WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today praised a new report for bringing attention to the importance of developing technologies to curb carbon emissions from coal.
Domenici and other members of the committee heard testimony from the authors of a new Massachusetts Institute of Technology report titled “The Future of Coal in a Carbon Constrained World.” The Senator said that the report should help provide a better understanding of how to best capture and sequester carbon and deal with the many challenges of sequestration on a large scale.
“Make no mistake about it, we must recognize that the use of American coal in electricity generation is essential to our nation’s energy independence and security. It is clear that we need to gain a better understanding of how to best enhance our future coal fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” Domenici said.
Domenici also warned that any efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions must include worldwide participation from other major greenhouse gas countries like China.
“The United States and other countries have to undertake a significant research effort to learn how to best capture and sequester carbon. The United States has to lead the effort, but unless China and other major coal using countries participate in this work, with both human capital and financial resources, it is unlikely that we will be able to address global climate change in a reasonable, fair and effective manner,” Domenici said.
China currently uses more coal than the United States, the European Union and Japan combined. It has increased coal consumption 14 percent in each of the past two years in the broadest industrialization ever. Every week to 10 days, another coal-fired plant opens somewhere in China. By 2025, China is expected to emit twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States.
Domenici has noted that sacrifice and cooperation from other nations, including China and India, was necessary for an effective global climate change policy that will bring positive benefits for the environment.
The Senator has expressed skepticism about proposals to impose a carbon tax or a cap and trade system on industry absent a clear understanding of the likely impact on our economic competitiveness.
At the hearing, Domenici also announced that he has joined Chairman Jeff Bingaman to introduce legislation that expands research into carbon capture storage that was originally authorized in the Energy Policy Act. The “DOE Carbon Capture and Storage Research, Development and Demonstration Act of 2007” (S.962) will provide more detail and expand authorization levels for carbon R&D.
“I’m pleased to join Senator Bingaman to introduce legislation that will expand provisions in the Energy Bill to further research and development into carbon capture storage. I look forward to hearing more about this technology—and others—during future committee hearings,” Domenici said.