Domenici Statment on Carbon Capture and Sequestration

January 31, 2008
04:32 PM


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Pete Domenici, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today issued the following statement at a Committee hearing to discuss Carbon Capture and Sequestration legislation:
I want to thank Senator Bingaman for scheduling this hearing and the witnesses for appearing today.  I’d like to thank Senator Coleman and Senator Kerry for their work in drafting the measures before us.  Carbon sequestration holds real promise for reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
Today, however, that promise is far from realized. The technology has not been commercialized and a massive investment in infrastructure is needed.  As a result, carbon sequestration must be viewed for what it is – a small piece of the solution to what is the larger issue of global climate change.
The recently passed energy bill included many provisions on this subject.  It recognized that an appropriate federal role exists for researching, developing, and commercializing cleaner technologies.  It will be one thing to implement the federal laws we have passed – but we must also remember the economic law of diminishing returns.
Carbon sequestration, as we know it, is a classic example of this concept.  The more aggressively we pursue it, the more it will cost us. And because climate change is very much a global challenge, the benefits we derive will be incrementally smaller. America can be a leader in carbon sequestration – we have experience, in the form of enhanced oil recovery, to guide our investment and regulatory decisions.
Yet if the United States acts unilaterally to reduce its emissions, we risk saddling taxpayers with a steep price for minimal results.  Other nations are on the verge of passing the United States in annual greenhouse gas emissions.  On a per capita basis, some already have. 
As greenhouse gas emissions decrease here at home, increases in developing countries will more than offset our own progress.   Discussions of the carbon sequestration process are worthy of our Committee’s time, and I will keep an open mind in the hopes of learning what more can be done. 
But I would also urge my colleagues not to put the cart before the horse.  While we can and should advance this promising concept we must know for sure that other countries will join us in our efforts.  I look forward to hearing from the witnesses, thank you.