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of this kind is, in fact, going to be made available to us. I must confess substantial doubt in that particular matter.
In your last appearance, Ms. Yellen, you will recall that you said efforts to form an economic analysis of climate change were, “futile.” I'll be fascinated to hear about the epiphany now that causes you to estimate with precision the cost of $70 to $110 per household. This, I think, constitutes a breakthrough in the terms of economic analysis that is absolutely staggering and I certainly salute you if you have been successful in accomplishing that purpose. I'd be further interested in the so-called savings from an electricity deregulation plan that no one has seen and that has not been written.
Mr. Chairman, the administration produced a remarkable document in, or agreement, in Kyoto that they will not dare to present to the Congress and that is going to undergo some very, very curious massaging before it ever comes to the Congress. I would note that reports to the press indicate that we will probably not be signing this until some time next year and they will probably not be coming to the Congress until some significantly later time. I would note that if it so good for the United States, for the economy, for the people, for American workers, and for American industry, it should be submitted at the earliest possible moment so that we may pass it with huzzahs and hosannas and proper praise for those who have negotiated it.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to this and I would note that if you accept the theory of global warming or, perhaps, warming the economy, you will also recognize the reality of competitive advantage, and I don't think it exists here.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SCHAEFER. The Chair thanks the distinguished gentleman from Michigan, and my ranking member, Mr. Hall, said to me that after that statement, we might put you in the doubtful column.
Mr. DINGELL. You might put me in doubtful, but not on the lack of merits.
Mr. SCHAEFER. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Burr.
Mr. BURR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I had no intentions of an opening statement today, but I've got to admit that The Post this morning so moved me in the article they covered about what supposedly Ms. Yellen and we will hear today.
Let me remind you of your testimony in front of a subcommittee in July of last year, I believe. And it was, “As we go forward and develop policy, certainly, it will be economic analysis brought to bear on any policies that would be under consideration. But the plan would be to use a wide range of tools and bits of analysis and not any single model or any group of small models, or certainly not merely the three models that are discussed in this report."
Senator Crapo asked then “Is it ever going to be finished?” Your answer was “no.”
I'm extremely curious to hear what you've got to say today. I think all of us on this committee, if we believe that we can reach a more responsible position on the environment, would certainly head that way. A position that uses science, that uses reason, that uses economic impact studies so that we can make intelligent decisions. Quite frankly, this administration has molded figures to fit their agenda and not, necessarily, their sights.
I'm hopeful that whatever model you're currently using, that you lived up to the testimony that you've already given this committee. That it shouldn't be a single model. That it should be multiple models. That they shouldn't be small models. They should include a tremendous amount of data and that, in fact, the answer, if Senator Crapo were to ask today, is that we can finish it. That this is not an ever open issue, because if it is, then we don't have the science that's needed to make the decisions and, certainly, I would agree with my colleague from Michigan. I find it extremely difficult if the model that we used in July to present in front of this committee was the model that we used to negotiate the Kyoto agreement. All of a sudden, things have changed tremendously, and, I think you owe it to this committee to explain exactly what that change has been.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SCHAEFER. The Chair thanks the gentleman. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Norwood, in order of appearance.
Mr. NORWOOD. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for having this very important hearing today on the economics of the Kyoto Protocol and global climate change.
I'm going to do my best to reserve judgment until after I hear the testimonies of the witnesses and their responses to our questions. However, I have to say that right now, I believe, the direction in which we're heading is both unwise and premature. It's really just not making any sense to me.
For example, the administration's position on nuclear power and its relationship to the Kyoto Protocol appear to be at odds. As we know, the European community arrived at Kyoto pointing fingers at the United States for reneging on our promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Those nations, however, can meet their emission goals in some measure because of emission-free nuclear generation.
Yet, while nuclear generation contributes 20 percent of our country's nuclear power, and 85 percent of its emission-free electricity generation, the administration seems determine to shut down our nuclear plants. The Department of Energy virtually refuses to honor its legal obligation to take nuclear-spent fuel from sights around the country and move it to a central location. And, as a result, nuclear plants are in jeopardy of being shut down, not because of inefficiencies, but because of lack of spent fuel storage which, indeed, is the Federal Government's obligation.
Having said this, I do hope our panelists will shed some insight on the administration's plans for using nuclear generation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With such a proven source of emission-free generation like nuclear power, why did we have to engage in any global compacts or Kyoto discussions to figure out how to reduce emissions?
Finally, if I understand your testimony correctly, Dr. Yellen, the economic impact of the Kyoto Protocol will be virtually nothing to the typical American household. You say, the average increase is in energy prices at the household level will be approximately $70 to $110 per year in 10 years. However, you say this would be really offset by electricity price declines through Federal electricity restructuring. If this is so, it would be very comforting to me to know, but if this is not so, Dr. Yellen, and you are confident enough that you would be willing to pay that difference in the electricity bills of my 600,000 constituents that would result from this agreement, and if you think you are so confident that the costs will be so small, I'd be very grateful if you just simply leave your address with my staff. That will comfort everybody at home.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for holding this hearing. I hope that we'll shed some insight into what the administration is attempting to accomplish. And, in conclusion, I really must say it is with some amusement and a great deal of glee that my friend from Michigan doesn't really realize the war of northern aggression isn't over yet.
Mr. SCHAEFER. This is a hearing on the Kyoto Protocol, Mr. Norwood.
The gentleman is thanked for his comments. The Chair, next in order of appearance, turns the mike to Mr. Coburn from Oklahoma.
Mr. COBURN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would welcome our two distinguished visitors. And, I must concur with what I heard the gentleman from Michigan say:
Sitting on the Science Committee and having heard much of the testimony on global warming, or the lack of scientific data that would support that in a clear and concise way, my only worries are that this is not a work-in-progress, but this, in fact, may be a farcein-progress. And, I don't say that lightly. If you take a scientific premise that is unproven and then build multiple challenges and changes that will have drastic effects, not only on our individual citizens, but on our ability to compete as a nation, and then handicap ourselves as compared to the rest of the developing world, if, in fact, we're not 100 percent sure this is happening, we shouldn't be doing this, in my opinion.
I look forward to hearing your responses to the questions and going over your testimony and I would welcome your opportunity to prove me wrong.
I yield back.
Mr. SCHAEFER. Thank you, Mr. Coburn, and the Chair next recognizes the gentleman from Kentucky, Mr. Whitfield.
Mr. WHITFIELD. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I'm delighted that we're going to be having this hearing which is particularly important to all of us.
I know that Vice President Gore has been one of the leading advocates that there is global warming taking place in the world and I know that, back in 1986, he said that there was no longer any significant disagreement in the science community—that the greenhouse effect is real and already occurring. In fact, he said that 98 percent of the science world concurs that a greenhouse emergency has begun.
I was reading this book “A Moment on the Earth” written by a New York Times reporter who said that in February 1992, just a few years after Vice President Gore made his statement, the Ğallop organization polled members of the American GEO Physical Union, an American meteorological society. The two professional groups were climatologists and only 17 percent of those polled said warming trends, so far, convinced them an artificial greenhouse effect was in progress. Some of the general circulation models use temperatures in urban areas at ground level, but according to this book, studies of the total heat and atmospheric air volumes conflict with studies confined to ground temperatures.
For example, John Christi, a University of Alabama at Huntsville scientist who heads the NASA Air Temperature Study said, "We don't see any global warming in our data and our satellites monitor the entire world, not just urban areas, like the ground temperature studies." And then there's also a discussion about the general circulation models that were used to determine that there is global warming taking effect. There's one in Boulder, Colorado, one at the Goddard Institute, and one at Stanford. And, I understand, that there's about three other basic models around the world, and that about four of those are operated by real advocates for greenhouse warming. Mr. Jim Hansen, who operates the Goddard Institute model, or did at this time this book was written, told the congressional hearing in 1988 that he was 99 percent certain that summer's heatwave stems, in some manner, from greenhouse emissions.
And, then the Technical Journal of Science promptly, after his testimony, ran an article titled, “It's Hansen Against the World,” reporting that numerous other prominent climatologists felt Hansen should not state as fact something that science mainstream considers unproven.
And, then after reading that book, and then the testimony of Dr. Yellen today—and Mr. Eizenstat, one of the things that struck me was how all of this seems so speculative. When you talk about the economic costs, all of the models used and the language that Dr. Yellen uses throughout her testimony, we've got to be very cautious with this. We don't have all the facts on this. All of this is based on speculation and when you take that fact, coupled with the scientific data, it raises very serious questions about why we're doing this at all.
But having said that, I'm delighted that you're here. We look forward to your testimony and I hope that you can enlighten us on some of our concerns.
Mr. SCHAEFER. Thank you, Mr. Whitfield.
The Chair next recognizes the gentlemen from New Jersey, Mr. Pallone.
Mr. PALLONE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to commend Secretary Eizenstat and the other members of the negotiating team on their efforts in Kyoto.
I believe this Protocol serves as a significant first step toward stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. But, of course, more work is needed to effectively achieve the protocol's underlying objectives. We also need to work on details of an emissions trading scheme, the Clean Development Mechanism, and other components of the Protocol.
On an overall basis, I believe that the Kyoto Protocol presents opportunities for economic growth and environmental protection. As President Clinton and others have expressed, the U.S. economy did not suffer as a result of increasing environmental protection during the past 25 years. Rather, U.S. firms seized upon the opportunity for technological development and realized that economic growth can be achieved in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Even as we speak, many U.S. companies are recognizing the need to implement technological changes that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, industry and government officials often fail to account for the costs the U.S. would incur if we did not act in the near term to mitigate and prevent further buildup of greenhouse gas concentrations. And costs could include weather related impacts, sea level rise, air pollution and effects on agriculture, forests and species, to name a few.
I believe very strongly that economic analysis must include these potential costs as well as regional prevention, mitigation and adaptation measures. Such measures will be increasingly necessary, as we have witnessed most recently from El Nino and other weatherrelated events.
Now, I realize that there is no proof of a direct relationship between El Nino and global climate change, but preventive, mitigative and adaptive climate changes measures all are likely to be less expensive if implemented in the short run, and continued into the long run, than a wait-and-see approach. And, I have to say, I've experienced this first-hand because in my district ocean-front property has experienced the effects of recent storms and we've benefited from an Army Corps beach replenishment project that prevented and mitigated the adverse effects of the storms. And, as a result, my district experienced less damage from these storms.
I would also like to express my support for the President's Climate Change Technology Initiative. In particular, I would urge support for both R&D funding and tax credits to develop and implement energy efficiency measures. According to energy expert, Amory Lovins, the U.S. has achieved only about 2 percent of its potential in energy efficiency, and we waste nearly $300 billion a year in energy every year, which is more than the defense budget and the Federal deficit combined.
I urge the administration to use market-based incentives to help implement the Kyoto Protocol. I also recommend that the administration incorporate market-based approaches into any electricity utility restructuring proposal.
On another note, I recognize that both the administration and Congress concur that more meaningful participation by developing countries is necessary. Nevertheless, the Protocol does contain some provisions for developing countries to participate, for example, through the Clean Development Mechanism.
The failure to act at all until we achieve further participation by developing countries would fail to reflect our role as the world leader and as the Nation responsible for 22 percent of global emissions.
Again, I want to thank the chairman for holding this hearing. I know how important this issue is to my colleagues and to the administration, environmentalists and industry. And, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses. Obviously, there are going to be a lot of questions that I have and that others have. Thank you.
Mr. SCHAEFER. The Chair thanks the gentleman. The gentlelady from Missouri, Ms. McCarthy.
Ms. MCCARTHY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this most important meeting.