Democratic News

“Thank you all for coming today to discuss the global energy challenges and the technologies that the U.S. and the world should be pursuing to address global climate change.

“Nearly 20 years ago, almost to this day, James Hansen sat before this committee and testified that global temperatures had risen beyond the natural range of variability.  Since then, we have had 20 years to seriously pursue the development of low-carbon energy technologies.  We’ve done some, but have failed to sustain support for the promising energy technologies that could have decreased our dependence on fossil fuels.
“Today we are at a crossroads. With high fuel prices, growing energy demand and global greenhouse gas emissions on a trajectory to unacceptable levels, it is clear that we need a new policies and strategies for the United States.  We have an opportunity now to develop the technologies that will break the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.  It is my intention that with this morning’s testimony we begin to seriously develop a robust, long-term energy strategy that will ensure not only our energy security but our economic and climate security into the future.
“Two weeks ago the International Energy Agency put out a comprehensive and provocative report detailing the mix of technologies that we must develop and deploy to meet our energy needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  I have invited Mr. Hirst from the IEA to talk about these findings.  It is an excellent and sobering report that I would encourage everyone here to read.
“Transforming our economy from one based on fossil-fuels to one based on clean energy will require significant investments in the range of 45 trillion dollars.  It will require that we develop and deploy the whole range of clean technologies now in development from carbon capture and storage to concentrated solar power.  It will require that all nations, particularly the transitioning and developing world, participate wholly, with the US and other OECD countries.
“The final message of the report is this--the goal of a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050 is attainable.
“Our task here is to apply report findings to chart a path forward for the United States.  It is to ensure that the policies are in place that will take us down the necessary technology development pathways put forward by the IEA report.
“Foremost, we must encourage private sector investment in clean energy technology development and deployment. We have a chance right now in Congress with the tax incentives to do just that.
“Secondly, we must prioritize and sustain support for promising energy technologies over the long-term.  Today, our funding for energy technology is only half of what it was 25 years ago.  Thirdly, policies must be developed which capture the extensive R&D knowledge generated in the U.S. and ensure that the technologies spun out of that knowledge are manufactured and deployed here, generating domestic jobs and wealth.
“Lastly, we must engage other nations in developing the technologies and hope we can go forward with doing that.  I welcome our witnesses and look forward to their testimony.”
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