Thank you, Madame Chairman, for hosting this hearing and thank you Mr. Vice President for your time here today. "An Inconvenient Truth" spends a lot of time discussing the problem, but relatively little time detailing solutions my constituents can accept. Indeed, this chart here shows how "An Inconvenient Truth" is long on problems, but short on solutions.
Three hundred and five of AIT’s 328 pages, that’s 93 percent, are a discussion of the problem: pictures of glaciers, pictures of lakes, graphs, and charts. If you actually want to find out how society, how government, how the world can deal with this problem in ways that won’t turn off the lights or heat, or cost poor and middle-income families billions, this book truly is "inconvenient."
Only 5%, or sixteen pages provide personal solutions like composting and buying local. Economists Socolow and Pacala get two pages, or 0.6%. Wind gets another 0.6%, and renewable energy gets 0.6%. That’s a handful of pages on proposals that will cost families and workers hundreds of billions of dollars in the transportation, power, and energy sectors.
We are being asked to threaten blue-collar manufacturing workers supporting middle-class families and threaten the poor and fixed-income with heating bill increases. But we get almost no discussion of their plight, how they would suffer, or how they would cope under certain carbon cap plans.
Your own words confirmed this approach of focusing on the problem, and not the pain of solutions. Last year, when speaking to Grist magazine, you said, "I believe it is appropriate to have an overrepresentation of factual presentations on how dangerous [global warming] is" to open up the audience. That is pretty stark language if you believe it is ok to over-represent the facts to get your message out.
You justify this by calling global warming a moral issue. You say that we should think of the children when we consider this issue. Well I happen to agree with you that we do have a moral issue here and must think of the children. Indeed, my moral commitment is to this child right here and many like her.
This little girl has appeared in our Capitol Hill newspapers. I don’t know her name, but I fear her plight, because it is shared by many Missourians. This girl is cold, because her family can’t afford to pay their heating bills.
The add by AARP for more LIHEAP funding notes that 29 million American families can’t afford to pay their heating bills. LIHEAP, a program I support increasing, can only help one in six suffering families. Even if we doubled LIHEAP funding, we couldn’t help all in need. That leaves this girl to wear a coat inside when it gets too cold and that’s exactly what the caption beside her reads, "I have two coats. One for outside and one for inside."
But with higher heating bills resulting from carbon cap legislation, what would this girl do? Wear two coats inside? How many millions more would suffer her fate of freezing through the Winter?
Should we tell this freezing little girl that we can only listen to one side of the story? That we should ignore the latest research, including that showing a correlation between temperature change and charged particles from sunspots? That we need not better understand the earth’s feedback mechanisms and our climate systems?
Now, I support taking action that will have significant carbon benefits. I support biofuels, like biodiesel, that can cut CO2 emissions by 30%. I support IGCC coal gasification that allows for carbon capture. You mentioned the need to engage Asia, I support the President’s Asia Pacific Partnership to do just that. I support the auto industry doing more with flex-fuel engines, hybrids, and plug-ins. I am a big fan of nuclear energy and I have personally planted over 10,000 trees. But your proposal here today to freeze immediately CO2 emissions would stop economic growth in its tracks.
I will fight against carbon plans that unfairly punish certain parts of the country like the coal-dependent Midwest and South, that jack up heating bills on the poor and make air conditioning unaffordable for fixed-income seniors, that hit hard blue collar manufacturing workers struggling to support their middle class families.
Q. Experts estimate that heating, cooling and electricity bills from traditional coal-fired power plants would go up 80% if carbon sequestration is required. Do you believe families and workers should pay this price?