are five days left until the College Park City Council elections, and if this year is like any other, chances are not many students would be voting. Traditionally, student turnout in these elections has been abysmally low: In 2007, fewer than 50 students at a university of tens of thousands took the time to cast their votes in the elections.

But this semester can be different. UMD for Clean Energy has been working on a campaign called Green for College Park. In light of the many developing or recently passed state and federal laws mandating renewable energy portfolios, energy consumption reduction standards and greenhouse gas reduction targets, we feel the near future is going to bring unprecedented levels of investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon technology. The regions that stand to benefit the most from this investment will be those with policies and programs in place to encourage it. We feel with the right leadership there is no reason why College Park cannot be a leader on these issues and a model for the county and the state.

The first step in this direction is to elect a city council that will make these issues a priority, and that is where we, the students, can do our part.  In order to gauge where each of the candidates stands on sustainability issues, UMD for Clean Energy has put together a platform of policies and programs that we have presented to each of the candidates for the city council. The platform includes, among other suggestions, a revolving loan fund to help College Park residents finance energy efficiency improvements for their homes, tax cuts to attract green businesses to the city and encourage existing businesses to decrease their environmental impacts, white roofs and LEED certification for new buildings and development projects, further development of biking infrastructure and better recycling practices.

After meeting with all the candidates and hearing their positions on the platform, we have decided to endorse the seven who we believe to be outstanding on these issues and  will do the best job of making College Park a leader. They support most — if not all — of the ideas on our platform, and many have a history of interest and advocacy in this area. We have posted complete information from our meetings with all of the candidates on our website (www.umdforcleanenergy.com) that I encourage everyone to explore, but the names are as follows: Mayoral candidate Andy Fellows; District 1 candidates Patrick Wojahn and Fazlul Kabir; District 3 candidates Stephanie Stullich and Mark Cook; and District 4 candidates Mary Cook and Marcus Afzali. We are not endorsing any District 2 candidates.

I implore you, if you are registered in College Park, take the time to vote next Tuesday.
Voting in these elections for candidates who are strong advocates for sustainability gives us a chance to invest in the future of not just the community around us but one small piece of our society at large.

We’ll be having a rally at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the sundial on McKeldin Mall to distribute information about where the candidates stand on our platform, and then we’ll be marching down to City Hall to vote. Please join us and cast your vote. Together let’s make this the year that counts.

Hilary Staver is the political liaison for the student group UMD for Clean Energy. She can be reached at hstaver at umd dot edu

Statisticians Reject Global Cooling

Filed under: Climate Change — Matt Dernoga @ 2:29 pm
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Yes, for those of you who are living under a rock, the Earth is warming long term, and short term.  But this recent AP development really puts the “global cooling crowd” to shame.  Excerpts posted below.

“Have you heard that the world is now cooling instead of warming? You may have seen some news reports on the Internet or heard about it from a provocative new book.  Only one problem: It’s not true, according to an analysis of the numbers done by several independent statisticians for The Associated Press.”

“In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to four independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found no true temperature declines over time.

“If you look at the data and sort of cherry-pick a micro-trend within a bigger trend, that technique is particularly suspect,” said John Grego, a professor of statistics at the University of South Carolina.”

“Global warming skeptics base their claims on an unusually hot year in 1998. Since then, they say, temperatures have dropped — thus, a cooling trend. But it’s not that simple.

Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more. Records kept by the British meteorological office and satellite data used by climate skeptics still show 1998 as the hottest year. However, data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA show 2005 has topped 1998. Published peer-reviewed scientific research generally cites temperatures measured by ground sensors, which are from NOAA, NASA and the British, more than the satellite data.”

“”The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of the modern record,” said NOAA climate monitoring chief Deke Arndt. “Even if you analyze the trend during that 10 years, the trend is actually positive, which means warming.””

“Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upward trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past 10 years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in data as far back as 1880.”

“Statisticians say that in sizing up climate change, it’s important to look at moving averages of about 10 years. They compare the average of 1999-2008 to the average of 2000-2009. In all data sets, 10-year moving averages have been higher in the last five years than in any previous years.

“To talk about global cooling at the end of the hottest decade the planet has experienced in many thousands of years is ridiculous,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution at Stanford.”

“Of the 10 hottest years recorded by NOAA, eight have occurred since 2000, and after this year it will be nine because this year is on track to be the sixth-warmest on record.

The current El Nino is forecast to get stronger, probably pushing global temperatures even higher next year, scientists say. NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend “will be never talked about again.”

 

 

350 Highlights

Filed under: Climate Change — Matt Dernoga @ 12:24 am
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I highlighted some 350 actions on October 24 a few days ago.  350.org has compiled a great video of some highlights from around the world.  Check it out.

October 27, 2009

Column on Saving Mattawoman Creek

Filed under: MD Politics,Sprawl — Matt Dernoga @ 1:17 pm
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I have a column out today about the threat of the cross-county connector on Mattawoman Creek, and the implications for the Chesapeake Bay.

Mattawoman: Constructing or destructing?

A week ago, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) announced a bill to clean up the Chesapeake Bay by giving the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to set pollution reduction goals for states whose pollution harms the bay. Federal funding would be cut if those targets aren’t met. The legislation, titled the Bay Ecosystem Restoration Act, would also authorize $2 billion for the states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed to spend on cleanup and best practices.

Passing this bill would be a good step, particularly toward actually putting some teeth into regulations by punishing states who slack off. Up until now, the main strategy for saving the Chesapeake Bay has been to fund an exponentially larger broom to clean up our growing mess, oblivious to the concept of preventing the mess in the first place. This could be why the Chesapeake Bay Foundation rated the health of the bay in 2008 a 28 out of 100 — one full point higher than the score in 1998. Ah, the smell of bullshit consistency.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and other state officials have a great opportunity to break the tendency of making the cleanup a national disgrace. Mattawoman Creek in Charles County is one of the most pristine, healthy streams that flows into the Chesapeake bay. It’s also one of the premier fish nurseries on the East Coast, consistently drawing tourism and Bassmaster Tournaments. Charles County government wants to build an extension of a highway called the cross-county connector across the full width of the Mattawoman watershed.

This would no doubt generate thousands of acres of new sprawl and development around the creek, where the 2,200-acre Chapman forest is currently located. Talk about one-upping the Wooded Hillock. The only thing funnier than this plan is Charles County officials arguing that developing over Mattawoman Creek will actually help save it. The Maryland Department of the Environment has to decide whether to approve a permit for this development proposal.

If I was a member of MDE and found this request on my doorstep, the first thing I would do is check to see whether it’s April Fools’ Day. The rejection would be swift. Instead, MDE has been deliberating over the permit for many months, giving serious consideration to a proposal that is seriously bad.

We need more leadership on cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay not just by throwing money at the problem, but by enforcing strong standards on development and pollution so pollutants don’t get into the Chesapeake bay in the first place. Cardin has shown that we can count on him. Can the state also count on O’Malley to follow Cardin’s lead?

Past development decisions, such as allowing the construction of the Intercounty Connector, do not inspire confidence. Neither does MDE’s hesitation in rejecting the permit for construction of the cross-county connector, which would lead to the destruction of Mattawoman Creek. With one of the healthiest fish nurseries in the Chesapeake Bay region on the line, reckless development decisions such as paving over a body of water with a highway should lead MDE to a simple conclusion, be it bay or creek.

Why would we want to destroy something good?

Matt Dernoga is a senior government and politics major. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com

October 26, 2009

350 plus Maryland Powershift

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 1:09 pm
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The Diamondback has coverage of the coverage this weekend that took place involving University of Maryland students, along with our regional Maryland Powershift.  I participated in the 350 action at UMD, the 350 march to the White House in DC, and I led a lobby training at Maryland Powershift.  All in all, a great weekend of activism.  Below are excerpts from both events.

A march on Washington. A climb to the top of an Antarctic mountain. A photo shoot outside the McKeldin Library.

An international protest pushing policymakers to cut atmospheric carbon concentrations took on many forms this weekend, as more than 5,200 broke out across 181 countries. But all the events unified around a common theme: the number 350.”

“The 70 students who gathered in front of the library Friday hoped their demonstration would play a part in pressuring lawmakers to take ambitious steps to reduce the earth’s carbon concentration as a global climate summit approaches in December.

“We want to show that Maryland, as a school and campus, cared as a whole,” said Kate Richard, a member of UMD for Clean Energy, who organized the petition. “Our main goal was to get as many people out for the petition as possible, especially since the main events are all this weekend.”

“The protests continued Saturday, the official 350 Day of Action, when about 25 students from UMD for Clean Energy joined hundreds of others for a march on the White House.

Similar events took place in all 50 states, and organizers declared the day of action the largest environmental demonstration ever  recorded.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network coordinated the Washington protest, where supporters marched from Malcolm X Park to Lafayette Park, stopping outside the White House to form a “circle of hope” in the hopes of persuading President Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders to create an ambitious treaty at the Copenhagen meeting.

“It was inspirational walking down the street because we held up traffic and people were cheering on the side, which was exciting,” Eric Marshall-Main, a member of UMD for Clean Energy, said. “The rain definitely hampered the turnout, but the energy was still huge.”

————————————————————————————————————————————

“Students from schools across the state gathered yesterday at the first-ever Maryland Power Shift, a conference to train, educate and inform student environmental activists.

In the basement of Jimenez Hall, nearly 100 students from high schools and universities, including this one, learned how to lobby as they cooked up plans to pressure the U.S. Senate to pass a climate bill before an international global warming summit meets in Copenhagen in December.”

“Students attended training and break-out sessions where they learned about leadership, lobbying, and running local and national campaigns. Fellow students led some sessions, while others were headed by activists from organizations including the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Avaaz Climate Action Factory and the Sierra Student Coalition.”

“In some of the training sessions, students acted out meetings with legislators. In the break-out sessions, students devised plans of action to combine local and national issues in an effort to build a successful lobbying base for the Senate bill.”

“Many have attributed Obama’s victory to us,” Nazdin said. “Now that he’s in office, it’s time for him to put his money where his mouth is and go to Copenhagen and push for a strong international climate agreement that won’t leave developing countries behind.”

EPA: Senate Climate Bill Costs $100 Annually

Small price to pay for preventing catastrophic global warming, no?  The EPA analysis of course doesn’t factor in the benefits of energy efficiency investment in the legislation, or the cost of inaction.  The differences between the Senate bill and the House bill are noted below, courtesy of Senator Barbara Boxer’s office

Key Changes in the Chairman’s Mark 
The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733)

Specifies Distribution of Emissions Allowances
The Chairman’s Mark specifies the distribution of the allowances established under the Pollution Reduction and Investment program. The allocations place emphasis on investments in the following areas:

• Energy Intensive and Trade Exposed industries 
• Small local distribution companies (including rural electric co-operatives) 
• Transportation grants 
• Agriculture and forestry 
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy 
• Advanced energy research 
• Credits for early action 
• Energy efficiency and renewable energy worker training 
• Nuclear worker training

New Provisions To Address Clean Coal Technology

• The Chairman’s Mark includes new provisions to stimulate development of commercial-scale carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies 
• The bonus allowance program is modified to allow for advanced payments of bonus allowances for early actors with a requirement that funded projects will achieve at least a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 
• The Chairman’s Mark includes provisions that require coal fired power plants to meet emissions performance standards once sufficient commercial-scale CCS technology has been deployed, while also ensuring timely reductions in global warming pollution from coal plants.

Increased Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

• The Chairman’s Mark increases investments in utility-scale renewable energy generation. 
• The 25 percent set-aside for local governments for energy efficiency and conservation block grant continues unchanged. 
• The Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program is guaranteed a share of the allocation provided to states for energy efficiency and renewable energy. 
• Allowances are also dedicated to energy efficiency programs, including a specific requirement that states use some of these funds for thermal energy efficiency projects. 
• Priority is given to low and moderate-income households and a dedicated portion of the energy efficiency set-aside is reserved for low-income households and for public housing retrofits. 
• The Chairman’s Mark includes a new program that authorizes the EPA Administrator to provide assistance to owners and operators of buildings in the United States that implement energy efficiency measures that meet Energy Star or other relevant standards.

Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Increasing Investments in the Transportation Sector

• A new allocation program with increased investments is established specifically to fund transportation projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Funds are provided for the “Clean-Tea” planning and performance grants program and for Transit formula grants. 
• The Clean Vehicles program is modified to place a stronger emphasis on the domestic manufacturing of advanced technology vehicles, including transit vehicles.

Enhanced Agriculture and Forestry Provisions

• A more robust supplemental agriculture and forestry program is included with allocations throughout the life of the bill. The Supplemental Agriculture and Forestry Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Renewable Energy Program is strengthened to ensure measurable reductions in global warming pollution.

Directs Assistance to Rural Communities

• The Chairman’s Mark increases allowances for small electric Local Distribution Companies, including Rural Electric Cooperatives, which will benefit rural electric consumers. 
• The Chairman’s Mark includes a new program to provide grants to states and non-profits to improve air quality by replacing outdated wood stoves.

Promotes Advanced Renewable Fuels

• The definition of biofuels in the Renewable Fuel Standard is clarified to make clear that algae-based and other advanced fuels are included.

Enhances the Role of Tribes

• Tribes are recognized in a number of ways throughout the Chairman’s Mark. Tribes receive guaranteed allocations for the energy efficiency and renewable energy program. The Chairman’s Mark also enhances the role that Tribes will play in a number of programs in the bill.

Bigger Market Stability Reserve

• To maintain price certainty and prevent market manipulation, the size of the market stability reserve is increased in the Chairman’s Mark.

Greater Assistance for Small and Medium Refineries

• Small business refiners are given additional time to comply with the Pollution Reduction and Investment program. In addition, the domestic fuel production allowance program focuses on small and medium refineries.

October 24, 2009

350 Day of International Climate Action

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:26 am
Tags: ,

If you aren’t going to a 350 action today, you need to go to 350.org and find one near you.  This is the biggest day of international action, on climate, on ANYTHING in human history.  Over 5200 rallies taking place in 170+ countries.  I’m going to the one in DC at Malcolm X Park.  On Friday we had our own early 350 rally at the University of Maryland.

Check out this incredible 15,000 person youth action in Ethiopia.

In Kenya

In Maasai

Australia

New Zealand

This is a global movement!  Kudos to Bill McKibben and the staff at 350.org for their tremendous work.

Obama Speech to MIT

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:16 am
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Yeah Obama!  Great messaging for clean energy legislation.  Here is the speech.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Please, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you, MIT. (Applause.) I am — I am hugely honored to be here. It’s always been a dream of mine to visit the most prestigious school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Applause.) Hold on a second — certainly the most prestigious school in this part of Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Laughter.) And I’ll probably be here for a while — I understand a bunch of engineering students put my motorcade on top of Building 10. (Laughter.)

This tells you something about MIT — everybody hands out periodic tables. (Laughter.) What’s up with that? (Laughter.)

I want I want to thank all of you for the warm welcome and for the work all of you are doing to generate and test new ideas that hold so much promise for our economy and for our lives. And in particular, I want to thank two outstanding MIT professors, Eric Lander, a person you just heard from, Ernie Moniz, for their service on my council of advisors on science and technology. And they have been hugely helpful to us already on looking at, for example, how the federal government can most effectively respond to the threat of the H1N1 virus. So I’m very grateful to them.

We’ve got some other special guests here I just want to acknowledge very briefly. First of all, my great friend and a champion of science and technology here in the great Commonwealth of Massachusetts, my friend Deval Patrick is here. (Applause.) Our Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray is here. (Applause.) Attorney General Martha Coakley is here. (Applause.) Auditor of the Commonwealth, Joe DeNucci is here. (Applause.) The Mayor of the great City of Cambridge, Denise Simmons is in the house. (Applause.) The Mayor of Boston, Tom Menino, is not here, but he met me at the airport and he is doing great; he sends best wishes.

Somebody who really has been an all-star in Capitol Hill over the last 20 years, but certainly over the last year, on a whole range of issues — everything from Afghanistan to clean energy — a great friend, John Kerry. Please give John Kerry a round of applause. (Applause.)

And a wonderful member of Congress — I believe this is your district, is that correct, Mike? Mike Capuano. Please give Mike a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, Dr. Moniz is also the Director of MIT’s Energy Initiative, called MITEI. And he and President Hockfield just showed me some of the extraordinary energy research being conducted at this institute: windows that generate electricity by directing light to solar cells; light-weight, high-power batteries that aren’t built, but are grown — that was neat stuff; engineering viruses to create — to create batteries; more efficient lighting systems that rely on nanotechnology; innovative engineering that will make it possible for offshore wind power plants to deliver electricity even when the air is still.

And it’s a reminder that all of you are heirs to a legacy of innovation — not just here but across America — that has improved our health and our wellbeing and helped us achieve unparalleled prosperity. I was telling John and Deval on the ride over here, you just get excited being here and seeing these extraordinary young people and the extraordinary leadership of Professor Hockfield because it taps into something essential about America — it’s the legacy of daring men and women who put their talents and their efforts into the pursuit of discovery. And it’s the legacy of a nation that supported those intrepid few willing to take risks on an idea that might fail — but might also change the world.

Even in the darkest of times this nation has seen, it has always sought a brighter horizon. Think about it. In the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln designated a system of land grant colleges, including MIT, which helped open the doors of higher education to millions of people. A year — a full year before the end of World War II, President Roosevelt signed the GI Bill which helped unleash a wave of strong and broadly shared economic growth. And after the Soviet launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth, the United States went about winning the Space Race by investing in science and technology, leading not only to small steps on the moon but also to tremendous economic benefits here on Earth.

So the truth is, we have always been about innovation, we have always been about discovery. That’s in our DNA. The truth is we also face more complex challenges than generations past. A medical system that holds the promise of unlocking new cures is attached to a health care system that has the potential to bankrupt families and businesses and our government. A global marketplace that links the trader on Wall Street to the homeowner on Main Street to the factory worker in China — an economy in which we all share opportunity is also an economy in which we all share crisis. We face threats to our security that seek — there are threats to our security that are based on those who would seek to exploit the very interconnectedness and openness that’s so essential to our prosperity. The system of energy that powers our economy also undermines our security and endangers our planet.

Now, while the challenges today are different, we have to draw on the same spirit of innovation that’s always been central to our success. And that’s especially true when it comes to energy. There may be plenty of room for debate as to how we transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuels — we all understand there’s no silver bullet to do it. There’s going to be a lot of debate about how we move from an economy that’s importing oil to one that’s exporting clean energy technology; how we harness the innovative potential on display here at MIT to create millions of new jobs; and how we will lead the world to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. There are going to be all sorts of debates, both in the laboratory and on Capitol Hill. But there’s no question that we must do all these things.

Countries on every corner of this Earth now recognize that energy supplies are growing scarcer, energy demands are growing larger, and rising energy use imperils the planet we will leave to future generations. And that’s why the world is now engaged in a peaceful competition to determine the technologies that will power the 21st century. From China to India, from Japan to Germany, nations everywhere are racing to develop new ways to producing and use energy. The nation that wins this competition will be the nation that leads the global economy. I am convinced of that. And I want America to be that nation. It’s that simple. (Applause.)

That’s why the Recovery Act that we passed back in January makes the largest investment in clean energy in history, not just to help end this recession, but to lay a new foundation for lasting prosperity. The Recovery Act includes $80 billion to put tens of thousands of Americans to work developing new battery technologies for hybrid vehicles; modernizing the electric grid; making our homes and businesses more energy efficient; doubling our capacity to generate renewable electricity. These are creating private-sector jobs weatherizing homes; manufacturing cars and trucks; upgrading to smart electric meters; installing solar panels; assembling wind turbines; building new facilities and factories and laboratories all across America. And, by the way, helping to finance extraordinary research.

In fact, in just a few weeks, right here in Boston, workers will break ground on a new Wind Technology Testing Center, a project made possible through a $25 million Recovery Act investment as well as through the support of Massachusetts and its partners. And I want everybody to understand — Governor Patrick’s leadership and vision made this happen. He was bragging about Massachusetts on the way over here — I told him, you don’t have to be a booster, I already love the state. (Applause.) But he helped make this happen.

Hundreds of people will be put to work building this new testing facility, but the benefits will extend far beyond these jobs. For the first time, researchers in the United States will be able to test the world’s newest and largest wind turbine blades — blades roughly the length of a football field — and that in turn will make it possible for American businesses to develop more efficient and effective turbines, and to lead a market estimated at more than $2 trillion over the next two decades.

This grant follows other Recovery Act investments right here in Massachusetts that will help create clean energy jobs in this commonwealth and across the country. And this only builds on the work of your governor, who has endeavored to make Massachusetts a clean energy leader — from increasing the supply of renewable electricity, to quadrupling solar capacity, to tripling the commonwealth’s investment in energy efficiency, all of which helps to draw new jobs and new industries. (Applause.) That’s worth applause.

Now, even as we’re investing in technologies that exist today, we’re also investing in the science that will produce the technologies of tomorrow. The Recovery Act provides the largest single boost in scientific research in history. Let me repeat that: The Recovery Act, the stimulus bill represents the largest single boost in scientific research in history. (Applause.) An increase — that’s an increase in funding that’s already making a difference right here on this campus. And my budget also makes the research and experimentation tax credit permanent — a tax credit that spurs innovation and jobs, adding $2 to the economy for every dollar that it costs.

And all of this must culminate in the passage of comprehensive legislation that will finally make renewable energy the profitable kind of energy in America. John Kerry is working on this legislation right now, and he’s doing a terrific job reaching out across the other side of the aisle because this should not be a partisan issue. Everybody in America should have a stake — (applause) — everybody in America should have a stake in legislation that can transform our energy system into one that’s far more efficient, far cleaner, and provide energy independence for America — making the best use of resources we have in abundance, everything from figuring out how to use the fossil fuels that inevitably we are going to be using for several decades, things like coal and oil and natural gas; figuring out how we use those as cleanly and efficiently as possible; creating safe nuclear power; sustainable — sustainably grown biofuels; and then the energy that we can harness from wind and the waves and the sun. It is a transformation that will be made as swiftly and as carefully as possible, to ensure that we are doing what it takes to grow this economy in the short, medium, and long term. And I do believe that a consensus is growing to achieve exactly that.

The Pentagon has declared our dependence on fossil fuels a security threat. Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are traveling the country as part of Operation Free, campaigning to end our dependence on oil — (applause) — we have a few of these folks here today, right there. (Applause.) The young people of this country — that I’ve met all across America — they understand that this is the challenge of their generation.

Leaders in the business community are standing with leaders in the environmental community to protect the economy and the planet we leave for our children. The House of Representatives has already passed historic legislation, due in large part to the efforts of Massachusetts’ own Ed Markey, he deserves a big round of applause. (Applause.) We’re now seeing prominent Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham joining forces with long-time leaders John Kerry on this issue, to swiftly pass a bill through the Senate as well. In fact, the Energy Committee, thanks to the work of its Chair, Senator Jeff Bingaman, has already passed key provisions of comprehensive legislation.

So we are seeing a convergence. The naysayers, the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue, they are being marginalized. But I think it’s important to understand that the closer we get, the harder the opposition will fight and the more we’ll hear from those whose interest or ideology run counter to the much needed action that we’re engaged in. There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy — when it’s the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs. There are going to be those who cynically claim — make cynical claims that contradict the overwhelming scientific evidence when it comes to climate change, claims whose only purpose is to defeat or delay the change that we know is necessary.

So we’re going to have to work on those folks. But understand there’s also another myth that we have to dispel, and this one is far more dangerous because we’re all somewhat complicit in it. It’s far more dangerous than any attack made by those who wish to stand in the way progress — and that’s the idea that there is nothing or little that we can do. It’s pessimism. It’s the pessimistic notion that our politics are too broken and our people too unwilling to make hard choices for us to actually deal with this energy issue that we’re facing. And implicit in this argument is the sense that somehow we’ve lost something important — that fighting American spirit, that willingness to tackle hard challenges, that determination to see those challenges to the end, that we can solve problems, that we can act collectively, that somehow that is something of the past.

I reject that argument. I reject it because of what I’ve seen here at MIT. Because of what I have seen across America. Because of what we know we are capable of achieving when called upon to achieve it. This is the nation that harnessed electricity and the energy contained in the atom, that developed the steamboat and the modern solar cell. This is the nation that pushed westward and looked skyward. We have always sought out new frontiers and this generation is no different.

Today’s frontiers can’t be found on a map. They’re being explored in our classrooms and our laboratories, in our start-ups and our factories. And today’s pioneers are not traveling to some far flung place. These pioneers are all around us — the entrepreneurs and the inventors, the researchers, the engineers — helping to lead us into the future, just as they have in the past. This is the nation that has led the world for two centuries in the pursuit of discovery. This is the nation that will lead the clean energy economy of tomorrow, so long as all of us remember what we have achieved in the past and we use that to inspire us to achieve even more in the future.

I am confident that’s what’s happening right here at this extraordinary institution. And if you will join us in what is sure to be a difficult fight in the months and years ahead, I am confident that all of America is going to be pulling in one direction to make sure that we are the energy leader that we need to be.

Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)


October 22, 2009

Europe Offers to Cut Emissions 95% by 2050, India Shifts Position

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

It’s somewhat noteworthy that Europe is further upping the ante, also offering a 30% cut below 1990 levels by 2020 if there is a deal in Copenhagen.

India’s Environment Minister is also now pushing the leadership in his country for actual commitments.

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