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with, but were not, that the answer, I believe, is that we need binding targets and timetables.
I know that some of my colleagues feel otherwise, but the truth is that we are not here today to debate those questions, although I would guess that we will hear some of the differing points of view on them. That is because our two colleagues, Senators Byrd and Stevens, have, I think, put together a legislative proposal that creates common ground that all of us can occupy and from which we can move forward together. Achieving a bipartisan consensus on this legislation can, I believe, be an historic turning point in the United States' response to global climate change.
The legislation Senators Byrd and Stevens propose will create a focused, comprehensive effort within the Executive Branch that will provide the leadership and creative work that the problem of global warming requires. The bill will establish a new National Office of Climate Change Response in the White House, comparable in some ways to the current Office of National Drug Control Policy, to develop a peer-reviewed strategy to stabilize the levels of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, in order to prevent dangerous disruption of the climate system.
That is a goal that we have all agreed to in the aforementioned Rio Treaty on climate change, which again the Senate ratified in October 1992. This bill will also create the infrastructure needed to develop the innovative technologies that will be necessary to address global warming and it will authorize funding for those efforts. With this bill, research and development activities on greenhouse gas mitigation would have a home centered in the Department of Energy from which they could be aggressively pursued, and in crafting a climate change strategy, the office within the White House would be instructed by this proposal to consider four key elements: Emissions mitigation; technology development; adaptation needs; and further scientific research.
As Senator Byrd has said, this bill is meant to complement, not replace, other greenhouse gas mitigation measures by creating a process by which we receive expert evaluation of the challenge we face and fund research work to meet it. This legislation, I think, will become the tree from which other climate change measures will branch. In the end, I believe our shared responsibility is clear. We have got to take action and take it soon to deal with this problem that will affect our children and grandchildren and theirs, more than it will directly affect us.
I would close by saying that in their long and distinguished careers in the Senate, Senators Robert C. Byrd and Ted Stevens have not only made history, they have shown they understand history and the responsibility for leadership that history places on those of us who are privileged to serve here. In this bipartisan breakthrough proposal on global climate change, they have once again shown the rest of us a way to move forward together. For that, I thank them. Senator Thompson.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR THOMPSON Senator THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this tant issue of climate change. The risk from human-induced climate change is a risk that we should responsibly try to manage. When contrasted against the Kyoto protocol, S. 1008 offers a potential for a reasonable way forward, I believe. S. 1008 would require the development of a national climate change strategy and authorize new funding for the development of breakthrough energies technology needed to reduce the risk of climate change. 1
We are going to need these technologies if we want to meet the objective of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, which the United States has ratified. The objective was the longterm stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations in the future, and to meet this, we are going to have to develop fundamentally new ways of producing and using energy that give us the energy we need without the emissions that we do not want.
But reducing CO2 emissions is not as simple as putting a scrubber on a smokestack. We are going to need new technologies, and we must seek a global solution, one that involves all nations of the world and not just the developed ones. These are some of the reasons why I applaud the President's rejection of the Kyoto Protocol. I also support the President's effort to define the new way forward, both domestically and internationally.
The flawed Kyoto Protocol would place unfair, expensive limits on the United States. It could have rationed the amount of energy the United States could have used, even though energy is key to American prosperity. It could have caused significantly higher energy costs. It could have significantly reduced the rate of economic growth, affecting millions of jobs, eliminating the surplus and threatening American global competitiveness. Some of our biggest economic rivals would be exempt from the emission limits.
It appears that a new approach to managing the risk of climate change is needed, and the President is providing it. The President's plan will focus on managing the risk of climate change using American technology, ingenuity and innovation. It will involve quantifying and understanding the risk of climate change through improved climate observations and models. It will involve developing the tools we will need to reduce the future risk of climate change, advanced energy technologies. Such useful concepts are reflected in S. 1008. I also understand that several of my colleagues, including Senators Murkowski, Craig and Hagel, may soon introduce legislation that could make positive additions to S. 1008. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the politics and science of global climate change. While I am concerned about spending such large sums of money in creating new bureaucracies, there may be broad support for the notion that we will need significant investment in R&D to be prepared to address the challenge of climate change.
There is significant disagreement on other policy options, like mandatory caps on emissions, and as the National Academy recently pointed out, there are still significant uncertainties in our scientific understanding of climate change. But perhaps we can start by reducing the gaps in our scientific understanding to quantify the risk we face, and we can develop the energy technology tools we are going to need if we want to act dramatically to reduce the risk of future climate change.
I look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thanks very much, Senator Thompson. We have been following a procedure here where we have opening statements just from the Chair and the Ranking Member, so I am going to ask Senator Byrd to testify now. But then obviously, because Senator Stevens is a co-sponsor, I will ask him, if he wishes, after you conclude, to speak.
Senator Byrd, we are honored to have you here and look forward to your testimony.
TESTIMONY OF HON. ROBERT C. BYRD, A U.S. SENATOR FROM
THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA Senator BYRD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Thompson, Senator Stevens, Senator Voinovich, Senator Collins, other Members of the Committee. I thank you very much for inviting me to speak on behalf of S. 1008, the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001. I thank you for holding this hearing on legislation that Senator Stevens and I have introduced and which we believe incorporates the interests of a wide range of members on both sides of the aisle.
I have spoken twice in recent months on the Senate floor about the issue of global climate change. My desire to discuss this important issue derives not only from my sense of personal concern, but also from my optimistic belief that we can meet the climate change challenge if we are willing to make a commitment to do so. It is my position that all nations, industrialized and developing countries alike, must begin to honestly address the multifaceted and very complex global climate change problem.
At the same time, I believe that our Nation is particularly wellpositioned with the talent, the wisdom, the drive, in leading efforts to address the problem that is before us. It is for these reasons that my friend, Senator Stevens, and I introduced the legislation that is under consideration before this Committee today. The Byrd-Stevens climate change action plan recognizes the awesome problem posed by climate change. It puts into place a comprehensive framework, as well as a research and development effort to guide U.S. efforts far into the future.
This legislation authorizes a major new infusion of funding for the research and development efforts to help create and deploy the next generation of innovative technologies that will be needed to address the climate change challenge in the coming decades. S. 1008 establishes a regime of responsibility and accountability in the Federal sector for the development of a national climate change response strategy.
That strategy, Mr. Chairman, calls for a new framework to deal with a comprehensive climate change approach. To implement this strategy, this legislation provides for the creation of an administrative structure within the Federal Government, including an office in the White House to coordinate and implement this strategy. S. 1008 also creates a new office in the Department of Energy that not currently pursued in more conventional research and development programs today.
The bill creates an independent review board that will report to Congress to ensure that these goals are achieved. Under S. 1008, we can begin to take action on climate change through a comprehensive and aggressive approach. It is a bipartisan initiative that is intended to supplement, rather than replace, other complementary proposals to deal with climate change. This bill is technology-neutral and does not carve out special benefits for any one energy resource or technology.
We must put a portfolio of options on the table if we are to have any hope of solving this dilemma. This legislation provides for the broad framework necessary to address the climate change challenge. It reaffirms the goal of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration. It leaves the technology decisions to energy experts and the marketplace, and it recognizes the vital need to support public-private partnerships in developing these technologies.
Senators we have an opportunity before us that we should not let slip away. It is not just an opportunity. It is also a very heavy responsibility. As this Senate begins to address our Nation's many energy and environmental concerns, climate change legislation must be part of that equation, and the Byrd-Stevens climate change action plan can help to chart that course. Addressing global climate change takes clear-headed and strong leadership. It requires extraordinary leadership.
While our current menu of climate change policies and programs is an important first step, this approach only pays lip service to the awesome challenge that we face. We must go further than just making small incremental improvements in our existing research and development programs. It is a huge challenge. I hope that this Congress and this administration are willing to step up to the plate. Rarely has mankind been confronted with such an undertaking, the need to improve the energy systems that power our economy
This is the greatest Nation in the world when the issue is one of applying our talents to push beyond the next step, and instead to visualize, conceptualize and then to achieve major leaps forward. We have put a man on the Moon and brought him back to Earth. We have helped to eradicate insidious diseases that have ravaged the peoples of the Earth. Our Nation is a world leader in medical and telecommunications technologies. We should also be a leader when it comes to revolutionizing our energy technologies. Such a commitment would be important for our economy, our energy security, and the global environment overall.
But I must ask how long are we going to wait to develop these technologies? This is a huge opportunity for our Nation, but our efforts will only be rewarded if we can make a concerted commitment and dedicate ourselves to the task ahead, and that will not be easy. Make no mistake about it, global climate change is a reality. There are some who may have misinterpreted my stance on this issue, based on S. Res. 98 of July 1997, which I co-authored with Senator Hagel. That resolution, which was approved by a 95–0 vote, said international climate change treaty which failed to include two important provisions.
That resolution simply stated that developing nations, especially those largest emitters, must also be included in any treaty and that such a treaty must not result in serious harm to the U.S. economy. In other words, we needed to proceed with our eyes open and we asked the administration—the then-administration to provide to the Congress the estimates of cost of the treaty, cost to the various industries in this country, the automobile industry, the mining industry and so on. Those estimates have not yet been provided.
I still believe that these two provisions are vitally important components of any future climate change treaty, but I do not believe that this resolution should be used as an excuse for the United States to abandon its shared responsibility to help find a solution to the global climate change dilemma. At the same time, we should not back away from efforts to bring other nations along. The United States will never be successful in addressing climate change alone.
We are all in the same boat, and what comes around goes around. The pollution that begins with China and Indonesia and Mexico, Brazil, and other developing countries, comes around to the United States and to Great Britain and to the European countries. It is a global problem that requires a global solution. It is critical that nations such as those I have mentioned, China, India, Mexico, Brazil and other developing nations, adopt a cleaner, more substantial development path that promotes economic growth while also reducing their pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
In the Senate's fiscal year 2001 energy and water appropriations bill, I inserted language that created an interagency task force to promote the department of U.S. clean-energy technologies abroad. Such an initiative is complementary to the efforts proposed in S. 1008. The clean-energy technology exports initiative is now underway and will help foreign nations to deploy a range of clean-energy technologies that have been developed in our laboratories.
These technologies are hugely marketable. Many of them have resulted from our clean-coal technology, which I initiated in 1985, with $750 million committed to the task. It has been an immensely successful program. The private sector has come forward with more than it was required. It was required to come forward with 50 percent of the cost. It has put two-thirds of the cost on the barrelhead and several technologies have gone forward and proved to be successful
If nations like China continue to depend on coal and other fossil fuels to grow their economies into the future, it is incumbent upon the United States to accelerate the development, demonstration and deployment of clean coal and other clean-energy technologies that will be critical to meeting all nations' energy needs, while also providing for a cleaner environment. I believe that S. 1008 maps a responsible and realistic course. That road may be bumpy and I am sure that there will be disagreements along the way, but it is a journey that we have to take. We owe it to future generations.
S. 1008, if adopted and signed by the President, will commit the United States to a serious undertaking, but one that should no