U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works
Opening Statement of Senator Barbara Boxer
Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer
Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection
Hearing on “Emerging Technologies and Practices
for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions”
Remarks as prepared for delivery
MAY 9, 2007
Thank you, Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Warner for holding this hearing on emerging technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global warming.
Increasing energy efficiency and developing new, advanced technologies can help us solve one of the greatest threats to the well being of mankind: global warming. It can also make the U.S. a world leader in new technologies that we can export to the rest of the world.
There is great economic opportunity in addressing global warming. The most recent IPCC report notes that the market for energy technology between now and 2030 will be at least $20 trillion. The report also found that addressing global warming is affordable and will only cost 0.1% per year, while increasing business opportunity.
We need to act now, and the earlier we do so, the lower the costs will be.
Many businesses have begun to recognize this fact. In January, a group of large businesses teamed up with environmental groups to form the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (or US CAP).
The businesses in US CAP, including Duke Energy, DuPont, and BP, issued a “Call for Action” and recommended that Congress enact mandatory global warming legislation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% to 80%. Yesterday, US CAP added 14 new members, including GM, AIG, ConocoPhillips, and Shell.
We are now planning a second hearing on US CAP with members we have not yet heard from to learn about their strong commitments to addressing global warming.
These businesses recognize that caps on greenhouse gas emissions are needed to save our planet and they embrace the opportunity to compete in the world market that will result.
They are investing in clean technology and clean energy, because they believe, as I do. that there is an enormous business opportunity at stake and fighting global warming can also make American business more globally competitive.
Today we will hear from a number of companies who are positioning themselves to take advantage of these opportunities.
One of the world’s largest companies, GE has an aggressive business strategy to be the world leader in these technologies. GE is developing and selling carbon sequestration technology, wind turbines, compact fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels, efficient appliances, and other energy efficient technologies.
Another company, American Electric Power, is helping to lead the way in proving carbon capture and sequestration technologies. By 2008, AEP will have in place a coal burning power plant in West Virginia that will use a new technology to capture and sequester their carbon dioxide. They are not standing still.
We will also hear from Professor Chiang from MIT who will tell us about the possibilities for electric cars and new advances in battery technologies.
Finally, I am very excited to hear from Wal-Mart, who has taken aggressive action to significantly increase its energy efficiency. They will show us how we can fight global warming and save money at the same time.
Wal-Mart has reduced its energy consumption through the use of “daylight harvesting” that adjusts the lighting in their stores to take advantage of outside lighting. They are using many energy efficient technologies, such as LED lighting and advanced refrigeration units. They aggressively monitor their energy use nationwide through a central location in Bentonville, Arkansas.
Wal-Mart also has a goal to reduce its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by 20% within 7 years.
In 2006, clean energy investment in the U.S. was over $55 billion. This number is projected to increase in coming years, reaching $226 billion by 2016.
Clean technology will create jobs. 1.4 million new jobs are projected in this area by the year 2025. Clean technology will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And, of course, it will put the U.S. in position to stop global warming.
I believe we must fight global warming to protect our economy as well as our planet.
The United States can use its ingenuity and innovative spirit to lead the world in clean technology development. Mandatory greenhouse gas limits will require us to develop a wide range of commercial technologies that we can use at home and export to the rest of the world, including to India and China.
Many have said global warming is not happening, but we now know that it is.
Many have said we could not afford to address this problem, but now we know that is not the case either. There is no excuse for continued inaction.
I look forward to the day when we can look back and tell our children and grandchildren that we were able to solve this problem and also succeed economically.
The businesses before us today will help us get there and I commend them for their leadership.
I look forward to hearing all of the witnesses’ testimony.
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