WASHINGTON, April 20, 2021—In testimony before the U.S. House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis today, Heather Reams, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES), called on lawmakers to take immediate action against the threat of climate change by supporting American innovators.
At the hearing, “Making the Case for Climate Action: Creating New Jobs and Catalyzing Economic Growth,” Reams congratulated Congress for successfully passing America’s first comprehensive energy legislation in over a decade—the Energy Act of 202—and asked they continue the difficult work of legislating bipartisan solutions that work for all Americans.
In discussing the global magnitude of the climate change threat, Reams reminded the lawmakers on the committee that the U.S. has done a remarkable job of curbing its carbon emissions, while continuing to grow its economy, but that “global emissions are increasing, as global energy demand is rising, primarily due to increased living standards in the develop world.”
“As a result,” Reams said, “U.S. climate and energy policy must foster innovations … that work for India as well as Indiana. Simply focusing on achieving net zero by 2050 here in the United States is unlikely to produce what it takes for poor countries to do the same.”
She recommended three guiding principles for climate policies that work, “One, reduce energy prices, not energy choices. Two, shrink our emissions, not our economy. And three, export American innovation, not American jobs.”
She urged lawmakers, “invest in American innovators, probably the most powerful source for good the world has ever known. Empower and protect them. Give them access to resources like our world-class federal laboratories and abundant private sector capital. Give them strong intellectual property protection, especially from overseas threats. Finally, make government a partner in the work, not a barrier, so that they can build facilities and a specialized workforce here in the U.S. to scale up manufacturing and gain access to global markets.”
Reams called for new energy technologies “covering multiple sources and sectors that can be scaled to deploy across the world” stating that they, “need to be affordable and reliable, and more importantly, globally cost competitive with today’s conventional energy” to meet the challenges of a world that continues to rely on fossil fuel. Reams also reminded the committee that a robust domestic development and manufacturing pipeline was needed to ensure American workers would benefit from our investments in innovation.
“Well-meaning but misguided policies that incentivize thousands of new factory jobs in China on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime is not a clean energy jobs program for America,” she said.
In discussing the global transition to cleaner, renewable energy sources, Reams reminded the lawmakers that when it comes to fossil fuels, American energy is much less harmful than foreign equivalents. “When the world switches from foreign to U.S. fossil fuels, the emissions reductions are enormous. If China, projected to lead the world in natural gas consumption, were to import U.S. liquefied natural gas instead of Russian gas, the associated global emissions would be approximately 65 million metric tons lower.”
While U.S. climate policy often results in more expensive, and more limited options for consumers, we “would be far more effective … and equitable … driving down the cost of low-carbon technologies to make them competitive and viable for developing economies,” Reams said.
“Invest today so that we have technology for tomorrow,” she concluded. “Making sure that America’s climate policy supports our workers and our economy as well as our environment is our best hope for curbing the impact of global emissions.”