Should 'Quibbling' Over Climate Change Stop? Yes, According to This Ranking Republican Senator


March 12 — The U.S. has made progress at addressing climate change, but additional technologies are needed to promote the use of abundant energy resources while combating emissions, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told Bloomberg BNA.

Murkowski, ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the U.S. needed to invest in energy efficiency and energy conservation, and use best practices and new technologies to drive down emissions that contribute to climate change.

“Finding those technologies that allow us to use our abundant energy resources here more cleanly, more efficiently—that's what we should be working on here,” Murkoswki said.

The senator said she did not think it was worth “quibbling” over what percentage of climate change stemmed from human activities, but said the U.S. should seek ways to combat climate change through a “balanced approach” that ensures continued development of its “abundant” energy resources.

“We also know that there are more people on planet Earth than there ever have been and we're putting more things into the air and the water than we ever have in many, many parts of the world,” Murkowski said. “So, let's be responsible in addressing what we're contributing” to climate change.

Murkowski made the comments just days after 31 senators concluded an overnight session to urge action on climate change. No Republican senators participated.

Four Democrats—Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.)—also have called for the development of new coal technologies to help combat emissions that cause climate change.

'Differing Views' Among Republicans

Murkowski said Republicans held “differing views” on what should be done to address emissions. For instance, some have said it is a waste of money for the U.S. to invest in new technologies when developing nations like China and India are responsible for large segments of greenhouse gas emissions.

“I take a different approach,” Murkowski said. “I'm one that is big into self-responsibility. We are a country that consumes a lot. I think that we should be more efficient. I think that we should conserve more. I think that we should lead in that way. I think that we should use the ingenuity and the smarts that we have as an amazing country and use that to develop technologies that not only help the United States but help the world.”

Many Republicans deny that human activities are having an impact on climate change, despite the fact 97 percent of scientists agree climate change is occurring. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), for example, has authored “The Greatest Hoax,” a book about climate change.

Climate Proposals 'Don't Have Legs.'

Agreeing that legislative proposals like a carbon tax and cap-and-trade “don't have legs” in Congress now, Murkowski nevertheless expressed concerns about the effects such proposals would have.

She argued those proposals would result in substantially increased energy costs for the most vulnerable populations, such as rural Alaskans, who have no other options for energy.

“What I don't want to do is put the folks I work for—who are already at a place of energy poverty and energy insecurity—and make them less secure than they are right now,” Murkowski said.


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