BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. Speaker, we have a carbon tax. It is invisible, it is relentless, it is punitive, and it is entirely avoidable.
According to NOAA, in 2017, the U.S. had 16 disasters with damage exceeding a billion dollars each. With three devastating hurricanes, extreme wildfires, hail, flooding, tornados, and drought, the United States tallied a record high bill for weather-related disasters, $306 billion. That is a carbon tax.
Western wildfires, fanned by hot, dry conditions, racked up $18 billion in damage, triple the previous U.S. wildfire record. That is a carbon tax.
The U.S. has sustained, between 1980 and 2017, we had an average billion-dollar events of six a year; in the last 5 years, it has been close to 12.
In the coming decade, economic losses from extreme weather, combined with the health cost of air pollution, spiral upwards to at least $360 billion every single year. That is a carbon tax.
The second thing I want to say is this: A confident nation faces its challenges. It doesn't deny them. If we acknowledge that we have a climate crisis, we can create jobs by solving it. Energy efficiency, renewable energy, storage batteries, all of these things that are being embraced by Vermont entrepreneurs are resulting in the biggest growth of jobs in our State, which is in the renewable energy sector. So we can make a better economy by acknowledging our problem.
And, third, I want to speak to Mr. Jenkins because he represents some of the hardest working, best people in this country, and those are the West Virginia coal miners. They kept the lights on in Vermont for us for a century, and I thank them. And it is why I worked with Mr. McKinley to make certain those coal miners got their healthcare benefits and why I am continuing to fight so that those coal miners get their pensions.
But we can help them with a carbon tax that returns all of whatever it is they contributed back to them and their communities so they can have a future.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT