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Finally, I note that some of the programs within the climate change budget are voluntary. Programs such as Energy Star and Green Lights have reduced energy consumption and emissions in the United States. However, I question whether coordination of these voluntary programs which subsidize rich private-sector firms is really a proper role for the Federal Government, especially when they could be doing these things without taxpayer funds, and whether this money could be better spent elsewhere like protecting the Social Security Trust Fund.
The witnesses before us are Dr. Neal F. Lane, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; the Honorable Dan W. Reicher, DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy and Efficiency and Renewable Energy; the Honorable David M. Gardiner, EPA Assistant Administrator for Policy; and Dr. Jay E. Hakes, Administrator for DOE Energy Information Administration.
Gentlemen, I look forward to hearing today's testimony and pursuing these subjects in greater detail.
But before I get started, once again, I would like to remind the members of this Subcommittee and our witnesses, that this hearing is being broadcast live on the Internet, so, please, keep that in mind during today's proceedings.
Finally, I would ask unanimous consent that all members who wish have their opening statements entered into the record, and without objection, so ordered.
With that, I would like to ask my good friend, the ranking distinguished Minority Member, Mr. Costello, for his opening remarks.
Mr. COSTELLO. Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I want to thank you for calling this hearing today, reviewing the energy research and technology programs included in the Administration's Climate Change Technology Initiative.
I would note that, although the classification of these programs changes over time we are now referring to them as "climate change” programs the goals of these programs have remained the same: to improve energy efficiency and expand energy supplies.
Energy continues to play a critical role in our economy and always will. Consequently, I suspect we will be in the business of seeking improvements in energy efficiency and expansion of energy supplies for the foreseeable future. The dimension of this issue that has changed is the fact that we now have an environmental concern that we must deal with.
We now consider the environmental impacts of energy exploration, extraction, transportation, and use more carefully and fully than in the past, and this consideration has presented us with significant challenges. We are unlikely to meet these challenges without prudent investments in research and technology programs. These programs help us to better understand the true nature and scope of environmental impacts of energy use and help us to design cost-effective technologies to mitigate them-technologies the rest of the world will be interested in buying for their use in the future.
The coal industry is an important industry in my district in southwestern and southern Illinois. My district has lost coal mining jobs and has seen diminished coal production as the coal-fired utilities in the Midwest states have shifted to the use of low-sulfur coal, western coal, in an effort to comply with the Clean Air Act. Given the recent history, the coal industry's opposition to a pursuit of policies to reduce carbon emissions in understandable.
I believe that the debate about pursuing policies to reduce carbon emissions has a focus that is too narrow and too simplistic. This is not a question of whether we will use coal or not. We have abundant domestic coal reserves, as do the Chinese and other nations. We are going to use coal, as are other nations; the question is, how will we burn it inefficiently or efficiently, with high emissions of pollutants or low emissions? I think we should be concentrating our efforts in developing and deploying technologies that enable our Nation and others to utilize this important energy resource as efficiently and cleanly as possible. The same is true for petroleum.
I am pleased to have this opportunity to hear about the broad range of programs in the Administration's budget designed to promote cleaner, more efficient energy use. I hope the Committee will evaluate these programs with respect to their potential contribution to multiple national goals of energy security and maintenance of a robust economy and a healthy environment, rather than just from a narrow perspective of carbon emission reduction.
Mr. Chairman, I appreciate you calling the hearing today, and I look forward to hearing from the witnesses.
Chairman CALVERT. I thank the gentleman. Gentlemen, it is our policy to swear in all witnesses. If you will all rise.
Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
Dr. LANE. I do.
Without objection, the full written testimony of all the witnesses will be entered in the record. However, I would ask all of you to please summarize your remarks in 5 minutes so we will have time for questions and answers.
So, without any further delay, Dr. Lane, you may begin. TESTIMONY OF DR. NEAL F. LANE, ASSISTANT TO THE PRESI
DENT FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, AND DIRECTOR, OF. FICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY POLICY
Dr. LANE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Costello, other members of the Committee; I very much appreciate this opportunity to discuss the Administration's science and technology programs that are relevant to the understanding and mitigation of climate change.
I request that my full statement be included in the record, along with two attachments the Fiscal Year 2000 edition of “Our Changing Planet,” which is the annual report of U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the PCAST report, that is the President's Committee of Advisors on Science Technology
Chairman CALVERT. Without objection.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I am sorry that Chairman Sensenbrenner could not stay with us. I wanted to make three comments about his opening remarks.
First is that the letter I received from Mr. Sensenbrenner has many, many questions, not just the request for information access. We did want to give thoughtful answers to those questions, and we have done so in my response to the Chairman recently.
The Chairman's letter also noted that IPCC information is increasingly-on my letter-noted that the IPCC information is increasingly on the web. The U.S. Global Change Research Program Office has put IPCC information on its website. Increasingly, we want to use electronic means of communication, as you are doing in your deliberations.
And, finally, with regard to Dr. Hanson's comments, I can quote from Dr. Hanson. He says—and I do quote, "There are large uncertainties about future climate change, especially because of the uncertainties about how the climate forcings will continue to change. But as long as we let greenhouse gases continue to increase rapidly, we almost surely are headed to a much warmer planet."-end of quote.
Mr. Chairman, my remarks this morning will focus on the Climate Change Technology Initiative and the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
I know the members of this Committee share my strong belief that America's world-leading science and technology enterprise must be sustained and nurtured, and today I come before you to suggest that we can bring that same common appreciation of science to the issue of climate change.
Mr. Chairman, the Climate Change Technology Initiative is the Administration's response to a call from the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology, PCAST. And what they have asked for is a greater investment in a broad, balanced energy R&D portfolio that can help us simultaneously meet our Nation's multiple energy challenges and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A little over a year ago, PCAST issued a report that concluded that the federal energy R&D programs were not commensurate in scope and in scale with the energy challenges and opportunities the 21st century will present. PCAST warned that the continuing shortfall of investment in clean energy technologies would likely translate into higher oil import dependence, higher energy costs to industrial and residential consumers, smaller U.S. energy technology exports, and worse air quality than would otherwise be the case, as well as the diminished capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost effectively.
The Climate Change Technology Initiative was developed to address those issues, as well as help achieve short-term greenhouse gas emission reductions. These investments in efficiency, renewables, and other clean energy technologies will help provide America with a diverse, strong, and affordable energy future.
a Now, Mr. Chairman, let me briefly discuss our proposals in the climate research area.
U.S. climate change science is largely supported through the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The Administration is committed to continued strong support for the scientific research needed to improve our understanding of the mechanisms of the Earth's climate system, the likely future course of climate change, and the potential impacts of such change on the environment and human society.
The Fiscal Year 2000 Global Change Research budget of $1.8 billion supports a wide array of scientific investigations. I would like to note two areas of special importance for Fiscal Year 2000.
First of all, a new Carbon Cycle Science Initiative will provide critical scientific information on the fate of carbon in the environment, on the sources and sinks of carbon on continental and regional scales, and on how they might change naturally over time and the potential to enhance sinks through agriculture and forestry practices.
Second, the U.S. climate modeling effort will be a beneficiary of the Administration's separate initiative on information technology for the 21st century. A new generation of U.S. supercomputers and software funded by the IT initiative will help U.S. climate modelers hone their ability to simulate environmental prophecies to examine a range of longer-term scenarios for the future and predict nearterm climate events like El Niño.
The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to carry on the longstanding bipartisan tradition of support for climate research and energy technology R&D.
Mr. Chairman, I believe-as do most scientists who have carefully studied this problem—that we need to confront the challenge now. The evidence is compelling that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are amplifying the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and warming the planet's surface. Computer models suggest that such warming is likely to lead to further climate disruptions and ecological impacts as the sea levels rise, patterns of precipitation change, and atmospheric and ocean currents shift.
So, the question facing us is, what specific constructive steps do we take? First, it requires a sustained and enhanced commitment to energy research, development, and deployment. The earlier we act to develop, adopt, and adopt clean and efficient energy technologies, the greater the future benefits we will reap. Second, it requires continued research into the science of climate change to help guide our understanding of impacts and mitigation and adaption options.
Mr. Chairman, doing nothing is a high-risk option. What is at stake is the health and the well-being of our children and future generations, as well as our environmental quality and global stability. The same scientific and technical capabilities that have helped identify this problem can help us overcome it. The Administration's climate change science and energy technology proposals are important initial steps in this regard.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee, for your attention today, and I look forward to your questions.
[The statement and biography of Dr. Lane follow:)
APRIL 14, 1999
Thank you for this opportunity to discuss with you the Administration's science and technology programs that are relevant to the understanding and mitigation of climate change. I have enjoyed the opportunity to testify before the Committee on Science and several of its Subcommittees on several occasions, first as Director of the National Science Foundation and, more recently, as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. I know the Members of this Committee share my strong belief that America's world-leading science and technology enterprise must be sustained and nurtured. While we sometimes differ on precisely how and where to invest our taxpayers' funds, we share a bipartisan understanding that the future prosperity of this country depends on strong federal support for all areas of scientific inquiry.
Today I come before you to suggest that we can bring that same common appreciation for science to an area of considerable policy disagreement - the issue of climate change. Whatever your policy views may be on the wisdom of the Kyoto Protocol, I respectfully suggest that the President's budget proposal for climate change science and the climate change technology initiative makes good, sound economic and scientific sense for this nation.
Mr. Chairman, my remarks this morning will focus on the Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTT) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).
A little more than a year ago, the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) concluded in its study, “Federal Energy Research and Development for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century,” that the current energy R&D programs of the Federal government "are not commensurate in scope and in scale with the energy challenges and opportunities the twenty-first century will present.” PCAST found that, while many high-tech industries consistently invest 5 to 15 percent of revenues in research and development, the sum of private and public investments in energy R&D in the United States amounts to less than one percent of the nation's expenditure on energy. As a fraction of GDP, the Federal government's investments in energy R&D in the late 1990s are less than half what they were thirty years ago.