Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

If Senator Bennet Isn't a Climate Denier, Then Why Is He Acting Like One?

Climate
If Senator Bennet Isn't a Climate Denier, Then Why Is He Acting Like One?

When U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat in swing-state Colorado, voted for the Keystone XL pipeline in November, prominent Associated Press reporter Nick Riccardi, who closely followed the 2014 Colorado elections, tweeted:

 

Of course, the Democratic Party base and environmental community in Colorado was outraged at Bennet’s vote. Activists flooded his office phone, his office in Denver and his office in Washington, DC, before, during and after the vote. A few got arrested in his office in Washington, DC. They held banners that said, “If you’re not a climate denier, don’t vote like one.”

As a response to all of that, here’s the statement that Bennet’s spokesperson released to the public and media:

He would prefer that instead of focusing our political debate on a narrow issue that we develop a broad and comprehensive energy strategy to reduce carbon pollution and support renewable energy. He believes we should take aggressive action to curb climate change and support the President’s Climate Action Plan.

Activists flooded Sen. Bennet's office phone, his office in Denver, and his office in Washington, DC before, during and after the Keystone XL vote. Photo credit: 350.org

A few days later, Senator Bennet was interviewed by the Denver Post about his positions on energy and fracking for oil and gas in Colorado. The Denver Post reported that Bennet said he supported an "'all of the above' approach to energy" that included "guarding Colorado’s booming liquid natural gas industry" to "make it easier for energy companies to export liquefied natural gas" and would be "pushing legislation to reduce taxes on liquefied natural gas."

So …, here we have a prominent U.S. Senator—who, in fact, was the Chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee for the 2014 election—who says we should take “aggressive action to curb climate change,” but yet he supports mining all of the Alberta tar sands via his Keystone XL vote, and supports mining and fracking for all of the oil and gas in Colorado and beyond.

Here are two statements from actual scientists that refute Senator Bennet:

  • James Hansen, former NASA climate change scientist who helped start the climate movement in the U.S., has said that Keystone XL would accelerate tar sands mining in Alberta and would be “game over for the climate” due to the massive CO2 emissions associated with mining and burning the tar sands.
  • Keywan Riahi, who is one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, was quoted in April 2014 as saying: “The [report] clearly shows that unabated fossil fuels need to be phased out [in] the long-term, and this is also the case for natural gas, including shale gas.”

In 2016, Senator Bennet is up for re-election in Colorado. Climate change activists like me are extremely concerned with Senator Bennet’s position on climate change policy. As we try to wrap our heads around Bennet’s votes and statements, we have these questions:

  • Does Senator Bennet actually believe in climate change?
  • Or, as suggested by the Associated Press reporter, is Senator Bennet so close to his former boss, the Denver energy industry, and their support of his 2016 re-election that he can’t vote against them?
  • Or, defying 97 percent of all current science and scientists, does he actually think there is a scientific opportunity to mine all of the tar sands and frack all of the oil and gas and still have “aggressive action” to fight climate change?

We Colorado Democrats and climate change activists eagerly look forward to Senator Bennet’s future statements and positions on these issues. Of course, we will continue to respectfully work with Senator Bennet on these and other environmental issues in Colorado over the next two years. But in the meantime, we will "sleep with one eye open."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Barbra Streisand: ‘God Help Us!’ Sen. Inhofe to Head Committee on Environment

Jon Stewart: Honestly Governor Christie, ‘Let the [Pregnant] Pigs Turn Around’

Hillary Clinton Open to Fracking, Ignores Keystone XL

A dugong, also called a sea cow, swims with golden pilot jacks near Marsa Alam, Egypt, Red Sea. Alexis Rosenfeld / Getty Images

In 2010, world leaders agreed to 20 targets to protect Earth's biodiversity over the next decade. By 2020, none of them had been met. Now, the question is whether the world can do any better once new targets are set during the meeting of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Kunming, China later this year.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

President Joe Biden signs executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Jan. 22, 2021 in Washington, DC. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

By Andrew Rosenberg

The first 24 hours of the administration of President Joe Biden were filled not only with ceremony, but also with real action. Executive orders and other directives were quickly signed. More actions have followed. All consequential. Many provide a basis for not just undoing actions of the previous administration, but also making real advances in public policy to protect public health, safety, and the environment.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Melting ice forms a lake on free-floating ice jammed into the Ilulissat Icefjord during unseasonably warm weather on July 30, 2019 near Ilulissat, Greenland. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

A first-of-its-kind study has examined the satellite record to see how the climate crisis is impacting all of the planet's ice.

Read More Show Less
Probiotic rich foods. bit245 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Ana Maldonado-Contreras

Takeaways

  • Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria that are vital for keeping you healthy.
  • Some of these microbes help to regulate the immune system.
  • New research, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, shows the presence of certain bacteria in the gut may reveal which people are more vulnerable to a more severe case of COVID-19.

You may not know it, but you have an army of microbes living inside of you that are essential for fighting off threats, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
Michael Mann photo inset by Joshua Yospyn.

By Jeff Masters, Ph.D.

The New Climate War: the fight to take back our planet is the latest must-read book by leading climate change scientist and communicator Michael Mann of Penn State University.

Read More Show Less