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Friday, October 30, 2009

KPFA Radio: Former Sen. John Warner and WattHead's Jenkins Talk Climate Bill

I joined former Senator John Warner of Virginia on the KPFA Morning Show today to discuss Senate climate and energy legislation, the focus of hearings this week in the the Environment and Public Works Committee. (listen to the full interview below)

Senator Warner, a rare Republican champion of climate action, was the co-sponsor of the 2007 Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act." He retired in 2008 after thirty years in the Senate but remains an active advocate of Congressional climate legislation, and is working to convince his reluctant Republican former colleagues to embrace the climate and energy legislation authored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

I was honored to join the discussion with Senator Warner (who's spent more time in the Senate than I have on this warming planet). I was also pleased to find consensus with the veteran Republican on the need for final Senate climate legislation to include much greater investments to ensure U.S. innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses invent and commercialize clean energy technologies here in America (is this a sign of a possible bipartisan consensus on greater clean energy R&D funding?).

Agreeing with the strong consensus of energy innovation experts, the former Senator said that the current Kerry-Boxer bill invested too little in clean energy R&D and did not provide enough proactive support for American firms commercializing, manufacturing and installing clean energy technologies, but he noted that final legislation is still taking shape. Hopefully his common-sense attitude on clean energy innovation and technology investment will prevail on Senate Republicans, who so far have resorted to threatening to boycott hearings on the Kerry-Boxer bill, rather than work constructively to ensure the bill includes more funding for American innovators and clean energy firms.

Senator Warner, the long-time Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Secretary of the Navy, also highlighted the need to avert climate change in order to mitigate future conflicts and humanitarian crises that would sap the resources of the U.S. military. For more on the Senator's views on climate legislation, you can read his testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee on earlier this week here.

Listen to the full interview here or using the player below. The segment starts at 1:08:00 into the Morning Show.

The Morning Show - October 30, 2009 at 7:00am

Click to listen (or download)

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