Wednesday, September 18, 2013

House Hearing On President's Climate Action Plan

Sep 18: U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Energy and Power, Chaired by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), on the President's Climate Action Plan [See WIMS 6/25/13 & See WIMS 6/26/13]. Chairman Whitfield sent requests to 13 federal agencies to testify at the hearing, and sent a follow up letter September 4 reiterating his request. Although agencies were given over six weeks notice, the only attendees were DOE Secretary Moniz and EPA Administrator McCarthy. Chairman Whitfileld expressed disappointment that the other agencies chose not to attend. He said, "What does it say about an administration that is largely unwilling to testify on its top policy initiative? More than $77 billion was spent between 2008 and 2013 across the government on climate activities, and yet the 'most transparent administration in history' can only find two people to testify from these agencies that employ tens of thousands of employees and receive significant funding for climate change related activities." In general, Republicans on the Subcommittee expressed extreme concern about the science, cost, and impact of addressing climate change. Democrats generally supported the need to address climate change and supported the President's plan.
    EPA's McCarthy testified, "Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate scientists are convinced that human caused climate change is occurring. If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet." She concluded, "The President's Plan provides a roadmap for federal action to meet the pressing challenge of a changing climate -- promoting clean energy solutions that capitalize on American innovation and drive economic growth. EPA looks forward to working with other federal agencies and all stakeholders on these critical efforts."
   DOE's Moniz testified, "The evidence is overwhelming, the science is clear, and the threat from climate change is real and urgent. This is my judgment and it is the almost universal judgment of the scientific community. The basic science behind climate change is simple: greenhouse gases make the earth warmer, and we are emitting more and more of them into the atmosphere." He concluded, "With new technologies, the recent growth in unconventional gas and oil production, the continued decrease in the costs of renewable energy and our reserves of traditional forms of energy, like coal, the United States may be entering into a period of unprecedented energy abundance. We believe in an all-of-the-above approach to ensure that this energy is used wisely and cleanly in a low carbon economy, and we are putting resources behind it: advanced fossil energy, nuclear power, renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced transportation.
   "History has shown repeatedly that we can grow the economy while making tremendous strides in reducing pollution, including acid rain, ozone, lead and other hazardous emissions. I have no doubt that transforming our energy economy will be a challenge. And new technology will be key. We will need our smartest scientists, our brightest engineers, and visionary policy makers to get this done. The President has put forth a smart and prudent plan to slow the effects of climate change, to prepare for worsening climate impacts and ensure a safer, healthier future for our children, and I am excited to be a part of it."
    Access the Republican hearing website for background, statements, testimony and video (click here). Access the Democrats hearing website for background, statements, testimony and video (click here). [#Climate]

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