OPENING STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN INHOFE - Committee on Environment and Public Works Climate Roundtable

Thursday, May 25, 2006 OPENING STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN INHOFE Committee on Environment and Public Works Climate Roundtable Exploring Greenhouse Gas Technologies Iíd like to welcome everyone to todayís Senate Environment and Public Works Committee roundtable on the interrelationship between greenhouse gas emissions and technology. As you all know, I do not believe that man is responsible for the modest warming over the last few decades, and I have said that attempts to ration energy in our country based on the supposed threat of global warming constitutes the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people. If you watched the FOX News special last Sunday, you know I have not changed my mind. Clearly, some of my colleagues in the minority disagree. But todayís roundtable moves beyond this basic disagreement of the science and of whether greenhouse gases should be regulated. It is my view that while greenhouse gas emissions continue to decline in relation to the economy, cost-effective technologies do not exist to that will reduce greenhouse gases in a growing economy. Here in the U.S., there has been an enormous education campaign to encourage companies to help their bottom lines by becoming more energy efficiency and reducing unnecessarily wasted energy. And abroad, developing countries can benefit from our experience that reducing energy waste can help the bottom line ñ for instance, many older coal plants in China emit significantly more air pollution as well as carbon dioxide emissions for every megawatt of power generated simply because they are so inefficient. Improving efficiency not only means the plants get more energy for every ton of coal burned, it means fewer emissions of harmful pollutants such as NOx and SO2, for every megawatt generated. Cost-effectively reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the United States, however, cannot be achieved either through efficiencies or by technologies near deployment. That undertaking would require new technologies to come onto the market that are currently only in the conceptual phase at best. What is unique about todayís discussion on Capitol Hill is that ñ instead of focusing on individual points of view as to what policy Congress should or should not adopt, or whether it should adopt any new policy at all ñ the focus of the discussion is on the underlying factors that are at the root of these policy discussions, but which rarely receive the attention they deserve in a politically charged environment. As the Committee with jurisdiction over air pollution as well as the issue of climate change, it is important that the Environment and Public Works Committee obtains a better understanding of the technologies that drive emission reductions. Too often claims about the costs and availability of technologies are thrown around during debates on legislative proposals. It is my hope that today we can shed some light on some of the claims. Our format today is a closed door roundtable discussion, with other interested parties observing. We have held similar roundtable discussions in the past on such topics as nanotechnology, Hurricane Katrina, and multi-emissions. The information we receive today will help frame the debate over technologies in the future. I do want to make it clear that while I do not anticipate climate legislation passing the Senate, I do believe the debate will continue. When I became Chairman of this Committee I stated my three goals; sound science, cost/benefit analysis, and improving the bureaucracy. I believe we need the best available information in order to inform the debate. I want to thank everyone for attending and for your open dialogue on this issue.