The “all of the above” approach to America’s energy needs articulated in the White House- backed “Clean Energy Standard” is no roadmap to a clean, sustainable future. It keeps the nation on a path that is strewn with local hazards from fossil fuels and nuclear power and darkened by the global threat of climate change. The so-called Clean Energy Standard clings to the past and fails to take decisive action to protect public health, safety and energy security.
The case for new thinking is clear: The evidence for human-caused climate change continues to grow, and we are already witnesses to its effects on human health, agricultural production and sea levels. Citizen groups and experts around the country are cataloging the risks of natural gas fracking to health and water supplies. The catastrophe at Fukushima has reminded the world of nuclear energy’s persistent near- and long-term dangers. Carbon capture and storage and other speculative fixes for coal’s billowing emissions are a costly waste of public funds and divert attention and resources from the timely, fundamental change.
Moreover, “business as usual” will suck dry or foul the water that is essential to all living things. Coal-, nuclear-, industrialized biomass-, and natural gas-fired power plants consume oceans of water, causing local and distant pollution and competing with agriculture, residential and other commercial interests. Carbon capture and storage will require up to 90 percent more water than coal plants use today. Natural gas fracking requires millions of gallons and produces contaminated wastewater that must be treated and/or discarded. Injection wells for disposing of drilling and fracking wastes have triggered earthquakes, government scientists have found.
The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to bring about a renewable energy future. As Congress debates major new public investments in energy, we need to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support an energy system that protects public health, promotes energy independence and ensures the economic well being of all Americans.
The precautionary principle must be the lodestar for the effort to create a new energy future for America that goes “beyond business as usual.” In the energy sphere, the core of the precautionary principle is to prevent degradation of the environment, protect public health, preserve access to clean water, sustain the electric grid and combat global climate change, all while laying the basis for an adequate standard of living for today’s populations and future generations.
We, the undersigned, agree to this fundamental principle and further commit to work toward a truly renewable, sustainable energy standard that built on the following shared premises:
Call to Action
The time is now for a new, grassroots-driven politics to bring about a renewable energy future. As Congress debates major new public investments in energy, we need to ensure that our taxpayer dollars support an energy system that protects public health, promotes energy independence and ensures the economic well being of all Americans. Read more...