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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 16, 2016 3:00pm-5:01pm EST

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the department continually proposed no additional funding for clinch river breeder reactor, but there was a great effort to maintain light water reactor technology and the base nuclear technology or next generation plants. there is no question about it that advanced reactors will have a different fuel cycle and, therefore, require different approaches for both licensing and for waste management. that is a part of the challenge of moving to a new generation of reactors. now, we recommend for the management of this program that we propose, 25 year, $11.9 billion -- $11.6 billion program, the creation of a quasi public corporation created by the congress with a one-time
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appropriation for that long period of a difficult technical task going through several different administrations to pay attention and responsibly execute this program. i notice that the blue ribbon task force that you mentioned that you both support as i understand it of lee hamilton and brent skocroft recommends the same quasi corporation to carry out the waste management part of this challenge. there may be the possibility for having a single as committee staff has suggested to me. quasi public corporation to carry out both the waste management piece and the new reactor development piece. the nrc today only has recent experience with licensing light water reactor plants. that means if you want to proceed to an advanced reactor, the nrc must develop the
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capability to do that licensing carefully. it's going to require more time and more resources for the nrc to do that job. we believe and in our report we discuss -- we had two ex chairs of the nuclear regulatory commission on our task force, a staged approach to licensing of advanced reactors that we believe deserves attention. some developers may choose to construct and license new advanced reactors in other countries, for example, china. i remind those developers and everyone here that the first time one of those plants come back into the united states they will have to go through the whole entire nrc process again. so we will always have the oversight of the nrc prospect. my final point, mr. chairman, has to do with international linkages. for a long, long time a counter proliferation policy of the
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united states where we have been a world leader has been based on the influence we have through our knowledge and our activities in nuclear power technology. as you know, the plants which are going to be built around the world are not going to be in europe, they're not going to be in the united states, they're mainly going to be in china, in india, in russia, in several countries in asia which this will be their first plant. the emirates, turkey, jordan. we all want to make sure that the proliferation resistance of those plants is maintained. we have a national security interest in maintaining our international activities, especially in safety in the future of nuclear power.
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i want to make a concluding remark. the task force completely unanimous in this report. we had a wide range of people with different experience and backgrounds. unanimous. especially unanimous on the point that if the united states does not undertake an initiative like this the nuclear option is not going to be there in 2030. now, that leaves open the broader question, senator feinstein addressed, does a country need this? is it a practical thing that we can do given the fact that we have a changing administration all the time. and there were very widely ranging different views on that. so it's not the case that everybody on our task force believes the country must do exactly this, but we all agree that if you don't do something like this there's no possibility of nuclear power. then there is a set of people that say what is the consequence
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of not having that base low generation? can it all be done with clean power or renewable sources? differences of view on that, too. it depends very heavily as you -- this committee knows on where -- how the grid develops. let me say it again. we give you a program to consider which is in scale and time of dollars -- in the scale of both time and dollars one way of getting possibly a substantially 30% or so cheaper, not zero cost nuclear power in the future. and we raise a warning that if you don't do something like this the country does not have a nuclear option. thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you. >> thanks, dr. deutsch and thanks to you and your committee for your leadership. we will have a round of five-minute questions now and i will begin. just to reiterate, today we
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have, what, 99 reactors or about that. they produce about 20% of all of our electricity. about 60% of our carbon free electricity. i know in the region where i come from the tennessee valley authority expects to have 40% of its electricity from nuclear power within a few years and when combined that with its pollution control equipment on coal and new gas plants it's going to be a very clean lower cost mix of power. you're saying, though, that your committee unanimously agrees that if we don't take some action like the one the committee recommended that by 2030 as a country we won't have the option of having electricity produced by nuclear power? is that what you're saying? >> precisely.
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let me say to you that when i joined the department of energy six or seven nuclear plants were being fielded every year. we had four u.s. manufacturers of reactors, babcock and wilcox, combustion engineering, ge and westinghouse. four competing u.s. firms. that kind of capability is not going to be there in 2030 for sure, no new plants will be built in the united states unless they have a very favorable regulatory findings about managing the market -- the market problems that i mentioned to you. >> so we would lose 20% of our -- what we call our caseload capacity -- of our electricity, which is caseload capacity in this case and about 60% of our carbon free. what is likely to replace that if that were not there?
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>> natural gas. natural gas. but let me point out to you, you, i think, said that how many -- 50 or so plants which are going to reach 80 years of age. >> by 2038. >> i personally do not think it likely that the companies that manage those plants or the nrc are likely to relicense these plants for 60 to 80 years. they are the oldest plants we have. they would require quite a lot of additional investment and without any attention to whether -- not whether their cost of construction is cheaper but if they actually don't have their electricity dispatched for one reason or another, they are not going to be -- they are not going to be there. >> now, to reiterate again, you gave us a recommendation and said unless you do something like the 25-year $11.6 billion program to create advanced reactors we won't have the option. if we did something like that we
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were more likely to have the nuclear option. >> let me pull it back one step further. the first five years we're proposing part one is that our d face, meanwhile you have these advanced light water reactors coming on, they may fit the bill. but they are going to need some help, there is no certainty that that will be there. but there may be someone who comes forward with a light water reactor proposal that's as good as the advanced reactor stuff. we are not married to any particular technology. we want to see the best technology developed. >> and you said that one of the difficulties -- you mentioned five different difficulties in the report, but within of the difficulties is that nuclear power doesn't get credit for being carbon free at a time when many people think carbon free electricity is important. if i heard you right you said that in order to get credit that would be equal to the credit given to wind power, for example, it would be 2.7 cents
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per kilowatt hour. >> roughly. >> roughly. >> the investment tax credit. >> yeah. >> which wind and solar -- and of course as you know as the penetration of wind and solar increases, there is an inter mittensy cost which has to be carried by somebody on the grid one way or the other. that's not included in these -- >> so at the moment taxpayers give wind, for example, a 2.7 cents advantage over nuclear power both of them are equally carbon free. >> yes, and i hope i wouldn't be misunderstood to say i hope we take that away from wind. >> i might do that but i understand you wouldn't. >> my point i want to underscore this carbon free electricity generation is important in the united states and the world and nuclear is an essential piece of that here and elsewhere in the world. >> senator feinstein. >> you know, john, i've known you for a long time.
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it's interesting to me because i look at this so differently. i look at it from the california perspective. i've been to southern california edison three times, seen the reactors. they have a problem with a steam generator, they buy two from a japanese company, they're faulty. they end up having to shut down the plant. they've got 3,300 rods in spent fuel pools. no place to put them. they have a big security force. they've got a plant on a shelf above the pacific with 6 million people living around. then i get a call from tony early of pg & e that they're going to shut down both of their reactors because they believe they can now find cost effective clean energy to replace their
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1,100 megawatts. so i have all this spent fuel sitting in metropolitan areas in an earthquake prone state when the rim of fire is going around the pacific with big quakes, the latest -- >> new zealand. >> yes. 7.8. i don't understand the push for this and the absence of a push to safely secure the waste. and we have tried and he has enormous patience with me and so we have tried year after year to get a pilot waste. we know there are people that want to build is, a waste facility, where some of this waste because even if yucca went
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ahead yucca would be filled and we have 77,000 metric tons of hot waste all over the country. to me until you've got a methodology to properly harbor this waste for the millennium it's ridiculous to talk about any of this because something is going to happen. one day and it's probably on the pacific coast some kind of fukushima is going to happen and all the probabilities of a big quake are up. so i sit here and i listen to this and it's like i'm in a fairy tale that what i see in my state with four of the biggest reactors shut down, waste piling up, it makes no sense to me. and i don't understand why the
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industry doesn't help us push for waste facilities, and they don' don't. >> first of all, again, i want to remind you these are very sensible questions to raise about the -- that's our task was to describe it. you may say just the waste alone, but i want to make some remarks about that. this congress commissioned a group of people under the chairmanship of brent and lee hamilton, in 2012 they came out with a report which was a systematic approach to managing the waste. you know, senator, i have to say i'm old enough to remember kansas and trying to put the waste away and i will tell you that proposal from congressman
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hamilton and general skocroft is an absolutely sound way to in an orderly fashion address all of the concerns that you properly are raising. >> we had hamilton in. we sat there with the chairs of the authorizing committee. we put together a nuclear waste policy for this country which was voluntary, we went through three chairs of the energy committee working on this, oh, from new mexico, bingaman, widen, murkowski, murkowski worked with us all along. we have a bill in there two appropriators, the two authorizers all support and it sits in committee and the nuclear waste industry does nothing to help pass it. why? i mean, i don't understand this. and we see the accidents take
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place. it's a kind of madness to build stuff and not be able to properly dispose of the waste. >> pass the bill. the other thing i want to say -- now, california, i want to turn to california for a minute. if i might say a word about california. >> sure. >> which i know little about except that i have now two grandsons living in palo alto so i have a much bigger interest in their safety. >> right. >> i don't know how california is going to manage without those plants, but i don't think it's so clear that it's going to be cost free. i mean, cost now in a risk sense. so i would say i don't know the head of pg & e but i know a lot of people in california who know a lot about energy. i don't think it's going to be so easy to get that energy. >> all i can say is so far so good. >> so far so good is good and we have to keep at it but i think
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it's not at all clear how it's going to come out. >> well, i guess i plead with the industry to help us get a permanent waste facility and one won't do it and there have to be a number of them. you know, the wip accident which is now costing in the billions of dollars, it's expensive stuff. we deal with the waste, with the plutonium and uranium processing and it's the same kind of thing. it comes in in the hundreds of millions and it grows to the billions of dollars to build these facilities. so somebody like me that sees what's happening in california says, why are we thinking about this if we can't provide the infrastructure to do it right. >> we have to -- we have to be players because there's going to be much bigger problems with these issues in india and china
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and the people that are going to be building these plants will be russian firms, japanese firms, chinese firms. we have to be players in that. >> thank you, senator feinstein. senator feinstein and i are going to figure out how to pass that bill. senator udall. >> thank you so much, mr. chairman. and thank you both for your commitment to this and having this hearing. mr. deutsch, thank you. very interesting testimony up until now and i hope it will continue. 110 nations have ratified the paris climate deal which will demonstrate and initiate a need for nuclear power. here at home more than 360 businesses and investors support the paris climate agreement and a low carbon energy future for the united states. i am very concerned about president-elect trump's statements about withdrawing from the paris agreement. many nuclear companies and supporters recognize the need
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for nuclear energy to meet emission goals, especially in the short term when we need dramatic movement on emissions. won't withdrawing from paris have potentially negative consequences on the future of nuclear power? could you give me a yes or no on that and then you can expand of course. >> i don't think so, senator. >> you don't think so. >> i don't think i can give you a yes or no answer. >> okay. go ahead. >> no. no. no. i don't think -- i don't think it's a question which, you know -- my credentials here are to report on the secretary of energy's advisory board, not to make comments -- >> but the expertise that you have directly reflects on this questio question. >> senator, i'm just not going to be able to be helpful to you on this. i mean, i would go in a completely different direction, but this is not the occasion to address the question of paris or
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now -- they are in -- morocco now, right? that's where they are, secretary monese and secretary kerry, unless they're coming back, they've been planning for cop 22. >> right. right. >> but i'm not the person -- here i'm not the person to ask about this. >> okay. today 20% of the u.s. electricity and as the chairman said 63.3% of our carbon free electricity is produced by approximately 100 light water nuclear reactors, however, many of these plants may be prematurely closing before their 2030 planned retirement. which will result in an increased proportion of energy produced by carbon emitting sources unless other renewables, solar, wind, are able to replace the capacity of these lwrass. what structural or statutory
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changes are needed to ensure that our current nuclear energy fleet remains a part of the u.s.'s carbon free energy grid and what structural or statutory changes are needed to enable nuclear innovation and the modernization of nuclear energy reactors? >> sir, the answer is that there has to be market redesign. in that subject is dealt with in great detail market redesign, some choices, what choices have to be made in the report. i would not have -- you would want to hear me talk about all of them but let me just say that you cannot have the circumstances now with around the country not everywhere, southeast united states is an exception, you cannot have the market you have giving preference to -- in the dispatch of electricity to non-caseload generating plants so that they cannot make money even if they were cheap. so you have to find some solution to that. that has to be done on a state by state basis and it's a very,
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very tough task but otherwise you are going to continue to have more early retirements like happened in california. >> the -- and i want to ask that first question in a little different way. i mean, there are many efforts both at the international level, at the state level and at our national level to push us towards renewable sources of energy. pulling back on those do you think would be a good idea? >> no. >> okay. now, nuclear energy has a production tax credit incentive and has had it for many, many years as you know. however, that credit has now expired and the nuclear industry is preparing to ask congress for new forms of support.
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on the other hand while renewable energy credits were recently extended as you know, they are being phased out and there's no guarantee they will be extended again. rather than congress debating and continuing new technology specific tax credits like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptc would the best path be a renewable price on carbon which would promote all clean energy technologies including nuclear renewables and carbon capture and sequestration? >> you say -- i didn't quite get the last sentence, sir. >> the last is -- and it's a long one so i'm going to go over it again. >> thank you, sir. >> rather than congress debating and continuing new technology-specific tax credits that i mentioned earlier, like the nuclear ptc or renewable ptcs would the best policy be a
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technology neutral price on carbon which would promote all clean energy technologies including nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and sequestration? >> absolutely yes. >> and that's -- >> and i would include in that all the oil and gas drilling things as well which gives subsidies for certain kinds of fossil fuels. the answer is yes. a single carbon charge. how the revenue is spent is critical to how it looks elsewhere, but the answer is yes it would be the most efficient way to do it and that's some members of my task force think that's exactly what should be done. but that's not part of our report because we were asked to frame an initiative not to say balance it with all these things we are now discussing. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator udall. senator shaheen.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman, and that you dr. deutsch for being here and for your work on the report. i have to say i share the issues that you raised in your testimony with respect to the importance of nuclear power as we're addressing our need to reduce carbon emissions not only in the u.s. but throughout the world. i also share your concerns about the importance of american technology when it comes to nuclear safety around the world. i remember talking to one of our engineers from the see better nuclear power plant in new hampshire who relayed to me what he was doing with russia after chernobyl in an efrl so try to address safety there. so i think those are very important and very relevant as we think about our policy. and i'm disappointed, as you've heard from several of the people here that i served on the energy committee under chairman bing
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amman when we produced an energy bill that would have addressed nuclear power in the future that never made it to the floor. we have another bill that's currently being negotiated it's not at all clear if that's going to make it out of congress that also addresses the future of nuclear power in this country. so i think we have not been responsive in the way that we should in order to address the future challenges. in new england 30% of our total electricity is -- comes from nuclear power. so the retirement of nuclear generators is of particular concern. and you recommend significant reforms in the energy and electricity markets to help value the caseload power that's produced by nuclear reactors. i wonder if you could discuss in a little more detail than you did in response to senator udall what those kinds of reforms should look like because as we look at new england's wholesale
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electric operator iso new england i think it's a challenge that we have both now and are looking at in the future. so what kinds of things are you talking about? >> thank you, senator. let me say that i'm not going to do as good a job as i could if i were here with some of my task force members who really specialize more in this than i do. but let me just take the case of illinois where they closed, i think, two reactors because there was no way for them to dispatch the electricity. at night wind will even bid negative prices so that they get dispatched in order to earn the 3 cents or whatever it is per kilowatt hour production payment, production tax credit that they get. so the fact is you have to fix that. you cannot have a situation where some sources of technology get dispatched with a favorable
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rate because of a government subsidy, others don't have the government subsidy, they can't -- if they can't dispatch it, so that's a specific example. many of the states do not acknowledge the kinds of rates that need to be set given whatever dispatch rules they have so that a company can get back its investment over time. that's a negotiation between the regulatory commission and the company, but there is a balance there. it's not being met in many places. every state is different. so some parts of the country like the southeast are much more accommodating. but without market reform of some kind this ain't going to happen. again, here is a situation everybody on the committee is unanimous on this -- on our task force is unanimous. >> well, shuz ferc have a role in this?
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what should their role be in trying to look at this issue? >> i'm going to get myself into trouble but i think, yes, i think ferc should have a much larger role in this. i guess there is a supreme court decision that gives them more ability to get into -- but we have a long jealously guarded history of having local and regional utilities set their own rates on their own basis, but fundamentally this does in my mind require more of a role for ferc, but that's another battle that i'm sure you guys would have to face. >> i'm almost out of time, but i also wanted to raise an issue that we're seeing in new hampshire with the seebrook nuclear power plant because they will come up for relicensing i think in the early 2020s and they have encountered some issues concerning concrete degradation, the asr al can a liesed silica reaction and they have led to concerns about the
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safety of the plant and the relicensing process. so is this something that the committee looking at the future of nuclear power has looked at? are there -- how should we address safety issues like that and -- >> i believe, senator, that you're making exactly the same point that i tried to make earlier. when these plants turn to be 80 -- >> well, this one is not going to be 80. it's a relatively young -- >> as they get to be older questions are going to be raised that new plants would have to conform to and now you have the question about are you willing to make an assessment of the risk and say to them, no, we're not going to relicense you or you have to repair this, and that's going to be done on a case by case bases by the nrc. i don't know the circumstances at seabrook although one time i
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knew it pretty well but i don't know it anymore. those questions in concrete is a big deal. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> dr. deutsch you've been a terrific witness and it's good to have your experience and your straightforwardness here. i think speaking for all of us we thank you and your committee for your time and work and secretary moneese for impan impanelling you. if you have additional comments we would encourage you to send those to us after you leave. i think it's time now to go to the second panel so we will excuse you and ask dr. mckenzie and dr. eisen hour to come forward. dr. eisenhower is the associate laboratory director of nuclear science at oak ridge laboratory and dr. mckenzie senior scientist at national resources defense council.
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dr. eisenhower, we will start with you if we may and i will ask each of you to summarize your testimony in about five minutes, if you will, which will give us time to consider -- to ask questions. and senator feinstein has an important appointment at 4:00 so we will conclude either by then or not long after that. dr. eisenhower. >> thank you, chairman alexander and ranking member feinstein. i am very pleased to participate in this panel today. at oak ridge national laboratory i'm privileged to lead a very talented group of scientists and engineers as we address scientific and technological challenges in both fission and fusion energy, nuclear iso types, nuclear modeling and simulation and nuclear security.
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our nuclear fission r & d efforts include light water reactor sustainability, accident tolerant fuels, used nuclear fuels, modeling and simulation such as the consortium for advanced simulation of light water reactors, materials and extreme environments, manufacturing and maintenance technologies and safety analysis and licensing approaches. this expertise enables broader contributions to nuclear security, safeguards and nonpro liverati liver operation related r & d. we have all familiar with the nuclear cliff which is when the current fleet of plants rapidly retires. so how will we replace that capacity? how can we rapidly innovate and enable affordable and reliable advanced reactor technologies? the united states has historically led nuclear energy
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innovation and i believe that we must continue to do so. development of the next generation of reactors will provide clean secure and affordable energy and will ensure that the u.s. industry is positioned to compete internationally. rapid deployment of advanced nuclear systems requires a science-based design and licensing approach. with contemporary science-based tools and techniques development can be accelerated in laboratory and high performance computing environments and this can also accelerate licensing. materials used in nuclear systems directly affect economics, performance and safety. the opportunity is at hand for a new generation of reactors that will also employ a new generation of materials. we also have the opportunity to see into reactors as never before. modern instrumentation and
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sensing techniques can optimize operations and further enhance safety. predictive modeling and simulation tools provide a new basis for regulatory action and licensing. innovations can be introduced more quickly and designs can evolve on the drawing board. recognizing the challenges ahead we must move forward deliberately to avoid the nuclear cliff. future u.s. policy for nuclear energy will be critical. decisions are needed with specific goals, rapid innovation will be essential and requires collaboration among the national laboratories, industry and universities. we must also leverage existing assets. for example, oak ridge national laboratory has unique facilities such as our research reactor and hot cells for the safe handling, experimentation and analysis of
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nuclear materials. we are working with idaho and argan national laboratories to implement the department of energy's gateway for accelerated innovation in nuclear or gain initiative which is providing easier access to the technical capabilities of the national laboratories. the timelines and economics are a hurdle for new reactor technologies but they can be overcome through approaches such as increased use of modeling and simulation, advanced manufacturing techniques and development of new materials. there is a growing national interest in the deployment of advanced reactors and the associated fuel cycle as evidenced by the number of summits, symposia, workshops, hearings and other events focused on this. such events reflect a collective source of urgency. national laboratories are a
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vital part of meeting the challenges to the few fewer of nuclear power. a sustained r & d program is needed with clear long-term goals, such program will retire technical and regulatory risk, improve economic competitiveness, develop the next generation of scientists and engineers, establish advanced facility capabilities and address the entire fuel cycle. we are prepared to help solve these compelling challenges and we are partnering to enable rapid innovation. together we can succeed in bringing the best of our nation's scientific understanding and engineering capabilities to bear on deploying the next generation of carbon free nuclear energy technologies. thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts with the subcommittee. i request that my written testimony be made a part of the public record and i would be happy to answer your questions.
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>> thanks, dr. eisenhower. dr. mckenzie. welcom welcome. >> chairman alexander, ranking member feinstein and members of the subcommittee thank you for providing the natural resources dispense council nrdc with this opportunity to present our views on the future of nuclear power. nrdc is a national nonprofit organization of scientists, lawyers and environmental advocates with over 2 million members and supporters. nrdc has been engaged with nuclear energy and nuclear weapons since our founding in 1970 and nrdc maintains a nuclear program which i direct. the future of nuclear power in the united states is uncertain and faces significant challenges. as we've heard most reactors will reach the end of their licenses and close in the decades ahead and some are at
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risk of near term shut down. in addition to economic challenges, difficulties for nuclear power arise from safety, security, pro liveration and nuclear waste and the role of nuclear power as a low carbon energy resource is being superceded by advances in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. only four reactors are currently under construction in the united states, four large ap 1,000 reactors in georgia and south carolina. one type of small modular reactor the new scale smr may soon submit a license application to the nrc. so with many nuclear closures and few nuclear builds the future of nuclear energy is now one of decline. today's hearing considers what are called advanced nuclear reactors and how they could impact the future of nuclear power and government support for
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their research and development. to summarize, my written testimony in a few words would be be very cautious on advanced nuclear. first, see what results we get with our current government investment in new nuclear projects, the ap 1,000s, the new scale smr and importantly prioritize unfinished business for nuclear, the waste issue among others. for decades nuclear scientists and engineers have sought to develop advanced nuclear designs that reduce the amount of waste generated, that lower nuclear weapons proliferation risk and improve safety but such benefits from advanced nuclear are still theoretical and importantly there is no evidence that advanced nuclear would be economically competitive in the future. in our testimony nrdc respectfully offers five recommendations for the subcommittee in consideration of
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the government's role in advanced nuclear energy research and development. so i will go through these five recommendations. recommendation one -- and i think this was echoed a lot in today's hearing -- give priority to solving the nuclear waste problem. many thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel must be isolated from people and from the environment for millenia. so our recommendations cite and construct a deep geologic repository using a consent based and science based process before spending money on advanced nuclear. recommendation two, wait on the construction of the ap 1,000s and the new scale smr. assess the lessons learned from these projects for their safety, reliability and cost before looking at an advanced nuclear demonstration plant. recommendation three, consistently apply a nuclear weapons proliferation test to advanced nuclear designs.
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among the energy technology choices for the united states nuclear power is unique in the overlaps between civilian energy technology and nuclear weapons. the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation from nuclear power can attempt to be managed but never eliminated. preventing proliferation is of utmost importance for the future of nuclear energy. recommendation four, consider the full impacts of the nuclear fuel cycle associated with advanced reactors including severe accidents. many aspects of the light water reactor fuel cycle are still not worked out including -- it hasn't come up yet at this hearing but the issue of decommissioning. recommendation five, get clear on the economic competitiveness for advanced nuclear early on. nrdc feels like history should teach us a caution, this was echoed in your opening statement, senator, that funding advanced nuclear research and development for uneconomicel designs can mean taxpayers are then responsible for far greater
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sums in the future. to conclude, if an energy policy goal for subcommittee members is to preserve the nuclear power option in the future, and we hope you maintain a healthy dose of skepticism regarding the benefits promised by advanced nuclear technology concepts that seek taxpayer support. thank you. >> thank you. senator feinstein. >> mr. mckenzie, you know, it's interesting because we have no nuclear waste policy in this country and as such we pile up fines, i think it's $20 million a year, which are in the hundreds of millions of dollars and yet still fail to act. you've looked at this. why does that happen? i mean, why wouldn't the industry want a nuclear waste policy? why wouldn't they want a nuclear
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policy, a process by which this -- we've debated it, we've discussed it and come to the conclusion, you know, that it has to be practical, it has to be voluntary, states have to want it. we have one in new mexico whip, the people of whip around around it want t they take great pride in it. a stupid accident where even the most sophisticated agency loss ala mows who contracts out the kitty litter and they use the wrong kitty litter and it explodes. so it's very hard for some of us to conceive of a future that's properly carried out and now that these smrs are being proposed i am told that the only way they're cost -- they're
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economically cost efficient is if they're grouped together. so if you're going to put four 300 or 400 mega watt reactors in one place you still have to deal with the waste. how do you do that? so i guess i've really developed a very jaundiced view about the practicality in this country and the ability -- i mean, i was alerted by what senator shaheen said about the concrete, and without going into it, john deutsch said that's a serious problem. now i will look and find out exactly what it is. so if either of you have some comments to make because i think our first responsibility is safety to the public is to see that these things are secure, that the waste is secure, that
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they are as functional and efficient and well-built as they possibly can be, cited appropriately, run scrupulously and that's difficult to have happen and so it doesn't surprise me that people coming up -- or companies coming up for relicensing may opt not to go ahe ahead. >> if i could be very candid on why i think industry hasn't supported a nuclear waste solution in a vigorous way, i think it would be because the current waste situation is consistent with the industry's business model. storage of spent nuclear fuel mostly in wet pools, some in dry cask at reactor site, that's fine with the business model.
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nrdc objects to the nrc finding that long-term storage of spent nuclear fuel in wet pools, in densely packed wet pools doesn't represent an incredible danger, an incredible risk. i think that is tolerated by the regularity. so there just is inertia in the industry. >> i think and somebody correct me if i'm wrong but i believe you store them for five to seven years and then they should be removed from the spent fuel pool and they should be put in dry casks hopefully transportation-related dry casks so that they can be moved then to a permanent waste facility which we don't have. and so in my -- i can only speak for california which i know these things are just stacking up and, you know, there is a very real danger in spent fuel pools. if the water disappears, if the pool is fragmented by an earthquake and you have all these hot rods, 3,300 piled up,
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it's a big problem. so -- but no one seems to care. that's what really bothers me. nobody seems to care. >> it's a very difficult problem. the nrdc advocates for a consent-based and science-based approach on repositories that also includes authority at the state level for regulating radioactive materials. that's not there, that is a component of whip and we believe why whip was able to go forward in the first place, but we believe that state authority in regulating radioactive materials with respect to a repository is a key element to include. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator feinstein. thanks to both of you. i will have a few -- just a couple of comments. i would not want people to leave this hearing without a different view being expressed about the
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safety of nuclear power. there has never been a death in connection with the commercial operation of nuclear reactors in the united states since they began. there has never been a death attributable to reactors in the navy since the 1950s when they began. the only most celebrated accident we had in the united states was three mile island in 1979 and despite years of testing of everybody in the area no one was hurt. so based on the safety record, no other form of energy has a better safety record and the nuclear regulatory commission which has extensive careful regulation has determined that the used fuel is safely stored for many years in the places where it -- where it is, which is on -- which is on site. and, you know, i agree that we need to move it and i would like
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to get it out of california, too, but we have a place to put it and the place is yucca mountain in nevada and the law says that's where it should go and the courts law says that's should go. the courts say that's where it is. and it is large enough to accept is all the used nuclear fuel that we have stored on site in the united states today. we have a stalemate in congress. the reason we haven't passed the legislation senator feinstein and i would like to is because we take a position we should move on all tracks at once. if we get stuck on one, namely yucca, we should continue to on the others. some say, well, if you don't move on yuck ya, you're not
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going to move on anything. we have to solve that. the help of others would support our position. that's true. that's our responsibility to work out. we're going to continue to try to do that. >> tkrf eisenhower, do you think the goal is achievable is and if so, what do you think it will take to accomplish it? >> yes, sir, i do think that is achievable. i like history also, as senator feinstein said. when i drive into the national laboratory, i drive past the graphite reactor. that's a lesson in history of what this country can do. a reactor that was built in nine months and went critical in november 1943.
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that just reminds me what we can do when we decide to do something. the question is how do we do it. we have to decide we're going to do some. we have to set clear goals. we have to have focused effort, focused rnd that will help move us along the way. and it will take a public/private partnership to do this. the final element is along the way we have to continue to work to have the appropriate regulatory framework in place. >> dr. eisenhower, you talked about the work you're doing modeling simulations. as we talk about take thing it
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from 40 years to 60 years or some of the existing reactors from 60 years to 80 years, the regulatory commission is considering, how can the super computers you work with help with whether it is safe and appropriate to do that at all? >> one example is the consortium for advanced simulation. it has developed a high fidelity model of a nuclear model. so we're able to understand that very clearly what's happening with the reactor and as changes occur. so it is the use of advanced model simulation, coupled with experimental data to help inform the basis for moving forward for life extension. >> dr. mckenzie, you worked for
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a well recognized group, the natural resources defense counsel. i would assume you and the council are concerned about climate change. >> yes, sir. >> it was unanimous if we didn't take action by 2030 we wouldn't have nuclear power in the united states. we would lose 20% of our electricity. do you think that helps us deal with climate change? >> it will be more like a ramp down in power. >> this testimony was we hadn't acted by to 2030, the option would be gone. which i mean i guess by then we wouldn't have a way to continue
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it. over the next 20 years, the rest of the reactors close. >> addressing climate change is a critical problem that requires a transformation in how our country and how the world generates and consumes energy. in the united states right now we have a mix -- >> wait a minute. do you think that its helps to lose the nuclear option by 2030, as the task force said. today the it produces 20% of our carbon free electricity. >> but it has an uncertain future. >> how much does wind power produce?
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>> energy efficiency is really made incredible advances and showing itself as a lower cost option than nuclear for addressing climate change. >> so you would be comfortable with losing the nuclear option in terms the of our country's ability to deal with climate change? >> i am uncomfortable with unsolved problems. i believe that pragmatically nuclear will continue at a lower level into the future. i don't imagine it vanishing. we have the four ap reactors under construction. so i think a scenario in which everything is gone and by 2030 is perhaps too negative for nuclear energy. but i'm skeptic that it can continue at its current level. >> what would replace it? >> well, the department of energy's own national laboratories have seen a
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scenario where renewable energy can be the dom source of clean energy. >> meaning wind mills? >> solar, wind. >> today is less than 1% of our electricity. >> that's correct. >> and wind is about 3% or 4%? >> but the recent growth has been extraordinary. and that trend, we believe, will continue. >> and the wind is available when the wind blows and the solar is available when the sun shines? >> there is an issue of base load versus nonbase load generation to contend with. i would say the transmission grid is evolving in time and change anything time and adapting to variable generation and there will be advances in storage. i think it will play a role in the future.
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i'm not sure how large. >> so you do agree finding a way to store used nuclear fuel, i believe was your testimony, is urgent? >> absolutely. >> so you support yucca mountain? >> no. >> why not? the court says the law said that and the scientists say it's safe for a million years. >> the process of restarting the project would begin with the license application. and the resolving over 200 contentions, new and significant information that may necessitate starting from scratch in terms of the license. >> so you think we can open another repository for rapidly than we can complete yucca mountain? >> we believe yucca mountain will likely fail. so we do need to go back to
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basics. >>. >> it would fail because groups like yours don't support and the scientists say it's safe for a million years and the law said do it. >> we don't believe we should be able to get through the licensing process. we are not privy to the licensing process. modifications would enable it to store more fuel and titanium drip shields. yucca mountain is large enough to hold all the nuclear fuel that is currently stored under reactors. you disagree with that? >> i don't disagree with that. if you're talking about the 77,000 tons that are stored currently. but the united states will generate, again, as much between now and mid century.
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>> right. so my view is we should open yucca mountain, move the fuel out of california, other places where it is and open new repositories, maybe a private repository, and solve our stalemate. in any event, we have had a terrific wide range of use here today both from the senators and expert witnesses, dr. mczhi, dr. eisenhower, thank you so much for being part of our discussion. the hearing record will will remain open five days. all statements will be included in the record. the subcommittee requested all responses be provided 30 days within receipt. if either of you have something you would like us to consider that you didn't have a chance to say today or when you go home you wish you had send, send it
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to us and we will distribute it to the other senators. thank you very much for being here. the subcommittee stands adjourned.
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obviously one solves the stalemate. the second is to the tree carbon
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free producing energy sources equally, either with no subsidy or the same subsidy. and then regulation. >> but can you do that under an administration that doesn't see climate change as a threat? >> climate change isn't the only reason for nuclear power. it produces reliable power 95% of the time at a low cost that will help attract jobs. as soon as japan and germany started closing power plants, manufacturers started looking at the tennessee valley to build their plants. electricity prices in germany have gone through the roof because they have closed their nuclear power plants. and for a big manufacturing country, if you want to create jobs, you don't need power just when the sun shines and the wind blows. you need it all the time. >> would you support a carbon
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tax or technology neutral tax? >> i'm not ready to do that. i do want to see nuclear power treated equally with every other form of carbon free electricity, particularly since it produces reliable base load power and 60% of all the power we have. i'm glad to see that some of those who care the most about climate change like senator brighthouse have come around to the position that it makes no sense to close nuclear reactors since climate change is caused by carbon and nuclear power plants producing 60% of our carbon free electricity. i think one of the reports was nuclear doesn't get enough credit for being a carbon free source of electricity. maybe these hearings will help. thank you. >> thank you.
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>> tonight hillary clinton is scheduled to her first public appearance since losing last week's presidential election. she's being honored by the children's defense fund, and that gets under way live at 8:00 eastern on c-span2. also tonight the national book awards taking place in new york city and hosted by comedian larry wilmore. our cameras are there, and we'll show you the event sunday 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2's book tv. this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday night at 8:00 eastern on lectures and history. >> the only essential difference
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between a nazi mob hunting down jews and american men burping down black men one is encouraged by its national government and one is tolerated by its national government. at 10:00, on reel america, a 1968 film on the black panthers founded by huey new ton and bobby seal. >> it apparent that the police were there not for our sutter but for the business owners in the community and also to see the status quo in kept intact. >> sunday afternoon 4:30 eastern, archaeologist dean snow on his findings on the revolutionary battle field saratoga and inspiration of his book 1777. >> what was a little old lady doing out there?
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she was about 5'0 tall, 60 years old and she was a battle casualtity at saratoga. what's going on here? >> and on american artifacts, 6:00 p.m.. >> they put you in a blaireo with a wing and you would literally hop up and down the field. you talk to your instructor on the ground. they pat you on the shoulder. you get in the airplane and make your first solo flight. >> pilot robert boone powell takes us on a visit to the military museum to learn about advances in aviation technology during those wars. for complete american history tv schedule go to >> i've always been a great
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admirer of america as a student of american history. and particularly the history of its africa descendant people. >> sunday night on q&a, author ndibe talks about his memory or. ♪ never look an american in the eye." >> my uncle formed this impression from watching cinema, westerns specifically, where the cowboys would gather together in a bar and exchange a few words. and we never understood what they were saying. then at one point they would stare each other down and started shooting. so he determined that that is what americans would on do to you, shoot you, if you looked them in the eye. . sunday night on after words, author maliaby talks about allen
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greenspan in "the man who knew." >> allen greenspan had an unusual upbringing, raised in the 1930s, he was the child of a single mum. his father left when allen was 3. he was a distant figure. sometimes he would come say he would come and see his son and not show up. that forced a tendency i think to live inside his own head. >> go to the book tv dot the org for the complete schedule. jonathan pershing for climate change joined the atlantic council on the paris agreement and the next generation of climate change
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policies. this runs just over an hour. okay. i think we can begin. good morning, everyone. although maybe it's afternoon by now. i guess good afternoon, everyone. and welcome to the atlantic council and the energy center here. and i'm very pleased to welcome all of you here today for the conversation with special envoy for climate change, jonathan pershing. and he will be talk thing about the upcoming conference parties or cop 20 in marrakesh, morocco.
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and we're really proud to have special envoy pershing as a venue to deliver his remarks as to what our priorities are with respect to marrakesh. we were very proud last year that secretary kerry came and spoke prior to paris. and we are doing more and more all the time in the climate change area. and it is is certainly a priority for the global energy center. just last week we launched a paper with a program by bob icord over there on energy transformation in developing countries after cop 21, which will be i think -- is an incredibly important topic with respect to implementation issues and will be carrying on with
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further programs in that vane. it's also especially significant that october 5th the european parliament ratified the paris agreement which gave approvals over the 50% threshold which will go into effect the 4th of november. so the cop 22 meeting will be the first meeting of signatories for the ratified agreement and to talk about what is absolutely key how are the commitments going to be implemented. obviously that's going to be the key to success. i would say briefly if you have the bioof dr. pershing and obviously a distinguished career before his present position at
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the department of energy. and before that deputy special envoy for climate change. he's had a five-year career at iea as part of their head of environmental division and has done other things you can read in the biography. so nobody knows more about this stuff than jonathan pershing. and also of course the moderator of the discussion, the "new york times" correspondent, coral davenport, climate and expertise came as a fellow from the metcalf and has covered energy and environment for national journal, politico and the "new york times". so looking forward to this conversation. thank both of you for being here today i want to remind everybody that today's discussion is on
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the record. it is streaming live. you can join the conversation on twitter at ac global energy. and the hashtag ac energy. so with that, jonathan. the floor is yours. >> thank you very much. thank you for hosting me here. atlantic council is a pleasure to be here. i can't fill the illustrious shoes of secretary kerry. stay tuned for a somewhat less high-level imminent position. it is interesting to start with a story that frames the issue. i chose one that is relevant to me.
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people have commuted on the 1, the n, the r line. 15 million gallons of saltwater poured in from the new york harbor, mixed with debris, destroyed the station's power system. the storm submerged under 80 feet, recking every mechanical system. we were there in october of 2012. not very long ago. neither of the tunnels were entirely flooded unable to withstand the 14 foot storm surge. one station will top $631
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million. the metropolitan transit authority and the local and federal officials have been stalling flood covers on all the opening. 540 in six stations in lower manhattan. new york wasn't built with superstorm sandy in mind. although new york is better prepared for any city in the memory his fear. it has devoted millions of dollars to bolster resilience to the the 100 year flood. at the end of the day, sandy represented a 107-year event. when it arrived, every vulnerability was laid there. scientists at nkarsay it is probably to blame and war seas played a role in amping up superstorm sandy. it means that sandy's surges were able to watch further inland. so here is the framework. here's the young, here is
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climate change impact. take the spread of the zika virus. mosquitos for the spread of west nile, malaria, denge, can't tolerate winters. these events aren't contained exclusively in the united states. they aren't even in our borders. i talked about the impacts of climate change with their environment list. one of the things they have talked about is the threat that is being developed by boca that
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ram. many of course are following the events. and there's also a second threat that you're probably less aware of, a conflict between the farmers and the land ranchers in the community. in both cases, drought is the culprit. in the northern part of the country where boca that ram is it led to a failure of existence and that is driving recruits to the boca that ram. the same droughts have forced cattle ranchers onto farms. one end, crop is drying up and there is less availability. the grazing land is drying up and there's less availability and they are crossing border. they have been made noticeably worse by climate change. they will be worse still as warming continues. the global effects are no less
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daunting. 15 of 16 of the warmest years on record have occurred since 2001. arctic ice sheet has hit new lows not only had rapid warming but an accelerator of that warming. ice and snow cover that used to reflect heat back into space disappear. sea level has risen an average of nine inches the last century and the pace is accelerating. hurricane intensity and energy has increased by 70% just in recent decades. our oceans have warmed a half a degree celsius per decade in the last three months. these are extraordinary statistics. no single nation no matter how
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the determination manifests can turn back these global forces on its own. driven by this threat the global community has begun to rise to the challenge, although unfortunately not a moment too soon. 195 countries came together in the suburbs of paris in search of common ground to help solve this problem. and by any measure, they clearly succeeded. i can't claim credit for paris. that is my predecessor todd stern he was following a very strong lead provided by president obama and secretary kerry to whom in my view we owe an enormous debt of gratitude for having moved this down our agenda with that kind of power.
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start at the beginning of the u.n. negotiations way back in the early 1990s. i was present the first meeting of the u.n. it was convened outside washington, d.c. didn't attract very many people. a small number of scientists. no organization touting programs and their climate-friendly credentials. it did establish a forum for further negotiations. . the first negotiation done underneath the office of the u.n. convention concluded in 1997.
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12 years later the copenhagen cord succeeded in a much wider array for developed and developing countries for the first time. that represented a major break through and one that was a precursor for the paris agreement. but it ended chaotically. fast forward to the 21st session of the parties to the you know convention. the french-led session brought 50 thousand attendees. presidents, prime ministers, and ceos all competed and tried to outdo each other with sweeping of new and renewed action to climate change. and in paris, we adopted for the first time a strong durable agreement known to all nations and it is a foundation which can build successfully. first and foremost, the paris group relies on national climate
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goals. those are known as nationally determined contributions to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. the most recent count 186 nations. india pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 40% and a commitment to build 100 gig watts of solar power by 2030. eu, they set for themselves a target of 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. the united states, a goal of cutting emissions 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. each different, each significant. and the smaller countries as well, small ones in many cases have even more impressive
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targets. kocosta rica have pledged to reduce net emission toss zero. and a number of countries called for complete elimination. all of that enshrined in contributions announced in the run-up to paris. but the universality, the comprehensiveness of coverage in the first in the an als of climate talks. never before have we had this kind of participation. of course it was clear the pledges, for it to work, they had to have confidence they would meet their own commitments and there would be therefore progress. you had to have monitoring and a robust system to verify these goals. this is the system that was enshrined and negotiations led to. it has layers of accountability, review mechanisms to match countries words with their deeds.
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as we work toward the goal of limiting warming. so that's the framework we adopt. second, we had an agreement to ratchet up emissions over time. we need to continue to go forward. the announced numbers would not keep us below 2 degrees warming. to that end, it calls for revisiting national pledges every five years. as countries achieve their targets, costs come down, we anticipate they will make stronger and stronger pledges going forward. and finally, the agreement doesn't just lay out a process forsetting and revising individual national contributions, it provides assistance and help for countries to meet their targets. it helps developing nations invest in infrastructure, in technology, and the science needed to meet their goals and to help vulnerable countries become more resilient in the face of certain climate impacts.
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national climate targets. strong accountability system, a system to track targets, renewing updates of target over time, and framework to help support the low carbon transition and help vulnerable countries respond to climate change. now that the community has taken the step of adopting the agreement we're faced with the task of implementing it. already we're beginning to see this happen. in the u.s., we're hard at work at implementing our own climate contribution. we developed and hope to soon be implementing the clean power plan to reduce emissions from the industrial power plants. it is is worth noting while legal changes are moving their way through the court system, we
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are confident that it remains on solid legal footing and will soon begin to bend the curve from electricity generation. meanwhile, since paris, congress has actually passed laws providing support for renewable energy. they have led to the rapid update of power. taken together, they all represent unprecedent theed whole of government approach to addressing climate change and the effects are already apparent. wind and solar accounted for two-thirds of all electric generating capacity stalled in the u.s. in 2015. this is according to the department of energy, a pretty reliable source is. last year, wind power produced 41%. in 2015, 74,000 megawatts power deployed in 41 states the, enough to power 17 million households. u.s. collar now employs more people than coal.
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178 new jobs was in the solar arena. we're also in the process of developing technical projections to the longer term, not stopping in 2025 but looking out beyond that. how can we squeeze the vast amount by 2050, mid century strategies. the pathways we lay out and we plan to release in a couple weeks will detail a very low emission economy that lets us play our part in helping to achieve our long-term global target. but the dramatic shift i have outlined are not limited to the united states. china by itself announced plans to generate 150 to 200 gig watts
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using solar power by 2020. that's four times their previous target. and. china wants to lift to 250 gig watts that same year. an extraordinary commitment. these numbers are simply enormous. can tkarbgs our neighbor to the north, the prime minister announced early october, our largest trade partner, would establish a carbon tax at $10 a ton canadian and rising $10 per year the neck five years. significant commitment. and over the course of the last month, in montreal, we passed in october the international civil aviation organization adopted an agreement in establish be a global market mechanism for international civil aircraft. for the first time asking them to offset their emissions.
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this is a sector excluded not only from the original convention but from every climate agreement since. if international aation was a country it would be among the top dozen emitters in the world. and it's growing very quickly. this is a big deal. then a couple weeks later, a week and a half ago we finished another break through. at a meeting of the parties in rwanda where nearly 200 countries agreed to phase down their carbons. while these gases current account for a few percent of global emissions in the absence of any agreement. and perhaps most significantly of all on october 4th, as was noted earlier, we passed the threshold for entry and force of the paris agreement. 55 countries representing at
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least 55% of global emissions. and those numbers continue to grow. entry into force means we can expect parties to follow through on what they said they would do and abide by the provisions of the agreement. as i've already outlined, these provisions are critical for putting us on a trajectory to meeting our common goals for ramping up global ambition over time in a transparent and accountable manner. and make sure efforts reflect only one part of our agenda. a second is in the arena of mobilizing climate finance. the climate pledges made to date and announced a lead up to paris would yield a $7.4 trillion investment in renewable energy in the next two decades. 7.4 trillion the next two decades. they don't understand how these
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involve pipelines. their dollars are currently sidelined while they wait for more aggressive in the market and create a template for action. if we can attract those inactive funds from the banking sector, it could trigger a new flood of investment in this economy. one-third of all developed interest rate. the bond members are paying to hold $7 trillion worth of their money. it is is an astonishing capital environment. there is a need for broad based to liberate and free some of this unused capital. they have pledged to immobilize $100 million in low finance on an annual basis by 2020.
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new analysis just released shows that we are on a trajectory to meet that pledge. we know they will need more support in the future. we know public money will ever come close to the level required to meet the challenge. the green climate fund set up in support action called for in the paris agreement is using both debt and insurance to minimize risk and private capital. the world bank, regional developed, the bilateral development, aid agencies are on a similar pathway. seeking to strategically deploy public funds to increase leverage and incentivize more private sector investments. finally, in addition to the finance, in addition to the litigation, our implementation pathway has to encompass a major effort to build resilience and adopt to the unavoidable climate we already face. and it will many more severe as
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we move to higher temperatures. even if we were able to halt the rise at 1.5 degrees celsius. 2% of the world's population is one meter or less above sea level. they will rise as much of this or more by the end of the century. that means 150 million people will need to move. and to frame that there are currently 65 people left in the my grant pool to syria, afghanistan, places currently exposed to conflict and persecution. just sea level, not the other cultural impacts. just the sea level rise. more than current the level.
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with we have to build resilience. they are ahead of the curve. they have capacity. very few others are still in that same place. not only for their human impact but the disease of productivity. we need climate reis sill kwrepbt planning for a climb resilient economy. it runs from november 7th to the 18th. i earlier put out and provided some information on the progress we have made to date in paris, the montreal protocol. one of the consequences of this is the first meeting the paris agreement will occur in marrakesh. i anticipate that the session will therefore endorse an accelerated timetable for the paris agreement. we initially thought it would take a number of years for this to happen. it's gone much more quickly.
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so we are accelerating the timetable. by the rapid completion of national efforts to join means we need to merge our technical experts to keep pace and accelerate. but we also need to guard against the renegotiation of paris and the parlance of these negotiations we do not want any back. it governs the agreement. in our view, we have moved beyond the world, by fur indicated world in which developed and developing countries are in two buckets. we need to move beyond that. increasingly, they are becoming broader in scope. they are getting beyond the negotiation toss include a wide array of activities by businesses, civil society, from countries around the globe. it offers a high profile venue for spotlighting what really works in the world in
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temperatures of technology and policy so we can all learn key lessons and deploy them with all possible speed. ceos, mayors, governorsment not just environment ministers or climate ministers but also foreign ministers. this is energy and agriculture, finance. and the media and through them the public at large. so i invite is all of you to think about how we can do this most effectively. the grand challenge presented by climate demands continue engagement across the board. we know in spite of the difficulties in making the transition to a low carbon economy, the opportunities it presents are enormous. we know that the risks of failing to address climate change are actually intenable. simply put, it is not a choice. action comes with the knowledgeable upside potential while inaction carries with it a terrible down side risk. we now have definitive proof in
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the united states that we can lower while simultaneousously growing our economy. between 2000 and 2014, u.s. emissions have fallen 6% while the economy has grown 28%. and it's not just true here at home. for the second year in a row, global gdp grew. and emissions stayed flat. we have made a significant is and historical level of progress this year. we had a chance to mark further successes as we work to implement the agreement to build new rules for transparency, adaptation, for a whole host of other items. i grew up in new york. most of us don't live there. we don't use their subway
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systems. but the threats that manhattan faces are common to the all of us, to everyone around the world. we can't freeze time and halt all impacts of climate change. we have a nymph to marshall our will and to do something and do it now. it is called action. at the end of the day it's a call to action the world needs to heed. i look forward to the conversation. thanks very much. [ applause ]. >> thank you so much. we'll start now -- we'll turn to a q&a. i'll ask some follow-up questions about some of the issues that you raised. and then we'll turn to the audience. if you want to be thinking about your questions, we'll go in about 10 or 15 minutes. you mentioned that in recent
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weeks there has been this really surprising, unprecedented trifecta of developments in the international climate community space, paris entering into force, the qaa gallie amendment on high potency greenhouse, and the global aviation community agreeing to the a cap and trade program. at the same time, no one you is looking at these three developments says this is enough to solve the problem. all of them have come under criticism. paris has entered into force. but there still aren't legal enforcements or teeth or sanctions if countries choose not to follow through on their pledges. criticism of the aviation agreement, a lot of that was written by the airlines themselves. it has been criticized as business as usual.
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qaa gallie agreement got a lot of praise but was not as strong, certainly not as the united states would have wanted. talk about that. there's this real political momentum. the substance doesn't necessarily meet up. >> thanks very much. as we look at this set of problems, we have to think about it in two context thes. the first is where we are today and what we can do. what do politics lend themselves to. what are the other issues we're grappling with. the second is where do we want to be in 50, 75, 100 years in terms of reduction strategies. the second is easy. you can make magic happen somewhere 50 years from now and say emissions will miraculously shut down. we have to get there and that requires a collective set of actors to engage. let's take a look at each of the three arenas. aviation sector is looking for alternative ways to reduce
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greenhouse gas emissions. biofuels to replace jet a. but it is a small share of the market. the question is, do you accelerate that? one of the waysis having a price. you have a price, put in regulation and allowing a tradeable permit structure. is it a price that we want to use to drive airlines out of business? of course not. sit a price you want to use to drive a change in behavior. so is it has to be slow enough to allow the market to keep pace and not to change the structure but fast enough to keep us in the range where we want to go. this was the model and the balance we could seek. of course it involves the aviation sector. if we had them out we would be no better off than if we had no agreement. the second one, montreal protocols. this has the support of the community that is equally involved in the uses of these
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gases. hydroflora, used for chillers, the whole conversation on your car in the summer. do you want to phase them out tomorrow? no. we don't have replacements. do you want to create a process in which there is a steady indication to the market that they need to develop alternatives. there is a clear signal, a clear timetable. they move much more aggressively than in the absence of the agreement. at the end of the day, they lead to a fundamental shift of what's happening. we had an agreement in the refrigeration community. and the environmental agency. they want to move faster. air guys want to move slower. in all of these cases i think we are in a place you have to think through how do you do the next possible step. too often in the environmental community we look for the perfect. i think what we now have is the very, very good. it's not a bad place to start.
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because in the absence we take no action instead of what i think of as strong action. >> you talked about one of the key pieces of the paris agreement of the broader framework is transparency. is the idea that all these countries have put forth the pledges. the only way this is going to work is if there is monitoring, reporting, verification. if we can really trust that countries are doing what they say that they will too. but the paris accord itself really lacks specifics on how that is going to happen. you know, at the time there was a sort of sense, well, we will put that language in and figure out what it is going to look like later. in the broad international community, there is a really divergence of ideas what that means. will it be an outside body, international agency that has the authority to drop in and, you know, do surprise inspections in will it be self
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reporting by governance? this is an open question. talk about that. talk about what needs to happen. >> thanks. i think this is a question a lot of people are asking. i think it is is very well framed and important to understand. we don't have environmental agreements. the black helicopters don't exist. so what we have instead is a structure that relies on international community. that's a robust structure. i don't know how many of you have followed court cases around domestic compliance but there are real conscious consequences to those in noncompliance. you have the monitoring phase. then you end up with court cases, huge fines, jail time the. those are domestic and national imposes. so the strength is in many ways predicated on the willingness of countries to adopt the programs and policies that lead to
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implementation. we do have pretty good indicators today that countries have begun to put those in place. so far from it being a structure in which we wait out here for a decade or two decades whether people will comply, we look at laws imposed in china, india, brazil, costa rica, in the united states in which compliance is now being promoted. take a look at the alternative, i think, there are a series of noncompliance. the only country to ever go through it was canada. canada didn't want to comply and essentially decided to withdraw. there is a process where there are not these kind of consequences that canada is, in the u.s. is in. that is a much, much better outcome. it doesn't appear to have much less force. it appears from our current indicators that we will meet these. countries are on trajectories to implement their targets.
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they have put in policies for individual actors to take them on. that shift in the model is what made it possible for the countries to join. so far suggests that countries will meet their objectives. >> in terms of countries meeting their on objectives, the united states under paris will lower emissions 25% to 28% from 2005 levels by 2025. but there is a lot of analysis showing right now it is not clear even given the clean power plan, even given the obama regulations that it will necessarily get there especially since, as you pointed out, the clean power plan is still under litigation. one outcome even upheld is it could have slower timetable for implementation. so given that you know the -- under the obama administration, the u.s. is probably going to struggle to meet the mpc it has put forth under the structure of
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the paris plan in 2020, the u.s., along with everyone else, has to go back to the table and offer an even stronger plan. what specifically does the next administration need to do to ensure that the u.s. can meet the pledges under the obama administration and significantly strike them? >> again, if i had a crystal ball, it would be fabulous. the dynamics are a little opaque. we don't know what the next administration will be. we will look at the expectations put in motion in the course of this agreement. so the first thing is to think about the forces that are independent to policy. there are a number of things happening in the united states energy sector drive emissions inspectly. congress passed a five-year extension to the tax credits and tax credit removals. and between now and 2025, the consequences are those likely to
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mean the clean power plan won't not support, which means i will get continued reductions and penetration because of these supports. but it goes even beyond price decline in the marketplace that is pronounced. part of that has been helped by significant investments in r & d made by the government, made by the private sector. part of it has been helped by a change in price globally. the cost of solar panels have come down more than ten times in the last decade. an extraordinary change in the system. so people expect now with the support that congress has passed, and by the way, passed after paris, congress has passed, you can install solar cheaper than gas. should sustain those, so the next administration needs to think about additional actions it can take. 26 to 27% we've committed ourselves to is within grasp.
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you can't let up on the accelerator, keep pushing them forward. the next generation between 2025 is harder. there, we have to think about a variety of things. we've put some in motion ourselves, when the secretary of energy has done along with a group of private sector investors has to double the r & d we're spending now on clean energy. we are ourselves have been joined by the 20 r & d mission innovation. india, germany, what we've seen in their budget, they're doing the doubling over this five-year period. they're come pli meanted byplemf coalition called the break through coalition, organized by bill gates has committed itself to put in its own money in the outputs from those research programs. so here is the beginning of a longer term strategy. one of the things the paris agreement also calls for and i
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mentioned briefly in my comments, also calls for is the development of a mid century strategy. how do you think about the period through 2050? couple of things. what do you believe about the opportunity for clean energy. is it going to be nuclear power? how do you think about the price of solar? all of those could be factored in, and you can look where you'll head. on transport, do you think it will be leelectrication. what about buildings, you can actually go into a number of buildings today in washington that are net zero buildings, not many, only a handful, but they are certainly attractive and tenants are charged a premium for renting them. we have in portland, austin, texas, beijing, this is a different vision for the world that is part of that future. can we invest in those things, not just federal, local. those are state.
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those are corporate. those are investments made by ngos. that dynamic will play out in a fundamental way to drive us to a 2050 horizon, not the 2026 that we're shooting for in 2025. >> a lot of the international climate change discussions tend to revolve around the u.s., india, china, eu. in all these cases, these are biggy mitters, they may be questions on whether they can reduce as quickly as they said they will. the leaders of those entities have come to the table at least politically that we have the will to do this. the fifth largest, and an important player in this space, is russia. russia is a petro state. it depends on production of sales of fossil fuels for it's con me. and vladimir putin is one of the only world leaders who has been
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openly skeptical and mocking of the science of climate change. the russian indc is essentially business as usual. it doesn't even purport to claim to make ambitious reductions. i would love to know what you hear or see from your russian counterparts in this space, and also, address the question of can this be done if you don't have this major player at the table. >> russians are really interesting case. as many of you here in this room follow them closely, we had last week a meeting called the discussion that happens with 40 to 50 countries and advance to the parties itself. it was held in morocco. the russians were invited and didn't come. in some ways, that's the current story of russia. it is not so much stopping things, it just isn't engaging. that's not a good outcome. as you say, they are a large emitter. but at the end of the day, they're not blocking things, it
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is an important signal. the second thing i would note, it is an on again/off again player. sometimes they're antagonistic. sometimes they announce, as putin did about a decade ago that climate change was horrible as the fires that consume much of the steps went through, he thought climate change was the driver for that. he blows hot and cold on this particular question. the third thing i would say, the question of russian's export markets will matter. how will it be shaped as we move forward in the next 20 years. what is the dynamic for germany, for ukraine. what's the dynamic in terms of russian competition with north sea supplies, which are declining. what do you think of north africa, where does that play. it is a complicated story. let's look at some of the petro states, maybe they give us some insight. my favorite one is saudi arabia. major player.
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major economic market. major exporter on the oil side. saudi arabia, solar power for a variety of reasons that is looking at altering it's con me. it is not russia. audi a rash yeah saudi arabia is looking at less and less to export and declining export from the declining market. two, they need to have new jobs. the oil market doesn't provide very many. it requires that you find economic opportunities to grow your economy. they actually see renewables, renewable energy as providing that marketplace. three, they are actually threatened by climate change. this is not number one and two, it is a driver for a ship. because it turns out that they've got sea level rise, a lot of facilities are on the coast and already in tolerable,
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a play that you would have never expected five years ago. what happens to the five years in russia, what will the economy look like, export move to be, what's the domestic consumption and the domestic demand going to be. these are uncertainties, and if the rest of the world moves down the structure of a change in price, the future russian leadership, whether putin or someone else, will have to manage this. it is independent in some sense of the current view. it is a function of economic reality, and the issues facing an economy as it lives in a world where it cannot be isolated. if russia's market to europe, a lot of its gas goes dries up, fundamental change in the die ma'am nic -- dynamics of russian supply. the sector is not able to keep pace, fundamental problems for russia. they have gone through periods where they're exports vast quantities of american food and stuff stuffs. what is climate change doing to
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the steps. not clear. these things will face their politics and policies in a way i think the current administration in russia is not going to block and will ultimately have to get in line with. >> i'm going wrap a couple of questions and then turn to the audience. in terms of going forward, what do you worry about the most? what are you the most optimistic about? what role might you play in a hillary clinton administration? >> the last one is easy. i haven't been asked. so i don't know. the other two are i think more complicated nuances. what am i most worried about? i think i'm worried we will not have the political capacity to keep up on the mitigation side with the rate of change. it is coming faster than we thought. the upside, so are the policies. so is is the technology. the downside, the climate is getting worst at the same right that our policies are getting better. the numbers are ones that are not okay that we predict as live as five or six years ago.
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when we came into office, 2025, trajectory, sea level rise was at the upper bounds. now it is two meter, and it looks like we'll have at least a foot already by the end of the decade. this decade. so much faster. on the upside, technology is doing really well. elon musk has a driving vehicle you can try an option, ale have it on the market, his $35,000 car doesn't come out, but it will be close. can we view that fast enough. that's the race. and i actually worry that we won't win. if we do win, the cost of doing so, because the impact also continue to grow, will still have to face those, and we won't -- what am i optimistic about, the other side. i think this last month is a fundamental marker of a shift in thinking. ultimately, who came to submit their instant gratification.
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heads of state. a meeting organized for the secretary general of the united nations. they came in in enormous numbers to sign. 180 countries signed the agreement the first day it was open. we've never had that. the previous high water mark for any agreement was 70 nations. 180 countries said yes, it matters, i'm going to play and send my that's a huge shift in the politics. that's lead please to be much more optimistic. >> now i will turn to the audience for questions. there is one in the back. if you could please state your name and affiliation. >> thank you. francis bouchard hamilton. thank you for your remarks. you mentioned resilience. there is an immense amount happening in that. g7 work under the germans,


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