Washington, D.C. – House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today delivered the following opening statement at a hearing titled, “The Administration’s Empty Promises for the International Climate Treaty.”
Chairman Smith: Over the last year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released some of the most expensive and burdensome regulations in its history.
Today’s hearing will examine how the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent regulations will do little to meet the administration’s pledge at the upcoming Paris talks to reduce global carbon emissions.
The so-called Clean Power Plan will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardship for American families, and diminish the competitiveness of American industry around the world, all with no significant benefit to climate change. It is well documented that the Clean Power Plan will shut down power plants across the country, increase electricity prices and cost thousands of Americans their jobs.
New analysis by NERA Economic Consulting shows that this final rule will impose a tremendous cost on the American people. This includes $29 billion to $39 billion in annual compliance costs and annual double-digit electricity price increases in most states.
My home state of Texas would be one of the hardest hit. According to a recent report by the Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), energy costs for customers in Texas may increase by up to 16 percent per year due to the Clean Power Plan alone.
EPA asserts that the Clean Power Plan will help combat climate change. However, EPA’s own data demonstrates that claim is false. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified before this Committee and agreed that this rule would have a minimal impact on climate. In fact, their data shows that this regulation would reduce sea level rise by only 1/100th of an inch, the thickness of three sheets of paper.
Furthermore, statements by President Obama and others that attempt to link extreme weather events to climate change are unfounded. The lack of evidence is clear: no increased tornadoes, no increased hurricanes, no increased droughts or floods. The administration’s claims are contradicted by the underlying science from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
For instance, the IPCC found that there is “low confidence on a global scale,” that drought has increased in intensity or duration. The same lack of evidence can be found in the IPCC reports for almost every parameter of extreme weather events.
Hurricanes have not increased in the U.S. in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900. And it has been a decade since a category 3 or stronger hurricane has hit the U.S.
Whether measured by the number of strong tornadoes, tornado-related fatalities or economic losses associated with tornadoes, the latter half of the 20th century shows no climate-related trend.
Scientific American recently stated that the link between climate change and extreme weather is merely an opinion. The administration’s alarmism and exaggeration is not good science and intentionally misleads the American people.
The Clean Power Plan represents massive costs without significant benefits. In other words, it’s all pain and no gain.
Another example of how this administration attempts to promote its suspicious climate agenda can be seen at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Its employees altered historical climate data to get politically correct results in an attempt to disprove the hiatus in global temperature increases.
NOAA conveniently issued its news release promoting this report just as the Obama administration was about to announce its extensive climate change regulations. When the Science Committee raised concerns about NOAA’s report, the agency refused to be transparent about its findings and provide documents to the Committee.
The American people should be suspicious of the motives of this administration as it continually impedes Congressional oversight of agency actions tied to its extreme climate agenda.
In just a few weeks world leaders will gather in Paris to discuss how to regulate carbon emissions. The Obama administration touts the Clean Power Plan as the cornerstone of its promise to the international community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
However, the U.S. pledge to the U.N. is estimated to prevent only a three one-hundredths of one degree Celsius temperature rise. This is laughable even if the negative consequences of the Clean Power Plan are serious.
There is a reason the president chose to bypass Congress in order to negotiate a climate deal on his own. The president's plan often times gives control of U.S. energy policy to unelected United Nations officials. This plan ignores good science and only seeks to advance a partisan political agenda.
The President should come back to Congress with any agreement that is made in Paris on carbon emissions. He won’t, because he knows the Senate will not ratify it.
I look forward to hearing from today’s witnesses about the impact of these burdensome EPA regulations on their states.
Dr. Anne Smith, Senior Vice President, NERA Economic Consulting
Mr. Bill Magness, Senior Vice President, Governance, Risk and Compliance, Electric Reliability Council of Texas
Ms. Katie Dykes, Deputy Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and Chair, Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc.
Mr. Chip Knappenberger, Assistant Director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute