Rep. Hill: Climate change is real, but Democrat proposals, like the Green New Deal, are fiction

This week, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives held a vote on H.R. 9, a bill to prohibit President Trump from pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. Here is why I voted no on this bill:

I recently returned from a meeting in Tokyo where members of Congress and Japanese officials discussed the north Asian security situation, our plans for a bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and Japan, and finally the importance of continued progress on developing cleaner sources of energy. Meeting with Japanese leaders gave me some unique insights on how other countries are approaching climate change on the international stage.  

Since the catastrophic flooding from the Fukushima nuclear plant as a result of the March, 2011 tidal wave, Japan has suffered from a consensus on their commitment to nuclear power. They anticipate returning nuclear generation in about 25 sites in the country. This would produce about one third of Japan's base power needs.

Personally, I'm a strong supporter of nuclear energy because it is the cleanest, most green form of base power generation. I also support proper storage for nuclear waste as well as investing in new technology that improves the nuclear generation capacity while producing a fraction of the waste. Any discussion of eliminating carbon emissions must include utilizing nuclear energy.

The "Green New Deal" was the subject of our discussions in Tokyo as well. This plan is an impractical, unachievable set of far-left proposals. In the original draft summary, the Green New Deal would ban all nuclear energy, require every building in the U.S. to be reconstructed, and offer welfare payments to people who don't have an interest in working.

We also discussed the Paris Climate Accord that was negotiated by President Obama in 2016. President Trump pulled the U.S. out of this agreement last year because it did not meet the objectives of reducing carbon emissions or accomplishing any reduction in projected global temperature changes. Instead, the Paris Climate Accord placed our country at a severe disadvantage economically by hamstringing our technological innovation while dramatically increasing the cost of energy production.

As you can see chart below, the U.S. is leading the world in reducing our share of global carbon emissions. Between 2000 and 2014 the U.S. reduced emissions more than 18%. 

We continue to develop and export clean, American energy technologies. The Paris Climate Accord let the world’s largest carbon emitters, like China and India, off the hook by not having to take any measurable reduction until the year 2030. This makes no sense.

Take a look at the following chart as it relates to letting the largest, most inefficient polluters off the hook. The chart below is from a presentation I attended in Tokyo by the Japanese Ministry for the environment. It shows how successful countries have reduced their carbon emissions and it outlines the increased marginal costs of pursuing additional carbon elimination.

The countries at the bottom of the chart have done nothing to clean up their carbon emissions and yet they have the lowest marginal cost to do so. However, the Paris Climate Accord gave these countries no requirement to reduce their carbon emissions for another ten years. In the meantime, China is building or planning more than 300 new coal plants.

Three years after the Paris Climate Accord, not a single country in the European Union is on target to meet their carbon reduction goals. The United Nations recently reported last November that every single country in Europe would have to triple their efforts to meet the arbitrary carbon reduction standards agreed upon at the Paris Accord.  

Furthermore, President Obama's commitments on the Paris Climate Accord were not subjected to any cost-benefit analysis determining how it would impact the U.S. economy. The president unilaterally accepted the Paris Climate Accord rather than submitting it to the U.S. Senate for their advice and consent. This resulted in a flawed process and even worse policy by undermining America's economic position, limiting our contributions to environmental improvements, and hurting American workers.

Let me be perfectly clear, climate change is real, but the proposals put forward by Democrats, like the Green New Deal and returning to the Paris Climate Accord, are fiction. The reality is, America is already a global leader in pursuing cleaner production of energy and reducing carbon emissions.

Addressing climate change should include investing in longer battery life technologies, lowering barriers for solar cell innovation, and pursuing cleaner more cost-effective methods to use nuclear energy. The future of clean energy rests with harnessing the power of the sun and being able to store that power cheaply and portably. No one is doing more research on this than in the U.S.

I believe that we need to continue pursuing an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that leads to a cleaner, less carbon dependent future without forcing Arkansas families to bear the burden of the flawed Paris Climate Accord.

Keep In Touch

Please sign up below to receive my weekly newsletter and get the latest news and updates directly to your inbox.