The Dernogalizer

July 7, 2010

CBO: Kerry-Lieberman “American Power Act” Cuts Deficit by $19 Billion

See CBO’s letter to Senator Kerry here, press release is below.

CBO: Kerry-Lieberman “American Power Act” Cuts Deficit by $19 Billion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DC Press Office: 202-224-4159

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), co-authors of the Senate’s comprehensive energy independence and climate change legislation, the American Power Act, highlighted today’s new scoring from the Congressional Budget Office’s showing the American Power Actreduces America’s deficit by over $19 billion over ten years.

The scoring, released today at cbo.gov, also shows the Kerry-Lieberman bill complies with the Senate’s budget rules.

“Today, the Congressional Budget Office has sent Congress a powerful message:  our comprehensive energy and climate bill will slash America’s deficit by over $19 billion,” said Sens. Kerry and Lieberman.  “There is no more room for excuses – this must be our year to pass comprehensive climate and energy legislation and begin to send a price signal on carbon. Many of our colleagues have said they flatly oppose anything that adds a penny to the deficit, so we hope they look anew at this initiative which reduces it.”

For more information on the American Power Act, please visit kerry.senate.gov and lieberman.senate.gov.

June 3, 2010

Opinion Column “Conservation: Putting away childish things”

I have an opinion column out today in the University of Maryland newspaper “The Diamondback” about what the ongoing offshore drilling disaster means to us, and a call for the passage of clean energy and climate legislation.  Enjoy!

Conservation: Putting away childish things

By Matt Dernoga

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When I was a kid, I was under the impression that sheer willpower and a mandate from the universe would allow me to succeed at everything I attempted. Sure, I grew out of it once I became a teenager and the world gave me a reality check, but even in high school, I didn’t always put forth the necessary effort for schoolwork, athletics or other endeavors because of a gut feeling that circumstances would work out for me regardless of my actions. It sounds so silly looking back a few more reality checks later, but I guess that’s called growing up.

What has been scary to me is that our collective approach and attitude toward environmental and energy policy has been equally as childish. We have this illusion that technology will solve all of our abuses to this planet and its ecosystems that sustain us, regardless of their magnitude or scope. But today as we helplessly watch the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, we can all acutely feel what I learned in my younger years.

It’s that sense that nothing and no one is bulletproof, not even us. Everything has limits and everything has a breaking point. The technological capacity of our government and the private sector to solve this crisis before the entire Gulf of Mexico is a dead zone just isn’t there, and that’s more than devastating to the entire gulf region. It shakes our psyche to the core. What if we can’t fix it? What if there’s no going back?

This goes far behind the offshore drilling disaster in the Gulf.  It’s estimated that human activity is contributing to 27,000 species extinctions per year, versus the natural rate of 10 to 100. They aren’t coming back. We’re rapidly depleting our coal and oil resources and we can’t explore new reserves forever, unless you think the technology of the energy companies is infallible. Looking at the gulf, we certainly can’t explore safely. Given that we’re in the process of taking all the carbon stored in the Earth’s crust and releasing it into the atmosphere, I’m afraid we can’t fix our climate once it descends into chaos.

But this doesn’t have to be a downtrodden march toward the cliff before we jump. Doing nothing will take us to a place we don’t want to go. Taking ownership over our mistakes and making bold, tough moves to correct them can put us in charge of the endgame. Yes, personal change is important, but right now the best thing we as Americans can do is make clear to our elected officials that we’re ready to change course.

The House of Representatives has already passed clean energy and climate legislation that would begin a shift away from fossil fuels. The Senate is currently considering whether to take up similar legislation called the American Power Act. Both need to be stronger.

There are a lot of problems out there, and time is limited until the midterms. After the Memorial Day recess, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are going to lift their fingers in the air and gauge whether this is the year we do it. They need to hear us tell them the truth that’s bursting from underneath the gulf and settling in our national conscience.

This gulf disaster is our reality check. It’s time to grow up.

Matt Dernoga graduated in May with a degree in government and politics. He can be reached at dernoga at umdbk dot com.

June 2, 2010

Obama: End dependence on fossil fuels

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 4:29 pm
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This is the headline that Obama should be making in the coming weeks in order to mount support and pressure to pass the American Power Act.

“Seizing on a disastrous oil spill to advance a cause, President Barack Obama on Wednesday called on Congress to roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil and pass a clean-energy bill that he says would help the nation end its dependence on fossil fuels.

Obama predicted that he would find the political support for legislation that would dramatically alter the way Americans fuel their homes and cars, including placing a price on carbon pollution, even though such legislation is politically divisive and remains bogged in the Senate.

“The votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months,” Obama told an audience at Carnegie Mellon University. “I will continue to make the case for a clean energy futurewherever and whenever I can, and I will work with anyone to get this done. And we will get it done.”

Obama said the country’s continuing dependence on fossil fuels “will jeopardize our national security, it will smother our planet and will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk.”

Of course, Obama needs to work on what he’s defining as his solution…

“The time has come, once and for all, for this nation to fully embrace a clean energy future,” the president said.

That means improving energy efficiency, tapping natural gas reserves, pursuing nuclear power “and it means rolling back billions of dollars in tax breaks to oil companies so we can prioritize investments in clean energyresearch and development.”

Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and nuclear power isn’t clean or cost effective.

But still, it’s good to see Obama starting to seize the opportunity this crisis presents us to get climate and clean energy legislation passed.

Update: Here’s another article in the Washington Post about Obama’s speech with another reassuring quote..

“I will make the case for a clean-energy future wherever I can, and I will work with anyone from either party to get this done. But we will get this done,” he said. “The next generation will not be held hostage to energy sources from the last century.”

June 1, 2010

Implications of the American Power Act

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:38 am
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Here’s one of the first independent analysis done on the American Power Act in the Senate, and I thought it would be a good thing to share.  Link

The Economic, Employment, Energy Security, and Environmental Impact of the Proposed American Power Act

May 20, 2010

Contact: Katharine Keenan (202) 454-1334

Washington—On May 12, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) released details of the proposed American Power Act, a comprehensive energy and climate change bill under development since last fall. With US unemployment just below 10 percent and a ruptured well pouring oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the Senators promised that the legislation would protect the environment and reduce US dependence on foreign oil while creating jobs and increasing US economic competitiveness at little cost to consumers.

A new study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics provides the first comprehensive assessment of the draft legislation’s ability to achieve these goals. Assessing the American Power Act,authored by visiting fellow Trevor Houser along with Shashank Mohan and Ian Hoffman, employs the Department of Energy’s National Energy Modeling System to forecast the legislation’s economic, employment, energy security, and environmental impact through 2030. Key findings of the study (summarized in attached table [pdf]) include:

Energy Sector Changes: The American Power Act would significantly alter the way the United States produces and consumes energy. The share of total energy demand met by fossil fuels would fall from 84 percent today to 70 percent in 2030. Renewable and nuclear energy would grow from 8 percent each of US energy supply today to 16 and 14 percent respectively in 2030.

Energy Security Implications: The Act would reduce US oil imports by 33 to 40 percent below current levels and 9 to 19 percent below business-as-usual by 2030. This would cut US spending on imported oil by $51 to $93 billion per year and, by lowering global oil prices, reduce oil producer revenues by $263 to $436 billion annually by 2030.

Environmental Impact: The Act would establish an economy-wide carbon price starting at $16.47 per ton in 2013 and growing to $55.44 dollars per ton in 2030, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from covered sources 22 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 42 percent by 2030.

Employment Effects: The Act prompts $41.1 billion in annual electricity sector investment between 2011 and 2030, $22.5 billion more than under business-as-usual. This stimulates US economic growth and job creation in the first decade, increasing average annual employment by about 200,000 jobs.

Impact on Consumers: By pricing carbon, the American Power Act raises the price of fossil fuels for businesses and consumers. Households see an average 3 percent increase in electricity rates and 5 percent increase in gasoline prices between 2011 and 2030. Energy efficiency improvements largely offset these energy price increases—households see somewhere between a $136 increase and a $35 decrease in average annual energy expenditures, depending on future improvements in vehicle efficiency.

May 28, 2010

Excellent Vote Vets Oil Spill Video

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 12:18 am
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This recent Vote Vets oil spill video does a great job of calling for the US to end our oil dependence by passing clean energy legislation.

May 26, 2010

Excellent NRDC Ad Calling for Climate and Clean Energy Legislation

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 10:15 pm
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This is the kind of connection green groups need to be making to push Senators around the country to support climate legislation.  End our morally bankrupt energy system.

May 20, 2010

2,000 Florida Hispanic Business Owners Urge Florida Senators, Obama to Act Now on Climate/Energy Legislation

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:49 pm
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This builds further on my point that climate and clean energy legislation is a political winner with Hispanics.  Here is the press release, which is also posted below.

WASHINGTON and MIAMI, May 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —  Two thousand Hispanic business owners from South Floridaare asking U.S. Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and George LeMieux (R-FL) to take action on comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation.

A group of Florida business leaders will present Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and George LeMieux (R-FL) with a letter signed by 2,000 South Florida Hispanic owned businesses Wednesday during a fly-in to Washington, D.C. The major outpouring of support is being facilitated by American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE), a broad umbrella organization that shows the breadth of business support for clean energy and climate legislation.

Last week, Senators John Kerry (D-MA.) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT.) unveiled the American Power Act, a draft bill designed to get the US on the path towards energy independence.

According to the concerned Florida business leaders, federal legislation on climate and clean energy will give investors in the Sunshine State and elsewhere the certainty they need to invest in clean energy that is needed is to bolster the economy and expand business opportunities, spurring economic growth and creating homegrown jobs in Florida.

“Florida is in the eye of the storm – we look at the Gulf and all we can do is hope the massive oil spill doesn’t reach our shores and scare off the millions of tourists who visit them every year,” said Dana Sanchez-Quist, a realtor in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. “It’s time to act.  Leadership from President Obama and our Congressional delegation on clean energy and climate is what Florida needs now.”

Porfiria “Millie” Ramirez, co-owner of Solar Green Energy Solutions in Miami, said: “Hispanic businesses like mine can lead the way and be part of the start-up of the clean energy economy; this is good for our state and every member of our community. It means we won’t have to rely on unstable countries or risky business – like what’s happening in the Gulf – for our fuels, and it means our children can grow up in clean neighborhoods breathing clean air. But we need to create incentives for the private sector to invest in order to compete globally. For that, we need legislation.”

Alberto Cardona, an engineer in Fort Lauderdale, said: “The alarm has sounded. We have a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by our over-reliance on oil. We cannot afford to wait any longer for a comprehensive energy and climate plan that puts America back in control of its energy future and back in the lead. We can and must develop the technology to move to clean, renewable 21st century energy sources that will never run out. Countries like China are doing it. Why can’t we?”

Christopher Van Atten, spokesperson, ABCE said: “I applaud these South Florida business leaders for sending a clear message to the state’s elected officials here in Washington.  And that message is this:  Florida and the rest of the nation need action on climate and clean energy … and they need action now. The businesses that ABCE works with represent a variety of backgrounds and views.   What unites all of them is shared agreement on the wisdom of comprehensive clean energy legislation that will create jobs, unleash innovation and make our nation more secure, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.”

The letter signed by the Florida Hispanic business leaders reads as follows:  “On behalf of the undersigned Hispanic business owners, local leaders, parent organizations and concerned constituents whom we represent, we urge you to support strong climate and energy legislation. We support Congressional enactment of clean energy and climate legislation that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

ABOUT ABCE

American Businesses for Clean Energy is a broad umbrella organization that shows the breadth of business support for clean energy and climate legislation. ABCE will not develop detailed policy recommendations or evaluate specific proposals since existing business coalitions already address those needs. The ABCE initiative is open to any company or business association that supports Congressional action to pass effective climate and energy legislation now. By joining the initiative, these companies are making a public statement urging Congress to act.  To learn more about American Businesses for Clean Energy (ABCE) and to pledge support for clean energy legislation, please visit:http://www.AmericanBusinessesforCleanEnergy.org.

May 14, 2010

Darth Vader Supports “American Power Act” Video

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 7:13 pm
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Alright, so even though I might not agree that we shouldn’t pass it, this is a very creative video by ChangeChevron.  I laughed

American Power Act needs More International Financing

One of the biggest flaws of the American Power Act is its lack of adequate international aid for climate mitigation and adaption.  This is necessary for the US to secure a global deal.  A number of organizations have signed onto the following press release about this issue.

ActionAid USA ● CARE USA ● Center for International Environmental Law  ●  Church World Service  ●  Conservation International ● Earthjustice ● Environmental Information Agency ● InterAction ● International Forum on Globalization ● League of Women Voters of the United States  ●  National Catholic Rural Life Conference  ●  National Hispanic Environmental Council  ●   National Wildlife Federation  ●  Natural Resources Defense Council ● Oxfam America ● Population Action International ●  Progressive National Baptist Convention ● Sierra Club ● Sojourners ● Sustain US ● Union of Concerned Scientists ● Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations  ● US Green Building Council  ● Wildlife Conservation Society ● William C. Velasquez Institute  ●  World Wildlife Fund

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE INTERNATIONAL INVESTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE ‘AMERICAN POWER ACT’

(Kerry-Lieberman)

May 13, 2010

We are pleased to see the long-awaited release of the comprehensive climate and energy bill, and we appreciate the tenacity of Senators Kerry and Lieberman in maintaining forward movement on this urgent issue.   We especially appreciate that programs for international adaptation and reduced emissions from deforestation are included in the discussion draft.

However, we are deeply disappointed by the overall lack of adequate investments in international action to tackle climate change, including the absence of any program for clean energy promotion.

These investments are squarely in America’s interest. Without these investments, we will miss a critical opportunity to create new American jobs, help avert global instability, foster our national security, and mobilize the global climate action needed to solve a problem that is already affecting communities here in the US and around the world.

Achieving these goals will require significant, predictable and near-term investments for climate resilient solutions in vulnerable countries and communities hardest hit by climate impacts, cost-effective efforts to reduce emissions by protecting tropical forests, and incentives to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies.

Climate change is a global problem that requires a global solution and cooperation, and these international investments are vital to reaching a global climate agreement.

These investments will also strengthen our national security by limiting the global instability caused by climate impacts. They will protect past development gains and ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable populations, including women, can tackle climate change. They will help build upon a strong international consensus to minimize emissions from tropical deforestation, one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases.  And they will help us to build global leadership on clean energy that can create more jobs here in the United States.

Congressional legislation should reflect these realities and ensure the resources to achieve these goals are included.

In the words of President Obama, “any effort that fails to help the poorest nations both adapt to the problems that climate change have already wrought and help them travel a path of clean development simply will not work.”

May 12, 2010

The American Power Act, Statements from Obama, Ed Markey

Filed under: Energy/Climate,National Politics — Matt Dernoga @ 3:29 pm
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I already posted a leaked section by section summary of the legislation yesterday.  Today everything has been released.  You can check out all the links and summaries at John Kerry’s website.

You can also download a copy of the 987 page bill here.  Below are statements by President Obama, and Ed Markey who passed climate legislation through the House last June.

From Obama:  I applaud Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman for their tireless work in drafting this important legislation.  This legislation will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that will create American jobs building the solar panels, wind blades and the car batteries of the future.  It will  strengthen our national security by beginning to break our dependence on foreign oil. And it will protect our environment for our children and grandchildren.

Americans know what’s at stake by continuing our dependence on fossil fuels. But the challenges we face — underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico — are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation’s energy policies.  For too long, Washington has kicked this challenge to the next generation.  This time, the status quo is no longer acceptable to Americans.  Now is the time for America to take control of our energy future and jumpstart American innovation in clean energy technology that will allow us to create jobs, compete, and win in the global economy.

The House of Representatives has already taken historic action with passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. I look forward to engaging with Senators from both sides of the aisle and ultimately passing a bill this year.

Markey Statement on Kerry-Lieberman Clean Energy Bill

Following the introduction of the American Power Act by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Ct.), Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), co-author of the House-passed Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act, issued the following statement on the Senate bill:

“Senators Kerry and Lieberman, along with contributions from Senator Graham, have created an important energy and climate bill that continues the momentum towards putting a final bill on President Obama’s desk this year.

“While there are differences, the American Power Act shares the same goals with the House-passed Waxman-Markey bill. Both bills will create millions of new clean energy jobs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, and dramatically cut the pollution that is causing climate change.

“The pollution reduction targets in the Senate and House bills are identical, highlighting the universal commitment to slash dangerous pollution before it is too late.

“I look forward to working with the Senate as they continue to modify their legislation.

“The time to act is now. We cannot wait. China is not waiting. Europe is not waiting. And the health of our economy and our environment hangs in the balance. Working with the Senate and the Obama administration, this will be the year that we finally create a lasting clean energy future for our country.”

CLICK HERE for information on the Waxman-Markey bill.

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