Today the Democratic Convention officially opened. Weeks of anticipation, months of work, and years of lobbying are all coming to a head. For the environmental world, significant questions abound about what a second Obama administration might look like.
Will the Democrats wise up and prevent drilling in the Arctic? Will they stop the Tar Sands pipeline? Will they support real chemical security? Will they stop selling coal on public lands to China or India? Will the president explicitly call for an end to mountaintop removal mining? Will they make sure that the production tax credit is extended?
What is this political party going to do to help stop, mitigate and adapt to the effects of catastrophic climate change?
The energy package the Democrats rolled out today makes it clear they will not be doing enough. Through the embrace of an “all of the above” strategy on energy, the Democrats of 2012 have started to sound a whole lot like the Republicans of 2008.
All of the above doesn’t work when most of those options are deadly.
The administration has done some good work on standards for mercury and air toxics (MATS) in addition to CAFE standards for cars and trucks. And to be fair, they had a major setback in the DC court tossing out the much needed nitrogen and sulfur cross-state pollution rule (CSAPR). However, they have delayed proposals for greenhouse gas standards (GHG), or “carbon pollution,” on existing stationary sources (like coal plants), particulate matter 2.5 (soot), ozone, and cooling water (for power plants mainly). The administration has also delayed final rules on industrial boilers (like cement plants), coal ash (think TVA ash ponds), and cooling water intake (aka sucking up fish to cool power plants). In addition, we have seen delays on fracking emissions (until 2015) and GHGs from new sources (new coal plants).
That’s a problem.
I think it’s pretty clear that any sustainable energy future requires “all of the above” (and many more) questions to be answered and more importantly acted on. The habitability of our planet is at stake and I want to know what the plan is to ensure our viability as a species.
More to come…