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Bernie Sanders on Energy & Oil

Democratic primary challenger; Independent VT Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)

 


Scientists say "12 years before damage is irreversible"

Scientists tell us we have 12 years before there is irreparable damage to this planet. This is a global issue. What the president should do is not deny the reality of climate change but tell the rest of the world that, instead of spending a trillion and a half dollars on weapons of destruction, let us get together for the common enemy, and transform the world's energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. The future of the planet rests on us doing that.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami) , Jun 27, 2019

Not enough to beat Trump; must beat fossil fuel industry

The scientists tell us is that we have 12 years before irreparable damage is done to this planet. Beating Trump is not good enough. You've got to beat the fossil fuel industry. You have to take on all of those forces of the status quo, who do not want to move this country to energy efficiency and sustainable energies. We have a moral responsibility to make sure that our kids live, and our grandchildren live, in a healthy and habitable planet. That means massive investments in wind, solar.
Source: Meet the Press 2019 interview of 2020 presidential hopefuls , May 19, 2019

End fossil fuel; move toward wind and solar

We have got to take on the fossil fuel industry and make it very clear that we are moving away from fossil fuel and not blaming people who work in the coal or gas or oil industry. All they are trying to do is feed their families. We can move aggressively toward wind and solar. We have got to rethink our transportation system and build the kind of state-of-the-art rail system that our country needs which will help us transport people and cargo in a much more nonpolluting way.
Source: CNN Town Hall 2020: 5 candidates back-to-back , Apr 22, 2019

Keep US in Paris Climate Agreement & increase targets

Q: As president, would you keep the U.S. in the Paris Agreement and commit to more ambitious targets in 2020?

A: Sanders's campaign confirmed that he would keep the United States in the Paris Agreement and increase emission reduction targets, but did not provide an on-the-record quote.

Q: Would you restore Obama-era climate change regulations that the Trump administration has reversed, like the Clean Power Plan, methane limits and vehicle emissions standards?

A: Sanders's campaign said he would restore Obama-era regulations.

Q: Do you support new regulations to cut greenhouse gas emissions beyond what was in place under President Obama?

A: Sanders's campaign said he would go beyond Obama-era regulations, but did not elaborate or provide an on-the-record quote.

Q: Do you support a national renewable energy standard? If so, what would it be? If not, why not?

A: Sanders's campaign reiterated his support for the Green New Deal, which calls for 100 percent renewable energy.

Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Apr 18, 2019

Co-sponsor of Green New Deal

Green New Deal: Sanders is a co-sponsor of the bill and has spoken consistently about the severity of climate change.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 12, 2019

Transform our energy system away from fossil fuel

We are going to have to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We know how to do that. The technology is there. That technology will only improve. Here's the other good news when we make that transformation: We're going to create millions of good-paying jobs weatherizing our homes, changing our transportation system, moving aggressively into wind and solar and other sustainable energies.
Source: CNN Town Hall on 2020 Democratic presidential primary , Feb 25, 2019

We have 12 years to transform to sustainable energy

As important as it is to respond to what President Trump said [in the State of the Union speech], it is even more important to discuss what Trump refused to talk about--which happens to include some of the most important issues facing our country and the world.

How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change when the leading scientists of the world tell us that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and is already causing devastating harm in the United States and in much of the world. Further, they tell us that we have a very short 12 years in order to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy if we are going to have a planet that is healthy and habitable for our kids and grandchildren.

Source: Progressive response to 2019 State of the Union speech , Feb 5, 2019

No more debate on climate change; it's here & costs $100Bs

Q: The Trump administration issued a new report, a really sharp warning about the immediate danger of climate change. What action will Congress take?

SANDERS: Well, what Congress should do is move aggressively in listening not only to this report from the Trump administration but from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which tells us that climate change is already doing irreparable harm all over this planet. What Congress has got to do is take Trump on, take the fossil fuel industry on, and transform our energy system away from fossil fuel, to energy efficiency and sustainable energies like solar and wind.

Q: The report estimates knocking as much as 10% off the size of the U.S. economy by the end of this century because of related costs.

SANDERS: The debate is over about the reality of climate change and the incredible and costly harm it's going to do to this country. We are talking about hundreds of billions of dollars in damage that we're going to have to pay for.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Nov 25, 2018

Climate change is issue for entire international community

At a time when climate change is causing devastating problems here in America and around the world, foreign policy is about whether we work with the international community--with China, Russia, India and countries around the world-- to transform our energy systems away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Sensible foreign policy understands that climate change is a real threat to every country on earth, that it is not a hoax, and that no country alone can effectively combat it. It is an issue for the entire international community, and an issue that the United States should be leading in, not ignoring or denying.
Source: Westminster College speech in Where We Go From Here, p. 94 , Sep 21, 2017

Rising oceans creating world's first "climate refugees"

Rising oceans are already creating the world's first "climate refugees." Residents of the Maldives are abandoning some of the lower-lying islands as the ocean rises. Closer to home, residents of Isle de Jean Charles in southeastern Louisiana, are preparing to leave as their land disappears.

Unless we drastically change course in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures will continue to rise. Millions of people will be displaced by rising sea levels, extreme weather events, & flooding.

The growing scarcity of basic human needs could well lead to perpetual warfare in regions around the world, as people fight over limited supplies of water, farmland, and other natural resources. A world in which we see mass migrations of people is not going to be a safe or stable world. That's not just my opinion--that is the opinion of leading national security experts in our country and throughout the world. Yes, climate change is our nation's great national security threat.

Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.127-30 , Aug 29, 2017

Pushed energy efficiency block grants

As part of the 2009 stimulus package, working with Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, we passed funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. This legislation, strongly supported by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has been one of the government's major efforts to combat climate change. It provided billions of dollars for communities all across the country to move toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy. In Vermont, a number of schools throughout the state were able to use that money to place solar panels on their rooftops. This not only cut carbon emissions, but saved schools money on their electric bills.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 45 , Nov 15, 2016

Inexpensive Venezuelan oil donated to low-income Vermonters

In mid-September, my campaign issued a very forceful response to an ugly and dishonest attack that came from the Clinton Super PAC run by David Brock, the former right-wing journalist. Brock had attempted to link me to the former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. My "crime" had been that I worked with former congressman Joe Kennedy and his nonprofit Citizens Energy Corporation to bring inexpensive Venezuelan heating oil into Vermont to help low-income people get through our cold winter. It was an attack. Our response: explain to our supporters what the Clinton super PAC had done, and raise money off of it.

In just forty-eight hours, as a direct response to that ugly attack, our donors contributed $1.2 million into the campaign, with an average contribution of $23. In an e-mail thanking our contributors I stated: "I hope that sends a very clear message that the American people are sick and tired of politics as usual and negative campaigning."

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p.153 , Nov 15, 2016

Cut carbon 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050

By combating climate change and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy, we not only help lead the world in saving the planet, but we create an extraordinary number of good-paying jobs.

We have a short window of time to dramatically cut the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. I have laid out a plan to cut U.S. carbon pollution by at least 40 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels by establishing a tax on carbon, aggressively implementing energy efficiency efforts, quickly moving away form fossil fuels, and deploying historic levels of new renewable energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. This is an absolutely and necessarily achievable goal. It is also a huge opportunity in terms of strengthening our economy and creating jobs.

Energy efficiency truly is a win-win-win in the fight against climate change, in terms of reducing energy use, saving consumers money, and creating jobs.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 251 , Nov 15, 2016

Job training for transition to green energy

We have a national responsibility to make sure that livelihoods and families are helped, not hurt, by the transition to clean energy. That is why I introduced the Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act--to provide comprehensive job training and benefits to workers as they transition to making the solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries of the twenty-first century. It will also direct resources to the most affected communities, particularly in Appalachian coal country, to clean up the disastrous environmental legacy of coal mining, and to build the infrastructure needed to attract new investment and revitalize local economies.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 253 , Nov 15, 2016

2015 & 2016 were hottest years on record: debate is over

The debate is over. The vast majority of the scientific community has spoken. Climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, and it is already causing devastating harm. It is absolutely imperative that we boldly transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. The future of the planet is at stake.

While carbon dioxide accounts for 81% of greenhouse gas emissions, it is not the sole problem. Methane, which is released during the extraction and combustion of natural gas, oil, and coal, accounts for 11% of greenhouse gas emissions. Nitrous oxide--a by-product of fossil fuel combustion--accounts for 6%.

The results of dumping these heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere year after year are frighteningly clear. The year 2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 is on pace to be hotter still. July 2016 was the hottest month ever recorded on the planet. Thirteen of the fifteen hottest years have occurred since the year 2000.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 355-7 , Nov 15, 2016

Massive and sustained investment in sustainable energy

We must currently make a massive and sustained investment in sustainable energy like winds, solar, and geothermal to make a seamless transition from dirty fossil fuels to a clean energy future.

One of the best ways to incentivize the development of renewable energy is by expanding federal investment and production tax incentives for building new energy-generation projects. The solar investment tax credit (ITC) is an up-front credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of building a commercial or residential solar project, and the production tax credit (PTC) is a $0.023/kWh credit taken over ten years by wind, geothermal, and closed-loop biomass projects based on the amount of energy actually produced.

Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 370-371 , Nov 15, 2016

Tax carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases

[After the 2016 primaries], we were victorious in including amendments in the platform that made it the policy of the Democratic Party to fight for:All of these progressive policies were at the heart of our campaign, and I was very proud of the accomplishment of our platform-writing team.
Source: Where We Go From Here, by B. Sanders, p.16-7, on 2016 DNC , Jul 9, 2016

Need revolution to move away from coal and oil

CLINTON: The clean power plan is something that Senator Sanders has said he would delay implementing, which makes no sense. We need to implement the president's executive actions and quickly move to make a bridge from coal to natural gas to clean energy. That is the way we will keep the lights on while we are transitioning to a clean energy future.

SANDERS: What candidates are saying is if we stand up to the fossil fuel industry, and transform our energy system away from coal and oil and gas to energy efficiency and wind and solar and geothermal and other sustainable technologies, you know what happens to that Republican who listens to the scientists? That Republican loses his campaign funding from the Koch brothers. I'm the only candidate who says no president can do it all. We need a political revolution. When millions of people tell the fossil fuel industry that their short-term profits are less significant than the long-term health of this planet, we will win.

Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

I oppose fracking; anyone who says it is safe is wrong

Q: Do you support fracking? And its risk of contaminating the water supply?

SANDERS: My answer--my answer is a lot shorter. No, I do not support fracking.

CLINTON: #1, I don't support it when any locality or any state is against it. #2, I don't support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don't support it, #3, unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using.

Q [to Sanders]: A number of Democratic governors say that fracking can be done safely, and that it's helping their economies. Are they wrong?

SANDERS: Yes. Secretary Clinton has the support of all the Democratic governors. I am not part of that establishment. I am a member of the Environmental Committee. And I talk to scientists who tell me that fracking is doing terrible things to water systems. We have gotta be bold now. We gotta transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We've gotta do it yesterday.

Source: 2016 Democratic primary debate in Flint, Michigan , Mar 6, 2016

Climate change partly causes rise of terrorist groups

Q: You say you want to rid the planet of ISIS. In the previous debate you said the greatest threat to national security was climate change. Do you still believe that?

SANDERS: Absolutely. In fact, climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you're going to see countries all over the world--this is what the CIA says--they're going to be struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops ask you're going to see all kinds of international conflict.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa , Nov 14, 2015

Address climate change so we can leave planet to our kids

Q [to all]: What is the greatest national security threat to the United States?

CHAFEE: It's certainly the chaos in the Middle East. And it all started with the Iraq invasion.

O'MALLEY: I believe that nuclear Iran remains the biggest threat, along with the threat of ISIL; climate change, of course, makes cascading threats.

CLINTON: I think it has to be continued threat from the spread of nuclear material that can fall into the wrong hands.

WEBB: Our greatest long-term strategic challenge is our relation with China.

Q: Senator Sanders, greatest national security threat?

SANDERS: The scientific community is telling us that if we do not address the global crisis of climate change, transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to sustainable energy, the planet that we're going to be leaving our kids and our grandchildren may well not be habitable. That is a major crisis.

Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Climate change is a moral issue: tax on carbon

Pope Francis made this point. This [climate change] is a moral issue. The scientists are telling us we need to move boldly. I am proud that, along with Senator Boxer, a few years ago, we introduced the first piece of climate change legislation which called for a tax on carbon. Nothing is gonna happen unless we [deal] with campaign finance reform, because the fossil fuel industry is funding the Republican Party, which denies the reality of climate change. The future of the planet is at stake.
Source: 2015 CNN Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 13, 2015

Opposed Keystone Pipeline from day one

I believe that climate change is the great global crisis that we face, environmental crisis. From day one, I opposed the Keystone Pipeline because I believe that if you're serious about climate change, you don't encourage the excavation and transportation of very dirty oil. That was my view from day one.
Source: Meet the Press 2015 interview moderated by Chuck Todd , Oct 11, 2015

Combat climate skeptics with overwhelming evidence

Bernie has spent hundreds of hours vigorously debating and combating climate skeptic politicians. He has long been unsettled over some of his colleagues' responses to overwhelming scientific evidence and approaches to policies combating global warming through greenhouse gas emission reductions. He strongly believes the influence of lobbying is to blame for much of the climate change skepticism.

Bernie has repeatedly called climate skeptics out on their rejection of science. For example, during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in July 2014, Bernie said: "We have a major political party which is rejecting what the majority of the scientific community is saying."

It's no secret that large energy corporations fund scientists who work towards emphasizing the complexity of the knowledge surrounding climate change and its contribution to greenhouse-gas emissions. They also donate a lot of money to politicians. Bernie refuses to take money from any corporate donors.

Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues" , Sep 5, 2015

Keystone pipeline transports the dirtiest fossil fuel

In 2015, through a "sense of congress" amendment on the early 2015 Keystone XL pipeline bill, Bernie forced fellow senators to state for the congressional record if they believe "that climate change is real, human-caused, and already creating devastating problems; that there's a brief window to act before 'irreparable harm' results; and that the United States should shift to cleaner energy sources."

Bernie was a congressional leader in opposing the Keystone XL pipeline in 2014 and recently applauded president Obama's veto promise on the measure.

Bernie said about other 2016 presidential candidates' environmental policies: "It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline. We must make significant reduction in carbon emissions and break our dependency on fossil fuels. That is why I have helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline, which would transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world."

Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues" , Sep 5, 2015

Charge companies for carbon emissions; then fund renewables

On climate change: Charge companies for carbon emissions.

Considered to be a "climate change hawk," Sanders argues that shifting global temperatures are a significant threat and caused by human activity. He has sponsored a bill which would charge companies for their carbon emissions and use some of the money raised to boost renewable energy technology.

Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series , Apr 30, 2015

Transform to sustainable system & away from fossil fuels

The US must lead the world in tackling climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good paying jobs.

Unless we take bold action to address climate change, our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to look back on this period in history and ask a very simple question: Where were they? Why didn't the US lead the international community in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and preventing the devastating damage that the scientific community was sure would come?

Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com , Mar 21, 2015

Weatherize millions of homes and buildings

Reversing Climate Change:
The US must lead the world in reversing climate change and make certain that this planet is habitable for our children and grandchildren. We must transform our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energies. Millions of homes and buildings need to be weatherized, our transportation system needs to be energy efficient and we need to greatly accelerate the progress we are already seeing in wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other forms of sustainable energy. Transforming our energy system will not only protect the environment, it will create good paying jobs.
Source: 12 Steps Forward, by Sen. Bernie Sanders , Jan 15, 2015

Gas tax increases are regressive

Clinton's 1993 budget included a largely PROGRESSIVE tax proposal which fell disproportionately on the wealthiest people in the country.

Unfortunately, there WERE elements of regressive taxation in that proposal, including a 4.3% increase in the gas tax. That's about $30/year for the average Vermonter, not much but still regressive in that it hits the average working stiff who travels 100 miles a day to and from work.

Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p.196 , Jun 17, 1997


Bernie Sanders on Voting Record

Perfect score on "350 Action's 2020 Climate Test"

The environmental group 350 Action released a candidate scorecard known as the 2020 Climate Test to assess presidential hopefuls on three major metrics: support for a Green New Deal, opposition to new fossil fuel development and refusal to accept money from energy companies.

Three candidates have made firm climate-forward commitments, issuing their support for the Green New Deal, vowing to keep fossil fuels in the ground and banning donations from Big Oil.

Four candidates have supported two of 350 Action's three benchmarks.Three candidates have failed all three of 350 Action's tests, attacking the Green New Deal or making no firm pledges to work against fossil fuel companies.
Source: Mother Jones, "On Climate," on 2020 Presidential Hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

End fracking in the US

I hope that Secretary Clinton would join me if we are serious about climate change, about imposing a tax on carbon on the fossil fuel industry and making massive investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy. I hope you'll join me in ending fracking in the United States of America.
Source: 2016 PBS Democratic primary debate in Miami , Mar 9, 2016

Voted NO on barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

Congressional Summary:To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change. The Clean Air Act is amended by adding a section entitled, "No Regulation of Emissions of Greenhouse Gases". In this section, the term 'greenhouse gas' means any of the following:
  1. Water vapor
  2. Carbon dioxide
  3. Methane
  4. Nitrous oxide
  5. Sulfur hexafluoride
  6. Hydrofluorocarbons
  7. Perfluorocarbons
  8. Any other substance subject to, or proposed to be subject to regulation to address climate change.
The definition of the term 'air pollutant' does not include a greenhouse gas, except for purposes of addressing concerns other than climate change.

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
[Sen. McConnell, R-KY]: The White House is trying to impose a backdoor national energy tax through the EPA. It is a strange way to respond to rising gas prices. But it is perfectly consistent with the current Energy Secretary's previously stated desire to get gas prices in the US up to where they are in Europe.

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Sen. Lautenberg, D-NJ]:We hear the message that has been going around: Let's get rid of the EPA's ability to regulate. Who are they to tell us what businesses can do? Thank goodness that in this democratic society in which we live, there are rules and regulations to keep us as a civilized nation. The Supreme Court and scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency agreed that the Clean Air Act is a tool we must use to stop dangerous pollution. This amendment, it is very clear, favors one group--the business community. The Republican tea party politicians say: "Just ignore the Supreme Court. Ignore the scientists. We know better." They want to reward the polluters by crippling EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Air Act.
Status: Failed 50-50 (3/5 required)

Reference: Energy Tax Prevention Act; Bill Am183 to S.49 ; vote number 11-SV054 on Apr 6, 2011

Voted NO on protecting middle-income taxpayers from a national energy tax.