Matt Dempsey Matt_Dempsey@epw.senate.gov (202)224-9797
David Lungren David_Lungren@epw.senate.gov
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR JAMES M. INHOFE
Climate Change and Ensuring that America Leads the Clean Energy Transformation
August 6, 2009
Madame Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing today. This is the last hearing on climate change before the August recess, so I think it’s appropriate to take stock of what we’ve learned. Madame Chairman, since you assumed the gavel, this committee has held over thirty hearings on climate change. With testimony from numerous experts and officials from all over the country, these hearings explored various issues associated with cap-and-trade—and I’m sure my colleagues learned a great deal from them. But over the last two years, it was not from these, at times, arcane and abstract policy discussions that we got to the essence of cap-and-trade. No, it was the Democrats who cut right to the chase; it was the Democrats over the last two years who exposed what cap-and-trade really means for the American public. We learned, for example, from President Obama that under his cap-and-trade plan, “electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.” We learned from Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) that cap-and-trade is “a tax, and a great big one.” We learned from Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) that “a cap-and-trade system is prone to market manipulation and speculation without any guarantee of meaningful GHG emission reductions. A cap-and-trade has been operating in Europe for three years and is largely a failure.” We learned from Sen. Dorgan (D-N.D.) that with cap-and-trade “the Wall Street crowd can't wait to sink their teeth into a new trillion-dollar trading market in which hedge funds and investment banks would trade and speculate on carbon credits and securities. In no time they'll create derivatives, swaps and more in that new market. In fact, most of the investment banks have already created carbon trading departments. They are ready to go. I'm not.” We learned from Sen. Cantwell (D-Wash.) that “a cap-and-trade program might allow Wall Street to distort a carbon market for its own profits.” We learned from EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that unilateral U.S. action to address climate change through cap-and-trade would be futile. She said in response to a question from me that “U.S. action alone will not impact world CO2 levels.” We learned from Sen. Kerry (D-Mass.) that “there is no way the United States of America acting alone can solve this problem. So we have to have China; we have to have India.” We learned from Sen. McCaskill (D-Mo.) that if “we go too far with this,” that is, cap-and-trade, then “all we’re going to do is chase more jobs to China and India, where they’ve been putting up coal-fired plants every 10 minutes.” In sum, after a slew of hearings and three unsuccessful votes on the Senate floor, the Democrats taught us that cap-and-trade is a great big tax that will raise electricity prices on consumers, enrich Wall Street traders, and send jobs to China and India—all without any impact on global temperature. So off we go into the August recess, secure in the knowledge that cap-and-trade is riddled with flaws, and that Democrats are seriously divided over one of President Obama’s top domestic policy priorities. And we also know that, according to recent polling, the American public is increasingly unwilling to pay anything to fight global warming. But all of this does not mean cap-and-trade is dead and gone. It is very much alive, as Democratic leaders, as they did in the House, are eager to distribute pork on unprecedented scales to secure the necessary votes to pass cap-and-trade into law. So be assured of this: We will markup legislation in this committee, pass it, and then it will be combined with other bills from other committees. And we will have a debate on the Senate floor. Throughout the debate on cap-and-trade, we will be there to say that: According to the American Farm Bureau, the vast majority of agriculture groups oppose it; According to GAO, it will send our jobs to China and India; According to the National Black Chamber of Commerce, it will destroy over 2 million jobs; According to EPA and EIA, it will not reduce our dependence on foreign oil; According to EPA, it will do nothing to reduce global temperature; And when all is said and done, the American people will reject it and we will defeat it. Thank you, Madame Chairman.
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