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I’m testifying before House Ways and Means with Pickens, Sachs, GE, U.S. Chamber on Wednesday

By Joe Romm  

"I’m testifying before House Ways and Means with Pickens, Sachs, GE, U.S. Chamber on Wednesday"

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UPDATE:  My written testimony is here.

The House Ways and Means Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on energy tax incentives and the green job economy.  It will be webcast here.

I’m on the 1 pm panel, the one The Hill says “will likely be a media circus because of the attention [T. Boone] Pickens usually draws.”  Here’s the full witness list for my panel:

T. Boone Pickens, Chairman, BP Capital, Dallas, Texas
Victor Abate, Vice President of Renewables, General Electric, Schenectady, New York
Jeffrey Sachs, Ph. D., Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, New York
Joseph Romm, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
The Honorable Karen Harbert, President and Chief Executive Officer, Institute for 21st Century Energy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Ahh, the The incredible, shrinking Chamber of Commerce that falsely claims “We’ve never questioned the science behind global warming.”

You can read about the Institute for 21st 19th Century’s “Catastrophic Energy Future” (and at Energy Smart).

Here’s more on the hearing:

BACKGROUND:

Over the last several years, the nation has benefitted from an unprecedented amount of both public and private investment in renewable electricity production, energy efficiency, and renewable fuels, ushering in the new, green economy as a driver for sustainable job creation.  A significant amount of Federal support for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency is provided through the Internal Revenue Code.  Within the span of five months during the Winter of 2008 and 2009, the Congress passed and the President signed into law approximately $39 billion in provisions to stimulate demand for renewable electricity and renewable fuels, provide assistance to communities to make investments in energy efficiency, and assist domestic manufacturers engaged in the production of advanced energy equipment.  These investments include approximately $17 billion in incentives provided in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (Division B of P.L. 110-343) and approximately $22 billion in incentives provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5).

In announcing this hearing, Chairman Levin said, “Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy has major potential to create new jobs and help our economy recover.  In recent years we have made significant investments in policies to encourage and enhance domestic manufacturing and production of renewable energy as well as the use of more efficient fuel sources.  This hearing will examine benefits currently in place and discuss potential for new incentives to further drive job creation, economic growth, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

The hearing will examine the effectiveness of current energy tax policy and identify additional steps that the Committee can take to ensure continued job growth in this area while at the same time advancing national energy policy focus on a discussion of current and proposed energy tax incentives.

Should be fun.

BACKGROUND:

Over the last several years, the nation has benefitted from an unprecedented amount of both public and private investment in renewable electricity production, energy efficiency, and renewable fuels, ushering in the new, green economy as a driver for sustainable job creation.  A significant amount of Federal support for investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency is provided through the Internal Revenue Code.  Within the span of five months during the Winter of 2008 and 2009, the Congress passed and the President signed into law approximately $39 billion in provisions to stimulate demand for renewable electricity and renewable fuels, provide assistance to communities to make investments in energy efficiency, and assist domestic manufacturers engaged in the production of advanced energy equipment.  These investments include approximately $17 billion in incentives provided in the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (Division B of P.L. 110-343) and approximately $22 billion in incentives provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5).

In announcing this hearing, Chairman Levin said, “Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy has major potential to create new jobs and help our economy recover.  In recent years we have made significant investments in policies to encourage and enhance domestic manufacturing and production of renewable energy as well as the use of more efficient fuel sources.  This hearing will examine benefits currently in place and discuss potential for new incentives to further drive job creation, economic growth, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

FOCUS OF THE HEARING:

The hearing will examine the effectiveness of current energy tax policy and identify additional steps that the Committee can take to ensure continued job growth in this area while at the same time advancing national energy policy focus on a discussion of current and proposed energy tax incentives.

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48 Responses to I’m testifying before House Ways and Means with Pickens, Sachs, GE, U.S. Chamber on Wednesday

  1. Ivy Bear says:

    Please post your testimony when you finish.

  2. David Smith says:

    Will the testimony be available on-line, live?

    [JR: Yes. It's webcast.]

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Joe, just a quick thought: If anyone ever tells you anything like “we all know that a completely unregulated free marketplace will handle the [climate change and energy] problems, if we just let it”, in an effort to argue against a price on carbon or against well-designed incentives for clean energy, just ask them if they have ever actually read the entire “The Wealth of Nations”, by Adam Smith.

    (The actual full title is “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations”.)

    In my view, most of the people who argue that a completely and entirely unregulated free marketplace can be counted on to address all problems, and heal all ills, have never read Adam Smith, have very little idea of what he actually wrote and meant, and have very little idea of what they are talking about.

    “The Wealth of Nations” is one of the least read, and most misunderstood, major books in history.

    Chances are nine out of ten (at least) that someone who thinks they understand what Adam Smith said has never actually read the book.

    Good luck with tomorrow!

    Jeff

  4. catman306 says:

    Jeff: Chances are that climate deniers have never read ANY book, much less one about climatology.

    Looking at ‘General Climatology” , Howard J. Critchfield 2nd Ed. 1966 (a standard college textbook), I see Critchfield mentions Plass, carbon dioxide global warming, and theories of climate change. This stuff isn’t in any way new.

  5. Leif says:

    More news from the north:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100412121014.htm

    Report on accelerating ice loss.

  6. Leif says:

    And news from the south: Huge chunk of Peru Glacier breaks causing ~75 foot tsunami and killing three.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63B69Y20100412

  7. Dennis says:

    Jeff,
    The mantra from the right (if any of them bother to show up) won’t be about how free markets are the perfect solution to all problems, it will be about how evil taxes are to business and growth.

  8. Leif says:

    And one more link for your testimony tomorrow and I am out of here. May the Force be with you Joe.
    Big benefits from raising energy costs and lowering income taxes.

    http://www.enn.com/press_releases/3307

  9. homunq says:

    Dennis is right. The idea that, in this case, tax -> economic shift -> investment -> growth is a complicated one. There are plenty of examples for each link in the chain, but I can’t think of any examples which show the whole chain. Just one example like that would be worth gold in your testimony, if you could find evidence for it.

  10. homunq says:

    Oooh… Leif has a good point, in rejoinder to Dennis. We’re not talking about net taxes, we’re talking about shifting from taxing one thing (sales – a good thing) to another thing (carbon – a bad thing), or, in cap-and-trade, about moving money from inefficient companies to more efficient ones. So, you need sound bytes to fight the idea that this is a tax.

    “Cap and trade is not a tax. It’s not taking money away from industry. On the contrary, it’s a way to make MORE money available for efficiency investments. These investments have been shown to have a high return, so cap and trade will be good for the economy.”

    Needs work, but you get the idea.

  11. No amount of money, no political stance, no belief system has any direct effect on physical laws governing climate change.

    We can all salute and pray and ignore, but until we actually interact with the physics and chemistry of atmosphere and oceans, we accomplish nothing.

    We can mitigate only after a direct understanding of climate mechanisms. We adapt only if we choose to do so.

  12. sasparilla says:

    A media circus, eh? Go get’em Joe!

  13. Jeff Huggins says:

    Yes, whatever the overall level of taxes should be, or needs to be, the sensible thing is to tax things that are not healthy (for society) more than we tax things that are healthy (for society).

    And, the notion that a price on carbon is just a “tax” (and thus seemingly arbitrary or unnatural) is incorrect and misleading. Economics (and common sense) explain that markets don’t consider things, or care about them much, if those things don’t have costs or prices, or if they don’t influence volumes. The FAIR and “all in” cost of hydrocarbon-based fuel sources SHOULD include costs necessary to maintain the atmospheric level of CO2 at present levels — whether that would actually be by requiring (somehow) equipment to strip out CO2 from effluents and exhausts, or by requiring payment for equipment to strip the CO2 from the atmosphere (down to present levels), or whether that would actually be by having a price on carbon that essentially helps us reduce our use of those fuel sources and replace them with clean sources. Although such a price, or cost, could be implemented so as to come about via market mechanisms (as in the case of a cap) or in the form of a “tax”, such a cost, or price, on carbon would not be an unfair, unnecessary, unwarranted “tax”, but (instead) is just a way to reflect the very real cost of the CO2 problem. Indeed, if people actually did the math correctly, the cost that should be put on CO2 emissions, for bona fide reasons, is almost certainly much, much, much higher than any of the “taxes”, or near-term caps, would bring about.

    We SHOULD be able to explain this to folks: After all, the same people who are resisting a “tax”, and positioning it as one, are presumably champions of the marketplace and informed about markets. So, they SHOULD be among the first to admit that, in order for the market to be accurate and do its thing, in reasonably free fashion, the real costs of CO2 emissions should be included in the product price. The genuine price should be “all in”, so to speak. That argument should be understandable, and compelling, to any person who is being honest from an intellectual standpoint, except for those people who deny that we have a climate problem in the first place.

    I haven’t put the matter, here, as plainly and eloquently as it can be put, but you get the idea. This is an important “correction” to be used when someone tries to position the whole matter as an unfair “tax” imposed by the government on a great and “all good” free market.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  14. Joe,

    Media circus?

    Now, you & T-Boone try & restrain yourselves from making poor Eric Cantor look like just another anti-science denier.

    All the best,

    ~IANVS

  15. Russell Thomas says:

    The weatherization boondoggle. I suspect with this group, they can do greater and more diverse boondoggles.

    The green jobs were virtual promises. Just for green koolaid drinkers.

    Where are they? Don’t ask.

  16. homunq says:

    Jeff Huggins@13, you have a good point about taxes not really being taxes if there’s an externality. But you need to make it punchier.

    “It’s not a tax, it’s pricing the real costs into the market.”

    I still like my framing above better, though. “It’s making more money available to private industry to invest in stopping waste.” State it positively. If you get caught up trying to defend a “tax” because of externalities, you can be totally right and still be wasting time.

  17. substanti8 says:

    It might be a circus, but the clowns won’t be the ones at the witness table.

  18. Richard Brenne says:

    Joe, you might consider going big:

    “Jim Hansen, a leading authority on the 850 degree atmosphere of Venus before become a leading authority on Earth’s atmosphere – and many say “the” leading authority on each – says that if we keep doing what we’re doing and burn all available fossil fuels that he’s “Dead certain” that Earth’s climate will reach the tipping point and spin off toward that of Venus, killing all life on Earth.

    If you avoid taxes and doom all life on Earth to that fate, I’d say that was a pretty hollow victory.”

  19. Sou says:

    Best wishes, Joe. You’ll be great.

    It looks as if the job creation angle might be the way to go. Keeping main street open and Americans employed (if I’ve got the American lingo right!) Gotta show the USA can do better than China with technological innovation. You don’t want to upset the balance of trade too much, or upset the unions by sending all those green jobs overseas. And you need a strong manufacturing sector to be a cushion against any hard times ahead from the climate crash.

    People (and Congress) need a solution, not a problem. And Americans are known for their generosity and know-how, and have always pitched in when something needs fixing. The nation is ready, willing and able to adopt renewables.

    Plus there’s always the history book angle. Does anyone in Congress want to be written up as the bad guy or would they prefer to be remembered as the hero?

    Best to avoid getting too distracted by the science. Keep that simple and taken for granted. CO2 is rising and the world is getting hotter. Anyone who disputes this is wilfully ignorant or has a political agenda of supporting the rich and powerful at the expense of the solid American honest hard working family :D

  20. Joe,

    Americans, red & blue, love to see their team win. But we are being outspent for the best players by the other team.

    Huge government loans give Chinese solar companies an even bigger edge over U.S. rivals.

    Suntech Power Holdings ( STP – news – people ) will reportedly get a loan of $7.3 billion from the state-run China Development Bank while Trina Solar ( TSL – news – people ), not so long ago a marginal player, will get a hefty $4.4 billion in funding. “It marks a dramatic bump in funding for the China solar PV industry,” writes Deutsche Bank analyst Steve O’Rourke. “China considers solar PV and broader renewable energy as strategic.”

    America needs “a dramatic bump in funding” for our solar PV industry or risk losing the entire sector to China.

    ~IANVS

  21. I’d like to double up on Jeff Huggins’ very insightful and accurate assessment of Smith and Wealth up in #3. While Smith does not use the phrase, it is basically Smith’s argument that it is no more possible to have a free market without regulation than it is possible to have a free society without law.

    Indeed, I’ve known of people who taught that book regularly who would offer any student in the class an immediate “A” for the course if they could find a single place where Smith offers a kind word about those whom we now call “capitalists.” (Smith spoke of “merchants and manufacturers”; the word “capitalism” did not first come into use until some 14 years after the publication of Wealth. But it is obvious enough who he is talking about.)

  22. Chris Winter says:

    Here, for what it’s worth, is a pair of before/after pictures of Antarctica’s Crane Glacier, taken by NASA satellite in April 2002 and February 2003. Dramatic retreat is evident.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/04/12/dramatic-glacial-retreat-caught-by-nasa-satellite/

  23. Mark says:

    OT – There are reports that a massive glacier fell into a lake in Peru and generated a tsunami – which reportedly breached levees that were 23 meters high. Google “peru glacier tsunami” 50 homes and a water plant destroyed, 6 people missing.

  24. Richard Miller says:

    Well said Richard Pauli.

    As much as you can Joe, I hope you tell them the truth about climate change, especially that the IPCC has underestimated the problem and that the paleoclimate evidence is getting much worse.

    [JR: Oral testimony is 5 minutes -- maybe 750 words. Lot of ground to cover.]

  25. Jeff Huggins says:

    So There We Have It (or at least some of it)

    Without trying to repeat, in detail, some of what has been said already in some comments above, I’d just like to summarize some helpful things that seem to be emerging about how to respond to some nonsensical arguments.

    In no particular order …

    When someone complains about a “price” on carbon (or a mechanism to generate one) as being a “tax” in a negative sense, as if it’s an arbitrary and expensive imposition on the part of government into the rightful business of the free marketplace, so to speak, respond as homunq (Comment 16) says, “It’s not a tax, it’s pricing the real costs into the market.” Or, to be a bit more precise, it’s an attempt to price the real costs into the market, because the market itself has no mechanism or self-incentive to do so. And, you might add, that any “price on carbon” in the range of those being proposed is much, much less than the real costs, almost certainly. Indeed, the “market” is getting a deal on the matter, just not the completely “free lunch” that it has been enjoying for about 100 years now.

    And perhaps that’s a good way to put it: Do the champions of fully unregulated free markets really want to argue that the market needs a “free lunch” in order to work its magic? Wouldn’t such a stance be a contradiction to their whole line of thought? There are no free lunches — not even to the market. Hence, CO2 emissions should have a price put to them. Let’s make sure that products, offered by the marketplace, (such as hydrocarbon-based fuels) reflect their “all in” costs, right? That’s only fair, and it’s fully in keeping with how markets are supposed to work.

    And, there is also the other point that “taxes” (even to use that word) can and should motivate healthy things and demotivate unhealthy things. As has been pointed out, this can be put accurately and positively.

    And, another accurate and positive thing, if we do it all right, the shift from old and dirty energy to new and clean energy will HELP the economy, not hurt it.

    We have to be better — much better — at eloquently and pointedly pointing out the positives of the shift to clean energy, and the positives of addressing climate change, and pointing out the deep twisted problems inherent in the complaints that “it’s a tax”, “it’s anti free market”, “it’ll be bad for the economy”, “we’ll all die!”, “the world will come to an end!”, and even “it’ll be even worse than when the Beatles broke up”.

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  26. Brooks Bridges says:

    1. I keep reading that we currently subsidize the oil industry. (And coal industry?) They then report billions in profits. Does this make any kind of free market sense?

    2. It’s a rare home owner who does not buy fire insurance knowing well that there is only a slight chance of a serious fire. There is a finite probability that our entire planet will become disastrously warm. Isn’t it prudent to “buy some insurance” to prevent this possibility? Especially given the cost of prevention if “bought” now is far lower than repairing the damage later.

    Just got your book today JR. I’ve only read the Intro but it was powerful.

  27. Jeff Huggins says:

    Giving ExxonMobil (and Six of the Top Ten Companies on the Planet) a FREE LUNCH!!

    Let’s get this straight and not fall prey to the incorrect assessments and misleading framings of many folks.

    As we know, the scientific community has spoken and is speaking: There are immense risks and costs associated with putting CO2 into the atmosphere on such a large scale.

    The truth is: ExxonMobil and six of the largest ten companies on the planet (by sales) have been getting what amounts to a “free lunch” by not having to include that cost, or reflect it, as part of the accurate and fair “all in” cost (or price, if you like) of the hydrocarbon-based fuel sources they have been selling us and that they want us to stay addicted to.

    Let’s be clear on this: They have been getting a free lunch, so to speak, in very real ways.

    A “price on carbon” that reflects this cost, or attempts to reflect it, should not be seen as a “tax” in the sense of something arbitrary and unfair that is imposed by the government, intrusively, into the business of a fully functioning free marketplace. The “free marketplace” inhabited by the six major oil companies is not reflecting a very REAL cost associated with the use of the products it wants to provide to us, period. And some of the companies involved are the most profitable companies on the planet — indeed, in the galaxy (as far as we know)!

    Claims that a “price on carbon” is a tax, or would amount to one, and that it would be an unfair imposition on a functioning free marketplace, miss the essential point that a marketplace is not really a fully and responsibly functioning one if it (or rather, its participants) is not paying its way by including all costs into the cost (price) of the product it offers.

    I think that we should point out, clearly, this “free lunch” aspect of the present situation. What should happen is that the oil and coal industries should NOT be given “free lunches” at the expense of society, future generations, other species, the climate itself, AND companies that are trying to provide energy in ways that DON’T generate the costs that are associated with putting CO2 into the atmosphere. Fairness and responsibility REQUIRE a price to be put on CO2. A price on CO2 should not be seen as an unfair intrusion into the free marketplace. Instead, a price on CO2 should be seen as a necessity if we really want the marketplace to be an effective marketplace that can generate responsible solutions in ways that genuinely reflect ALL costs.

    Do we want to keep giving ExxonMobil a free lunch, at our expense and at our childrens’ expense??

    No more free lunch!

    Jeff

  28. Anonymous says:

    In response to Jeff Huggins, I really like Paul Krugman’s example, which he used in his excellent article in NYT magazine:

    “They [conservatives] believe that the capitalist system can deal with all kinds of limitations, that technology, say, can easily overcome any constraints on growth posed by limited reserves of oil or other natural resources. And yet now they submit that this same private sector is utterly incapable of coping with a limit on overall emissions, even though such a cap would, from the private sector’s point of view, operate very much like a limited supply of a resource, like land. Why don’t they believe that the dynamism of capitalism will spur it to find ways to make do in a world of reduced carbon emissions? Why do they think the marketplace loses its magic as soon as market incentives are invoked in favor of conservation?”

    Simple and to the point. Krugman shows that when it comes to climate change policy, conservatives really don’t stand by their faith in free market capitalism.

  29. Leif says:

    If I throw a paper cup out the car window, most states will fine me ~$100. One ounce cups thrown individually would cost me $3,200,000 dollars a ton. Other than unsightly, relatively benign.

    Exxon gets to dump billions of tons of green house pollutants a year and last year inked ~$45 billion dollars in profits , paid zero US taxes, received millions of dollars from the tax payers in subsidies, and paid zero dumping fees. That action will cost taxpayers untold billions to mitigate and if not addressed in a timely fashion may not even be mitigate-able. What a deal.

  30. Michael Tucker says:

    Mr Romm,

    I agree it should be fun. I think I know what Mr Pickens will say but I am most interested in what you and Mr Sachs will have to say. Do you agree with Mr Pickens when he says we need a 21st century backbone electrical transmission grid? Do you think natural gas is a good interim replacement for the imported oil used in transportation?

    I am not sure of the best way out of this predicament but I know we must do something. It seems like we are in a constant game of environmental whack-a-mole. I agree that our electric power must eventually all come from renewables but this will come with an environmental cost. That transmission backbone needs to be constructed. I suppose you will need some copper, aluminum, and steel to get that done; a lot of copper, aluminum, and steel. Just like with coal, oil, and natural gas production, all mining and refining operations have an environmental cost. Have these costs been evaluated? The same question applies to the construction of many thousands of wind turbines.

    If we are going to produce biofuels to eventually replace foreign oil, how will we be able to supply the water for that task? Do we have enough water for agriculture, industry, personal use AND to make new combustible fuels? If we eventually are able to switch to electric cars, will we be able to generate enough electricity, cheaply enough, to support that? How long is it imagined that we will use natural gas and biofuel for transportation before that is phased out? How long will we use food as the raw material for transportation fuel?

    If we do produce a large amount of electricity from wind and solar how will that be stored? Which battery technology will we go with? Again the environmental costs of acquiring the raw materials for the batteries. I know other storage ideas exist but none are currently feasible and we will need batteries for electric cars.

    If we have enough water, will bacteria and fungus be able to produce a replacement resource for the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries?

    This is just a short list of my questions and concerns. We are attempting to make enormous changes to how we produce electricity and transportation fuel and it is not clear how we will accomplish that; especially when about half of the US voters don’t think we need to do anything. I fear that if we have to experience a collapse of the “global economy Ponzi scheme,” how will we be able to do anything other than hunt, gather, slash and burn. The only civilization anyone will know will be local. After a collapse where will the electricity come from to keep us connected across the globe?

  31. Jeff Huggins says:

    Dear Anonymous (Comment 29) / Good, But A Different Point

    Thanks for the helpful quote. I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t read the Krugman piece, yet. I went to the bookstore Sunday, and they had three copies of The Times left, but none of them had the Sunday Magazine in them. It’s as if someone forgot to insert them or someone else took them out.

    That said, the point I’m making in my Comments 26 and 28, about the free lunch, is not quite the same as the comment in the quote you provided. They are complementary and additive, and go together, but they aren’t quite the same.

    Two things are true:

    One (as in the quote you provide) is that the free market ought to be able to deal efficiently with limitations — of resources, or of a limit associated with CO2 emissions, or what have you.

    The second point is that the “free market” as it currently is (of oil and coal companies) is getting a free lunch and is not reflecting the real and full costs of the products it provides in the prices of those products, nor is it being responsible in preventing actions that will result in an immense cost to society.

    Both points are valid and important to understand — and important to communicate. That said, the first point is more a point that “the free market ought to be able to adapt to limits”, whereas the second point is the one that shows the genuine irresponsibility and unjustness of the present situation, i.e., that the industry is getting a free lunch and is not even living up to what it says a free market ought to be.

    I really should read Krugman’s piece, though, and I’ll have to find a copy somewhere — or is it online now?

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  32. Chad says:

    A carbon tax is not a tax: it is a fee which we charge for the use of public property. Any conservative who objects to these fees neither understands economics, nor understands how the *lack* of such fees is a subsidy.

  33. Leif says:

    Michael Tucker, #31: For a possible solution to all your questions I offer this 20 minute video. I believe that you will find it quite illuminating.

    http://vimeo.com/8194089

  34. homunq says:

    Chad wins. I’d combine his with mine: “Cap and trade isn’t a tax. It’s a fee for wasting a common resource, the air. And in order to speed up the transition, the fee goes straight to those who are investing in ways to avoid the problem – providing a short-term shot in the arm to the economy along the way.”

  35. john atcheson says:

    Je:

    I’m remembering your Rohrabacher testimony — you will kick butt and take names … Looking forward to it.

  36. James Newberry says:

    Unless we wish to have coastlines and port cities submerged with continuing states of disaster, we need to end the concept of setting sequestered carbon on fire within one generation. This can most effectively be accomplished with the prerequisite of ending tens of billions of dollars of annual subsidies in the US for “fuels,” including uranium. Historic levels of fuel subsidies in the US are measured in $trillions.

    The failed concept of fuels, rather than using true energy resources based on direct use of the sun, is causing multiple economic failures that threaten the entire national public health. Due to delay in thermal reponse, damages experienced today from past emissions are only the beginning of impacts. Therefore, we should immediately scale back the throttle of fuels, like taking our foot off the climate change accelerator, and prepare to attempt carbon sequestration on a large scale, along with zero-carbon energy services (of which there are hundreds).

    Break a leg, Joe. There is no time for corruption and the planet does not compromise with ignorance and fools.

  37. Brooks Bridges says:

    Jeff: Find Krugman’s magazine article “Building a Green Economy” at

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/11/magazine/11Economy-t.html?src=me&ref=homepage

  38. Dan B says:

    Joe;

    When I present to clients I bring “visuals”. It could be a photo of a project I’ve completed with a bouquet and materials. I’ll bring an engineer if I’m presenting a project that depends upon successfully opposing gravity for an extended period of time.

    The words don’t mean much if you put a few leaves over a flame for a few minutes or “warm them under your coat while the heat of the cameras are on” and bring those few wilted stinky leaves of Romaine lettuce out of your coat.

    How else can you describe being cooked alive in a “warming” world?

    Check out Chip and Dan Heath’s great books. They cite some activists whose names I don’t recall. What I do recall is the change that occurred overnight. They were appalled by the unhealthy food that Americans were eating at Movie theaters. Instead of pointing out statistics in writing and verbal testimony they put an entire greasy fast food meal on the table and one bag of Movie popcorn.

    The Movie popcorn had more fat than the greasy fast food meal, and then some.

    What’s the equivalent image?

    I bet your daughter can come up with an image.

  39. Leif says:

    I like the suggestions of Dan B, one of my favorites is the basic 10 year bar graph of weather anomalies comparing record highs to lows. It would be nice if you could add the last 9 years to it.

    An interesting insight for me came a number of years ago when I learned that the main problem for civilization is not how to keep warm but how to keep cold. The ability to control and manipulate cold has made modern society possible. Think of life for a moment without air conditioning, refrigeration, freezing. A warmer world adds cost to that infrastructure.

    You are probably out the door and on your way by now so the above is for naught today…

    Two palms up,

    Leif

  40. Jeff Huggins says:

    Thanks Brooks (Comment 38)!

  41. Mark says:

    Excellent testimony. Thank you for delivering such a clear and hard hitting message.

  42. Peter Sergienko says:

    I just finished reading Joe’s written testimony, which is excellent. I didn’t see a link to it in this post or the comments yet so here it is:

    http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/2010Apr14_Romm_Testimony.pdf

    Couple this testimonmy with today’s “The Complete Guide to Modern Day Climate Change” post and you’ve got a really good primer on the science and the policy solutions. Share these with friends and colleagues who are willing to invest an hour or two to learn about the most important issue of our time. Encourage them to buy Joe’s books, too.

  43. substanti8 says:

    I just checked the C-SPAN web site, and it looks like they did not tape the hearing.

  44. Dan says:

    That is a damn good testimony.

  45. Kota says:

    Excellent testimony JR!!
    I’m proud and thankful to have you on my planet.

  46. Richard Brenne says:

    The perfect testimony given at the perfect time by the perfect person!

    Kudos, Joe!