Editor’s Note: It’s an election year and that means lots of political commercials. Ad Watch is an occasional Civil Beat series in which we help you understand what you’re seeing and hearing when it comes to campaign messages from Hawaii candidates.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz puts big oil in the crosshairs in his latest TV spot, which focuses on climate change and clean energy.

He says it’s outrageous that the government pays out $4 billion in special tax subsidies to oil companies that earn $93 billion in profits each year, and that it’s now time to focus on renewables.

Schatz clean energy ad

A screen shot from a U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz campaign ad.

Screen shot

The ad, entitled “Us,” will no doubt play well with Democratic primary voters who must choose between keeping Schatz in office or replacing him with U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who believes she was the rightful heir to the late U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye’s seat.

Here’s the ad:

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Schatz has impeccable timing.

The spot came out Monday, which is the same day the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced new plans for cutting carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

The new rules are receiving a lot of attention, in part because the EPA is taking coal-fired power plants head on in an attempt to curb climate change.

Schatz has been positioning himself as a leader when it comes to climate change and clean energy issues, and he’s definitely taking advantage of the latest announcement by the EPA.

Both his Senate office and campaign issued statements after the EPA’s announcement, lauding the new rules and reiterating Schatz’s stance as a champion of clean energy.

In the ad, Schatz reminds viewers that he’s the chair of the Senate Water and Power Subcommittee and that he’s “leading efforts to grow Hawaii’s clean energy economy” although he doesn’t provide any specifics as to how he’s doing that.

He also plays the keiki card, as he delivers his message while standing in front of a jungle gym crawling with children. It’s a tactic he used in a previous spot about gun control, and the need to protect kids from violence.

As he says in the new ad, “I’ve got thousands and thousands of small reasons to keep fighting for clean, renewable energy.”

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