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An Energy Smart Senator Speaks Up

June 2nd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Senator Jeff Merkley came to the podium during today’s luncheon session at America’s Future NOW! focused on energy.   He opened, reinforcing core points from his 2008 campaign:

If I’d been here a year ago, I would have talked to you about three things:  The need to transform energy economy, create jobs, and tackle global warming. … About the third, during the campaign, I spoke it about every single night. People asked me why, as it was 21st on people’s concerns.  I responded: it should be first on everyone’s agenda and the only way it will be is if we talk about it.

Senator Merkley speaks, today and elsewhere, knowledgeably and forcefully about Global Warming, providing a litany of items that should part of the agenda moving ahead. Amid these items and opportunity, Senator Merkley made some key points.  But, he provided a straightforward shorthand of what must happen.

If I am going to simplify the issue, we have to quit taking geologic carbon and turning it into atmospheric carbon.

Right now, Senator Merkley is looking to the developments in the House with the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act.  And, evidently, he isn’t very pleased by what we see.  He stated that the bill must have a strong Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), a 25% by 2025  “You’re probably all aware that we don’t have that in the current drbill.”

In the past, people have described the Senate as the place where a good House bill goes to die.  … We need to change that.  we need to reestablish  the Senate is place where an okay bill goes to get vastly improved.

Senator Merkley also emphasized that “We need a polluter’s pay strategy … we need a price to pay if you’re putting carbon dioxide in the air. Even more, we need an incentitve to reduce putting carbon in the air.”

Clearly Senator Merkley is concerned, seriously concerned. “The number that sticks in my mind is that all the problems that we are seeing around the globe come from less than a degree of warming. … If we don’t get our act together, in 50 years we could have five degrees of warming and that would be catastrophic.”

Senator Merkley sees real potential for change for the better, but fears that we won’t seize the opportunity.

There is the possibility that we will end up with a framework that is ineffective, that has offsets, that doesn’t have a firm cap. … Or, we could end up with something that could really transform our use of energy. Obviously, we’re going to have to work real hard to get from the former to the latter.

Do Senator Merkley’s comments presage a fight to come that could result in improving the ACES Act when it comes to the Senate?

We can hope …

And, we can help by Speaking 16 times louder

Here is the entire sesssion.

Forging a strategy that brings the ideal of green energy and green-collar jobs into political and practical reality is the focus of a luncheon panel discussion with Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Kate Gordon, co-director of the Apollo Alliance; Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club; Mark Ayers, president of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, chief executive officer of Green For All.

New Energy for America at America’s Future Now! from AmericasFuture on Vimeo.

Note:  Listening to today’s speech reminded me why I supported Energy Smart Jeff.

Tags: environmental · global warming deniers

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