Cardinal Timothy Dolan is still bitter that marriage equality passed in New York last year, telling the New York Daily News that Catholic leaders “got burned” by Senate Republicans they were convinced would oppose the law:
DOLAN: We got burned last year when we were told the redefinition of marriage didn’t have much of a chance — and of course it did. Our Senate leaders, we highly appreciated them being with us all along. When they kind of assured us it didn’t have much of a chance — not that we let up, but we probably would have been much more vigorous and even more physically present if we knew there was a chance. We got a little stung, and it could be as much our fault as anyone else’s.
This is an incredibly smug attitude for Dolan to have, but it reflects the amount of influence the Catholic Church hierarchy expects to have over political discourse. Even though a majority of New York Catholics supported the marriage equality bill months before it came to a vote and continued to afterward, Dolan believes that the bishops could still have changed the outcome if they’d just applied more pressure. But this is a blatant rewriting of history, because Dolan admitted after the law passed that he saw it coming and was “not surprised” that it was successful. Considering the number of anti-gay screeds he published while the legislature was still debating the bill, one wonders what more he would have done had he been “much more vigorous.”
Fortunately, the New York legislature chose to represent all constituents when it decided to expand LGBT equality instead of catering to a select group of Church leaders who refuse to exist in the same universe as married same-sex couples.
Sadly, America’s wildly successful energy efficiency standards have fallen victim to politics in recent years. Despite being used over the decades as a way to encourage innovation, increase customer choice, and reduce pollution, efficiency targets have been bizarrely branded as a government tool to control people’s lives.
Well, here’s more evidence that energy efficiency standards for equipment and lighting actually help consumers: A new report from the American Council for an Energy Efficiency Economy shows that these standards reduced energy consumption by 7% in 2010 — and could help consumers save $1.1 trillion in energy costs by 2035.
Assuming that 11 new standards being considered for computer equipment, electric motors, fans, and pumps get established, the U.S. could see a 14% reduction in annual electricity use by 2035 compared with current projections. According to the ACEEE report, assuming household appliances are updated every 15 years through 2040, the average American household could save 180 megawatt-hours of electricity and over 200,000 gallons of water. Translated into understandable figures: Roughly $30,000.
Here are some other interesting factoids on energy savings from these standards:
- Annual natural gas savings in 2035 of about 950 trillion British thermal units (TBtu), or enough to heat 32% of all natural-gas-heated U.S. homes.
- Peak demand savings in 2035 of about 240 gigawatt (GW), saving about 18% of what the total generating capacity projected for 2035 would have been without standards.
- The CO2 savings from existing standards in 2010 were 203 million metric tons, an amount equal to the CO2 emitted by 51 coal-fired power plants. By 2025, the CO2 savings grow to 448 milion metric tons, an amount equal to the emissions of 112 average-sized coal-fired power plants.
- Annual emissions reductions in 2035 of around 470 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), an amount equal to the emissions of 118 coal-fired power plants.
Since they were established in the 80′s, efficiency standards have clearly worked. They are a no-brainer for helping reduce peak demand, save consumers money and reduce global warming pollution. They also help drive innovation in business through consistent national standards.
Why would such common-sense measures get dragged into politics?