San­ders Wel­comes Car­bon Lim­its

Much More Needed to Curb Global Warm­ing

Stanstead Journal - - FORUM -

Burling­ton, VT

U.S. Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) wel­comed an Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion ini­tia­tive un­veiled last Mon­day to re­duce car­bon emis­sions from coal-fired power plants, but the se­na­tor said real progress on global warm­ing has been blocked by Repub­li­cans in Congress who have thwarted ev­ery mea­sure to con­front a plan­e­tary cri­sis that they deny is hap­pen­ing.

“I ap­plaud the EPA’s pro­posal for com­mon-sense stan­dards to re­duce the car­bon pol­lu­tion that causes global warm­ing. Much more must be done to avoid a plan­e­tary cri­sis, but re­duc­ing emis­sions from dirty coal-fired power plants is a good step. Shut­ting down old, dirty power plants and re­plac­ing them with so­lar, wind and other re­new­able and sus­tain­able sources of en­ergy will also cre­ate hun­dreds of thou­sands of jobs and save con­sumers bil­lions of dol­lars,” San­ders said.

Ver­mont is the only state not cov­ered un­der the U.S. En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency rule pro­posed to­day be­cause the state does not have any fos­sil fuel-fired power plants. Un­der the pro­posal, Ver­mont may col­lab­o­rate with other states in the New Eng­land re­gion to meet a multi-state goal for re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions.

In un­veil­ing the pro­posal, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion specif­i­cally cited Ef­fi­ciency Ver­mont as a model for util­i­ties around the coun­try. Ef­fi­ciency Ver­mont pro­vides tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance, re­bates, and other fi­nan­cial in­cen­tives to help Ver­mont house­holds and businesses be­come more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient in or­der to re­duce their en­ergy costs.

“Ver­mont is leading the way,” San­ders said. I con­grat­u­late Ef­fi­ciency Ver­mont for be­ing cited as a na­tional model and for other ef­forts un­der­way in Ver­mont to ad­dress global warm­ing.”

More must be done at the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level to ad­dress cli­mate change, added San­ders, a mem­ber of the Se­nate en­vi­ron­ment and en­ergy com­mit­tees. Along with Sen. Bar­bara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair­man of the Se­nate En­vi­ron­ment and Pub­lic Works Com­mit­tee, San­ders has pro­posed a tax on car­bon and meth­ane emis­sions. Their bill would of­fer re­bates to con­sumers to help off­set the ris­ing cost of coal, oil and other fos­sil fu­els. It also would cre­ate mil­lions of jobs by in­vest­ing in a trans­for­ma­tion of our en­ergy sys­tem away from fos­sil fuel and into en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­able en­ergy sources such as wind, so­lar, geo­ther­mal and biomass.

An­other San­ders bill would end tax breaks and sub­si­dies for oil and coal com­pa­nies. A com­pan­ion mea­sure in the House is spon­sored by Rep. Keith El­li­son (D-Minn.).

Every­where but in Congress, there is a grow­ing con­sen­sus that a tax on car­bon and meth­ane emis­sions is needed. Both the car­bon tax and end­ing sub­si­dies for coal and oil com­pa­nies are ideas backed by sci­en­tists and leading econ­o­mists. The leg­is­la­tion has been blocked by Repub­li­cans in Congress who re­ject the overwhelming con­clu­sion – some even call it a “hoax” – that cli­mate change is oc­cur­ring and that it is man-made.

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