A resolution on the initiative calling for tackling climate change was recently defeated by the Republican-led Senate.
U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., said the Green New Deal would have gotten rid of coal in 10 years.
“It’s an extreme example,” Moore Capito said of the resolution. “(The Democrat presidential candidates in the U.S. Senate) voted ‘present.’ It’s so far out.”
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., presented a slide noting the resolution called for global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and net-zero global emissions by 2050.
The slide, sourced to an initial analysis by the American Action Forum headed by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said the resolution’s estimated cost was $51 trillion to $93 trillion.
“It would be very destructive to our economy,” Roe said of the Green New Deal.
On the Paris climate agreement, which the Trump administration pulled out of, Roe noted: “Here’s the problem. The major polluter, which is China and has more CO2 emissions per metric ton than Canada, Mexico and the United States put together … they were not required to begin to meet (emissions) standards by 2030.”
Lou Hrkman, deputy assistant secretary, Clean Coal and Carbon Management in the U.S. Department of Energy, said the Trump administration is truly committed to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes coal.
“Reliable and cheap energy is a strategic advantage for America’s economy,” Hrkman said.
VCEA Chairman J.P. Richardson, vice president of Operations for Metinvest Group, stressed that the coal industry has seen a tremendous amount of change.
“In 1979, 40 percent of the nation’s energy was derived from coal compared to over 27 percent last year,” Richardson said. “We’ve seen coal-fired generation increase. We’ve seen it decrease … I think everyone would agree it’s been a huge roller coaster ride.”
The conference’s theme was “Embarking on Coal’s New Era.”