Senate Committee debates climate change action costs today

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Its refreshing to see the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee moving on from a debate over whether global warming is a hoax, to one of what to do about ever-increasing US greenhouse gas emissions.

Today the hearing was on the subject of “Emerging Technologies and Practices for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chair of the EPW committee, cited evidence from former World Bank Chief Economist, Nicolas Stern’s report that an investment now in significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions would pay off 5 to 1 in the long-term.

Senator Joe Liebermann (I-Conn) used the recent IPCC Summary for Policymakers to make the argument that affordable and effective technologies already exist to significantly curb US greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC report out last week found that the worldwide cost of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be about .12% of the world’s GDProughly $10 for every man, woman and child to save the planet.

And finally, and not surpirsingly, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), waved about a report claiming that curbing greenhouse gas would cost the United States $366 billion a year by 2015. This is the same Inhofe who last year claimed that if the US adopted the Kyoto Accord it would “shut down agriculture, military and oil production in Oklahoma.” This is also the same Senator who, ironically enough, leads the charge (mainly on his own) against the global warming “alarmists.”

Seems to me that Inhofe is the one most savvy in the art of alarmism. But at least Inhofe is now contributing to a debate on what to do about global warming and that’s encouraging considering it was only a few short months ago that we were watching Inhofe invite self-fulfilling hearing testimony backing his claim that the threat of catastrophic global warming was “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.”

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmog. He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning. Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks. Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder. Prior to DeSmog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health. In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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