Yesterday was the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, and the theme of the night was “Make America Safe Again.”  Smart energy policies contribute to American’s safety by curbing dependence on foreign energy sources, cyberthreats to our infrastructure, climate change and dangers to our troops abroad.  The speakers addressed these issues as follows:

  • US Senator Tom Cotton: “________________________________.”
  • Melania Trump: “________________________ !!”
  • Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell: “________________________________?”
  • Governor Rick Perry “________________________________________ .”

OK, maybe it was wishful thinking that energy or climate policy would be addressed on the first night of the convention, but, given the relevance of extreme weather events to our country’s safety, I had to be hopeful. Disappointed, I went directly to the newly adopted Republican Party’s platform to find the relevant energy policies.

Cyber Threats and Terrorism

The grid is aging, vulnerable to cyber and terrorist threats, and unprepared to serve our energy needs of tomorrow. It should not take seven to ten years to plan and construct a transmission line. We support expedited siting processes and the thoughtful expansion of the grid so that consumers and businesses continue to have access to affordable and reliable electricity.

 How do we mitigate the risk of cyber threats and terrorism on our electric grid?  The platform recommends a reduction in permitting timelines and an expansion in the transmission grid.  This is not a solution and just exacerbates the problem.  Distributed generation, microgrid installations and smart grid modernization would have a much higher return on investment and lead to greater security.

Clean Energy:

The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource. Those who mine it and their families should be protected from the Democratic Party’s radical anticoal agenda.

We encourage the cost-effective development of renewable energy sources — wind, solar, biomass, biofuel, geothermal, and tidal energy — by private capital.

 So much has already been written on how the GOP unanimously voted to define coal as clean.   Until our government accepts that coal emits carbon, carbon causes climate change, and extreme weather events kill Americans, our safety continues to be at risk.   Government funding the cost effective development of renewable energy sources is just one way to make America safe.

Safety of our Troops Abroad

The same Administration now requires the Department of Defense, operating with slashed budgets during a time of expanding conflict, to use its scarce resources to generate 25 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.

 This is an annoyingly obtuse view on the DOD’s resources.  A significant portion of casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan came attacks on fuel convoys.  To keep our soldiers safe, convoys must be closely guarded which results in a fully burdened cost of $45 per gallon of oil.  Increasing electricity generated by renewable technologies directly decreases our casualties and has the added benefit of reducing the DOD’s expenses.

Global Cooperation

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Its unreliability is reflected in its intolerance toward scientists and others who dissent from its orthodoxy.

. . . We demand an immediate halt to U.S. funding for the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in accordance with the 1994 Foreign Relations Authorization Act.

 Carbon emissions do not respect political borders, so climate change is a global problem needing global solutions.  The United States’ funding supports UNFCCC initiatives in developing countries so that Americans don’t suffer from extreme weather events caused by climate change.  By no means are the existing agreements perfect, but continued participation in UN sponsored conversations will only yield improvement.

 

In summary, the Republican Party recommends burning more coal, shortening environmental permitting timelines, ceasing global cooperation, cancelling the Clean Power Plan and enhancing American oil and gas development.  This does not make America Safe, nor, as we will might find out today, does it make America work again.

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