Overnight Energy: 2020 Democrats roll out climate plans ahead of CNN forum | Trump blasts CNN for 'ignoring' facts | Officials roll back Obama-era lightbulb rules | Dem contenders split over nuclear energy

Overnight Energy: 2020 Democrats roll out climate plans ahead of CNN forum | Trump blasts CNN for 'ignoring' facts | Officials roll back Obama-era lightbulb rules | Dem contenders split over nuclear energy

IT'S A LAST-MINUTE CLIMATE PLAN BONANZA! In case you weren't aware, there's a climate forum at... checks watch... well now actually, and like college kids who turn in their homework at the last possible second, two candidates rolled out new climate plans today, following a few others that were rolled out just yesterday.  

 

Harris eyes $10T climate plan: Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism New book questions Harris's record on big banks MORE (D-Calif.), a 2020 White House hopeful, on Wednesday unveiled a $10 trillion plan to battle the effects of climate change and transition the U.S. to a carbon-neutral economy.

A proposal released by the Harris presidential campaign ahead of CNN's climate change town hall Wednesday evening would move the U.S. to a 100 percent renewable energy-based power grid by 2030 and transition all vehicles in the U.S. to the same energy sources by 2035.

Harris would also rejoin the Paris climate accord and end U.S. support for oil and natural gas extraction projects around the world.

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"Climate change is an existential threat to our species, and the United States must lead the world with bold action to safeguard our future and protect our planet," the senator said in a statement.

"The Trump administration is pushing science fiction, not science fact, putting our health and economy at risk. As president, I will hold polluters accountable for the damage they inflict upon our environment and set us on a path to a 100 percent clean economy that creates millions of good-paying jobs. This crisis demands urgency and boldness, and as president, I will act," Harris continued.

Read more about Harris's plan here.

 

Buttigieg would use Defense Department to fight climate change: Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegPress: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism Warren on winning over male voters: I was told to 'smile more' MORE on Wednesday unveiled a climate change plan that calls for the United States to have net-zero emissions by 2050.

The South Bend, Ind., mayor's plan would create a Climate Watch Floor established within the Department of Defense in order to address what Buttigieg called "the security challenge of our time." 

Buttigieg said the climate plan would create 3 million jobs through focusing on clean energy and infrastructure over a 10-year period. The plan also creates a new senior climate security role within the Defense Department.

The proposal also calls for "a bold and achievable Green New Deal," the climate resolution championed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia Trump celebrates resignation of Bolivia's president Sanders touts big crowds in Iowa rallies with Ocasio-Cortez MORE (D-N.Y.).

CNN noted that a campaign spokesman said Buttigieg's plan would cost as much as $2 trillion.

"To discourage the pollution that accelerates climate change at home and abroad, we'll set a price on carbon -- and offset the cost to consumers by giving that money back as a dividend to working Americans," he wrote in an op-ed published by CNN Wednesday. 

Read more about Buttigieg's plan here.

 

And, ICYMI yesterday, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running Press: Another billionaire need not apply Saagar Enjeti dismisses Warren, Klobuchar claims of sexism MORE plans to adopt Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeO'Rourke ends presidential bid Sunrise Movement organizer: Sanders, Warren boast strongest climate change plans Overnight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate MORE's climate plan:

"Today, I'm embracing that goal by committing to adopt and build on Governor Inslee's ten-year action plan to achieve 100% clean energy for America by decarbonizing our electricity, our vehicles, and our buildings," Warren said in a Medium post Tuesday night. "And I'm challenging every other candidate for President to do the same."

Warren had already announced plans on green manufacturing and public lands. She said in her Tuesday post that she was committing an additional $1 trillion over 10 years "to match Governor Inslee's commitment, and to subsidize the economic transition to clean and renewable electricity, zero emission vehicles, and green products for commercial and residential buildings."

Read more about Warren's (or is it Inslee's?) plan here

 

Inslee doesn't seem to mind though: "We offered my plan as an open source document and all the candidates are welcome to use it," Inslee told CNN, adding that he has "spoken to the majority of candidates who have shown an intense interest in this."

Read more about his remarks here.

 

And finally, what do the polls say ahead of the climate forum? Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment Biden: 'I'm more of a Democrat from my shoe sole to my ears' than anyone else running MORE has a 9-point lead over Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) among climate-focused voters, according to a new poll released Wednesday by the Sierra Club. 

Biden wins 30 percent support in the polls, followed by Warren at 21 percent and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTech firms face skepticism over California housing response Press: Another billionaire need not apply Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick mulling 2020 run: report MORE (I-Vt.) at 20 percent in the tracking poll conducted by Morning Consult.

It's the same result Biden had in the last poll conducted in July, while it shows a slight increase for Warren from 20 percent, and a bigger bump for Sanders who had 16 percent support in the previous survey.

Read more about the poll here

 

TRUMP WEIGHS IN ON TWITTER (Of course)... President Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Lindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Democrats sharpen their message on impeachment MORE blasted CNN Wednesday afternoon just ahead of its climate-focused Democratic presidential forum, arguing it would likely ignore key "facts."

"8 FACTS that #FakeNewsCNN will ignore in tonight's "Climate Forum," Trump said in a series of tweets.

The president went on to list points defending the role his administration has played in cleaning the country's air and reducing emissions, echoing similar talking points he made during his July White House speech on America's energy leadership.

"1. Which country has the largest carbon emission reduction? AMERICA! 2. Who has dumped the most carbon into the air? CHINA! 3. 91% of the world's population are exposed to air pollution above the World Health Organization's suggested level. NONE ARE IN THE U.S.A.!," he said in the thread.

Trump touted America's leadership in "world energy production," and claimed the U.S. leads on clean air and water.

He also warned that the Democrats' various climate plans would all lead to increases in energy bills and gasoline costs.

The U.S. last year became the top global producer of natural gas, a point Trump has routinely boasted as he compared the country's energy dominance with its environmental cleanliness.

However, recent federal reports show that carbon emissions cuts are slowing down under Trump, and bad air days have increased.

More on Trump's tweets here.

 

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A BRIGHT IDEA OR DIM WITTED? The Department of Energy (DOE) finalized a controversial rule Tuesday that would erase Obama-era efficiency standards for lightbulbs.

The regulation eliminates efficiency standards for about half the bulbs on the market. It leaves in place rules for standard pear-shaped bulbs, while removing such requirements for recessed lighting, chandeliers and other shapes of bulbs.

When first proposed, the rule was supported by lightbulb manufacturers, but consumer groups estimate continuing to use less-efficient bulbs will cost the average household more than $100 a year and create more pollution as utilities produce energy that otherwise would not be needed.

"The Energy Department flat out got it wrong today. Instead of moving us forward, this rule will keep more energy-wasting bulbs on store shelves," Jason Hartke, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said in a statement. "If you wanted folks to pay a lot more than they should on electric bills, this rollback would be a pretty good way of doing it."

The rule will increase U.S. electricity use by 80 billion kilowatt hours over the course of a year, roughly the amount of electricity needed to power all households in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, according to an analysis by the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.

DOE argued its rule will have little impact given the increasing demand for LED bulbs, which use less electricity than many other types.

"This rule does not prevent consumers from buying the lamps they desire, including efficient options," the agency wrote in the rule. "The market is successfully transitioning to LEDs regardless of government regulation. Consumers are clearly taking advantage of the energy savings provided by LEDs."

A senior DOE official told reporters that "concerns may be overstated" and the new rule would not have a large impact on the market.

"This regulation gives consumers more choices, and consumers are better off with more choices," he said. 

But Noah Horowitz, director of the Center for Energy Efficiency Standards at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said incandescent bulbs still make up about 45 percent of the market.

NRDC and other energy efficiency and environmental groups have argued that the DOE rule is illegal given federal laws that prohibit backsliding on energy efficiency standards, barring "decreases [in] the minimum required energy efficiency."

Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryOvernight Energy: BLM may boost staff numbers at new Colorado headquarters | Perry backers reportedly got Ukraine gas deal after he met with president | Paris exit toughens US path to green future Perry backers secured lucrative Ukraine gas deal after his meeting with new president: report The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment drama will dominate this week MORE appeared to acknowledge as much in a May appearance before Congress, telling lawmakers portions of the Obama regulation were burdensome but that "you can never back up a standard."

Any lawsuits filed over the rule are likely to hang on that portion of the law, along with directives from Congress during the George W. Bush and Obama years to increase efficiency standards and phase out inefficient incandescent and halogen light bulbs.

"We will explore all options, including litigation, to stop this completely misguided and unlawful action," Horowitz said in a statement.

Read more about the new rule here.

 

DEMOCRATS SPLIT OVER NUCLEAR ENERGY AMID CLIMATE FIGHT: The use of nuclear power is splitting Democratic presidential candidates, with Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Poll: Biden support hits record low of 26 percent The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump demands Bidens testify MORE (D-N.J.) and businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangNew Quinnipiac poll finds Biden leading in New Hampshire Intercollegiate athletics just got a two-minute warning AI and automation will disrupt our world — but only Andrew Yang is warning about it MORE among those calling for new plants and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arguing vehemently against any expansions.

Somewhere in the middle stand former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who oppose building new reactors but support maintaining those already in operation.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is vying with Sanders for the progressive mantle in the nomination fight and has been in the top three in polls alongside Sanders and Biden, hasn't spelled out her position. Neither has Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.).

Nuclear power is one of the only environmental and energy issues that splits the Democratic candidates, who generally agree on the big-picture need to take action to address climate change and to strengthen regulations to protect the environment. But there is no clear consensus when it comes to the role of nuclear energy.

As candidates are looking to distinguish themselves in a crowded field, and with two climate forums this month, some environmentalists say candidates' stances on nuclear power will be the most telling. That belief is especially true for climate activists who oppose nuclear altogether.

"Given that we don't have a way to deal with the waste from our existing nuclear reactors, let alone any additional ones, that's a cause for concern," said Mitch Jones, climate and energy program director at Food and Water Action.

"If you're trying to extend the life of existing nuclear power, then you do not have the most environmentally friendly approach to the problem."

Nuclear energy powers one-fifth of all energy generation in the U.S. Many of the Democratic candidates who support transitioning the U.S. to renewable energy as quickly as possible say it can't be done without nuclear.

Read more about the debate over nuclear here.

 

OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: 

-More than 100 Florida healthcare facilities evacuated ahead of Hurricane Dorian, the Miami Herald reports. 

-EPA fines BP North America for 2018 diesel fuel spill, the Associated Press reports.

 

ICYMI:

Stories from Wednesday...

-Democrats split over nuclear energy amid climate fight

-10 Democrats to fight to claim climate mantle at CNN forum

-Harris eyes $10T climate plan

-Buttigieg would use Defense Department to fight climate change

-Poll shows Biden with lead among climate voters

-Trump administration rolls back Obama-era lightbulb rules

-Inslee: Majority of 2020 Democrats have shown 'intense interest' in climate plan