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A good first step to get our house in order is to immediately require accurate measurement, tracking, reporting and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the government could enter into voluntary enforceable agreements with companies or sectors willing to commit to significant reductions. While such efforts can help get the United States on track, the long-term emission reductions needed can be achieved only with a far more comprehensive and binding strategy.
I should add that congressional debate over the mitigation measures should start now and not await completion of the strategy, especially since the debate will take some time, we believe, to resolve. As Senator Byrd said when he introduced his bill, this legislation is intended to supplement, rather than replace, other complementary proposals to deal with climate change in the near-term on both the national and international level.
In closing, Mr. Chairman, the Byrd-Stevens Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001, if enacted quickly and implemented in a serious manner, will provide an excellent foundation for climate change policy in this country. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thank you, Ms. Claussen, for that excellent testimony.
Dr. Edmonds, welcome. Thank you for being here. TESTIMONY OF JAMES A. EDMONDS, Ph.D., SENIOR STAFF
SCIENTIST, PACIFIC NORTHWEST NATIONAL LABORATORY, BATTELLE MEMORIAL INSTITUTE
Mr. EDMONDS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, for the opportunity to testify here this morning on the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001. It is a privilege to be invited here and to have the opportunity to share a position on this panel with such distinguished colleagues as Dale Heydlauff, as well as, Eileen Claussen, Jonathan Lash, and Margo Thorning. My presence here today is possible because the U.S. Department of Energy, EPRI and numerous other organizations in both the public and private sectors have provided me and my research team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory long-term research support.
That having been said, I come here today to speak as a researcher and the views I express are mine alone. The focus of my comments today are on the funding portion of the Climate Change Strategy and Technology Innovation Act of 2001, not on its organizational aspects.
My observations draw upon the work that was conducted under the Global Energy Technology Strategy Program to Address Climate Change, an international, public-private sector collaboration advised by an eminent Steering Group. Analysis conducted at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, as well as in collaborating institutions around the world during Phase I, supports three general conclusions: (1) It's concentrations of greenhouse gases that matter. For CO2, cumulative emissions by all countries, over all time determine the concentration; (2) technology is the key to controlling the cost of stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases; and (3) managing the cost of stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases, at any level, requires a portfolio of energy R&D investments across a wide spectrum of technology classes.
My first point is that: It's Concentrations Not Emissions. The United States is a party to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, which has as its objective the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. This is not the same as stabilizing emissions. Because emissions of the greenhouse gas, CO2, accumulate in the atmosphere, its concentration will continue to rise indefinitely even if emissions are held to current levels or even at some reduced level.
Stabilization of CO2 concentrations means that the global energy system, and not just the United States' energy system, must undergo a fundamental transition from one in which emissions continue to grow throughout this century into one in which global emissions eventually peak and then decline.
Coupled with significant global population and economic growth, this transition represents a daunting task even if a concentration as high as 750 parts per million is eventually determined to meet the goal of the Framework Convention—though no consensus yet exists as to what concentration will prevent “dangerous” interference with the climate system.
My second point is that: Technology Controls Cost. Stabilizing the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will require a credible commitment to limit cumulative global emissions of CO2. Such a limit is unlikely to be achieved without cost but that cost will in large measure be shaped by the character of the energy technology options available to limit cumulative global emissions of CO2.
My third point is that: There Is No “Silver Bullet.” No single technology controls the cost of stabilizing CO2 concentrations under all circumstances. The portfolio of energy technologies that is employed varies across the world's regions and over time. Regional difference in such factors as resource endowments, institutions, demographics and economics, inevitably lead to different technology mixes in different nations, while changes in technology options inevitably lead to different technology mixes over time.
Technologies that are potentially important in stabilizing the concentration of CO2 include energy efficiency and renewable energy forms, non-carbon energy sources such as nuclear power and fusion, improved applications of fossil fuels, and technologies such as terrestrial carbon capture by plants and soils, carbon capture and geologic sequestration, fuel cells, and advanced energy storage systems, and commercial biomass and biotechnology. The latter holds the promise of revolutionary change for a wide range of energy technologies. Many of these technologies are undeveloped or play only a minor role in their present state of development.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to testify. I will be happy to answer your and the Committee's questions.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thanks, Dr. Edmonds. Thanks very much.
TESTIMONY OF DALE E. HEYDLAUFF,1 SENIOR VICE PRESI.
DENT-ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS, AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY
Mr. HEYDLAUFF. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It is a privilege to be here, Senator Thompson, Senator Bennett. My name is Dale Heydlauff. I am the Senior Vice President for Environmental Affairs at American Electric Power Company. We are headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, and have the distinction of being the country's largest consumer of coal. As a matter of fact, I think we burn more coal than anybody in the Western Hemisphere. We are the third-largest consumer of natural gas. We are the largest producer of electricity in the Nation.
As a consequence of that, we recognized early on that the concerns about global climate changes were ones that we needed to take seriously. We have been heavily engaged in the debate since literally Dr. Hansen testified before the Senate in 1988. We have been following this debate very closely. We have been participants and observers in the international negotiations on this issue, and importantly, we have sought to find and identify ways that we can effectuate meaningful emission reductions, avoidance or sequestration through our activities and our operations, both domestically and around the world.
It is in that context that I wanted to testify before you today, and with your permission, I will submit my written statement for the record and just summarize my oral remarks. The simple thing for me to do is just to say I concur completely with the statements of those who have preceded me on this panel. We are one of the founding members of the Pew Center on Climate Change Business Environmental Leadership Council and we are honored to be in that position. I rarely find myself in disagreement with the wisdom of our President, Mrs. Claussen. Dr. James Edmonds and I have known each other for a number of years now. The Global Energy Technology Strategy Program that he referenced in his testimony is research that we helped fund and have funded for years. Quite honestly, it has guided substantially what I want to say here today.
Let me start and say if I could summarize my remarks in one line, it would be this: Accelerating climate friendly technology development through very dramatic increases in energy technology, research and development, both by the public and private sectors, and then deploying the fruits of that R&D on a global basis is by far and away, in my judgement, the most sensible, cost-effective and ultimately sustainable strategy for addressing the climate change issue.
I do not think there is going to be any other way you are going to do it. If you believe that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions need to be stabilized in the future, it is only going to come about as a result of a technology strategy, one that can help be facilitated by the legislation that we are testifying to today. Let me talk a little bit about the challenge that befalls this country in doing that, and indeed the world, because this is truly a global commons problem.
1 The prepared statement of Mr. Heydlauff with an attachment appears in the Appendix on
The first is, in real terms, energy technology R&D in this Nation in the past decade has fallen by 47 percent, both in the public and private sectors. The energy industry itself, I am somewhat embarrassed to report, today invests 42 of 1 percent of total national revenues on technology Ř&D. Compare that to the chemical, pharmaceutical, and telecommunications industries, which routinely spend about 10 percent of annual revenues on R&D, or the U.S. industrial average of 7 percent, and you can see the challenge we have confronting us.
To compound the problem, however, what we are spending our dollars on today could be characterized as evolutionary improvements in existing technology, which certainly have some societal good, and particularly even some climate change benefits, because in many cases we are attempting to squeeze out more efficiency from existing technologies. But it simply is not going to be a successful strategy, because what we really need to do is develop those bold breakthrough technologies that the Byrd-Stevens legislation would help to facilitate.
A couple of other points I wanted to mention, specifically with respect to the Byrd-Stevens legislation. One is I think they have done a commendable job in the construct of the national research program and agenda. First of all, you need leadership, and that leadership can only and should only be governed from the top of the Executive Branch in the White House. I commend them for the establishment of the White House office.
Second, you do need a bureaucracy. I hesitate always to differ with the Senator from my home State, but in this case, I think you do need leadership, you need management of an effort of this magnitude. Third, quite honestly, as significant as the level of expenditures would be under this legislation, they will ultimately be inadequate, and I realize we are just talking about public sector investments with respect to the authorizations that we derive from this legislation, and hopefully the private sector would be willing to step up and come close to matching that level, because you are going to need investments of that magnitude ultimately to be successful.
You look at the four paradigms of the Byrd-Stevens bill, and I think they have got it right. It would establish the solid foundation upon which to address the climate change issue for a very long time to come. So, with that, I would admonish the Committee to exercise the same degree of speed and forthrightness that you took to scheduling this hearing so soon after the legislation was introduced and proceed on to pass it out and send it over to the House.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman LIEBERMAN. Thanks very much, Mr. Heydlauff. It strikes me that for somebody who may be either here in the room, and not very familiar with this dialogue that has been going on, or watching on television, that the favorable testimony and very proactive testimony that you have given, representing the company that is the largest consumer of coal, might be surprising, because some might think that you would be avoiding a solution. So I admire the fact, and it is typical of a whole group of companies in a similar position, that you are forward-leaning, are part of the soluthat will come with a legislative leadership and solution. So I thank you very much for your testimony. Mr. Lash, welcome back. Good to see you again. TESTIMONY OF JONATHAN LASH, PRESIDENT, WORLD
RESOURCES INSTITUTE Mr. LASH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Thompson, and Senator Bennett. It is a pleasure to be here with you today. I was very struck by Senator Byrd's opening statement and by his cosponsor Senator Stevens' comments at the beginning of this hearing. These comments are most important because they signify a recognition that climate change is a problem that needs to be systematically addressed and is a priority for our country.
I would actually like to address the legislation that is before us, rather than the science or the strategies that might emerge. Senator Byrd commented, as he did when he introduced the bill initially in the Senate, that this is a part of a broader effort on climate, not a substitute for action, and I want to address it in that context. It is essential that, at the same time, the Senate continue to deal with complementary proposals for addressing the problem of climate change including legislation that Members of this Committee have co-sponsored. I will come back to why I think that this is so important. But S. 1008 is particularly important because it recognizes that climate change represents threat to the Nation's interests and that we need a national climate change strategy that is informed by a public dialogue which can help the country to understand what is at stake in the issue and what is at stake as we approach the solutions.
The strategy should take as its goal, the stabilization of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at safe levels. That recognition is an important step in our debate. This was the goal accepted by the United States almost a decade ago when then-President Bush signed and the U.S. Senate ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Now the United States does not have a strategy on climate change, and as many commentators have noted, we are clearer about what we are against than what we are for.
Second, S. 1008 recognizes that climate change considerations should be integrated into decision-making at every level of the government. I offer no view about the specific administrative arrangements proposed in the bill and the highly-detailed requirements, but I think that the effort to ensure that climate change considerations enter into energy policy and environmental policy decisions is essential, at all levels of the government.
Third, S. 1008 recognizes that economic consequences of inaction on global warming may cost the global economy trillions of dollars. As Senator Bennett pointed out several times earlier, there is no free effort to respond to climate change and there is a great deal of discussion about the costs of any strategy for a response, but we need to recognize the costs of failure to respond as well.
Fourth, S. 1008 recognizes that current research and development budgets are grossly inadequate to meet the challenge of climate change. As the bill's findings correctly state, stabilization of