The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030. It is one of the most ambitions efforts by the Obama administration to address climate change. Sen. Bernie Sanders welcomed the initiative, but he said real progress on global warming has been blocked by Republicans in Congress who have thwarted every measure to confront a planetary crisis that they deny is happening. “I applaud the EPA’s proposal for common-sense standards to reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming. Much more must be done to avoid a planetary crisis, but reducing emissions from dirty coal-fired power plants is a good step. Shutting down old, dirty power plants and replacing them with solar, wind and other renewable and sustainable sources of energy will also create hundreds of thousands of jobs and save consumers billions of dollars,” Sanders said.
Vermont is the only state not covered under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule proposed today because the state does not have any fossil fuel-fired power plants. Under the proposal, Vermont may collaborate with other states in the New England region to meet a multi-state goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In unveiling the proposal, the Obama administration specifically cited Efficiency Vermont as a model for utilities around the country. Efficiency Vermont provides technical assistance, rebates, and other financial incentives to help Vermont households and businesses become more energy-efficient in order to reduce their energy costs.
“Vermont is leading the way,” Sanders said. I congratulate Efficiency Vermont for being cited as a national model and for other efforts underway in Vermont to address global warming.”
More must be done at the national and international level to address climate change, added Sanders, a member of the Senate environment and energy committees. Along with Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sanders has proposed a tax on carbon and methane emissions. Their bill would offer rebates to consumers to help offset the rising cost of coal, oil and other fossil fuels. It also would create millions of jobs by investing in a transformation of our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.
Another Sanders bill would end tax breaks and subsidies for oil and coal companies. A companion measure in the House is sponsored by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).
Everywhere but in Congress, there is a growing consensus that a tax on carbon and methane emissions is needed. Both the carbon tax and ending subsidies for coal and oil companies are ideas backed by scientists and leading economists. The legislation has been blocked by Republicans in Congress who reject the overwhelming conclusion – some even call it a “hoax” – that climate change is occurring and that it is man-made.