Energy and Environment
After years of arguing about whether we are experiencing climate change as a result of our human activities, the debate is over. Climate change is real, and it is impacting our planet and the Granite State as we speak. We need our policy makers in Congress to finally acknowledge the reality of climate change and the effect it is having on our environment.
The fact is that the government does have an important role to play in stopping climate change. I support the Clean Power Plan that will fight climate change by cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30% below 2005 baseline levels by 2030. These limits will not only protect our environment, they will also safeguard our health, and spur innovation in the clean energy economy.
In New Hampshire, we know how important our natural resources and the environment are to our economy, and that’s why we’ve already made significant progress towards the 30% goal. Between 2008 and 2013, carbon emissions in the Granite State decreased by almost 50%. New Hampshire will continue to have flexibility on what methods we use to meet the new national goal by 2030.
Our state acting alone is clearly not enough, and that is why I was happy the Supreme Court upheld the rule that EPA can regulate cross-state pollution. For far too long, New Hampshire has been known as the “tail-pipe state,” as air pollution from other areas of the country, particularly the Midwest, has blown across our borders. The cost of removing an additional ton of carbon pollution in an upwind state is as little as $500, and yet in many cases some basic control technologies have not been installed. This inaction by other states is simply unacceptable.
However, we need more than strengthened regulations to curtail climate change; we also need increased investment in new clean energy technologies. Indeed, the Defense Department has been a strong leader in advocating and implementing renewable technologies. Other countries are doing this. In 2015, Germany, the world’s 4th largest economy, generated 31% of its electricity from renewable energy, and since 2011 one German village has produced 300% more energy than it needs and sold the excess to the grid, pocketing $5.7 million a year. There’s no reason we can’t do this. I firmly believe there should be an Apollo-type program to advance renewable energy and slow down climate change. We must break our dependence on oil for environmental and security reasons, and we must do it now.
The time to protect our environment and act on climate change is now. But to make this happen, we can’t send big coal and big oil friends to Washington in November.