The Republican National Committee just launched an ad called, “Balance” claiming we have “a climate in crisis,” as noted here. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell introduced the Climate DestructionGas Price Reduction Act of 2008 late last month that would repeal the congressional moratorium on shale development. In a press release today titled, “A Balanced Approach to Reducing Gas Prices for Americans,” he claimed that “Our western states are sitting on a sea of oil three times as large as the oil reserves in Saudi Arabia.”
The best analysis of the climate risks of unconventional oil, “Risks of the oil transition,” coauthored by the late Alex Farrell, has an outstanding figure that shows that from a climate perspective, shale is probably worse than liquid coal (which is pretty damn bad) –
John McCain takes the “conserve” out of “conservative.” His entire energy efficiency strategy would fit on one side of a very small file card and can be summarized as follows: Ban Porsches, green federal buildings, applaud homeowners who do stuff on their own!
His repackaged new economic plan, “Jobs for America” has precisely 3 paragraphs that deal with efficiency:
CAFE Standards: John McCain has long supported CAFE standards — the mileage requirements that automobile manufacturers’ cars must meet. Some carmakers ignore these standards, pay a small financial penalty, and add it to the price of their cars. John McCain believes that the penalties for not following these standards must be effective enough to compel carmakers to produce fuel-efficient vehicles.
Seriously. That’s all he has to say about fuel economy. McCain’s entire fuel economy strategy is to force a small number of “higher end auto companies like BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes” to make their cars fuel efficient (see McCain energy gimmick, Part 2 — The ill-defined, impractical “Clean Car Challenge”). What a transformative, addiction-ending idea — I bet it would reduce U.S. oil consumption at least 1/10 of 1%.
Building Efficiency Government Purchasing: John McCain will make greening the federal government a priority of his administration. The federal government is the largest electricity consumer on earth and occupies 3.3 billion square feet of space worldwide. It provides an enormous opportunity to lead by example. By applying a higher efficiency standard to new buildings leased or purchased and retrofitting existing buildings, we can save taxpayers money in energy costs, and move the construction market in the direction of green technology.
Good luck. Conservatives like McCain, including Newt Gingrich in the 1990s and President Bush this decade, have been blocking progressive efforts to significantly increase the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) budget for decades. Note to McCain: the construction market has already swung heavily in the direction of green technology in the past decade — thanks mainly to the US Green Building Council.
But the last paragraph on efficiency is the best of all. It puts McCain squarely in the Dick Cheney school of energy efficiency:
At a July 3 briefing, White House press secretary Dana Perino made the bizarre claim that the United States has “actually” reduced “actual emissions” of greenhouse gases, complaining that President Bush “gets absolutely no credit at all.” Perino had taken a question about global warming negotiations at this week’s G8 summit in Japan. The questioner noted that “global warming experts who are usually quite critical of the administration” see a “glimmer of hope.” Her reply:
Well, I think — when I read those quotes this morning, you could have knocked me over with a feather, too, because the President gets absolutely no credit for all that he has done here in our own country, because we have actually been able to reduce actual emissions from our country, even though our economy has grown over the past several years.
Perino is flat wrong. Under President Bush’s tenure, global warming emissions by the United States rose from 6.98 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2000 to 7.08 billion metric tons in 2006. The only contribution Bush made to limiting the growth in emissions was mismanaging the economy, since a weak economy produces less pollution than a strong one, all things being equal.
The decimation of manufacturing and skyrocketing energy prices under Bush have limited the rise of global warming pollution under his tenure, but without any other benefits. Much greater reductions of gasoline use could have been achieved by increasing the fuel economy of cars on the road, which would have also spurred technological innovation, made US auto manufacturers more competive in the global market, and kept billions of dollars from flowing to oil countries overseas. But conservatives blocked increases in fuel economy standards for 32 years. Similarly, if the federal government had made strong investments in building a green-collar economy instead of tax breaks for oil companies, the United States manufacturing sector might not have become a shadow of its former self.
At practically every turn, policy decisions made by the Bush administration — tax cuts for the superwealthy, stoking of the housing bubble, the reckless invasion of Iraq, the abandonment of our state and local infrastructure — have weakened our nation’s economy and made us less prepared for the threat of global warming.
Perino complained that “the President gets absolutely no credit for all that he has done here in our own country.” In the coming years, Bush will be very lucky if people forget “all that he has done.”
The Republican National Committee has begun a 10-day, $3 million ad campaign in swing states called “Balance” [Note to media: "Balance" is a codeword for "Business as usual"]:
Record gas prices, a climate in crisis. John McCain says solve it now. With a balanced plan — alternative energy, conservation, suspending the gas tax AND more production here at home. He’s pushing his own party to face climate change.
“But Barack Obama? For conservation, but he just says no to lower gas taxes. No to nuclear. No to more production. No new solutions. Barack Obama: Just the party line. The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
I believe this ad sets a record for the most pieces of disinformation in a 30-second ad. I see at least 7, not counting unintentional irony:
Edited by Joe Romm, we cover climate science, solutions and politics. Columnist Tom Friedman calls us "the indispensable blog" and Time magazine named us one of the 25 "Best Blogs of 2010." Newcomers, start here.