Pelosi calls for 'mandatory action' to control greenhouse gases, hopes for Energy Independence Day
Republican says plan will cost US jobs
Citing "a growing chorus of voices," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called Thursday for "mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution"and said she wants legislation ready for July 4th – which she declares "Energy Independence Day."
The Speaker's remarks came at the beginning of a hearing of the House Committee on Science and Technology this morning. The hearing is taking testimony from four of the scientists involved in the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The four climatologists spoke on Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis of Climate Change, the panel's 2007 assessment report which found that there is a 90% likelihood that human activity is the primary cause of global climate change.
Pelosi said that the panel's report had "opened a window into our future." She later said that "a growing chorus of voices in favor of taking serious and sustained action on global warming: from scientists to Fortune 100 CEOs, from evangelical Christians to environmentalists, from farmers to hunters and anglers."
Pelosi criticized the Bush administration for delaying any decisive action on climate change.
"The Bush Administration continues to oppose mandatory limits on greenhouse gases, restating this position immediately upon the release of the IPCC report," she said in prepared remarks sent to RAW STORY.
Subsequently, she called for "mandatory action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution," and offered a variety of policy prescriptions.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), the Chairman of the Committee, also addressed the panel, and issued a warning to the government about inaction.
"The scientific experts have provided us with a diagnosis of the problem and a prognosis for our planet’s health. If we continue along our current path, the prognosis is ominous," Gordon said in prepared remarks given to RAW STORY. "The scientists have done their job. Now, it is time for us – the policymakers – to do ours."
Gordon also praised the work of the IPCC. "The Report’s findings may be alarming, but it is not the work of alarmists," he said. "The Report’s findings were endorsed unanimously by the representatives of 113 countries."
Ralph Hall, the Texas Republican who is the Committee's ranking member, warned the Committee's members against drifting into policy while talking about science.
"I'm skeptical that mandatory control of greenhouse gases is the right solution," he said, while pointing to the economic impact of any such decision.
Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) used a procedural motion to require Speaker Pelosi to answer questions from the Members of the Committee. He pressed the Speaker to weigh the economic consequences of mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions.
"What are you planning to do to make sure we don't legislate on this area in a way that wrecks the American economy and costs American jobs?" he asked.
Pelosi answered that "Green can be gold for our country," and added "We can't ignore the consequences of not doing something, that will have an economic impact as well."
The Speaker also answered an inquiry from Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) on nuclear energy by saying that while she was once opposed to nuclear energy, changing technology had made her "bring a more open mind" to the option.
"It has to be on the table," she said.