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Peter D.
Democrat OR 4

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  • Climate Change Deniers

    by Representative Peter A. DeFazio

    Posted on 2014-01-08

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    DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, the arctic vortex blast coincides with the return of Congress to Washington, D.C.; wind chills well below zero.

    Now, no surprise, a number of my Republican colleagues who are dyed- in-the-wool climate change deniers, and some of the blathering idiots on talk shows said, Whoa, look at this. Arctic vortex proves that there is no climate change; there is no global warming. It is all a hoax.

    Well, I would like to begin this new year with a little optimism, and hope Congress will take on big challenges, some of the biggest challenges of our time, including climate change, but the bizarre theories of the climate change deniers, and the excuses they will use, probably preclude that.

    Now, given the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change will spur more extreme weather events, yes, including record cold and arctic vortexes, with shifts in the jet stream, and droughts and a whole host of other things--we had about the driest year on record in the Western U.S. this year, in Oregon and California.

    This is a serious challenge. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, this Congress, because of denial, is pretty much incapable of dealing with this challenge.

    Luckily, we do have an alternative, and that is the President's Climate Action Plan, and the fact that the EPA has been found to have the authority by the Supreme Court of the United States to regulate carbon emissions as pollution. Following through on the President's Climate Action Plan is critical to show the rest of the world that the United States can again lead on this issue, and we are serious about it, and use that leverage to bring other countries into line.

    Now, the EU and others are dealing with it, but there is total denial in [[Page H29]] China. Back in 2005, the U.S. and China emitted about the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, about 7 million metric tons. Five years later, the U.S. is down a little bit. China is up to 10 million and growing every day. China must be part of this.

    Now, how are we going to get countries like China and others lined up on this? Well, I think we have got a strong tool. We can demand reductions. We can demand that trade agreements with these nations will level the playing field in many ways.

    We have ignored labor and the environment in many of these trade agreements. We can't put U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage when they are dealing with climate change issues and carbon dioxide emissions and the Chinese aren't, because we live, unfortunately, on the same planet as the Chinese, and they are destroying the world's climate very, very quickly.

    So, even if we take strong measures here, we have got to force those measures on other countries.

    Now, I think that the trade agreements are an ideal place to do this. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is of two minds on this issue. I have been acting very forcefully to protect the President's authority to regulate carbon emissions and encourage the EPA to go ahead with strong measures. The Republicans are attempting to overturn and preempt that authority, but it does exist.

    Unfortunately, in the Office of the Special Trade Representative, appointed by the President of the United States, they are busily undermining the President's climate change agenda. Yes, they are acting at complete odds with the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The European Union has adopted measures to reduce the global greenhouse gas emissions from all fuels and transportation fuels included by 10 percent within a relatively short period of time. One of those provisions would score the dirtiest sources of fuels as the way they should be, for emitting more carbon. That would mean there would be a penalty against oil, gasoline, diesel extracted from tar sands-- the dirtiest, most polluting way to obtain oil that anyone knows of.

    Now, the European Union is moving ahead, but now the President's Special Trade Representative, appointed by the President, somehow is saying that the EU shouldn't do this; the U.S. objects to that, and they are in league with Canada in attempting to overturn these steps by the European Union.

    The President needs to rein in his Special Trade Representative, and we need to protect and encourage the President to deal with this very serious issue.


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