Thursday, October 30, 2008

House Republican Report On Energy & Climate Change

Oct 28: House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA) and Domestic Policy Subcommittee Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a report -- Energy: A Matter of National, Economic, and Environmental Security -- examining challenges and opportunities for the United States amidst changing realities in the global energy economy and debate over climate change. The report affirms that any effective energy solution must take an “all-of-the-above” approach to different methods of achieving energy independence and also warns that energy security and global environmental challenges cannot be effectively addressed separately.

According to an announcement, viewing the energy debate as a choice “between promoting increased domestic oil production vs. encouraging conversation and increasing renewable and alternative fuels” is “flat out wrong” concludes the report. “An energy policy that does not address all facets of energy production is a failure and threatens our economy, our national security, and the environment."

Representative Davis said, "We no longer can ignore the fact that energy policy is intertwined with security policy. We can’t keep pumping money into the economies of countries dedicated to opposing our interests. For that matter, we can’t keep sending billions of dollars overseas every year when we have the means, the technology and the raw materials to alleviate much of our dependence on foreign energy right here at home.” Representative Issa said, “We cannot address the root of many national security concerns, economic troubles, or environmental threats without an effective energy strategy. These issues have all become deeply intertwined -- an effective energy policy cannot address just the cost of energy today.”

According to some of the facts and findings in the report [verbatim with omissions noted]: (1) Whatever one thinks of the science of climate change, with the adoption of the Bali Roadmap, the reality is that all Americans will be adjusting to a carbon constrained world. Energy policy should acknowledge and plan for this reality. (2) Countries hostile to the United States are increasingly using energy as a strategic tool against U.S. interests. (3) Manufacturing processes in China emit at least 300 percent more CO2 than similar processes in the U.S. . . (4) An energy and environment policy that fails to account for competitiveness concerns will cause the U.S. manufacturing base to shift more American jobs overseas and could actually increase carbon emissions. Any meaningful international agreement to reduce carbon emissions must include the developing world since it is an essential part of the problem and the solution.

(5) Nuclear energy and coal must play a role in meeting our nation's future energy needs. Nuclear energy is an emission-free source of electricity. It also provides a roadmap to the hydrogen economy, which could reduce automobile emissions dramatically, if used to power the transportation network. Clean coal technology is critical for electricity generation and for the production of coal-to-liquid fuel. Coal presently accounts for more than half of electricity generation and cannot be replaced in the short or medium term. (6) Conservation and demand-side management should be included in a sensible energy policy. The development of renewables such as wind, solar and geothermal must be pursued, but the reality is that it may take years before any substantial impact is felt. Biofuels, such as ethanol, hold limited promise and cellulosic ethanol, which is yet to be produced commercially, may have negative environmental consequences.

(7) For private business to invest the massive amounts of money necessary to bring more energy to market, government must foster a predictable and hospitable investment environment. Government can foster investment by sharing some of the risk, constructing a sensible regulatory scheme and minimizing litigation risk. The investment decisions made today will affect both our emissions profile and energy independence in the future. (8) Even as the developing world is increasing energy consumption levels, the United States remains one of the most energy-efficient nations. It consumes 25 percent of the world's energy and produces 32.6 percent of the world's GDP.

The report was distributed to Republican Members. According to a cover letter to Members, "This report shows the current state of world energy consumption patterns, as well as likely future scenarios, to bring into focus the challenges we face as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint and wean our nation off fossil fuels. This report also briefly presents the current state of technology for alternative fuel sources -- including biofuels, coal-to-liquid, wind, solar, and geothermal energy -- in order to assess its present and future ability to displace fossil fuel consumption. While the thrust of this report is on securing adequate sources of energy, there is also a discussion of important policies that should be pursued to decrease our national demand for energy."

Access the report announcement from Representative Davis and Issa (
click here). Access the complete 43-page report (click here). [*Energy, *Climate]