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policymaker or activist never sees. I have seen it. It is real and it is devastating.

That is why my own view, based on personal experience as both an atmospheric scientist and a missionary, leads me to a different high moral ground, which is this: When it comes to global warming, save the Earth, but not before you reduce the scientific uncertainties and not by sacrificing the poor.

Thank you.
(Mr. Christy's statement may be found in the appendix.]

Chairman TALENT. Thank you, Dr. Christy. Our last witness is Dr. Marlo Lewis, Jr., the Vice President for Policy and Coalitions of the Competitive Enterprise institute in Washington, DC.

Dr. Lewis.



Mr. LEWIS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, for this opportunity to present testimony on the global warming debate. What I would like to do in the next several minutes is address what I take to be the Clinton administration's strongest argument in favor of a climate treaty. This is the argument that, if we just do it smart, Kyoto will provide low cost planet insurance for our children and future generations.

In candid moments, Kyoto partisans may admit that the science of climate change is not really settled. But they don't see this as a great liability. Their trump card argument in the global warming debate is not any testable scientific hypothesis, but something called the precautionary principle. This is the proposition that lack of scientific certainty should not become an excuse for inaction where there are threats of serious or irreversible harm to health, safety, or biodiversity.

The precautionary case for Kyoto goes as follows: The Earth may be warming, industrial activity may be the cause, and the effects of such warming may be catastrophic. Mankind has been running a gigantic uncontrolled experiment on the climate system. Since the experiment is potentially life threatening, we should start applying controls now. The alternative is to throw caution to the winds and gamble with the only planet we have. Kyoto or some similar treaty is the only responsible option.

This argument is rhetorically powerful because it sounds like the familiar maxim of common sense, err on the side of caution. However, as will soon become clear, we can with equal legitimacy invoke precautionary considerations to oppose the Kyoto Protocol.

My testimony has two parts. First, I will show that the precautionary principle supplies no guidance for choosing between policy alternatives. Then I will offer specific reasons why Kyoto is not an assurance policy.

The fatal flaw in the precautionary case for Kyoto, as in environmental advocacy generally, is its complete one-sidedness. Environmentalists demand assurances of no harm only with respect to actions that government might regulate, never with respect to government regulation itself. But government intervention frequently boomerangs, creating the very risks that precautionists deem intolerable.

For example, banning DDT has contributed to the revival of malaria epidemics in the Third World. Frank Cross at the University of Texas at Austin notes that overregulation can kill just by misdirecting resources. Regulatory schemes that divert attention, effort and money from major threats to minor risks can make us less safe. For example, the millions of dollars that local governments waste on gold-plated Superfund cleanups cannot be used to improve police and fire protection.

More importantly, for individuals as well as nations, wealthier is healthier and richer is safer. There is an obvious connection between livelihoods, living standards, and lives. Wealth is the single most important factor affecting health and longevity. Even in comparatively affluent countries like the United States, studies indicate that every $5 to $10 million dollar drop in economic output translates into one statistical death.

So here is a precautionary case against the Kyoto Protocol. Stabilizing greenhouse gases at levels low enough to cool the planet may require drastic reductions in energy use. An energy constrained world may be a poorer world. And a poorer world may have more starving people.

True, I have no scientific proof that Kyoto would condemn millions of people to poverty, starvation and misery, but the precautionary principle says we should not let the absence of scientific certainty become an excuse for inaction. It also says we should not permit far-reaching innovations until they are proved to be safe. No one has demonstrated that Kyoto will not have harmful consequences. Therefore, we should oppose it.

Kyoto's partisans admonish us not to gamble with the only planet we have, yet they are perfectly willing to gamble with the only economy we have. They cannot logically have it both ways.

I do not mean to suggest that the precautionary principle would be beneficial were it applied evenhandedly to economic and regulatory activity alike. Inflating "Safety First!" from a mere rule of thumb into a categorical imperative, an absolute overriding duty, is a recipe for paralysis and stagnation, perhaps the riskiest condition of all. My point, rather, is that the precautionary principle is neither a scientific nor an ethical precept, but a rhetorical weapon. Its purpose is to exaggerate the risks associated with economic activity and conceal the risks arising from the exercise of political power.

The administration claims that Kyoto is an insurance policy, and insurance by definition is supposed to make us safer. But is Kyoto the real thing, or is it as phony as the precautionary principle?

Whether or not a proposed insurance policymakers sense depends chiefly on three things: The probability and size of the potential losses to be insured against, the cost of the premiums, and the extent of the coverage. Let's examine Kyoto under those three aspects.

How likely is catastrophic warming?

The computer models on which the Rio Treaty was based overestimate by 200 to 300 percent the amount of warming recorded over the past century. If the models can't hind-cast the past, why should we suppose they can accurately forecast the future? When the planet was warmer than today, for example, in the Medieval Warming of 900 AD to 1200 AD, mankind flourished. When the planet was cooler, for example, the Little Ice Age of 1300 AD to 1850 AD, mankind suffered.

I conclude from this and other facts which have been presented today that the probability of catastrophic warming is low.

How much would Kyoto insurance premiums cost? The administration says not more than one-tenth of 1 percent of GDP. But this estimate is based on unrealistic assumptions, such as the operation of a full-blown emissions trading system that includes key developing countries. The estimate also overlooks the enormous regulatory burden that will hit over 1 million small businesses if EPA makes good on its threat to classify CO2 as a hazardous pollutant. As energy analyst Mark Mills shows in the latest World Climate Report, wind and solar power would have to increase their output 37,000 times just to meet 30 percent of the expected growth in electricity demand over the next 25 years. Clearly Kyoto's premium payments will be higher than the administration's estimates, perhaps staggeringly so.

How much protection then would Kyoto insurance provide?

We are really asking two questions here. First, how much would Kyoto reduce the amount of global warming, assuming for a moment that the climate models are right? As Dr. Michaels has shown, Kyoto under the most generous assumptions would cool the planet by less than one-tenth of a degree Celsius.

Second, would Kyoto help make us whole after global warming has occurred. Here is where the insurance analogy completely breaks down. Kyoto can do nothing to put us back on our feet once we have suffered damages from catastrophic climate change. Quite the contrary, whatever resources we apply under Kyoto to prevent climate change, we cannot use to adapt to climate change if and when it occurs. Kyoto is all premium and no coverage.

This last point leads to a question that should be at the heart of the global warming debate: Which type of social insurance policy is likely to deliver the most protection? Should we try to prevent global change by rationing energy and further politicizing economic and technological development, or should we try to increase mankind's ability to adapt to change by reducing political barriers to enterprise, innovation and invention?

Under the latter option, let's call it a resiliency strategy, policymakers would work to eliminate the high taxes and burdensome regulations that impede economic growth and technological process. Wealthier, more technologically advanced societies, are better able to anticipate, withstand and recover from extreme weather events and other natural disasters.

A resiliency strategy is clearly the superior option, given the uncertainty surrounding the global warming hypothesis. Many possible catastrophes may befall us in the next century, the outbreak of new viral plagues, increased tectonic plate activity, an errant meteor, nuclear terrorism, chemical or biological warfare, even, as Dr. Singer pointed out, global cooling.

Making societies freer and wealthier is inherently desirable, and would better prepare us to deal with whatever shocks and surprises the future may hold. In sharp contrast to Kyoto, this resiliency approach is all coverage and no premium. The Kyoto Protocol would

restrict our freedom, diminish and possibly crush our prosperity, and mobilize tremendous resources to fend off a threat that may prove to be nonexistent or trivial compared to the age old scourges of poverty, hunger and disease. America does not need and cannot afford that kind of insurance.

[Mr. Lewis' statement may be found in the appendix.]

Chairman TALENT. I thank the gentleman for his testimony. We will go to questions now. I believe I will defer my questions, since I know that other Members have to leave. If other Members leave, it is going to be pretty lonely up here.

I will first recognize the distinguished gentlewoman from New York, the ranking Member, Ms. Velazquez.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to direct my first question to Dr. Lashof and Dr. Watson. It would appear that most other nations in the world have accepted the scientific argument which maintains that human-induced global warming is in fact happening. Do you have a sense of the rough percentages of scientists with

expertise in this area, both worldwide and in the United States, who support your views?

Mr. WATSON. I don't know there is a real answer to that. I do believe that the IPCC is a process that reaches out to the very best scientists, wherever they are in the world, whatever type of organization they work for, universities, government labs or industry, and we try to very carefully assess what is known and what is not known, which is why I do believe that the view of the IPCC was endorsed by literally all governments as the basis for Kyoto. It (IPCC) does not come up with a single number. It (IPCC) has a range, and that encompasses some of this uncertainty.

So I would not give a percentage. It is very hard to. I would personally say the very large majority of scientists.

Mr. LASHOF. I agree with Dr. Watson's assessment. Surveys of scientists can be extremely misleading. Dr. Şinger referred to one petition that in fact was sent out to, I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of people. Some people signed it, but there is no screening, no assessment. What we need is a rational process to assess the data. Again, that is why the Reagan administration, was originally behind setting up the IPCC, it was supported by the Bush administration, and supported not only by our government through different administrations but by governments around the world. It is, I believe, the appropriate way to assess global warming science. Nobody that has criticized it has suggested a better alternative.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Is opposition greater in the United States than in other industrialized nations?

Mr. LASHOF. I think that there is more of a political debate over the science in the United States than in other countries. I think that is fueled clearly by special interests that have amplified the views of a very small handful of skeptics, such as those represented on this panel, well beyond their representation within the scientific community. That phenomenon is not completely unique to the United States, but it certainly is happening more in the United States than in other countries.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. In your view, can emissions of greenhouse gases be reduced without significant costs to the economies of developed and undeveloped nations?

Mr. LASHOF. I believe they can. I did not incorporate economic analysis in my testimony here today, but I would note that the Union of Concerned Scientists released a report recently assessing the economic costs or potential benefits of achieving the Kyoto Protocol. I think that in fact the costs are very modest, at most on the order of plus or minus a tenth of a percent of GDP.

This is a copy of the Union of Concerned Scientists' report which reviews some work we were also involved with, called "A Small Price to Pay," which I think documents that from a large literature of studies that look carefully at the technologies that are available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Thank you. Dr. Michaels, it is my understanding that you are the editor of the World Climate Report. Is this true?

Mr. MICHAELS. That is correct.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Let me read to you a section from the September 1st, 1997, edition from an article entitled "Some Like It Hotter.”

"Heat stress does increase mortality, but it affects typically only the old and infirm whose lives may be shortened by a few days or perhaps a week.”

Would you please comment on this?

Mr. MICHAELS. That is a well-known phenomenon. It has been studied by Larry Colkstein from the University of Delaware under EPA contract. It is called mortality harvesting; that when you have an environmental stress, what happens is the death rate goes up, and then after the stress declines, the death rate drops below where it was.

I want to talk to you. You have brought up an incredibly important subject. The newspapers, this week I think, last Friday, most of them carried a story that heat-related death was the largest single cause of natural hazard mortality. Do you remember those stories? It alluded to a heat wave in 1901 that killed 9,700 people.

Now, we have had many heat waves of the magnitude of 1901, some quite recent. The one we are having now is not of that order. In 1995 it was. The total deaths run about 100 to 500.

What we have done in our society, if we extended the population from 1901 to now, I need to make my point, the deaths that you would get from that heat wave would have been between 50 and 100,000. Yet we see 50 to 100. Our society has buffered itself against the vagaries of nature with the same technology that has enhanced the greenhouse effect.

Ms. VELAZQUEZ. I want to go back to your article. Can you explain why the old and infirm and people in developing countries should be exposed to increased health risks simply so industry does not have stricter emission standards?

Mr. MICHAELS. Again, I direct you to the work of Dr. Colkstein, that whenever there is heat-related stress, there is a change in the mortality that shows up as a deficit in death immediately after the stress declines. These deficit periods are on the order of 2 to 3 weeks.

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