Sierra Club Seeks More Ambitious Global-Warming Target

None

EAGLESHAM, SCOTLAND - MAY 20: A wind turbine stands with the city of Glasgow in the background as Whitelee, Europe's largest onshore windfarm, is officially opened on May 20, 2009 in Eaglesham, Scotland. The Whitelee wind farm will power 180,000 homes and has plans granted by the Scottish Government to power a further 70,000. 
National Journal
Amy Harder
Nov. 20, 2013, 8:11 a.m.

After shift­ing its po­s­i­tion last year to out­right op­pose nat­ur­al gas, the Si­erra Club, one of the old­est, largest, and most in­flu­en­tial en­vir­on­ment­al groups in the world, is now in the pro­cess of set­ting an even more am­bi­tious glob­al-warm­ing tar­get.

The group’s of­fi­cial po­s­i­tion is to op­pose any new nat­ur­al-gas de­pend­ence and to wean the coun­try off fossil fuels by 2050. Now, the Si­erra Club group is look­ing to move that date earli­er by 20 years, Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Mi­chael Brune told Na­tion­al Journ­al in an in­ter­view this week.

“We’re in the pro­cess of mov­ing up the date. We are ex­plor­ing what it would take to get off coal and gas by 2030 in the power sec­tor,” Brune said. “We’re look­ing at it sec­tor by sec­tor. We’re first fo­cus­ing on the power sec­tor.”

Right now, al­most 70 per­cent of Amer­ica’s elec­tri­city is powered by coal and nat­ur­al gas; nuc­le­ar power, which the Si­erra Club also op­poses, makes up about 20 per­cent; and wind and sol­ar make up about 3 per­cent.

The group’s new policy will be fi­nal in the first half of next year. The change is still in the in­tern­al de­lib­er­a­tion phase and has not been ap­proved by the board, so no fi­nal com­mit­ment has been made.

When asked what’s driv­ing his group’s shifts in po­s­i­tion last year and now, Brune said that nat­ur­al gas is in­hib­it­ing, not help­ing, com­bat cli­mate change, even though it pro­duces just half the car­bon emis­sions of coal and a third that of oil.

“We think gas of­fers a false hope of ar­rest­ing cli­mate change,” Brune said. “Even if it has a lower car­bon foot­print com­pared to coal, we can defin­it­ively say re­pla­cing coal with gas “¦ locks in warm­ing of 6 de­grees.”

He ref­er­enced a 2011 In­ter­na­tion­al En­ergy Agency re­port on the “golden age of gas,” which said that an en­ergy mix with more nat­ur­al gas would put the plan­et on a path to sur­pass a 3.5-de­gree Celsi­us rise, well above the 2-de­gree lim­it most sci­ent­ists en­dorse. He also poin­ted to com­ments that the study’s lead au­thor, IEA Chief Eco­nom­ist Fatih Bir­ol, made shortly after the re­port was re­leased: “We are not say­ing that it will be a golden age for hu­man­ity — we are say­ing it will be a golden age for gas.”

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
ARE YOU THE GATEKEEPER?
Sanders: Obama Is a Progressive
1 days ago
THE LATEST

“Do I think President Obama is a progressive? Yeah, I do,” said Bernie Sanders, in response to a direct question in tonight’s debate. “I think they’ve done a great job.” But Hillary Clinton wasn’t content to sit out the latest chapter in the great debate over the definition of progressivism. “In your definition, with you being the gatekeeper of progressivism, I don’t think anyone else fits that definition,” she told Sanders.

×