I want to thank the Chairman for having this hearing focusing on technology. I believe that our nation’s pioneering of technology has been a vital component in America’s prosperity and I am fully committed to expanding new technologies in making our nation a better place to live.
What technology paths and goals we choose will help determine if further innovation acts as a catalyst or a drag to future economic growth. Mr. Chairman, clearly we disagree on the state of science. Just last year, we discovered for the first time that trees emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas. This shocking news underscored how little we know about some of the most basic processes of the planet.
And new science is coming out all the time. After Katrina, Gore and some others seized the opportunity to claim global warming is causing more hurricanes. But three weeks ago, a peer-reviewed study found warming will increase wind shear, which reduces both the severity and number of hurricanes. And just last week, another peer-reviewed study by one of our government’s leading scientists, Dr. Christopher Landsea, found that the annual trend in the number of hurricanes since 1900 has, in fact, not increased.
My point is this – our policies should reflect a little humility when it comes to whether or not we are omnipotent. That is why I oppose propping up uncompetitive technologies for the sole purpose of trying to avert an over-hyped catastrophe by mandating a tax on carbon – whether it is in the form of a direct tax or hidden in the guise of a cap and trade scheme.
And make no mistake, the various proposals currently before the Senate are taxes. The Kyoto Protocol would have imposed a cost of $2,700 per family of four. The global warming bills before Congress today are even worse. A new MIT study of the many proposals shows that the Sanders-Boxer bill would impose a tax-equivalent of $366 billion annually, or more than $4,500 per family of four, by 2015. And the Lieberman-McCain bill is not much better, imposing more than $3,500 on families each year.
I would like to submit the report for the record.
And who would bear these costs? According to a Congressional Budget Office study released two weeks ago, a carbon cap and trade would result in a massive wealth redistribution from the poor and working class to wealthier Americans. In short, carbon caps would artificially and needlessly raise the cost of energy the most on the people least able to afford it. It astounds me that any Senator could support such a proposal.
I believe we should focus on approaches that unite, rather than divide. That is why I support the Asia Pacific Partnership and believe it should be fully funded and expanded. This would promote trade and transfers of technology between our nation and developing countries, leading to increasing energy supplies and reduced pollution. Mr. Chairman, it would also help you in your goal of reducing greenhouse gases from countries such as China, which later this year will become the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide on the planet.
Mr. Chairman, while we may disagree on the reasons, I share your view that nuclear energy is a vital component of our energy future. And I applaud that you have recognized its importance in legislative proposals. We need more energy and we need to reduce our reliance on foreign sources. I think nuclear power and hydro – yes, I said hydro – should be a part of this equation. They neither pollute nor emit greenhouse gases.
But we cannot stop there. Our nation is abundant in coal, and we should pursue coal-to-liquid technologies for both energy security and military applications. And, quite frankly, I see little difference between coal-to-liquids refineries and IGCC power plants when it comes to carbon dioxide emissions. And unlike higher ethanol mandates, coal-to-liquids will decrease our reliance on foreign sources.
And that really is the fundamental question: does our nation have a vision of increasing domestically supplied energy, or will we put ourselves on an energy diet and increase our reliance on foreign energy supplies? I hope my colleagues join me in a vision of hope, not defeat.