The Mark UP

In Their Own Words: the 2012 Elections – a Mandate for Action on Clean Energy and Climate Change

WASHINGTON (November 9, 2012) –The 2012 elections delivered a mandate for action on clean energy and addressing climate change. Take the candidates’ words for it. Here is what they said they would do and stood for, and voters responded by electing them.

President Obama
“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt; that isn’t weakened by inequality; that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.” – President Obama election night remarks November 7, 2012.

“You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After 30 years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by 1 million barrels a day— more than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.

“We’re offering a better path— a future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.

“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’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it. – President Obama remarks in Denver, Colorado, October 4, 2012, minutes 7:00-9:00.

Senator Sherrod Brown, (D-OH)

“A comprehensive strategy of investments and well-defined incentives can drive innovation and encourage long-term investments much needed by manufacturers and industry. A model for this common sense approach is the negotiated settlement on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards reached when your administration worked collaboratively with auto manufacturers, states, and environmental advocates. It makes sense to explore similar opportunities with other industries.  I believe that through collaborative approaches like these, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save consumers money, and address our dependence on foreign oil.”

Senator Jon Tester, (D-MT)

“America’s energy independence is critically important, and we have a tremendous opportunity in Montana to help America become energy-independent. If I were not running for US Senate, on my farm, we would be crushing safflower, because I’ve run the numbers, and it works, and it provides a renewable energy source that makes sense. We did a lot of things in the last session to help promote bio-fuels and renewables and wind energy.”

“Us pulling out of the Kyoto Accord is exactly what’s wrong. We need to have communication with folks around the world. This is a worldwide problem. I hope [global warming] is a glitch in the environment, but we need to treat it in case it’s not. I’d point out that, with the exception of wind and solar, you still have carbon emissions from other renewables, like biofuels and ethanol. Our universities can be a big player in how we can sequester carbon, and solve this carbon issue. We can solve this problem but it’s going to take some research dollars, and some commitment, and some leadership. The folks that are there can’t do it. We need a change.”

Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA)

“Right now, renewable energy competes with old energies that get lots of special breaks from Washington. We know that we can generate power with alternative energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. We also know that we can make energy usage far more efficient. If we commit ourselves to clean energy and energy efficiency now, in the long run we can reduce price swings and lower our overall costs.”

“Washington is going in the wrong direction.  It hands out massive tax breaks to energy companies that are among the most profitable corporations in the world, while people in Massachusetts and across the country pay the price…. The choice before us is simple. Will we continue to subsidize the dirty fossil fuels of the past, or will we transition to 21st century clean, renewable energy?”

“As long as we subsidize dirty sources like oil, gas, and coal, we threaten the air we breathe and the water we drink. In Massachusetts, 1 in 10 people have asthma. Pollution is a serious public health challenge – and our children’s well-being is at risk…. So long as we rely on oil and gas, we also threaten our national security. Reliance on oil and gas puts us at the mercy of OPEC. We are more likely to prop up foreign dictators or become entangled in wars that are about our energy needs rather than our long-term, strategic interests. And when we do wage war, we put our servicemen and women at risk: about 80% of convoys in Afghanistan are associated with fuel delivery, and there were 1,100 attacks on these convoys in 2010 alone.”

“Carbon-heavy fuels also intensify the risks of climate change. The science is unmistakable: Earth’s climate is changing and human activities are contributing to climate change. Climate change endangers our health and national security, it threatens agricultural production and the availability of clean water, and it risks floods and droughts.”

“Investing in clean energy technology is investing in our health, our environmental security, our national security, and our economic security.”

Senator-elect Martin Heinrich, (D-NM)

“Our nation faces a tremendous challenge in our need to reverse climate change and to lead the world in clean energy technology. I share their commitment in rising to that challenge. Here in New Mexico, we already know the potential for clean energy to create jobs and jumpstart our economy. Through American ingenuity and the right policies we can unleash the full potential of this growing industry and put even more Americans to work building the clean energy economy.”

Senator-elect Tim Kaine, (D-VA)

“We need to be on the cutting edge of new clean energy technologies like wind, solar and nuclear power.  Virginia has a particularly bright future in production of biodiesel from agricultural and forestry products.

“We need a national energy policy that takes immediate advantage of Virginia and America’s own energy resources to end our dependence on foreign oil.  But we also need a commitment to transition to a lower-carbon energy portfolio for the good of the economy, the environment and global security.  Too many rogue nations who export terrorism pay for their mayhem with revenues gained from selling oil.  If we make oil increasingly irrelevant, we’ll keep these hostile nations in check.  And conservation must be a major part of our nation’s energy strategy, because the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t have to buy due to increases in efficiency and conservation.  I am very supportive of recent efforts to modernize homes, schools, and municipal buildings in order to reduce consumption and therefore utility bills.

Senator-elect Chris Murphy, (D-CT)

“Renewable energy is the next big global industry, and we must work now to ensure those jobs stay in the U.S.”

“I support a national standard to drive development of renewable power technologies like wind, solar, fuel cells, and alternative fuels – a policy Connecticut and dozens of other states have already passed on their own.”

“Northeastern states like Connecticut have already done important work on their own to limit greenhouse gas emissions, but they need a reliable partner at the federal level to help drive investments in clean, renewable technologies. Embracing new, alternative sources of energy not only means goods things for our air and our ecosystems, it means jobs: cutting-edge jobs in the high-tech manufacturing fields that our state has always excelled in.”

“I’ve also fought hard for landmark climate change legislation that will drive private sector investment in the clean energy systems of the future.”

“In Congress, I’ve also been a leader in the fight against global warming. The facts are clear, and those who refuse to acknowledge the reality of man-made climate change are not only failing to protect our environment, they’re waging a war on science itself.”

“Decades from now, I know that our environment will be viewed as one of the defining questions of our time. At the moment of crisis, were we willing to confront the challenges facing our natural world? Were we willing to protect the lands that provide our drinking water and grow our food? Were we willing to keep the air we breathe healthy and clean? We were able to enact the policies necessary unshackle us from the yoke of polluting, dirty energy? Or did we yield to the skeptics and the naysayers when their voices grew loudest and shrillest?”

Senator-elect Angus King, (I-ME)

“I want to bring common sense to the budget, get us off foreign oil with cleaner energy made in this country.

“I support creating and protecting good-paying American clean energy jobs to boost our economy, reducing our dependence on oil, and powering our country while keeping our families and communities healthy.”

Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, (D-WI)

“A comprehensive energy plan must include investment in enhanced energy production from wind, solar and biofuels; investment in advanced battery technology, electric and hybrid vehicles, and development of smart grid technology. If we are to successfully confront the challenge of climate change, we will have to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels. For states like Wisconsin that are highly dependent on coal for energy productions, we must pursue new technologies to capture and store carbon that would otherwise damage our environment and contribute to climate change.”