Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Forum Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Charles Hernick today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on the challenges and opportunities for international climate action as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).
“CRES Forum continues to focus on three guiding principles for judging climate policy from a conservative perspective: cut energy prices, not energy choices; export American innovation, not American jobs; reduce global emissions, not America’s economy,” Hernick said in his prepared remarks. “Nowhere do these principles matter more than in international climate negotiations, which are designed to advance common solutions to a truly global problem.”
Hernick on U.S. Innovation leadership:
“The most important role for the U.S. government in reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the world is to make strategic investments in research and development (R&D), such as those included in the Energy Act of 2020, which serves as a strong foundation to an all-of-the-above approach: renewables, nuclear, fuel and energy efficiency, hydrogen, electrification (i.e., electric vehicles), and carbon capture utilization and storage must all on the table. And it must not pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”
Hernick on Aid and Trade to Drive Economic Growth:
“To make a dent in global emissions, climate solutions must be as accessible and locally appropriate. This means driving down the cost of innovation as quickly as possible by eliminating unnecessary regulatory barriers, forcefully protecting the intellectual property of our homegrown innovations, and enabling the right market conditions for our companies to scale up manufacturing and distribution without delay. Government should empower companies to achieve their self-set goals, not pursue heavy-handed, top-down mandates that drive up costs or reduce options in the U.S. and around the world.”
Hernick on an All-Of-The-Above Energy Strategy:
“Greenhouse gas emissions are the bogeyman! Not fossil fuels. Coal and oil and natural gas are indispensable to the global energy system. In 1971, coal, oil, and natural gas fueled around 86 percent of the global energy supply; and in 2019, this decreased only slightly to 81 percent. While I am a champion of renewables—and very proud that solar and wind have taken off in the U.S. growing at 11 percent last year—when you look at the globe (total primary energy supply), the mix is about the same as it has ever been.”
“Today, more than 85 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions occur outside U.S. borders—a share that will increase to over 90 percent by the end of the next decade,” Hernick continued. “Worldwide emissions are increasing as global energy demand is rising. The primary driver of this demand is developing economies as they increase their energy use and living standards rise. As a group, they are estimated to account for over 100 percent of the anticipated increase in global emissions through 2050.
“Over the past decade, America has reduced its carbon emissions more than any other country. This was achieved through an all-of-the-above energy policy combined with public and private sector investments in American innovation. There is no need to reinvent this wheel,” Hernick concluded. “U.S. government efforts related to international climate policy can build upon our past success by maintaining American leadership through strategic R&D and innovation investments; harnessing instead of hampering the power of free markets; and focusing on reducing emissions from fossil fuels—not that they are the most glamourous climate solutions—but because we must take a realistic view of energy supply and demand here in the U.S. and in the developing world.”
Click here to read Charles Hernick’s full prepared remarks delivered to the Committee.
CRES Forum is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501c(3) organization committed to educating the public and influencing the national conversation about clean energy and climate change.