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This is normally a good thing except when a third of your forest has died. They are waiting to become fuel so a forest fire will start so we can put more carbon in the air.
The environmentalists in this administration have decreed that it is more important to have pristine forests than to selectively manage your forests, and they have refused to allow California to cut or use these trees when they are valuable.
So I think one environmental assumption, pristine forest, is overclouding another, and that is these trees are surely going to burn and do more environmental damage down the road. So I would love to have the scientists running the train rather than the Bruce Babbitts and the politicians.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. I am going to ask one last question and then we will call it off because it is actually based on what you said.
Dr. Watson, I read a column by Warren Brooks, who is now dead, that he analyzed that older trees, and especially trees that are in the condition Mr. Baker just described, but older trees in general, actually are producing more of the type of pollutants and discharge that add to global warming than young trees and thus those people who would be really concerned about global warming, instead of protecting the old forests, would want to actually cut them down and plant new trees.
Now, I am just asking. I don't know, I am not suggesting that that is true, but you seem to be an expert in this area. Maybe you could just let me know if that is true.
Mr. WATSON. I am not an expert in this area, but I will try and find an answer for you and get it to you on the written record. Mr. ROHRABACHER. Okay.
Mr. WATSON. It is clear that an old tree is not continuing to sequester CO2. It basically gets to maturity. But what one has to consider, though, in a complex situation like the California situation, isn't just taking out the dead and dying trees, we have to drive roads through it, et cetera. So you have to look at the whole system to see what the overall balance, obviously, on both the economic and the ecological systems are.
So I think we have to be careful.
What one has brought up, though, what you have really suggested or inferred in some sense, is one of the clever ways, if we can make it economically viable by good technologies, is actually biomass that is specifically grown, so that it would burn as fuels, is a very good way to go. You replace the coal or oil or natural gas. So using biomass plantations, growing trees purposefully burning them with all the right environmental safeguards, is a very, very good renewable technology.
So these are all the types of things that we need to look at. That particular technology could have incredible help in rural development both in the United States and other parts of the world. So all of these issues have to be looked at very, very carefully.
Mr. ROHRABACHER. Thank you very much, Dr. Watson.
I would like to thank the members of the subcommittee, and I think we had a very interesting discussion today. This committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:55 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.] [The following material was received for the record:]
APPENDIX I-OPENING STATEMENTS FOR THE RECORD
Rep. George E. Brown, Jr.
Climate Models and Projections of
November 16, 1995
I believe this hearing will serve to point out the error in judgement made by this Committee in passing authorization bills earlier this year containing disproportionate, damaging cuts to global change research programs. Cuts to these programs will perpetuate limitations in our understanding of the earth's climate system. In the absence of real information people will be encouraged to substitute hand-waving and conjecture for substantive scientific inquiry into the phenomena that shape earth's climate. Cutting these programs will not stop carbon dioxide from increasing in the atmosphere or terminate interest in speculating on its affects.
It appears to me the budgets for climate research and climate change impact research have been systematically targeted for deep cuts by this Committee. The budgets for global climate change research at EPA, NASA, NOAA, and DOE have been cut by over one quarter from the FY 95 funding levels. Budgets for research and development of technologies that would assist our nation in conserving energy and expanding our energy options have been cut by almost half from their FY 95 levels. This is short-sighted and foolish.
I believe we are all reluctant to advocate for radical changes that would alter our economy and our way of life without reliable information that such changes are indeed necessary. However, hesitation to embark on a difficult policy path is not a rational explanation for scaling back the global climate change research programs on the scale recommended by this Committee. I cannot understand anyone embracing ignorance in the face of a potential problem of this magnitude. I cannot understand why we should not pursue research which will provide explanations about how this planet functions. If climate change is real, then we will need to understand how it will affect us and what our options will be for adapting to any negative consequences or exploiting positive ones. If climate change is NOT real, then the research being done by these agencies will confirm that for us. Although there are scientists who question the severity of climate change impacts and the reliability of global climate models, it does not appear that
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 efficiency, pollution reduction, and job creation then we should take them.
which provide benefits to our society in terms of energy
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 on the precise nature of climate change, the magnitude of its impacts, or on recommendation of policy options that we should pursue.
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
Because our lives and livelihoods in Louisiana are
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
1) Our wetlands provide flood control and wildlife
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.