Thursday, August 18, 2016

Clinton's Transition Team, Jennifer Granholm and Listening to the Experts

Clinton and Granholm
I was contacted by text with "Bad news...  Clinton appointed Ken Salazar as the head of her transition team.  BETRAYAL." (paraphrased down to the point).

Now there is one thing I have learned watching these races.  Stop and read.

Ken Salazar?  Well, time to go back and re-read the details.  UGH.  Quoted as saying that fracking has no harmful impact on the environment as recently as 2014.  That is ridiculous.  Pants on fire kinda statement.  But, on the other hand, made decisions to regulate fossil fuel extraction in national parks.  Advocate for public lands.  Okay.  Mixed bag.

The second thing I have learned is to stop and think.  What does the Salazar appointment mean?  Well, it isn't a surprise.  Clinton has been clear, she sees gas as a bridge fuel.  Not how I see it. I see it as something that's got to end ASAP. But, whether you view it like I do, or you view it like she does, we have to deal with the reality that we must build the grid, storage and carbon free energy before we can end gas, oil and coal. And to do that, we must see market changes that drive that change.  Imagine for the moment that we banned gas today. Today. No more gas. What would happen? Coal would make a comeback. Coal is dead because of gas. (In part, as orchestrated by Beyond Coal, a joint venture of Sierra Club and Michael Bloomberg). And it is easy to convert a gas power station back to a coal power station.

Is she planning on supporting the construction of that grid, storage and carbon free energy? Yes. Her end horizon for gas is different than mine. But either way, the initial steps are the same.  Her plans are not enough. But, then, neither was Sanders’, and the climate movement didn't even look at O'Malley. Her plans DO include many of the first steps an executive can make in the face of an obstructionist Congress, however.

But here is the other thing to consider.  One of Hillary Clinton's strengths is that she pulls together lots of different people.  Gets all the vested interests to the table to talk and figure out how to move forward.  Bill McKibben's recent piece makes it clear that current industry must be brought to the table. (By force or by invitation, whichever works.  He relates how it was current industry that was coerced to mobilize to fight WWII, and then permitted to take credit for their work.)

So, I asked myself, who else is at this table?  This Vox piece tells us the big names.  And this piece from Politico talks about the huge list of climate and energy policy experts advising Clinton.  Wow.  A lot of people involved here besides Salazar.  Context is everything.

Here is one of the five top people on the transition team:  Jennifer Granholm.  Former governor of Michigan.  A quick google gave me this excellent 2013 Ted Talk, in which Granholm explains why she advocates challenge grants to the states to bypass congressional gridlock and motivate all states to work for clean energy solutions.

Where have I seen challenge grants to get states to act on climate before?  Oh, right...Hillary Clinton's Clean Energy Challenge:
"Hillary Clinton will launch a Clean Energy Challenge that forms a new partnership with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy. She will outline this Challenge in detail in the coming weeks, and it will include:
  1. Climate Action Competition: Competitive grants and other market-based incentives to empower states to exceed federal carbon pollution standards and accelerate clean energy deployment.
  2. Solar X-Prize: Awards for communities that successfully cut the red tape that slows rooftop solar installation times and increases costs for businesses and consumers."

 Fortunately, the Clean Energy Challenge is but one of a host of climate solutions plans that Hillary Clinton is advocating.  It might be reasonable to infer that they all find their genesis in people like Granholm.  Hillary Clinton LISTENS to the experts.  All of them.  Yes, Ken Salazar is there.  And so is Jennifer Granholm, along with a virtual army of other folks.  All at the table.  And in her Climate Map/War Room. (“'Hillary’s been talking about creating a climate war room in the White House,' Podesta said, then correcting himself that he meant to say climate map room. 'To be able to see where effects are taking place, to keep it real time, to use the technologies that are available, to try to imagine what is happening in the natural world and what the impact of that is going to be on the economy and the society.'”)

Our job?  We need to be sure we are at the table too, by voting on the basis of climate solutions, by speaking out on climate solutions and by supporting those with climate solutions.  Because it is clear, Clinton is listening.

No comments:

Post a Comment