Climate Change

Date: Dec. 6, 2007
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, for the past 20 years, my colleagues in the scientific community have been issuing warnings that the release of greenhouse gases is altering the Earth's climate in ways that are expensive and deadly. It is well established in the scientific community that the climate change of recent decades can be attributed to the way we produce and use energy. In fact, the greatest insult to our planet is the way we produce and use energy.

As an energy scientist, I know how much can be done technically to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and to slow the rate of global climate change. In fact, many countries around the world are taking those steps. Today, here in the House of Representatives, we have passed historic legislation which will finally take the long overdue first steps toward addressing global climate change and addressing our long-term energy needs. I am proud to have worked with my colleagues on this comprehensive bill which will move us toward reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and will spur the economic growth and will create new jobs and stave off further damage to our environment and our climate. This is one of the principle subjects that I have spoken about and worked on since I first ran for Congress, and it is one of the reasons, I believe, that my constituents sent me to Congress.

There are some excellent provisions in this bill that will drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. This includes increasing the average automobile fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. It will require the nationwide implementation of renewable portfolio standards requiring 15 percent of the Nation's energy in power generation to come from renewable sources. And these two provisions alone will save consumers as much as $40 billion in a dozen years and will decrease our annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 324 million tons.

H.R. 6 will reverse many of the environmental detrimental policies that this administration and this country have implemented over the past 6 years. It will repeal the $23 billion in tax subsidies and royalty relief provisions for fabulously wealthy oil companies.

It will use this money to invest in renewable energy research and extend existing tax credits for the production of renewable energy. My home State of New Jersey has led the way on these issues. New Jersey has already implemented a renewable portfolio standard that requires 20 percent of the State's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. New Jersey is the second leading State in solar energy production, with over 2,400 solar installations in place, and I am told it is the fastest growing market for solar energy in the United States.

The legislation passed here today will require our appliances and buildings to be more energy efficient, it will provide job training to help workers become part of the green economy, it will require the United States to re-enter into the debate on global climate change, it will provide historic investment in renewable energy and biofuels research.

Of course, this bill is not enough. If it becomes law, it will be a start, a very good start. Having passed this bill, we will be able to consider other alternative energy and climate change legislation, and I am confident that we will.