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can only, since I can't predict the future of how we are going to be putting it in, you know, I give a number that is quite right.
But now that I have the opportunity, Mr. Chairman, I would like to disagree with Dr. Watson here in this respect. This is not the only lifetime I mention in the paper. You see, in a sense, what he says is correct, you don't want to wait, you have to wait a hundred years to see an effect dissipate. However, I did talk about another time, you see, which was the difference between the year 2040 and the year 2100. That is also an expansion of the time in which we have to operate.
Mr. OLVER. You also wrote in your testimony, though, and I am going to quote here, "On the one hand, those who feel that corrective measures must be taken immediately can now take comfort in the fact that any reasonably applied change would be reflected in a proportionate reduction in the peak CO2 concentration."
So that is related to your recognition that much of it is there in the short, your now belief, I think, that much more of it is in the short half-life periods than in the long half-life periods, that it stays a much longer period of time.
That would support doing something now.
Mr. NIERENBERG. That's right.
Mr. OLVER. You then say, "Those who take a more conservative view may argue that one can now safely wait until the climate changes became clearer and more definitively negative simply because the effect of the mitigating actions would show in a reasonable time."
This business of if it is all in the short time, it supports both positions, in a sense. Your original position was that if it was not all in the short time and that much of it was in the long time, we really ought to worry about this very quickly and try to do something that would reduce what would be causing our problems over the long haul.
But the very same data supports the position that because you think it is much more concentrated in the short half-lifetimes that the effect of doing something about it now would be more dramatic
Yet, after what seems to me supporting on both of the on-theother-hands the idea that there is value in doing something now, you have then chosen to come down on the other side.
Mr. NIERENBERG. Well, you see, as a congressman
Mr. OLVER. The real scientific argument lies somewhere in these papers and the interpretation of these papers.
Mr. NIERENBERG. As a congressman, you should appreciate someone who can take both sides at the same time.
Mr. OLVER. Oh, yes. [Laughter.]
Mr. NIERENBERG. Now, look, what I am saying, in fact, if I could paraphrase, the first time I heard this point made was by Dr. Hasselman. He said it much better. What he is saying is that, in fact, it would mean that in this period, the next 20, 30, 40 years, we could tailor our emissions, you see, that is in between both. We could tailor our emissions so that it could fit an economic approach and have beneficial environmental consequences as well.
You don't do one or the other. I am not saying that. But, in fact, we have been talking about it all day, that in fact, perhaps a 30
percent fossil fuel emission economy is very much in the offing, even if it costs a little bit it doesn't have to be costless. But even if it costs a bit, it will have a good effect.
In other words, you are right, you do understand me, and so on. But I want to go back to what I said before. In 1983 that 20 percent, 30 percent reduction would not have represented a 30 percent reduction in the peak. You would have to have a much bigger reduction, one that was unrealizable.
Mr. ÓLVER. My father used to have a saying, which was, no one will know the difference a hundred years from now. On the one hand, I would have thought a hundred years, if you said a thousand years, that would be even more true. On the other hand, on the other hand, if this one comes down to whether there is a lot of that CO2 left after a thousand years, my quick reading of that paper suggests that there is more. You are talking about what are the coefficients and the decay times essentially, decay times. I don't mean that in decay in the sense of what is usually decay.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Olver, seeing that you have really covered your points and I notice that the chairman of the full committee is here and I think we should give him a chance, the former chairman of the full committee. [Laughter.]
Mr. Chairman, Chairman Brown, would you like to have five minutes or more?
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Chairman, I will be glad to take up a little bit of time. I have learned from long experience, however, that one can learn more by listening than talking. Many of my other colleagues will learn that too, over time.
I have had the pleasure of knowing most of the members of this panel for a number of years, 25 years or more in some cases, and it is a pleasure to see you here again.
I do not intend to, and I apologize to you because I have not been here consistently, and I should have been, but unfortunately other things kept me away.
I am going to raise one question with Dr. Moore, and I will confess that I did not read the articles cited in his testimony, but I will as quickly as I can.
I have become interested in what the paleontological record shows about life on Earth in the past, and your contention that humans fared well under periods of global warming is not something that I have had any evidence on before.
Have you laid out the case for that in the articles that you have written?
Mr. MOORE. Yes, I have. That is exactly what those articles are all about.
If I could just take this moment to say I am going to have to catch a plane back to the West Coast to night about 5:15 from Dulles, so I need to leave about quarter of 4, something like that.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. The Chair intends that this hearing will be done by at least that time.
Mr. BROWN. I am afraid I was listening to a staff member when you finished your statement.
Mr. MOORE. These articles and the testimony, which is based on the published articles, actually go into the evidence that in the past
there were two periods since the last Ice Age, which was considerably warmer or noticeably warmer than today. In both those periods of time, mankind flourished from all the kinds of evidence that I could put together, and during cold periods things did not go as well.
Mr. BROWN. Would you refresh my memory on the dates of those last two Ice Ages? You are referring to the little Ice Age?
Mr. MOORE. Well, the little Ice Age started about 1300 in Europe, a little bit earlier in the Orient, and there were fluctuations in a period of time. I think the worst of that was somewhere around the end of the 18th century, when it was extremely cold and the weather was terrible. With this onset of this little Ice Age, all the construction in Europe that had been going on under the warm period stopped. Innovation stopped. There was a population drop first because of crop failure and then the Black Death, which I believe was exacerbated by the cold and dampness which drove people and the rats that carried the fleas indoors.
So that the mini-Ice Age was very, very hurtful.
Mr. BROWN. I have been looking at human history in a sort of a superficial way for some time, and in the last 10,000 years I have seen a lot of rise and fall in various human civilizations, and I am just wondering if we could correlate this in any way to the good periods when human population was expanding around the globe.
Was that the warm periods and then in the cold periods they stayed quiescent or something like that?
Mr. MOORE. On page, I think it's 8 of my testimony, you will find a chart which shows the expansion in the population relative to an underlying model of what the population was expected to grow, and during the warm periods it grew faster and during the cool periods. it grew slower.
Mr. BROWN. All right. I thank you for that. That will be helpful to me, and I will explore it further.
Dr. Watson, I am looking at some notes from the staff here. It says that in the IPCC report there is a great deal of discussion dedicated to plausible impacts, such as the spread of disease and the increase of severe weather and hurricanes. The question is do these plausible impacts, in fact, have a scientific basis, or are they, as some have said, just scare tactics?
I have an interest in how we distinguish between a scientific basis or just scare tactics, and I may go into Dr. Moore's testimony a little more to see just how strong the scientific basis is for some of the things that you have said also.
Mr. WATSON. Yes. This document, half of which is about the impacts and adaptation strategies for climate change, over half are mitigation, probably has something like 5,000 references in the peer-reviewed literature. It was put together by many, many hundreds of scientists.
As I said in my verbal testimony, there is absolutely no doubt that the human health community believes there will be adverse effects to human health because of increased spread of vector-borne diseases and indeed some non-vector-borne diseases.
It is actually not very complicated. You change the life; you warm the planet. You change the climate; malaria can spread. Today, about 40 percent of the world's population is in a region
where you have the potential for malaria. In a world three to four degrees centigrade warmer, you would have the right conditions for having the potential mosquito which carries malaria in an area which would cover 60 percent of the world's population. You simply only have to understand the dynamics of the mosquito to understand that you have an increased vulnerability.
When one looks effectively at the situation such as droughts and floods, there is actually evidence that the United States has already gotten an increase in floods and droughts. Tom Karl has done an excellent documentation of that, totally consistent with the theoretical models, the suggestion of a warmer world, you have more floods and more droughts.
Unfortunately, the paper of Thomas Gale Moore is fundamentally flawed throughout. The first thing is indeed it was warmer in the holocene period. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with more CO2. It was because of changes in the orbital characteristics of the Earth.
Hence, while it was a warmer period, and unfortunately only in summer and not all over the globe, you don't necessarily have the same precipitation patterns which helped the advent of agriculture.
Also, in the sort of very optimistic view of Gale Moore, completely ignores the issues of rate of change of climate and the impact of pests on agriculture.
This particular document looks at some of those issues. In fact, we ourselves significantly underestimate a quantitative assessment of the effects of pests on agriculture. So we point out that carbon dioxide is positive in some areas of the world because you have the CO2 fertilization, but in the tropics and subtropics there would be very negative effects. And that is without even taking into account the effects of pests.
So I would argue these are not scare-mongering tactics, they are the views of the world's scientific community, and they are well documented.
Mr. BROWN. You are aware, Dr. Watson, that there have been periods in history in which the scientific community was wrong, aren't you?
Mr. WATSON. That's true. Some people thought the Earth was flat at one stage. We now realize it is not.
Mr. BROWN. Yes. [Laughter.]
Mr. BROWN. Mr. Chairman, I have taken up enough of your time. Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you.
Mr. Nierenberg, you had a comment to make before I begin my questioning?
Mr. NIERENBERG. When I listen to Bob Watson here, I realize that we make, we the scientists, make the same error over and over again. The one thing that is missing in these-what is the word we are using, projections, I forget-in these projections is the fact that there is another field of human endeavor, which is called science and invention. And in this period of 100 years, and we are talking about 100 years, we are going to be able to do a lot of things.
I just wanted to mention two. As an example, one is history. Our agricultural scientists are always ignored. They are not nuclear physicists, so we don't think much of them. In the last 80 years,
and it is still continuing, they have increased the production of corn at two percent per year per acre.
I am sure that this has come up here before. And I am sure they will do wonderful things like this in the future.
Second, the question of malaria. Aside from anything else, malaria is a disease. We haven't had much luck with it up till now, but I can't believe that to now in a hundred years from own we shan't have some cure, some vaccination, some protection against malaria. In fact, if we can't do that, we are not going to be able to do a hell of a lot of other things that are equally important.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Dr. Nierenberg, I would just like to take the chairman's priority and sort of wind things up and wrap things up. I didn't have a question session earlier.
I personally, Dr. Watson, after I heard you in the last panel on ozone, and, frankly, some of the arguments that you made moved me as an individual, and I certainly felt after that hearing that I should be more concerned about ozone depletion than I was prior to going into the hearing. I do not believe that the people that I have heard today on the issue of global warming have even come close to that. I am more skeptical now about global warming than when I walked into this panel.
With that said, let me proceed to ask some questions, and feel free to come back very strong. That's fine. That is what this is all about.
First of all, let me say that much of what I have heard is based, again, not on basically scientific models, especially computer models and scientific information, but instead on models and an extrapolation from models. All you described, all that was described to me, is extrapolation by so-called experts.
What that leads to is headlines like this. This is, what, Time magazine. Time magazine. "Heading for Apocalypse."
I mean we have a situation where the Atlanta Constitution is writing an editorial about the inundation in Savannah and Charleston and New Orleans. Basically, if we would proceed to the type of billions of dollars of infrastructure construction you would see, sea walls or whatever, that would be a big disservice to mankind if these extrapolations are not correct.
And if the inventions that Dr. Nierenberg was talking about could, you know, come into play, and even if they are correct, some of them may come into play and knock these projections off. First of all, let's go right down to this idea of extrapolation. Mr. EHLERS. Would the chairman yield just a moment? Mr. ROHRABACHER. Yes, sir.
Mr. EHLERS. I am really sorry to interrupt you, but I couldn't resist. On an earlier comment, I suspect that headline was written by a journalist who wanted to get his point right at the beginning. [Laughter.]
Mr. ROHRABACHER. You know, I think that is an excellent point. [Laughter.] You have to take it when you're up here, too, you know, as well as give it. [Laughter.]
You know, I did want to tell a story. I will tell this story. You know we want to get you out of here in the next ten minutes.
It was interesting, the dispute between the economic expert and the more scientific expert and their approaches. There is a story