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If climate is going to change in a way that will alter the future habitability of parts of this country or affect our food supply, we would be better off to find out sooner rather than later. If there are cost-effective steps that we can take now which provide benefits

society in terms of energy efficiency, pollution reduction, and job creation then we should take them.



I am confident that the witnesses here today will all agree on the need for a better understanding of our climate system even if they disagree the precise nature of climate change, the magnitude of its impacts, or on recomendation of policy options that we should pursue.


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Namus Hayes

Jimmy Hayes

Member of Congress
Opening Statement of Congressman Jimmy Hayes (D-LA),
Ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment,

regarding the Climate Models and Sea Level Rise hearing

I want to, first of all, thank the Chairman for putting
together this hearing on sea level rise which -- I am sure my
colleagues can imagine is of great importance to Louisiana.

Because our lives and livelihoods in Louisiana are
inextricably tied to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River,
our lakes, and our bayous, public policy choices must be clearly
delineated and carefully thought out concerning what to do about
the problem of sea level rise and its associated causes. The
combined effects of rapid subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and
global climate change, among other factors, could lead to the
deterioration of our swamps and marshes and all that they mean to
the culture and economy of our area. The most accurate,
objective information is, therefore, critical for our State to
better prepare and plan for the implications of a receding

Louisiana has multiple and competing interests in this matter. Major population centers, such as New Orleans, not to mention my entire District, rely heavily on our coastal resources:

1) Our wetlands provide flood control and wildlife
habitat; 2) Our fisheries provide over 40% of the
seafood production for the entire continental United
States; 3) Our marshes provide recreational
opportunities, like hunting, fishing, and boating; 4)
Our communities are developing along the coastline to
provide for future economic growth and productivity;
and 5) Our oil and gas industry is at the center of
Louisiana's economic possibilities.

Because we do not yet fully understand all the variables resulting in sea level rise or how to prioritize our activities because of it, I believe that further analysis is necessary.


including global climate change so each factor can be appropriately weighed and properly mitigated. Sound science should drive the policy, not predetermined political solutions.

I, accordingly, look forward to the testimony today and am hopeful that, through honest and open dialogue, we can foster more cooperation and coordination amongst the federal agencies and the research community investigating global climate change to ensure the unprejudiced, credible models we need at a price we can afford.



Mr. Chairman, I want to commend you on holding this hearing today on global warming. This hearing will provide an important forum in which Members of the Committee can examine for themselves the arguments surrounding this important issue.

Mr. Chairman, your personal views on this matter are well known and they have no doubt played a role in the budgetary actions that the Committee and the House has taken over the past nine months. However, I would point out that this is the first hearing that has been held on global change this Congress. I would like to provide for the record a summary of hostile budgetary and policy actions the Committee has already taken this year. I would hope that the Members would have an opportunity to reconsider these as our bills reach the Conference stage.

Clearly, the environment has been a bipartisan issue over the past several decades. All of the landmark environmental statutes such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, NEPA, RCRA, Safe

Reauthorization to name a few were signed into law by Republican presidents and passed with bipartisan support in Congress. This continues to be an area 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 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? 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 recent statement by

Frank Nutter, President of the Reinsurance Association of America

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