By Carrie Mihalcik / current.com / @CDMihalcik
Mitt Romney announced on Saturday that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be his vice presidential running mate. Ryan is well known for his controversial budget, but where does he stand on environmental issues?
Right alongside Romney and the Koch brothers.
Ryan is a climate change denier and has often ridiculed the work of climate scientists. In a 2009 op-ed against limiting greenhouse gases, Ryan referenced the hacked emails of the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit, saying, "(Climatologists) intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change." He also implied that global warming couldn't be real because his state was "buried under snow."
Ryan has voted to ban the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases and has opposed enforcing limits on CO2 emissions. On the League of Conservation Voters' Environmental Scorecard, Ryan scored only 13 percent for the last session of Congress. During the first session of the 112th Congress, Ryan has scored only 3 percent.
Ryan is also in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry. He has received more than $240,000 from the oil and gas industry — including the Koch brothers. Koch Industries, owner of one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world, is Ryan's sixth-largest donor and has donated $65,500 to him since 1999.
Ryan's budget resolution for fiscal year 2013 retains a "decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion" and cuts billions from renewable energy projects. Ryan has repeatedly voted against extending tax credits for renewable energies and biofuels. Instead he prefers to support projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and oil drilling on the continental shelf.
Whereas Romney has run to the right on environmental issues to play to his base during the campaign, Ryan has a long record of putting the American people at risk by siding with the fossil fuel industry.
July was hottest month on record
July was the hottest month on record for the contiguous United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The average temperature across the country was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3 degrees above the 20th-century average. January through July were the warmest first seven months of any year on record for the United States.
Reid comes out swinging for the environment
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is on a roll. First he slammed Mitt Romney over taxes, and now he is taking on climate skeptics. During a speech at the National Clean Energy Summit, Reid took a firm stance against people who try to ignore climate science and the effects of global warming:
It's time for us all — whether we're leaders in Washington, members of the media, scientists, academics, environmentalists or utility industry executives — to stop acting like those who ignore the crisis or deny it exists entirely have a valid point of view. They don't.
Virtually every respected, independent scientist in the world agrees the problem is real and the time to act is now. Not tomorrow. Not a week from now. Not next month or next year. We must act today.
Hansen: Climate crisis requires intervention
Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, joined Eliot Spitzer on "Viewpoint" to discuss a new study he co-authored that links recent heat waves in the United States to global warming. Hansen warns that we need to start reducing carbon emissions or we may see 20 to 50 percent of the species on the planet driven to extinction.
In a "Viewpoint" Web exclusive, Hansen also discussed what the effects of climate change will be in our lifetimes if policies don’t change.
NRC halts issuing of renewals and new licenses for power plants
The New York Times reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has suspended making final decisions on licenses for nuclear power plants until it can reassess the process for storing nuclear waste. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals found that the NRC had failed to fully evaluate the risks of storing nuclear waste in spent fuel pools or on-site in dry casks. The industry has been working on the assumption that the federal government would eventually create a fuel disposal system.
Wind energy reaches a new milestone
Wind energy in America has reached a historic milestone, 50 gigawatts of electric generating capacity. That's enough energy to power 13 million American homes (or enough to send Marty McFly back to the future 40 times). The American Wind Energy Association breaks down the energy details in this handy chart:
(Photo: Getty Images)