As lawmakers debate energy policies to address climate change, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said the American public needs to understand that new coal-fired plants are being constructed around the world but there are zero new ones in the U.S.
Manchin was asked for his opinion on putting a price on carbon as a way to combat climate change.
“Putting a tax, and really a tax to pass onto the consumer, will not fix the problem,” Manchin said during a discussion organized by the National Press Club on Monday.
A cap and trade system is a “financial scheme that’s basically robbing Peter to pay Paul and then paying somebody else,” said Manchin. “It wasn’t even effective.”
“If you want to know what’s going on in the world, there’s 667 coal-fired plants being constructed as we speak today, around the world — zero in the U.S. and 667 in the world,” Manchin said. “People need to know what’s going on so if you think you can stick your head in the sand and say, ‘I’m going to eliminate all fossil fuel, all coal-fired plants, shut them down, that will clean up the environment,’ you better start looking around at what’s happening in the world.”
Manchin said President Biden’s infrastructure and jobs plan should recognize that coal is needed in America.
“We can use coal and continue to be cleaner than ever before,” he said. “And we can clean up the environment around the world. But we can’t do it by sticking our head in the sand and eliminating it.”