WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the CoalBlue Project, joined by hundreds of state and local Democratic officeholders and Democratic Party officials across America, sent a letter to President Barack Obama offering strong support of his aim to make the United States a global leader in addressing the climate challenge, while expressing serious and overriding concerns about the EPA’s specific approach, as evidenced in its recent 111(b) and 111(d) rulemakings. Concerned that the EPA’s new rules could counterproductively impede the development of essential carbon-mitigating technologies, and would put energy affordability and reliability at unacceptable risk, CoalBlue constructively proposed an alternative strategy designed to make the United States the global leader on climate without unduly burdening the American economy or the American people.
The letter is signed by 636 current and former Democratic leaders from 32 states.
“The debate over climate is not about if we should address the challenge before us; it is, or should be, about how we are going to address that challenge,” said Zack Space, CoalBlue Project Chairman and former Ohio Congressman.
“If we are going to provide real leadership in the world community on climate, we cannot begin by implementing policies that have no hope of succeeding outside of the United States, or possibly even within the United States. The EPA, while well intentioned, has lost sight of the importance of preserving affordable and reliable energy in its pursuit of clean energy. As such, it has put forth policies that other nations, particularly in the developing world, are unlikely to follow, and that risk the loss of support at home.
“Moreover, if we are to be serious about addressing the climate challenge, we must get serious about accelerating the development and deployment of carbon-mitigating technologies such as carbon capture and use/storage (CCS) for coal and other fossil fuels. The 800-lb gorilla in the room that too many people engaged in the climate debate willingly ignore is that fossil fuels, including coal, are going to remain essential sources of energy, at home and abroad, for decades to come. As a result, if we are to have any hope of reducing global CO2 emissions to the degree believed necessary, we must learn to manage the carbon in coal, not think or hope that we can simply wish it away. Neither the United States nor the world has yet made a sufficient commitment to this ‘third leg of the climate stool.’
“As the President prepares to go to Paris for the Conference of Parties (COP 21) meetings, we look to him, and to the United States, to lead the world in (1) making a robust commitment to an era of unprecedented energy innovation that is comprehensive in scope in terms of its application to coal, gas, renewables, nuclear, and energy efficiency, and (2) of being ever mindful of the predominant importance of energy affordability and reliability,” said Space.
The CoalBlue Project letter to the President demonstrates that climate change need not be a divisive issue. With positive incentives, not needlessly punitive rules, we can unite those who approach climate from dramatically different perspectives and with dramatically different interests and needs – within the Democratic Party and across party lines, within the United States and around the world.