Climate protection & green jobs: Mitt Romney’s energy doublespeak
This post originally appeared on CSRwire.
Mitt Romney indulges in energy policy doublespeak when he says that he wants to “make sure we can continue to burn clean coal.” This is the same politician who seeks to revoke the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and other sources of global-warming pollutants.
Romney’s Flip-Flop On Climate Protection
How exactly does Mr. Romney propose to clean up coal plants if he refuses to let the EPA control America’s biggest contributors to global warming? In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court made it clear that regulating carbon emissions lies within the EPA’s purview under the Clean Air Act. The EPA acted on that ruling earlier this year by setting carbon dioxide emissions standards for new coal-fired power plants.
This step was long overdue for a nation that outpaces all others except China in its generation of global-warming gases. The United States managed to avoid joining the battle against climate change when the Senate refused to ratify the Kyoto Protocol during the Clinton years.
Yet it was Governor Mitt Romney who, in 2004, rolled out an ambitious Climate Protection Plan setting specific targets for reducing Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas emissions. That plan acknowledged that, over the long term, we will need to cut global-warming emissions by 75 to 85 percent “to eliminate any dangerous threat to the climate.”
By the time Romney issued his Climate Protection Plan, scientists had already amassed formidable evidence that the earth’s atmospheric temperature was rising. Romney’s plan acknowledged this, and warned that global temperatures could increase 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. At that rate, vast stretches of heavily populated coastal areas around the world will be flooded, semi-arid regions will become parched deserts, and already over-stressed freshwater supplies will be strained beyond the breaking point.
Yet today, when Romney presents his energy vision for the nation, he dismisses the need for America to shrink its carbon footprint. To the contrary, he wants us to extract and burn more coal, “aggressively” develop our offshore oil and gas resources, and expedite onshore drilling by stripping the federal government of its powers to review mineral leases on public lands. At the same time, he belittles the role that renewable resources like wind and solar can play in weaning America off these polluting fuels.