Articles by 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.
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 […]
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 […]
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, […]
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.