fresh voices from the front lines of change







Mitt Romney unveiled a one-page economic plan – Mitt Romney’s Plan For A Stronger Middle Class – includes an energy component that is strongly attached to the fading, dinosaur oil and coal industries. It should be called “Mitt Romney’s Plan To Heat The Planet.”

The energy part of Romney’s plan appears to have been written by oil and coal industry lobbyists. Romney offers no details, specifics, anything. Here is Romney’s Energy Independence component, in its entirety:

  • Increase access to domestic energy resources
  • Streamline permitting for exploration and development
  • Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry
  • Approve the Keystone XL pipeline

“Access to domestic energy resources” as Romney uses it in his plan does not mean developing our country’s wind and solar energy resources. It means opening up more land for oil and coal extraction, putting even more carbon into the air. Yesterday I wrote about how Romney tried to torpedo the wind energy tax credit, which, if successful, would kill the wind energy industry in the US, as well as the ability of American companies to compete for these jobs internationally.

“Streamline permitting” means clear the way for more oil rigs in the Gulf and elsewhere, giving out permits Bush-style, without requiring them to demonstrate clear, workable (and therefore expensive) safety and disaster-recovery plans.

“Eliminate regulations” means let them destroy the environment, endanger workers, dump chemicals into the water,

That’s the plan: drill, baby, drill. Oh, and build a pipeline across our country so Canadian oil companies can sell tar-sands oil to China.

Obama Plan

Contrast the Romney plan — an energy policy that panders to oil — with Obama’s comprehensive energy plan and record that understands that we face climate change, and includes renewables.

We are already on a road toward dramatically less oil independence. As we add wind and solar we are much further on that road. Yes, we need to replace oil and coal, but as far as independence, we have moved very far in the last few years.

NY Times, March, U.S. Inches Toward Goal of Energy Independence,

Taken together, the increasing production and declining consumption have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources, a milestone that could reconfigure American foreign policy, the economy and more. In 2011, the country imported just 45 percent of the liquid fuels it used, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005.

[,,,] Not only has the United States reduced oil imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by more than 20 percent in the last three years, it has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline for the first time since the Truman presidency. The natural gas industry, which less than a decade ago feared running out of domestic gas, is suddenly dealing with a glut so vast that import facilities are applying for licenses to export gas to Europe and Asia.

National oil production, which declined steadily to 4.95 million barrels a day in 2008 from 9.6 million in 1970, has risen over the last four years to nearly 5.7 million barrels a day.

BUT – The Terrifying Math Of Global Warming

Here is the climate problem in a nutshell. As Bill McKibben explained in Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math:

1) We have to try to hold warming to 2 degrees Celsius, we’re at .8 of that now with huge storms, drought, floods and all kinds of effects. It gets dramatically worse from here – heading towards crop failure, famine, running out of water, rising seas, mass extinctions …

2) To hold at 2 degrees we can put no more than 565 gigatons CO2 into atmosphere.

3) Current proven coal, oil and gas reserves is 2,795 gigatons even if we discover no more. That is 5 times what we can burn and stay at 2 degrees. But that is worth $20 trillion in oil company assets, they will fight to the death to be able to burn that carbon.

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