Thank you, Chairwoman Stevens.
Last week we had a hearing on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The overall message we heard was that monitoring technologies are out there, but federal regulations can hinder their widespread deployment.
Today’s hearing is broader than that, as we look at the whole suite of greenhouse gases and how they are monitored, measured, and verified, no matter where they come from.
But the overarching message is likely the same: we have the ability to improve the most helpful technologies, but we need to make sure the path to deployment isn’t blocked by burdensome federal regulations.
The United States already has a tremendous story to tell when it comes to environmental stewardship and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. That is largely due to industry taking the lead and acting without being forced to change – or outright stop – their productivity.
We’ve been the world leader in lowering carbon emissions since 2005, reducing more than the next 7 emissions-reducing countries combined. Methane emissions in our country have also decreased by 17% since 1990. And as Mr. Feenstra pointed out, our land use and forestry sector continues to be a carbon sink, reducing the overall amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from all sectors.
All of this has taken place while the energy and agriculture industries increased production and lowered energy costs for American households during that time.
So with in mind, I sincerely hope that today’s hearing is not an attempt to villainize the energy producers like those in Oklahoma, which are producing three times more energy than the state consumes.
What I am hopeful we can talk about today is how our federal agencies are collaborating with each other when it comes to quantifying and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. Because the simple fact of the matter is that if we don’t know how much or what kind of gas is in the atmosphere, we have no hope of preventing its release in the future.
Make no mistake, this is a whole-of-government approach. NASA and NOAA have satellites with global monitoring tools. NIST evaluates the performance of measurement and quantification technologies. EPA prepares the Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks, the premier collection of data related to greenhouse gases.
Each agency has a role to play, but we must ensure that federal resources are not being wasted on duplicative efforts.
With energy prices at record highs, now is not the time for virtue-signaling. If there are ways to better monitor and quantify greenhouse gases, we don’t need to play the blame game. We need to understand what is impeding their deployment and work to enable their commercialization as soon as possible.
We must also remember we are talking about a global problem in need of global solutions. For every ton of greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the United States, China has increased their emissions by nearly 4 tons. We can do our part here at home, but if monitoring doesn’t extend to a global reach, we have no hope of real change.
I want to thank all of our witnesses for taking the time to testify today. I look forward to your testimonies and – given that you each works for a federal agency – how you are collaborating on these efforts. I also hope to hear how each agency is incorporating a global outlook when it comes to greenhouse gases.
Thank you Madam Chair and I yield back the balance of my time.