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Washington, DC.

The Subcommittee met at 9:40 a.m. in Room 2318 of the Rayburn House Office Building, the Honorable Dana Rohrabacher, Chairman of the Subcommittee, presiding.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. The Energy and Environment Subcommittee will come to order.

I got up this morning and it was not as cold as I expected. I guess all the hot air we have been expending around here about the closing of the government actually has not warmed the environment at all. But we will see.

In 1884, the head of the U.S. Patent Office, Henry Elsworth, suggested his office might soon be abolished because we had reached a time when everything useful had already been invented. That is a story we all know.

In 1992, then Senator Al Gore wrote in his book, Earth In the Balance, that further research on global warming was unnecessary and in fact harmful because all the issues had been decided, and immediate action was required.

Of course, we now know that there were a few useful inventions left, and we also know, three years later, that research is constantly revealing revised estimates of global warming.

This is the second in a series of hearings on scientific integrity and the public trust. The hearings will look at how agencies under this subcommittee's jurisdiction are using science to formulate public policy.

Today's hearing will look at the issue of climate change, specifically at the use of computer models to forecast global warming over the next 100 years.

After the first hearing of this series, and that was a hearing on stratospheric ozone, Vice President Gore called us "Stalinists" for having balanced panels that included scientists who dissented from Mr. Gore's orthodoxy.

So we invited Mr. Gore to testify. And to the Vice President we said, "My goodness, come here!" We know you have an interest in


this topic, and come here and testify and let's have an exchange of ideas.

And I am disappointed that he turned us down. Now he is on his way to Japan, I understand, but I believe he turned us down before that trip was arranged.

On the issue of global warming, the tone for this Administration was set in 1993 when Dr. Will Happer, the Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy was summarily dismissed from his post on the orders of the Vice President's office.

This, after Dr. Happer made it known that he did not believe the science was there to back up the Administration's global warming agenda.

So it is not surprising that we have heard little dissent since then.

In this atmosphere I believe this subcommittee has a duty to continue to present balanced panels. And I hope we will produce a useful dialogue on controversial scientific issues of the day.

Today, we have with us distinguished scientists in their fields who have differing views on climate change. And it is my goal, as Chairman of this subcommittee, to see that every time we have a hearing, that unlike and I was very disappointed my first six years in Congress-was there would never really be a dialogue?

You would have the experts here and you would have all the experts who agreed with the Subcommittee chairman testify in the first panel, and that is when all the members of the news media were here. And then you would have anybody, anybody who might get on as a witness who disagreed with the Subcommittee chairman's predilections, were put on in the last panel late in the afternoon, and nobody was there to hear them.

Well, as long as I am Subcommittee chairman, we are going to try our best to have both sides of every issue presented, and side by side, and promote dialogue between the expert witnesses.

That makes all the sense in the world to me.

We have with us Administration representatives who are key players in this issue.

And we will first look at the controversy over reliability of computer models to estimate climate change that they expect over the next 100 years.

Our second panel will address the issue of climate change impact.

In recent weeks, a series of articles in the New York Times and other publications have speculated on catastrophic impacts of global warming. These catastrophic impacts include the following predictions:

A loss of one-third of the world's forests.

A loss of one-third to one half of the mountain glacier ice.

A dramatic increase of tropical diseases, such as malaria and yellow fever.

And a dramatic rise in sea levels.

And although this estimate of dramatic rises in sea levels is actually dramatically lower than earlier estimates.

What is the scientific foundation behind these doomsday scenarios and what role does climate modeling play?

Are we so certain about the future climate changes that we should take action that will change the lives of millions of our own citizens at a cost of untold billions of dollars?

We will explore these and other questions today.

And I would now ask my colleague, Mr. Roemer, if he would like to present an opening statement for the Democratic side.

Mr. ROEMER. I would, Mr. Chairman.

I ask unanimous consent to have my entire statement entered into the record.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. So ordered, without objection.

Mr. ROEMER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I will try to be brief with my opening statement.

First of all, I want to commend you for holding these hearings. And I think it is important for both Democrats and Republicans to have the opportunity to further develop their views on this very important issue.

Mr. Chairman, I hold you in the highest respect, and you and I often agree on issues pertaining to economics and fiscal balancing the budget issues.

But on this issue, I think we part our ways.

Clearly, Mr. Chairman, the environment has been a bipartisan issue over several decades. All of the landmark environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and Super Fund Reauthorization, to name a few, were signed into law by Republican presidents and passed with bipartisan support in the United States Congress.

This continues to be an area of federal activity that the public strongly supports. It is ironic that systematic dismantling of environmental research and environmental statutes has now been held up by the Republican leadership as a litmus test for ideological purity.

I hope in the end good sense and common sense will prevail. The global change research program was in fact established by the Bush Administration.

The budget approved for global change in 1990 envisioned an ongoing budget of about $2 billion for all of the agencies involved. The budget adopted by the Clinton Administration is in fact slightly below this.

Why was this program so strongly supported by two Administrations, a Republican and a Democratic one?

The answer is simple; economics. The consequences of global warming may be several percent of the world's GDP. The cost of avoiding global warming may also be several percent of the world's GDP.

Given the enormous costs and benefits, it makes eminent sense to do the necessary research to find out as much as we can about global warming. How much, how soon, and even if it will occur.

I would also like to include for the record a statement by Frank Nutter, President of the Reinsurance Association of America, about global change research.

Global change, even if we do nothing to curtail carbon emissions, will provide a pathway to help us make the transition in an economically efficient manner.

Some of these adjustments may be substantial. But let's at least study the matter to find out if in fact they will be substantial.

The policy we have followed of targeting environmental research, belittling the possibility of any impacts and so on, will not make the problem go away, it will only put us on a slower track to understanding this problem.

Meanwhile, the Europeans are making major investments in energy conservation and alternative energy sources.

The Japanese are making major investments in environmental technologies.

And the rest of the world is positioning itself for the future.

We could not only lose the intellectual lead, we could lose markets that we will never regain.

In sum, Mr. Chairman, I think this boils down to three issues of disagreement.

First of all, this is the Science Committee. We should not bury our heads in the sand and say we do not want to study this and further discern what impacts there may be.

This has always been something we have been concerned about in a bipartisan manner.

Secondly, it has huge economic implications for the GDP of the world, whether that be in the United States or China. We should work together in a bipartisan way to see if China decides to continue to burn coal, that we work with them in productive ways, in ways that benefit our economics and our technology, to compete with the Japanese and the Europeans to provide them that technology and provide jobs in America.

And thirdly, I think that there are also trade implications for us in this matter as well.

At a meeting of the United Nations several years ago, the Japanese and the Germans have 25- and 30-year plans to deal with technology and energy-related resources, whereas the United States seems to go back and forth as to whether even to enter this field.

So, Mr. Chairman, I think this is definitely a matter that we should study and find out if and when there are consequences. And I would encourage the Members of this Committee to be open to the different possibilities entailed in that.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. I think that was an excellent opening statement for your side of the aisle, and I hope nothing I said in my opening statement suggested that global warming should not be studied and examined with an open mind.

So we should move to the first panel. The first panel will address


Ms. RIVERS. I have two questions actually, one that relates back to a hearing we had previously here, but I think the same issue will apply to this one, given that we have scientists of differing views testifying today.

At the last hearing we had of this type on ozone depletion, there were some very serious charges levied by one of the witnesses that both you and I spoke to repeatedly, and this witness, Dr. Sally

Baliunas, repeatedly said that she had been threatened with loss of funding for her views, et cetera, et cetera.


Ms. RIVERS. I believe that the Chairman then went to the floor and repeated some of those charges and part of this discussion. Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes.

Ms. RIVERS. But yet, when we finally received, after many, many inquiries, her statement, I find that what it says is she had a coffee break conversation with someone she will not identify, who expressed his or her opinion. Dr. Baliunas had no way of knowing whether it was correct or not, but chose not to offer a proposal anyway, and then produced absolutely nothing else.

These are very serious charges.

Do we have any more information than this?

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, we do.

Well, first of all, that is not a parliamentary inquiry, but I will answer this. Yes, we do have further information. I do not know if you listened to my opening statement but

Ms. RIVERS. I came late. I apologize.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. [continuing] -but one of the top research people, a Director of Research at the Department of Energy was fired from his job because Mr. Gore's office gave a call and had him fired, Mr. Will Harper, and that is not

Ms. RIVERS. Did he threaten Sally Baliunas?

Mr. ROHRABACHER. No. That is not in contention.

Ms. RIVERS. Did he threaten Dr. Baliunas?

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Now in terms of Dr. Baliunas, Dr. Baliunas made it very clear to this chairman that she had to go to a lawyer to make sure she was not sued, and unless she could actually prove something in a private conversation, she could not make a public charge because she was personally liable.

Now that is the type of atmosphere we have in Washington, D.C. Ms. RIVERS. Truth is always a defense to libel. Truth is always a defense to libel.

Mr. BAKER. Mr. Chairman?

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Reclaiming the Chairman's prerogative, truth is not always a defense. It is only a defense if you can prove that it is the truth. And in private conversations, threats can be made. And in this particular case, that witness went to a lawyer and was probably told by the lawyer that she could not prove that that threat had been made.

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Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Baker, one moment.

And as Chairman, I will again take the Chairman's prerogative. The Chairman has given a very good example of the very thing that you are asking, and I do not understand why your outrage now has not gone on to requesting information from Mr. Gore's office of why his office required the firing of Mr. Will Harper, Director of Energy Research at the Department of Energy.

Ms. RIVERS. Who was fired, you say.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. That is correct.

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