Rocky Anderson believes it is well past time for non-scientists to stop debating climate science and for America’s leaders to lead on an issue that is arguably the most important challenge in the history of our species. It is time for America’s leaders to accept that:
- Many of the nation’s highest-ranking military experts, past and present, have identified global climate change as a serious threat to national security;
- National security is not a partisan issue. Nor is the health of the environment, including the systems that support human life;
- Prudence requires that elected leaders at all levels of government accept their obligation to protect the American people from unreasonable risks, in this case the risk that climate change will create significant adverse impacts, including several that are irreversible;
- As the nation responsible for most of the greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere today, the United States has a moral obligation to lead the world in reducing the risks of global climate change;
- At the same time, the world’s inevitable shift to cleaner and more sustainable resources presents an unprecedented opportunity to create new jobs and industries. Our public policies and partisan politics should not stand in the way of our ability to seize that opportunity.
- The President of the United States must be a tireless and uncompromising champion of the federal policy reforms necessary to meet the challenge and seize the opportunities presented by the climate issue, including the end of taxpayer subsidies for the energy resources climate scientists have found are responsible for global warming.
Rocky Anderson believes the political debate over climate science is a deliberate distraction from responsible action – a distraction encouraged and supported by individuals and corporations with a vested interest in prolonging the nation’s dependence on fossil energy. Climate change is neither a political nor an ideological issue; it is a risk-management issue. The American people understand this, because we manage risks every day, insuring our homes against fire, our health against catastrophic illness and our vehicles against accidents – all events we hope will not occur but whose possibility we must acknowledge.
In reality, we do not need unanimity among politicians on the conclusions of climate science. We do not need make enlightened public policies contingent upon the unattainable goal of 100% scientific certainty. The policies we need to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions are the same as those we need to improve our energy security, reduce our military spending, clean up the environment, protect public health, create jobs and put America back in the race to the top of the global economy.
Rocky Anderson’s record reveals a leader who is willing to tackle the risks of global climate change head-on. During four years as Mayor of Salt Lake City, his aggressive climate protection leadership resulted in a 31% reduction in the city’s municipal greenhouse gas emissions. Rocky’s leadership was recognized with a Climate Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a Distinguished Service Award from the Sierra Club, a Respect the Earth Planet Defender Award and the World Leadership Award for environmental programs from the World Leadership Forum. He was named by Business Week as one of the top 20 activists in the world on global climate change and served on Newsweek’s Global Environmental Leadership Advisory Committee.
As President, Rocky Anderson will continue addressing climate change and America’s necessary transition to clean renewable energy. He will:
- Put the United States on course for a zero-net-carbon economy by mid-century. President Anderson will convene America’s top scientists, economists, and technology experts, along with leading governors and mayors, to develop a climate change mitigation roadmap with aggressive early milestones for greenhouse gas reductions. Rocky believes that because the damages and costs of climate change grow larger with each passing year, America’s plan for reductions must be front-end-loaded.
- End all taxpayer subsidies for fossil fuels and shift the revenues to a crash program of research, development, and commercialization of clean and renewable energy resources. This includes subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration. Rocky Anderson believes the fossil energy industries are sufficiently well financed to pay for this technology on their own.
- Insist on full funding and scientific integrity in the national climate change science program, as well as U.S. support for the ongoing research of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Champion a market-based approach to reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, but support and defend the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions if market mechanisms are not promptly put in place by Congress or prove insufficient.
- Fully use the authorities past Congresses have granted the President to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from government operations and to aggressive goals for government use of low-carbon materials and resources. Fight for sufficient funding by Congress to make the U.S. government, including the Department of Defense, leaders in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Direct appropriate federal agencies to modify their grant and loan programs to support low-carbon development and climate adaptation measures by state and local governments and the private sector.
- Use his bully pulpit to push for greater economy-wide transparency on climate risks. For example, President Anderson will push for state insurance regulators to require that property-casualty insurance companies annually assess and report their climate-related risks – an exercise similar the Security and Exchange Commission’s guidance that publicly traded companies do the same.
- Reinstate FEMA’s Project Impact, a program under the Clinton Administration that helped communities create public-private partnerships to prevent and respond to natural disasters.
- Institute policies to make carbon “visible”, including carbon-impact statements for federally funded projects and carbon-impact analysis of federal agency budget requests.
- Make the reduction of America’s carbon debt as high a priority as reducing its financial debt; and deliver a “State of the Nation’s Ecosystems” address to a joint session of Congress each Earth Day.
- Direct the EPA and Energy Information Administration to count the carbon impact of America’s imports when they calculate U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
- Direct America’s National Laboratories to increase their collaboration with U.S. industry in the development of critical carbon-cutting technologies, including advanced batteries, utility-scale energy storage, cellulosic ethanol and low-wind-speed turbines
- Make the United States a constructive and proactive leader in the effort to negotiate an effective and enforceable international treaty that reduces the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, conserves the world’s forests, and transfers clean energy technologies to developing nations.
- Champion reforms in national transportation policy to favor funding for mass transit and non-vehicular mobility over funding for roads.
- Direct the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation to develop guidelines for designs and materials that reduce the carbon footprints and increase the resilience of America’s infrastructure, particularly as it is repaired and modernized in the years ahead.
Rocky Anderson supports the Wingspread Principles on the U.S. Response to Global Climate Change (click here to see) developed by the Presidential Climate Action Project and signed by a bipartisan group of citizens and Nobel Laureates in 2006. Rocky was an early participant in the Wingspread process and heartily endorses it. (http://www.climateactionproject.com/principles.php)