Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vote NO on the The American Clean Energy & Security Act (H.R. 2454)

Open Letter to
The Honorable James P McGovern
Third District Massachusetts
Re: Vote NO on the The American Clean Energy & Security Act (H.R. 2454)

Dear Congressman,

The American Clean Energy & Security Act (ACES) will soon come before Congress for a vote. The Progressive Democrats of Worcester commend the tremendous work of Chairmen Waxman and Markey and other members of Congress for their efforts authoring a bill that conforms to scientifically-based long-term emission reduction targets. It is historic legislation.

At least it started that way. In its passage to the full Congress it has become so weakened as to be counter-productive. We're better off without it and encourage your NO vote, until such a time as the bill has been sufficiently strengthened.

The science demands it. Just published and released by the White House is "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States." Think of this as the US version of the IPCC Assessments, with all our various science bureau's involved in its draft. Please read, at least parts, like the executive summary (see a few quotes below). The question for all of is, does ACES come anywhere near to meeting the demands of our scientific community? Sadly, no.

While the long-term target of reducing emissions 83% below 2005 levels by 2050 is of the order demanded by science, the interim target of 17% reductions by 2020 is not enough. Moreover, these targets are further weakened by carbon offsets provisions in the bill.

ACES aims for greenhouse gas reduction targets that are at best 20 times weaker than a 450 parts-per-million stabilization target, which itself only gives us a 50/50 shot for avoiding catastrophic global warming!

Recognizing this, we the Progressive delegates to the Massachusetts state convention, successfully amended language in our Platform:
"Promoting those strategies which will quickly stabilize atmospheric carbon dioxide at a maximum of 350 ppm and protect against further climate change, in accord with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change."
The 350 ppm target improves our odds of averting catastrophic climate change. This is our platform, there to guide you, Congressman Markey and members of the Massachusetts delegation.

Furthermore, While ACES does have a renewable electricity standard (RES), it is presently too low to drive needed investments in clean energy development and deployment. We need those millions of green collar jobs, to create sustainable, healthy, vibrant, local and resilient low-carbon economies. Anything less is unacceptable.

The Supreme Court also recently ruled that EPA can regulate CO2 emissions, and EPA has found that CO2 emissions are in fact a threat to public health. ACES in its present form would take away EPA's authority to regulate point-sources of global warming pollution, including power plants. This is most certainly not in the interest of Massachusetts, whose legal team brought the original suite against the EPA.

We don't understand how Congressman Markey could have allowed his bill to become so weakened. ACES needs to be referred back to committee, with a mandate to correct whats wrong with it, from the perspective of climate scientists. Please come up with a real climate solution that:
1. Cuts greenhouse gas pollution quickly to return to a safe level - below 350 parts-per-million.
2. Includes, as part of the emissions-reduction measures, a switch to 100% renewable electricity in 10 years.
3. Preserves the ability of the Clean Air Act to set scientifically-based pollution standards.
4. Does not allow unreliable, fraud-prone offsets in place of real emission reductions.
5. Phases out coal, and prohibits the use/extraction of tar sand and oil shale -- all the worst culprits of global warming.

Warm regards.
Progressive Democrats of Worcester
A few quotes from "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States", Thomas R. Karl, Jerry M. Melillo, and Thomas C. Peterson; 2009

* Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities.
* Warming over this century is projected to be considerably greater than over the last century. The global average temperature since 1900 has risen by about 1.5 F. By 2100, it is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5 F. The U.S. average temperature has risen by a comparable amount and is very likely to rise more than the global average over this century, with some variation from place to place. Several factors will determine future temperature increases. Increases at the lower end of this range are more likely if global heat-trapping gas emissions are cut substantially. If emissions continue to rise at or near current rates, temperature increases are more likely to be near the upper end of the range.
* Society and ecosystems can adjust to some climatic changes, but this takes time. The projected rapid rate and large amount of climate change over this century will challenge the ability of society and natural systems to adapt. For example, it is difficult and expensive to alter or replace infrastructure designed to last for decades (such as buildings, bridges, roads, airports, reservoirs, and ports) in response to continuous and/or abrupt climate change.
* Impacts are expected to become increasingly severe for more people and places as the amount of warming increases. Rapid rates of warming would lead to particularly large impacts on natural ecosystems and the benefits they provide to humanity. Some of the impacts of climate change will be irreversible, such as species extinctions and coastal land lost to rising seas.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Peter Schiff for Senate in CT, replacing Dodd

Peter Schiff announced his run for the US Senate, replacing Chris Dodd, on the Jon Stewart show. Peter is known as an economists who predicted the current financial crisis, and its exact causes. His remedy for the crisis aligns well with Paul Krugman, Simon Johnson and others progressives who want to see America return to a productive economy. Please watch:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

We're the Green Team

There are three amendments being advanced by Progressive Democrats, each with a volunteer team and a single coordinator. The Pink Team is advancing the Single-Payer Healthcare amendment. The Orchid Team is advancing the Protect Urban Wildlands amendment. Together, we can make all three happen! Good luck all.