Hands down I support Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-12) in the upcoming State Senate race. That said, I don’t want to give him a free pass. Because he’s Senate chair of the Environment Committee, not to mention a graduate of Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, we as his constituents should expect even more from him on environmental measures.
To put it in perspective, we’ve just experienced the hottest two summer months ever measured on this planet and probably the two hottest months in the entire history of human civilization.
It doesn’t make sense, then, for him, or any congressperson, to be voting to expand our gas-pipeline infrastructure as he did with SB-1078. A new study by Oil Change International shows that the coal mines and oil and gas fields that we already have in production have enough carbon in them to take us past the two-degree mark that the U.N. has said is the line for catastrophe.
Natural gas is not clean energy, it’s a fossil fuel. While it is true that it burns 50 percent cleaner than oil, the problem is that natural gas is mostly methane, and unburned, methane is around 70 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. If as little as three percent of it escapes during production, transmission, or distribution, we might as well be burning coal. That’s why we need to insist that our legislators work toward the rapid development of an extensive alternative energy infrastructure, not half-measures embedded in fossil fuels.
Yes, Ted Kennedy, Jr., deserves our vote. In fact, I believe he is the kind of visionary candidate who would be able to effect this kind of change. Now he needs to hear from us that this is the kind of urgent action we want.