Democratic News

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, today held the first Senate hearing of the 116th Congress to address the climate crisis. The hearing addressed the trends in the U.S. electric sector in the context of the climate problem. Witnesses testified about the impacts on rural communities, changes in the industry that are affecting greenhouse gas emissions, and energy policies and technologies that should be considered to support emission reductions in the electricity sector. 

The hearing featured testimony from representatives from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, NextEra Energy, Rice University Center for Energy Studies, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium and Analysis Group, Inc. 

“All communities, including those in energy-producing states like West Virginia and Alaska, are experiencing the harmful impacts of the climate crisis. And these impacts are often felt disproportionately in West Virginia communities which are already suffering from the downturn in coal production, resulting unemployment, and the negative effects of coal company bankruptcies on retirement and health benefits. Therefore, the path to a climate solution must offer West Virginians opportunity – not additional economic burdens. Chairman Murkowski and I share a deep concern for our rural communities and seek to use this Committee as a means of identifying and legislating pathways to ensure our constituents have a role in the clean energy future,” Senator Manchin said.

Senator Manchin questioned witnesses about the Fourth National Climate Assessment released at the end of 2018. 

“The National Climate Assessment says that in the next ten years, if we don’t make drastic changes across the world, with all 7 billion of us living on planet earth, the damage done to the climate could be irreversible. Are you all in agreement with that? And, if that’s the case, with China relying almost 60 percent on coal and India relying almost 70 percent on coal with no plans to change quickly, what do we do?” Senator Manchin asked.

Dr. Kenneth Medlock stressed that the reality on the ground and the challenges facing governments are different across the globe. He also highlighted the continued expansion of the Chinese coal fleet. 

“What one group considers an existential crisis may not be considered existential to another. I don’t think the world is going to end in ten years, no. But I think it’s important that sitting in the United States, the most developed part of the world, we actually lead by example which is why I’ve highlighted the role of R&D,” Dr. Medlock said.

 To watch the hearing in full, please click here.