November 14, 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) advocated for the United States to reassert its global leadership on climate issues and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. Senator King’s comments came during a hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee featuring testimony from current Acting Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, nominee to be the Secretary of Energy.
“Senator Barrasso said quote ‘we can’t tackle climate change alone’,” said Senator King, citing comments made moments earlier by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.). “I couldn’t agree with him more. I hope that he’ll urge the President to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord, which is the only ongoing international effort to deal with this issue. A molecule of greenhouse gas which comes from the United States cause as much of a climate problem as one that comes from China, or India or anywhere else in the world. So, I’m going to speak to Senator Barrasso afterwards; I’m delighted he’s taken an interest in this and hope we can get back into our area of global leadership and join the other 197 signatories to the Paris Accord.”
Later in the hearing, Senator King emphasized to Acting Secretary Brouillette the importance of championing the research done at the Department of Energy (DOE):
“I don’t think there’s much more important in what you’re doing … than research,” said Senator King. “And we talked a lot about energy independence and the fracking revolution, which as you know was largely supported by research funds from the Department of Energy…I just want to hear you reassure me that your commitment will be strong and vigorous and forward looking research – whether it’s in the national labs or throughout the department, ARPA-E. These are very important in the national interests in my view.”
Acting Secretary Brouillette responded to Senator King by agreeing on the importance of research in unlocking “next generation” energy solutions in storage and renewables.
A forceful advocate for clean energy solutions wherever they can be found, Senator King is the lead sponsor on a range of bills that encourage energy efficiency such as the Next Generation Grid Resources and Infrastructure Development (GRID) Act to improve energy independence, foster innovation, and leverage federal resources to support a more resilient and modern electric grid. At the beginning of November, he joined the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus. In June, Senator King joined his colleagues to introduce the Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) Act of 2019, to require electricity providers across the country to increase their supply of renewable energy each year – aiming to set a nationwide standard of 50% renewable electricity by 2035. In a May hearing, Senator King highlighted the grave dangers posed by rapidly rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere, and emphasized the importance of global collaboration in order to fully and effectively respond to the threats of climate change. In April, he published a column on Earth Day laying out the ambitious and attainable steps America must take to respond to the challenges of climate change. In February, Senator King took to the Senate floor to urge action on climate change. He strongly opposed the Administration’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement.