EPW Hearing Statement: Hearing to Examine S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, and the State of Current Technologies that Reduce, Capture, and Use Carbon Dioxide

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) held the hearing to examine “S. 383, the Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies Act, and the State of Current Technologies that Reduce, Capture, and Use Carbon Dioxide.”  Below is the opening statement of Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-Del.), as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. Chairman, thank you for convening this hearing today to examine one of the many ways we can work together to find solutions, and then craft legislation to support ‘win-win’ policies that address climate change while enhancing job creation and economic growth.

“In today’s hearing, we will be focusing on technologies that reduce, capture and use carbon dioxide, as well as bipartisan legislation that supports them. The Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies or ‘USE IT’ Act is sponsored by the Chairman and cosponsored by many of our colleagues on this committee, including me.  Let’s start with the primary reason I believe we need to act to address carbon dioxide emissions: climate change.

“The science behind climate change is settled.  From our warming oceans to heat trapped in our atmosphere, climate change is real, it’s happening and human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, are greatly contributing to the problem. Scientists have also found direct links between climate change and recent extreme weather events, such as the rash of devastating Category Five hurricanes that our country has experienced and wildfires in the west that are as big as my home state of Delaware. Again, the science is clear, these extreme weather events will only get worse if we do nothing.

“It doesn’t matter if you are from a coastal state or from a landlocked state, if you care about public health or the environment, or if you care about our economy or national security. The reality of climate change is that every person living in this country will eventually see or experience it. Most are already affected by it today.  God knows that we are in Delaware.

“As I see it, we have two options: we take up this fight and get serious about addressing and adapting to climate change, or we stick our heads in the sand and do nothing, threatening the future of our children and our grandchildren.

“I say we fight! In doing so, we can unleash American innovation and job opportunities, while putting the United States in the driver’s seat of the global clean energy economy. This fight won’t be easy. We will need a comprehensive approach, using every tool in our toolbox to address this issue. To make that major shift toward a clean energy economy, R&D and other federal investments, tax incentives, smart regulations and all other policies that harness market forces must be on the table, too.

“Fortunately, we aren’t starting this fight from square one.  Smart investments and regulations made by the Obama Administration and even before resulted in a dramatic increase in the deployment of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, at a cheaper cost.  As a result of these smart policies, more than three million people went to work today in clean energy jobs while consumers pay less—not more—in energy costs now than they did a decade ago. This proves, yet again, we can have a cleaner environment, better climate AND a stronger economy. 

“Despite these successes, much more is needed to stem the tide of climate change. As we will hear today from our witnesses this morning, major investments in carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, or CCUS, technologies are in demand. The USE IT Act helps to make those investments through R&D and by lowering other barriers preventing the wide-spread development and deployment of CCUS.  

“I am especially pleased to see that this year’s version of the bill makes additional investments in direct air capture of carbon pollution. With the changes we’ve made, I’m happy to join Chairman Barrasso and my other colleagues in cosponsoring the USE IT Act. 

“If we want to ensure the broad deployment of CCUS and other clean energy technologies, however, the U.S. must take bolder, bigger actions than the USE IT Act. We must embrace broad climate policies, such as a price on carbon, to really move the needle on climate change.

“With that said, this hearing is not the end, it’s just the beginning. I look forward to working with the Chairman and all of our EPW colleagues on climate solutions that will make our country more secure from both a climate and an economic perspective.  My hope is we can undertake more of these climate actions, both large and small.

“I thank our witnesses for being here today and look forward to today’s discussion.”