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Controversy over nuclear power, as Green New Deal is unveiled

How the Green New Deal Almost Went Nuclear on Its First Day, Yahoo Finance, Ari Natter and Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Bloomberg, February 9, 2019  — As Democrats unveiled their ambitious Green New Deal to fight climate change on Thursday, a controversy erupted over the role of nuclear power that threatened to undermine the whole effort.

A fact sheet distributed by the office of progressive newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic representative from New York, said there was no room in the nation’s all renewable-energy future for nuclear plants.

But the reference caught many off guard and back-peddling ensued.

Giselle Barry, a spokeswoman for Senator Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat who is the Green New Deal’s lead Senate backer, disowned the fact sheet and said Markey’s office wasn’t consulted before it was sent out. “We did not draft that fact sheet,” she said.

The stumble irked potential supporters. It also illustrated the political challenges ahead as supporters of the Green New Deal struggle to build consensus on issues that divide environmentalists as well as lawmakers.

Markey sought to do damage control at a midday press conference, emphasizing the proposed resolution doesn’t address specific energy technologies. Language on nuclear power “is not part of this legislation,” he said. “The resolution is silent on any individual technology that can move us to a solution.”

The plan, in the form of a non-binding resolution, weaves together what had been a hodgepodge of progressive proposals and aspirations into a single initiative. It sets a goal of shifting the nation to 100 percent “clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources,” within 10 years “to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers.”

The proposal has gathered 60 co-sponsors in the House but has little chance of gaining support in the Republican-controlled Senate, let alone being signed into law by President Donald Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who hasn’t explicitly thrown her support behind the Green New Deal, didn’t appear at the unveiling. She described the plan at another event as “one among many” ways to address climate change.

Some of the biggest climate champions in the Senate, including Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island who delivers frequent floor speeches on the urgent need to act, were notably absent from the news conference unveiling the Green New Deal. For any effort to succeed, it will need support from long-time environmental policy advocates in Congress as well as the ardent activists that have rallied behind Ocasio-Cortez’s vision.

The scale and ambition of the initiative also presents problems. Ocasio-Cortez has pitched it not just as an environmental solution but also a World-War II-style “mobilization” against income inequality and social injustice.

That invites criticism that the whole gambit is socialism run amok. The Chamber of Commerce slammed the proposal in a statement that invoked “failed socialist policies.”

Opposition on the left emerged over the plan’s failure to eventually ban fossil fuels, the leading source of the carbon dioxide emissions linked to global warming.

Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica praised the resolution as “a good first step,” but said it was incomplete. “By failing to expressly call for an end of the fossil fuel era, the resolution misses an opportunity to define the scope of the challenge,” Pica said…………

February 11, 2019 - Posted by | politics, USA

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