Sen. Bernie Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) is a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee. He is chair of the Green Jobs and the New Economy Subcommittee.

Energy Policy

America must not back down on sustainable energy

Clockwise from top left: Sens. John Kerry, Sheldon Whitehouse, Barbara Boxer, and Bernie Sanders.If you read just the headlines these days, you might think renewable energy in America is going the way of Solyndra. Don’t take our word for it: A recent headline from Fox News declared “ENTIRE Solar Industry on Brink of Collapse.” We cannot allow long-time opponents of renewable energy to focus the discussion only on Solyndra (whose higher-priced panels could not compete as solar costs came down) when we should be thinking about competing with China to win the next energy revolution. Why? Because the race is …

Now is the time to transform our energy system

The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an unmitigated disaster. Its full consequences will not be known for decades. What we do know, however, is that BP President Tony Hayward was incredibly wrong when he stated that the spill will have “a very, very modest environmental impact.” Quite the contrary! In fact, one of the most beautiful and productive coastal regions of the world is being turned into a giant cesspool and, in the midst of a major recession, thousands of workers are going to lose their livelihoods. It goes without saying that BP must pick up …

Let’s set the record straight

On Earth Day, a senator’s demand for public policy based on real science

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the most serious environmental problem that we face is not global warming or the pollution of our air, water, land and food. It is whether or not our country moves forward in developing public policy based on science or whether we make decisions based on politics and fear mongering. When Americans walk into a doctor’s office to get treated, they usually don’t worry whether the physician’s politics is progressive or conservative, Democrat or Republican. They want to know that the doctor they are seeing has been well trained in a scientifically …

Shine on

It’s time for a solar revolution

This country spends, in a typical year, $350 billion importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other foreign countries. While this is no doubt good news for the Saudi royal family, one of the richest in the world, it is bad news for the average American. The vast majority of the American people understand that now is the time to move to energy independence so that we are no longer subject to the greed of OPEC or Wall Street speculators, or need to fight “wars for oil” in the Middle East. Americans also know that if we are serious about addressing …

It's the 'Green' Mountain state for a reason

We need an energy revolution

The United States today spends some $400 billion a year importing oil from countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Mexico, Russia, and Venezuela. Think for a moment what an incredible impact that same $400 billion a year could have on our country if that money were invested here and not abroad, in such areas as weatherization, energy efficiency, sustainable energies like wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, public transportation and automobiles that are energy efficient or don’t use fossil fuels at all. What we are talking about is an energy revolution that leads us toward energy independence, the cessation of support for foreign …

Global warming and political will

The Lieberman-Warner bill is not strong enough to do the job

Bernie Sanders. As a member of both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee it is my view that the time is long overdue for Congress to go beyond deal making and "politics as usual" in addressing the crisis of global warming. The droughts, floods and severe weather disturbances our planet is already experiencing will only get worse, potentially impacting billions of people, if we do not take bold and decisive action in the very near future. While the Lieberman-Warner cap and trade bill is a step forward, it goes nowhere near far enough in creating the policies that the scientific community says must be developed if we are to avert a planetary catastrophe. It is also lacking in paving the way for the transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuels to energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies. Here are some of my concerns with the Lieberman-Warner bill: First, virtually all of the scientific evidence tells us that, at the least, we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050 if we stand a chance to reverse global warming. Lieberman-Warner, under the very best projections, provides a 66 percent reduction. Second, this legislation allows major polluters to continue emitting greenhouse gases for free until 2036. In fact, old-fashioned dirty coal burning plants could still be built during this period. That's wrong. The "right to pollute" should not be given away for up to 24 years. Further, in calculating emission reductions, the bill relies much too heavily on "offsets," a process which is difficult to verify and which could significantly undermine the actual emissions caps. Third, this bill provides a massive amount of corporate welfare to industries which have been major emitters of greenhouse gasses while requiring minimal performance standards and accountability. According to a report by Friends of the Earth, the auction and allocation processes of the bill could generate up to $3.6 trillion dollars over a 38 year period. While a large fund exists in the bill for "low carbon technology," there is no guaranteed allocation for such important technologies as wind, solar, geo-thermal, hydrogen or for energy efficiency. But, there is a guaranteed allotment of $324 billion for the coal industry through an "Advanced Coal and Sequestration program" and $232 billion for the auto industry for "Advanced Technology Vehicles." The time is late, and if Congress is serious about preventing irreversible damage to our planet because of global warming we need to get moving in a bold and focused manner. And we can do it.

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