Last week Mitt Romney released his energy plan, which is all fossil fuels all the time (plus more nukes) with no mention of energy efficiency or climate change -- which is just one of the issues he's flipped on since he was governor of Massachusetts, now saying he no longer believes it's human-caused. And he mentions renewables -- the quaintly worded "windmills" and solar -- only to disparage them. Here's a quote from the end of his one-page issue paper on energy:
"Government has a role to play in innovation in the energy industry. History shows that the United States has moved forward in astonishing ways thanks to national investment in basic research and advanced technology. However, we should not be in the business of steering investment toward particular politically favored approaches. That is a recipe for both time and money wasted on projects that do not bring us dividends. The failure of windmills and solar plants to become economically viable or make a significant contribution to our energy supply is a prime example." (Italics are mine -- what about the tens of billions you would give away to fossil industries, and not a dime for renewables, Mitt?)
He also wants to "Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview," and "Support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States" as in the Keystone XL pipeline to bring in tar sands, the dirtiest form of energy on the planet, which, by the way, leaked from an existing pipeline in Battle Creek, Michigan in 2010, and is still not cleaned up, with the costs already surpassing half a billion dollars and unknown health impacts.
I guess he didn't get the memo that last year, globally there's been more investment in renewables than in fossil fuels. Germany is closing all its nuke plants and getting more and more of its energy from solar facilities -- and it's not even sunny there! Imagine what we could do with wind on the Midwestern plains or solar in the Mojave Desert. (Though I just read that Germany's also burning more coal these days...)
And in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, ORomney referenced the words Obama spoke in 2008, just to make fun of them. He said, "President Obama promised to slow the rise of the oceans — [pauses for audience laughter(!)] — and to heal the planet. My promise is to help you and your family," -- implying Obama was either blasphemous because only God can control the seas, or just silly and out of touch with regular Americans. Romney doesn't acknowledge that addressing climate change would definitely help families -- like the ones fleeing hurricanes and forest fires, the destructiveness of both increasing due to climate change -- and much sooner than predicted.
Of course, Obama is now pursuing an "all of the above" energy strategy -- nukes, non-existent "clean coal," drilling for oil in the Arctic and in deep offshore wells, and fracking for natural gas whatever can be fracked, as well as renewables and efficiency, so it's hard to defend his current strategy. (He deserves kudos, though, on his just-passed regulations on motor vehicle fuel efficiency, which will double the miles per gallon requirement by 2025.)
Ben Martin is with 350 Connecticut, an affiliate of 350.org, whose goal is to move Connecticut and the world beyond fossil fuels and get atmospheric carbon dioxide down to 350 parts per million from its current 387 ppm in order to preserve life on Earth as we know it. I saw him at the opening of the Obama headquarters in Connecticut on Friday, holding up a sign in favor of clean energy. Of Obama he says, "He needs to have more of a laser focus on renewable energy." He thinks that will attract the voters who don't want Romney but have been disappointed in Obama on this issue. Once elected Martin says Obama needs "to hold to his promises to stop the rise of the seas and reverse climate change."