Rep. Lowenthal: Clean Power Plan will ultimately be upheld

Feb 16, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak in support of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.


I am concerned that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Clean Power Plan will significantly and unnecessarily delay the full implementation of this important action.   The longer we wait the more expensive it will be to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and the less chance we have of keeping the world’s warming below a safe threshold. Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision only highlights Congress’ inaction on the issue of climate change, as well as the immediate and pressing need for action.


A damaged climate has a negative effect on our nation and on my Southern California community.  Changing weather patterns, more frequent droughts, worsening air quality, and sea level rise cost us money and threaten the well-being of our families and our neighbors. 


We all want our world to be a safe, healthy place to raise our families and grow our economy. 


America has the opportunity to lead the world in making our environment safe and healthy now and into the future.


We can do this by increasing our use of local, renewable energy sources; investing in research and development to bring about the next generation of clean and efficient energy systems; and assisting communities here and abroad in adapting to the inevitable changes caused by the damage that has already been done to the climate.  Reducing emissions from our power sector is a foundational action in this endeavor.


This is an achievable endeavor.  American innovation has given us space flight, the internet, and cures to diseases once thought incurable.  Our innovation and our leadership is paving the way for a cleaner, safer world, and many states have already determined how they can meet their goals and reduce carbon pollution.


Cities and electric utilties in my district have taken extraordinary steps in increasing efficiency and sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprint. 


And my state of California is on track to exceed its carbon pollution reduction goals under the Clean Power Plan.  California implemented the first state-wide carbon trading system and has set ambitious targets for increasing renewable energy, increased efficiency, and decreased petroleum usage.  


American leadership like this will save us money and create jobs, but if we delay, the costs will be higher to us and to our children and grandchildren.


And, we are not doing this alone. 


Because greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide spread around the world, no country is immune to a damaged climate, and no country can fix this problem alone. 


Representatives from almost 200 countries recently gathered in Paris and agreed on an international agreement to lower global greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to our changing climate. 


The contributions of about 180 countries - including the world’s biggest polluters: India and China - represent over 90 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  These international contributions demonstrate how seriously the rest of the world takes its moral responsibility to care for our common home, our families, and our neighbors. 


This roadmap for the world reduces climate-damaging greenhouse gas emissions, increases investments in clean energy development and deployment, and assists the most vulnerable communities in adapting to a changing climate. 


But the United States has to do its part.  This pause on the clean power plan slows down the progress we’ve been making and puts U.S. leadership on climate in question.  I am deeply troubled by the Supreme Court’s decision, but I am optimistic that the Clean Power Plan will ultimately be upheld. 


By acting to reduce carbon pollution, we will create more opportunity today and a better future for all of us.