March 26, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 52 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
The Green New Deal (Executive Session); Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 52
(Senate - March 26, 2019)
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[Pages S1953-S1964] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] The Green New Deal Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, you either believe it or you don't believe it. [[Page S1954]] Is there such a thing as climate change? Are we going through some change on our planet today? I think so, and 98 percent of the scientists who report on the subject believe the same thing. The evidence is everywhere, isn't it? The extreme weather events that we are seeing are, I think, an indication that something is happening on this Earth that we call home. The obvious question is this: Do we have anything to do with it? Does the fact that we are alive, functioning, building things, and dealing with traveling by plane and other means have anything to do with what is happening to our planet? I think so. Can we do something about it? Sure, we know we can. If we are dealing with greenhouse gas emissions that somehow in the atmosphere are raising the temperature of planet Earth, what can we do about those greenhouse gases? We know there are a lot of very simple and obvious things. I can remember a debate on this floor when we talked about making cars and trucks more fuel efficient and when the folks in Detroit, who are the smartest people running the automobile companies, said: Impossible. You can't do it. Americans will never buy those cars. It just will not work. Thank goodness we ignored them. We established standards and regulations. Do you know what? Like it or not, we drive more fuel- efficient cars and trucks today, and, frankly, I like it. It was a step in the right direction. It took governmental, congressional prodding to take place, and it made this a cleaner, safer place to live in the United States. There are other things we can do as well, but, first, we need a basic agreement that there is a problem, that human conduct--the way we live, the way we work, and the way we produce things--has something to do with it, and that we are committed to changing it. How many nations in the world have agreed with that conclusion? All of them. Wait. All of them except one--this country, this President, who decided to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It is a universal, global decision by every nation on Earth except the United States that we do have a climate problem, that we are the cause of some part of it, at least, and that we should do something to change it. This President says he doesn't buy it and doesn't think the science proves it. He and he alone, on behalf of this country, stepped away from this agreement. I think that was a serious mistake. I am happy to report that Governors across the United States--at least the Democratic Governors--have said they are going to ignore the President when it comes to this, and they are going to set up their own policies. I salute my own Governor, J.B. Pritzker, in Illinois. He is not part of this denial camp that is trying to ignore the problem. He is trying to do in our State, as others are, something to make sure that this planet is more livable, more habitable. Isn't it amazing that this has become such a partisan issue? There was a time on the floor of this Senate when it was not. I remember when the late Senator John McCain, whom I still honor to this day not only for his service in the Senate but for his service to this country, teamed up with Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman and started proposing ideas to deal with climate change--bipartisan proposals, bipartisan votes. Not anymore, no. We have a big wall down the middle of this Chamber--on that side, climate denial and, on this side, a belief that we should be doing something about it. We could do something today, couldn't we? Couldn't we take the latest climate assessment from the Federal Government, which spells out the problem and spells out the challenge, and come up with at least a reasonable, bipartisan approach with which to deal with the clear scientific evidence that has been produced by this government as required by law? Of course, we could, but we are not going to. Instead, the Republican Senate leader has decided he wants to make a political move. He wants to put the Democrats on the spot, not to solve the problem but to have something he can talk about in the next campaign. A group came together and proposed, as they call it, the Green New Deal. I have taken a look at it. I went to Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who is one of the sponsors, and I asked him about it because he is one of the authors. I know Ed Markey. I served with him in the House, and I serve with him in the Senate. He has established credentials when it comes to this issue. He truly cares and has done many, many things to show that caring. So I asked him: What is this Green New Deal? It is not a law. I mean, it is not a bill that will become a law. It is simply a resolution, which is kind of a statement of purpose, a statement of position. He said to me that it was aspirational--in other words, that the Green New Deal sets out aspirations, targets, and values. I said to him: Ed, that is a good idea, but I want something that is not aspirational. I want something that is legislational. That is what we do here, right? I am sure he will come up with those specifics. Yet Senator McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, has decided that we are going to put the Democrats on the spot. Take it or leave it in its entirety--the Green New Deal. Be on the record and vote this afternoon. I will make it clear to you right now that I think there are parts of that Green New Deal that are excellent and some that I disagree with. At this point in time, I am going to be voting present this afternoon because I believe we should be legislational, and I believe we should be bipartisan. I have said this on the floor many times, and I will say it again: The only major political party in the world today that denies climate change is the Republican Party of the United States of America. Now, I have waited for some Republican to come to the floor and say: Oh, no, that is not true, Senator Durbin. There are other major political parties that have the same position as we do. Yet no one has come to the floor. A few months back, one Republican Senator in an elevator quietly said: I think there is a party in Australia that denies climate change. Maybe that is true, but why in the world have we reached a point at which this is such a partisan issue? Don't we all see what is happening with the weather? Can't we see what is happening in terms of the temperature of this Earth that we live on as it is consistently, year after year, continuing to rise? Don't we realize that it has an impact on this Earth that we live on? Don't we realize that if it continues unabated, the Earth that I am leaving to my children and grandchildren will be a much different place and a much more challenging place? Can't we see the flooding in the streets down in Miami in Florida? Can't we see the melting of the glaciers? Isn't that proof positive that something is happening? In my part of the world, the Midwest, I grew up with tornadoes. They are so common where I live, we even named sports teams after the tornadoes. When I was a kid--this happened half a dozen times, and I will never forget it--in the middle of the night, Mom and Dad would wake me up and say: The tornado sirens are blaring. Get in the basement right now. Grab your covers and pillow and get downstairs. We would head down to the basement and wait for the all-clear signal. Tornadoes were part of our lives, but they were usually confined to the spring and summer months. Just this last December, we had a tornado in Taylorville, IL, 30 miles away from where I live. It wasn't supposed to come this time of year. Unusual things just like that are happening all over the place, and they are devastating. Don't take my word for it; talk to the people in the property and casualty insurance industry. They make a living trying to guess what the weather is going to be. If they see some horrible weather condition coming, they know it will not be good for their bottom line. I have talked to them. There are some States in which they are unwilling to write property and casualty insurance because of the vulnerability to hurricanes, tornadoes, and extreme weather events. They are making a conscious profit-and-loss business decision based on the evidence before them that something is happening to weather in the United States. They are not in denial. They embrace the concept every day when they decide whether to write insurance and what premiums to charge. So if the people who do this for a living, who have to show a profit in their [[Page S1955]] company, have come to the conclusion that climate change is for real, why haven't we in the Senate? Why do we instead engage in this political theater we are going to have this afternoon? Why aren't we instead, on a bipartisan basis, sitting down and saying: What can we do? What can we do in terms of conserving energy, in terms of being more fuel efficient, and in terms of being more sensitive to this environment? What can we do? There are a handful of Republican Senators who have stepped up and said ``We should. We can see climate change where we live,'' but I wish they would become a force to lead their leadership forward into taking this up on a serious basis. This afternoon's vote is just part of a political stunt. It is not a serious effort to deal with climate change. We better do that pretty soon. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alaska. Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, thank you. I am sorry I didn't hear all of the remarks from my friend from Illinois because at the end, he pointed out that there are some on my side of the aisle who acknowledge that we are dealing with a changing climate and that those impacts are real. Well, this Senator is one of them. I come from a State where we see it. It is real. It is tangible. It impacts not only the land and the water but also the people. We see that in the Arctic. I am one who is approaching this from the perspective of pragmatism and practical solutions we can move forward with. While I like aspirations, and we all have to have goals, I want us to make sure we are not setting ourselves up for a situation where the expectations are not realistic. The Senator mentioned the vote we will have later this afternoon. I have suggested that it is important for us around here to make sure that we don't distract from those pragmatic and practical solutions and that we don't amp up the rhetoric so high that we can't get ourselves to a place where we can work cooperatively and collaboratively to get to these solutions. If we are going to address it in a meaningful way, it must be bipartisan, it must be enduring, it must move from one administration to another, and, again, it has to be something we can work toward with meaningful steps. I would like to take just a couple of minutes today to speak to some of the things and some of the areas in which I think Congress can actually make some progress as we look to the issue of climate change. I have refrained from speaking specifically to the Green New Deal as it has been laid down and introduced because I don't see it as a real and viable solution that has been fully considered as a proposal. There certainly is a lot of aspiration to it. There certainly is a lot of aspiration, but I have kind of refrained from piling on, if you will, despite my concerns about the costs of the deal. I think we can go back and forth in terms of how much it really costs individual Americans, what is the cost to society, and what is the cost of not doing something, but I think those are all kind of almost false in a sense because it is not that we are not doing anything. I think we need to establish that. If we were to enact and move forward with every aspect of the proposal as it has been laid out, is it possible? Is it possible? It is certainly a worthy goal for us in this country to be transitioning to more renewable and cleaner sources of energy. We are doing that. We are certainly seeing that as the cost of solar is coming down and as we are seeing more wind being harnessed. I think we have great potential in more hydropower, more geothermal, and the technologies that could be coming our way when it comes to ocean energy. Surely we need to be moving in that direction, but is it affordable? Is it possible to transition to 100 percent renewable energy and electric vehicles over the next 10 years? I don't believe it is physically possible for us to do it in 10 years. So are we setting something up so that young people, like the Senate pages who are listening to me, will say: Well, sure, you should be able to do that in 10 years. You say you can. So if you haven't done it, you have failed. This is not a question of whether we succeeded or failed but whether every step we are taking is moving us in a more positive direction. Shouldn't it be a worthy goal to maximize our energy efficiencies within our buildings and how we access our power? Absolutely. But is it possible? Would we be able to physically retrofit every building in America to maximize energy and water efficiency over the next 10 years? I don't believe we can do that in 10 years. Aspirations are good, and goals are good, but when you look at what has been specifically laid out in this Green New Deal, it is more than just transitioning to renewables or electric vehicles or greater energy efficiency. It calls for a Federal jobs guarantee. It focuses on healthcare, education, wages, trade, and a lot more. It suggests unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States. That is wonderful. I would love that. But how do we get there? What is the feasible mechanism for accomplishing this goal? Let's be honest with where we are and recognize the potential cost of this Green New Deal. Whether you want to peg it in the price range of $50 trillion to $90 trillion over the next 10 years--I am not going to get caught up in those numbers because that is not going to happen. It is not going to happen. What I really hope doesn't happen is that this discussion about the Green New Deal or whatever you want to tag it--that we are not distracted from the necessary and important conversation we must have about climate change and the practical steps we can take to address it. Let's talk about that. I mentioned to my friend from Illinois that we see it in Alaska. We say that we are ground zero for climate change. The Arctic is warming two to three times the rate of the rest of the world. We are seeing glaciers retreat. Permafrost is thawing. We are seeing sea levels rise. Wildlife migration patterns are changing. We are seeing different invasive species. With the water temperature, we are seeing ocean acidification. Villages are being threatened by coastal erosion and in need of relocation. For us, this is real. Climate change is real. If you don't want to use the words ``climate change,'' you don't have to use the words ``climate change,'' but just come up and take a look, because something is happening. We are seeing it. Engaging in rhetoric that is either fantasy or denial really doesn't help those who are facing this. I think there are some policies that both parties can support that I think can make a real difference in real time. I want to first start off by acknowledging that we are not in a situation and a place where we are doing nothing. That is not the case. We are. We are working on policies, and over the course of years, we have put policies in place that are making a difference and will make a difference moving forward. It is not as though we are starting from scratch. Just look at where we were last year. We expanded the tax credit for carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration, CCUS. We increased funding for the Department of Energy to research and develop cleaner technologies. We passed legislation to promote basic science, nuclear energy, hydropower, and more. Many of us support the production, use, and export of clean burning natural gas, which can substantially help reduce global emissions. That was just last year in terms of the policies we put in place that are moving us forward in the right direction. You don't always hear about it, but we have a pretty decent story to tell here in this country. We are leading the world in greenhouse gas reductions. Despite an uptick we saw last year, in 2018, our emissions have fallen significantly over the past decade. We have made progress, but we need to be making more progress and, in my view, more accelerated progress. What more can we do? That is a conversation we are having in the Energy Committee. I have been working with my ranking member, Senator Manchin from West Virginia. It is a conversation we have been having on both sides of the aisle. We had a hearing on the impact on the electric sector due to climate change. We had that hearing about 10 days or so ago. We are planning on having others. We are talking [[Page S1956]] with other colleagues who are not part of our committee about what more can be done. Two or three weeks ago, I was in Houston attending the big oil and gas conference, the big global conference. It is kind of like the Davos of oil and gas. It was notable that throughout that week's conference with oil and gas producers, predominantly, the focus and the attention was on climate change and what we are doing with those technologies that will help us to reduce methane leakage, what we are doing to help share some of these environmental technologies, and what more we are doing to help facilitate these clean, lower carbon technologies. This is coming from an industry that is recognizing that innovation must happen. It was fascinating. I sat down with a group of about 20 folks who were pretty high up within their sectors. I was thinking we were going to be talking about some of the latest technologies in oil and gas development. But about two-thirds of the people around the table were not from oil and gas companies; they were from high-tech companies. They were there because they see that the real difference in making a difference is going to come from these technologies, and they want to be a part of that conversation. That is a good conversation to have. Within the Energy Committee, what we are doing is we are going to revive and refresh the bipartisan Energy bill that we moved out of committee and off this floor a couple of years ago with the help of Senator Cantwell. We moved it out with the support of 85 Members. It may be that we have to move some smaller bills instead of everything all at once, but we have to update our policies. We haven't updated an energy policy for 11 years now. Senator Cantwell knows, when you think about where the industry has gone, where the energy sector has gone, and the fact that our policies have lagged, that is a drag. We need to address that. I think there are areas where we can reach a bipartisan agreement on policies that support the innovation, break down the barriers, promote efficiency, and keep the markets well-supplied. There is a lot more we can be doing on nuclear energy. I am going to be introducing a bipartisan bill this week to promote advanced reactors. There is more we can be doing on carbon capture utilization and sequestration. This is a big priority of Senator Manchin's. We know that unlocking the key is going to be with storage and energy storage. We have to be advancing that. There is so much more room within hydropower, microgrids, to lower costs for energy in rural areas, to lower the cost of all renewables and make them more competitive, to ensure we are producing the minerals and materials we need for the technologies. I mentioned sharing environmental technologies. It is not just the Energy Committee that is going to be working on this. All committees will have their own contribution to make, and I welcome that, but we have to have rational discussions. I have said: Come to the Energy Committee, where there is a safe space if you want to talk about climate. If you are a Republican on this side who says I don't know that I want to go there, a Democrat on that side, let's sit down and have a rational conversation about how we are going to be working together across the aisle to agree on policies that will deliver cleaner and lower carbon technologies. They have to be pragmatic, they have to be durable, and they have to be bipartisan. Senator Manchin and I had an op-ed that ran in the Washington Post a few weeks ago. It wasn't great, earthshaking, brandnew, novel ideas on how to address climate change. What we said is, we have to join hands on this. We have to come together. We are both from producing States with very vulnerable populations. Take a look at the two of us and work with us to help advance some of these things. We have gotten more shout-outs not for highlighting some new technology but the fact that we were talking together as Republicans and Democrats. That is going to be an important part of how we move forward. I mentioned, I am from a producing State. You all know that. What many don't know is how Alaska is leading the way in what is possible for some of the innovation, the proving ground, for technologies. We have about every resource you can think of in great abundance, including sunshine. You don't think about solar for us, but we are putting it to good use. We have been pioneering when it comes to microgrids and these smaller scaled technologies. We have wind turbines out in St. Michael. We have energy-efficient refrigeration on Saint Paul Island. This is a little, tiny island out in the middle of the ocean. We have clean power generation in Kodiak. About 99 percent of that significant fishing community is renewable. We have an in-river system being installed in Igiugig. We have innovation happening all over the place, and it is happening because we are driven by necessity. It costs too much. It is not sustainable. I don't want to be from a State where most of my off-road communities are powered by diesel. It is not good for them. It is not good for anybody. How do we get off that? Allow us to move forward and free up-- some are going to be critical of me. They are going to say: You know what, Lisa, you are talking about baby steps. You are talking wind turbines in St. Michael; you are talking about energy efficiency in St. Paul. Do you know what? When you are paying $7, $8, $9 a gallon to keep the lights on, to keep something refrigerated--close to 80 cents a kilowatt hour--that is not sustainable. So for these communities, it is making a difference. You say: Well, we have a big globe out there. We do have a big globe out there, and we all have a responsibility there, but we have to start. I want to share a quote from my friend, the former Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz. He was talking about some of the practical, pragmatic solutions. He said some are going to argue it is not enough. Some would argue, well, that will not get us there as fast as we need to go. I would argue that would get us there as fast as we can go. We must--we must--move. We recognize that, but we have to know the only way we are going to be moving is if we move together. That is what we have to do in Congress. We have to take these policies that can keep us moving to lower emissions, to address the reality of climate change, to do so all the while recognizing we have an economy we need to keep strong, we have vulnerable people whom we need to protect, and we have an environment we all care about--Republicans and Democrats--and it is not just the environment in our States or our country, but it is our global environment. So, moving forward, how we are working together on that is a priority, or should be a priority, for us all. My hope is, we get beyond the rhetoric, the high-fired rhetoric, and we get to practical, pragmatic, bipartisan solutions. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask the Senator from Alaska to yield for 10 seconds. Ms. MURKOWSKI. Mr. President, I will yield. Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator. She was the person I was thinking of when I said there are exceptions when it comes to the partisan divide between us. I stayed for her presentation because I knew what it was going to be, and I wanted it to be part of the Record. I think Senator Murkowski and Senator Cantwell--whom we recognize on our side of the aisle as one of the real leaders on the subject--can show us the way in the Senate to find a bipartisan approach to deal with this challenge. Thank you. Ms. MURKOWSKI. I thank my colleague for that. I want to acknowledge the support and partnership I have had with Senator Cantwell. She and I come from differing views on certain issues, but throughout our time as the chair and the ranking on the committee, we really did work to try to advance some of these solutions, where--I think we would both agree--there is common ground. Again, advancing that is important. It is important for the progress we are making. It is making a difference. It is helping to reduce the emissions. It is helping to move us toward greater efficiency. So let's not pooh-pooh the small things. Let's acknowledge that building things together, you do elevate yourself--but we have to start. If we keep dividing ourselves, then we are not going to come together to build these bridges. [[Page S1957]] I thank my friend from Washington State who has worked hard on the committee to advance this and continues to do so. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington State. Ms. CANTWELL. Mr. President, I come to the floor to join this debate. I thank my colleagues, the Senator from Illinois and certainly the Senator from Alaska for her comments because I think some of what I am going to say will probably overlap in the context of working together to get things done. Why do I say that is so important? Because she and I worked on a bipartisan energy package that we passed out of the Senate over 2 years ago that had very important, what I would call implementation strategies, for allowing our businesses and our communities to be more cost-competitive when it comes to energy. Certainly, in the State of Alaska, I can't imagine paying $9 a gallon for fuel just to heat a home or to have your hospital or your school available for kids to go to play in after school or just meet the healthcare needs of a community. Getting energy right not just in big urban cities like Seattle, which is a lot easier to do--we have net zero buildings, probably some of the best net zero buildings in the country--already establishing how you can create energy and sell it back to the grid and be more energy efficient, but we have to have solutions that are going to meet needs all across the United States of America. So, good news to hear that the chairwoman of the Energy Committee is planning another energy bill. Hopefully, some of those provisions we worked on 2 years ago, like smart building strategies to help reengineering of energy systems within our buildings to make them more energy efficient, would also go a long way. That is about 40 percent of America's energy use. Every dollar we help a business save in energy costs just gets plugged back into that business's competitiveness in today's economy. I thank her for that, and I look forward to seeing what she and the ranking member, Senator Manchin, push forward, and, certainly, I know we will have our ideas. We are here to debate about energy policy and getting it right for our future prosperity and our competitiveness. I also agree with my colleague that getting things done is important because I think what we have proven over the last decade, maybe 15 years, is that we can transition to cleaner fuels; we can become more energy independent; we can become more energy efficient; and doing so actually creates new jobs that are higher wage jobs and help us in the future. What Americans want to know is whether we can make it through this transition without doing great damage to our economy, and I think the results of us working together to pass these legislative ideas in the last decade have proven to be very strong incentives. First of all, let's talk about incentives writ large, tax incentives. We have been involved with the Finance Committee over the last several years to put in place tax credits that rebalanced our incentives towards the side of renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. In 2008 with my colleague, then-Senator Ensign of Nevada, we were able to work to make sure we were driving down the costs of solar, wind, and biofuels. This legislation, which was extended in the Recovery Act, now helps us with wind supplies to over 6 percent of the U.S. supply. I know my colleagues in Iowa know how important this is because their State's electricity generates millions of dollars in economic activity. So the fact that we focused on renewables in our tax incentive policy has helped that industry grow and become a very big part of our system. Today's grid economy is also being modernized, and we have worked to put R&D on the table and allow communities throughout the United States to invest in smart grid technology. The Presiding Officer comes from a State where there are probably leaders in a lot of renewable energies. I know there are wind projects in the State of Washington from companies in his State that are showing just how efficient wind has become over a long period of time. Who would have originally thought, as I was talking about the Presiding Officer's State of Florida, that we would be talking about wind? You would think I was talking about solar. But this is to show you that the era of distributive generation--that energy can be created from a lot of different sources, put on the grid, moved around cost-effectively, in smart ways, to become more efficient--would help us move toward the future of giving people better opportunities rather than the pollution we see from carbon-intensive areas of the United States. Even in areas around the United States that still do rely on coal, people are starting to see that renewables are becoming cheaper. The Northern Indiana Public Service Company found that building renewables is cheaper than keeping existing coal plants open. According to the company's 2018 Integrated Resource Plan filed in October, they can save their customers $4 billion over the next 30 years by ramping down the amount of coal they use from two-thirds of their generation mix today, to 15 percent by 2023, to eliminating the use of coal entirely by 2028. These aren't just places like my State of Washington, where we have, as I said, a lot of technology and a lot of efficiency, but also States that are making the transition off these fossil fuels, showing it is a good investment and is cheaper for their customers. We know new wind power purchase agreements continue to set records for the lowest cost power, putting downward pressure on electricity costs nationwide. I can't tell you how important that is. Coming from a State where we have had cheap hydropower for decades, decades, and decades, it has built our economy over and over again. I like to say it has helped us store apples. After you pick apples and want to store them for a while, guess what helps? Cheap electricity. Now we store bits--actual software bits. There are data centers that want cheap electricity. So the very nature of cheap electricity keeps driving Washington's economy over and over. I know that other States in the Nation would benefit from cheaper electricity sources too. It would help their businesses and it would help their consumers. So today, despite the fact that over 94 percent of all electricity generating capacity added over the past century has been in the renewable area or natural gas, consumers are paying 4 percent less per kilowatt hour for electricity than they did a decade ago. So this diversification off of fossil fuel and this investment in these cleaner sources of energy are helping to lower rates for consumers, and that is why we need to keep going in this direction. There is a reason that Fortune 500 companies are among the largest renewable energy investors in the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, corporations as diverse as Budweiser, The Gap, and MGM International have invested over $16 billion in wind and solar in 2018, and that is expected to double in 2019. Even the utility industry is waking up to this new reality. The CEO of NextEra, the largest U.S. electricity company in the world by market capitalization, recently told investors that solar and wind, plus storage, will be cheaper than coal, oil, or nuclear. So this is something that we need to realize. Specifically, he said that the subsidy for wind generation costs will be 2 to 2.5 percent per kilowatt, and large scale solar will only be a little higher than that. Adding storage to this will help us to get those prices down even more. That is why getting the R&D budget right for the Department of Energy right now and ARPA-E is so critical. We can't cut these programs. We need to make sure that we are continuing to make an investment so that our Nation's electricity sector provides not only more affordable and more reliable energy, but also cleaner energy that will help our atmosphere. We already now have 3.2 million people working in the clean energy sector. That is nearly three times as many jobs as in the fossil fuel industry. Yet people continue to act like this is an economic debate only about one sector over the other. It is about how we make the transition and how we skill and train people for these future opportunities that support millions of jobs here in the United States of America. Now, why do I want to continue on that route? Because I want the United [[Page S1958]] States to be a leader in clean energy technology. I don't want to leave this up to our competitors in other countries for them to reap the benefit of better technology and higher wage jobs. I want us to reap these benefits. I have seen many companies that have made their transition in the energy sector from a fossil fuel focus to renewables, and I hope that will continue to happen. There is another area that we have incented over the last 10 years that has, I think, proven to be a good investment. Senator Hatch and I teamed up in 2007 to introduce legislation providing a $7,500 tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles. Now, I know that at the time people thought: Well, what is this electric vehicle market all about? But I think we can look here in 2019 and see exactly what it is about. Consumers have more choices, there are more competitors in the market, and we are reducing our dependence on fossil fuel. That is why we need to fight President Trump's budget request to take away those tax incentives for people who buy electric vehicles. We need to continue to move forward on driving down the cost. Another area that we made progress on in the last decade was fuel efficiency for automobiles. I can tell you what that fight was like in 2007 as we struggled here to move forward. Fuel-efficiency economy increases will result in oil savings in 2030 of about 3 million barrels per day--more than we import from the Persian Gulf and Venezuela combined. So we should not roll back fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. I believe this is a red herring. We know that fuel efficiency helps consumers to drive to work every day and to afford to fill up in a more economic way. If the Trump administration does roll back these fuel efficiency gains, owners of an average model vehicle from the year 2025 will have to fill up their gas tanks 66 times more and cost drivers over $1,620 more than what they currently pay. So why roll them back? Another great area of success was establishing a renewable fuel standard back in 2007 in that same bipartisan energy package that was worked on by so many Members of this institution and successfully by so many Members in this institution. So, to me, it stands in stark contrast to where we are today in this debate, because all of the people working together--our colleagues, the late Senator Ted Stevens, and the late Senator Danny Inouye--played key roles as chairman and ranking member of the Commerce Committee, the EPW Committee, and the Energy Committee. They all added to that legislation in 2007. This bipartisan increase in expansion of the renewable fuel standard was a great way to look at homegrown fuels for the future and making up a larger source of that supply today from renewable clean energy. So all of these show that we have made progress working together over the last decade or so in a bipartisan way to demonstrate that this transition is necessary, that this transition can be made, that we can make it successfully without hurting our economy, and that we can drive down costs for businesses and consumers and better protect our environment. That is so, so critical. I am so concerned about the cost of extreme weather and the impact of climate change that I asked my colleague, Senator Collins, to request with me, from the Government Accountability Office, what the costs of these impacts were. Why did I want that information? Because, in the Northwest we are already seeing more damage from fires that have become a constant threat every summer. We have seen a shellfish industry that has basically been threatened by warmer waters. We have seen our challenges to our coastline and changing sea levels. So we wanted that information. The result of the study showed that current estimates for the impacts as a result of climate change would exceed $1 trillion by 2039. These are costs that we are going to pay in response, mitigation and adaptation. I would rather get about the task of diversifying now and reducing those costs that are going to be paid out by the American taxpayer. We can do better. So moving toward a cleaner economy off of fossil fuels is what we need to do. With today's energy infrastructure turning over every three or four decades anyways, which will take an investment of $25 to $30 million, making the right choices from the private sector, is with whom we need to partner. I look forward to working with my colleagues on that, working with my colleague from the Energy Committee, Senator Murkowski, and my colleague Senator Manchin, and all the other colleagues on that committee to help us get these strategies right. We know the answer to this question. Moving forward on cleaner sources is better for our environment and we have made great strides in the last decade in doing so and driving better economic opportunity for both the consumers and the future energy workers of the United States. I thank the President, and I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cruz). The Senator from Utah. Mr. LEE. Mr. President, fear has become an all too prevalent quality in America's political discourse, and, unfortunately, fear is unavoidable when debating the substance of the resolution before this body today; that is, climate change, socialism, and the Green New Deal. On entering this debate, I have a little fear in my heart as well. My fear at this moment may be just a little different than that of some of my colleagues. Unlike some of my colleagues, I am not immediately afraid of what carbon emissions unaddressed might do to our environment in the near term future or our civilization or our planet in the next few years. Unlike others, I am not immediately afraid of what the Green New Deal will do to our economy and our government. After all, this isn't going to pass--not today, not anytime soon, certainly. Rather, after reading the Green New Deal, I am mostly afraid of not being able to get through this speech with a straight face. I rise today to consider the Green New Deal with the seriousness it deserves. This is, of course, a picture of former President Ronald Reagan naturally firing a machine gun while riding on the back of a dinosaur. You will notice a couple of important features here. First of all, the rocket launcher is strapped to President Reagan's back, and then the stirring unmistakable patriotism of the velociraptor holding up a tattered American flag, a symbol of all it means to be an American. Now, critics might quibble with this depiction of the climactic battle of the Cold War because, while awesome, in real life there was no climactic battle. There was no battle with or without velociraptors. The Cold War, as we all know, was won without firing a shot. But that quibble actually serves our purposes here today because this image has as much to do with overcoming communism in the 20th century as the Green New Deal has to do with overcoming climate change in the 21st century. The aspirations of the proposal have been called radical. They have been called extreme, but, mostly, they are ridiculous. There isn't a single serious idea here--not one. To illustrate, let me highlight two of the most prominent goals produced by the plan's authors. Goal No. 1, the Green New Deal calls essentially for the elimination of airplanes. Now, this might seem merely ambitious for politicians who represent the densely populated northeastern United States, but how is it supposed to work for our fellow citizens who don't live somewhere between Washington, DC, and Boston? In a future without air travel, how are we supposed to get around the vast expanses of, say, Alaska during the winter? Well, I will tell you how. Tauntauns is that beloved species of reptile mammals native to the ice planet of Hoth. Now, while perhaps not as efficient in some ways as airplanes or as snowmobiles, these hairy bipedal species of space lizards offer their own unique benefits. Not only are tauntauns carbon neutral, but according to a report a long time ago and issued far, far away, they may even be fully recyclable and useable for their warmth, especially on a cold night. What about Hawaii? Isolated, 2,000 miles out into the Pacific Ocean, under the Green New Deal's effective airplane prohibition, how are people there supposed to get to and from the mainland and how are they supposed to maintain that significant portion of their economy that is based on tourism? [[Page S1959]] At that distance, swimming would, of course, be out of the question, and jet skis are notorious gas guzzlers. No, all residents of Hawaii would be left with is this. This is a picture of Aquaman, a superhero from the undersea kingdom of Atlantis but, notably here, a founding member of the Super Friends. I draw your attention to the 20-foot impressive seahorse he is riding. Under the Green New Deal, this is probably Hawaii's best bet. Now, I am the first to admit that a massive fleet of giant, highly trained seahorses would be cool and it would be really, really awesome, but we have to consider a few things. We have no idea about scalability or domestic capacity in this sector. The last thing we want is to ban all airplanes and only then find out that China or Russia may have already established strategic hippocampus programs designed to cut the United States out of the global market. We must not allow and cannot tolerate a giant seahorse gap. For goal No. 2, the Green New Deal anticipates the elimination of all cows. Talking points released by the sponsors of the resolution the day it was introduced cited the goal of ``fully get[ting] rid of''--and I will paraphrase a little bit here--``[flatulating] cows.'' Now, I share their concern, but honestly, I think you have to remember that if the cows smell bad, just wait until they get a whiff of the seahorses. Back to the cattle, I have a chart to illustrate this trend. As you can see on the left, these little cows represent the bovine population of America today. On the right is the future population under the Green New Deal. We would go from about 94 million cows to zero cows--no more milk, no more cheese, no more steak, and no more hamburgers. Over the State work period last week, I visited some farms to find out for myself what Utah's own bovine community might think about the Green New Deal. Every cow I spoke to said the same thing: Boo. The authors of this proposal would protest that these goals are not actually part of the Green New Deal but were merely included in supporting documents accidentally sent out by the office of the lead sponsor in the House of Representatives. This only makes my point. The supporters of the Green New Deal want Americans to trust them to reorganize our entire society and our entire economy, to restructure our very way of life, and they couldn't even figure out how to send out the right press release. The Green New Deal is not a serious policy document because it is not a policy document at all; it is, in fact, an aesthetic one. The resolution is not an agenda of solutions; it is a token of elite tribal identity, and endorsing it, a public act of piety for the chic and woke. And on those embarrassing terms, it is already a resounding success. As Speaker Pelosi herself put it, ``The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they're for it, right?'' Right. Critics will no doubt chastise me for not taking climate change seriously, but, please, nothing could be further from the truth. No Utahn needs to hear pious lectures about the gravity of climate change from politicians from other States, for it was only in 2016, as viewers of the Syfy network will well remember, when climate change hit home in Utah, when our own State was struck not simply by a tornado but by a tornado with sharks in it. These images are from the indispensable documentary film ``Sharknado 4.'' They captured the precise moment when one of the tornado sharks crashed through the window of Utah's Governor, Gary Herbert. A true Utah hero and a fine American, Governor Herbert--who, by the way, is an incredible athlete and expert tennis player--bravely fought off the animal with the tennis racket that he keeps by his desk precisely for occasions such as these. So let's be real clear. Climate change is no joke, but the Green New Deal is a joke. It is the legislative equivalent of Austin Powers' Dr. Evil demanding sharks with ``frickin' lasers'' on their heads. The Green New Deal is not the solution to climate change. It is not even part of the solution. In fact, it is part of the problem. The solution to climate change won't be found in political posturing or virtue signaling like this. It won't be found in the Federal Government at all. Do you know where the solution can be found? In churches, in wedding chapels, and in maternity wards across the country and around the world. This is the real solution to climate change: babies. Climate change is an engineering problem--not social engineering but the real kind. It is a challenge of creativity, ingenuity, and most of all, technical innovation. Problems of human imagination are not solved by more laws; they are solved by more humans, more people, meaning bigger markets for innovation. More babies will mean more forward- looking adults, the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems. American babies in particular are likely going to be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still industrializing countries. As economist Tyler Cowen recently wrote on this very point, addressing this very topic, ``by having more children, you are making your nation more populous--thus boosting its capacity to solve [climate change].'' Finally, children are a mark of the kind of personal, communal, and societal optimism that is the true prerequisite for meeting national and global challenges together. The courage needed to solve climate change is nothing compared with the courage needed to start a family. The true heroes of this story aren't politicians, and they aren't social media activists; they are moms and dads and the little boys and girls whom they are at this very moment putting down for naps or helping with their homework, building tree houses, and teaching them how to tie their shoes. The planet does not need for us to think globally and act locally so much as it needs us to think family and act personally. The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution that we are considering this week in the Senate but, rather, the serious business of human flourishing. The solution to so many of our problems at all times and in all places is to fall in love, get married, and have some kids. Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington. Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I rise today to join my Democratic colleagues in lifting up the voices of countless people in my home State of Washington and around the Nation who are calling out for Congress to truly address the climate change crisis. I am glad the Republicans have decided to take at least a short break from their hurried ideological campaign to pack our Federal courts with as many conservative judges as possible. It is inexcusable that they are now choosing to play silly political games instead of working with us to make progress on the many challenges our constituents are facing right now. Let me be clear. Democrats welcome a robust, fact-based discussion on the Senate floor about what we as a nation must do to combat climate change. That is not what today's vote is, nor what it was meant to be. From the beginning, this vote was scheduled by Republicans to throw red meat to their rightwing base and an extra bone to Big Oil and Gas. But, if anything, what today's vote makes painfully obvious is that while Democrats are here at the table ready to get to work to tackle one of the most urgent issues of our time, Republicans don't have a vision, much less any solution for how we are going to reverse the course of climate change and prevent future damage to our planet. On the contrary, many Republicans won't even admit this is a problem, even after the Trump administration itself released its own report detailing how climate change has damaged our planet and will continue to do so if unaddressed. Democrats are all on the same page. We believe in the science, we believe climate change is one of our planet's most urgent crises, and we all believe that now is the time to take action before our planet suffers even more irreparable harm. Democrats have long recognized climate change is a threat not just to our environment but to our economy, our community, our health, and even our way of life. As a voice for Washington State, whose residents are being threatened summer after summer with ever-worsening wildfires that destroy more property and cost more money to contain [[Page S1960]] and prevent every year, and as a grandmother who wants to leave a better world for the next generation, this is personal to me. But it is not just me or Senate Democrats; our families back in our States understand the risk of climate change, too, and they are very eager for their government to take action against the immediate threat that it poses. I was back home last week meeting with leaders in our State capital of Olympia. They are working on a suite of progressive policies aimed at tackling climate change. Every day, I hear from young people all over my State about how they want to inherit a clean, healthy planet. The only way we can ensure that happens is by listening to the science and working to do something now while we still can make a difference. I am inspired by my constituents--especially the students. I understand why they are so passionate. They get it. They know how serious climate change is for today and tomorrow, and they get that we don't have any time to waste. But they cannot do it alone, and neither can Washington State. It is going to take a national effort, a Federal effort to give this issue the attention it deserves, and Congress should play a major role in making sure it is treated like the emergency it is. Unfortunately, when I turn to my Republican friends in moments like this, when we could be having a real conversation about what we should be doing today to tackle climate change, I am reminded that this isn't a debate made in good faith. If Republicans were truly interested in addressing climate change, they would have stood against President Trump's reckless efforts to roll back clean air standards or, even better, stopped him from pulling the United States out of the Paris climate agreement and weakening our leadership in the global fight against climate change. And those are just a few things. Now we have some Democrats and Republicans coming together to protect our environment. The recent passage of the public lands package is a good example. But when it comes to the issue of climate change and having a discussion about what it would take to really address it with the seriousness and the urgency it deserves, Republicans apparently only have time for partisan political games, which is so unfortunate because it is long past time for them to recognize that climate change is an urgent and serious issue. It is going to take all of us working together to prevent future generations from suffering the worst of its impact. Democrats are ready and willing to debate Republicans on the facts, about the risks of not tackling climate change as aggressively as possible, and I can only urge Republicans to drop these games. Listen to your constituents. Listen to the facts. Do the right thing and work with us to address this critical issue before it truly is too late. Thank you. Mr. President, I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Maryland. Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the following Senators be permitted to speak for up to 5 minutes each prior to the recess: Van Hollen, Cardin, Stabenow, Schatz, Markey, and Heinrich. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection? Without objection, it is so ordered. Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Thank you, Mr. President. I am on the floor today with a very simple question: What is the Republican agenda for tackling many of the major challenges we face today in the United States of America? We know what our Republican colleagues are against. In fact, just yesterday, the Trump administration asked a Federal court of appeals to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, which would eliminate affordable healthcare for tens of millions of Americans and strip away protections for people with preexisting conditions. So that is what Republicans are against, the Affordable Care Act. What are they for? Since January of this year, the new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has already passed major legislation on some important issues for our country. They passed a major bill to protect and strengthen the integrity of our election system and the health of our democracy. It includes lots of provisions, including one to get rid of secret money in politics, because, like the American public, we believe that Americans have a right to know who is spending tens of millions of dollars to try to influence their votes. Why not get rid of secret money and dark money in politics? That is what the House bill does. That bill is right here in the Senate now, but are we going to get a chance to vote on that? We are asking the majority leader for a vote on that bill that is sitting right here in the Senate. The House also passed sweeping legislation to address gun safety issues. Specifically, the legislation calls for a universal criminal background check to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. This is overwhelmingly supported by the American public. Why would we want to keep a big loophole in the law that allows dangerous people to get guns and commit violent acts with those guns? That bill is also here in the Senate, but there is no sign that we are going to vote on that bill. Instead, the Republican leader is bringing up the nonbinding resolution--the Green New Deal resolution--which calls for ambitious goals to tackle climate change, which has created a lot of important momentum in our country to address this issue. Yet our Republican colleagues are not bringing up this bill because they want to do something about climate change; they are bringing it up with the express purpose of defeating it and playing political games. It is a very simple question. We know what you are against. You are against the Green New Deal resolution. But what are you for when it comes to addressing climate change? The science is overwhelming. It mounts every day. Americans can see what is happening with their own eyes in the form of extreme weather events. Former Senator Bob Kerrey from Nebraska just wrote over the weekend: The disastrous flooding this month in Nebraska and much of the upper Midwest is a reminder of several important truths. First, weather and climate are not the same thing. Climate affects weather, not the other way around. If our Republican colleagues don't agree with our own American scientists at NASA and NOAA, scientists throughout the country and around the world, my goodness, I would hope they would believe our military leaders who just last year put out a report. I am reading from a release that says: ``New Pentagon Survey: Climate Change-Related Risks to 50% of Military Infrastructure.'' The folks at the Pentagon seem to recognize the costs and harm of climate change. Yet our Republican colleagues do nothing but play games with this issue. Ironically, this week we are going to be taking up a disaster relief bill. I think the pricetag for that bill is $13 billion to $14 billion. This is just one of many disaster relief bills we will handle. We all know that we will always have natural disasters, but we also know from the science that they are more intense, more extreme, and more costly because of climate change, and they happen more often because of climate change. Our Republican colleagues are happy to ask taxpayers to shell out more and more money to pay for the harm and damage of climate change through extreme weather events, but they are not willing to consider any legislation on this floor to actually do something about it and stop the rising costs, harm, and damage. If you don't like the nonbinding resolution of the Green New Deal, why not support another nonbinding resolution put forth by Senator Carper and every Democrat? It is very simple. No. 1, climate change is real; No. 2, human activity is the dominant cause; and No. 3, Congress should take immediate action to do something about it. That must be a really radical proposal for our Republican colleagues, but only one Republican Senator has signed on, which just shows the incredible hypocrisy of this entire exercise. The Republican leader is bringing up a measure that calls for ambitious goals. I think those are good goals. I support it, but he wants to defeat it. Yet he has not a single idea of his own to address this issue. [[Page S1961]] This week, I intend, along with Congressman Don Beyer in the House, to reintroduce a bill called the cap and dividend bill. It is very simple: The polluter pays, just as we have handled environmental issues in the past. We will put a price on carbon pollution, and by doing so, we will create more incentives for investment in clean energy technology, renewable energy technology, energy efficiency. We propose to take the proceeds from that ``polluter pays'' fee and rebate the entire thing to the American people. As a result, according to the studies of the University of Massachusetts, 80 percent of the American people, at the end of the day, will actually see more money in their pocket than before, and we will begin to address the ravages of climate change. I urge my colleagues to actually do something when it comes to climate change. I yield the floor to Senator Stabenow from Michigan, who has been a leader on this issue. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan. Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I want to thank my friend and colleague from Maryland for his powerful words, as well as all of my colleagues who are here for their leadership on this incredibly important issue. Climate change is real. Carbon pollution is real. It is having a real effect in my State of Michigan. We can and must take real action to do something about it. It is not a time for playing political games. Frankly, the stakes are just plain too high. We should be coming together around a resolution that our entire Democratic caucus has put together that simply says this: Climate change is real; climate change is caused by humans; Congress must act on climate change. Let's start there. We can't even get bipartisan support for this, which is so basic. Let's start there and then take specific action. I was very encouraged a few weeks ago when Chairwoman Murkowski and Ranking Member Manchin on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on climate change. It was the first one since I have been on the committee. It may be the first one ever to talk about the incredibly disastrous impacts of what is happening in Alaska, as well as around our country. We should be working together across the aisle to solve this big problem and to come together with specific actions after the hearing. I am looking forward to that. Instead, the Republican leader is playing ``gotcha'' politics with an issue that is hurting real people from Bristol Bay to the Missouri River Basin to the Great Lakes. Frankly, it is insulting, and the people who are having their livelihoods upended deserve better. You don't have to spend much time in Michigan to see the effects, unfortunately. The Great Lakes Basin has warmed more over the last 30 years than the rest of the contiguous United States. That is not a position we want to be in. Precipitation is up 11 percent since 1900. That means more flooding. Flooding is worse. Between 2040 and 2060--which actually is not that far away, particularly when we are looking at our children and grandchildren--Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula could see 500 percent more 100-year floods. Heat waves in Michigan have tripled compared to the long-term average. It is estimated that by 2040 the dangerously hot days could cause 760 people in the Detroit metro area alone to die each year when they otherwise wouldn't. Rising energy demands will require more than $6 billion in infrastructure improvements. Cold water fish species could simply die off, threatening our $5 billion per year sport fishing industry. Agricultural productivity could fall to 1980 levels by 2050. Keep in mind that by then, our planet's population will be double what it was in 1980. If agricultural productivity is falling at that point, that will be a disaster, not only for the United States and our people but for around the world. These changes are already hurting our people in Michigan and our economy. Just talk to a cherry grower who has lost an entire crop because of warm weather in February--which causes his trees to bloom too early, and then the freeze comes and wipes out all the cherry trees--or a family whose fishing and boating business is threatened by invasive species and toxic algal blooms or the family who lost their 12-year-old son when flooding caused the basement of their home to collapse. Perhaps you are more motivated by the bottom line. If that is the case, you should just talk to insurance company executives. Their companies paid out a record $135 billion from natural disasters in 2017 alone. That is nearly three times as much as the historic annual average. By the way, after we finish voting on this resolution that the Republican leader is bringing up, we are going to be asked to vote on a disaster package to help States and communities that have been impacted by carbon pollution and climate change. We will only see more of that if we don't take real action. It is not time for words. It is time for action. It is time to focus like a laser on reducing carbon pollution, reversing the damage that has already been done and creating good jobs at home. I am so pleased that Michigan right now is leading in green new jobs in the Midwest. We need to ensure that the United States--not China--is the global leader on advanced transportation technologies like electric and hydrogen vehicles. We need to invest more in renewable energy and the research that is making it more affordable all the time. I realize my time is up. Let me just say, in closing, we can do something about this. We have done this before. When we discovered acid rain about 40 years ago, we put together a market-based program and were able to fix that issue. CFCs, chemicals that break down into chlorine and eat away at the ozone layer--today, that hole in the ozone is closing because of actions we took together. Now is the time to take real action on carbon pollution, agree to these basic principles, and then move forward together on behalf of our children and grandchildren. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Hawaii. Mr. SCHATZ. Mr. President, I got my first taste of politics when I was 16 years old. I was worried that my favorite surf spot was going to be turned into condominiums, so I joined the Save Sandy Beach Coalition. Adults around me told me that I was too young to take action. They told me that the adults had it under control, but I didn't listen. It took several years, but with lots of grassroots energy, the Governor of the State of Hawaii eventually signed legislation that preserved the Sandy Beach coastline for generations. America's proud history of social change is about young people who don't take no for an answer; they take action. Some of the most inspiring movements in our history have been led by young people. They were the ones who first refused to leave their seats in segregated lunch counters, who filled campus squares demanding an end to apartheid, who marched in the streets against police brutality, and staged walkouts to protest gun violence. Once again, young people are standing up because the adults are blowing it. On March 15, tens of thousands of kids walked out of school in hundreds of cities and 130 countries demanding action on climate. This isn't a school project for them. It is a fight for the world they will inhabit. They see what is happening around the world. The climate is changing, and it is getting worse, and we need to take action. In 2017, the United States experienced 16 disasters that cost $1 billion or more: 9.8 million acres burned by wildfire; 30,000 people homeless; 200,000 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey; the Florida Keys devastated by Irma; thousands dead, and an entire island's infrastructure destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The year 2017 set a new record for the cost of extreme weather events. Last year was not better. There were 14 separate disasters that cost $1 billion or more, including the largest, deadliest wildfires that California has ever seen. According to NOAA, the wildfires did more than $40 billion worth of damage. So in these two record-setting years, climate change has cost billions in personal property and taxpayer dollars. And they have cost lives. Now the Midwest is flooding. I don't mean that as a political statement or a rhetorical flourish. The Midwest is [[Page S1962]] flooding. In another once-in-a-lifetime storm, which is happening more and more frequently, the levees and systems built to deal with flooding have failed because they were built for a climate that no longer exists. Communities are underwater, and people are stranded in their homes right now, at this very moment. In Nebraska alone, the damage is already more than $1 billion. Livestock, crops, infrastructure have been destroyed. Soil that is needed not just for this season but for the future has been destroyed. This is the moment at which Congress should be examining the costs of climate change and what to do about it. I have to say something about the senior Senator from Utah. That was appalling. I understand that we want to make jokes and that we want to be clever and that we want to have a clip to put on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, but that was appalling. This is the crisis of our generation, and it is not a joke. He spent time creating images not of what we ought to do--not of his conservative proposals around climate change--but in being consistent with what Leader McConnell wants the Republican Party to do, which is to not engage in the substance and to turn this into a joke. I have to say, on behalf of everybody in Hawaii, on behalf of the young people who care about this, and on behalf of the people across the planet who want climate action, this isn't funny. This requires the party in charge of the U.S. Senate to take it seriously. The good news is, we are starting to have an engagement about climate change. I saw the senior Senator from Tennessee engage a bit and say we should have a Manhattan Project for solving climate change. Good enough. I saw Senator Isakson, 3 or 4 weeks ago, talk about how we ought to take climate action. I also know the chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee cares about this issue. So there is an opportunity for engagement but not so long as Leader McConnell thinks this whole thing is worthy of nothing more than being a joke. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico. Mr. HEINRICH. Mr. President, we don't have any more time to waste on political stunts, on climate denial or, for that matter, on climate ``delay-al.'' Enough with the straw man arguments from my Republican colleagues about hamburgers and ``Sharknado.'' Is that really the best they can do? Climate change is real, and our pollution is causing its devastating impacts. Those are just facts. As an engineer, I am certain our capacity to confront this challenge rests heavily on our ability to make policy that is actually driven by facts, by data, and by the best available science. That science provides us with clear and indisputable evidence that the destructive wildfires, hurricanes, and flooding we have seen are directly linked to human-caused climate change. We are running out of time. It is past time for us to start implementing real solutions to eliminate our carbon pollution and mitigate the most devastating effects of climate change, and we must create a managed transition to an economy that is run on 100 percent clean energy. I encourage us to look to what just happened in my home State of New Mexico to see that this is possible, that it is not pie in the sky. For more than a century, New Mexico has been a major part of our carbon-based economy--from coal, to oil, to gas. Yet, just last week, our new Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, signed into law sweeping legislation to move our State toward being a 100-percent carbon-free power sector by 2045. I am enormously proud of the hard work that has led to there being this landmark legislation. This major transition to clean energy will change our State and our economy for the better. New Mexicans will save money in their monthly bills. Along the way, we will create thousands of new, high-paying jobs across our State, including in the communities that will be impacted by this transition. We are already seeing the massive economic potential of clean energy with the enormous wind farms and solar plants that are coming on line all across our State. Every new project brings new jobs and brings millions--sometimes billions--of dollars of investment. That is the kind of action we need to take in the U.S. Senate. The United States can and must lead the way in this transition. That is why we are challenging Majority Leader McConnell to put an end to the political stunts. Leader McConnell, bring your solutions to the floor. Let's get to work together. I yield the remainder of my time to Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who has been an incredible leader on this issue. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island. Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I will speak very briefly. Rhode Island is a coastal State, and we are now looking at maps that our coastal agency, the local university, and the scientists at NOAA tell us will create a new face of Rhode Island in the decades ahead if we don't address climate change. We turn into an archipelago. We lose enormous amounts of waterfront, and as a small State, frankly, we don't have a lot to give back to the ocean. This is deadly serious for us. I join in my colleague's sense of offense that the other side thinks this is something funny. This is not funny for Rhode Islanders; this is deadly real. You may disagree with us, but the one thing that, I think, we are owed on this subject is sincerity, but there is nothing sincere about the vote that is going to be held on the Green New Deal. This is a vote that will be based on a cartoon version of the Green New Deal that was cooked up by the Koch brothers, who have their oily hands all over this mess, and it was instructed by the fossil fuel mouthpiece of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. It took only days for the majority leader to hop up and do the bidding of these farces. We are owed better than this. If you disagree with our measures, fine. Have one of your own. We have five or six different bills and strategies that we are willing to work on. This is the time to be serious, to be sincere, and to quit mocking a concern that across the board is recognized as real. In fact, there is not a Republican here who can't go to his home State university and be told about the truth of climate change. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts. Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, this afternoon, the Republican leader is bringing the Green New Deal resolution up for a vote on the floor of the Senate. What the Republican leader, however, is not doing is allowing us to have any hearings, any witnesses, any science, any evidence of the massive destruction in our country. Just from fires and flooding over the last 2 years, there has been $400 billion worth of damage. None of that will ever be heard out here. None of it was heard in a committee because the Republican leader is making a sham of this process. This is not the serious process this incredible issue deserves. The United Nations has made it clear that climate change is now an existential threat to our country and to the planet. Notwithstanding the incredible damage that is being done to our planet, the Republicans' concern is that the Green New Deal is an existential threat to the Koch brothers, to ExxonMobil, and to all of those polluting companies that do not want to end business as usual. The Republican leader does not want a hearing at which we will learn that we now have 350,000 people who are in the wind and solar industries and that we have 350,000 blue-collar jobs--electricians, roofers, steelworkers--in our country. The Green New Deal would supercharge that even more to our having millions of clean energy jobs in our country. We can save all of creation by engaging in massive job creation, which is the core of the Green New Deal, and we can do it in a way that ensures we protect people in our country. We have gone now from 80,000 solar jobs to 240,000 solar jobs in just the last 10 years. We have gone from 2,500 all-electric vehicles to 1 million all-electric vehicles in just 10 years. There have been 500,000 new electric vehicles sold this year in the United States--1 year--after only having 2,000 of them sold 10 years ago. We went from 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity to 65,000 megawatts in 2018. That is a revolution in 10 years. We have gone from 25,000 [[Page S1963]] megawatts of wind to 98,000 megawatts of wind in 10 years. That is the revolution the Koch brothers are afraid of, and that is the revolution the polluters want to stop because it is the existential threat to their business model. That is what the fight is all about out here--the Koch brothers v. the Green New Deal. It is one business model against another, and our business model is the job creation engine of this generation for blue-collar jobs. Now, who paid for the Republican study that they all came out on the floor to use? It was paid for by the Koch brothers. They put together what they believe are the costs of the Green New Deal. This was not some private, independent group. The Koch brothers themselves paid for the study that the Republicans have used out here on the floor. The hearings, if the majority leader had ever ordered them to have been conducted, would have just picked out some of the items regarding how much harm had been done to our planet and to our own country in the last 2 years--$24 billion from western wildfires in 2018, $24 billion from Hurricane Michael, $24 billion from Hurricane Florence, $18 billion from western wildfires in 2017, $91 billion from Hurricane Maria, and on and on and on--Hurricane Harvey, $127.5 billion. This is all climate related. We pay the price for this. There is no exempting America from having to pick up the costs. Shouldn't we be investing in job creation? Shouldn't we be investing in this incredible change that is already taking place in our economy? The Green New Deal is not just a resolution; it is a revolution that is taking place across our country. That is why people are rising up all across our country. It is because they know we can do this and because they know this is a job-creation engine that absolutely can create millions of jobs and that can absolutely begin the process of having America, once again, be the leader on this issue. The denier in chief sits in the White House. The denier in chief addressed the United States at the State of the Union for an hour and 20 minutes just 7 weeks ago, but he did not mention climate change and did not mention clean energy jobs. That is why we are in this fight. We are in the fight because, if we don't lead, the rest of the world will not follow. You cannot preach temperance from a barstool. You can't tell China and you can't tell India what to do if you yourself are not leading. We are the United States of America. President Kennedy challenged our country to have a mission to the Moon. He said in his speech at Rice University that we would have to invent new metals, new alloys, and propulsion systems that did not exist. He said we would have to bring that mission safely back from the Moon through heat that was half the intensity of the Sun and get it completed within 10 years. We did that as a nation. We can do this as well. We can deploy these technologies; we can invent new technologies; and we can create millions of jobs within our country because we are bold--because we are a country that can do it. The President is, for all intents and purposes, John F. Kennedy in reverse. He says we can't do it. He says we should not accept this challenge. Ladies and gentlemen, the Green New Deal is our accepting the challenge, and we are looking forward to this debate today and every day until election day of 2020. We are going to inject this issue into the Presidential and congressional races of 2020 in a way that ensures that unlike in 2016, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were not asked a single question about climate change, the candidates will be asked every day about what their plans are. We say to the Republican leader: Do you believe in the science? Do you believe it is an existential threat? If you do, where is your plan? Where is the Republican plan to deal with the science of climate change? If you do not believe it is a threat, then, say it. If you do not believe the science, then, say it. But if you do believe the science, then, all we say to you is this: Where is your plan to deal with this challenge? President Kennedy responded to the challenge of the Soviet Union controlling outer space, and we succeeded. What is the plan of this Republican era to deal with the challenge of climate, an existential threat to our planet? We thank you for your attention. I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. S.J. Res. 9 Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, we shortly will be voting on cloture on a Senate resolution. As I understand it, a Senate resolution in regards to a policy issue is basically trying to express the Senate's collective views on a policy issue without implementing the legislation itself. If we are going to take up such a resolution, we should take up one that can get broad consensus here in the Senate. Although the Green New Deal has support, it certainly will not have consensus in this body at this time. Therefore, I urge the leader to bring up S.J. Res. 9, introduced by my colleague Senator Carper, which deals with climate change with three specific issues that I think all of us should be able to agree on: one, that climate change is real and it is happening; second, that our conduct here on Earth is a major factor in accelerating climate change's activities, leading to the types of extreme weather we have seen around the world; and, third, that it is urgent that we take action to mitigate the impact of climate change. Climate change is real. I represent the State of Maryland, with 3,000 miles of shoreline in my State. I see it in flooding and shoreline erosion. I see the impact it has on the Chesapeake Bay, which is iconic to my State and to our economy. Climate change is having an impact--a negative impact. I see it in communities such as Ellicott City, which experienced two 100-year floods within 20 months, just recently, and cost loss of life and property. I see the impact it has on our environment and on our economy. Clearly, our activities are having a significant impact on accelerating climate change. Carbon emissions, greenhouse gas emissions, and the use of fossil fuels have had an impact on accelerating that. We use too much energy, and we get too much of our energy from sources that are not friendly toward the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. Third is the urgency. An October 2018 report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear that it is urgent that we deal with climate change now and that science tells us that we can reverse the most extreme impact of climate change. We can mitigate the impact of climate change if we take action--if we act now--on this issue. The Trump administration is an outlier in the global community in dealing with the realities of climate change. Every other nation in the world--every other nation in the world--has acknowledged that we need to act as a civilized world, that we need to work together, and that there is no geographical boundary as to dealing with climate change. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change met in December of 2015. I was there with 9 of my colleagues, in Paris, where 195 nations agreed to deal with climate change. I was proud to be part of the U.S. delegation. Now we have left those discussions, and we are alone. This is too important and too urgent of an issue to play partisan games with, and that is exactly what the majority leader is trying to do today. We need to commit to work together, Democrats and Republicans, in the U.S. Senate to restore the U.S. leadership on this key issue, knowing full well that America's full leadership is desperately needed in order to deal with these issues, and we need to make sure that we take action. More than passing a resolution, let's start with legislation that will really make a difference on climate change and commit much stronger to renewable energy, rather than using fossil fuels to the extent that we do today. Let's put a price on carbon to allow the U.S. market economy to figure out the solution for reducing the amount of fossil fuels. Let's commit to conservation in our buildings and the way we [[Page S1964]] deal with auto fuel efficiencies. That type of action will make a real difference and will follow in the best traditions of the U.S. Senate in providing leadership for the United States to work with the global community to solve a global problem. I urge my colleagues: Let's work together on issues to make a difference and stop playing partisan politics. I yield the floor. ____________________