The Green New Deal (Executive Session); Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 52
(Senate - March 26, 2019)

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[Pages S1953-S1964]
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                           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

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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

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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

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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.

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