The House subcommittee voted for Representative Upton’s unlimited carbon pollution bill (otherwise known as the Asthma Aggravation Act of 2011).  Before the subcommittee vote, Chairman Upton said:

“Those that compete in global markets state that they are losing jobs to nations like China that have no intention of burdening their industries with similar restrictions. And once those jobs are gone, they’re gone.” (Greenwire, sub req.)

Such an impression isn’t grounded in the facts and the evidence on the ground.  Here are some facts which would give you a different conclusion:

Of course, China has its problems.  Here’s the view some days out of NRDC’s office windows in Beijing.  This pollution is having damaging impacts across the Chinese society.  We’re sure that you’re not weakening clean air protections in the U.S. because you want the view out your office window to look like this.Picture of Beijing from NRDC office on a bad air pollution day.

I hope you stop this damaging effort and help the US get into the clean energy race in a serious way.  In addition to the damages to the health of children, the elderly, and other sensitive populations from your legislation, this bill would keep the US from getting into the clean energy race in a series way – a race that is estimated to be over $10 trillion over the next two decades.  The legislation wouldn’t protect us from Chinese competition as you claim.  Instead it would make us even more competitively disadvantaged.  And it would take us backward in protecting the American people from life-saving health Picture of wind farm outside Beijing, China.standards. 

So Dear Mr. Upton, NRDC would be happy to help you with a trip to China to see first-hand how they are racing to make investments in clean energy and the damages of weak pollution standards (I’ve seen it first-hand on a number of occasions).  If you can’t get there given your busy schedule dismantling health and pollution protections for the American public (or because you are trying to reduce your personal carbon pollution) here is a picture of real clean energy action in China (we would be happy to share more).

Do you want me to help you with your itinerary to China so you can see first-hand these facts?

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Post written with help from NRDC’s China Climate Fellow Michael Davidson.