More diverse support for climate legislation: military vets, GE and Rio Tinto

More diverse support for moving forward on climate legislation is visible today.

Generals and Admirals: National Journal reports that

More than 30 retired military generals and admirals are in Washington this week pushing Congress and the administration to pass the Senate trio's "American Power Act," despite the fact that the bill has not yet been introduced.

Jonathan Powers, COO of the Truman National Security Project, said at a press conference this morning that the national security challenges posed by inaction on climate legislation -- including U.S. dependence on foreign oil and global instability caused by climate change -- will help restart the stalled negotiations.

A letter signed by the generals and admirals and appearing as an ad in Politico, Roll Call and Military Times reads

America's billion-dollar-a-day dependence on oil makes us vulnerable to unstable and unfriendly regimes. A substantial amount of that oil money ends up in the hands of terrorists. Consequently, our military is forced to operate in hostile territory, and our troops are attacked by terrorists funded by U.S. oil dollars, while rogue regimes profit off of our dependence. As long as the American public is beholden to global energy prices, we will be at the mercy of these rogue regimes.


General Electric:

During a presser before his company’s annual meeting, GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt discussed climate and energy legislation with reporters, as the Houston Chronicle reported:

While the rest of the world invests in renewable, nuclear and cleaner energy sources, the U.S. continues to fall further behind, General Electric's chairman and CEO said Wednesday in Houston.

In an interview before the company's annual meeting, Jeffrey Immelt said the situation eventually could put the nation at a competitive disadvantage.

“We just seem to be stalled,” he said.

Over the next five years, China will have installed five times more than the U.S. in power capacity, Europe is moving aggressively into offshore wind power, and Asia is focusing on solar energy, he said.

Immelt called for a comprehensive government effort to put standards into place so businesses can invest in technologies that have a solid future.

“Some leadership in Washington would be helpful,” he said, emphasizing that he's not focused on any one technology.

If the United States doesn't do it, GE will have to go overseas. “We have to go where the action is,” he said.

 “We've all done a disservice to the debate by hanging it as a ‘green initiative' when really it's about energy security, energy productivity and pollution reduction,” Immelt said.

And, E&E News reports that mining giant Rio Tinto sent its own letter up to the Hill, saying

All indications are that the senators' heavy lifting has taken us significantly farther towards a balanced and comprehensive policy solution," wrote Preston Chiaro, the company's group executive for technology and innovation. "Neglecting its promise will not only delay the actions necessary to address the climate imperative, but will increase, rather than reduce, the uncertainties for businesses like Rio Tinto as we face a more rigid and expensive regulatory process under the Clean Air Act.”


More than 50 organizations just sent a letter to President Obama urging him to continue to demonstrate his leadership on clean energy and climate legislation, saying

This must be the year that the United States passes comprehensive climate and energy legislation into law in order to create jobs, strengthen our national security, and reduce carbon pollution. As a nation, we cannot afford to delay action any longer; we urge you to work closely with Senate leaders to ensure the full Senate takes up a comprehensive energy and climate bill in June.