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Thank you.

tries are much more vulnerable to climate change than developed countries.

The key question is, effectively, at what level does it need to stabilize? Many people keep saying to stabilize at 1990 levels of carbon dioxide would require a 60 to 80 percent cutback in CO2 emissions. That is correct. However, if indeed one wants to stabilize at 550 parts per million, a level suggested by the European Union, that does not take draconian action today. It needs careful, planned action over the next 50 to 100 years.

Indeed, if one looks at some companies such as Shell and British Petroleum, they put a plausible future forward where by 2050, in a very logical and progressive manner, half of the world's energy would be produced from renewable energy, and this is a scenario that stabilizes around 550 parts per million without severe economic dislocation. This is some work that has come out of Shell and BP, and they are looking to see basically how to look at Kyoto as an opportunity rather than just a basic problem.

So in conclusion, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, the earth's climate is changing. We cannot explain it on natural variability alone. We project climate will change significantly in the future, with potential adverse effects on human health, ecological systems and socioeconomic systems; that there are a number of measures that can be taken that can cost-effectively address this challenge.

(Mr. Watson's statement may be found in the appendix.]

Chairman TALENT. Thank you, Dr. Watson, and I appreciate your summarizing your written statement. I normally ask the witnesses, and forgot to do so, to summarize their statements if they can to leave enough of time for questions.

I am also going to say to the Members, and we are going to experiment here. If you have a clarifying question, a lot of this material gets technical, and if you do not understand a statement made by somebody and you want to clarify it while it is fresh in your mind and in everybody's mind, I will allow some limited questions during the testimony if we can manage that.

Now, if it gets into long exchanges, I may have to go back to the normal rule. So if one of the witnesses says something - and I hope you all will appreciate that we may interrupt you to say "what do you mean when you talk about this climate and what are you saying about that" – then feel free to seek recognition for a question or two just to clarify. If you are trying to make a point, then I would appreciate it if you would wait until your regular question period.

Our next witness is Dr. Daniel A. Lashof, who is the senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council. Dr. Lashof. STATEMENT OF DANIEL A. LASHOF, SENIOR SCIENTIST,

NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL Mr. LASHOF. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee.

It is an indisputable fact that atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are climbing and that that rising trend can be at


tributed to human activities. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today globally is over 360 parts per million, a level that is substantially higher than any concentration that has been experienced for at least 200,000 years of the Earth's history.

The most detailed scientific assessment of an environmental problem ever conducted, the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just referred to by Dr. Watson, concluded that global warming is already upon us and that, unless emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced significantly, future impacts on human health and the environment are likely to be severe.

Let me give just a couple of examples of the predicted effects in recent experience. The IPCC projects that with global warming there will be more frequent and intense heat waves. Recent experience is compelling. Each month so far this year has set an all-time record for global near-surface temperatures since instrumental records began over 100 years ago. June 1998 exceeded the previous record warm June, which occurred in 1994, by nearly .4 degrees Fahrenheit. Now while that may not sound like a lot, as a global average change in temperature it is unprecedented.

The current heat wave, which has claimed tragically more than a hundred lives in the United States this year, as well as the heat wave that killed more than 400 people in Chicago in 1995, are examples of the kind of event that are projected to become more and more frequent in the decades ahead.

According to NOAA, in Brownsville, Texas this year they recorded 17 days in June that had a minimum temperature at or above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This would have a probability of recurring in a stable climate only once in a thousand years. But by the middle of the next century this is expected to be a 1 in 3-year event if greenhouse gas pollution is not curtailed.

Another example: In Melbourne, Florida there were 24 days with temperatures above 95 degrees in June. This is also an unprecedented event with a probability of recurrence of once in a thousand years.

Extreme drought and more severe storms in our heartland are also projected. More of our rainfall is now coming in intense downpours rather than steady drizzles, as Dr. Watson mentioned. This, coupled with higher rates of evaporation in a warmer world, is expected to intensify droughts and storm damage in America's breadbasket.

The current drought in the southeastern United States is an example of this kind of event. Last winter was very wet and soil moisture levels, as illustrated in my testimony, were well above normal in the winter. Yet severe drought conditions developed very rapidly in the spring when the normal spring rainfall did not occur, and now soil moisture is dramatically below normal levels, which had a direct effect in allowing the wildfires to take place in Florida which consumed more than half a million acres in June.

The drought in the southeast is causing severe damage. In Texas $1.5 billion in agricultural losses are expected, over $2 billion of losses in Oklahoma, $175 million of losses in Florida and $400 million in losses in Georgia.

Mr. Chairman, it is impossible to unequivocally demonstrate a link between global warming and any specific event. The examples I have given, however, demonstrate that global warming can have severe consequences. It is abundantly clear that we are facing a real and serious threat.

Now, the climate system is complex and there are many remaining uncertainties, as Dr. Watson has indicated, particularly about the details of climate change at the regional and local levels. As we discuss these uncertainties, it is essential to remember that uncertainty is a double-edged sword.

Pat Michaels, in his written testimony, confidently predicts that global warming forecasts will be revised downward in the future, and I cannot rule that out. That is a possibility. But as the history of the ozone depletion problem demonstrates, it is just as likely that things will turn out worse than the current mainstream forecast.

For example, a recent article in the Journal Nature reviews the risk that sea level could rise by as much as 20 feet over the next several centuries, rather than the mainstream forecast of 1 to 3 feet, as a result of a rapid collapse in the west Antarctic ice sheet. In the most recent issue of Science, recent measurements are reported which heighten this concern, indicating that a key Antarctic glacier is retreating at a surprisingly rapid rate of 1.2 kilometers per year.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I do not suggest that you rush to judgment based on these recent papers. Rather, they need to be assessed, along with other findings that are reported in the literature literally every week, before they become the basis for policy. The same is true of the papers cited by Pat Michaels.

That is the reason why the Bush Administration established and supported the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and why that support has been continued by subsequent administrations. We need a rational process of assessing all the data as a basis for policy.

To emphasize this point, let me give just two examples of how selective use of the recent literature can be very misleading. In his written testimony, Pat refers to a recent paper by Jim Hansen of NASA to suggest the current rate of increase in carbon dioxide is "below the most conservative U.N. scenarios." Unfortunately, this statement is simply false.

The main scenario used in the IPCC Second Assessment Report predicts that CO2 concentrations should be increasing by about half a percent per year in the decade of the 1990's, and the observed rate is about .4 percent per year, which is insignificantly different given the variability of the record over a short period of time.

Now, it is true that some papers that were published many years ago had assumed higher rates of change, but the IPCC scenario that Dr. Watson and Dr. Michaels referred to does not. They use more up-to-date data. But since Pat has cited Hansen's paper, he presumably believes that that is a credible source of information on this issue, so I would like to read from part of the paper that he has omitted from his testimony. I quote here.

"We propose an index of climate change based on practical climate indicators such as heating degree days and the frequency of intense precipitation. We find that in most regions this index is positive, the sense predicted to accompany global warming. In a few regions, especially in Asia and western North America, the index indicates the climate change should be apparent already, but in most cases climate changes are too small to stand out above year-to-year variability. The climate index is strongly correlated with global surface temperature, which has increased as rapidly as projected by climate models in the 1980's. We argue that the global area with obvious climate change will increase notably in the next few years."

My second example of unfortunate selective use of information, Mr. Chairman, actually comes from a letter that you circulated on July 16; and I am afraid that you have been quite poorly advised on the basis of that letter. It refers to a paper by Keigwin that was published in the journal Science, and I have that paper here. That is a very interesting paper and it is a useful contribution to the scientific literature. However, I would like to point out that it is based on a single sediment core in the Sargasso Sea. You use that paper to suggest that recent warming is a recovery from the Little Ice Age.

However, the IPCC assessment and a recent paper in Nature by Mann, et al., used a much more comprehensive assessment of all the available indicators of past climate change over the past 600 years and conclude, with 99-percent statistical confidence, that 1997 was the hottest year in the Northern Hemisphere in the last 600 years. There simply is not enough data for the Southern Hemisphere to make a similar calculation.

Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, the Defense Department would never base its response to military threats on the views of a handful of doubters, on the hope that the world will turn out to be benign. We should apply the same precautionary principle to global warming policy.

Indeed, as a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by President Bush and ratified by the Senate in 1992, the United States is officially committed to this precautionary approach. The 1992 convention sets the objective of preventing dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Achieving this objective requires substantial and progressive reductions in global greenhouse emissions beginning without delay.

Thank you.

[Mr. Lashof's statement may be found in the appendix.] Chairman TALENT. Thank you, Dr. Lashof.

Our next witness is Dr. Patrick Michaels, the Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies for the Cato Institute in Washington DC.

Dr. Michaels.



If you do not mind, I would like to use some slides, so I am going to move over to where the projector is.

Chairman TALENT. That would be fine. When I was in science class, I always appreciated when they had movies or slides. So this will be a welcome change for the Committee.

Mr. MICHAELS. 10 years ago, almost exactly, in June 1988, NASA scientist James Hansen testified before the House that there in was a strong "cause and effect relationship" between the current climate, which was then in a drought and heat wave much worse than the summer of 1998, and human alteration of the atmosphere.

At that time, he had produced a model of climate which was published in the Journal of Geophysics, and the model projected the temperature increases for the next 10 years and further on. That model was very similar to five other climate models that served as the basis for this statement from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1990, which said that "when the latest atmospheric models are run with the current concentrations of greenhouse gases, the simulation of present climate is generally realistic on large scales."

The projection in Hansen's model, which actually included years, was the climate change from 1988 to 1997 would be .45 degrees Celsius. The observed changes from 1988 to 1997 are given here along with that projected increase of .45 degrees Celsius.

The opencircle record is the surface temperature record primarily from land areas, primarily from the middle latitude, with very little in the high latitudes. The bottom two records are the satellite-measured temperatures, which are truly global, of the lower troposphere, and the balloon-measured temperatures, which actually are more global than the surface record because of launches from some very remote locations.

As you can see, the forecast that was made in 1988 was a failure; and the statement in 1990 that the type of models that were used then, which were the models that served as the basis for the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol, were generally realistic was simply not true.

Chairman TALENT. Dr. Michaels, start with the top line and go down through the four lines and identify them again.

One of the things I caution the witnesses is not to assume a familiarity with anything on the level that you all are familiar with. I am trying in a very delicate way to say that you have to take this slow, at least for me and I suspect for other Members of the Committee, but I will take the blame for it. So go from the top to the bottom and start with that solid line at the top and tell us what that is.

Mr. MICHAELS. The solid line is the projected increase from the 1988 model that Hansen published. It was used as the basis for his statements about the future.

The middle line is the surface measured temperature by thermometers all around the planet; that is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate changes, a record. The net change in that record, by the way, is a warming of .11 degrees over the past 10 years, when the forecast was .45 degrees. That is a factor of 4 degrees beneath where it is supposed to be.

The other two records are satellite-measured temperatures that John Christy is going to talk about; they measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere. The triangles are weather balloon-meas

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