Dear Mrs. Phelan:
Thank you for contacting me regarding global warming. I appreciate your comments.
While global warming is a complex and controversial issue, there remain uncertainties concerning the cause and the effect of climate change. It is difficult to address national and international environmental issues and policies because of the lines built up by proponents and opponents of climate change. Compromise on both sides of the issue will certainly be key.
Earlier this year, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA). This bill aims to reduce greenhouse gases 17 percent by 2020 and 70 percent by 2050. Furthermore, the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently held four days of hearings and voted in favor of the ACESA with amendments. Even though H.R. 2454 had been referred to eight other House Committees for further consideration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) decided to take the bill straight to the floor for a vote. It was approved on a largely party line vote of 219-212. H.R. 2454 now awaits further action in the Senate.
I do not believe it is in the best interest of the United States to unilaterally undertake mandatory carbon dioxide emission reductions until other nations agree to do the same. Any unilateral U.S. reductions in greenhouse gas emission will simply be offset by emissions from Brazil, China and India, thereby not improving the global environment.
The state of Kansas generates over 70 percent of its electricity from coal. I have great concern that H.R. 2454 will force the end user and the average Kansan to pay substantially more in energy and transportation costs with no additional environmental benefit. Realizing Kansas' unique role in providing a climate change solution, I successfully convinced my Senate colleagues to fund climate change research in this area for Kansas State University and the University of Kansas. As Congress continues to review climate change legislation, I will keep your counsel in mind on this issue.