Quantcast

Congressman Upton's New Energy Plan a Framework for 'Climate Suicide'

Climate

When Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, introduces a "legislative framework" for energy with the Orwellian name of The Architecture of Abundance, you should probably perk up your ears and pay attention. That's Fred Upton, as in climate denier Fred Upton, who as recently as 2009 actually supported the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

House Energy Committee Chairman Fred Upton's "Architecture of Abundance" involves building more oil and gas pipelines. Photo credit: U.S. House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee

But apparently the big campaign contributions he has received from fossil fuel tycoons Charlie and David Koch started whispering sweet nothings in Upton's ear and changed his mind. In December 2010, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal editorial with Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, in which he called the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulation of greenhouse gases a "move [that] represents an unconstitutional power grab that will kill millions of jobs."

"The best solution is for Congress to overturn the EPA's proposed greenhouse gas regulations outright," they asserted. "Cuts in carbon emissions would mean significantly higher electricity prices. We think the American consumer would prefer not to be skinned by Obama's EPA."

In February 2011, he stated in an interview with National Journal Live that he did not believe global warming was manmade. So the contents of The Architect of Abundance shouldn't come as a big surprise, and will likely elicit as little enthusiasm from environmental advocates as they did when he posted the announcement on his Facebook page.

The commenters who responded to Upton's energy plan announcement on Facebook did not seem wildly enthusiastic. Image credit: Facebook.com/RepFredUpton

Upton and Energy and Power Subcommittee chairman Ed Whitfield of Kentucky said in releasing the plan yesterday, "Our energy realities have changed dramatically—we’ve gone from bust to boom practically overnight. Today’s energy policies are lagging far behind, and are better suited for the gas lines in the 1970s than this new era of abundance. We need policies that meet today’s needs and are focused on the future, and that starts with building the Architecture of Abundance."

In Upton's plan, that "architecture" should focus on making delivery easier and more profitable for the oil and gas sectors.

The plan's opening section, "Modernizing Infrastructure," says, "America faces different energy challenges today than it did a decade ago. Chief among them is a shortage of modern energy infrastructure to carry abundant new supplies of oil and gas to consumers. These challenges threaten energy reliability and affordability. For example, delays and red tape in the permitting process prevent America from constructing the safest, most reliable, and oftentimes more environmentally sound routes of energy delivery."

Friends of the Earth climate and energy campaigner Lukas Ross responded, "What Chairman Upton calls a framework for 'energy abundance' is actually a framework for climate suicide. Science tells us that solving the climate crisis means leaving fossil fuels in the ground and stopping dirty fuel infrastructure in its tracks. By doubling down on more infrastructure, Upton’s framework amounts to an official policy of climate denial. After pushing a bill to approve one dirty, unsafe pipeline, Chairman Upton is now continuing down Big Oil’s wish list with a plan to grease the approval process for unsafe infrastructure investments."

The framework's second section "21st Century Energy Workforce" is a handful of generalities about jobs and education. Part III, "Energy Diplomacy in a Changing World," advocates making the U.S. less dependent on OPEC and "improv [ing] coordination and strengthen [ing] energy partnerships with our North American neighbors and to establish a process to evaluate how energy permitting decisions impact international energy security." In other words, approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Finally, in section IV, "Efficiency and Accountability," Upton again devolves into vagueness, advocating for more efficiency and "reducing government waste." He concludes with yet another attack on his favorite punching bag, the EPA, saying "The committee will also address regulatory overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency, including its power plant rules under Section 111 of the Clear Air Act and recent ozone proposal. And the committee will continue to monitor EPA's methane efforts and its management of the Renewable Fuel Standard as well as the administration's overall Climate Action Plan and climate spending and activities."

By the way, Upton's Energy Committee co-chair is Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, whose own Koch Brothers-fueled climate denial was dismantled by Bill Nye The Science Guy in a video last year.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Climate Denial Machine Fueled By Big Oil and Koch Brothers Impacts Congressional Races

ALEC Gives Congressional Climate Deniers Their 2015 Marching Orders

Senator Bernie Sanders Asks: Does Congress Believe Climate Change Is Real?

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Serena and Venus Williams have been known to follow a vegan diet. Edwin Martinez / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Whitney E. Akers

  • "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.

  • Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.

  • We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.

Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.

Read More Show Less
An illegally trafficked tiger skull and pelt. Ryan Moehring / USFWS

By John R. Platt

When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be both good and bad.

On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Dan Nosowitz

It's no secret that the past few years have been disastrous for the American farming industry.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less