Sen. Lugar’s GOP foe slams energy group affiliations

The Alliance to Save Energy, which advocates for energy efficiency, backed legislation the House approved in 2009 that included a cap-and-trade system and several green energy and efficiency provisions. The group also supported Senate efforts to pass climate legislation that collapsed in 2010.

But climate policy is just one of many policies that the Alliance works on. Lugar is among the bipartisan group of House and Senate members who are “honorary vice chairs” of the Alliance.

Others include Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who are the top members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as well as Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) and others.

The head of Brookings’ energy security team has called for action on climate legislation and its experts have written papers on how to design cap-and-trade systems.

However, a Brookings spokeswoman said that neither the think tank nor its energy initiative take specific policy positions.

“Our scholars, including those working on energy issues, come from a wide range of backgrounds and hold a variety of opinions on policies related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said spokeswoman Melissa Skolfield.

Lugar is listed as a member of the advisory group of the Brookings energy initiative. Others include prominent energy consultant and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin.

Lugar’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The six-term incumbent, who is the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, has supported action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Lugar was among the minority of Republicans that voted for failed cap-and-trade proposals in 2003 and 2005 sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

But in 2008 he voted against cap-and-trade legislation sponsored by Lieberman and then-senator John Warner (R-Va.), and in 2010 floated a broad energy security bill that did not include an emissions cap, although he touted other provisions that would help curb emissions.

The overwhelming majority of scientists say the planet is warming and that human activities — including the burning of fossil fuels — are a major cause.

A small minority of scientists argue that data on warming trends and the human contribution are inaccurate or inconclusive.

Skolfield said that Brookings values Lugar’s work with the organization.

“We’re pleased to have Senator Lugar, Daniel Yergin and others advise our Energy Security Initiative,” she said. “Energy security is one of the most important strategic challenges facing the United States. Energy security cuts across many sectors—economic, environmental and national security. Achieving a more secure future requires the development and discussion of high-quality energy research.”

This post was updated on Friday, April 6 at 1:09 p.m.