Before we start today, I want to call attention to yesterday’s groundbreaking announcement by Senator’s Warner and Lieberman to jointly craft an economy wide, cap and trade, global warming bill.
This is an important step forward in this Committee’s efforts to report global warming legislation.
I look forward to the results of their efforts and will move forward at the full Committee level as soon as possible.
I also want to thank Senator Alexander, who has addressed the power plant sector’s contribution to global warming both in his power plant legislation, and in the Capitol Power Plant Bill that passed as part of the Energy Bill last week.
We value his contribution to this important debate.
I also want to welcome, from my home state of California, Peter Darbee, the CEO of PG&E, as well as the other utility CEOs here today, Mr. Lou Hay of FPL Group, and Mr. Jim Rogers of Duke Energy, and all of the other distinguished witnesses.
With the announcement by Senators Lieberman and Warner, we are on our way toward reporting economy-wide global warming legislation, which is the most efficient way to deal with this issue.
I am very pleased to convene this hearing today to talk about global warming issues in the power plant sector, because reducing emissions from powerplants is a fundamental part of any solution to global warming.
Powerplants are the single largest CO2 emitting sector in the U.S. economy.
They account for 40% of U.S. emissions.
The single largest source of fuel for powerplants is coal, which accounts for about 50% of our electricity generation.
In the fight against global warming, the electricity sector will play a critical role–both as a source of emissions and as a source of possible emission reductions.
The technological choices that we make in this area will affect our ability to combat global warming for many years to come.
These choices can lead to large decreases in emissions or commit us to large increases in emissions.
These choices can commit us to low cost solutions now or to high cost solutions later.
We need to act wisely and decisively in this area.
With the help of the experts and CEOs here today, I am confident we can find such a solution.
I look forward to hearing all of the witnesses testimony and to learning more about these important issues.