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Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:40 a.m., in room
SD-366, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. J. Bennett Johnston,
chairman, presiding.

SENATOR FROM LOUISIANA The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will come to order. Welcome to this morning's hearing on the administration's effort to develop a National Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. We are honored to have with us Hazel O'Leary, the Secretary of Energy, and Robert Sussman who is Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unfortunately, Tim Wirth, former member of this committee and now Counselor to the State Department, could not be here today to present his testimony. He has, however, prepared written testimony and we thank him for that.*

I am also sorry that Dr. Laura Tyson, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, could not be with us this morning. Given the importance of economic forecasting in evaluating the long-term trends in emissions, her expertise would have been extremely helpful and I hope her future schedule will permit her to appear before this committee.

Today's hearing represents one in a long series of hearings this committee has held on the science and policy surrounding global climate change. In the past we have heard expert testimony on this issue from the foremost members of the scientific community. However, today's hearing is focused not on the scientific debate, but on the tough, and no less contentious questions of practical application.

The President on Earth Day announced his commitment to return greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. Under the direction of the White House

House Office of Environmental Policy, the Climate Change Mitigation Group has begun debating the variety of emissions reduction strategies that could be implemented to meet the President's stabilization goal. In turn, the administration intends to present this plan in August at

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the International Negotiating Committee of the Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Geneva. It is my understanding that this August plan will be the basis for the National Action Plan required under the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As this plan is hammered out in domestic and international negotiations, the United States may be forced to consider novel and untried approaches to greenhouse gas emission reductions. One such approach is joint implementation. Will the United States or individual companies be allowed to receive credit for emissions reduction activities taken in other countries? Although there are several aspects to joint implementation that will require further study, a multilateral approach appears to be an attractive and costeffective option, and definitely one worth pursuing in international negotiations. Joint implementation also provides a golden opportunity for U.S. businesses to sell energy-efficient and environmental technologies overseas, a policy that was strongly endorsed by last year's Energy Policy Act.

The committee is interested in being a party to the development of this National Action Plan, and I sincerely hope that the administration will continue to keep us well informed throughout the development of the plan. In addition, there are many important provisions in the Energy Policy Act relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, natural gas, and nuclear power—all important components of a greenhouse gas stabilization policy—and I look forward to working with the administration to see that these are fully implemented and included in the National Action Plan.

I understand that the administration is in the midst of holding a series of public workshops on policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I hope the White House will continue this constructive dialogue with members of the environmental and business community. I think both groups can offer valuable insight in the administration's development of cost-effective and constructive policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I hope that our distinguished witnesses can return before the committee in the fall following the August meeting of the International Negotiating Committee in order to report on their progress in developing a plan for meeting the President's greenhouse stabilization goals. Once again, I thank our witnesses for clearing their busy schedules to join us today, and we look forward to hearing from the Secretary of Energy.

(The prepared statements of Senators Akaka, Wallop and Baucus and Mr. Wirth follow:]

PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. DANIEL K. AKAKA, U.S. SENATOR FROM HAWAII Few people may realize it, but the debate over global climate change began in Hawaii. Twenty-five years ago, an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was first documented at the Mauna Loa Climate Observatory. I am sure that the scientists at Mauna Loa didn't realize how much excitement their observations would generate.

When you consider the potential consequences of global climate change, it seems very appropriate that this discovery was made on an island in the middle of the Pacific. Global warming is expected to produce a phenomenon that strikes fear in the hearts of many island communities. That phenomenon is sea level rise.

Much of the debate surrounding climate change is taking place in cities like Washington, Rio De Janeiro, and Geneva, Switzerland—where a meeting of climate change will occur next month. Yet it is the low-lying reef and atoll islands such as those found in the Pacific that may be the most threatened by sea level rise.

If predictions for sea level rise materialize, rising seas and storm surges will render some islands uninhabitable. One Pacific leader summarized the concerns of islanders when he said: "We do not have the luxury of waiting for conclusive proof of global warning. The proof, we fear, will kill us."

The most reliable estimate of sea level rise has been prepared by the International Panel on Climate Change, commonly known as the IPCC. Their best estimäte" of a 26 inch rise in world sea levels by the year 2100. If such a scenario proves correct, many Pacific islands will simply disappear at high tide.

On a global scale, if the IPCC estimate proves correct, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has estimated that the number of people who would be vulnerable to storm surges and flooding would nearly double, increasing from 100 million to 200 million people. That places a lot of people living in coastal areas at risk.

Islanders like myself bring a unique perspective to the debate about climate change. For that reason, I am very receptive to the Clinton Administration's proposals for reducing greenhouse emissions.


In his April 21st Earth Day speech, President Clinton announced our nation's new commitment to return greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000 and continue the trend of reduced emissions thereafter. This is a more stringent commitment than required by the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It not only commits the United States to the stabilization of greenhouse gas emissions but also to a timetable for its achievement.

I would note that it was the position of the Senate when ratifying the Convention that any decision by the Executive Branch to reinterpret the Convention to apply legally binding targets and timetables to the United States would require further ratification by the Senate (Exec. Rept 102-55).

When the Bush Administration signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change last Jüne on behalf of the United States, I expressed my concern that pressures on the United States to sign the Convention were being driven by politics—not sound science. That still seems the case.

At the time, the Convention deferred a number of issues regarding rules of procedure, measurement methodologies and a host of institutional issues. These issues remain to be resolved. Consequently, many of the questions on how the convention will be implemented, as well as the science on which it is based, are still evolving. Notwithstanding these scientific uncertainties, the United States must now prepare a National Action Plan.

On June 10th and 11th, the White House convened workshops with the stakeholders to identify candidate options for possible inclusion in "cost-effective" Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Plan. The President intends that this plan be presented at the August 1993 meeting of the International Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland.

In conducting its review, I would encourage the Administration to incorporate the initiatives contained in the 1992 Energy Policy Act. It is not a sign of weakness to rely on the bipartisan actions of the last Congress and the last Administration as building blocks for an even better national energy strategy. Moreover, it is the law.

To his credit, the President has shown a commitment to greater public participation in the formulation of his climate change initiatives. Efforts such as the recent Global Climate Change workshops are to be commended, and should be continued through the final preparation of a National Action Plan for the United States.

The President also expressed his desire that the options for inclusion in the August Plan be "cost-effective” and not result in more “bureaucracy or regulation or unnecessary costs." These are laudable goals that I strongly support. Perhaps today's witnesses can help us understand how this is going to be achieved and the criteria the Administration will use for this purpose. For the record, Congress opposed the inclusion of environmental externalities in such determinations when the 1992 Energy Policy Act was formulated.

Finally, in his Earth Day remarks, President Clinton implied that he was advocating unilateral actions by the United States. Unilateral actions were not envisioned when the treaty was submitted to the Senate for ratification and, I believe, would be inappropriate in light of statements made by members of the European community and Australia that their current economic problems preclude preparation of National Action Plans to meet their treaty obligations.

Joint implementation is among the least understood and most controversial aspects of the Convention. Again, I hope that today's witnesses will clarify whether or not it will be addressed in the Administration's August 1993 Plan.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to today's testimony.

PREPARED STATEMENT OF HON. MAX BAUCUS, U.S. SENATOR FROM MONTANA The heat is on. Few environmental problems today ..pose a greater threat to our world than that of global warming. The gases

that our modern world spews into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and cooling our buildings are trapping heat in the earth's atmosphere and warming the planet.

How much warming will these so-called greenhouse gasses cause? What will be the effect of this warming? The future impact of global warming is very difficult to predict. But, left unchecked, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that global warming will leave us with a world far different from the world that exists today.

And while we can anticipate some of the changes that global warming will cause to our world--for example, raised sea level, increased dryness in some areas and wetness in others—we don't really understand the environmental consequences of these changes. We don't know what this means in terms of the human suffering caused by loss of agricultural capability, food shortages, or devastation from natural disasters. We are, in short, moving into a future we cannot predict, and for which no analog from the past exists.

The heat is on, especially here in the United States. We are the largest single source of greenhouse gases in the world. The United States alone is responsible for 20% of greenhouse emissions globally. Therefore, our domestic initiatives must demonstrate our commitment to respond to the threat of global climate change. But we cannot stop there.

The United States must lead the way for the rest of the world toward a sustainable future. If we fail at this task, we can expect the rest of the world to fail as well. We need aggressively to pursue measures to make cars, trucks, homes, appliances, and factories all over the world more efficient. And we must direct the scientific and technological capabilities of our Nation toward finding new and environmentally safe methods

for the world to produce energy, The United States and the Congress have already provided leadership in the form of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the National Energy Policy Act of 1992. These two laws have gone farther than anything before them to push U.S. standards higher, lower the emission of CFC's and other harmful gases, encourage energy efficiency, and spur the development of new technologies. But we will not stop there.

As well, the heat is on President Clinton and his new Administration. The President has set an ambitious goal for himself in promising to lower greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 levels by the year 2000. I applaud the President for pushing his Administration and this nation to do more than we have previously done to fight against the deterioration of our planet.

Reaching the goal will not be easy. I understand that the Administration was counting on a broad-based energy tax to create incentives for efficiency and thereby decrease emissions. The President will now have to come up with new sources of emission-reductions. It will take tremendous cooperation between industry, environmental groups and government to get that job done. It will also take tremendous creativity to devise a system in which advances in one country can count against emissions in another. Joint implementation projects are some of the most controversial, yet essential projects to decreasing greenhouse gases, and a significant way in which U.S. industry can do their part.

I am guardedly optimistic about the process that the Administration has devised to come up with a plan to meet the President's pledge. It is comforting to see that the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Department of Transportation and numerous other agencies are working together and laying aside their disparate interests in order to draft a plan. I was also encouraged to see the response of the public to the first open meeting held by the Administration's inter-agency task force two weeks ago.

However, time is growing short. The President has promised a draft of the plan by August. That deadline would have been difficult to meet under even the best of circumstances. I will be interested to hear from the witnesses whether pen has been put to paper yet. According to briefings last week, the outline of the plan is still not clear. Moreover, Congress to date has received few hints on what further we can do to help in providing the Administration the authority it will undoubtedly need to actually achieve the goal.

And thus, the heat has been and will continue to be on Congress to do what we can with legislation and to pass on to the Administration the views of our constituents. I pledge to do my part, and as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I expect to play an active role in solving the crisis for our world posed by global climate change. I applaud Chairman Johnston for holding this hearing, and I look forward to working with him and the other members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee on this important issue.


I am submitting testimony for the record on the Clinton Administration's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the role of the State Department in developing this plan.

Addressing the issue of global climate change will require close collaboration between the Administration and the Congress, especially this Committee. Global climate change is a global problem. It will require strong U.S. and international leadership because we cannot solve this problem on our own; we must help lead international efforts to prevent dangerous human intervention in the complex climate system that influences so much of our society and our world. Vice President Gore put it well in his recent address to the new United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development: “We must recognize the extent to which we are damaging the global environment, and we must develop new ways to work together to foster economic progress without environmental destruction."

INTERNATIONAL CONTEXT It is now clear that human activities are increasing atmospheric concentrations of "greenhouse" gases, the most significant being carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. While there are uncertainties about the magnitude, timing, and regional patterns of the effects of increased concentrations, current climate models and most climate scientists-predict that if greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue to increase as result of human activities, a significant global warming is likely, and that such a warming could exceed any natural changes that have occurred in the last 10,000-15,000 years.

Last year, the international community acknowledged these scientific concerns and took the first steps to address this significant global challenge. More than 150 nations signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Earth summit last June and to date it has been signed by more than 160 countries. Twenty-six nations, including the United States, have now ratified the treaty.

While the language contained in the Convention is non-binding in terms of emission reduction requirements, the intent of the negotiators was to have countries move toward the Convention's' ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” In order to reach this objective, all parties are expected to prepare inventories of their net greenhouse gas emissions, including both sources and sinks of all greenhouse gases, and the developed countries are expected to adopt national policies and measures

to mitigate climate change and limit greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the Convention calls for developed countries to provide resources to help developing countries meet their obligations under the Convention.

CLINTON AGENDA The Administration is committed to seeing the Convention promptly implemented and, if necessary, strengthened. President Clinton clearly set forth the direction of our climate policy in his Earth Day speech. He said:

Today, I reaffirm my personal, and announce our nation's commitment, to reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases to their 1990 levels by the year 2000.

I am instructing my administration to produce a cost-effective plan by August that can continue the trend of reduced emissions. This must be a clarion call, not for more bureaucracy or regulation or unnecessary costs, but instead, for American ingenuity and creativity, to produce the best and

most energy-efficient technology. To fulfill the President's commitment, the Administration is taking a two-pronged approach: a national effort to reduce emissions and enhance sinks of greenhouse

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