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John Kerry on Energy & Oil

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Global Warming as “hoax” is funded by Big Oil & GOP

Big oil & their Republican allies in Congress have gone to great lengths to both muddle the facts & stifle efforts to address climate change. Oil companies have given money to advocacy organizations that deny the science behind global warming theory & have taken out full-page ads in major newspapers questioning the role of man-made emissions in climate change. When Americans see ads like that, and hear their leaders claiming that climate change is a “hoax,” no wonder we are one of the few nations that have not wholeheartedly embraced both the science & the urgent need to act.

Here is the reality of global climate change. At both poles & nearly all points in between, the temperature of Earth’s surface is heating up. Nearly every researcher professionally engaged in the study of climate change, from across the political and ideological spectrum, agrees that the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activity is responsible for the current warming trend

Source: This Moment On Earth, by John & Teresa Kerry, p.119-122 , Jan 1, 2007

Legislation to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050

Senator Olympia J. Snowe and I have introduced the most aggressive, bipartisan legislation yet put before Congress to slow, stop, and reverse greenhouse gas emissions. Our plan sets greenhouse gas emissions targets that science suggests keep temperatures below the danger point. The level of emissions is frozen in 2010 and then gradually declines each year to 65% below 2000 emissions levels by 2056. The bill achieves these targets through a flexible, economy-wide cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gas emissions. It includes measures to advance technology and reduce emissions through clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the transportation, industrial and residential sectors.
Source: This Moment On Earth, by John Kerry, p.205 , Jan 1, 2007

The Kyoto Treaty was flawed but could be fixed

BUSH: Had we joined the Kyoto Treaty it would have cost America a lot of jobs. It’s one of these deals where in order to be popular in the halls of Europe you sign a treaty. There’s a better way to do it. The quality of air is cleaner since I’ve been the president of the US. And we’ll continue to spend money on research and development, because I truly believe that’s the way to get from how we live today to being able to live a standard of living that we’re accustomed to and being able to protect our environment better, the use of technologies.

KERRY: The Kyoto Treaty was flawed. I was in Kyoto and I was part of that; I know what happened. But Bush didn’t try to fix it, he just declared it dead, ladies and gentlemen. And we walked away from the work of 160 nations over 10 years. You wonder why it is that people don’t like us in some parts of the world. You just say, Hey, we don’t agree with you, good-bye. Bush’s done nothing to try to fix it. I will.

Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

No American should be held hostage to our oil dependence

We value an America forever independent of Mideast oil. What does it mean for our economy and national security when we only have 3% of the world’s oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign countries for 53 percent of what we consume? We will rely on our own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family. We will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 29, 2004

Encourage fuel efficient cars & use reserves in short-term

Kerry says he would spend $10 billion over 10 years on new plants to manufacture more fuel efficient vehicles. He also would offer up to a $4,000 tax credit for people who buy advanced technology vehicles that get better mileage. Kerry wants to divert oil being used to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the short term and bring it to market to bring down prices. And his administration would demand that oil-producing nations increase supply.
Source: CNN.com , May 25, 2004

No nuclear waste dump in Nevada’s Yucca Mountain

Nevadans understand better than anyone why so many Americans don’t trust Bush. In 2000, candidate Bush promised not to ship nuclear waste to your state unless scientifically deemed safe. But after the election, President Bush caved to special interests and broke his promise to Nevada, and he has been doing his best to turn this state into a nuclear waste dump ever since.

That’s a pattern Bush has repeated time after time: on issue after issue, George W. Bush keeps saying one thing to the people, and then doing another big favor for the special interests. As my friends in Nevada can tell you, I have stood time and time again with Nevada families to stop George W. Bush from turning this state into a nuclear waste dump. As your President, I’ll continue that fight for Nevada - and you’ll have the White House working for your top priority, instead of selling you out to the special interests.

Source: Press release, “Nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain” , Feb 13, 2004

Raise CAFE standard to 36 mpg by 2015

Q: Would you increase the required automobile fleet average of 27.5 mpg; and SUVs and pickups averaging 20.7 mpg?

A: I support updating CAFE standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015. This proposal will reduce America’s dependence on oil by saving 2 million barrels of oil per day -- almost as much as we currently import from the Persian Gulf. It will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, smog and ozone pollution.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Fuel Efficiency” , Jan 25, 2004

Ban MBTE and sue companies who make it

Q: MTBE in gasoline is linked to water pollution, but adding ethanol is costly. How would you balance between the environment and the economy, as it pertains to MTBE?

KERRY: It needs to be banned, taken out. And the companies that have put it in need to be held responsible for it. One- sixth of the lakes of New Hampshire are polluted with MBTE. Now, Tom DeLay and his friends in Congress have been busy protecting those companies from their responsibility, trying to give them liability immunity for what they’ve done. This is the worst environmental administration that I’ve ever seen in all my time in public life. They’re going backward on clean air, backward on clean water, backward on forest policy.

As president, I will balance between jobs and the economy, but I’m not going to give people a phony choice that says, “It’s either the jobs or the economy.” Cleaning up the environment is jobs. And we’re going to create 500,000 of them for Americans in the first years.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

20% renewable energy by 2020

Q: How would you get the US to become more self-reliant for our energy needs?

A: We have to encourage the use of hybrid vehicles and invest in research and development. We have to set a goal by 2020 that 20 percent of our energy will come from renewable fuels. I am going to create an energy efficient trust fund to look for news sources of energy and we are going to create tens of thousands of jobs doing that. We can’t drill our way out of this.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 7, 2003

Drilling for oil doesn’t gain energy independence

To some extent, [my proposed energy independence] Apollo Project would involve redeploying resources from the failed energy policies of the past and present. At present we spend $1.8 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industries while investing only $24 million in federal venture capital for alternative energy sources. And the Bush administration seeks to accelerate this trend by moving heaven and most of all earth to expand oil drilling in some of our most sensitive environments. All this drilling won’t produce significant quantities of oil for many years, so we will remain dependent on a global oil market whose prices are controlled-and often manipulated-by a handful of countries, lending permanent instability to our economy.
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 85-86 , Oct 1, 2003

Apollo project approach to energy independence

A smart energy policy can reflect a smart economic policy. We can work toward energy independence not only from foreign energy sources but from environmentally damaging sources as well-in a way that calls on the best of our creative and entrepreneurial spirit and improves both our quality of life and our national security.

In the 1960’s President Kennedy challenged America to conquer space and land on the moon within a decade. It’s time for comparable Apollo Project approach to energy independence, with a focused effort that relies on public-private partnerships and creates millions of new jobs. For Americans who work in engineering, design, and industry, the growth of wind, solar, and geothermal energy would spark a surge in production and jobs. And since developing new energy technology requires research and path-breaking applications, we can create thousands of high-paying jobs in those areas as well. Americans can take the lead, or we can let Germans and Japanese dominate this new industry.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 85-86 , Oct 1, 2003

Dismissal of Kyoto indicative of Bush’s unilateralism

There have been periods in our history when it didn’t much matter if we had a president who was inclined toward fostering international relations or commanded a lot of personal respect in other countries. This is emphatically not one of those times. It is hard to think of a modern presidency so reflexively and systematically marked by rejection of diplomacy, international cooperation, and other building blocks for collective security as that of George W. Bush.

The first sign of indifference was the summary rejection of the Kyoto Protocol on Global Climate Change. the handiwork of dozens of countries acting under U.S. leadership for a decade. Kyoto could and should have been improved; instead, it was dismissed by the Bush government out of hand. This was followed by the United States’ refusal to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, another product of long years of American leadership. Both rejections came in the president’s first year in office.

Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 48-9 , Oct 1, 2003

ANWR won’t provide any oil for 20 years

Q: On one hand you say there is a national security need to reduce dependence imported oil, while on the other hand you oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska?

KERRY: The Arctic Wildlife Refuge won’t provide a drop of oil for 20 years. And the total amount of oil, if it were to come through at the level that some people in the oil industry predict, will amount to about a 1% to 2% reduction in the total dependency of the United States on oil.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Invent our way out of oil dependency-don’t drill our way out

We only have 3% of the world’s oil reserves. There is no physical way for the US to drill its way out of this problem. We have to invent our way out of this problem. The sooner that we commit America to the science & discovery of renewable alternatives, the better off America will be, the better our health will be, the more effective our economy would be, the better our national security will be, and the better world citizen we will be. We need to commit ourselves to energy independence now.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Invest in advancing secure forms of energy instead of oil

Q: What is your view on our dependence on fossil fuels?

A: Today we have an energy policy of big oil, by big oil, and for big oil. With common-sense investments in advancing and speeding breakthroughs, we can harness the natural world around us to light and power the world we live in with secure forms of energy at reasonable costs for a modern economy. I recently unveiled a plan to increase America’s security and improve the environment, by ending our dependence on foreign oil within 10 years.

Source: MoveOn.org interview , Jun 17, 2003

Create new energy sources to end Mideast dependency

We must invest again in America and put our ingenuity to work to unclog our highways, to build a modern transportation network we can be proud of. We must harness the creative genius of our entrepreneurs, laboratories and universities to create the energy sources of the future, to liberate us from dependence on Middle East oil and do all of this while protecting our precious resources like the Arctic Wildlife Refuge.
Source: Speech at Massachusetts Democratic Convention , May 31, 2002


John Kerry on Voting Record

FactCheck: No, Kerry never voted for a 50-cent gas tax hike

BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: “Kerry supported a 50-cent a gallon tax hike for gasoline.”

CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry has never sponsored or voted for any legislation to raise gas taxes by 50 cents per gallon, although an extensive search did reveal one 1994 article in which he is said to have voiced support for the idea in general. In 1993, Sen. Charles Robb of Virginia introduced legislation that proposed phasing in a 50-cent increase, but Kerry did not vote for or co-sponsor this bill.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2004 statements by Bush and Kerry , Oct 29, 2004

Led effort to try to raise fuel efficiency standards

KERRY [to Gephardt]: I led an effort in 2002 to raise fuel efficiency standards in the country. And just yesterday, they reported they are at a 22 year low. You’re the one member of Congress here who doesn’t support raising fuel efficiency standards. How do we get to energy independence when 50% or more of our fuel is in oil for transportation? How are we going to break out without raising fuel efficiency?

GEPHARDT: I agree that we need to do it. However, we need to put together an energy program that includes an increase in the CAFE standards, but also includes setting a 10-year goal of not only mileage requirements and pollution requirements, but also moves us to hybrid cars in the interim and hydrogen fuel cells in the long-term. I would put the auto companies, the oil companies and the environmental groups at a table and I would work out a 10-year plan. I’d call it an Apollo 2 program, and I believe we could pass it, have everybody committed to it and get this done for the country.

Source: [X-ref to Gephardt] Democratic Debate in Columbia SC , May 3, 2003

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

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.