NRDC Action Fund Launches Campaign Warning Congressional Climate Deniers: Don’t Poison our Children’s Future

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Melissa Harrison, NRDC Action Fund, 202-513-6278/614-203-2616, mharrison@nrdc.org

Online Ad Campaign Supports President Obama’s Climate & Clean Air Plan

WASHINGTON (July 30, 2013) The NRDC Action Fund is launching an online advertising campaign today to galvanize opposition to any efforts to derail President Obama’s climate and clean air plan.

The digital campaign will include a 30-second ad, which can be viewed at: http://bit.ly/17NwAI0  and reads, “If every Senator threatening to vote against the President’s clean air and climate plan knew what it was like to be a child suffering a severe asthma attack, maybe they’d think twice.  After all, it’s kind of hard to do anything with a nebulizer wrapped around your face.  When we protect the air from carbon pollution, we protect children’s lives.”

The campaign also includes banner ads on websites including the WashingtonPost.com and Politico.com that will run from July 30 through August 2. The banner ads portray children wearing breathing respirators with the text, “The Cost of Climate Change…Tell the U.S. Senate: Don’t Poison Our Children’s Future.”

“Despite the scientific facts, the impacts on children and families across America, and the growing support for taking action to address climate change, the denier extremists are in full swing as they head back to their districts for the August recess,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund Director. “Unfortunately, these deniers remain out of step with their constituents, and particularly young people from both major parties, who believe we have an obligation to protect future generations from climate change. Our online campaign is designed to put Congress on notice that their constituents are watching. We will hold them accountable if they try to block the president’s plan– a common-sense, practical proposal that has the public’s support.”

Many in the U.S. Senate have been positioning proposals and amendments to stop EPA from taking action to reduce carbon pollution. Behind-the-scenes maneuvers reached a peak this week in the course of negotiations over the bipartisan energy efficiency bill introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Rob Portman (R-OH), which many now expect to see final votes on in September. Their bill attracted climate change deniers who are seeking to hijack a widely supported bill to push their political agenda.

Recent public opinion research by Democratic and Republican aligned firms has shown strong support for cutting the carbon pollution from power plants that fuels climate change and extreme weather, diminishes air quality and threatens health.  Sixty-five percent of Americans support setting limits on the dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, including 49% of Republicans and 84% of Democrats and 56% of independents, according to a July 2013 national survey conducted by Hart Research and Chesapeake Beach Consulting for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

A separate poll by Benenson Strategy Group and GS Strategy Group found that “young voters of both parties want to see action on climate change and want leaders willing to take steps to address that threat… widespread and intense support translates into a willingness to punish legislators who stand in the way of the President’s plan… and to support those who back it.”

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The goal of the NRDC Action Fund is to grow the environmental majority across America. The Action Fund is growing power in the places that always matter around the country, so that together we can protect public health and the environment. www.nrdcactionfund.org

Note to reporters/editors: The NRDC Action Fund is an affiliated but separate organization from the Natural Resources Defense Council. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, the NRDC Action Fund engages in various advocacy and political activities for which the Natural Resources Defense Council, a 501(c)(3) organization, faces certain legal limitations or restrictions. News and information released by the NRDC Action Fund needs to be identified as from the “NRDC Action Fund.” The “Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund” is incorrect. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the NRDC Action Fund cannot be used interchangeably.  Also please note that the word “National” does not appear in Natural Resources Defense Council.

 

 

Mother’s Day

As I looked at the computer screen which displayed the faces of my mother and grandmother, I wished them both a Happy Mother’s Day. As we talked I thought of all the sacrifices they had made to ensure I was raised in an environment that fostered my growth and success. What some deem, another Hallmark Holiday, I love Mother’s Day because it’s one more opportunity for me to say thank you to them for all they have done to make my world a better place.

It’s hard to believe that juxtaposed to this Mother’s Day was another new date which will go down in the history books. Just preceding our mom’s special day, the planet went over 400ppm concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to the New York Times:

The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years, before humans evolved, and scientists believe the rise portends large changes in the climate and the level of the sea.”

So, as mothers all over the world were celebrating, the planet was surpassing another climate change milestone, which is ultimately making the environment less safe for moms and their children everywhere.

Yet, after a weekend of articles on what is yet to come due to this new level, some still don’t understand the sense of urgency many of us feel. Ultimately, polls show that more and more Americans believe climate change is real and that we should do something to combat it, however they don’t want government to foot the bill. And when I bring it up among my friends, (what I like to call my personal focus groups) climate change still pales in comparison to their concerns about the economy, job creation and debt reduction.

Wrong Frame?

Recently, I attended a presentation by Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Following her foreign and domestic policy laden speech, she opened up for questions from the audience. As I stood to ask her thoughts on climate change, the President’s second term and the role current Secretary of State John Kerry should play in these discussions, I wondered what her response would entail.

Albright photo 2013

 Click Picture to View Full Response

“I think that all one has to do is look at various things and extremes going on. I think there is positive proof that there is something going on. The other, I think is the affect that climate change has on a number of aspects that have to do with stability. I have just been involved in many discussions now about problems to do with water. If people think we have been arguing over fossil fuels, wait until we really start arguing over water. About food security and problems there. A lot of it has to do with climate change. If people only think it’s about polar bears or something, that’s not what it’s about. What it is about is human security in all its various aspects.” -Madeleine Albright, May 3, 2013

“Human security.” While some still debate whether we should refer to this issue as global warming or climate change, former Secretary Albright skipped right to the heart of the matter. This is a human security issue and we should begin acting like it is.

We need to start asking the tough questions about what we can do as individuals, while demanding our elected officials take a stand and lead. It has been 89 days since President Obama said we’d “respond to the threat of climate change” during his State of the Union address. We’ve heard the talk, now it’s time to walk the walk. If you agree, send President Obama an email and tell him you are ready to hear his plan.

Like our mothers, who strive to protect us, now is the time for us to find ways to protect them and our other mom, Mother Earth.

Climate Change is Not a Joke

“And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planet, because climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They are a threat to our children’s future.”

-President Barack Obama on September 6, 2012

Last week, President Obama made crystal clear his commitment to combat climate change when he characterized rising temperatures as “as a threat to our children’s future” during his speech accepting the nomination for president at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

President Obama takes climate change seriously, while Mitt Romney makes jokes: http://youtu.be/JR2GmJPl6K8.

Obama moved forward with clean car standards that will cut carbon pollution by in half by 2025 and save consumers like you and me at least $2,000-3000 at the pump over the life of our car.

Romney promised to repeal those standards.

Under Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency moved forward with setting landmark carbon limits for power plants, so that for the first time ever builders of new power plants can’t dump unlimited amounts of carbon into our air.

Romney would let polluters dump many millions of tons of carbon pollution into the air for free, by reversing these new standards and stopping the EPA from setting any limits at all.

In fact Romney recently said he agrees that we are helping to warm the planet, but that he doesn’t think he should do anything about it.

Obama gets it. And we think he gets it in part because Americans, many of you among them, sent over three million comments in support of the steps he’s taken to reduce air pollution,. That record-setting public support for climate action has clearly gotten through, thanks to your help.

So help us make this November’s choice clear…Share this video with friends, family and community to let them know that we’re fighting for our future, and for our children’s future.

President Obama wants to make our air safer to breath, hold polluters accountable and make them pay for their waste just as the rest of us do.  President Obama wants to unleash clean energy innovation, restore our natural resources, build American prosperity, and confront climate change.  He is getting my vote and I hope yours too.

 

 

Declare freedom from high gas prices

“The United States of America cannot afford to bet our long-term prosperity and our long-term security on a resource that will eventually run out.” — President Obama

President Obama heads to Miami today where he will give a speech about rising gas prices. Some analysts say prices at the pump could top $4 per gallon this summer. What’s driving up the cost of gasoline is rising demand as the U.S. economy continues to improve, the growing thirst for fuel in other countries, and political instability in the Middle East.

Obviously, the president’s political opponents are clamoring to blame Obama for the pain at the pump — despite the fact his administration has dramatically increased domestic oil and gas drilling while doing more than other president to reduce our reliance on oil by raising automobile fuel-efficiency standards. But as usual, politics trumps policy — especially in an election year. And it’s a safe bet the GOP won’t let the facts about gas prices get in the way.

Coinciding wth the president’s trip to South Florida, the Miami Herald published a commentary by NRDC’s Executive Director Peter Lehner. The gist of Peter’s piece is that the solution to our nation’s energy crisis is not to “drill, baby, drill” but to give Americans more energy freedom. He writes:

“Contrary to what we’re hearing from some politicians and Big Oil lobbyists, more drilling doesn’t mean lower gas prices. The number of oil rigs in the United States has quadrupled in the past three years. The United States is already producing more oil than it has in nearly a decade.

Yet what has that done for gas prices? They’ve only increased of course — not because we need to even drill more, but because demand is increasing with the improving economy; because countries like China and India are expanding and because Iran is threatening to cut off its oil supply to the rest of the world.

Even if we were to drill every drop of oil known to exist in the United States, we wouldn’t have enough to meet our demand. The cold hard fact is that America consumes about 25 percent of the world’s oil, but has less than 3 percent of the world’s proven reserves. And besides, who wants to see oil wells off of South Beach or face the economic devastation that would follow a Deepwater Horizon-like spill off the coast of Fort Lauderdale?

Forget about getting more oil from our friendly neighbor to the north too. There’s a reason why Canadian companies want to run their Keystone XL pipeline all the way to the Gulf of Mexico: It’s so they can reach worldwide oil markets — not so they can deliver more oil to us here in the United States.

The simple truth is, we can’t drill our way out of our addiction to oil.”

Peter is spot on. We don’t have nearly enough oil supply on our own land or off our shores to be energy self-sufficent. Finding ways to use less oil is the only sure-fire way to shield ourselves from price shocks at the pump. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to reduce U.S. oil dependence (courtesy of the folks at the Clean Fleet Report) summarized as follows:

  1. fuel efficiency
  2. electric cars
  3. eliminate fossil fuel subsidies
  4. urban density
  5. public transit
  6. employer commute and flexwork programs
  7. cash for clunkers
  8. smart apps
  9. smart growth
  10. states’ rights

The blog’s main point is that, together, those strategies all add up to this:

“Making us more dependent on oil will not make us less dependent. We must end the subsidies and mandates that make us 96 percent dependent on oil and allow our individuals, cities, and states to keep moving us forward with better transit, fuel-efficient cars, and a brighter future.”

So, as the rhetoric over rising gas prices heats up please try to remember that the problem is our nation’s oil addiction and for that there is no simple solution. Attacking this issue purely from the supply side will get us nowhere; reducing our demand is the only realistic answer. That means investing in more transportation choices so Americans have the freedom to find other ways than driving to get us where we need to go.

Clean Energy To Be A Winning Issue in November

Many political commentators declared President Obama’s State of the Union address to be the start of the 2012 campaign for his reelection.  They said it was a speech designed to stir the enthusiasm of the base and draw sharp contrasts with his Republican opponents.  If that’s true, what lessons can we draw from the President’s discussion of clean energy?

Democracy Corps conducted real-time polling of the speech.  Here’s what they found:

President Obama generated a strong response when discussing energy.  This section received the highest sustained ratings of the speech from Democrats and independents, but it was also one of the few polarizing sections as Republicans reacted negatively to the President’s call for more support of clean energy (independents, like Democrats, responded very favorably).   Overall, Obama gained 22 points on the issue, one of his biggest gains on the evening, as these voters endorsed his appeal to end subsidies for oil companies and instead focus those resources on expanding clean energy in America.

The President seems to understand what Grist’s Dave Roberts points out: that clean energy is a wedge issue.  While the Tea Party Republicans who live in a reality-free world may not support clean energy, pretty much everyone else does.  Not just Democrats.  Those crucial, swinging independent voters who are likely to decide the election in November just happen to like clean energy jobs for hardworking Americans…and to oppose tax breaks for bazillionaire oil company CEOs. That puts those independent voters squarely at odds with the “drill, baby, drill” ranks of the Republican presidential candidates.

So, here’s a tip for all the candidates who will be on the ballot in November.  Whether you are running for city council or running for Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, it’s time to get on the clean energy train.  It is headed for victory.