(Remarks as prepared for delivery)
Today’s hearing is the kickoff of a historic Senate effort to pass legislation that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create millions of clean energy jobs, and protect our children from pollution.
The central theme in Thomas Friedman’s book “Hot, Flat and Crowded” is this: The nation that aggressively addresses the issue of climate change will be the nation that will thrive; the nation that will lead; and will be the nation that will prosper. Here is what Friedman writes:
"...the ability to develop clean power and energy efficient technologies is going to become the defining measure of a country's economic standing, environmental health, energy security, and national security over the next 50 years."
We know that this premise is being borne out even in this recession. In California, which has been one of the hardest hit by the housing crisis and the financial crisis, the area that has out-performed every other has been the creation of clean energy jobs and businesses.
A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that more than 10,000 new clean energy businesses were launched in California from 1998 to 2007. During that period, clean energy investments created more than 125,000 jobs and generated jobs 15 percent faster than the California economy as a whole.
Our Committee has held more than 40 hearings and briefings on global warming since I took over the chairmanship in January of 2007 and we are well aware of the work done on the dangers of global warming by the Bush and Obama Administrations.
A few weeks ago, the Obama Administration released a sobering report on the impacts global warming is already having across the United States, and the devastating effects that will come in the future if we do not take action to cut global warming pollution. Droughts, floods, fires, loss of species, damage to agriculture, worsening air pollution and more.
Today, I am pleased to welcome leaders of the Obama Administration as they encourage us to act, on the heels of the passage of the Waxman-Markey bill in the House.
Today, I expect you will hear fierce words of doubt and fear and worse from the other side of the aisle regarding our legislative efforts to move forward with clean energy jobs legislation. This is consistent with a pattern of “No, we can’t.”
I believe that this Committee, when the votes are eventually taken on our bill, will reflect our President’s attitude, which is “Yes, we can, and yes, we will.”
Colleagues, this is the challenge to our generation that offers hope, not fear, and a way out of the environmental and economic challenges we face, so that our children will have a bright future.
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