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Climate Hawks fight GOP efforts to destroy clean energy economy

By Climate Guest Contributor  

"Climate Hawks fight GOP efforts to destroy clean energy economy"

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During Wednesday’s debate on the Upton-Inhofe bill (H.R. 910) to block climate pollution rules, Democrats who support clean energy manufacturing debunked conservative myths about the green economy. Brad Johnson has the story.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) discussed their amendment to study the economic impact to American competitiveness of abolishing climate standards while the rest of the world wins the future. With the help of Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA), they debunked the myths of a hapless Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Inslee decried the eagerness of the Republican Party to “shut down the government”:

It is deeply disappointing that our Republican colleagues are so willing, able, and apparently eager to shut down the government. This bill fundamentally shuts down the government. It shuts down the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to help lead us into a clean energy future. Why shut down the agency that can help develop these biofuels that we were just talking about? Why do they want to shut down the engine of innovation? Shutting down the government is not a solution. Shutting down the EPA is not a solution. Shutting down American innovation is not a solution.

Watch these excerpts from the debate:

Myth: China and India won’t impose limits on climate pollution. The fact is, as Doyle explained, China is moving forward both with taxes on energy-intensive industries and cap-and-trade systems to limit carbon pollution. China also pased ambitious clean energy mandates in 2005 that are driving its explosion of green manufacturing. India imposed a carbon tax last year, and its energy efficiency progress is outstripping the United States.

Myth: Climate standards kill the manufacturing economy. In fact, Germany, which has some of the most stringent climate and clean energy regulations on the planet, now has $41.2 billion of private investment in the new economy, leaving the United States in third place behind Germany and China. Germany is one of the world’s top economic powerhouses because its commitment to advanced manufacturing “” demonstrating that industrial jobs don’t require a race to the bottom.

Myth: Cap-and-trade is a socialist-liberal-progressive plot to destroy the economy. As Ryan colorfully explained, Republican idol Ronald Reagan was the first president to implement cap-and-trade markets, successfully eliminating leaded gasoline and ozone-destroying pollutants. George H. W. Bush implemented a cap-and-trade market to stop acid rain pollution with supporters like Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).

Kinzinger’s claim that the Upton-Inhofe bill, which amends the Clean Air Act, “doesn’t change the Clean Air Act at all,” doesn’t even rise to the level a debunkable myth. That’s just a lie.

Unfortunately, the Tea Party climate zombies that run the House of Representatives ignored the reality today, voting to pass H.R. 910 by a vote of 255 to 172, with 19 Democrats supporting the Republican effort to deny science and deny America a clean and healthy future.

Transcript:

DOYLE: Just two days ago, a report came out, saying: “China to Tax Energy Usage of Energy-Intensive Industries.” “China will impose a tax on energy usage of eight industrial sectors,” including “iron and steel, aluminum and cement.” Madame Speaker, “Xie Zhenhua, the vice chairman of national development and reform, said that China has launched pilot carbon emission trading schemes in some of their provinces.” So much for this idea that all these jobs are going to China because there’s no taxing there or they’re not looking at a trading scheme.

KINZINGER: The fact that China, India, and other developing countries have no intention of imposing similar regulations is further evidence that such regulations are costly and economically damaging. “¦

DOYLE: Maybe he wasn’t here when I read the fact that China is imposing a tax on their industries, is looking at cap and trade. “¦

RYAN: And I’ve been sitting here listening, and you have several members over there saying China isn’t going to do cap and trade. The fact is, they’re starting to do it. China’s never going to tax carbon. The fact is, they’re starting to do it. And now we have dropped from first place in leading the green revolution, to second, and now to third, behind China, Germany, and now: the United States. These are manufacturing jobs. Tons and tons of steel go into a windmill. Eight thousand component parts. They manufacture them in Illinois, in Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These are jobs for our people. Why else would the United Steelworkers of the America be against this and be for the green revolution? We’re making this happen, and we’ve got to get out of our own way while we do it. “¦

KINZINGER: I think green energy future is a code word for a no jobs, no manufacturing jobs future. “¦

INSLEE: It is deeply disappointing that our Republican colleagues are so willing, able, and apparently eager to shut down the government. This bill fundamentally shuts down the government. It shuts down the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to help lead us into a clean energy future. Why shut down the agency that can help develop these biofuels that we were just talking about? Why do they want to shut down the engine of innovation? Shutting down the government is not a solution. Shutting down the EPA is not a solution. Shutting down American innovation is not a solution. “¦

KINZINGER: This does not shut “” this doesn’t change the Clean Air Act at all “” this prevents them from going outside the legislative will of the American people and implementing a legislative piece of “” an idea. “¦

RYAN: We hear a lot from the other side about Ronald Reagan and I know they burn incense and light candles to Ronald Reagan. In the 1980s, it was President Reagan who used cap-and-trade for leaded gasoline. George Herbert Walker Bush used cap-and-trade for sulfur. This is something that can be done if we put a price on this stuff. Lead the world, not be led. “¦

DOYLE: Let’s work together to find solutions to protect our industries while we clean up our environment for our kids and our grandkids.

Brad Johnson, in a Think Progress repost.

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11 Responses to Climate Hawks fight GOP efforts to destroy clean energy economy

  1. John Mason says:

    I’m not 100% familiar with U.S. politics, so can anybody explain why there were so few apparently present at this important debate? The video showed an awful lot of empty seats!

    Cheers – John

  2. 350 Now says:

    Thrilled to see these courageous Dems being called Green Dogs.

    Hope this catches on; this is the first I’ve seen the name. Seems they’ve caught their second wind to dish out the dirt to the Grand Oil Party instead of the polite, mild mannerisms we’ve seen from them in the past. I think Climate Progress blog (and others) are emboldening them, knowing that we are standing with them on these green issues.

  3. Tom Street says:

    Inslee, unlike our President, shows leadership and actually shows that he understands what is at stake. However, the jobs frame is not working any better than the frame that says much of our planet will become barely inhabitable or uninhabitable in the future. You can’t argue with an ostrich or a whole house of Ostriches.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    “Jobs”? There is actually far more labor content in building and operating solar or wind farms than in coal and gas plants, whose main operating cost is the vast amount of fuel required.

    Republican Congressmen are not ostriches, which are noble and rather intelligent birds. Kinzinger and Upton are more like Hunter Thompson’s dung beetles, who roll around in filth, pumping their legs crazily in the air. Thought and concern for their children are just not on the program.

  5. Polymerase says:

    This was a terrific, inspiring post – full of substantive info to draw on when we make our own cases for climate change action to our local city councils, electrical coop board meetings, and other forums that allow citizen input.

    Thanks!

  6. catman306 says:

    “The waiting is over, the moment has come,
    To kill the fire and turn to the sun”

    For the Japanese.
    For mankind.
    In case you’ve never heard this. (It’s old.)

    Face the Fire
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAp2v3r-QZc&feature=related

  7. Bill W says:

    John Mason at #1, I’ve only relatively recently learned of this, too. One would think (and is usually led to think by choice of tight camera angles) that speeches given in Congress would be before the entire House or Senate, give or take a few. But no, speeches are now made there entirely for the benefit of TV cameras. So only the speakers show up. It’s ridiculous. No wonder nobody ever changes his mind. They never even listen to the arguments.

  8. adelady says:

    Bill W #7. In Australia, I believe that MHRs and senators do, literally, listen to debates. The sound system pipes the debates into all the offices. That way they know well in advance when to get their skates on and rush to the chamber to vote on a division.

  9. John Mason says:

    That’s amazing, Bill!

    I know the UK Parliament can be quiet at times, but not THAT quiet!

    It seems crazy that others are not there, engaging with and questioning the speakers.

    Cheers – John

  10. Jim Prall says:

    Mike @5: your comment does not do justice to the dung beetle! That ball of dung they roll with theit hind legs is their investment in the next generation. They use it to make a nest in which to lay their eggs. The dung provides a bountiful source of food for the brood of little grubs.
    As much as we may recoil from dung and grubs, this beetle sets a fine example of providing for their offspring. Sadly it seems the Hunter Thompson metaphor doesn’t go low enough to account for the shortsighted pettiness of the Tea-crazed right. If onky they could at least live up to the example of the dung beetle!

  11. Mike Roddy says:

    Thanks, Jim Prall, I learned something today.

    It’s hard to think of a wild creature that behaves like Republican Congressmen. The closest might be the wolverine, which will kill every chicken in a coop and then pee on the carcasses to make sure nobody else eats them. Or, a single wolverine might kill two or three caribou. The Athapaskan Indians believe the wolverine has powerful spiritual qualities, and comes from ancient times. Maybe they are expressing their spirituality by becoming insane in the face of human depradations.