[Senate Hearing 110-1176]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 110-1176
AN EXAMINATION OF THE IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
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COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
BARBARA BOXER, California, Chairman
MAX BAUCUS, Montana JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
JOSEPH I. LIEBERMAN, Connecticut JOHN W. WARNER, Virginia
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, New York JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming1
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont LARRY E. CRAIG, Idaho
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, Rhode Island CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri
Bettina Poirier, Majority Staff Director and Chief Counsel
Andrew Wheeler, Minority Staff Director
1Note: During the 110th Congress, Senator Craig
Thomas, of Wyoming, passed away on June 4, 2007. Senator John
Barrasso, of Wyoming, joined the committee on July 10, 2007.
C O N T E N T S
SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
Boxer, Hon. Barbara, U.S. Senator from the State of California... 1
Warner, Hon. John, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia 1
Inhofe, Hon. James M., U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma... 4
Cardin, Hon. Benjamin L., U.S. Senator from the State of Maryland 6
Mikulski, Hon. Barbara, U.S. Senator from the State of Maryland.. 11
Prepared statement........................................... 12
Webb, Hon. James, U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia. 14
Gilchrest, Hon. Wayne T., U.S. Representative from the State of
Prepared statement........................................... 17
Kaine, Hon. Timothy M., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. 19
Prepared statement........................................... 21
O'Malley, Hon. Martin, Governor of the State of Maryland......... 23
Prepared statement........................................... 24
Baker, William C., president, Chesapeake Bay Foundation.......... 34
Prepared statement........................................... 35
Responses to additional questions from:
Senator Cardin........................................... 38
Senator Inhofe........................................... 39
Pyke, Christopher R., member, Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific
and Technical Advisory Committee; fellow, Virginia Institute of
Marine Science's Center of Coastal Resources Management........ 40
Prepared statement........................................... 42
Response to an additional question from Senator Cardin....... 45
Boesch, Donald F., president, University of Maryland Center for
Environmental Science.......................................... 46
Prepared statement........................................... 48
Responses to additional questions from Senator Cardin........ 54
Avery, Dennis T., senior fellow, Hudson Institute; director,
Center for Global Food Issues.................................. 57
Prepared statement........................................... 59
Responses to additional questions from Senator Inhofe........ 63
Schnare, David W., senior fellow for Energy and the Environment,
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy................... 64
Prepared statement........................................... 65
Responses to additional questions from Senator Inhofe........ 72
Supplemental to prepared statement........................... 151
Edmund, Richard, pastor, United Methodist Churches of Smith
Island, MD..................................................... 73
Prepared statement........................................... 75
Responses to additional questions from Senator Cardin........ 76
Statement, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Climate Change and
Chesapeake Bay: A Summary of Management Issues................. 146
The Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming, A Paradise Lost for
Hunters, Anglers, and Outdoor Enthusiasts.................. 88
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Saving a National Treasure,
Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay: Challenges, Impacts,
and the Multiple Benefits of Agricultural Conservation Work 128
Article, BBC News, Greenland Ice Swells Ocean Rise............... 107
Paper, The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering, Scott Barrett,
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International
Studies, March 18, 2007........................................ 109
Chart, Spring SST Estimates at Chesapeake Bay for 2000 Years..... 150
AN EXAMINATION OF THE IMPACTS OF GLOBAL WARMING ON THE CHESAPEAKE BAY
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2007
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
The full committee met, pursuant to notice, at 9:34 a.m. in
room 406, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Barbara Boxer
(chairman of the full committee) presiding.
Present: Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Cardin, Warner,
Also present, Senators Mikulski and Webb.
STATEMENT OF HON. BARBARA BOXER, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF
Senator Boxer. We call the Committee to order. We welcome
our honored guests. I know that Senator Warner has to go down
to the Floor and work on the defense bill. He is going to come
back as soon as he possibly can, but in deference to his
schedule, I would ask if he would like to make his remarks
before Senator Inhofe and I do.
Senator Warner. I thank you, Madam Chairman.
Senator Boxer. Certainly.
Senator Warner. Then I shall return to this hearing quite
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN WARNER, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Senator Warner. I am privileged this morning, together with
my colleague Senator Webb, to introduce our distinguished
Governor, Governor Kaine, who I have worked with now these
several years. It has been my privilege in the 29 years I have
been in this institution to work with 10 Virginia Governors. I
would say that this one is fast achieving the role of being at
the top of his class. He has a heartfelt concern about the
issues surrounding global climate changes, the mysteries and
what is known in this area. He is proceeding to lead our State
to take an important position, along with other States I hope,
as we begin to go into the world of the unknowns and try and do
what we can at this point in America's history to hopefully
join other nations to achieve a measure of global warming
recognition and action.
Under your leadership, as you know, Senator Lieberman and I
have a bill that will soon come before this Committee. But on
this subject, I would like to first mention that it has been my
privilege to work on the issues of the Chesapeake Bay for many
years. I harken back to two great Senators, Senator Matthias
and Senator Paul Sarbanes and I and others who initiated the
earliest legislation with regard to the Chesapeake Bay. We went
in there with the best of intentions, and laid a foundation
legislatively. I think collectively the several States that
border the Bay have begun to pull their fair share of the load
and responsibility, together with the Federal Government, but
it has to be a joint project.
This magnificent bay is absolutely essential to our
ecosystem, and also we must be concerned about a part of the
real estate of our great commonwealth, Virginia, which borders
the Bay and could be subjected, the Tidewater region, to severe
damage if in the future years there is a significant rise in
the water levels worldwide. I believe our territory--and the
Governor will go into details on this--is one of the lowest of
any major city throughout certainly the United States.
So we are anxious to hear from Governor Kaine when his time
comes, and thank you, Madam Chairman and the Ranking Member,
for allowing me to make a few remarks. I will return as quickly
as I can.
[The prepared statement of Senator Warner follows:]
Statement of Hon. John Warner, U.S. Senator from the
Commonwealth of Virginia
Good Morning. I am pleased to welcome today's witnesses, and was
pleased to welcome my distinguished colleagues from the Chesapeake Bay
region, Senators Webb and Mikulski, Congressman Gilchrest, Governor
Kaine, and Governor O'Malley. Your presence here today speaks to the
serious nature of the issue today's hearing will examine.
Together over the years, the Congressional delegations from
Virginia and Maryland have played a pivotal role in efforts to promote
restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The state governments have enacted
strong restoration policies as well. I fear that all this good work,
just a drop in the bucket of what it will take to ``Save the Bay,'' is
racing an impossible race against increasing global temperatures and
sea level rise.
The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure that sits on the front
lines of climate change. The problems that already plague the Bay will
be exacerbated if Congress does not fulfill its responsibility and
enact a measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is widely known
by now that I have entered into a partnership with my friend and
colleague, Senator Lieberman, to craft a climate change bill. We hope
to have a bill for introduction in the early weeks of October.
Madam Chairman, I am deeply troubled by the impacts climate change
is having in my own back yard. It is an environmental issues as well as
an economic issue. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the most significant
estuary systems in the United States, but it is greatly changed from
the days when blue crabs and oysters were abundant. I fear not only
that family traditions will be lost, but that an economic driver for
the Eastern Seaboard is in jeopardy.
I look forward to hearing today's witnesses examine not only the
impacts climate change is having on the Bay, but possible solutions as
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator Warner. Thank you very,
This is a very important day for me as Chairman of this
Committee, and I know for Senator Cardin who is one of our
newest and a wonderful member of this Committee, he and Senator
Mikulski, Senator Webb and others have been asking me please to
take a look in our own backyard at the impacts that global
warming is having already.
This Committee, many members went to Greenland. We saw what
is happening there with the ice melt. As a matter of fact,
Senator Mikulski, who sits on a key subcommittee on
Appropriations, joined us in that trip. That is why her
presence here today is so valuable because we are kind of
marrying what we learned in Greenland in looking at the lessons
in our own backyard. But they have pressed us to do this
hearing. Senator Warner asked us to do it at a time when he
could be here. Now, look what has happened with the defense
bill, so I am sure he is going to come back. It is a good day
I want to talk about a little bit before our panel some of
the impacts that are close to us here in D.C., because you
really don't have to travel as far as Greenland to see the
impacts of global warming, when you could see them a few miles
at the Chesapeake. The Chesapeake Bay is already showing the
effects of global warming, including sea level rise, warmer
water, erosion of the shoreline, loss of wetlands that protect
us from strong storms and provide habitat for our wildlife.
Testimony we will hear from leading scientists today, and a
variety of published studies, say that warmer air and water in
the region will change the Bay ecosystem, contribute to
worsening dead zones, and harmful algae blooms, and encourage
the spread of marine diseases and invasive species.
I ask unanimous consent that a report by the National
Wildlife Federation being released today, entitled ``The
Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming: A Paradise Lost for Hunters,
Anglers and Outdoor Enthusiasts?''--that is the title of it--be
entered into the record.
[The referenced document follows on page 88.]
Senator Boxer. This report concludes that warming will harm
fish, oyster, clam and crab populations, as well as the
breeding grounds and migration patterns for waterfowl. Fewer
birds are expected to make their way to the Chesapeake Bay.
This will also disrupt the ability of watermen, hunters and
anglers to use and enjoy the Bay.
These kinds of impacts are not limited to the Chesapeake
Bay. We are beginning to see some of them in my own home State
of California. But there is good news. The good news is that we
can do something about this, and we will all be better off for
it. The solutions to global warming are good for our economy,
good for our security, and good for our planet.
Yesterday, with strong leadership from Senator Sanders, we
held a hearing examining green jobs created by global warming
initiatives. Witnesses told us that through addressing global
warming, we can create potentially millions of new green collar
jobs. We heard from very successful businessmen.
We can address global warming, while expanding our economy,
improving our energy independence, and enhancing our national
security. So those are the reasons why I approach this issue
with hope and not fear. I believe we can rise to the challenge.
The really great news is this Committee is ready to do that
under the leadership of my subcommittee Chair Lieberman and
Ranking Member of his Subcommittee Warner. We expect to have a
very good bill very soon before this Committee.
So we will rise to the challenge. I am determined that we
can and will solve global warming, while strengthening our
economy, creating new green jobs, and saving all of our
backyards, including our national treasures, and in that list,
certainly the Chesapeake Bay.
So with that, I will turn to my Ranking Member, Senator
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES M. INHOFE, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I appreciate the comments made by Senator Warner. I hope
that he does bring out a bill, the Warner-Lieberman bill or
whatever they want to call it, because this is the 14th hearing
that we have had on global warming. It is time that we go ahead
and get some action. So I hope that is the case.
I would like to give the other side of this, that due to an
abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analyses and data error
discoveries in the last several months, this year has been a
dramatic one for global warming revelations. There has been a
scandal at the U.S. Temperature Data Network, where
thermometers have been intentionally placed near heat-
generating equipment and hot asphalt. Further, the Antarctic
ice has grown to record levels since satellite monitoring began
in the 1970s. And NASA temperatures data reevaluation have made
1934, not 1998, the hottest year on record.
Now, most interestingly, and the Chairman mentioned the
trip to Greenland, Greenland has cooled since the 1940s.
According to multiple peer-reviewed studies, current
temperatures in Greenland have not even reached the
temperatures from the 1930s and 1940s. It is important to note
that 80 percent of the manmade CO2 came after these
high temperatures were reached in Greenland. We have seen
global average temperatures flatline since 1998, and the
Southern Hemisphere--I don't think anyone disagrees--has been
cooling in recent years.
Many of my colleagues today will undoubtedly say that the
science advocating manmade global warming is settled. In fact,
just last month a comprehensive survey of peer-reviewed
scientific literature from 2004 to 2007 revealed--and this is
very significant--``less than half of all published scientists
endorse global warming theory.'' This is a quote out of the
report. The survey used the same search term as was used in the
survey that was cited by Al Gore in his movie as proof of
consensus, the identical search term that Al Gore used. The
study revealed that 528 total papers on climate change, out of
those only seven percent gave explicit endorsement of the
consensus. The figure rose to 45 percent if one includes
implicit endorsement over the acceptance of the consensus
without explicit statements.
While only six percent reject the consensus outright, the
largest category, 48 percent, is neutral papers refusing to
either accept or reject the hypothesis. This led the science
publication Daily Tech to conclude in August, just last month
in 2007, ``this is no consensus.'' Let me repeat. Just last
month, a comprehensive survey of peer-reviewed scientific
literature from 2004 to 2007 said less than half of all
published scientists endorse global warming theory. This is a
huge change from 5 years ago and 10 years ago, but science does
improve as time goes by.
With regard to the Bay, its sea levels have been rising for
thousands of years. The Bay itself is a product of a rising sea
level. The Bay is at best 10,000 years old, and recognizable to
us in its current form only in the last 5,000 years. Further,
according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Bay has risen
about 6 inches per century over the last 6,000 years. According
to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the sea level
rise is due to naturally occurring regional land subsidence.
The land is subsiding at a rate of 1.33 millimeters per year.
In its report on global warming, the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation noted that much of the area is actually sinking due
to the geological processes that began during the last ice age.
The Bay and its sea life have adjusted to its constant rise in
sea level and will continue to adjust, and if the pollution
issues can be brought under control, it will continue to
I think this hearing should not have been about the impact
of global warming on the Bay, but rather propose that this
hearing should have been on the Bay's health, the pollution
sources, the local economy, and the water quality. In 2000,
Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia
signed the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, whereby they committed to
reducing loadings sufficient to remove the Chesapeake and its
tributaries from EPA's list of impaired waters by 2010.
In 1985, 358 million pounds of nitrogen were delivered to
the Bay's tidal waters. By 2005, nitrogen loadings into the
tidal waters were down to 286 million pounds. However, as noted
in last year's Inspector General report, the average rate of
decrease in nitrogen loadings is about 3.4 million pounds
annually. In order to meet the 2000 Agreement's goal of
removing the Bay from EPA's impaired water list, nutrient
loadings must be reduced by 16 million pounds annually.
According to the 2006 Chesapeake Bay 2006 Health and
Restoration Assessment, the signatories have met fewer than 50
percent of their restoration goals. We should examine those
I will submit the rest for the record, because what I am
saying, Madam Chairman, is that there are problems with the Bay
that need to be addressed, pollution problems, and I think
perhaps we could do that, and maybe another hearing would be
[The prepared statement of Senator Inhofe follows:]
Statement of James M. Inhofe, U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma
Today's hearing is on the impact global warming is having on the
Chesapeake Bay. It is also this Committee's 14th hearing on global
warming. It was my hope that we would begin having hearings and
discussions on actual bill language so that Members can begin to
understand the intricate details of how many of the ideas mentioned
today would work in reality. Due to an abundance of new peer-reviewed
studies, analyses, and data error discoveries in the last several
months, this year has been a dramatic one for global warming
revelations. There has been a ``scandal'' of U.S. temperature data
network where thermometers have been erroneously placed near heat
generating equipment and hot asphalt. Further, Antarctic ice has grown
to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1970's and
NASA temperature data re-evaluations have made 1934--not 1998--the
hottest year on record in the United States.
Most interesting, Greenland has cooled since the 1940's. According
to multiple peer-reviewed studies, current temperatures in Greenland
have not even reached the temperatures from the 1930s and 1940s. It is
important to note that 80% of man-made CO2 came after these
high temperatures were reached in Greenland. We have seen global
average temperatures flat line since 1998 and the Southern Hemisphere
cool in recent years.
Many of my colleagues today will undoubtedly say the science
advocating man-made global warming is settled. In fact, just last
month, a comprehensive survey of peer-reviewed scientific literature
from 2004-2007 revealed ``Less than half of all published scientists
endorse global warming theory.'' The survey used the same search term
as that used in a survey cited by Al Gore in his movie as proof of the
The study revealed that of 528 total papers on climate change, only
7% gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. The figure rose to 45
percent if one includes implicit endorsement, or the acceptance of the
consensus without an explicit statement. While only 6% reject the
consensus outright, the largest category (48%) is neutral papers,
refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This lead the
science publication Daily Tech to conclude in August 2007 ``This is no
`consensus.' '' Let me repeat, just last month, a comprehensive survey
of peer-reviewed scientific literature from 2004-2007 revealed ``Less
than half of all published scientists endorse global warming theory.''
With regard to the Bay, its sea levels have been rising for
thousands of years. The Bay itself is the product of rising sea level.
The Bay is at best 10,000 years old and recognizable to us in its
current form only in the last 5,000 years. Further, according to the
U.S. Geological Survey, the Bay has risen about 6 inches per century
over the last 6,000 years. According to the Maryland Department of
Natural Resources, the sea level rise is due to naturally occurring
regional land subsidence. The land is subsiding at a rate of 1.33
millimeters per year. In its report on global warming, the Chesapeake
Bay Foundation noted that ``much of the area is actually sinking due to
geological processes that began during the last ice age.'' The Bay and
its sea life have adjusted to its constant rise in sea level and it
will continue to adjust and if the pollution issues can be brought
under control, it will continue to flourish.
This hearing should not have been about the impact of global
warming on the Bay but rather I would propose that this hearing should
have been on the Bay's health, the pollution sources, the local economy
and the water quality. In 2000, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and
the District of Columbia signed the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement whereby
they committed to reducing loadings sufficient to remove the Chesapeake
and its tributaries from EPA's list of impaired waters by 2010.
In 1985, 358 million pounds of nitrogen were delivered to the Bay's
tidal waters. By 2005, nitrogen loadings into the tidal waters were
down to 286 million pounds. However, as noted in last year's Inspector
General report, the average rate of decrease in nitrogen loadings is
about 3.4 million pounds annually. In order to meet the 2000
Agreement's goal of removing the Bay from EPA's impaired waters list,
nutrient loadings must be reduced by 16 million pounds annually.
According to the 2006 Chesapeake Bay 2006 Health and Restoration
Assessment, the signatories have met fewer than 50% of their
restoration goals. We should examine why those goals have not been met,
whether the goals were realistic, whether the resources exist to meet
them and where best to devote limited federal dollars in the effort.
According to the Congressional Research Service, the federal government
spent $58 million in 2006 directly on Chesapeake Bay programs and
projects. This does not include any funding received through the two
state revolving loan funds or the USDA conservation programs. We should
be discussing whether that money was well spent or should be focused
I think today is a lost opportunity. While much of the testimony is
focused on global warming, I remain hopeful we will be able to learn
about local solutions to the problem of nutrient and sediment loadings.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much, Senator. I think
Senator Cardin will talk about how we are doing that in the
WRDA bill that you were so helpful on.
STATEMENT OF HON. BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
STATE OF MARYLAND
Senator Cardin. Well, Madam Chair, thank you very much.
I have the deepest respect for my colleague, Senator
Inhofe. The two of us have been working together for many, many
years and I respect his views. I must tell you I agree that
science does improve as time goes on, and we know a lot more
today than we knew a decade ago. We now know a lot more about
the dangers of global warming.
I regret that you weren't on our trip to Greenland, because
you would have seen first-hand the impact of the warming
climate in Greenland, the ice loss which is dramatic and
occurring literally as we see from year to year. It is a
dramatic indication of the risks that we face as a world
because of global warming.
I do want to acknowledge that global warming is a most
serious threat to the Chesapeake Bay, but it is not the only
threat. The nitrogen levels are a major concern. I want to
thank Senator Inhofe, as I did on the floor of the U.S. Senate,
and Senator Boxer, for their extraordinary leadership to get
the water bill passed, the first reauthorization in 7 years. It
has a major emphasis on the Chesapeake Bay and on the issues
that Senator Inhofe mentioned on cleaning up the Bay, including
dealing with wastewater treatment and the traditional programs
that the Federal Government has been a partner with our States
and local governments and private sector, in dealing with the
pollution problems of the Chesapeake Bay.
There is no one answer to the Chesapeake Bay, but global
warming is a serious problem and one that we can deal with. I
think that is very much indicated by the distinguished group of
witnesses that we have with us today, starting with the senior
Senator from Maryland, Senator Mikulski, who has been a
tireless fighter on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay, and
understands the importance it has not only to the economy of
our region, but what makes this region so unique, and the fact
that this is a national model on how communities can work
together with government to improve the quality of a very
difficult, but important, body of water. So Senator Mikulski, I
thank you for your leadership on these issues.
It is also nice to have Senator Webb and Congressman
Gilchrest with us. Senator Webb and I were elected to the U.S.
Senate this year and he has taken on the challenge of the
Chesapeake Bay. I thank you very much for your leadership.
Congressman Gilchrest represents the entire Eastern Shore
of Maryland and has been an outspoken advocate of sensible ways
to improve our environment and maintain a way of life that is
so unique to the people of the Eastern Shore. I thank you for
I particularly appreciate your Governors being here today--
Governor O'Malley and Governor Kaine. Both are leaders on the
Chesapeake Bay issues. Governor O'Malley has been Governor just
for a few months and he has already shown his dynamic
leadership to the people of Maryland. He chairs the Chesapeake
Executive Council. It has initiated the Regional Greenhouse Gas
Initiative in our State, and we thank you for that. Governor
Kaine has taken on the leadership of Virginia as an active
partner on our Chesapeake Bay restorations.
I also want to acknowledge the work of Senator Warner. I am
glad that Senator Warner mentioned Senator Matthias and Senator
Sarbanes. All have been real champions of the Chesapeake Bay.
We will hear later from some outstanding experts. Don Boesch is
one of the world's leading scientists on coastal systems.
Pastor Rick Edmund, who will tell us first-hand the problems of
Smith Island and the erosion there, and the sea level change,
the effect that it is having. He is one of our leaders in the
faith community. Will Baker is the longtime president of the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 190,000 members that are committed
to restoring the Chesapeake Bay.
Just very quickly, according to Maryland Emergency
Management, Maryland is the third most vulnerable State to
flooding. AllState Insurance has announced that it will no
longer underwrite new homeowners' policies in much of Maryland
because of rising sea levels and the increasing rate of severe
storms which scientists tell us are associated with global
warming. There you see what has happened to our State, the
vulnerability to flooding in Maryland.
About one third of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge has been lost
in the past 70 years, and Smith Island has lost 30 percent of
its land to rising sea levels since 1850. Madam Chair, it is no
exaggeration to say that global warming presents a grave long-
term risk to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
We salute the strong actions already being undertaken by
the States of Maryland and Virginia, but it is time for
national leadership on global warming. I look forward to
hearing from our distinguished witnesses today, and this
Committee taking forceful action on climate change. It is
important for the Chesapeake Bay. It is important for our
Country. It is important for the globe in which we live. I look
forward to hearing from our witnesses.
[The prepared statement of Senator Cardin follows:]
Statement of Hon. Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Senator from the
State of Maryland
The Chesapeake Bay is America's largest estuary and a natural
resource of global significance. The United States Congress has called
it ``a national treasure.'' But today the Chesapeake Bay faces perhaps
a serious challenge.
Global warming presents a present and growing threat to public
safety, to key Bay species such as blue crabs and rockfish, and to the
fragile lands that surround the Chesapeake.
According to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA),
Maryland is the third most vulnerable state to flooding.
Allstate insurance has announced that it will not longer underwrite
new home-owners policies in much of Maryland because of rising sea
levels and the increasing rate of severe storms, which scientists
associate with global warming.
In a report being released today, the National Fish and Wildlife
Federation warns that we are likely to lose all of the winter flounder
and soft-shelled clams in the Bay because water temperatures will
simply be too hot for them to survive.
About one-third of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge has been lost in the
past 70 years and Smith Island has lost 30% of its land to rising sea
levels since 1850.
It is no exaggeration to say that global warming presents a very
grave long-term threat to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.
We salute the strong actions already being undertaken by our states
of Maryland and Virginia. But the time for national leadership on
global warming is now. I look forward to hearing from our distinguished
witnesses today and to this Committee taking forceful action on climate
change in the near future.
As the experience of the Chesapeake Bay makes clear, we can't
afford to wait any longer.
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
I know that Senator Inhofe is going to a meeting where he
is trying to help us get that WRDA bill----
Senator Inhofe. At the White House. That is right.
Senator Boxer [continuing]. Get that WRDA bill signed into
law. So Senator, you wanted to make a comment?
Senator Inhofe. I did want to make one comment. There is no
one I love more than Senator Mikulski. We are very, very close.
We actually have been together on a lot of our Thursday
afternoon meetings. But I have to object to have the Senator
sit at the dais, because we have never done that in the history
of this Committee. I know this came up a couple of times when I
was Chairman of the Committee, and I hope you understand that.
Senator Mikulski. Madam Chair, may I respond?
Senator Boxer. Yes.
Senator Mikulski. Madam Chair, you will hear in my
testimony that the subcommittee that I have the proud honor to
Chair, Commerce, Justice and Science, funds 85 percent of the
science that is done on global warming. I ask to sit at the
dais in two capacities. Number one as the Senator from
Maryland, because this is a hearing, and I would of course be
happy to be joined by my colleague. I am delighted that our
colleague from the House, Congressman Gilchrest is here. We do
function as Team Maryland on the issues related to the State.
The second reason that I wanted to sit at the dais, though,
is that I do fund 85 percent of the science that this Committee
relies upon, all that information that Senator Cardin has
conveyed up there and that Senator Inhofe conveys comes from
our committee. I might add, the committee is the Mikulski-
Shelby Committee. We really do function on a keen bipartisan
I will yield to the Senator's objection, but I will ask as
a courtesy since 85 percent of what we fund and you rely on, I
will assume my seat behind you, as I am behind you 100 percent,
and I will function as a staff member to the Committee.
Senator Inhofe. Let me respond. First of all, if the
Chairman would agree, this would be a one time only event,
since it hasn't happened before. I would have no objection. I
would just make the exception for this meeting. Would you
Senator Boxer. Senator, I am not going to agree to that. I
am the Chairman of this Committee. I have spoken with you. You
knew this was coming. I asked if Senator Mikulski could join
us. You said that it is not allowed. I went back to the
Parliamentarian. There is absolutely no rule against this, and
many committees do this. I can't tell you from the day one
whether this Committee has ever done it, and I don't think you
Indeed, it is permissible. It seems to me that we may not
agree on this issue. Lord knows, we don't. We agree on others.
But we should have a sense of comity here. This is a colleague
who would bend over backwards for you if you ever asked her for
anything. I am going to ask unanimous consent that we allow
Senator Mikulski to join us today.
Senator Inhofe. I object. Let me reserve the right to
What you say is partially right, but it is unprecedented in
this Committee. There is not a time, and we have done some
research to see if that has ever happened before. It hasn't
happened before. We tried it when I was Chairman of the
Committee. It was objected to. But I am willing to make the
exception for you, Senator Mikulski, and I hope that you will
be seated up here and will accept the invitation.
Senator Mikulski. Madam Chair, if I might, as again a
personal privilege. We need to focus on the issue of global
warming and the impact on the Bay. We have two outstanding
Governors here. I want the focus of the hearing to be on the
Chesapeake Bay and global warming, and not on myself.
I yield to the ruling of the Chair.
Senator Boxer. Well, the ruling of the Chair, if I had the
chance to rule, would be that you would be joining us. We have
had objection, and I just might say, let's just----
Senator Inhofe. I am trying to----
Senator Boxer. I understand you are trying to move on, and
I appreciate it, but I think it is important to take a moment
here, and I will do that. This is an outrage. This is my
Senator Inhofe. It is an outrage to invite----
Senator Boxer. If I might conclude, please. It is an
outrage to object to a sincere colleague who wants to work with
us on a bipartisan basis that is so close to her heart. I am
offended. It doesn't diminish my wanting to work with you in
the future. I mean, Senator Inhofe was going to go to the floor
and object to the committee's meeting today if this happened.
And he has to leave us and I would not do something behind his
back, so that is why we are having----
Senator Inhofe. And that is why I am inviting Senator
Mikulski to sit up here on the dais and participate. We will
make an exception if you would agree that this is an exception
we are making for Senator Mikulski.
Senator Cardin. Will the Senator yield?
Senator Inhofe. I don't see a problem with that.
Senator Cardin. Would the Senator yield for a moment?
Senator Inhofe. Yes.
Senator Cardin. I appreciate your concern that we stick to
the rules of the House, but we have a problem in getting
Senators to attend hearings. It seems to me that it is helpful
if we could have the benefit of another Senator in questioning
the really distinguished panel that we have here. I would just
urge you--I understand that you have the right to object and I
understand your concern. I agree with Senator Mikulski, today's
hearing is so important, just so important, the subject that we
are dealing with. It is not about one Senator. It is about the
issue of the Chesapeake Bay and the relationship of global
warming and the relationship to the other issues that you
raised. I just think it would be so helpful for this Committee
to have the expertise of Senator Mikulski.
Senator Inhofe. And I agree, Senator Cardin. I agree with
everything you just said. So why don't you sit up here and we
will make that exception for today. I would be delighted to do
Senator Boxer. Okay, we will make the exception today, and
I am not stating that this will be the only time I will ask for
that, but please join us.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you.
Senator Mikulski. Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Senator Mikulski.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Mikulski. I also thank you, then, for the extension
of that courtesy.
Senator Boxer. All right.
Now, I think we are ready to get started now.
Senator Mikulski. Who kicks it off?
Senator Boxer. Senator Mikulski, with that tremendous
introduction, we welcome you. All of us do.
Senator Boxer. We urge you to begin.
STATEMENT OF HON. BARBARA MIKULSKI, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE
Senator Mikulski. It is more than the ice caps that face a
meltdown, Madam Chair.
Senator Mikulski. First of all, I want to thank you for
holding this hearing as one of your hearings on the impact of
global warming on our Country and on the world. I want to thank
the members of the EPW Committee, and certainly my colleague,
Senator Cardin, and a special comment to Senator Warner, who
has been a long-time champion. He is a defender of the United
States of America, and also of this planet itself. He has done
it as a warfighter and he now continues to do it in protecting
the Chesapeake Bay and being concerned about these
As you can see, we are here at this table on a bipartisan
basis. We are so pleased that you are focusing on the Bay,
because too often the thoughts about global warming are about
polar bears in Antarctica, and it seems very removed from the
everyday life of what American citizens face.
What we are so excited about that you are focusing on is
regional impact, the impact of global warming will have a
stunning affect on how we live in our own Country, and could
even create an international series of security crises.
Madam Chair, you visited our State. You know that the Bay
is not only a great estuary, but it is part of the soul and
culture and economy of our great State of Maryland and
Delaware. What we know is that if anything happens to the Bay,
Maryland as we know it will come to an end. You will hear from
our distinguished Governor and Governor Kaine. You will hear
from people who have worked on the Bay as scientists and
watermen that will be able to tell you about it. Because if the
Bay goes, so will Maryland and so will Virginia, so will our
way of life, so will our economy.
There will be no inner harbor. There will be no
agriculture. Good-bye to crabs. Good-bye to oysters, watermen,
farmers. So it is the little people with dirt under their
fingernails. It is the people who are inventing dot.com ideas
in our digital harbor. All of that will be wiped out if the sea
levels and temperatures rise.
Now, we believe that whatever decisions that the Committee
makes should be made with sound science. As you know, I stand
for ungagged, unfettered science to tell us what we need to do.
In our outstanding trip to Greenland, as you know, it was the
triumph of the geek. They told us what we needed to know
Madam Chair, I won't repeat everything I stated earlier,
but our committee, Commerce, Justice and Science, Senator
Shelby and I fund 85 percent of all of the climate change
science, including for NASA, NOAA and the National Science
Foundation. Remember, our own advisor for our Greenland trip
told us he could do his work because of the National Science
Foundation. You remember our European friend said we were the
indispensable Nation on climate change research because of what
I won't go into this Committee here about what we do, but
we have a coordinated effort in our subcommittee, working on a
bipartisan basis with Senator Shelby to continue taking a look
at what is happening and what we can do with best practices
that are affordable, from satellite research to working with
people on the ground.
You will hear from my colleagues about other things that we
have done to protect the Bay, from everything from trying to
deal with water and sewer runoff, to research on oysters and
crabs, and the EPA Bay Program. But all solutions are local,
and I want to very much today bring to the table someone who I
believe is an outstanding leader on the Chesapeake Bay and the
I want to introduce Governor Martin O'Malley, who has been
a great partner in saving the Bay. Governor O'Malley is a true
innovator, taking what he did as Mayor of Baltimore with his
CitiStat program, in other words, back to data. We want to be
data-driven, science-driven, policy-driven that links outcomes
with cost. He created something called BayStat, which is going
to establish an accountability process to measure and evaluate
restoration efforts up and down the Bay.
He created the Maryland Commission on Climate Change, and
he is going to tell you about it. He is not only a leader in
our State, but in this Country. I am pleased to introduce him
and following will be a wonderful panel of people from watermen
to scientists to advocates on the Bay.
I thank you for holding this hearing. I thank you for
defending the Bay, and I thank you for defending me.
[The prepared statement of Senator Mikulski follows:]
Statement of Hon. Barbara Mikulski, U.S. Senator from the
State of Maryland
Thank you Chairwoman Boxer, for holding this hearing today on the
impact of global warming on the Chesapeake Bay. Thank you also to the
members of the EPW Committee, including Senator Ben Cardin, my great
partner in the Senate and a champion for the Bay, and Senator John
Warner, who I've worked with for many years on the Bay and other issues
important to Maryland and Virginia.
I'm excited to be here today because global warming is not just
about polar bears--it's about the future of the planet itself It is an
inconvenient truth. We need to look at this problem locally to see the
The coastal senators are already seeing and feeling this problem.
Our sea levels are rising, our wetlands are disappearing and our
islands are underwater. We're looking at the possibility that our
agriculture will be wiped out and there won't be a Baltimore Harbor.
In Maryland, the Bay Is our economy, our culture, our soul. Being a
waterman is not just a job; it's a way of life. At the same time, we
know that Maryland has a turbo economy and we need wise practices to
balance the demands on our environment and our economy.
It is my proud job, as the Chairwoman of the Commerce Justice
Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee, to fund 85 percent of
climate change science. And I am happy to work with you, the
authorizers, to make sure we have sound science that is ungagged,
unbought and unbossed--to let science speak for itself.
We are here today to discuss how we should fix this problem. I sat
down with my Environmental Advisory Board and asked them, `What is the
real impact of global warming on the Bay? What have we done to fix it?
What more can we do?' They gave me valuable information and I greatly
appreciate all their help. Based on their feedback, we decided to hold
this hearing to open a dialogue between government officials,
scientists and local Bay residents so we can discuss problems currently
facing the Bay and what our next steps should be.
Through three presidents, I've been fighting to restore the health
of the Bay. Every year, I fight for $20 million for the Chesapeake Bay
Program, bringing together federal, state and local government, and
community groups to create solutions for Bay clean up to restore water
quality, habitats and fisheries. I've been helping scientists and
researchers find the best ways to restore oysters and crabs in the Bay,
fighting for almost $13 million for oyster reseeding since 2001 and
more than $20 million to build new oyster reefs since 1995. This is
important because oysters help filter pollutants out of the Bay and
restoring oysters also helps maintain jobs and opportunities for our
waterman. Crabs are also a vital part of the Bay's ecosystem and
support jobs in a struggling region of my state, so I've been helping
scientists find new methods of breeding and releasing crabs, providing
nearly $12 million since 2001.
Our local communities who can't afford to improve water quality
also need help. That's why I've been fighting for increased funding for
water and sewer infrastructure for Maryland, which received more than
$21 million in 2006.
I am Chairwoman of the Commerce Justice and Science (CJS)
Appropriations Subcommittee. My CJS bill informs policymakers'
decisions on what to do about global warming. In fact, 85 percent of
climate change science is funded in CJS with almost $1.6 billion per
year. Without the science that is funded in the CJS bill, policymakers
on the Environment and Public Works Committee would not have the
important benefit of this sound science to base regulatory and policy
The CJS bill funds NASA's [National Aeronautics and Space
Administration] earth science programs at $1.1 billion. This supports
the important research missions that study chemicals and aerosols in
the atmosphere, the earth's energy budget and links between oceans and
climate. NOAA's [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration]
weather and satellite programs, which provide short and long term
observations and predictions of our weather and climate, are funded at
$300 million per year. NSF's [National Science Foundation] research is
funded at $200 million per year, and supports competitive, peer-
reviewed, basic `ground truth' research by university scientists.
I stand ready to work with the authorizers and I am happy you're
having this hearing today. There may be international agreements and
national bills, but this is ultimately a local issue. That is why its
so important to hear from the state and local officials. I am proud to
introduce Governor Martin O'Malley, who has been a great partner with
me in saving the Bay. Governor O'Malley is a true innovator, taking
what he did when he was mayor of Baltimore--City Stat, a program he
pioneered to make government more efficient--and creating Bay Stat,
which establishes a process of accountability for measuring and
evaluating efforts to restore the Bay. He also created the Maryland
Commission on Climate Change, which will perform an assessment of
climate change impacts, calculate Maryland's carbon footprint and
develop a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Governor O'Malley is a
leader not just in our state of Maryland, but in this country. He will
tell the Committee about his efforts to save the Bay and how we can all
I thank the Chairwoman for this opportunity to open this hearing
and introduce Governor O'Malley. I look forward to hearing all of the
testimony from the distinguished panelists and coming up with real
solutions to these problems. We need to make an action plan on how to
make the Bay healthier and how state and federal officials can work
together with our partners in the community. The Chesapeake Bay is a
national treasure and Maryland's greatest natural resource, but the Bay
is in trouble and we need to do everything we can to save it. I will
always fight to protect the Bay and the jobs and livelihoods that
depend on it. Thank you again for this opportunity, now I turn the
microphone over to the Governor of Maryland.
Senator Boxer. Senator, would you do us the honor of
joining us, and please take your seat next to Senator Cardin. I
would really appreciate it.
Senator Webb, we welcome you. We are so happy. This new
class, between all of you, including this wonderful new member
sitting right here, you have just added immeasurably to the
Senate and we welcome you to this issue and this battle.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES WEBB, U.S. SENATOR FROM THE
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Senator Webb. Thank you very much, Chairman Boxer, and
Senator Cardin. Let me join in also defending Senator Mikulski
here. I think what Senator Cardin said is absolutely true to
the process. There are times when we have four committee
hearings scheduled at the same time up here. When you have a
sitting Senator with the seniority and the knowledge and the
tenacity of Senator Mikulski wanting to come up and participate
on an issue, we all should be happy about that.
My purpose in coming today really is to give a brief
introduction to my good friend, Governor Kaine. Before I do
that, though, I would like to thank you for holding this
hearing and for all of your leadership on these issues. The
Chesapeake Bay is a cherished resource not only for the
residents of Virginia and Maryland, but for the Nation as a
whole. It is a national treasure, and your recognition of that
fact is sincerely appreciated.
Members of the Bay Congressional delegation have a history
of working together and with committees of jurisdiction on
efforts to protect the Bay. As such, I would also like to take
this opportunity to thank you for your Committee's work on the
recently passed water resources bill, which contains several
provisions for improving the Bay.
As I said, my real purpose is to introduce our 70th
Governor of Virginia and my good friend, Tim Kaine. Years ago
when I was a plebe at the Naval Academy, they made us memorize
a page about how people were supposed to live their lives. I
was thinking about Tim Kaine and this phrase this morning when
I was figuring out what I would come to say about him.
Just two brief passages from that long page. Tim Kaine is
someone whose conduct proceeds from goodwill and an acute sense
of propriety, and whose self control is equal to all
emergencies. He is someone who speaks with frankness, but also
with sincerity and sympathy, whose deed follows his word, which
is what you come to learn in government is so vital to the
workings of government; who thinks of the rights and feelings
of others; an individual with whom honor is sacred and virtue
He also has provided leadership, following on the
leadership of his predecessor, Governor Mark Warner, that has
caused the Commonwealth to invest hundreds of millions of
dollar in improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
These are significant levels of investment, not only by the
State, but also by local governments and communities in the Bay
Climate change is also an important topic, and the
Commonwealth and your Committee have been taking steps to
address it. This spring, Governor Kaine issued an executive
order that requires State agencies to reduce the amount of
energy they consume, to use green building practices, and also
encourages procurement of more fuel-efficient vehicles for the
Most recently, Governor Kaine released a comprehensive
energy plan for Virginia. The plan is widely praised for its
broad approach to address energy production and consumption,
and calls for dramatic improvements in increasing energy
efficiency and conservation. It also calls for reductions to
greenhouse gases to 2000 levels by the year 2025.
Finally, Governor Kaine has made a serious commitment to
protecting the natural resources of the Commonwealth for future
generations. He has staked out an ambitious goal of preserving
400,000 acres of land during his time in office. Only a year
and a half later, he has much to be proud of. Through his
leadership and tenacity, when he is not fishing or taking out
his canoe, Governor Kaine is known to pitch land conservation
easements to unsuspecting landowners. Virginia has already
preserved 164,000 acres. This figure is nearly double the
previous year's total.
The benefits of his efforts to conserve land will not only
benefit the Chesapeake Bay, but will also improve air and water
quality. These goals will, in turn, have a positive affect on
the public health and preserve the Virginia countryside for
sportsmen, anglers, farmers and tourists alike in the years to
I thank the Committee for their attention on this topic,
and I thank you for inviting our Governor to speak to you about
Senator Boxer. Senator Webb, thank you.
Congressman Gilchrest, welcome to our Committee. Sorry we
had to do a little bit of unusual argument.
STATEMENT OF HON. WAYNE T. GILCHREST, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE FROM
THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Mr. Gilchrest. We don't have those arguments on the House
Senator Boxer. I know. I am sure you are just in shock.
Mr. Gilchrest. I was stunned.
Senator Cardin. I do long for the Rules Committee
sometimes, now that we are in the majority. It would make life
a little bit easier.
Mr. Gilchrest. Thank you, Ben.
I do want to say that we in Maryland, especially on the
Eastern Shore, which is sometimes referred to as the 51st State
or DelMarVa, but we often refer to the gentlelady from
Baltimore as ``Schwarzkopf in earrings,'' which we say very
Mr. Gilchrest. We all were witnesses here today to show the
good faith and the tenacity and the intellect of Senator
Mikulski. I am proud to have served with you for so many years
and will continue to do so.
Senator Webb and I share some common history in Vietnam, as
old Marines. I bring that up for two reasons. One, we just
exchanged some war stories briefly before we testified. But the
other thing we basically concluded was that we were in Vietnam
very often fighting by ourselves with just a few other Marines
in a very hostile environment for days or sometimes weeks at a
time. We had to be competent. We had to figure things out.
So we got into that frame of reference of understanding
that if we were to have integrity with our fellow soldiers, we
needed to know how to do things, do them right, gain the
information that was important at the time, and be competent.
So that, as Senator Webb has said what he learned in the
Naval Academy, and what I learned lo those many years ago, was
that when you look at an issue, you look at that issue through
the eyes of someone who is basing their judgment on the
philosophy of integrity.
So what I would like to do today is to give you some of my
views on global warming and the Chesapeake Bay, not through the
political process, not through some distorted ideological point
of view, but from an objective analysis of someone who has seen
these things happen. I want to make this place a heck of a lot
better than we have received it, so that our children and
grandchildren and the posterity of America will be proud of
I also want to thank Governor O'Malley and Governor Kaine
for coming here today to say a few words. We know that the
environment in the Chesapeake Bay is in trouble for a myriad of
reasons, whether it is over-development, chemical contaminants,
reduced groundwater capacity for a lot of different reasons, a
depletion of the fisheries, especially menhaden and oysters,
the significant most important aspect of restoring the
Chesapeake Bay because of their filtering of the water.
Menhaden are vegetarians. They don't eat other fish. They eat
the algae that causes depletion of oxygen.
But let's take a look at global warming and the Chesapeake
Bay. Before 1900, we know that there has been subsidence, but
we also know that there has been sea level rise, certainly for
the last 10,000 years. The sea level rose in Chesapeake Bay
three feet every 1,000 years. In the last 100 years, it has
risen a foot and a half. Something is going on. We used to have
500 more islands in the Chesapeake Bay.
Most of them are gone. You won't see them on any maps or
charts. Poplar Island, for example, used to be 1,500 acres. It
got down to less than 5 acres until we started this restoration
process. Holland Island had 350 residents, 5 miles long, a mile
and a half wide. Now, it is down to 100 acres. Where did
Holland Island go? Barron Island was 582 acres. Today, it is
120 acres. There are countless numbers of natural observations
that anybody can take that you know sea level is rising.
Blackwater Refuge loses 120 acres of grassland a year. That is
due to increasing sea level rise.
What will a warmer temperature do? Warmer temperatures
deplete the oxygen, stress marine life, fewer bay grasses, more
acidic water, and significant ecological change. That is what
warmer temperatures will do.
How about stream flow? It will be much more variable. We
will have longer dry periods, increased storm intensity, and
increased discharge of nutrients and sediments. That is what
global warming is doing.
What is its impact on people? Less water during dry spells
and on the Eastern Shore, for example, in most coastal areas in
Maryland, there is no fresh water. It is all groundwater. Less
recharge to groundwater, as a result of these variable dry
periods. Coastal homeowners are way more vulnerable to storm
and coastal flooding. The aquifer system that much of our
population depends on may not be able to meet future demand.
Declining groundwater levels are already evident and problems
around the Country.
Now, our district, the State of Maryland especially, has
done significant work to try to ameliorate or resolve these
issues through green buildings, through better smart growth for
our homes, for understanding the nature of sea level rise,
understanding the nature of groundwater problems, understanding
the nature of a whole host of human activity that is not
compatible with nature's design. So we are moving in that
What needs to happen, though, Maryland can't do it alone. I
will conclude with this. As a national policy, and we hope that
the House and the Senate can work together in this national
policy, like Senator Warner said earlier, to reduce greenhouse
gases by 80 percent below present levels, or maybe even more,
by the year 2050; by a national policy, perhaps cap and trade,
dealing with a reduction of greenhouse gases.
Madam Chairman and other members, especially my good friend
Ben and Ms. Mikulski, thank you so much for the opportunity to
testify this morning.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Gilchrest follows:]
Statement of Hon. Wayne T. Gilchrest, U.S. Representative from
the State of Maryland
Thank you, Madam Chair, Ranking Member Inhofe, and distinguished
Committee Members for this opportunity to testify before the U.S.
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the nexus of two
policy issues that are of paramount importance to me and to my
district--Maryland's 1st Congressional District. We hold the Chesapeake
Bay and our rural and coastal communities in great esteem. For more
than 20 years, local policy leaders and citizen groups have worked
against great odds to restore the Chesapeake Bay in a national model of
scientific achievement, collaborative effort, and passion. We are now
grappling with new challenges, including greater projected growth, the
management of biefuel production and its impacts on water quality, and
climate change. Affecting every driver of the Bay's overall health,
climate change is an additional challenge to an already stressed
Consisting of the entire Delmarva Peninsula within Maryland and
portions of western counties that surround the Chesapeake Bay,
Maryland's 1st Congressional District relies heavily on the health of
the Bay as its economic engine--for abundant seafood, recreation,
transportation of commercial goods, tourism, and a growing real estate
market. Much of my district is geographically divided from the rest of
the nation by the Bay, so the Bay and coastal waters are of even
greater importance to the people living and working in the beautiful,
bountiful area known as Maryland's Eastern Shore.
My district includes the largest share of Chesapeake Bay shoreline
in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and my constituents will directly
experience the impacts of climate change, including coastal flooding,
shoreline erosion, and infrastructure damage from severe coastal
storms. The Delmarva Peninsula, upon which much of my district rests,
is basically a sand bar formed by the confluence of the Susquehanna
River delta and the Atlantic Ocean. As a geological feature of water
flow, and with its greatest elevation at 100 feet above sea level, the
Peninsula is extremely vulnerable to severe weather, flooding, and sea
As vulnerable as it is to climate change impacts, the Chesapeake
Bay and its 64,000 square mile watershed are in a uniquely powerful
position, geographically, functionally, and culturally to contribute to
reducing and sequestering greenhouse gas emissions. With the highest
land to water ratio of any estuary in the world, the watershed and its
commitment to restoring the Bay through best management practices, can
greatly contribute to the national and even global effort to reduce
greenhouse gases. For instance, when we are stuck in traffic in the
Washington Metropolitan Area, we are spending just a little bit less
time on that than our friends in the New York Metropolitan Area,
because of patterns of land use and development. The Urban Land
Institute reported recently on the contribution of sprawl to greenhouse
gas emissions from vehicles. Better informed and coordinated land use
Planning, new state commitments to control vehicle emissions, and green
buildings can solve this problem. We can plan ahead--the Institute
predicts that two-thirds of the residences and office buildings needed
by 2050 have yet to be built.
The Chesapeake Bay's restoration goals, like planting forest
buffers and preserving open space, could help sequester carbon. State
and local government and citizen action to increase energy efficiency
in buildings and transportation are also helping the cause Counties in
my district, like Worcester County along the Atlantic Coast, are not
only striving to become energy independent but are also actually
planning new communities so that fewer residents and less
infrastructure are vulnerable to flooding. As these local actions are
taken to both restore the Chesapeake Bay and address and adapt
communities to climate change, the core of the climate change problem
is the need for a national policy to significantly reduce greenhouse
I come before the Committee today, not only as Maryland's 1st
Congressional District Representative, but also the co-chair and co-
founder of the Congressional Climate Change Caucus, to urge you to work
closely with your colleagues in the House to craft and pass legislation
dining this Congress that will meaningfully reduce greenhouse gas
emissions to 60 percent to 80 percent below current levels by 2050. The
survival of communities in our watershed and the Chesapeake Bay
ecosystem depends on it.
This legislation should have broad-based support from environmental
and business stakeholders alike. It should not only reduce greenhouse
gases, but also help the U.S. economy to grow and to keep the U.S. at
the lead of international development of new energy technologies. I
cannot stress enough that the policy we ultimately create and pass must
be acceptable to utility ratepayers and consumers--it must not
significantly reduce their quality of life.
Therefore I urge the Committee, in crafting its legislation, to
focus on the first ten to twenty years of the policy's implementation.
We must get it right in this time frame because this is when consumers
will judge their tolerance for it. It is also during this time that we
must invest the capitol and take the necessary risks to develop new
energy technology and delivery systems in order to achieve our climate
change goals. If the investment we make during this time is not
sufficient nor targeted enough, new technology may be insufficient to
achieve the downward trajectory of emissions we need over the next 40
I believe a `tipping point' will occur in this policy debate, after
which both the impacts of global warming will be irreversible, even
over generations, and our economic opportunity to address the problem
will be unrecoverable. I believe this tipping point may occur sooner
rather than later. However, the opportunity for climate change policy
to generate a stronger U.S. energy economy and a better global
environment during those years is tremendous.
Madam Chair, I want to congratulate you and express my profound
appreciation for your leadership on climate change. Your persistent
work on this issue has helped bring Congress to its own `tipping
point'--the point past which Members can coalesce around a solid piece
of legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and grow the
The people dedicated to the Chesapeake Bay are enthusiastic, well-
informed, and eager to restore the functioning ecosystem of the Bay,
including humans as a productive part of the landscape. They have kept
the Bay's status in equilibrium, in spite of the millions of people who
have moved to this lovely place since the early 1980s. I admire their
fierce determination and hope you will join me in supporting Chesapeake
Bay restoration--as far as we can take it--2010 and beyond.
Thank you again, Madam Chair, and I look forward to continuing our
Senator Boxer. Congressman, I just want to thank you so
very much. It is music to my ears to hear your testimony, and
all of the witnesses.
Now it is with great honor I ask Senator Mikulski to please
join us next to Senator Cardin.
I ask the next panel, two most distinguished Governors,
Hon. Tim Kaine, Hon. Martin O'Malley, respectively Governors of
Virginia and Maryland, to join us. We are very, very pleased
that you have done so.
Are we going to change the--he needs to get by, please.
Thank you. One moment.
Governors, you can decide who would like to go first,
because whatever you decide is fine.
STATEMENT OF HON. TIMOTHY M. KAINE, GOVERNOR OF THE
COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
Governor Kaine. Thank you, Madam Chair, and to members of
the Committee, it is a real treat to be with you today on an
I especially am happy to be here with my senior Senator,
Senator Warner. I also appreciate being here with Governor
O'Malley because Maryland and the other States--Pennsylvania,
the District--have shown great leadership and we are happy to
talk about this critical issue.
I have been Governor for 20 months. In the 20 months that I
have been Governor, we have been able to find $700 million to
invest in Chesapeake Bay cleanup, primarily through helping
municipalities upgrade sewage treatment. This is by a factor of
10 more than we have done in any previous period of years, but
we don't want to see that work that we are starting to do in
earnest be jeopardized by what we are seeing in the area of
climate change. That is why I am so happy to be here.
The testimony that I filed, the written testimony,
summarizes the effects of climate change that we would see in
Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay that would cause us grave, grave
concern. First, as has been commented upon already, there are a
number of dead zones in the Bay that grow. Those dead zones
grow with pollution and runoff into the Bay. The work that we
are doing in all States to improve sewage treatment practices
will help, but as weather events cause more severe storms, that
will create additional polluted runoff into the Bay and the
chances are significant that that runoff caused by climate
change will dramatically increase the prevalence of dead zones.
As sea levels rise, and there has already been good science
about the rising sea levels and predictions that there would be
some significant additional rise by 2030. You also see salt
water intruding further inland. That salt water intruding
further inland in Virginia has a dramatic potential effect upon
species, both plant and animal species, as the ecosystem
changes with salt water intrusion.
We have a significant problem in Virginia and Maryland
along the Bay with shoreline erosion over the years, caused by
rising sea levels, development, et cetera. Climate change in
pushing sea levels further will hasten that erosion and
sediment is one of the pollutants that can cause significant
problems in the Chesapeake Bay.
We are seeing a loss of wetlands. I am interested in the
testimony from the folks from Smith Island today. Tangier
Island in the Bay has seen significant loss of wetlands as a
result of rising sea levels. Because of the way the Bay has
often been fortified to protect from storms, once these
wetlands go, there is really no way easy to replicate them. And
so wetlands and their effect on storm control, their effect on
biodiversity are critical to the health of the Bay. Rising sea
levels jeopardize them.
Agriculture and forestry is the number one industry in
Virginia. It is the largest industry. Obviously, climate change
that affects temperatures, that affects rainfall has a dramatic
effect on these industries, which are very prevalent in the
Chesapeake Bay watershed. We see temperature change having a
dramatic effect on corn yields, on the cost and challenge of
raising livestock. Temperature change effects pests and
diseases in forests that can jeopardize forests and it can also
spread to agriculture. So these climate change effects,
particularly on temperatures, pose a threat to the number one
industry in Virginia, ag and forestry.
Finally, the effect on people. The Hampton Roads area of
Virginia is our second most populated region. It is 1.7 million
people. It is thought to be in the analysis that has been done,
the second most vulnerable population, urban population, to the
effects of sea rises, next to New Orleans. It is not just 1.7
million people. Hampton Roads is also the center of naval power
for our Nation. Military installations in all branches in
Hampton Roads are jeopardized in the area.
The storm vulnerability of that region is already something
that is critical. Making decisions about evacuating populations
in the event of storms is already a very, very difficult thing.
As climate change affects storm frequency and the magnitude of
storms, that becomes a significant additional problem.
In addition, in the Hampton Roads area we have significant
uses of groundwater and the salt water intrusion effect that I
mentioned earlier threatens the groundwater relied upon by a
huge percentage of Virginia's population.
So the effects of climate change are huge--agriculture and
forestry, industry, tourism, biodiversity, effects upon people.
And the Chesapeake Bay is a treasure that all Virginians
cherish, and we don't want to see the Bay harmed either by
pollution that we can control or manmade climate change that we
Virginia is taking action on climate change. I issued
Executive Order 48 shortly into my time as Governor to
dramatically push State agencies to reduce energy usage and
take steps so that we can begin to address some of the causes
of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Virginia has
joined along with other States the Climate Registry, so that we
all can establish standard protocols for measuring the effects
of different industry sectors on climate change. Measurement
and data has to be the beginning point for deciding what are
the right practices for curbing those effects.
Finally, recently we enacted a statewide energy plan for
all sectors--consumer, commercial and governmental--to reduce
per capita consumption of energy, to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions, and to establish a Commission on Climate Change.
I feel good about what we have done in Virginia, but I have
to say I think what we do is a poor substitute for what the
Federal Government should do, because climate change knows no
boundaries, certainly not State boundaries and not national
boundaries either. Well-meaning Governors and legislators are
tackling this all over the Country, and yet we will do our very
best in our own jurisdictions, but necessarily if it is a State
by State effort, there will be gaps. There will be overlaps.
There will be redundancies. And there will not be the kind of
comprehensive approach that this subject needs.
I am extremely pleased with the effort that this Committee
is making, and Senator Warner with your comment about the bill
you are working on with Senator Lieberman to bring forward a
comprehensive and aggressive national policy on climate change.
If I could close just with a quick story. In Virginia right
now, we are in the midst of Jamestown mania. It is the 400th
anniversary of the founding of English-speaking civilization in
this hemisphere on Jamestown Island in May 1607. For years, the
original fort at Jamestown Island was thought to be lost. It
was thought to be lost because it had washed into the James
River right next to Jamestown Island.
An enterprising archaeologist in the early 1990s named Bill
Kelso examined the island, and he thought that the conventional
wisdom was wrong, and that the fort was still there, and began
an excavation that has produced evidence that he was correct.
The original Jamestown Island fort and palisades and graves and
evidence of our earliest settlers of democracy and founders of
this Nation is now available, and is now available for all to
see. We have shown it off to the world, and it is 30 yards from
the James River today.
It would be amazing, after having thought it lost for
centuries, to have found it and reclaimed it, only to have it
jeopardized by climate change that we have the capacity to
affect. And so I encourage the great efforts of this Committee
and look forward to being an ally for you as you go forward
toward addressing reasonable and aggressive national policy.
[The prepared statement of Governor Kaine follows:]
Statement of Hon. Timothy M. Kaine, Governor from the
Commonwealth of Virginia
Chairman Boxer and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting
me to be here today. The Chesapeake Bay is one of our Commonwealth's
most important natural assets, and it has contributed immeasurably to
our cultural heritage.
As you know, the Bay is already a stressed system, and the federal
government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the District of Columbia, the
State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have all made
significant investments in restoring the Chesapeake Bay.
In my first year in office, I signed into law a $200 million cash
investment in sewage treatment plant upgrades in the Chesapeake Bay
watershed. In my second year in office, I signed into law provisions
for $250 million worth of bonds to support sewage treatment plant
improvements. And just a couple of months ago, an additional round of
bonds was issued totaling more than $240 million to assist Virginia
localities in the Bay watershed who seek to install advanced
technologies to their sewage treatment plants. I believe this nearly
$700 million total investment in less than two years speaks volumes--
Virginia is very serious about improving the health of Chesapeake Bay.
I am very much concerned that climate change could jeopardize the
progress we're making in restoring the Bay. For example, scientists
agree that additional temperature changes in the atmosphere and oceans
will increase the frequency of extreme weather events that will
exacerbate polluted run-off into the Chesapeake Bay, causing the dead-
zones in the Bay to grow. This additional pollution, combined with
warmer surface water temperatures, will increase environmental stress
and disease for key species, such as oysters and striped bass, as well
as the loss of important aquatic plants, such as eelgrass. We should
also be concerned about effects on the Bay's commercial and
recreational fisheries, threatened and endangered species, and breeding
ground and migration for waterfowl.
If climate change goes unchecked, the damage will not be limited to
the Chesapeake Bay itself. As sea level rises, salt water will intrude
further upstream into current freshwater systems--altering the
distributional ranges of key animal and plant species throughout the
Sea level rise and storms will also affect the Bay's physical
characteristics, likely resulting in increased shoreline erosion. The
Bay and rivers already suffer from the effects of sediment pollution--
increased shoreline erosion will only make it worse. Rising sea levels
would inundate coastal marshes and other important fish and waterfowl
habitats and make coastal property more vulnerable to storms. In fact,
some estimates show that up to 80% of Virginia's tidal wetlands could
be lost by the end of the century. And because many of our shorelines
are armored for erosion control, tidal wetlands will have no place to
migrate landward in the face of sea level rise. Our wetlands will
become fragmented, lose species diversity, and will no longer be able
to serve their ecological function.
Climate change will also affect the Bay watershed's forests, where
prospects for insect and pest outbreaks will increased, which also pose
a threat to agriculture. As temperatures go up, there will also be
reductions in crop yields. For example, corn yields begin to suffer as
temperature exceeds 90 F, and corn crop damage can be severe at 100
F. Increased frequency of both droughts and severe rainstorms can also
destabilize annual crop yields. Because livestock are temperature
sensitive, there are likely to be increased labor and maintenance costs
to the farmer.
Now, let me talk about impacts on the places where we live and work
in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The Virginia Institute of Marine
Science estimates that sea level will rise between 4 and 12 inches by
2030. The Hampton Roads region of Virginia is the largest population
center that is at the greatest risk from sea level rise outside of New
Orleans. I mentioned frequent and severe coastal storms and flooding as
an effect of climate change. The effects of these severe storms will be
multiplied by rising sea levels, increasing risk to life and property.
We also have to be concerned about salt water intrusion into
To be sure, we can adapt to a few of the impacts of climate change,
but others will be devastating. It's difficult to predict how the
impacts will affect one another, or what the endpoints of these impacts
will be. We need additional research at a watershed level so that we
can better prepare for the changes that are coming and take prudent
steps to reverse the trends in greenhouse gas emissions we are now
Madame Chair, I state none of these facts to be alarming. I state
them to show what is at stake if we don't face the challenges of
climate change head on. I wish I could say that these impacts are only
speculative, but they aren't. In Virginia, where we rely so heavily on
the health of our natural resources for their economic, social, and
historical value, we simply can't afford to postpone action any longer.
That's why my Administration is taking action. In April, I issued
Executive Order 48, which requires state agencies to reduce the annual
cost of non-renewable energy purchases by at least 20 percent of fiscal
year 2006 expenditures by fiscal year 2010. And, in May, I announced
that Virginia was joining the Climate Registry, which provides a forum
for states to work together develop a common accounting system to track
greenhouse gas emissions.
I also recently released a comprehensive Energy Plan for Virginia,
which covers all aspects of energy production and consumption and calls
for the state to dramatically increase its efforts in energy efficiency
and conservation. The Plan identifies four overall goals, including
reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2025, bringing
emissions back to 2000 levels. Soon, I will announce the appointment of
a Commission on Climate Change to prepare a Climate Change Action Plan
to implement these recommendations. The Commission also will gather
information on the expected effects of climate change on the state and
identify actions that Virginia needs to take to prepare for the
consequences of climate change that cannot be avoided. The Energy Plan
also recommends that Virginia impose mandatory reporting requirements
on emitters of greenhouse gases, and I will work with the legislature
to implement this recommendation.
While these are important steps that we are taking at the state
level, action on climate change must occur at the federal level. Many
states are developing climate action strategies, but that does not
forestall the need for congress to take action. Both the causes of, and
solutions to, climate change transcend state and local boundaries.
Virginia stands ready to participate in the development of
legislation that will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases nationwide.
I support legislation that includes a cap-and-trade program for
emissions of all greenhouse gases, imposes economy-wide controls,
rather than singling out a particular sector, and accounts for state
efforts to standardize methodologies to record and measure green house
gas emissions through the Climate Registry.
I know that there are many ideas being discussed in your committee
right now, and I thank Senator Warner for being a leader in this
effort. My message to you is that each day that legislative action is
delayed will have negative consequences for the Chesapeake Bay. I urge
you to pass legislation that addresses climate change in a
comprehensive way, as quickly as possible.
Once again, thank you for the invitation to be here today. I am
happy to answer any questions that you may have.
Senator Boxer. Governor, thank you so much. I thought your
ending was very appropriate because there was recently an
article that said a lot of our treasures will be gone if we
Hon. Martin O'Malley, welcome, sir, Governor.
STATEMENT OF HON. MARTIN O'MALLEY, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF
Governor O'Malley. Madam Chair, thank you very much. Thank
you very much, Madam Chair, Senator Warner, Senator Cardin,
Senator Mikulski. It is a distinct honor and a privilege to be
here with you today discussing this probably most critical of
all moral challenges that face us as a people. It is also a
great honor to be able to serve with someone of Governor
Kaine's commitment and passion for the protection of our
natural environment, and the tremendous asset and treasure that
is the Chesapeake Bay.
That was a wonderful story about the settlers of Jamestown
and our rediscovery of the fact that the place that they
inhabited the first year is still there. It is within our
grasp. There is so much history up and down the banks of the
Chesapeake Bay, and I think one of the common traits that all
of the settlers at Jamestown had, as did all of the people who
settled in Maryland and on the Chesapeake Bay, is something
that we still have, and that is a future preference, a
preference for a better, safer and healthier future.
Certainly, as we look at this issue of climate change and
rising sea levels, that is really going to put that great
American in Maryland and Virginia idea to the test. Do we have
the ability and the will and the courage to do what needs to be
done in order to honor not only the inheritance and the hard
work that we have received from others, but also to keep faith
I wanted to, rather than recapping so many of the threats,
I wanted to cut right to some of the things that we are doing
as a State. Governor Kaine certainly, and Senator Mikulski and
others outlined the threat of rising sea levels, the islands
that are no longer visible; thousands and thousands of miles of
coastline, and insurance companies no longer willing to write
insurance for those risks.
I wanted to talk to you about the idea that we have found
is helpful as we come together with human will and human action
to apply to this problem. And that is a shared vision of
sustainability, sustainability of the land we use, the water we
use, the air, because of the energy we consume, the air that we
use. In Maryland, as Senator Mikulski mentioned, we have
implemented a new program called BayStat, where we pulled the
Department of Agriculture at the State, and the Department of
Environment, and scientific minds and academics and
practitioners around the table every 2 to 3 weeks, looking at a
common map of our interactions, of the synergies, and the
things that we do together to implement those things which we
know will make a difference towards meeting the goals we have
for a cleaner and healthier bay.
But when it comes to the air we consume, which is
absolutely affected by the energy we consume, in Maryland we
are implementing an ambitious, but achievable vision that we
produced in collaboration with other neighboring States, to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Together, we established the
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a working partnership
between 11 States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the
power plant sector. Together, we fought for and we passed the
California clean car standards, which will require cleaner,
more fuel-efficient cars in our State by 2011. Together, we
created the Commission on Climate Change this year, charging
their professional membership to prepare Maryland's plan of
action. Together, we set a goal to reduce our per capita
electricity consumption by 15 percent by 2015.
Together, we are diversifying our energy portfolio with
clean renewables like solar, wind, biodiesel, and biomass. We
have started by adopting one of the most aggressive laws in the
Nation requiring two percent of Maryland's electricity, or
approximately 1,500 megawatts, to come from solar by 2022.
With the help of Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin, we
are going to continue to lead, and we intend to have the first
long-range plan to address the coastal changes caused by
Why do we do this? For two very important reasons: No. 1,
is necessity; and No. 2, is what I began with, that future
preference, that obligation that we have to come together
across manmade borders because of the nature of this challenge
which recognizes no borders. It calls upon all of us to come
together for ourselves and for our posterity.
Other States are also stepping up to the plate. Currently,
26 States have taken concrete action on climate change. Over 20
States have set substantial greenhouse gas reduction targets.
Using State efforts as a model, there are many programs that
can radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a reasonable
But as Governor Kaine said, we cannot go it alone. We need
the partnership of our Federal Government. There is a long,
proud history of Federal leadership on environmental and
conservation issues, from the days of Theodore Roosevelt in the
very first national parks, to the Clean Air Act. We need our
Federal Government. Together, we can develop national programs
that tackle greenhouse gas emissions. We can transform our
Nation from a carbon-based economy to a green, sustainable
The time to act is past. The time to catch up is now. And
we greatly appreciate the leadership of this Committee and our
Congress in helping us protect the most important asset that we
inherited from our parents, and that is the health of our
natural environment in this great Country.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Governor O'Malley follows:]
Statement of Hon. Martin O'Malley, Governor from the State of Maryland
Madame Chair, Ranking Member Inhofe, and distinguished Members of
the Committee, it is my distinct honor and privilege to testify before
you today about a global issue that has become a very real local issue
today for the citizens of the great State of Maryland. I would also
like to give special thanks to Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben
Cardin, from my home state, for their extraordinary leadership and help
in bringing about this opportunity.
In Maryland, we have over 4,000 miles of coastline--4,000 miles--
this is more coastline than the State of California. Maryland is in a
very precarious position when it comes to the impacts of climate
change. Our region is ranked third in the nation terms of our
vulnerability to sea level rise. We are third, behind only Louisiana
and South. In Maryland, climate change and sea level rise are at our
While we are fortunate enough to hug the Chesapeake Bay, a fragile
estuary, it also means for us that the impacts of climate change have
already been detected. Historic tide-gauge records show that sea levels
have risen one-foot within Maryland's coastal waters over the last
century. Due, in part to naturally occurring regional land subsidence,
Bay region is currently experiencing sea level rise at a rate
nearly double the world-wide average.
There is now near universal scientific consensus that the world
climate is changing. Scientists estimate that temperature will rise
between 1.98-11.52 F and that our sea level will rise as much as 7 to
23 inches over the next century. If left unchecked, these estimates
will translate into devastating impacts for Maryland's citizens, its
property, its bountiful natural resources, and the investments of its
Thirteen charted islands and large expanses of tidal wetlands
within the Chesapeake Bay have already disappeared. Each year, the
State loses approximately 580 acres of land to shore erosion.
Current scientific research indicates that the rate of sea level
rise is starting to accelerate in Maryland waters. The result of such a
rise will be a dramatic intensification of the impacts from coastal
flood events; increased shore erosion; the intrusion of salt-water into
our freshwater aquifers--any of which are used for potable water
supply; and submergence of tidal wetlands, low-lying lands and even the
Chesapeake's last inhabited island community, Smith Island.
In Maryland, we do not have time to wait. Nor would I suggest, does
the country have time to wait. Climate change is perhaps one of the
most daunting challenges facing Maryland. The time is upon us to take
action to begin shaping our own future in the face of this threat.
Decisions we make today will influence Maryland's health and vitality
long into the future.
We now know with certainty that human activities--including coastal
development, the burning of fossil fuels and increasing greenhouse gas
emissions--are contributing to both the causes and consequences of
climate change. In Maryland, as a State, we are implementing aggressive
initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
We are a full fledged member of the Regional Greenhouse
Gas Initiative--a voluntary collaboration of 11 states to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions from the power plant sector.
We have adopted the California Clean Cars standards which
will require cleaner and more fuel efficient cars in our state by 2011.
We have established a Commission on Climate Change and have charged
this Commission to recommend Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals and to
prepare Maryland's Plan of Action.
We established a goal to reduce our per capita electricity
consumption by 15 percent by 2015.
We are diversifying our energy portfolio with clean
renewables like solar, wind and bio-diesel and bio-mass, and have
recently adopted one of the most aggressive laws in the nation to
require two percent of Maryland's electricity, or approximately 1,500
megawatts of power, to come from solar energy by 2022.
Maryland will continue to be a leader. We intend to be the first
state in the nation to develop a long range strategy to plan for and
adapt to the changes we will face along our coast caused by climate
change. Many have asked why a small state like Maryland would take
these actions. The answer is, first, because we have an immediate
problem. Second, Honorable members of the Committee, it is the right
thing to do. We know that the best way to address this issue is with
global action. The next best--is acting country-by-country, as over 160
of our fellow nations have done. The next best option is to take action
state by state.
Maryland will continue to be a leader. With the help of Senators
Mikulski and Cardin, we will continue to do what is right for our
state. Third best, however, is simply not good enough. We need our
federal government to act. State-by-state reductions simply don't make
sense for this global problem and the time is now for federal action on
climate change issues.
We have a long history with environmental challenges in this
country. Many challenges are local and are appropriately dealt with at
the state level. But on national issues, we seem to go one of two ways.
The federal government enacts laws, develop standards, and the states
follow and implement. Or, when the federal government fails to lead,
states have no choice but to step up and act This appears to be one of
Currently, 26 states have initiated actions related to climate
change. Over 20 states have set substantial greenhouse gas reduction
targets. Using the state efforts as a model, there are many programs
that can radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions at a reasonable
cost. The time has come to develop national programs that effectively
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning power plants,
from our automobiles, and a multitude of other sources.
We must transition from a carbon-based economy to a green,
sustainable economy--an economy that does not prolifically emit
greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as a byproduct of progress.
Economic progress at the cost of environmental sustainability is not
progress at all.
Furthermore, we must proactively plan for the consequences of
climate change by amending coastal zone management plans, integrating
the consequences of climate change into federal programs for flood and
shoreline management. Federal agencies should be coordinating to ensure
that we adapt to climate change as a nation.
When given a choice between progress and regression, the people of
Maryland always choose progress. We have an unshakeable belief in what
Carroll Quigley, a historian at Georgetown, called ``future
preference''--the idea that ``tomorrow can be better than today and
that each of us has a personal and moral responsibility to make it
so.'' Why is sustainability so important? Because, as the old Native
American proverb goes, ``we do not inherit the Earth from our
ancestors; we borrow it from our children.''
Why we are so concerned about energy efficiency and placing an
emphasis on ``green?'' Because, in the words of Maryland's Own.
columnist Thomas Friedman: ``the people who will be harmed the most by
the climate-energy crisis haven't been born yet.''
Public service is about making decisions, many for which the
consequences will be felt long after we're gone, many for which we may
not be around to enjoy the benefits. In the short time we have in these
jobs, jobs, and on this earth for that matter, let's resolve to put
aside the impulse for instant gratification . . . and instead, embrace
a compact with the grandchildren who are yet to be born.
In the finest American tradition, let's prefer their future over
our present . . . forsaking patchwork quick-fixes for enduring
solutions. Let's do for them what the Greatest Generation and our
forefathers did unflinchingly for us--relinquish the comforts of today
in the name of a better tomorrow.
Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing our
generation today--we must, and we can, collectively find a way
ultimately to address the problem to achieve sustainability, as a State
and as a Nation.
Thank you very much for your time in considering my testimony
Senator Boxer. Thank you so much, Governors. We will each
have five minutes for questions, if you don't mind. Can you
stay a little bit longer? OK.
I wanted to pick up, Governor Kaine, when you talked about
the fact that you had military assets along the coast and
coastal areas, because I find it so interesting that Senator
Warner, teaming up with Senator Lieberman, is really in the
lead in this entire Senate now. One might say, well, this is
unusual; here he is, an expert on military matters, and here he
is taking the lead. But there is a marriage between the two
I mean, we have received warnings from our own intelligence
people and our military people that if we don't act on global
warming, it will be the major cause of wars in the future, the
major cause of refugee dislocations, famine, drought, which
So in many ways, you are bringing up the fact that the
assets that are along the coast brought that to my mind, that
this marrying up between the environment and our national
security is so interesting and that Senator Warner is here at
this time. It is to me a very moving point.
I had one question for both of you, and that is this. In
order to effectively address global warming, we are being told
by our business people very clearly that they need to have
clear market signals, that what we do here is real. So that
when we set our goals, they are real, and there are not big
loopholes where people can drive off and say, ``All right, we
don't have to do anything about carbon anymore or greenhouse
So are you hearing similar things in your States? Because
in my State, which, like you, California has taken a major lead
on this, and our Governor, Governor Schwarzenegger, working
with our Attorney General Jerry Brown and the legislature, has
been just a model in terms of how they have acted here.
So do you hear similar points being made, that we need to
act with clarity so that the investments in new technologies
will in fact come to fruition? If either one of you wishes to
Governor Kaine. Madam Chair, those are signals I am hearing
from my private sector. And on a couple of sort of related
points, first, the clarity of the signal for an investment
climate is key. The good news is investments across the range
of alternative energy sources and conservation that weren't
particularly powerful 5 years ago suddenly are hot. So there
are some good market signals out there already to promote this.
The other issue that I am hearing related from my private
sector folks is the approach that needs to be taken on climate
change should be across all industries. Don't just focus on one
or two industries. For example, in Virginia we know one of the
huge challenges we have is a lot of the challenges are from
transportation, vehicles, transportation modes that need to be
upgraded. So we shouldn't just focus on power plants and then
sort of let transportation off the hook. It needs to be
something that is truly across all industry sectors. That is
also what I hear from our private sector folks. It needs to be
comprehensive and not single folks out.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Governor O'Malley. We have been working cooperatively with
our power industry in our efforts to join REGI and our own cap
and trade. We hope to have our first auction in the summer of
2008. While we have been working cooperatively with them, I
have to say that I have yet to talk with a person from the
power industry that doesn't believe that a national program
would be far preferable, instead of a patchwork of
hopscotching, one State does, one State doesn't.
The industry itself wants predictability. They want
sustainability, clear market signals, as you said, Madam Chair.
They also want a national program.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, sir.
Senator Warner. Madam Chairman, I think I would like to
yield my time to our distinguished colleague from Maryland, my
good friend, Senator Mikulski. Oh, no, I insist. I have that
right as Ranking that you go now.
Senator Warner. Now, I stop to think. We are seated here
with these two great Governors of our States. One hundred years
ago, they used to have wars in Chesapeake Bay between the
oystermen and the crabmen and the rockfish. And here we are
sitting peacefully talking about a common endeavor. It is very
Senator Mikulski, keep a watchful eye to prevent those wars
Senator Warner. Senator, I yield to you.
Senator Boxer. Senator, please go ahead.
Senator Mikulski. Well, thank you very much, Senator
Warner. I know you had to step out at the beginning of the
hearing, but what I said was that you have really been a
champion and a real warrior. You have protected this Nation,
both by putting yourself directly in the line of fire as a
warrior against those who had a predatory intent towards the
United States of America. And now, along with that, you are
really making sure that part of your incredible legacy is that
you are protecting the very planet and the very bay that you
We want to really work with you on your environmental
legislation, but for this Senator it has been indeed a great
pleasure to work with you on the issues related to Maryland and
to Virginia. Having said that, I accept your gracious
invitation to ask a few questions.
I think we are all clear listening to our two very dynamic
Governors that patchwork doesn't work. Now, one question will
be not only what you will need from the Federal Government in
terms of standards, et cetera, but you each are going to have--
Governor O'Malley already does and Governor Kaine you will--
these Commissions on Climate Change. I know with the knowledge
economy that we both have, as well as the practicality of
agriculture, the watermen economy, et cetera, could you share
with us what we can expect from the Governors to provide
guidance to the Federal Government on what we need to do? We
need to help you have a national program based on sound science
that you can work with funding great laboratories like the
Virginia Institute and our own University of Maryland
But what could we expect from these commissions that would
give us guidance?
Governor Kaine. Well, as was pointed out, Governor O'Malley
has created a commission. I just have announced the creation of
one, so we are putting one together. The good news, Senator, is
that we have a deep talent pool of scientists and advocates who
are very, very engaged in this. We know already that sort of as
a State policy we would support a national cap and trade
program. I believe that without saying what the commission's
recommendations would be, there is strong support for that in
Virginia and I suspect would come out of a commission in that
In addition, we do have good research institutes. The
Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Virginia Tech does
significant research on carbon capture and storage in the
southwestern part of the State. We have a number of other
research universities that do significant work in this area.
They will be part of the commission.
So I think one of the things that we can do as Governors
and with these commissions is forward the research that is
being done. It is just a matter of harvesting what is there
already in terms of strategies. I think we will have some very
good recommendations that we can get to you from the talent
pool that we have in Virginia.
Governor O'Malley. I suspect that the recommendations from
Maryland's Climate Change Commission are probably going to
break down in about four different parts. There will probably
be recommendations on how we prime, encourage, move more
quickly towards diversified portfolios in terms of the energy
we use. Energy-efficient buildings--we have all become
accustomed to understanding how much power plants and cars
emit, but there is tremendous opportunities to reduce our
carbon footprint, and I suspect they will be making
recommendations on energy efficiency in buildings.
Thirdly, the cap and trade, which we already mentioned, I
would have to believe that they will come out with
recommendations for a national program on that score. And
finally, transportation--the way we get to and from. Another
important part that I think Maryland is particularly sensitive
to, maybe in advance of some other States and certainly parts
of Tidewater Virginia experiences this as well, and that is the
connection between land use and global warming. In other words,
our population has increased by about 30 percent since the
1970s, but the land we consumed has increased by about 100
percent. With that comes a tremendous amount of impervious
surface, a lot more lane miles traveled, and everything else
that goes with that.
So I suspect that Maryland's Climate Change Commission will
also have recommendations on what we can do and where the
connection between land use and climate change is becoming more
and more apparent.
Senator Mikulski. Thank you. I note that my time is up. I
would hope that one of the things that we could get,
particularly from Maryland and Virginia, would be
recommendations related to energy, and especially
transportation. Both of our States have terrible transportation
issues. I know Virginia has grappled with it from a reliable
revenue stream to do this, but when we look at everything from
the mixing bowl to our turbo car door, we all know that
transportation is the number one issue with our constituents.
But also then how can we turn this lemon into a new
lemonade stand? Meaning, what can we do to look at our energy
policy as well as our transportation policy that, number one,
deals with global warming, helps solve transportation problems,
and create markets for new types of vehicles, not only
passenger vehicles, but as Governors you know, how about the
cost of school buses? How about the cost of your own
transportation fleets? To actually make the Federal Government
a partner with you, that is you go to buy mass transit
vehicles, how we can have incentives to go to green vehicles
that would help the so-called market cues.
So we look forward to working with you. I am glad that we
have put aside the oyster wars and I am ready for an oyster
festival. So thank you very much.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Warner has told me that he would like Senator
Cardin to go next. So our amazing colleague is again deferring,
so Senator Cardin, the floor is yours.
Senator Cardin. I add my thanks to Senator Warner. Senator
Warner, as I mentioned when you had left, has been one of the
real champions. The beginning of the Federal Government's
involvement in the Chesapeake Bay was the result of the
leadership of two great U.S. Senators, Senator Warner and
Senator Matthias. They took that on, and Senator Sarbanes
joined them, and we have the involvement today as a legacy of
Senator Warner, but he is going to do something else before he
He won't retire before he leaves the Senate, and that is he
is taking on the leadership on global warming. We thank him for
that because he is going to I think give the type of sage
advice that gives us the best chance of getting a bill enacted.
We thank you for your continued leadership, and I thank you for
your courtesy and for your help as a member of the U.S. Senate.
I agree that a piecemeal approach won't work on these
issues, so we do need the Federal Government involvement. But I
do think we can learn from the States. That is what federalism
is about. So I really congratulate the leadership of both of
our Governors here because you are giving us workable models
that we can now use as national policy.
Governor O'Malley, I know that your leadership in dealing
with conservation and renewable energy sources has been just
dramatic, and we thank you for that. This week, we held a
hearing in this Committee on the economic advantage of green
policies. We had testimony from Marylanders on solar energy,
and our State is one of the leading sources now of solar energy
development. My question to you is, have you evaluated the
impact of your policies on the economy of Maryland and the
reaction you are getting from the business community as you
look towards ways of getting less electricity use, energy use
in our State, and looking at developing a wider portfolio of
energy supplies in Maryland?
Governor O'Malley. Well, certainly our hope, Senator, is
that as a Nation that has a very strong knowledge-based
economy, as a people who have always been innovating and
creating new jobs every generation, it is certainly our hope
that as we develop new sources of energy, as we apply our minds
and the diversity of minds that we have in our State to this
challenge that there is a whole wealth of jobs that can be
created by throwing ourselves into green building technologies,
renewables, and energy efficiency.
We have really been engaged in days and days of
conversations with stakeholders as to how we throw ourselves
into energy efficiency. However we go about doing it, it is
unavoidable that it will require a lot of skilled and well
trained people who will have to work here in Maryland in order
to create whether it is a smart grid, whether it is smart
meters in homes, the creation of energy-efficient appliances
and the like.
So I think this could be a great new wave for our State and
for our Country, the mixing both of high-minded, innovative,
cutting edge technology, but also the sort of hands-on skilled
jobs that put food on a family's table and bring about the
security and prosperity that is the mark of any progress.
Senator Cardin. Thank you.
Governor Kaine, I also want to join the Chairman in just
appreciating the way that you brought in national security to
this debate. I hadn't thought about Hampton Roads and realized
it was the second most vulnerable city or area to flooding, and
the huge population center that is there. But it is of critical
importance to our national defense.
The additional risk we are putting on national defense,
where we could do something about it, with extreme weather and
the dangers. I very much appreciate your bringing that up,
because that point has not been brought out in our discussions
on global warming. I think it is an extremely important point
and one that we should follow up on, Madam Chair, as part of
I also appreciate your testimony as to the quality of life,
so many factors involved with the Chesapeake Bay and how it
really makes Virginia a unique place to live and work.
Madam Chair, I just want to bring to the committee's
attention the report that was released today by the National
Wildlife Federation, the Chesapeake Bay and Global Warming. It
points out some of the points that we have already talked
about, that global warming threatens an already beleaguered
Chesapeake Bay. We don't deny it. We have problems in the Bay.
But global warming is making it more challenging.
It also talks about another part, and Congressman Gilchrest
mentioned this, gone fishing or fishing gone. This report says
that the Chesapeake is becoming too warm for winter flounder.
We are liable to lose it altogether. And soft clams we are
liable to lose altogether because the winter is just too warm.
If it is appropriate, I would like to see this as part of our
Senator Boxer. Without objection.
[The referenced document follows on page 88.]
Senator Cardin. Again, I thank our Governors for being
Senator Boxer. Senator Warner.
Senator Warner. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I would like to follow on one of Senator Cardin's themes,
and that is the impact on the economy. Under the strong
leadership of our Chair here, we had a hearing yesterday that
was quite interesting. We are all quite familiar with the term
``blue collar,'' the people who get out there and sweat and
work and make our economy what it is today in large measure,
under the direction and framework of executives on top.
But we have a new term coming up. It is called ``green
collar.'' I thought we had a convincing body of fact given to
the Committee yesterday about how the collective efforts of the
several States, together with the Federal Government, towards
the climate change remedies are creating an entire new class of
citizens who proudly work in what we call green collar jobs,
namely erecting the wind power stands and dealing with all of
the other aspects of the initiatives that each of you have
taken in your States.
I wonder if you would lead off, Governor Kaine, followed by
Governor O'Malley. Are you beginning to categorize these jobs
and relate that to the citizens of our great State? Because I
have always said from day one in my efforts on this subject,
there is going to be added costs at the gas pump when you go
and fill up your car. There is going to be an added cost when
the homemakers have to pay that monthly heating bill. A lot of
these costs of the industrial and the manufacturing and the
transportation levels are being fed right back to the consumer.
So I think it is helpful to try and show the balance, the
creation of a new category of jobs.
Governor Kaine. Senator Warner, Virginia is the number one
State in the Nation in the percentage of our workforce that
work in technology jobs. We have seen in the last 3 or 4 years
a definite anecdotal increase in the number of technology jobs
in alternative energy and energy sectors. I just think of a
very large Virginia company right across the river, AES, that
does energy around the Nation and around the world. They are
one of the largest producers of wind power in America right
now. They produce alternative energy at facilities all around
the United States and the world at this time.
So we are seeing that green collar sector of the economy. I
had not heard that phrase, but we are seeing that grow. It
often clusters around the research institutions. We have a
Coastal Energy Research Consortium at Old Dominion University
with a lot of private sector involvement, including many
contractors that work on the military installations in Hampton
Roads. We have similar energy research going on, primarily on
the coal side, clean coal down at Virginia Tech.
So we do see these technology jobs grow in this area. I
will also say this, and this is some good news. The traditional
blue collar industries are not our opponents in this in
Virginia. They have some questions. They have some challenges.
They participated in a year-long effort to put together this
energy plan we just released, but the overwhelming number of
the recommendations we made were with the environmental
community and the manufacturers association on board.
Ag and forestry is the biggest industry in Virginia. Global
climate change dramatically affects the largest industry in
Virginia, ag and forestry. Tourism is one of the largest five
industries in Virginia. If we do not do something about this,
the traditional industries that have been the bulwark of the
economy up to this point are seriously jeopardized.
So both the old economy industries and these new green
collar opportunities have folks aligned with the notion that
this is an important task that we should tackle.
Senator Warner. Good.
Governor O'Malley. We have not gotten to a point, Senator,
where we are actually very good at categorizing these things,
but we see them developing and happening around us. I think
they have been in proportion to the clarity of this clear
market signal. For example, we adopted one of the larger solar
requirements in our portfolio and BP Solar in Frederick around
that same time announced that they were going to double the
size of their plant and their employment out there in
It is actually very exciting when you think about the new
jobs that can be created, and just how much we have to do to
align our workforce development, the sort of career technology
training that we should be doing along with algebra two in our
high schools and creating those pathways in our community
colleges. Community colleges are probably going to beat
everybody to the punch on this because they are more nimble and
get out in front of these things.
We have a brave new world in front of us and look forward
to aligning those, you know, capturing the opportunities that
will come along with the some of the discomfort and additional
Senator Warner. Good.
Perhaps the Chair could ask our staff to provide these two
distinguished witnesses with a little synopsis of the testimony
that we had yesterday, and some copies of it, because I think
it would be a great help.
Senator Boxer. Will do.
Senator Warner. Both of these gentleman are quite busy in
their respective full-time jobs, so I think I will yield the
floor and let them return to their respective States, unless
you want to talk a little bit about the football standing
between Maryland and UVA.
Senator Warner. How is that going, Governor Kaine?
Governor Kaine. We will see.
Governor O'Malley. We will get to the oyster wars.
Senator Boxer. Governors, I thank you so much. I just want
to particularly thank Senator Warner for his graciousness. I
want to just say that the Governors we are hearing from,
Senator Warner and other Senators, are from both parties.
Today, we happen to have two Democrats, but I have heard from,
of course, Governor Schwarzenegger, who has provided terrific
leadership on this, and also Governor Crist of Florida, who is
continually writing to us. And there are other Governors from
both parties. I don't want to start naming all of them.
But I think it just shows that the States are ahead of us
here. We have a lot of catching up to do, and I think the two
of you have made a very powerful case and tied it to the Bay,
which is so important because we can see it, feel it, and touch
it. And so we thank you very, very much. Any ideas you have
will be welcomed in the future. Thank you.
Governor Kaine. Thanks, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. And now we would invite up our third and
final panel, while the Governors are leaving.
William Baker is President of the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation; Dr. Christopher Pyke, Member, Chesapeake Bay
Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, and
Fellow, Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Center of
Coastal Resources Management; Dr. Donald F. Boesch, President,
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; Dennis
Avery, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute, Director, Center for
Global Food Issues; Dr. David W. Schnare, Esquire, Senior
Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Thomas Jefferson
Institute for Public Policy; and Pastor Richard Edmund, United
Methodist Churches of Smith Island.
Gentlemen, we welcome you. We are very honored to have all
of you here. We will go from Mr. Baker all the way this way,
and we will try to keep it five minutes. I know we have a lot
Mr. Baker, welcome, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM C. BAKER, PRESIDENT, CHESAPEAKE BAY
Mr. Baker. Senator Boxer, members of the Committee, Senator
Mikulski, thank you for your leadership over these many years.
My name is Will Baker. I am President of the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation. On behalf of our 194,000 members, we thank you for
the opportunity to testify.
Senator Warner, special thanks to you for your years of
support for programs to help Chesapeake Bay and especially for
your generous support of that 30-year-anniversary tour with
Senator Matthias--our great mutual friend and a founder of the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation. I truly appreciate all that you have
done over these many years.
Many thanks as well to Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin,
Senator Webb, who was here previously, and Congressman
Gilchrest, and our two esteemed Governors, Governor Kaine and
Governor O'Malley. We are so lucky to have you fighting for, as
we heard, not against each other, fighting for the Chesapeake
Sadly, the Chesapeake Bay is in deep trouble. By any
measure, it is only functioning at about 30 percent of its
historic potential. Eighty percent of the Bay and its tidal
tributaries are on EPA's dirty waters list. Think of it. A
national treasure so rich in history and so valuable to our
regional economy in such trouble.
Pollution is at the root of the problems. But now, global
climate change is making matters worse. As the waters warm,
they hold less dissolved oxygen, dangerously less dissolved
oxygen. These waters are called ``dead zones'' and they plague
the Bay. While the phenomenon is happening worldwide, it is
worse in the shallow, slow-flushing coastal areas like the
Chesapeake. Sadly, these waters are some of the most productive
on earth. We are damaging the very nurseries that produce the
fish and shellfish that we value so highly, like the Chesapeake
Bay blue crab, to name just one.
Warmer water itself adversely affects the fish and
shellfish. Striped bass, for instance, cannot tolerate water
that is 76 degrees or warmer, so as surface waters warm, they
dive deeper to try and find cooler waters, only to be blocked
by the deep water dissolved oxygen-starved dead zones. They are
being squeezed from the top and the bottom and stressed, and
the result is greater susceptibility to disease.
Another real threat is to eelgrass. I know this is
especially important to Senator Warner because it is the
predominant Virginia species of underwater grasses. At 80
degrees, it simply dies, and we are seeing 80 degrees in the
southern Bay all too often. No underwater grasses, no crabs, no
fish, no shellfish.
Unfortunately, some Bay species appear to benefit from
warmer water. I say ``unfortunately'' because those species are
the nuisance algae, some of which are toxic. One especially
noxious species of algae was plaguing the Norfolk and Hampton
Roads area for much of the summer. One last impact: sea level
rise combined with an increase in storm intensity will mean
more floods, more erosion, more polluted runoff, more damaged
wetlands. None of this will be good for water quality or human
health or recreation.
There is some good news, however, and this time it really
is good news. A primary strategy to reduce the nitrogen that is
so polluting the Chesapeake Bay is to help farmers install
conservation practices on their land. The reason I bring it up
at this hearing is because these practices, if implemented,
will sequester a minimum of 5 million metric tons of carbon,
the equivalent of taking over 750,000 Hummers, each driving
12,000 miles a year, off the road. Exceptional, exceptional
So here is the win-win-win: help farmers stay on the land;
reduce nitrogen and carbon; increase dissolved oxygen, a
tremendous benefit for the environment.
In closing, let me thank you and urge support for a cap and
trade bill such as that which Senators Warner and Lieberman are
developing. And let me urge support for a specific provision of
that bill, which I understand will be in the legislation, that
which will help provide funding for the great waters of the
United States of which the Chesapeake Bay is certainly one. A
national treasure, the birthplace of our great Nation, will
thank you, and I thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Baker follows:]
Statement of William C. Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chairwoman Boxer, Senator Inhofe, Senator Warner, Senator Cardin
and other distinguished members of the Environmental and Public Works
Committee, I am William C. Baker, President of the Chesapeake Bay
Foundation. Thank you for inviting me, on behalf of CBF's board, staff,
and 190,000 members, to participate in today's hearing.
I want to particularly acknowledge Senator John Warner for the work
that he has done to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay during the
nearly thirty years that he has represented the people of the
Commonwealth of Virginia. Even though the Bay still has many
challenges, it is much better off than it would have been without
Senator Warner's strong interest and effective assistance during all
those years. Although he has announced his retirement at the end of
this Congress, this hearing and the development of the Lieberman/Warner
legislation are indications that he's a long way from being done.
Senator Warner, thank you.
Moreover, although none of them is retiring--in any sense of the
word--I also want to acknowledge the tremendous work done that Senator
Mikulski, Senator Cardin and Congressman Gilchrest are doing here in
Congress on behalf of the Bay. All three are doing everything they can
to restore the health of the Bay, and I know they will continue to do
so for many years to come.
For more than 40 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been
working to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay
is America's largest estuary, and its 64,000 square mile watershed--
from Cooperstown, New York to Cape Henry, Virginia and westward to the
Allegheny Mountains--is a large part of the Mid-Atlantic states. More
than 17 million people live in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a number
that is increasing by roughly 150,000 each year.
If you follow the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's annual State of the
Bay report, you know that the lack of progress being made to improve
water quality and protect the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay
continues to cause very serious concern. The numeric score that our
scientists calculated last year to represent the overall health of the
Chesapeake Bay--29 on a scale of 100--is only one point higher than it
was in 1999. This means that the Bay is ecologically functioning at
between one-fourth and one-third of its historic capacity, and is not
improving nearly as fast as we would like. The most systemic problem
continues to be an overload of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution
creating a lack of dissolved oxygen in many parts of the Bay and its
tributaries. Every summer, the mainstem of the Bay and several of its
tributaries are plagued by dead zones, where not enough dissolved
oxygen exists to sustain many forms of aquatic life. The volume of
water affected by these dead zones varies by year, but on average about
80% of the Bay and its tidal rivers have insufficient levels of oxygen.
The fact is that today's Chesapeake Bay ecological web is a pale
reflection of what it was not so very long ago. Chesapeake Bay oysters,
the great natural filter of the Bay's water, are currently less than 4%
of their historic levels. The Bay's flagship species--the blue crab--is
in such jeopardy that entire watermen communities are disappearing, and
the great crab processing companies now survive on foreign imports. The
underwater grasses so essential to life in the Bay are subject to
massive die-offs related to increased water temperature, and the Bay's
wetlands, critical to thousands of species in its web of life, are
being destroyed yard by inexorable yard.
We have become complacent about the constant, slow deterioration of
one of the world's great natural resources. The degree of stress on the
system from pollution flowing out of our cities and farms is enormous,
and the system certainly does not need more stress. Yet additional
stress is exactly what the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem is already getting
from rising water temperatures and sea level rise. When CBF embarked on
its mission to ``Save the Bay'' four decades ago, we had no idea that
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases would be a huge threat to the
people and other living resources that depend on the Bay for their
existence. We understand now, however, that fossil fuels burning in
Indianapolis or in India, as well as a host of other greenhouse gas
producing activities, will negatively affect the people and creatures
of the Chesapeake Bay just as toxics and other well-known pollutants
do. The policy choices you and your counterparts in other nations make
will determine how severe those negative effects will be and how long
they may last.
I will just touch briefly on what scientists believe will be the
effects on the Chesapeake Bay unless action is taken to dramatically
reduce emissions and sequester additional carbon. I know that my
colleagues on this panel from the scientific community will fill in the
Ocean temperatures are rising, and the water temperatures in the
Chesapeake Bay are as well. Warmer water has less capacity to hold
dissolved oxygen, and dissolved oxygen is critical for most life in the
Bay, its rivers, and its streams. Thus, higher temperatures may
exacerbate the Bay's dead zones, potentially expanding both the size
and the duration of oxygen-deprived areas in the Bay.
In one of nature's characteristic cycles, oxygen-deprived dead
zones in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries can actually contribute
to additional greenhouse gas generation. Globally, estuaries emit
approximately one third of the world's oceans' net emissions of nitrous
oxide, a very potent greenhouse gas. In the few places where it has
been studied, nitrogen pollutant loads to estuaries have been shown to
contribute to increased nitrous oxide emissions. Similarly, estuarine
production of methane, another greenhouse gas, also increases under
low-oxygen conditions due to bacterial activity, so the Bay, in its
overloaded and degraded state, is actually contributing to climate
Changes in water temperature can also affect the distribution and
health of aquatic species in the Chesapeake. For instance, adult
striped bass, also known as rockfish, try to avoid water warmer than
about 76 degrees Fahrenheit by finding refuge in the cooler
temperatures of deeper water. During the summer, however, rockfish face
what scientists call ``temperature-dissolved oxygen squeeze,'' when
dissolved oxygen concentrations in these waters drop past the point
where adult rockfish can survive. With predictions of higher water
temperatures and expanded dead zones, rockfish will be increasingly
squeezed, forced to live in uncomfortably warm water in order to
``breathe.'' Such stress can affect the health of fish by changing
their feeding habits or making them more susceptible to disease.
Scientists still have much to learn about the effects of increased
carbon dioxide and warmer water temperatures on the various types of
algae found in the Bay, but it seems clear that some species, like the
harmful algae Cochlodinium that plagued the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area
last month, may prosper under the various climate change scenarios.
Although climate change models are as yet inconclusive about
whether more precipitation will fall in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,
or exactly what seasonal variations in precipitation may look like,
most models agree that storms will become more intense. Storm intensity
has an important impact on the Bay region in terms of property damage
as well as on Bay's ecological health. Increased scouring and runoff
from more intense rain events, regardless of season, will carry
significantly higher loads of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment to
tributaries, and thus to the Bay. Since it is this trio of pollutants
that is primarily causing the continued decline in the Bay's water
quality, additional heavy loads of them during more intense storms in
the Mid-Atlantic states can be expected to appreciably compound the
Bay's water quality challenges.
sea level rise and flooding
With more than 11,000 miles of coastline, much of the Chesapeake
Bay area, including some large population centers, lies very close to
water level. Worldwide, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
predicts that sea level will rise between 8 inches and 2 feet by the
end of this century. Many scientists consider those estimates to be
conservative, evidence is mounting that ice caps and glaciers are
melting at accelerated rates. If the trend continues, apparent sea
level rise could be as high as several feet in the region by the end of
Although sea level rise will affect many parts of the world, the
Bay region may suffer even more. Why? Because, even as waters rise,
much of the area is actually sinking due to geological processes that
began during the last ice age. This combination of processes has
resulted in approximately one foot of net sea level rise in the
Chesapeake Bay over the past 100 years--a rate nearly twice that of the
global historic average. As a result we are losing Tangier Island,
Smith Island, and many other low-lying lands around the Bay. Thousands
of acres of environmentally-critical tidal wetlands are now unable to
trap sediments fast enough to keep pace with rising water levels.
In the future, the combination of several feet of global sea level
rise, flat topography, and subsiding land mass could make the people
who live here in the Mid-Atlantic region particularly vulnerable.
Demographic modeling correlated to projected sea level rise suggests
that hundreds of thousands of people in low-lying coastal or river
valley areas, including in several cities, could fall victim to serious
floods, and these storms are likely to cause the most damage to
socially vulnerable populations within the region. For example, a 2005
report by the Center for Integrated Regional Assessment defines areas
within Hampton Roads that have high ``numbers of children and elderly,
and with a high number of mobile homes'' as vulnerable. By a wide
margin, these at-risk communities are the most likely to face severe
flood and storm damage. Additionally, these storms--which are also
predicted to increase in intensity--will not only increase demands on
emergency services and rescue facilities in these areas, but literally
flood those facilities as well. Essentially, those with the fewest
resources to recover from a catastrophic storm will be among those
Clearly, the enormous challenge of reducing the effects of excess
carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions requires a
multiplicity of actions at every level of society to reverse our
current destructive course.
One important way to improve water quality in the Bay and help to
reduce the effect of greenhouse gas emissions is to maximize the use of
common agricultural conservation practices to prevent nitrogen and
phosphorus from running to the Bay while at the same time sequestering
carbon. The Chesapeake Bay watershed states have already defined
agricultural conservation as a key tool to achieve the pollution
reductions necessary to remove the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries
from the Clean Water Act's 303(d) list. As part of the Chesapeake 2000
Agreement--a pledge to cut the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and
sediment pollution discharged into the Bay and its rivers--
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, New York and
the District of Columbia have each developed river-specific ``tributary
strategies'' to achieve targeted pollution reduction goals. Region-wide
implementation of these plans' agricultural components would reduce the
excess nitrogen entering the Bay by nearly 65 million pounds annually--
approximately 60 percent of the reduction needed to restore the Bay and
A recent Chesapeake Bay Foundation report entitled ``Climate Change
and the Chesapeake Bay: Challenges, Impacts, and the Multiple Benefits
of Agricultural Conservation Work'', drawing on a study conducted at
the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, made the case
that more widespread use of common agricultural practices such as
planting winter cover crops, establishing riparian buffers, and
practicing rotational grazing and no-till farming can help to sequester
carbon while at the same time moderating the effects of adding
greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. The Yale study estimated that
approximately 4.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide would be
sequestered annually--the equivalent of mitigating the carbon dioxide
emissions from residential electricity use across the state of
Delaware. On a state-by-state basis, the greatest carbon sequestration
benefits would be accrued in Virginia--approximately 2.3 of the 4.8
million metric tons. This large share is due to the prevalence of
forest buffers and restoration programs in the Commonwealth's tributary
strategies. In Pennsylvania and Maryland, carbon benefits would come
from a broader combination of conservation practices.
I am aware that farm bill reauthorization is not within the
Environment and Public Works Committee's jurisdiction. However, within
the next few weeks, each of you will have an opportunity to influence
the language of the farm bill on the Senate floor, providing you with a
powerful opportunity to enhance the mitigation of greenhouse gas
emissions as you work toward more comprehensive solutions. Providing
additional technical and financial assistance to farmers to increase
the use of common conservation practices such as cover crops and
buffers is a win-win strategy for the Chesapeake Bay, as well as for
the global atmosphere. In fact, enhancing carbon sequestration on
America's agricultural lands should be given more prominence as an
objective of federal farm policy nationwide.
As I near the end of my statement, I want to focus particular
attention on one element of the cap-and-trade bill that Senators
Lieberman and Warner are developing. According to discussion papers I
have seen, the Lieberman/Warner bill will allocate 24% of the proposed
National Emission Allowance Account to the Climate Change Credit
Corporation, rising to 52% over time. These allocations will be
auctioned and the proceeds will be used for various purposes, including
10% to help mitigate the impacts of climate change on terrestrial
wildlife and aquatic wildlife in the nation's great waters.
Certainly there are many potentially important uses for the funds
produced by the climate change credit auction, but I want to encourage
you to make sure that a significant share of the proceeds goes to
projects that will help us to protect and restore the great multitude
of plants and animals that we are destroying through our
thoughtlessness--or worse. We are causing great harm to the natural
world through the actions that we take in the service of our prosperous
lifestyles. It is only appropriate that we do our best to compensate.
And, as I have outlined today, the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem, already on
the brink, will be harmed even more by global climate change. It is
critical that some of the proceeds from the credit auction go to the
nation's great waters, including the Chesapeake Bay, to address the
impacts we are discussing here today.
In conclusion, I want to simply reiterate that the Chesapeake Bay,
an ecosystem in serious trouble, will be subject to very significant
additional stresses in the coming years from the effects of global
climate change. There is much we do not yet know, and a great deal of
what will happen to the Chesapeake Bay depends on the actions that you
and other policymakers choose to take, but the outlines are very clear.
I urge you to work hard over the next few weeks for a 2007 farm bill
authorization that allows farmers more ability to address the Bay's
nitrogen and phosphorus problem while at the same time sequestering
carbon. As has already been recognized by the House of Representatives,
the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a perfect national pilot area to
simultaneously address water quality and carbon sequestration. Above
all, I urge to you quickly consider and pass an aggressive cap-and-
trade bill that will begin to force dramatic emissions reductions and
provide a source of funds to help address the changes that we are
already seeing in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.
Thank you once more for the opportunity to be here today. I am
happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Responses by William C. Baker to Additional Questions from Senator
Question 1. In the report on Climate change that CBF released
earlier this year, you make the point that the actions we take to
reduce the emissions will also have a positive, immediate impact on the
Chesapeake Bay. Would you please take a moment to explain to the
Committee the relationship between nitrogen and oxide pollution, global
warming and current Bay restoration efforts?
Response. As you note, one of the purposes of our report on climate
change was to highlight that many of the actions needed to reduce
nitrogen pollution and restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay will
also lead to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (and vice versa). 1
will give three examples of these dual benefits.
First, watershed-wide about one-third of the nitrogen pollution to
the Chesapeake comes from the air, much of it in the from of nitrogen
oxides (NOx), a group of compounds formed from the combustion of fossil
fuels. Nitrous oxide--one of the ``family'' of nitrogen oxides--is a
very potent greenhouse gas. In addition, as we know, the combustion of
fossil fuels accounts for the majority of the carbon dioxide that is
emitted in the U.S. Consequently, actions that reduce our combustion of
fossil fuels (e.g. energy conservation and efficiency, renewable
energy, fuel efficient cars) will have multiple benefits, including:
(1) a reduction in nitrogen (NOx) pollution to the Bay, and (2) a
reduction in the emissions of the greenhouse gases nitrous oxide and
carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere.
Second, a major source of nitrous oxide is agricultural fertilizer
use One of the strategies to reduce nitrogen pollution to the Bay is
the adoption of enhanced nutrient management practices by Chesapeake
Bay farmers. This measure will result in less fertilizer use which, in
turn, will lead to reduced emissions of nitrous oxide into the
atmosphere and less runoff of nitrogen fertilizer into the Bay.
Lastly, in its current degraded state, the Bay itself is a source
of greenhouse gases. Under oxygen-deprived conditions, greenhouse gases
such as nitrous oxide and methane are formed in the Bay sediments and
eventually released into the atmosphere. If we reduce nitrogen
pollution to the Bay and decrease the size of the Bay's dead zones, we
will reduce the amount of these gases that are produced.
Question 2. Sequestering carbon will have to he part of the
solution to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. Can you please tell the
Committee about some of the dual benefits we might see through
conservation programs in the Farm Bill?
Response. Implementation of agricultural conservation practices,
while often overlooked in policy discussions about reducing greenhouse
gases, promises to be doubly beneficial for climate change and water
quality In the Bay region and beyond.
Carbon sequestration refers to the net removal of carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere into long-term or permanent terrestrial `pools':
living (trees or grasses; roots and microbes in the soil), stored in
products with long lives such as lumber, or contained as soil carbon.
An enormous amount of carbon is stored in the soil and detritus on the
soil--the remnants of plants and trees. Agricultural practices can help
increase these carbon pools. For example, planting streamside buffers
results in carbon sequestered in trees or grasses as well as increasing
the amount of carbon in soil. Traditional fanning techniques, such as
plowing, reduce soil carbon levels by allowing carbon dioxide to be
released into the air, but conservation tillage, where traditional
plowing and hoeing are replaced with either no, or shallow, tillage
exposes less soil to the air, leading to the retention and increase of
soil carbon. Furthermore, these practices can be implemented now, while
long-term strategies to mitigate greenhouse gases are developed and
The chart below highlights the greenhouse gas benefits of some
agricultural practices that are supported by Farm Bill conservation
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Responses by William C. Baker to Additional Questions from Senator
Question. As you know, while progress has been made restoring the
Bay, the signatories of the 2000 Agreement are no where near completing
most of the goals they outlined for the Bay. Were the goals and the
timeframe realistic? In your view, what is the biggest obstacle you are
Response. The Chesapeake 2000 Agreement (signed in June of 2000 by
the States of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, the federal
government, the District of Columbia, and the Chesapeake Bay
Commission) set numerous goals and objectives to be achieved by the
year 2010. The overarching goal is to achieve clean water. This is
defined as removing the Bay and tributary rivers from the Federal Clean
Water Act's Impaired Waters List. Ironically, this simply represents
compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act of 1972.
While difficult to believe, very little progress has been made
toward achieving this goal in spite of a clear knowledge of both the
strategy and tactics to meet it. Scientists are consistent in their
belief that the Bay states must achieve a 110 million pound annual
reduction of nitrogen flowing into the system against a baseline of
year 2000 loadings to meet the goal of dean water and a balanced
system, resulting in a delisting from the Impaired Waters List.
This goal was and is absolutely achievable, but not without
following sound science and putting into place those practices which
are proven to be effective. Bottom line, the science, the technology,
and even the public support for carrying out this work are available.
What has been missing is the political will to get the job done as
promised in the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, sir. It was most eloquent.
Senator Warner. Madam Chairman?
Senator Boxer. Yes, please?
Senator Warner. I can assure our colleague that that
provision is in the bill now, but why don't you look at it. If
it needs a little strengthening, let me know.
Mr. Baker. Thank you, sir.
Senator Boxer. That is a very good offer I would not turn
Senator Boxer. Dr. Christopher Pyke, Member, Chesapeake Bay
Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee; Fellow,
Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences's Center of Coastal
Resources Management. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER R. PYKE, MEMBER, CHESAPEAKE BAY
PROGRAM'S SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE; FELLOW,
VIRGINIA INSTITUTE OF MARINE SCIENCE'S CENTER OF COASTAL
Mr. Pyke. Thank you, Chairman Boxer, and members of the
Committee, thank you for your invitation to discuss the impacts
of climate change on the Chesapeake Bay.
In December 2006, the Chesapeake Bay Program asked the
staff, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, to
review research activities, identify critical knowledge gaps,
and make recommendations for next steps in addressing climate
change. I am leading STAC's response to this, in collaboration
with Dr. Ray Najjar from Penn State University and a team of
We conclude that climate change is more than a future
threat to the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay Program partners are
making long-term, capital-intensive decisions that are expected
to yield results for decades into the future. Changes in sea
level, temperature, precipitation and other aspects of climate
are likely to alter the cost and efficacy of these activities.
Consequently, climate change is an immediate concern for
efforts to protect and restore water quality and living
resources. Researchers have used historic observations to
identify a variety of physical changes in the Bay, including
trends in sea level, temperature and precipitation. Modeling
studies suggest these trends are likely to continue and
While projections of sea level and temperature are
relatively well constrained, the greatest uncertainty is
associated with precipitation. It is important to develop a
better understanding of potential changes in regional
precipitation, particularly the implications of potentially
unprecedented combinations of temperature and precipitation.
Environmental monitoring is an essential component of the
Bay Program and climate change adds to the already critical
need for monitoring and creates new challenges. Bay Program
monitoring systems should be designed to detect trends and
allow managers to differentiate between changes driven by
climate and those associated with other sources of degradation
or restoration action.
Climate change also creates new challenges for Chesapeake
Bay restoration strategies, including two of the most
important, including bay-wide water quality regulation and
activities to restore living resources. Calculations used to
develop water quality regulation are based on carefully
selected historical meteorological observations. However,
observations and modeling results make it increasingly clear
that historic time series are unlikely to be representative of
future conditions. Consequently, it is essential to develop and
implement new methods for establishing water quality
regulations that explicitly incorporate climate change.
Similar considerations apply to efforts to protect and
restore living resources. The Bay Program partners should
assess the vulnerability of living resource restoration efforts
such as eelgrass and SAV to climate change and require projects
to take steps to promote success under changing conditions.
The serious implications of climate change for the Bay
Program lead directly to consideration of potential measures to
adapt to changing conditions. This is an emerging area of
research that has received relatively little attention from the
scientific community. Effective adaptation requires linking
resource management and monitoring to facilitate changes in
practice over time. The Bay Program partners should take action
to adapt their management practices to rising sea levels,
increasing temperatures, and changing precipitation patterns.
Stepping back, we can identify two general actions that can
help the Bay Program partners and other stakeholders address
these challenges. First, recognize that climate change is a
component of a wide range of decisions associated with water
quality regulation, living resource restoration, and other
issues. The Bay Program partners can and should immediately
require all major resource management decisions to include an
assessment with three components. First, identify climatic
assumptions. Second, evaluate the potential for climate change
to undermine or alter these assumptions. And explicitly
consider alternative management options that are more likely to
be resilient and adaptive.
The second action is to take a leadership role in
addressing climate change across the watershed. The Bay Program
partners can and should develop a bay-wide climate action plan
that complements State level climate action plans with a
specific emphasis on impact and adaptation opportunities
relevant to the protection and restoration of the Bay.
In conclusion, it is important to recognize that climate
change is an immediate concern for the Bay Program.
Fortunately, there are practical steps the Bay Program partners
and other stakeholders can take to understand and prepare for
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pyke follows:]
Statement of Christopher R. Pyke, Member, Scientific and Technical
Advisory Committee of the Chesapeake Bay Program; Fellow, Center for
Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science;
Director of Climate Change Services, CTG Energetics, Inc.
Chairman Boxer, ranking member Inhofe and members of the Committee:
thank you for your invitation to address the Committee on the important
issue of the impacts of global warming on the Chesapeake Bay. I am
Christopher R. Pyke, and I currently serve as a member of the
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee for the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA) Chesapeake Bay Program (Bay Program). I am
also a fellow with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science's Center
for Coastal Resources Management, and the Director of Climate Change
Services for CTG Energetics, Inc., a green building and sustainable
design consultancy. Previously, I served as a physical scientist with
the U.S. EPA's Global Change Research Program, and as a co-chair of the
U.S. Climate Change Science Program's Human Contributions and Responses
Interagency Working Group. I maintain a long-term interest in the
implications of climate change for water quality and aquatic
ecosystems, and I am actively engaged in a wide range of issues linking
land use decisions with climate mitigation, impacts, and adaptation. A
brief biography summarizing my professional experience is an attachment
to this testimony.
In response to Chairman Boxer's letter of invitation, my testimony
provides my views on the impact of global warming on the Chesapeake Bay
with particular emphasis on findings from a report I am coordinating on
behalf of the Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee
(STAC). Although my remarks draw extensively on findings in this
forthcoming report, my comments reflect only my own professional
opinion and they are not necessarily those of the STAC or any other
Climate change is more than a future threat to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Bay Program partners are making long-term, capital-intensive
decisions that are expected to yield results for decades into the
future. Changes in sea level, temperature, precipitation, and other
aspects of climate are likely to alter the cost and efficacy of many of
these activities. In this context, climate change is an immediate
concern for efforts to protect and restore water quality and living
resources. The Bay Program partners can and should take immediate
action to assess the implications of changing climatic conditions for
their activities and ensure that restoration strategies will be
effective under future conditions.
This outcome can be promoted by immediate action to:
1. Identify and address climatic assumptions associated with
important management and policy decisions (e.g., water quality
2. Evaluate the sensitivity of water quality protection, living
resource restoration, and monitoring strategies to climate change and
promote the development and implementation of practices that are
resilient and adaptive to changing conditions.
3. Develop a comprehensive, Bay-wide Climate Change Action Plan
that will serve as a roadmap to prioritize research and management
activities and guide the implementation of adaptive responses.
introduction to stac climate change study
The Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory
Committee (STAC) provides guidance to the Bay Program on measures to
restore and protect the Chesapeake Bay. STAC accomplishes its mission
through technical reports and papers, discussion groups, reviews of Bay
Program activities, technical conferences and workshops, and service by
STAC members on Bay Program subcommittees and workgroups. STAC reports
annually to the Bay Program Executive Council and quarterly to the
Implementation Committee. STAC is composed of 38 members drawn from
federal and state agencies, universities, research institutions, and
In December 2006, the Chesapeake Bay Program requested that the
STAC evaluate current understanding about the implications of climate
change for the Chesapeake Bay, specifically the restoration of water
quality and living resources. STAC was asked to review recent and on-
going research activities, identify critical knowledge gaps, and make
recommendations for next steps in addressing climate change.
STAC's response to this request is being led by Ray Najjar from
Pennsylvania State University and myself with assistance from a team of
co-authors including Mary Beth Adams, Denise Breitburg, Carl Hershner,
Robert Howarth, Michael Kemp, Margaret Mulholland, David Secor, Kevin
Sellner, and Robert Wood.
The forthcoming report will include three sections:
1. A review of scientific research and literature
2. An assessment of gaps in understanding and research priorities
3. Recommendations for next steps
A draft version of the report is currently under internal review by
the STAC, and it is scheduled for public release at the end of October
2007. The following comments focus on the second two sections of the
report. My testimony draws primarily on this study; however, any
specific conclusions or interpretations reflect only my professional
gaps in understanding and research priorities
The STAC review identified four research themes in recent climate
change-related research associated with the Chesapeake Bay:
1. Physical drivers of change
2. Environmental monitoring
3. Impacts on restoration strategies
4. Adaptive responses to climate change
Physical drivers of change
Climate variability and climate change create challenges for the
restoration of water quality and living resources in the Chesapeake
Bay. Understanding of spatial and temporal dynamics associated with
physical drivers is essential to effective responses to these
challenges. Researchers have identified a variety of physical changes
through analysis of historic observations, including trends in sea
level, temperature, and precipitation patterns. Modeling studies
suggest that historic trends are likely to continue and potentially
accelerate across a wide range of socio-economic scenarios. Projections
for sea level and temperature are relatively well constrained. While
the greatest uncertainty is associated with one of the most important
variables required to understand Chesapeake Bay ecosystems:
precipitation. Spatial and temporal changes in precipitation patterns
can have far-reaching implications for the Bay ecosystems through
impacts on watershed hydrology and biogeochemical processes,
particularly under warmer temperature regimes. It is essential to
develop a better understanding of potential changes in regional
precipitation and the implications of potentially unprecedented
combinations of temperature and precipitation.
Environmental monitoring is an essential component of the
Chesapeake Bay Program. Computer models and simulations are used to
develop environmental policy and regulation. However, the ultimate
success (or failure) of these measures is based on real world
conditions. Climate change adds to the already critical need for
monitoring and creates new challenges. Chesapeake Bay monitoring
systems must be designed to detect long-term trends and allow managers
to differentiate changes driven by climate from those associated with
other sources of degradation (e.g., land use) or restoration action.
This information is necessary to evaluate the efficacy of management
actions and accurately attribute the causes of improvement or
degradation in ecosystem health and water quality. It is essential that
the Bay Program evaluate the consequences of climate change for its
existing monitoring systems and ensure that sampling designs provide
adequate statistical power to detect trends and differentiate sources
of improvement or degradation.
Impacts on restoration strategies
Understanding of physical drivers of change and consideration for
the effectiveness of environmental monitoring help create the
foundation of information needed to consider one of the most critical
questions: What are the implications of climate change for the Bay
Program's strategies to restore water quality and living resources?
Three of the most important strategies include:
Bay-wide water quality regulation.
State tributary strategies designed to achieve the goals
of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement.
Activities to protect and restore living resources, such
as submerged aquatic vegetation and oysters.
These strategies are central to the success of the Bay Program, and
climate change is likely to jeopardize the validity of key assumptions
used in current approaches to developing and implementing these
For example, calculations used to estimate TMDLs are based on a
carefully selected subset of historic meteorological observations.
However, observations and modeling results make it increasingly clear
that these historic time series are unlikely to be representative of
future conditions. It is essential to develop methods for calculating
TMDLs that explicitly incorporate information about changing climatic
State partners have developed implementation plans called tributary
strategies. These documents describe the combination of approaches
needed to restore Bay water quality. The performance of individual
management practices is central to the design of tributary strategies,
and our understanding about performance is based on observations under
historic climatic conditions. For example, the ability of stormwater
detention ponds to capture sediment and remove nutrients varies as a
function of precipitation volume and intensity. It is increasingly
likely that detention pond designs based on historic precipitation
requirements may not meet performance goals under future conditions.
Many widely-used water quality Best Management Practices are likely to
exhibit similar sensitivities. It is important for the Bay Program
partners to assess the consequences of climate change for the
effectiveness of management practices.
Similar considerations also apply to efforts to address living
resources. Restoration efforts rely on understanding of historic
relationships between climatic conditions and ecological processes.
However, changes in climate are likely to jeopardize these
relationships. For example, planting of submerged aquatic vegetation
(SAV) is a major emphasis of the Bay Program; however, SAV is known to
be highly sensitive to peak summer temperatures and flow regimes.
Climate change is likely to alter both of these variables and alter the
likelihood of restoration success. Fortunately, it is possible to
identify these climatic assumptions and take action to develop more
sustainable restoration plans. For example, experience with coral reef
ecosystems suggests that it is possible to identify resilient sites
where local conditions offset regional climatic stresses and increase
the likelihood of restoration success. This suggests that restoration
activities in the Bay may benefit from efforts to identify resilient
restoration locations at local and regional scales. The Bay Program
partners should assess the vulnerability of living resource restoration
efforts to climate change and require projects to take specific steps
to increase the likelihood of success under changing conditions.
The serious implications of climate change for the Bay Program lead
directly to consideration of potential measures to adapt to changing
conditions. This is an emerging area of research that has received
relatively limited attention from the scientific community.
It is possible to distinguish between resilient and adaptive
responses to climate change impacts. Resilient responses help increase
capacity of systems to respond to disturbance and accommodate changing
conditions. Resilient responses strive to identify opportunities to
make decisions more robust to a range of future conditions. Adaptive
responses attempt to actively incorporate observations and model
projections to anticipate and respond to changing conditions. The goal
is to adjust management practices to increase the likelihood of success
under future conditions. Unfortunately, adaptive approaches are often
constrained by current practices locked by convention or regulation to
historic conditions. For example, standard ``design storms'' are often
used to develop stormwater management systems. Observations and
modeling results clearly suggest that these design storms are unlikely
to be representative of future conditions. Consequently, systems based
on these specifications may fail under future conditions. Adaptation
requires identifying these climatic assumptions and taking action to
anticipate the consequences of changing conditions. This includes
creating dynamic linkages between management and monitoring to provide
feedback and facilitate changes in practice over time. The Bay Program
partners can and should take action to increase the resilience of their
activities to uncertain precipitation regimes and begin to adapt their
management practices to rising temperatures and sea levels.
Climate change is more than a future threat to the Chesapeake Bay.
The Bay Program partners are making long-term, capital-intensive
decisions expected to yield results for decades into the future. In
this context, climate change is an immediate concern to the restoration
of water quality and living resources. The Bay Program partners can and
should take immediate action to assess the implications of changing
climatic conditions for their activities and ensure that restoration
strategies will be effective under future conditions.
Identifying climatic assumptions and sensitivities
The Bay Program partners can and should take immediate action to
address these issues through its existing authorities,
responsibilities, and resources. The first, and perhaps most important,
step is to explicitly recognize that climate change is a component of a
wide-range of critical decisions associated with TMDLs, tributary
strategies, living resource restoration, and many others. The Bay
Program partners can and should immediately require all major resource
management decisions to include an assessment that (1) identifies
climatic assumptions, (2) evaluates the potential for climatic change
to undermine or alter these assumptions, and (3) explicitly considers
alternative management options that are more resilient and adaptive.
Climate Change Action Plan
An assessment of climatic assumptions and sensitivities provides
immediate opportunities for improvement to internal Bay Program
decision making processes. This is necessary but not sufficient to
address the scope of the problem. It is equally important for the Bay
Program to take a leadership role in addressing climate change across
the watershed. One mechanism for achieving this is the development of a
broad-based, Bay-wide Climate Change Action Plan. This Plan would build
on and complement state-level Climate Action Plans with a specific
emphasis on impacts and adaptation opportunities relevant to the
protection and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The preparation of
the plan should begin with the foundation of information provided by
the scientific community and quickly broaden to engage the full
spectrum of Bay Program partners at Federal, state, and local levels.
The plan should include a detailed roadmap for research and management
action to help the Bay Program achieve its mission under changing
climatic conditions. The Bay Program partners should take immediate
action to promote and support the development of a Climate Change
Research coordination and leadership
Improvements to internal decision making and regional coordination
are essential components for the Bay Program. A third component
involves enhancing the flow of scientific and technical information
from the research community to decision makers and managers. Current
understanding of the implications of climate change for the Chesapeake
Bay is sufficient to raise alarm. For example, there are many reasons
to suspect that water quality regulations are highly sensitive to
assumptions about climatic conditions. However, the research community
cannot yet provide definite recommendations for how to address these
The current body of knowledge reflects a history where research
efforts have generally been broad in scope and, with notable
exceptions, lacking in depth and duration. This pattern results from
several decades of sporadic funding opportunities, the lack of
institutional commitments, and the absence of widely-recognized
research priorities. For example, there is no single research group or
institution dedicated to climate change research and applications in
the Chesapeake Bay.
This situation contrasts with a number of regions with strong,
long-standing relationships between climate science, public policy, and
ecosystem restoration. For example, the Climate Impacts Group (CIG) at
the University of Washington is an award-winning interdisciplinary
research group that works to understand natural climate variability and
global change to increase the resilience of the Pacific Northwest to
fluctuations in climate. The CIG has contributed demonstrably to a
foundation of knowledge that supports some of the progressive public
policy in the nation with regard to climate change (e.g., King County,
Washington's 2007 Climate Plan). The Chesapeake Bay would benefit
directly from a similar organization. The Bay Program partners should
take the lead in establishing an entity that links climate science,
policy, and management throughout the watershed as quickly as possible.
Responses by Christopher R. Pyke to Additional Questions
from Senator Cardin
Question. What do you think the essential elements of a science
program for the Chesapeake Bay relative to climate change should be?
Response. As I outlined in my testimony, climate change is a cross-
cutting challenge to the mission of the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program
and the health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. One of the key messages
from my testimony is that climate change needs to be considered as part
of many important management decisions. The critical issue is that
climate change is not a new issue that ``stands apart'' from existing
concerns. It is a new challenge applicable to many existing
responsibilities. Consequently, I strongly believe that a science
program for the Chesapeake Bay should be designed and implemented to
provide support for decision makers and managers trying to understand
and respond to changing climatic conditions. In other words, a science
program for the Chesapeake Bay should be dedicated to the provision of
effective decision support.
This should be accomplished through a responsive, collaborative,
solutions-oriented applied research program that is guided by the needs
of stakeholders, particularly the EPA's Chesapeake Bay partnership.
This science program would constitute a climate extension service for
the Chesapeake Bay. The success of this kind of activity would be based
on successful programs for issues such as soil conservation and
wildlife management. In these cases. Federal agencies have a long and
successful track record of implementing programs that provide direct
benefits to key constituencies and positive return-on-invest for
society as a whole. These programs are often highly decentralized,
often embedding extension scientists within universities with a mandate
to facilitate technology transfer. A similar approach could be devised
for the Chesapeake Bay. Ideally, an extension service should strive to
create a self-sustaining market for climate change services between
private parties. In other words, decision makers would recognize the
need to consider climate change in their decision making and hire firms
to help with technical analyses. The government can help by providing
the foundation of applied research and development needed to establish
these markets and, when necessary, rules that protect society's
interests by requiring consideration for climate change in decision
making (see McGinty 1997 or Babbit 2001).
Babbit, B. 2001. Evaluating climate change impacts in management
planning. Secretarial Order No. 322, Department of the Interior,
January 19, 2001.
McGinty, K.A. 1997. Guidance regarding consideration of global
climatic change in environmental documents prepared pursuant to the
National Environmental Policy Act. Draft memorandum to Heads of Federal
Agencies from the Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality, 9
Senator Boxer. Thank you, sir.
Dr. Boesch, is that the right way to say it? All right. Dr.
Donald Boesch, President, University of Maryland Center for
Environmental Science. We welcome you.
STATEMENT OF DONALD F. BOESCH, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF
MARYLAND CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Mr. Boesch. Chairman Boxer and members of the Committee, I
am very pleased to appear before you today to talk about what
we know about the impacts of climate change and global warming,
and what we expect to be happening in the Bay in the future.
It is especially a rare honor for me today because I have
the privilege of being here with not only my Congressman, but
my two Senators and my Governor all at the same time. It is a
rare, rare occurrence, as you might understand.
Global climate change is not something in the Chesapeake
Bay's future. It is here today. The Bay is warming. Evidence is
growing that this is the case. We have two long-term records
from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science down in Virginia,
and our Chesapeake Biological Lab, that we have now put
together. They consistently show about a 2 F increase in the
average temperature of the Bay since about 1960. This follows
and is consistent with the patterns we have been seeing in
terms of air temperature over much of the Bay watershed, so
this is consistent both in observation and argument.
The projections that we can make in the future, of course,
in terms of temperature in the Bay must be based upon the kinds
of models that we use to project future climate, which predict
air temperature changes. If we use those to understand what the
impact on the Bay water may be, we could anticipate over this
next century an additional 5 to 9 F increase in average
temperature in the Bay.
This comes, of course, all through the year with warmer
summers, as well as warmer winters. As was pointed out, this
has substantial effects on the organisms that live in the Bay,
influencing things like eelgrass that Mr. Baker mentioned, a
very important habitat in the Bay. This plant is near the
southern end of its range, and is in serious jeopardy as a
result of warming. But also the timing of things that occur in
the Bay, the natural cycles in which the food supply for the
young striped bass or crabs will be changed and thrown out of
kilter, sometimes with unpredictable consequences.
Of course, the other concern we have heard much about from
our Governors is the issue of sea level rise. The Bay has much
low-lying territory. It has 8,000 miles of shoreline, and we
have very extensive areas on the Eastern Shore that are very
susceptible. Senator Inhofe mentioned in the opening the fact
that the sea level has been rising a long time in the
Chesapeake Bay. In fact, that is the case. It rose very
dramatically, of course, after the last glacial period of some
300 feet, and flooded the Bay thereby creating the Bay that we
But it has been relatively stable for about 6,000 years.
Obviously, since the founding of Jamestown Europeans have been
occupants for only a small part of that period. Indeed, that
period of time has seen the development of civilization not
only here, but in other parts of the world. So as we see these
changes that take place, they will affect not only our natural
resources, but also our historical resources, as was pointed
out by Governor Kaine.
Let's take what we know about the observed rates of sea
level rise and the best estimates we have from the models that
are used, for example, in the IPCC assessment. One must
understand the fact that this region is slowly sinking about
one-half foot per century, somewhat more in Hampton Roads,
somewhat less in Washington. And then when we add to that the
model projections, we could well see a 2- to 4-foot increase of
sea level this century over much of the Chesapeake Bay region.
Now, 2 to 4 feet, what does that mean? First of all, sea
level rise will probably be at least twice what we have seen in
the last century, which was about 1-foot relative to the land.
And it could be as much as four times. While this is not the
20-foot inundation that you see in some popular animations, but
remember this. Sea level is not going to stabilize in the year
2100. Sea level will not simply rise and then plateau. In fact,
because of the lags in the world climate system, it will
continue to rise in future centuries. So we have to then plan
for a future in which we could see major portions of our
historical Bay cities.
As was pointed out by both Dr. Pyke and Mr. Baker, we are
already dealing with major challenges in the Bay, and we now
have to factor climate change into it. What we need to do, and
I think you have heard Governor O'Malley and Governor Kaine now
suggest, is to integrate what we are doing to restore the Bay
with this new threat of climate change. We must find solutions
to address climate change also to improve the way we are
addressing the Bay's problems and vice versa.
In addition, as Dr. Pyke indicated, we really need much
more attention from Federal agencies that fund the science and
the research that we do to help predict regional scale impacts.
A recent study by the National Research Council emphasized that
although we have done great as a Nation in leading the world in
understanding the climate system on a global scale, we have not
emphasized the regional scale. We now need this information to
help us plan our future.
So thanks very much for this opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Boesch follows:]
Statement of Donald F. Boesch, Professor and President, University of
Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD
Chairman Boxer and members of the Committee, I am Donald F. Boesch
and am pleased to appear before you today to address what is known
about the impacts of global warming on the Chesapeake Bay, what future
effects are likely, and what can be done to address the consequences to
this magnificent ecosystem, its living resources and the people who
live in the Bay region. This is a special honor for me because
Maryland's two senators and our Governor are all here today.
By way of background, I am a marine ecologist who has conducted
research along our Atlantic and Gulf coasts and in Australia and the
East China Sea. Over 25 years of my career have been spent studying the
Chesapeake Bay or directing scientists who do. Although not a climate
scientist, I have been engaged in several assessments of the possible
consequences of climate change on coastal environments and try to keep
closely abreast of the emerging climate change literature. Most
notably, I served as co-chair of the Coastal Areas and Marine Resources
Sector Team for the U.S. National Assessment of Climate Variability and
Change\1\ and as co-editor of the report Chesapeake Futures: Choices
for the 21st Century.\2\ And, currently I am serving as chair of the
Scientific and Technical Working Group of the Maryland Commission on
\1\ Boesch, D.F., J.C. Field, and D. Scavia. 2000. The Potential
Consequences of Climate Variability and Change on Coastal Areas and
Marine Resources. NOAA Coastal Ocean Program Decision Analysis Series
Number #21, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver
\2\ Boesch, D.F. and J. Greer. 2003. Chesapeake Futures: Choices
for the 21st Century. Chesapeake Research Consortium, Edgewater, MD.
a warming bay
Global climate change is not just something in the Chesapeake Bay's
future. Evidence is building that it has already resulted in changes in
the Bay environment over the last several decades. Based on long-term
records from the piers at the Chesapeake's two historic marine
laboratories--extending back to 1938 at my Center's Chesapeake
Biological Laboratory on Solomons Island, Maryland, and to 1948 at the
Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point--it is clear
that the Bay has been warming. While annual Bay water temperatures have
varied in relation to large-scale climate cycles, such as the North
Atlantic Oscillation, there has been a superimposed warming trend of
about 1 C or nearly 2 F since the 1960s. This is, by the way,
consistent with the observed increases in air temperature over much of
the Bay region during that same time period.
Because of the close connection of air temperature--the monthly
averages rather than the daily extremes--and the temperature of Bay
waters, the General Circulation Models used to project future climate
conditions as a function of increasing greenhouse gases provide some
insight into further changes in temperature in the Bay. Depending on
the emission scenarios, these models suggest a 3 to 5 C (5 to 9 F)
increase in annual mean temperature by the end of this is century.\3\
These increases in air temperature may be modulated somewhat as water
temperatures respond, but even if we act today to dramatically reduce
greenhouse gas emissions around the world, the Chesapeake Bay is still
very likely to experience significant additional warming.
\3\ Pyke, C., R. Najjar, M.B. Adams, D. Breitburg, C. Hershner, M.
Kemp, R. Howarth, M. Mulholland, K. Sellner, and R. Wood. 2007. Climate
Change Research and the Chesapeake Bay. Draft. Chesapeake Bay Program
Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee, Annapolis, MD.
The much warmer waters during the summer and much milder
temperatures during the winter would have substantial consequences for
the organisms that live in the Bay and how this ecosystem works.
Species that are already stressed by high summer temperatures, such as
the eelgrass that provides important habitats in the lower Bay, may be
greatly reduced or eliminated. Milder winter temperatures are likely to
open the back door to invaders from warm temperate areas around the
world who hitchhike into the Bay in ships' ballast waters. With earlier
spring warming the critical timing of spawning of species such as
striped bass and blue crabs will adjust, potentially out of phase with
other processes, such as food production, that are critical to the
success of their young.\4\
\4\ Wood, R.J., D.F. Boesch, and V.S. Kennedy. 2002. Future
consequences of climate change for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and its
fisheries. American Fisheries Society Symposium 32:171-184.
Glick, R., A. Staudt, and D. Inkley. 2007. The Chesapeake Bay and
Global Warming: A Paradise Lost for Hunters, Anglers and Outdoor
Enthusiasts? National Wildlife Federation, Reston, VA.
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Mean annual water temperature at the Chesapeake Biological
Laboratory (mid-bay) and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science
\5\ Austin, H.M. 2002. Decadal oscillations and regime shifts, a
characterization of the Chesapeake Bay marine climate. American
Fisheries Society Symposium, 32:155-170.
Secor, D.H. and R.L. Wingate. In review. A 69 year record of
warming in the Chesapeake Bay. Fisheries.
The Chesapeake Bay region is one of the areas of the country most
sensitive to the effects of sea-level rise because of its 8,000 miles
of shoreline and extensive, low lying areas, particularly on the
Eastern Shore.\6\ Sea level has been rising in the Bay for a long time,
initially as a result of the melting of glaciers at the end of the last
ice age. In fact the Bay itself is a series of drowned river valleys,
inundated by the rise in the ocean levels of over 300 feet 7,000 to
12,000 years ago. Sea level has been rather stable in recent centuries,
however, rising only slowly as a result of the sinking of the land--a
slow subsidence of the Earth's crust that had bulged upward under the
weight of glaciers to the north. Still this has been enough to cause
the abandonment and, in some cases, disappearance of several islands
that had human habitation in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
\6\ Titus, J.G. and C. Richman. 2001. Maps of lands vulnerable to
sea level rise: Modeled elevations along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf
coasts. Climate Research 18:205-228.
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During the 20th century the Bay level rose a little over one foot
relative to the land over most areas of the Bay. Accurate tide gauge
records at six locations in the Bay showed this relative sea-level rise
to range from 2.7 mm per year in Washington, DC to 4.5 mm per year in
Hampton Roads, Virginia,\7\ with the difference apparently related to
differences in subsidence rates. With the rise in the surface of the
ocean during the 20th century averaging 1.7 mm per year,\8\ subsidence
rates vary from 1.0 to 2.9 mm per year and, because this is a slow
geological process, are expected to remain constant for the foreseeable
future. Satellite altimeter measurements suggest that globally the
level of the ocean was rising faster, as much as 3.1 mm per year,
during the period 1993 to 2003 than earlier in the century8;
although this effect is not yet clearly evident in the Chesapeake Bay
tide gauge representation of relative sea level because of variation
due to winds and other factors.
\7\ Zervas, C. 2001. Sea Level Variations of the United States,
1854-1999. NOAA Technical Report NOS CO-OPS 36. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD.
\8\ Solomon, S., D. Qin, and M. Manning. 2007. Contribution of
Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report. Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, Geneva.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected average
global rise in sea level through the 21st century for different
greenhouse gas emission scenarios.8 If one adds to their
rates the average regional subsidence rates for the Chesapeake Bay of
1.8 mm per year, the projections equate to relative sea level rises by
the 2090-2100 time period of 0.37 to 0.57 meter (1.2 to 1.8 feet) with
aggressive reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and 0.44 to 0.73 meter
(1.4 to 2.5 feet) if emissions continue to grow. However, there are
several reasons to believe that these estimates might be too low.
First, as mentioned earlier, satellite evidence indicates that the rise
of the global ocean level during 1993-2003 was already much faster than
the low emissions estimate. Secondly, the IPCC projections excluded
acceleration of the melting of polar ice sheets and evidence is
mounting that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet has accelerated.
Recently published empirical projections suggest an increase in ocean
levels of between 0.5 and 1.3 m,\9\ which with regional subsidence
would equate to 0.69 to 1.38 meters (2.1 to 4.8 feet) by century's end.
\9\ Rahmstorf, S. 2007. A semi-empirical approach to projecting
future sea-level rise. Science 315:368-370.
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While there remains uncertainty, not only as related to behavior of
the climate, but also of the level of accumulated greenhouse gases, it
appears likely that relative sea level in the Chesapeake Bay will rise
twice as much during this century than it did in the previous century
and could rise three or more times as much. This rise would probably be
measured in several feet, rather than the catastrophic sea level rise
of 20 feet or more associated with the complete melting of Greenland as
depicted in some popular animations. Still, it is important to keep in
mind that sea level would not simply reach a plateau in 2100 but will
continue to rise under almost any emission assumption. Furthermore, a
rise in Bay water level of just a foot or two will place into jeopardy
extensive intertidal wetlands, many of which are already showing
deterioration due to inundation,\10\ and additional low lying islands.
Sea level rise will have profound, but poorly understood effects on the
Bay itself. For example, the deepening of the Bay will allow saline
ocean water to extend farther up the estuary. Already, this effect
seems to be evident in the slight increase in salinity when one factors
out the effects of freshwater inflow variations and hydrodynamic models
project shifts in salinity significant enough to allow oyster diseases
to penetrate deeper into the estuary.\11\
\10\ Larson, C., I. Clark, G. Gunterspergen, D. Cahoon, V. Caruso,
C. Hupp, and T. Yanosky. 2004. The Blackwater NWR Inundation Model.
Rising Sea Level on a Low-lying Coast: Land Use Planning for Wetlands.
U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 04-1302 http://pubs.usgs.gov/
\11\ Hilton, T.W., R.G. Najjar, L. Zhong, and M. Li. In review. Is
there a signal of sea-level rise in Chesapeake Bay salinity? Journal of
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But the effects will be felt in the built environment as well, as
roads, utilities, sewerage and drainage systems are threatened with
inundation and erosion of developed shorelines and saltwater intrusion
into aquifers progress, not only on the Eastern Shore and the imperiled
communities on Smith and Tangier Islands, but also in part of the
cities of Hampton Roads, Baltimore, Annapolis, Alexandria and the
Nation's Capital itself.
These effects will be experienced not just through the slow
encroachment of mean sea level but during the extremes, when storm
surges build on top of the inexorably slowly rising Bay. For example,
in 2003 Hurricane Isabel resulted in storm surges up to 9 feet,
typically exceeding the maximum recorded levels of a 1933 hurricane,
which had a very similar trajectory and intensity, by about one
foot.\12\ This is the approximate increase in relative sea level over
that 70 year interlude. Add to this the potential for increased
frequency and intensity of tropical cyclones as result of warmer ocean
waters and there emerges the considerable likelihood of significantly
increased vulnerability of the Chesapeake Bay's coastal communities and
environments as a result of global climate change.
\12\Boicourt, W.C. 2003. Physical response of Chesapeake Bay to
hurricanes moving to the wrong side: Refining the forecasts. In K.G.
Sellner and N. Fisher (eds.), Hurricane Isabel in Perspective.
Chesapeake Research Consortium, Edgewater, MD.
what happens on land matters
As a large, but shallow estuary with limited exchange with the
ocean, the Chesapeake Bay is particularly affected by what drains into
it from its 64,000 square mile watershed. Greatly increased inputs of
sediments and nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients as a result of land
uses, agricultural inputs and atmospheric fallout are the root cause of
the deterioration of the Bay during the latter half of the 20th
century. And, reducing those nutrient and sediment inputs are the main
focus of the Chesapeake Bay restoration program.
Climate change could affect the runoff of nutrients and sediments
in a number of ways that interact, making prediction of future
conditions somewhat difficult. The wild card is how climate change will
affect precipitation and ultimately river runoff. Model projections for
precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic region do not have the same level of
consistency as those for temperature. However, there is considerable
agreement for increased precipitation during the winter and spring.\13\
This would likely mean the flushing out of more nutrients through river
flow to the Bay during the critical January-May time period,
exacerbating water quality problems in the Bay, particularly summertime
oxygen depletion of the deep waters of the Bay or the so-called ``dead
zone.'' \14\ On the other hand, models have less agreement in summer
precipitation, with most predicting little or no overall increase but
with most rain delivered during intense events that punctuate dry
spells. Keeping in mind that warmer temperatures mean more evaporation
and plant transpiration this would suggest significantly less river
discharge during the summer, which could further allow the salt-water
intrusion into the Bay discussed in the context of sea-level rise.
Compounding these physical phenomena are the human responses,
particularly in agriculture, to changing energy costs, temperature,
soil moisture and water availability. These, as well as the still
needed pollution abatement practices, will affect the inputs of
nutrients in the first place.
\13\ Hayhoe, K., C.P. Wake, T.G. Huntington, L. Luo, M.D. Schwartz,
J. Sheffield, E. Wood, B. Anderson, J. Bradbury, A. DeGaetano, T.J.
Troy, and D. Wolfe. 2007. Past and future changes in climate and
hydrological indicators in the US Northeast. Climate Dynamics 28:381-
\14\ Bachelet, D., D.F. Boesch, K.L. Ebi, G.A. Meehl, and R.R.
Twilley. 2007. Regional Impacts of Climate Change in the United States:
Four Case Studies. Pew Center for Global Climate Change, Alexandria,
restoring the chesapeake
Substantial public investments have been made and individual
actions taken to restore the Chesapeake Bay. Almost $3.7 billion has
been spent on that effort between 1995 and 2004\15\ and it has been
estimated that an additional $15 billion will be required to achieve
the water quality objectives of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement.\16\
While some of the changes in the regional climate that are anticipated
over the remaining century might actually result in improvements in
environmental quality, the tally sheet of reasonable expectations is
heavily tilted toward the detrimental in terms of ecosystem recovery.
For example, higher winter-spring runoff will require even more efforts
to control non-point source pollution in order to receive the same
water quality goal for the Bay. The loss of tidal wetlands will reduce
their natural cleansing capabilities, and so on.
\15\ Government Accountability Office. 2006. Chesapeake Bay
Program: Improved Strategies Needed to Better Guide Restoration
Efforts. GAO-06-614T. Government Accountability Office, Washington, DC.
\16\ Chesapeake Bay Watershed Blue Ribbon Finance Panel. 2004.
Saving a National Treasure: Financing the Cleanup of the Chesapeake
Bay. Chesapeake Bay Program, Annapolis, MD.
There are two corollary implications for Bay restoration. First,
the impacts of climate change must be factored into restoration goals
and actions. No longer should this be put off as too hypothetical, too
political or too daunting. Second, mitigating the causes of climate
change to avoid dangerous extreme changes should become part of the Bay
seeking common solutions
Integrating climate change mitigation and adaptation with
Chesapeake Bay restoration requires the search for common solutions. If
considered with an open mind, there are opportunities and savings
rather than additional costs to be realized. Governor Martin O'Malley
has created the Maryland Commission on Climate Change to recommend a
Plan of Action for mitigating and adapting to climate change.\17\ The
Commission has discovered that as practical strategies to reduce the
emissions of greenhouse gases are developed in other states there are
significant net economic benefits, although initial investments are
usually required to achieve them. Energy conservation and emphasizing
transportation options that get many of the single-occupancy vehicles
off the roads favor smart growth and reduce impacts to the Bay. At the
same time, we need to mitigate if not avoid apparent solutions to the
fossil fuel dependence that result in additional degradation of the
Bay. In that vein, the rapid increase in growing corn, which has high
fertilizer requirements and concomitant nutrient losses, to produce
ethanol is particularly troublesome,\18\ particularly when, on careful
inspection, this seems to produce few if any net reductions in
greenhouse gas emissions.
\17\ For information on the activities of the Maryland Commission
on Climate Change see http://www.mde.state.md.us/air/mccc/
\18\ Chesapeake Bay Commission. 2007. Biofuels and the Bay: Getting
It Right To Benefit Farms, Forests and the Chesapeake Bay. Chesapeake
Bay Commission, Annapolis, MD.
sound scientific guidance
To accomplish this integrated approach to Bay restoration and
climate change mitigation and adaptation will require innovative and
rigorous science to understand both the synergistic as well as the
antagonistic interconnections. While the Chesapeake Bay has a robust
scientific community actively engaged in supporting Bay restoration,
there is a critical need to build capacity in research, monitoring and
assessment related to the consequences of regional climate change. This
is largely because the federal science agencies have not invested much
in this area. In a recently released review of the U.S. Climate Change
Science Program, the National Research Council\19\ concluded that:
\19\ National Research Council. 2007. Evaluating Progress of the
U.S. Climate ChangeScience Program: Methods and Preliminary Results.
National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
Discovery science and understanding of the climate system
are proceeding well, but use of that knowledge to support decision
making and to manage risks and opportunities of climate change is
Progress in understanding and predicting climate change
has improved more at global, continental, and ocean basin scales than
at regional and local scales.
Our understanding of the impact of climate changes on
human well-being and vulnerabilities is much less developed than our
understanding of the natural climate system.
The Chesapeake Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory
Committee3 has prepared a review and agenda to support the
practical understanding of regional climate change that could serve as
a blueprint for the needed federal investments. However, we are not in
this predicament alone--other regions of the country face similarly
daunting challenges in assessing and responding to their climate
As I mentioned at the beginning, over seven years ago I contributed
to the U.S. National Assessment of Climate Variability and Change,
performed under Congressional mandate. Unfortunately, we have lost much
the intervening time--a critical period of time when one considers the
pace of climate change and the immediacy of decisions that will be
required--when informed regional assessments and response strategies
could have been developed. I urge Congress to make up for this lost
time by authorizing and supporting the regional studies of regional
climate dynamics and ecosystem and social responses that are needed to
manage our future wisely.
Responses by Donald F. Boesch to Additional Questions
from Senator Cardin
Question 1. What do you think the essential elements of a science
program for the Chesapeake Bay relative to climate change should be?
Response. As summarized during the hearing by Dr. Christopher Pyke,
the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the Chesapeake Bay
Program is near completion of a report Climate Change Research and the
Chesapeake Bay that discusses the status of research in four research
themes: physical drivers of change, environmental monitoring, impacts
on restoration strategies, and adaptive strategies. The STAC report
notes that, in particular, there is a low level of attention to the
impacts on restoration strategies and to adaptive strategies. I would
agree that a Chesapeake Bay science program relative to climate change
should have an essential guiding focus on how climate change will
affect our efforts to restore the Bay and on informing the policies and
actions for adapting to the inevitable change we will experience in the
21st century. Given that, there are several questions that seem to me
to be critically important at the start:
(a) How will likely changes in precipitation and evapotranspiration
interact with projected land use changes to affect the flow of fresh
water, nutrients and sediments into the Chesapeake estuary?
(b) How will likely sea-level rise and the resulting deepening of
the Bay affect circulation, the distribution of salinity, groundwater
intrusion, stratification, hypoxia, and sedimentation?
(c) How will tidal wetlands and shorelines respond to likely
acceleration in sea-level rise and what are the most effective measures
that can be taken to avoid or minimize negative impacts to natural
environments and human infrastructure?
(d) How will likely increases in temperature and its seasonal
timing affect ecologically and economically organisms, potential
invasive species and key biogeochemical processes in the Bay?
(e) To what degree will increased CO2 concentrations in
the atmosphere result in acidification of Bay waters and what will be
the ecological consequences of such changes?
Question 2. Can you take a moment to explain how you would see an
`adaptive management' program working the Chesapeake region as we deal
with the evolving effects of global warming?
Response. More effective application of adaptive management is
required for Chesapeake Bay restoration in order to cross-compare model
projections on which restoration measures are based with real-world,
observed outcomes. This would allow more rigorous evaluation of the
effectiveness of restoration efforts, appropriate redirection and
redesign, and ultimately much greater efficiencies. This is essentially
the point made in the Government Accountability Office's 2005 report
Chesapeake Bay Program: Improved Strategies are Needed to Better
Access, Report, and Manage Restoration Progress. (GAO 06-96). Adaptive
management is also useful when changes in environmental and
socioeconomic conditions occur and, thus, will be applicable in our
efforts to adapt to climate change. For example, as we prepare for
likely sea-level rise and river discharges over the planning horizon
for Chesapeake Bay restoration, it is prudent to forecast how these
changing conditions are likely to affect the attainment of restoration
goals and either adjust the goals or measures (e.g. nutrient loading
reductions) need to achieve them. Monitoring feeds into this iterative
process not only realistic assessment of goal attainment but also
information about the changing environment.
What adaptive management cannot do is manage global warming. That
is, we cannot monitor sea level, for example, until we observe a
substantial acceleration in its rise and then decide to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions. The residence times of greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere are too long and the responses in Earth's climate
systems are too slow for that. Rather, our mitigation strategies must
be anticipatory, precautionary and robust.
Question 3. In your experience around the nation, especially in
Louisiana and other coastal areas, are they facing the same challenges?
Are actions we are discussing important just to the Chesapeake, or are
they equally applicable around the country?
Response. Coastal regions are among the most sensitive areas of the
world to climate change as they are directly affected by sea-level rise
but also are impacted by changes in the frequency and intensity of
cyclones and other storms, temperature, and freshwater inflows. No
coastal regions on Earth are immune to these effects and some effects,
such as in coastal regions of the Arctic that are rapidly eroding due
increased wave attack as sea-ice cover is reduced, are already quite
dramatic. Coastal regions will vary to some degree in their
susceptibility to climate change--compare steep, rocky shorelines to
the low-relief coastal environments of Maryland's Eastern Shore of
Louisiana, for example. And, coastal ecosystems may be more or less
vulnerable to other climate related changes--river flow or temperature,
for example. Actions taken to mitigate the increase in greenhouse gases
in the atmosphere and thus reduce global warming are of consequence to
all coastal regions of the country. However, the steps taken to adapt
to inevitable changes will vary considerably depending on the important
dynamics, drivers, and vulnerabilities of the region. One might think,
for example, that a region like coastal Louisiana with its high rates
of land subsidence, already degraded wetlands, and exposure to
hurricanes may have few adaptation options. But, that region has the
substantial capacity of Mississippi River sediments that could be
managed to offset relative sea-level rise that other regions do not.
Question 4. Can you explain to the Committee the relationship you
see between the global scientific efforts to understand and deal with
global warming and the more regional understanding that is needed for
areas like the Chesapeake? What is a reasonable scale, both
geographically and in time, for us to understand and respond to climate
Response. Global climate change is being effected by processes in
the atmosphere and the ocean that are global in scale, thus scientists
have worked to develop global models of geophysical processes that help
explain the changes that have been observed and project the changes
that we are likely to experience based on current understanding. These
models are the basis of the climate change projections made by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and conclusions about
the reduction in emissions needed to stabilize greenhouse gas
concentrations and thus the degree of climate change. These models are
necessarily of global scope and thus, for practical reasons, do not
resolve much detail at the scale of the Chesapeake Bay, its watershed,
or the Mid-Atlantic region, for that matter, and consequently only
fairly coarse regional projections are provided in the IPCC report.
Furthermore, these models are unable to incorporate climatic dynamics
that might operate on such region, as opposed to global scales.
Furthermore, additional scientific efforts are required to interpret
the consequences of the climate changes on regional ecosystems,
resources and socioeconomic conditions.
As the National Research Council (NRC) recently pointed out in its
report Evaluating Progress of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program:
Methods and Preliminary Results, the U.S. Climate Change Science
Program (CCSP) has done a very good job at keeping the U.S. at the
leading edge of discovery science and understanding of the Earth's
climate system at global, continental and ocean basin scales, but has
been much less effective in predicting climate change at regional and
local scales. Furthermore, the NRC found that the CCSP has lagged in
advancing the use of that knowledge to support decision making and to
manage risks and opportunities of climate change. This is beyond
regretable because the congressionally mandated U.S. National
Assessment completed in 2001 (Climate Change Impacts in the United
States: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change)
included very useful regional assessments that provide a solid basis
for the science needed to improve regional understanding. In my
opinion, the delay by the Federal government over the last six years in
accepting the reality of global climate change resulted in avoiding the
kinds of scientific investments needed to deal with the consequences of
climate change in places where we live. I strongly support the NRC's
recommendations that such investments are now urgently needed.
The space and time scales that must be addressed for understanding
and response are in an important sense nested. Improving understanding
at the regional scale, say on the scale of the Chesapeake Bay and its
watershed, is a weak link at this time. However, this understanding
will depend on continued development of our skill in making projections
on a global scale. Furthermore, understanding and response will also be
required on a very local scale, for example judging how sea-level rise
and storm surges will affect vulnerability in downtown Baltimore. In
the same vein, we need to develop the understanding to make more
confident projections over this century, the principal time scale that
the IPCC and U.S. National Assessment addressed, but we also need to
understand the longer term changes that will occur as a result of
actions during this period (e.g. sea level will continue to rise over
hundreds of years as a result of the amount of 21st century warming
that occurs). And, at the same time we will need to better understand
whether anomalies that we see in one or a few years--this year's
drought in the southeast or the 2005 hurricane season--are
manifestations of climate change or just natural variability.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Doctor.
At this point, before we hear from Dr. Avery and the rest
of the panelists, I am going to hand the gavel over to Senator
Cardin because I have an urgent meeting. I am hoping to get
back, but if I don't get back, just understand that you have an
ally in this California Senator, and I am sure in the other
California Senator as well. We share a common set of values
based around our water resources, and we face similar
challenges. You know that.
I just wanted to ask unanimous consent to place in the
record an article that talks about what is happening in
Greenland. Senator Inhofe and I have this go-around every time
we have one of these hearings. And so I just wanted to make
sure in the record goes this article, which points out that
over the past 20 years the air temperature in southeast
Greenland has risen by 3 C. That is 6 F.
As we all know, because the three of us went, you could
actually see the ice move if you stay in one place. Every hour
you just see the ice move and these magnificent icebergs
floating in the Atlantic. It is one of the most awesome sights
that I have ever seen. I think I speak for all of us. Knowing
that the average age of this ice is 9,000 years, and it is
going to disappear in 1 year from the time it breaks off into
So it is quite an awesome sight, and I recommend that
anybody interested in the subject make that trip. It is very
much worthwhile. So we will place that in the record, without
[The referenced document follows on page 107.]
Senator Boxer. Again, I want to say to Senator Mikulski,
you have added immeasurably to our discussion today, and we are
partners in this whole fight against global warming. I am just
so honored that you spent your time with us, given all of the
requirements on your time.
Senator Cardin, the gavel is yours.
Senator Cardin [Presiding]. Senator Boxer, we thank you for
making this hearing possible. We think it is very important for
our Country to understand the practical effects of global
warming to the Chesapeake Bay region. You have given us the
opportunity to have this hearing. Senator Mikulski and Senator
Warner and I all thank you for making that possible.
Senator Mikulski. Senator Boxer, I, too, want to echo my
support because by focusing on the Chesapeake Bay, we want to
bring home the impact of global warming on our own people.
Number one, that it has real consequences to people, as you are
going to hear about a waterman's family, and particularly to
our economy and to our national security, as Senator Warner has
So we thank you and I thank you for your courtesy in having
me. We hope to see our science bill in Commerce, Justice,
Science on the floor as part of the October group, and we look
forward to your participation to show how important what we do
is. Thank you.
Senator Boxer. You can count on my support.
Senator Cardin. Thank you.
We will now hear from Dennis Avery. He is Senior Fellow,
Hudson Institute; Director, Center for Global Food Issues.
STATEMENT OF DENNIS T. AVERY, SENIOR FELLOW, HUDSON INSTITUTE;
DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR GLOBAL FOOD ISSUES
Mr. Avery. Thank you, Senator. I am also the coauthor of a
new book entitled ``Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500
Years.'' The book is about the 1,500 year climate cycle that
was discovered in 1984 in the Greenland ice cap ice cores by
two gentleman named Dansgaard and Oeschger.
Over the last 11,000 years of the planet's history, the
1,500 cycle has dominated our temperatures. The Vostok ice core
in the Antarctic indicates nearly 600 of these cycles in the
last million years. Each one raised the temperatures in the Bay
region by one to 3 C above the mean for centuries at a time,
and then dropped the Bay region temperatures 1 to 3 degrees
below the mean for centuries more. The flora and the fauna
We may not like the stress. We may not like the change, but
it has been with us. By the way, Dansgaard and Oeschger shared
the Tyler Prize, the environmental Nobel, in 1996, but today
nobody wants to discuss the cycle they found, almost no one.
Thankfully, Senator Mikulski's people have sponsored Tom
Cronin of the U.S. Geological Survey, who studied the magnesium
and calcium ratios in the Bay sediments. He found temperature
shifts of 2 to 4 C associated with the Little Ice Age, the
Medieval Warming, the Dark Ages, the Roman Warming, and
presumably would have found them in previous years if the Bay
had been alive that long.
Deborah Willard, also of the USGS, found a 1,429 year cycle
in the abundance of the Bay's pine trees, associated with
winter temperature declines of as much as 2 C. She also found
very long drought periods near the Bay during both the Roman
Warming and the Medieval Warming. Again, we may not like these
changes, but whatever we do on energy policy is unlikely to
trump the sun.
The temperatures of the modern warming are well within the
parameters of past natural warming cycles. Our temperatures
have increased about .7 degrees since 1850. About five tenths
of that occurred before 1940, and thus much before much human-
emitted CO2. Our net warming since 1940 is two-
tenths of a degree Celsius, and we have had no warming at all
A warming of .1 degrees over 65 years is not much,
especially while the atmosphere has been becoming increasingly
saturated with atmospheric CO2. The only place we
see radical warming is in the unverified computer models whose
early predictions have already proven inaccurate. Nor will sea
levels rise much. Higher temperatures evaporate more ocean
water, but they also drop more snow to become more ice on
Greenland and the Antarctic.
Neils Reeh of the University of Denmark reports a broad
consensus among sea level experts that another degree of
warming, which would more than double the warming we have had
in the last 150 years, would melt enough Greenland ice to raise
sea levels three tenths to seven tenths of a millimeter per
year. At the same time, it would add enough Antarctic ice to
subtract two tenths to seven tenths of a millimeter of sea
level per year, leaving us with very little sea level change.
The 6 inches per century that we have had in the last 400 or
500 years may be a good guess for the future. We have seen no
acceleration since 1850.
No wild species has been found anywhere in the world to
have gone extinct because of the higher temperatures. Instead,
the tree and plant species, the birds, butterflies, crickets
and mammals have been expanding their interlocking ranges,
creating more biodiversity per acre than the planet has seen
for 500 years. The birds, fish, and mammals of the Chesapeake
Region have quietly adapted to the temperature and rainfall
changes associated with the cycle. Again, they may not be the
changes we would prefer, but I seriously question our ability
to stop them.
Fossil pollen shows nine complete reorganizations of North
America's trees and plants during the past 14,000 years. That
is a cycle of 1,650 years. The number of pine trees varies with
the cold. The distribution of the fish species changes with the
cold. The one thing I can see that we might impact at this
moment is the distribution of corn plants on the Eastern Shore
and Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The biofuels program
is greatly intensifying corn production and may be intensifying
pollution problems in the Bay as a result. That is one thing
that we could rein in, even though we can't control the sun.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Avery follows:]
Statement of Dennis T. Avery, Hudson Institute, Director, Center for
Global Food Issues
Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony on a vital
no human impact on chesapeake temperatures?
The first point I must make is that we cannot document any
significant current impact from man-made warming on the Chesapeake Bay.
Nor are we likely to do so in the future. A number of recent studies
have found incontrovertible evidence of a long, moderate natural global
climate cycle--which has periodically raised the temperatures of the
Chesapeake to higher levels than today, and for extended periods. Quite
simply, the Bay has been through higher temperatures before, and will
be again. The flora and fauna have also been through these warmer
periods, and adapted. That is fortunate, because the natural climate
cycle is apparently driven by the sun, and the warmings are
Previous Bay warmings include the Medieval Warming (950-1300), the
Roman Warming (200 BC-600 AD), and at least two earlier Holocene
Warmings since the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago, that were regarded by
paleontologists as warmer than today by several degrees C.\1\
\1\ Nasif Nahle, (2007) ``Warmer than current periods in the
Holocene epoch,'' Biology Cabinet, biocab.org/Holocene.html.,.
These natural warmings, and the coolings interspersed with them,
are called Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. The cycles are named after their
discoverers, Willi Dansgaard of Denmark and Hans Oeschger of
Switzerland, who found them when they brought up the world's first long
ice cores from the Greenland ice cap in 1983, the Greenland ice cores
revealed the 1,500-year cycles for the first time, embedded in 250,000
years of Greenland ice history. (Oxygen isotopes in the ice layers
documented the air temperatures that existed when each layer was laid
down.)\2\ The cycles had been too long, and too moderate, to be
discerned by peoples lacking thermometers and written records.
\2\ W. Dansgaard, et al, (1984), ``North Atlantic Climatic
Oscillations Reveled by Deep Greenland Ice Cores,'' in Climate
Processes and Climate Sensitivity, F.E. Hansen, ed., Geophysical
Monograph 29, 28-98, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C.
Since the 1980s, the evidence of these cycles has also been found
in a 900,000-year Antarctic ice core; in the sediments of at least six
oceans and hundreds of lakes; in cave stalagmites on every continent
plus New Zealand; in ancient documents in Europe and Asia; in the long-
term records of Nile floods; and in archeological remains, which show
farms and primitive villages simultaneously moved up the slopes of the
Alps and Andes during the warmings, and back down during the coolings.
Fossil pollen shows nine complete reorganizations of North
America's trees and plants during the past 14,000 years, in concert
with the temperature cycling. In Ontario, this means that beech trees
dominated the forests during the Medieval Warming, giving way to more
oak trees as the Little Ice Age set in, and finally yielding to more
pine trees as the cold intensified. Today, the oak trees are coming
back and the beech trees are waiting their next turn.
Both seabed sediments and ice cores show the Dansgaard-Oeschger
cycles extending back at least 1 million years, and dominating the
earth's temperatures during the last 11,000 years. Incidentally,
Dansgaard and Oeschger shared the 1996 Tyler Prize (the ``environmental
Nobel'') with Claude Lorius, leader of the Antarctic team that brought
up the Vostok ice core, so the cycle evidence is well-known to the
I have co-written a new book, with climate expert Fred Singer,
titled Unstoppbable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. It cites peer-
reviewed studies, authored and co-authored by more than 500 scientists
and published in leading scientific journals, which (1) found evidence
of the natural cycle, (2) linked it to the sun's variations, or (3)
found some other serious flaw in the current global warming alarmism,
such as the loss of 1 million wild species or radically increased human
deaths. The researchers' scientific specialties range from tree rings,
lichens and marine fossils to public health and satellite imagry. There
are many more such studies which the book did not cite, and we plan to
identify more of them and their authors in the near future.
The Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles are moderate above all. They have
typically warmed the earth by 1-2 C above the long-term average, and
then dropped it by 1-2 degrees below the long-term average at the
latitude of Washington and the Chesapeake. Arctic temperatures vary
more widely, which may or may not stress the polar bears but seems
inevitable. The shifts from warm to cool and back are often abrupt,
gaining half their total change within a few decades. Near the equator,
temperatures change little, but rainfall patterns change sharply, as
the tropical rain belts shift north and south by hundreds of miles.
This shift in the rain belts has produced mega-droughts in California
and very long droughts in the Chesapeake region.
All of the current global warming evidence today is consistent with
our Modern Warming being a natural rebound from the Little Ice Age. Our
total warming since 1850 is apparently just 0.7 C. The only place we
find dramatically dangerous man-made warming is in the projections of
the global computer models--which have been verified with each other,
but not with the real world. The models have consistently overestimated
the Greenhouse effect, and the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change has been slowly and reluctantly reducing its warming forecasts
This moderate climate cycle has raised the Chesapeake's
temperatures higher than today as recently as 5,000 years ago. Thus, we
can hardly call today's temperatures an ``unprecedented'' or
``unnatural'' threat to wild species. Rather, today's temperatures
should be regarded as ``within the normal range'' of the ecosystem, and
the responses of the Bay's plants and animals as ``normal''
recent studies of the bay's long-term temperature history
In 2003, T.M. Cronin and his research team used the magnesium/
calcium ratios in Chesapeake Bay sediment cores to document rapid
temperature shifts--2-4 C within 100 years--in past Chesapeake Bay
temperatures.\3\ These big shifts occurred:
\3\ T.M. Cronin, et al., (2003), ``Medieval Warm Period, Little Ice
Age and 20th Century temperature variability from Chesapeake Bay,''
Global and Planetary Change 36: 17-29.
(a) 150 years ago in 1850 AD
(b) 400 years ago in 1600 AD
(c) 650 years ago in1350 AD
(d) 950 years ago in 1050 AD
(e) 1600 years ago in 400 AD and
(f) 2100 years ago in 100 BC.
The big, sudden temperature changes reflect the Roman Warming, the
Dark Ages, the Medieval Warming and the Little Ice Age. Nothing would
be more ``natural'' than the Little Ice Age being followed by another
Cronin and his colleagues noted that the temperatures of the 20th
century were 2-3 C higher than those in the previous 2000 years.
However, they did not comment on the Holocene warmings, which other
authors have found to be as much as 6 degrees warmer than any of the
more recent cycles in the Arctic (with somewhat lesser temperature
elevations at lower latitudes).
Debra Willard of the U.S. Geological Survey and a research team in
2005 used pollen from Bay seabed sediments to reconstruct the Bay's
temperature history for the past 10,000 years.\4\ Her team identified a
1429-year cycle in the abundance of the Bay's pine trees, associated
with winter temperature declines of up to 2 C. The most recent of
these cycles correlates with the Little Ice Age. This is consistent
with the findings of the Cronin team.
\4\ D.A. Willard, et al., (2005), ``Impact of millennial-scale
Holocene climate variability on eastern North American terrestrial
ecosystems: pollen-based climatic reconstruction,'' Global and
Planetary Change 47:17-35.
Willard and her authors note that the climate cycle fits well with
a similar cycle in the ``solar isotopes'' (carbon14 in trees
and beryllium10 in ice). The solar isotope cycle, in turn,
correlates closely with temperature proxy cycles found in Greenland ice
by Dansgaard in 1984 and by Colombia University's Gerard Bond in North
Atlantic ice-rafted glacial debris in 2001. All are thus tied to
cyclical changes in solar activity.
In 2003, Dr. Willard had used the fossils of tiny marine organisms
and the pollen from long-dead trees to construct a record of rainfall
in the Chesapeake region for the last 2300 years. The authors found
very long dry periods (1) during the Roman Warming, from 200 BC to 300
AD, and (2) during the Medieval Warming, from 800 AD to 1200 AD.\5\
These droughts were due to the north-south movement of the tropical
rain belts as part of the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycling.
\5\ Willard, et al., (2003), Late Holocene climate and ecosystem
history from Chesapeake Bay sediment cores, USA,'' The Holocene 13:
The Willard study also found decade-long dry periods during the
Little Ice Age, between 1320-1400 and 1525-1650. One of these may have
eliminated the ``lost'' British colony established on North Carolina's
Roanoke Island in 1587, during the most extreme growing-season drought
in 800 years. The Jamestown colony also had bad weather luck, arriving
in 1607, during the driest 7-year period in 770 years.
All of these Chesapeake droughts seemed to reflect much more
serious and simultaneous droughts in the Southwestern U.S., including
southern California. California's Medieval-Warming droughts have been
well-publicized by Scott Stine of California State University.
the ``new math'' of global warming
The temperatures of the Modern Warming are well within the
parameters of past natural warmings and coolings. The earth has
probably warmed about 0.7 C since 1850, but about 0.5 C of the
warming occurred before 1940, before significant human emissions of
CO2. The pre-1940 warming can, therefore, be credited to the
The net warming since 1940 is a tiny 0.2 degrees, over more than 60
years, during which the atmosphere has become increasingly saturated
with CO2. (After saturation, no more CO2 be
retained in the air around us or have a Greenhouse impact.) Logic would
indicate that human emissions can be credited for half of that warming
or .1 degree. It is difficult to assign any significant climate change
in the Chesapeake to human-emitted fossil fuels.
We have had no additional warming since 1998, though CO2
levels in the atmosphere have continued to soar. 1934 is still the
warmest year of the last century, followed closely by 1998 and 1921,
which emphasizes how moderate our warming has been. The solar index has
recently turned sharply downward and the temperatures are likely to
follow. None of this guarantees that there will be no further warming,
but indicates further warming is likely to be moderate.
If human emissions can logically claim only 0.1 degree of warming
over 65 years, then the climate models are claiming too high a
Greenhouse sensitivity for the atmosphere. There is certainly no
published evidence to support the current high numbers. The climate has
never warmed anywhere near as much as the IPCC's original forecasts,
even with the documented assistance of the current Dansgaard-Oeschger
It is important to note that no wild species extinction has yet
been tied to the rise in earth temperatures since 1850. A claim was
made that the Golden Toad, which lived in a Costa Rican cloud forest,
went extinct due to higher sea surface temperatures. However, the loss
of the Golden Toad has now been blamed on the clearing of the once-
forested mountainsides below its cloud forest home, which altered the
cloud-forest moisture conditions.
Biologist Chris Thomas of Great Britain has claimed that the world
would lose more than a million wild species due to the projected speed
and scope of modern global warming, but this claim is literally
In the first place, the record of past Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles
indicates that they are typically abrupt. Yet most of our wild species
``body types'' date back about 600 million years and are still going
In the second place, the shifts in ecosystems are not likely to be
abrupt. Most trees and plants are cold-limited but they are not heat-
limited. Stand replacement of trees must await fires or disease
outbreaks to clear a path for the invading species to take over. Thus,
the current warming is encouraging the vegetation to gradually expand
ranges, and the associated fauna have the same opportunity. Study after
study, around the world, shows more biodiversity in our forests and
wild meadows today than have resided in them for centuries.\6\
\6\ N.K. Johnson, (1994), ``Pioneering and Natural Expansion of
Breeding Distributions in Western North American Birds,'' Studies in
Avian Biology 15: 24-44. See also E. Pollard et al., (1995),
``Population Trends of Common British Butterflies at Monitored Sites,''
Journal of Applied ecology 32: 9-16.
Thirdly, Dr. Thomas himself has documented wild species'
adaptations to the warming. He has reported on butterflies colonizing
``new types of habitat'' during the warming, and bush crickets
producing more offspring with longer wings, the better to reach new
territories.\7\ We have already seen dramatic evolutions of wild
species, including tolerance for massive quantities of cadmium by
mudworms in the Hudson River near a battery factory, and insects
quickly developing tolerance for synthetic pesticides.
\7\ Chris Thomas, et al. (2001) ``Ecological and Evolutionary
Processes at Expanding Range Margins,'' Nature 411: 577-81. Have the
species adapted before? They must have. Does the polar bear have
adaptation strategies too? That also seems certain. Even though the
polar bear is a relatively recent offshoot of the grizzly bear, it goes
back some 200,000 years.
not much sea level rise
Much has been made of the potential of the current warming to melt
the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Caps, dramatically raising sea levels.
That would certainly impact the Chesapeake. However, it takes 80 times
as much heat to melt an ice cube as it does to raise the temperature of
the water from that ice cube 1 degree. Recently, we have seen estimates
that the Arctic ice has been radically reduced in extent--but the
extent of Antarctic ice has simultaneously risen to amazing levels.
Warmer temperatures melt more glacier ice, but they also evaporate
more water from the oceans, much of which falls again as snow on the
ice caps. More snow becomes more ice, and the Antarctic is currently
adding billions of tons of ice per year, mostly on the ultra-cold East
Antarctic Ice Sheet. This ice is too cold to melt. It flows downhill
virtually in solid blocks, based on the slope of the underlying
mountains. It has been flowing at about the same rate for 10,000 years,
and that rate has not accelerated during our warming. It would take
another 7000 years to get rid of that ice at current rates, according
to John Stone of the University of Washington.\8\
\8\ J. Stone et al.,(2003), ``Holocene Deglaciation of Marie Byrd
Land, West Antarctica,'' Science 299: 99-102
Walter Munk of the Scripps Oceanographic Institute reports that
glacial melting due to higher 20th-century temperatures can account for
only four inches per century of sea level rise\9\ Neils Reeh of the
University of Denmark reports a ``broad consensus'' that another 1
degree of warming would increase the melting of Greenland's ice sheet
only enough to raise sea levels 0.3 to 0.77 inches--while the
additional ice in Antarctica would subtract 0.2 to 0.7 mm per year.\10\
\9\ W. Munk, ``Ocean Freshening, Sea Level Rising?'' Science 300
\10\ N. Reeh, ``Mass Balance of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Can Modern
Observations Methods Reduce the Uncertainty?'' Geografiska annaler 81A
the emerging dangers of grain-based ethanol
If humans have not significantly changed the Bay's temperatures,
they have certainly had other impacts on it. The Willard authors note
that European colonization had severe impacts on the watershed and
estuary. Forest clearance and farming altered estuarine water quality,
with the fossils indicating less dissolved oxygen and increased
turbidity. The Willard data also show another drop in the Bay's water
quality after 1950, when the fossils indicate water-quality changes
associated with increased urbanization, more hypoxia, and more
A new element of man-made danger now threatens the Bay for the
first time, and it is a direct result of our concern about burning
fossil fuels. The Federal government has adopted a mandate to produce
35 billion gallons of ethanol per year to help achieve ``energy
independence'' without increasing gasoline use. Unfortunately, America
has only corn with which to produce the ethanol, and corn yields only
about 50 gallons worth of gasoline per acre per year--against annual
gasoline demand of more than 134 billion gallons.
Ethanol's demand for corn has already doubled corn prices, and has
bid farming acres away from soybeans, wheat, and cotton. The whole
price structure for commodities and farmland has been wrenched upward,
causing street riots in Mexico over tortilla prices and China's
canceling of further expansion in its ethanol program due to food price
inflation. Food prices make up a full one-third of the Chinese cost of
The Center's analysis indicates that the current federal ethanol
mandate will soon drive corn to $4.50 per bushel, even in the absence
of any crop diseases or weather problems in the Corn Belt.
The commodity magazine that follows vegetable oil prices, Oil
World, recently stated, ``It is high time to realize that the world
community is approaching a food crisis in 2008 unless usage of
agricultural products for biofuels is curbed.''
World food demand is rising due to moderate population growth plus
rapid income gains. There is no more farmland to bring into production,
unless the Sierra Club and Greenpeace are prepared to endorse massive
forest-clearing in the American Midwest to support more corn ethanol.
Unfortunately, the U.S. might have to clear 50 million acres of forest
for enough corn ethanol to make much of a dent in its gasoline demand.
The President apparently wanted to foster ethanol from non-food
sources, but the enzymes to break down the cellulose in switchgrass,
corn stalks and wood chips are not yet available, and we do not know
when they might be. Corn ethanol is not an adequate substitute for
I recently toured parts of the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
I have never seen such intensive planting of crops. Next to a marina,
the owners of a mansion could no longer see the water, because they had
planted their front yard to corn! Ethanol plants are being planned for
the Eastern Shore that would lock in this intensive cropping pattern,
and even intensify it further. The USDA says America's corn ethanol
plants will need an extra 1 billion bushels of corn in 2008, and then
more and more corn in the years after that.
All to produce high-cost corn ethanol that will not protect the Bay
from higher temperatures but will certainly subject it to more soil
erosion and potential pollution.
I submit that corn ethanol is merely the first of a whole series of
``global warming'' decisions that could threaten ecological damage,
global food supplies and public health--without ``saving the planet.''
Responses by Dennis T. Avery to Additional Questions from Senator
Question 1. I would also like to insert into the record the
attached chart. It shows that the Bay's sea surface water temperatures
have fluctuated over the last 2000 years. Is this consistent with your
understanding of global sea surface temperatures?
Response. Yes, the attached chart represents the Bay's surface
water temperatures over the last 2000 years, as found in a study of the
Bay's bottom sediments over that period. The study was led by Dr.
Thomas Cronin of the U.S. Geological Survey, and published in Global
and Planetary Change, Vol. 36, pp. 17-29. The study shows that the
Bay's surface temperatures have fluctuated by several degrees Celsius,
in a rhythm of about 1,500 years, plus or minus 500 years. The Holocene
Warmings 6,000 years ago were particularly strong.
Question 2. What few people outside of academia understand is that
those who argue man-made emissions are causing global warming are using
computer models to predict the alleged global warming related
catastrophes. As noted by Dr. Art Robinson of the Oregon Institute of
Science and Medicine ``There is no scientific basis upon which to guess
that the rise will be less or will be more than this value. Such a long
extrapolation over two centuries is likely to be significantly in
error--but it is the only extrapolation that can be made with current
data. There may be no sea level rise at all. No one knows.''
Can you comment on the risks associated with these models and
basing future investment decisions on the models' conclusions?
Response. Climate is one of the most complex phenomena we try to
understand. The computerized climate models have never been validated
with real-world data, and there is no reason to believe that they are
giving us accurate forecasts of the earth's climate future. In
particular, the IPCC admitted in its 2001 report that the computer
models cannot accurately model clouds. Yet Dr. Henrik Svensmark of the
Danish Space Research Institute has found evidence that the low, wet
clouds, which deflect solar heat back into space, are among our
planet's key thermostats. If the computer models cannot model clouds,
it is highly unlikely that they can forecast future changes in the
earth's temperatures--or in its sea level riser.
Question 3. In Mr. Baker's testimony, he acknowledges that today's
climate models are inconclusive about whether more precipitation will
fall in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Mr. Boesch would have us
integrate climate change mitigation into our restoration efforts. One
of the primary contributors to the Bay's impairment is stormwater
runoff. If the models cannot predict future levels of rainfall, do you
know how to incorporate those rainfall levels into the mitigation
Response. If the climate models cannot predict future levels of
rainfall, then they cannot forecast future stormwater runoff, one of
the key Bay variables. The models are particularly bad at attempting to
forecast regional climate changes, such as in the Mid-Atlantic States.
One model tells us South Dakota will be a future desert, while another
model says it will be a swamp. Even if we could believe the models, we
would have no guidelines for action.
Senator Cardin. We will now hear from Dr. David Schnare,
Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment, Thomas Jefferson
Institute for Public Policy.
STATEMENT OF DAVID W. SCHNARE, SENIOR FELLOW FOR ENERGY AND THE
ENVIRONMENT, THOMAS JEFFERSON
INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY
Dr. Schnare. Thank you, Senator Cardin.
I would also like to thank Senator Mikulski for being here.
I have two messages for you, Senator Mikulski. It was some
years ago when I had the honor of serving on Appropriations
staff when you first came to the committee, and I saw your
leadership and I know that your leadership will be needed now
on these issues. The one issue that no one seems to be
discussing is something known as geo-engineering. It is the
mechanism by which humans alter large-scale geophysical
processes such as putting sulfates high into the stratosphere
to create a sunscreen that would reduce the temperature. This
is the identical process that happens when volcanoes erupt and
they cause cooling.
Why do I raise this? I raise this because according to
Scott Barrett, Professor at Johns Hopkins University in
International Policy Studies, he says geo-engineering is
inevitable. Why is it inevitable? A report that came out as
recently as just this morning suggests that Bangladesh, with a
single meter of ocean rise, will lose one third of their
landmass and require 25 to 30 million of their people to move.
As a result, someone is going to say it is in our interest to
reduce global temperatures using this kind of engineering,
especially in light of the fact that doing so would cost one
one thousandth the cost of relying exclusively on reducing
Geo-engineering is not new and it will potentially have an
effect on the Bay and rain in this area because, as we have
seen in China when they want a sunny day in Beijing, they seed
the clouds to the west. This will happen next summer during the
Senator Mikulski. They seed?
Mr. Schnare. Seed with nitrate crystals, which causes it to
rain one place and not another. These techniques are already in
use to sequester carbon. Significant tests are going on, and
there are commercial activities to put iron into the ocean, to
grow algae, to sequester carbon. None of this geo-engineering
is under a regulatory control or the control of any
Yet because it is so inexpensive, because it is inevitable
that it will be done because of the economic consequences of
not doing it, we need leadership, international leadership and
leadership that can begin with this Committee, to examine the
significance of geo-engineering with regard to global warming
and the means by which we can organize and ensure its use, its
safe use, its incremental use, but its recognized high value
Senator Mikulski, the research in this area is necessary.
Now, let me turn to the Bay, briefly. If we rely
exclusively on reducing greenhouse gases, it is my fear, having
served on the staff of EPA's Appropriations subcommittee, that
we will rob the purse of all the funds we need to clean up the
Bay. The Thomas Jefferson Institute is very proud of its work
in bringing together staff from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
and from the State of Virginia to accelerate the pace with
which some of these techniques to reduce nutrient flows into
the Bay are used. Never-till farming is an example.
Part and parcel of that, it is critical that there be
continued funding, Federal and State funding for these
activities. If we let our activities to restore the Bay be
sacrificed on the altar of exclusive greenhouse gas reductions,
we will have larger dead zones, more fish kills, and a
significantly deteriorated quality of the Bay.
It is our view that this Committee should, as part of its
approach to dealing with climate change rely as a first
response on a thorough examination of geo-engineering and
leadership in its use. Absent that, someone else will do it,
and the United States will be a bystander watching. That is not
in our interest. It is not in the interests of the
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Schnare follows:]
Statement of David W. Schnare, Esq. Ph.D.\1\, Thomas Jefferson
Institute of Public Policy
\1\ Dr. Schnare is the Institute's Senior Fellow for Energy and the
Environment. His position with the Institute is pro bono. He has been
employed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for 30 years and
currently serves as a Senior Counsel in the Office of Civil Enforcement
prosecuting violations of the nation's Clean Air Act. This testimony
reflects the views of the author and does not necessarily reflect the
position of the U.S. EPA or the Thomas Jefferson Institute. Dr. Schnare
received his doctorate in environmental science and management from the
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (1978) and his Juris Doctor
Cum Laude from the George Mason University School of Law (1999).
Good morning Madam Chairman and Members of the Committee. On behalf
of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, we appreciate your
invitation to attend this Hearing and thank you for the opportunity to
participate in a discussion involving two issues on which the Institute
has a continuing strong interest--Restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and
the implications of alternative responses to global warming and climate
The greatest threat to restoration of the Chesapeake Bay comes not
from the potential geophysical effects of climate change, but from the
potential responses to climate change and, in particular, exclusive
reliance on a strategy of reducing greenhouse gases. The scientific
community has reached a consensus on this. As Nobel Laureate Paul
Crutzen admits, efforts to forestall climate change exclusively through
reductions in greenhouse gases is no more than ``a pious wish''.\2\ \3\
Public reports show nations have rejected this strategy \4\, and
without full, massive global cooperation, reliance on greenhouse gas
reductions, alone, will fail.
\2\P.J. Crutzen, ``Albedo Enhancement By Stratospheric Sulfur
Injections: A Contribution To Resolve A Policy Dilemma?'' Climate
Change, September 1, 2006; see: http://downloads.heartland.org/
\3\ And see: William B. Mills, ``Geoengineering Techniques To
Mitigate Climate Change: From Futuristic To Down-To-Earth Approaches'',
American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2006, abstract #GC51A-0451,
``Within the past several years, more and more scientists are
questioning whether these techniques can be implemented on a global
scale quickly enough to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change
impacts. Further, some signatories to the Kyoto Protocol have already
indicated they will not be able to meet their reductions of emissions
by the agreed upon date of 2012, and in fact expect to increase their
emissions. An important question becomes: Are there other mitigation
techniques that could be used in a supplemental manner to help control
anthropogenically-induced climate change should those techniques
mentioned above fall short? In fact there are a variety of techniques
that are commonly called geo-engineering methods'' http://
\4\ See, e.g., International Herald Tribune at http://www.iht.com/
documenting China's refusal to attempt an 80% reduction, and see,
reports on the international agreement to go no further than adopting
unenforceabale ``aspirational'' goals at http://www.theage.com.au/news/
In this light, how do we protect the Bay and otherwise address the
potential effects of global warming? In his influential law review
article, Jay Michaelson suggests, ``We need an alternative to the
policy myopia that sees emission reductions as the sole path to climate
change abatement,'' and in particular we need to apply geo-engineering
that can prevent global warming and reduce acidification of the
oceans.\5\ Others agree. Alan Carlin, Senior Economist with the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency argues that geo-engineering is ``our
best hope of coping with a changing world.'' \6\ It is our best hope
because we have firm evidence it will work and because the developing
world can afford this approach. As Ken Caldeira, a professor of climate
science at Stanford University, explains, reducing greenhouse gases
will cost around 2 percent of the gross domestic product while geo-
engineering (by putting reflective aerosols into the upper atmosphere)
will cost about one-thousandth of that.\7\
\5\ Jay Michaelson (JD Yale), ``Geoengineering: A Climate Change
Manhattan Project'' Stanford Environmental Law Journal January, 1998,
\6\ Alan Carlin, ``Risky Gamble,'' Environmental Forum, 24(5): 42-
7, (September/October, 2007), see http://
carlineconomics.googlepages.com/CarlinEnvForum.pdf; and see: ``Global
Climate Change Control: Is there a Better Strategy than Reducing
Greenhouse Gas Emissions?'' University of Pennsylvania Law Review, June
2007, see http://pennumbra.com/issues/articles/155-6/Carlin.pdf;
``Implementation & Utilization of Geoengineering for Global Climate
Change Control,'' Sustainable Development Law and Policy, Winter 2007
see http: //Carlineconomics.googlepages.com/
CarlinSustainableDevelopment.pdf; and ``New Research Suggests that
Emissions Reductions May Be a Risky and Very Expensive Way to Avoid
Dangerous Global Climate Changes,'' http://yosemite.epa.gov/EE/epa/
\7\ Ken Caldeira, Standford University, quoted in the Christian
Science Monitor, see, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0329/p13s02-
Indeed, the IPCC \8\ and William D. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of
Economics at Yale University, agree that the price tag for preventing
the effects of global warming with geo-engineering is so small as to be
considered virtually ``costless''.\9\ More significantly, Professor
Scott Barrett, Director of the Johns Hopkins University School of
Advanced International Studies argues convincingly that because geo-
engineering is the only practical means to mitigate catastrophic
climate change, and is a virtually costless means of doing so, use of
this technology is inevitable and our task is to ensure we do it in a
sensible, incremental and reasoned manner.\10\
\8\ IPCC Climate Change 2001: Report of Working Group III:
Mitigation ``It is unclear whether the cost of these novel scattering
systems would be less than that of the older proposals, as is claimed
by Teller et al. (1997), because although the system mass would be
less, the scatterers may be much more costly to fabricate. However, it
is unlikely that cost would play an important role in the decision to
deploy such a system. Even if we accept the higher cost estimates of
the NAS (1992) study, the cost may be very small compared to the cost
of other mitigation options'' (citing to Schelling, 1996). See, http://
\9\ William D. Nordhaus, ``The Challenge of Global Warming:
Economic Models and Environmental Policy'', Yale University, July 24,
2007; see: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/dice_mss_072407_all.pdf.
\10\ Scott Barrett, ``The Incredible Economics Of Geoengineering''
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, 18
March 2007, (in press, Environmental and Resource Economics).
Thus, any investments in reducing greenhouse gases that would eat
away at our existing investment in protecting and restoring the Bay
would be the greatest threat to the Bay.
Restoration of the Bay requires concerted efforts by local, state
and federal governments, and funding from each. It also requires a
vigorous, market-based application of advanced agricultural
practices.\11\ Any threat to that funding or the nascent nutrients
market is a threat to restoration of the Bay. To date, private and
governmental action has done no more than prevent further Bay
degradation in the face of growing populations. To achieve full
restoration, this local-state-federal-private coalition must expand its
current commitments. It will need significant and continuing federal
and state funding, as well as an expansion of the means to trade
nutrient reduction credits. If it receives this support, we can look
forward to restoration of the Bay within the next 20 years. If not, we
simply cannot. Thus, the greatest threat to this restoration is not
global warming or climate change. Rather, as explained below, barring
an earthquake, and in light of the inevitability of geo-engineering,
the strategy of relying exclusively on reduction of greenhouse gases
stands as the single greatest threat to restoration of the Bay. If we
rely exclusively on reduction of greenhouse gases, and prevent use of
geo-engineering, advocates for the Bay will get a smaller slice of a
smaller pie and the Bay will disappear in the impending ocean rise.
\11\ See, David W. Schnare, ``Only a Market Can Clean Up the Bay'',
PERC Reports (June 2007) http://www.perc.org/
The remainder of this testimony first explains the timescale of
climate change and the inevitable use of geo-engineering. Thereafter
you will find a discussion of the Chesapeake Bay, its origin and how we
are working to preserve and further restore its vitality. Finally, the
testimony concludes with a recommendation that this Committee take a
leadership role in building a two-pronged attack on climate change--one
relying on geo-engineering as a first response and cost-effective
greenhouse gas reduction as a final response.
climate change and geo-engineering
As the Committee knows, the international policy community defines
the term climate change as human-caused changes in climate and
geophysical processes. The current assumption is that, if we do
nothing, greenhouse gases will cause further increases in global
temperature that, in turn, will cause no less than seven irreversible
geophysical events. Those events, in turn, will cause large increases
in ocean levels and other undesirable outcomes.
The seven (preventable) irreversible events reach their first
``tipping point'' with melting of the Greenland ice sheet, an event
that commences with a 1.2 to 2 C rise in global temperature and
which, according to the IPCC (2007) may have already, albeit slowly
begun. We must keep in mind, however, that complete melting of the ice
sheet would cause a 7 meter ocean rise only after some 300 to 1,000
years. This long melting timescale assumes CO2 rises to
nearly three times the current level (four times the pre-industrial
level) and stays that high for a millennium. Notably, science marches
on, and in February of this year, a report on the assumptions
underlying these estimates indicate that the IPCC estimate of the rate
of sea-level rise is 29 percent higher than the actual value, while
another analysis suggests the timescale is smaller than the IPCC
estimate.\12\ Thus, Greenland ice sheet melting may be more than 300
years off.\13\ The other six events do not reach their tipping points
until global temperatures increase by about 3 to 6 C and include:
loss of the Amazon rainforest, melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet,
loss of boreal forests, massive positive and negative rain and heat
effects in the Sahara and Sahel, stoppage of the Atlantic ocean
circulatory system, and increases in ENSO amplification, leading to
large shifts in climate over important agricultural lands
worldwide.\14\ The only event necessary to destroy the Bay is complete
melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
\12\ G. Woppelmann, et al., ``Geocentric sea-level trend estimates
from GPS analyses at relevant tide gauges world-wide'', Global and
Planetary Change 57 (2007) 396-4. But note, while not a specialist in
glaciers and ice sheets, Jim Hansen (NASA) argues that by 2100 we could
expect a five meter rise in ocean levels due to melting of the
Greenland ice sheet. As argued by Barrett, the timescale estimate is
irrelevant as a mere one foot increase in sea level will occasion the
inevitable use of geo-engineering.
\13\ G. Woppelmann, et al., ``Geocentric sea-level trend estimates
from GPS analyses at relevant tide gauges world-wide'', Global and
Planetary Change 57 (2007) 396-4.
\14\ Timothy M. Lenton, ``Tipping Points or Gradual Climate
Change?'', ([email protected]) School of Environmental Sciences,
University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
If permitted to occur, the land surrounding the Bay would
eventually flood and the Bay itself would become no more than a part of
the continental shelf. Under this assumption, as the watershed slowly
submerges, the Bay environs would lose habitat, ecological integrity
and commercial and recreational value. Notably, as part of a new coast
line, we would also gain habitat, evolve a new ecological system and
gain new commercial and recreational opportunities. According to the
IPCC (2007), the loss of existing shoreline would begin very slowly and
inundation would not occur for 300 to 1,000 years. As discussed below,
natural processes may cause a similar degree of flooding at any time
and are more likely to occur than the predicted climate change.
Increasing greenhouse gas levels may also cause a second
undesirable effect, ocean acidification. Modeling of climate change
acidification effects has not focused on the Bay or similar estuarial
waters, particularly with regard to the types of organisms prevalent in
or sought to be resurrected in the Bay and its freshwater tributaries.
Geo-engineering can also address this problem, as seen in the liming
activities long used in Scandinavia to prevent acidification of their
We have every reason to believe that neither of these climate
change-related geo-physical effects will ever harm the Bay because, as
Professor Barrett explains, some party will apply geo-engineering
techniques that will prevent the warming and protect the commercial
activities in the Bay. What, then, is geo-engineering?
geo-engineering--the inevitable response
In general, geo-engineering is the deliberate modification of large
scale geophysical processes and, in the context of this testimony, that
means by processes other than by limiting the atmospheric concentration
of greenhouse gases. The first of the two most common examples cited is
placement of reflective aerosols into the upper atmosphere in order to
reflect incoming sunlight and thus reduce global temperature. The
second is injecting iron into parts of the ocean in order to speed the
growth of phytoplankton and thus sequester carbon. Similar techniques
can be used to inject lime into the ocean and reduce near-coast water
acidity, and thereby protect coral reefs and shellfish.
You might think of geo-engineering as a human effort to replicate
natural processes such as volcanic eruptions that inject large
quantities of sulfates into the air and thereby shield the planet from
sunlight. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991
injected a significant amount of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere,
lowering the Earth's surface temperature by about 0.5 C the year
following the eruption.\15\. Indeed, there have been many examples of
intended and unintended geo-engineering, including some that have
exacerbated warming. For example, when coal is burned, sulfate
particles are thrown into the troposphere, thus limiting the amount
that global temperatures rise due to carbon dioxide, something also
produced when burning coal. But, the U.S. EPA has established
regulations to limit the emission of sulfates into the atmosphere and
by reducing emissions of these sulfate particles, U.S. EPA has
inadvertently exacerbated global warming. In another example, jet
aircraft routinely emit sun-blocking exhaust into the atmosphere.\16\
\15\ Crutzen, P.J. (2006). ``Albedo Enhancement by Stratospheric
Sulfur Injections: A Contribution to Resolve a Policy Dilemma?''
Climatic Change 77: 211-219. http://downloads.heart- land.org/
\16\ Travis, D.J., A.M. Carleton, and R.G. Lauritsen (2002).
``Contrails Reduce Daily Temperature Range.'' Nature 418: 601
Scientists have been studying geo-engineering solutions for a
considerable time. As early as 1996, the American Association for the
Advancement of Science sponsored a symposium on the subject,\17\ and
recent contributions are reaching substantial numbers.\18\ As discussed
in the geo-engineering literature generally, because these techniques
mimic natural phenomena, we know more about how quickly and well they
work than we do about the efficacy of attempting to reduce greenhouse
gases. We have measured the effects of the natural processes and can
state with considerable certainty, bordering of complete certainty,
that they will produce the result sought. Although the effects of
greenhouse gas reduction would occur over a period of no less than
decades and more likely centuries, the effects of geo-engineering can
(and will) be manifest in a matter of weeks after application.\19\
\17\ Six papers delivered at the AAAS symposium appear in Clim.
Change, 33(3), July 1996, edited by G. Marland. They cover scientific,
legal, technical, political and ethical questions. See, http://
\18\ See, for example, the citations in Crutzen (2006), Barrett
(2007) and Carlin (2007b), cited in supra notes 14, 10 & 6,
\19\ Wigley, T.M.L.. ``A Combined Mitigation/Geoengineering
Approach to Climate Stabilization.'' Science 314: 452-454. (2006)
The extremely low cost of geo-engineering allows many like Barrett
to describe these techniques as economically ``incredible.'' Table 1
shows that geo-engineering is not merely 200 to 2000 times less
expensive, it prevents more damage than exclusive reliance on carbon
control. Further, consider a risk not included in the $17 Billion worth
of residual global warming damages shown in Table 1--the $10 Billion a
year cost to the United States from UV-caused cancer that would be
avoided using geo-engineering.\20\ In practical terms, the benefits to
the United States, alone, and for UV-related cancer, alone, justify
using geo-engineering--a gift to the world that would prevent some $5.2
Trillion in global warming-caused damages.\21\
\20\ Teller, E., Hyde, R., Ishikawa, M., Nuckolls, J., and Wood, L.
``Active stabilization of climate: inexpensive, low risk, near-term
options for preventing global warming and ice ages via technologically
varied solar radiative forcing,'' Lawrence Livermore National Library,
30 November, 2003.
\21\ Nordhaus (2007) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/
Total Present (unprevented)
Value Abatement Global Warming-
Cost (2005 Related Damages
$Billions) (2005 $Billions)
Exclusive Reliance on CO2
(Nordhaus ``optimal'', 2007).... $2,200 $17,000
(Nordhaus, 1994)................ $10 0
(Teller et al., 2003)........... $1.2
Notably, geo-engineering has gone commercial. Planktos, Inc., for
example, is a for-profit ecorestoration company based in San Francisco
with offices in the European Union and British Columbia. Their primary
focus is to restore damaged habitats in the ocean and on land. They
inject iron into iron-deficient waters to induce large blooms of
plankton. This helps sequester carbon and Planktos sells carbon
sequestration credits on the various carbon markets.\22\ One must ask,
if private geo-engineering to sequester carbon is already in play, can
private geo-engineering to reduce global temperatures be far behind?
Considering the potential harm from global warming, the potential
regulatory costs associated with a greenhouse gas-based strategy and
the relatively low cost of launching sunscreens, there is good reason
to believe the inevitable use of geo-engineering to limit global
temperature risk could occur in the private sector. This is a troubling
concern many have discussed and on which this testimony touches in its
\22\ See, http://www.planktos.com/About/About.html
the chesapeake bay and its restoration
The Chesapeake Bay is a relatively recent geo-physical development.
It exists because of a meteor impact occurring 35 million years ago.
The impact fractured the earth's mantle and created a depression that
forced rivers to reverse their flows and cut paths into what is now the
Bay estuary. But the Bay formed long thereafter. As late as 18,000
years ago, the bay region was dry land; the last great ice sheet was at
its maximum over North America, and sea level was about 200 meters
lower than today. This sea level exposed the area that now is the bay
bottom and the continental shelf. With sea level this low, the major
east coast rivers had to cut narrow valleys across the region all the
way to the shelf's edge. About 10,000 years ago, however, the ice
sheets began to melt rapidly, causing sea level to rise and flood the
shelf and the coastal river valleys. The flooded valleys became the
Chesapeake Bay and the rivers of the Chesapeake region converged at a
location directly over the buried crater.\23\
\23\ C. Wylie Poag, U.S. Geological Survey, ``The Chesapeake Bay
Bolide Impact: A New View of Coastal Plain Evolution'', July, 1, 1998.
This ancient meteor created many faults that now cut through the
sedimentary beds below the site of the impact, many of which lay no
more than 10 meters below the bay floor. These faults are zones of
crustal weakness and have the potential to suddenly collapse and thus
flood large portions of land surrounding the Bay. In other words, we
now confront natural and potentially cataclysmic coastal flooding we
cannot prevent and in a timeframe we cannot predict.
Rather than permit this inevitability to limit our economic
interests in the Bay, we instead accept the risk and seek to preserve
this ecosystem for as long as nature allows. On the geological clock,
our interests reflect mere ticks of the second hand.
We measure the timescale of Bay degradation and restoration in
decades, not centuries or millennia. A mere 70 years ago, the Bay was
the largest commercial fishing waters in the U.S. If restored, the Bay
could produce $3 billion in commercial fishery revenues per year. It
now produces less than $100 million. Overall, some suggest the fishing
and recreational value of a bay at full ecological competence (assuming
the ecology of the past) at more than a trillion dollars.\24\ Virginia,
Maryland, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, and others, began their efforts to
recover the ecological wealth of the Bay only 20 years ago. They have
succeeded in preventing significant further deterioration despite large
increases in population density and growth over the intervening years.
\24\ Rebecca Hanmer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
``Chesapeake's value worth more than the sum of its parts'', see http:/
An entire array of local, state and federal regulatory programs now
protect the Bay as an ecological, recreational and commercial resource.
The size of the annual revenues generated within the private
marketplace for Bay related activities from mere shore-side residence
to recreational swimming and sailing and to commercial activities like
fishing, all testify to our success in maintaining, and to some degree
improving the quality of the Bay. Nevertheless, problems persist. The
Bay suffers from two threats that the current regulatory programs have
not resolved: the discharge of sediments and nutrients into the waters
of the Bay's watershed. The sediments bury the life on the bottoms of
rivers, deltas, and shorelines. These include the extremely important
breeding grounds for mollusks and fish. As the name implies, nutrients,
specifically nitrogen and phosphorus, provide essential ``food'' to
algae and other small life forms that constitute the bottom of the food
chain in the bay. Too many nutrients, however, and the algae can
consume too much oxygen, thus forcing the top of the food chain (the
fish) to other waters, and causing mollusks and fish hatchlings to fail
to thrive and eventually die. Restoration will require reductions in
both sediments and nutrients by two critical sectors on the watershed,
municipalities and the agricultural community.
Figure 1, below, shows the significant sources of the threats to
the Bay and each source's potential to reduce discharges. As these
charts show, all sources will have to participate in reducing nutrient
loadings into the Bay. In some cases, municipalities simply will not be
able to do their share, in part because they simply will not have the
funds needed to build advanced water treatment facilities. If response
to climate change empties the state and federal environmental purse, as
would happen with current legislative proposals, then we will not only
lose the battle to restore the Bay but will lose ground due to
continuing population growth. Even with current funding levels,
municipalities will not have the capacity to do their share.
Fortunately, in Virginia, the state legislature has authorized a state
nutrients bank that allows municipalities to pay others to reduce
nutrients when they can not. In the main, those ``others'' are our
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Reduction of nutrients from agricultural sources takes several
forms, but controls on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
and ``never-till'' crop management seems the most promising. By leaving
all but the harvestable grain in the field, by not tilling the field
and by planting cover crops to hold nutrients and soil in place over
the winter, this cropping technique has reduced nutrient and sediment
runoff from those croplands by over 95 percent.\25\ Ten years ago
farmers used these conservation tillage practices in only rare
occasions. In Virginia today, farmers have nearly 15 percent of small
grains and corn cropland in never-till management. To expand this
number significantly will require a more robust nutrient market,
increased technical agricultural assistance and further funding of
transition to conservation tillage. Like municipal wastewater
treatment, we will succeed in solving this problem only if response to
climate change does not empty the state and federal environmental
\25\ See: http://www.charlescity.org/2rivers.php. There is a wealth
of technical science on no-till and never-till cropping, as a browse
through an internet search will access.
With regard to sediment, again the agricultural community has the
tools to resolve much of the problem. Conservation tillage holds
sediments in the field, reducing sediment discharge by over 95%.
Indeed, the nutrients adhere to the sediments and in particular the
carbonaceous elements within the soil. Further, conservation tillage
sequesters carbon in the soil. And, the farming community has already
recognized the potential to reap carbon sequestration dollars through
\26\ See, http://www.ppionline.org/ppi--
At present, Iowa's Farm Bureau is currently providing services to
allow farmers to participate in the carbon sequestration market.\27\
Notably, for every ten pounds of carbon sequestered through never-till
practices, a pound of nitrogen (and an equivalent weight of phosphorus)
is also sequestered in the soil.\28\
\27\ See, http://www.iowafarmbureau.com/special/carbon/
\28\ Soil Organic Carbon Sequestration Rates by Tillage and Crop
Rotation: A Global Data Analysis, see, http://cdiac.ornl.gov/programs/
In light of the financial interest the farming community has in
carbon sequestration and the potential for large scale positive effects
of conservation tillage on the water quality of the Bay, we believe Bay
restoration should be considered an element of climate change
mitigation, but recognize this opportunity will disappear if funding
for both municipal and agricultural Bay restoration efforts evaporate.
We further suggest that the timescale of Bay restoration stands in
stark contrast to the timescale of climate change and the timescale of
a response to climate change that relies exclusively on reduction of
We recommend something else.
global leadership on geo-engineering--an unmet national duty
In light of the inevitable use of geo-engineering to prevent
further global warming, this Committee may be well advised to follow
Professor Sunstein's admonition to avoid the twin dangers of over-
reaction and apathy.\29\ So too would groups that have decided to
bypass Congress and attempt to convince State governments to commit to
policies relying exclusively on regulatory reduction of greenhouse
gases.\30\ Sunstein recommends that Congress try to ameliorate, if not
avoid, future catastrophes, by looking at the widest possible solution
set, by rejecting preconceived notions and emotion-based argument, thus
retaining our sanity as well as scarce financial resources that can be
devoted to more constructive ends.
\29\ Cass R. Sunstein, Karl N. Llewellyn Distinguished Service
Professor of Jurisprudence, University of Chicago, Worst-Case
Scenarios'', Harvard University Press (2007).
\30\ The worst example of this narrow-minded approach was recently
used in North Carolina and is on the hunt in many other states. One
group (Center for Climate Strategies), funded by foundations committed
to raising alarm about global warming, has used non-transparent, highly
subjective and openly coercive methods to exclude discussions on
alternatives to their preferred carbon-reduction strategy. Notably,
this group has failed to provide your testifier the basis for their
analysis or the assumptions they used in their analysis. They have
failed to consider a policy of limiting action only to those efforts
likely to reduce global warming. And, they refuse to estimate the
effects their proposals on global warming. Groups such as CCS offer a
false promise in light of the international rejection of greenhouse gas
proposals required to prevent significant warming. See: http://
Sunstein makes an important point on the need to remember we have
goals other than carbon reduction. In this hearing you cannot fail to
recognize that commitment to a remedy based exclusively on reduction of
greenhouse gases would sacrifice our current commitment to restoration
of the Bay. Having served on the staff of the Senate appropriation
committee, I thoroughly understand the level of competition for federal
dollars. I know you do too. As you consider how to respond to global
warming, I ask that you keep in mind what programs you will cut in
order to pay for what you propose. And keep in mind that use of geo-
engineering will pay for itself, while exclusive reliance on greenhouse
reduction will not only fail to pay for itself, it will fail to prevent
In light of Professor Sunstein's admonition, and the economic and
fiscal realities of global warming, geo-engineering and alternatives
thereto, the most sensible approach would be a mixed strategy of geo-
engineering to prevent further global warming and the effects of ocean
acidification over the next century or two and vigorously developing a
transition from carbon-based energy, to include research on scrubbing
greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Lacking this two-pronged attack,
current legislative proposals must be considered what Sunstein calls
``over-reaction'' or panic.
We can make no more eloquent argument than that of Professor
Barrett regarding what next this nation should do with regard to
climate change, so this testimony ends by quoting his recommendation:
Mitigating, forestalling, or averting global climate change
is a global public good. Supplying it by means of reducing
emissions is vulnerable to free riding. Too few countries are
likely to participate in such an effort, those that do
participate are likely to reduce their emissions by too little,
and even their efforts may be overwhelmed by trade leakage
(Barrett 2005). Geoengineering presents a very different set of
incentives. A single country can deploy a geoengineering
project on its own--and the economics of geoengineering are so
attractive that it seems likely that a country, or perhaps a
small group of countries, may want to try to do so at some
point in the future, especially should the worst fears about
climate change ever unfold.
The challenge posed by geoengineering is not how to get
countries to do it. It is to address the fundamental question
of who should decide whether and how geoengineering should be
attempted--a problem of governance (Barrett 2007). Failure to
acknowledge the possibility of geoengineering may or may not
spur countries to reduce their emissions, but it will mean that
countries will be unrestrained should the day come when they
would want to experiment with this technology. This, to my
mind, is the greater danger.
Madam Chairman, as this Committee demonstrates leadership in
protecting the Chesapeake Bay while meeting its duty to help prevent
catastrophic climate change, it should champion sensible, incremental,
international geo-engineering, in addition to reasoned, cost-effective
efforts to limit greenhouse gases.
Because the Barrett and Carlin messages are of such paramount
importance, I have attached hereto copies of their seminal papers. [The
referenced document follows on page 109.]
Responses by David W. Schnare, Esq. Ph.D., to Additional Questions from
Question 1. Can you expand on your testimony regarding the natural
processes that may cause the flooding of the Chesapeake Bay and why you
think that is more likely to occur than flooding from climate change?
Response. The phrase ``flooding of the Chesapeake Bay'' has been
used in an ambiguous manner. The concern about ``flooding'' reflects
two different phenomena--ocean level rise and land subsidence. Thus,
the question asks whether ocean level rise, presumably from global
warming, is less or more likely to happen than land subsidence. Under
either condition, coastal lands will be submerged--surely a
considerable human and environmental loss. The likelihood of this
occurring due to global warming and related ocean rise, however, is
relatively small, considering our ability to prevent such warming,
either through heroic reductions in CO2 or through solar
radiation management, a form of geo-engineering. Director of Johns
Hopkins International Programs and graduate of the London School of
Economics in Natural Resource Economics, Professor Scott Barrett
explains that the cost of solar radiation management is so small, a
mere billion dollars a year compared with tens of trillions per year
for CO2 reduction, that the use of this geo-engineering is
inevitable. If the United States or some international body does not
use the technology, some nation at great risk from flooding will. Thus,
the likelihood of flooding of Bay tidal lands due to global warming is
Conversely, the likelihood of land subsidence from geological
faults is not merely high, it is common. The lands around the Bay have
seen twice the flooding as the rest of the world specifically because
of this subsidence. Indeed, the area is overdue for an earthquake--one
which will cause significant subsidence around the crater that created
the lower portions of the Bay.
Thus, flooding due to subsidence is certain to occur while the
likelihood of flooding from global warming is unlikely.
Question 2. Let's assume that greenhouse gases will cause
temperatures to rise, why will current legislative and environmental
organizations' proposal fail to prevent the catastrophes they claim
Response. The IPCC has stated that a 2 C. rise in temperature will
cause an irreversible loss of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The IPCC
suggests that there is greater than a 90% chance that the globe will
suffer this temperature if greenhouse gases reach levels equivalent to
450 parts per million of CO2. According to Flannery, the
IPCC has concluded that the GHG levels reached 455 CO2eq in
2005 and continue to rise; and that the IPCC will announce that
conclusion this fall. As such, absent some form of geo-engineering to
reduce temperatures or scavenge CO2 out of the atmosphere,
it is too late to prevent melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, and the
planet will suffer a 23 foot rise in ocean levels. None of the
legislative proposals direct research on or use of solar radiation
management to prevent catastrophic melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
Thus, the goal of environmental organizations and legislative proposals
to stabilize CO2 levels will fail to prevent ocean level
rise of mammoth proportions.
Question 3. Does geo-engineering make sense even if global warming
is a natural phenomenon?
Response. That depends on the associated risks and benefits of
global warming as compared with using geo-engineering to stabilize
planetary temperatures. A small increase in global temperatures appears
to have net positive benefits for the world civilization and nature. A
large temperature rise will cause massive geophysical change with
equally massive net-adverse effects on world civilizations and massive
upsets in nature.
Regarding effects on human civilization due to warming and
concomitant sea level rise, a single meter rise in ocean levels would
flood one-third of Bangladesh and force the relocation of from 25 to 30
million people. Similar effects would be felt in China at a two-meter
rise in the ocean. A five foot rise in storm surge would incapacitate
nearly all commercial harbors world-wide causing hundreds of trillions
of dollars in damage. In light of these potential effects, a measured
effort to stabilize global temperatures would be justified even if, for
example, it caused small adverse effects such as minor drought in
portions of the world. Current modeling of the potential adverse
effects of solar radiation management, using high-tech particles to
reflect the sun in only one wavelength and with no chemical reactivity
in the upper atmosphere (stratosphere and troposphere), suggest no
change in local climate (see Caldeira 2006).
The reverse of the question is also of interest. Would it make
sense to warm the planet, using solar radiation management, if we
confronted a new ice age? Would it be sensible to stabilize
temperatures to prevent loss of Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, and the rest
of developed land north of the Mason Dixon line--worldwide? Again, the
negatives would have to be very large to refuse use of solar radiation
The appropriate approach to use of geo-engineering is to fund
research on these tools now so that if they need to be deployed, we
will have second or third generation technology on the shelf, rather
than have to use unexamined proposals. For this reason, I have
recommended directing $3.5 million toward research on solar radiation
management (see my supplemental testimony which includes the geo-
engineering framework requested by Senator Mikulski), along with
research on how to create a body to manage international coordination
of geo-engineering activities to ensure measured, responsible and
efficacious stabilization of possible global climate extremes.
Senator Cardin. Thank you for your testimony.
We will now hear from Pastor Richard Edmund, who is from
the United Methodist Churches of Smith Island. As I mentioned
earlier, Smith Island is the only inhabitable island in
Maryland. It is on the Virginia-Maryland border, 225 sturdy
people. Pastor Edmund is their spiritual leader and we thank
him for that. We are pleased to hear from you.
STATEMENT OF RICHARD EDMUND, PASTOR, UNITED METHODIST CHURCHES
OF SMITH ISLAND
Pastor Edmund. All right. Thank you, Senator Cardin. It is
an honor to be here, and also with Senator Mikulski, especially
in light of the other distinguished panel members that came
My name is C. Richard Edmund. I am the Pastor of the three
United Methodist Churches on Smith Island, Maryland. I am here
to speak for Smith Island, the planet, future generations, and
how I believe God wants humans to interact with creation. Smith
Island is located across from the mouth of the Potomac River,
surrounded by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Our population
is about 225 people spread among the three communities of
Ewell, Rhodes Point, which you can see in the photograph up
there, and Tylerton.
Because of our geographic location, we are certainly
vulnerable to the effects of a rising sea level. Most of the
dwellings are just a couple feet above an abnormally high tide
or a storm surge from a hurricane. In 2003, Hurricane Isabel
caused a storm surge which came into a few of the homes and
covered most of the inhabitable land, and all of the marsh
A rising sea level would accelerate the effects of erosion
which threaten parts of the island. The recent work by this
Committee and the corresponding members on the House side is
greatly appreciated in including the Smith Island Project in
the recently passed Water Resources Development Act. Thank you.
Almost all the island families depend on harvesting from
the water for their livelihood. The numbers of crabs and
oysters are much less than earlier. Any climate changes caused
by human activity can only diminish what God created and called
While I have not been on the island long enough to observe
possible climate changes myself, older residents tell me that,
number one, some houses that never or rarely had water in their
yards now often experience that inconvenience during extra high
tides. Number two, we do not have the winter blizzards or
freezes that is within the memory of many islanders. Now, most
winters, the total snowfall is less than six inches.
Number three, there is a wildlife presence now that didn't
used to be there. The brown pelican is the largest example.
They began settling this far north about a dozen years ago and
now nest on the border with Virginia.
The independent folks of our community have been toughened
over time from dealing with the elements of nature. Despite the
difficult times for watermen, residents are determined to stay
until forced to leave by the economy or the environment.
Twenty-five years ago, experts said we wouldn't be here in 25
years. As one islander, Jennings Evans, summed it up, ``We will
be here as long as the Lord wants us here.''
But reports of potential sea level rises are daunting. I
know both of you and others have been to Greenland recently and
seen firsthand the beginning of large-scale meltdown.
Predictions of a 20 foot to 23 foot sea level rise would affect
many millions of people worldwide. A rise of three feet would
likely be the end of practical living on Smith Island.
A recent movie, which I was with at the premier with
Congressman Gilchrest, was entitled ``We Are All Smith
Islanders.'' It highlights that while our area is the oft-
referred-to canary in the coal mine, all of us are vulnerable
in some way to any human-involved climate changes.
In 1813, one of the future members of the Senate, Army
General William Henry Harrison of Ohio, received a war report
from Commodore Oliver Perry after the battle of Lake Erie: ``We
have met the enemy and he is ours.'' For Earth Day in 1970,
Walt Kelly changed one word in order to point out where the
blame originates with our environmental problems. His cartoon
character, Pogo, says: ``We have met the enemy and he is us.''
I urge this Committee to strongly address this issue. It
threatens our security, and I believe disrupts God's
instructions to Adam and Eve to work the Garden of Eden and
take care of it.
On a kayak trip I took down the Susquehanna River, a man in
Northern Pennsylvania asked me, ``Are they mad at us down
there?'' He was wondering if the acid mine drainage, silt
runoff, and other pollutants originating in the upper river
area had upset those living around the Bay. The larger question
is whether future generations downstream in time will be
angered with us for not doing more to stem the changes that
seem inevitable now.
One of the reasons I feel good about being here today is
that my daughter has brought my four oldest grandchildren,
Bryn, Elisabeth, Brooke and Caroline here with me. I trust that
part of my legacy to them will be that they will tell their
grandchildren that in September of 2007 their great-great-
grandfather spoke to this Committee to address the issue of
global warming and the long-term consequences. I want them to
know that I did what I could. Members of this committee, I
trust you will do the same.
Thank you for the privilege of speaking.
[The prepared statement of Pastor Edmund follows:]
Statement of Richard Edmund, Pastor, United Methodist Churches,
Smith Island, MD
Thank you, Madam Chairman, and members of the Committee. My name is
C. Richard Edmund and I am the pastor of the three United Methodist
churches on Smith Island, Maryland.
I'm here to speak for Smith Island, the planet, future generations,
and how, I believe, God wants humans to interact with Creation.
Smith Island, Maryland is located across from the mouth of the
Potomac River surrounded by the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Our
population is about 225 people spread among the three communities of
Ewell, Rhodes Point, and Tylerton.
Because of our geographical location we are certainly vulnerable to
the effects of a rising sea level. Most of the dwellings are just a
couple of feet above an abnormally high tide or a storm surge from a
hurricane. In 2003 Hurricane Isabel caused a storm surge which came
into a few of the houses, and covered most of the inhabitable land, and
all of the marsh area.
A rising sea level will accelerate the effect of erosion which
threatens parts of the Island. The recent work by this Committee and
the corresponding members on the House side is greatly appreciated in
including a Smith Island project in the recently passed Water Resources
Development Act bill. Thank you!
Almost all of the Island families depend on harvesting from the
water for their livelihood, and the numbers of crabs and oysters are
much less now than earlier. Any climate changes caused by human
activity can only diminish what God created and called `good'.
While I have not been on the Island long enough to observe possible
climate changes myself, older residents tell me:
1. Some houses that never or rarely had water in their yards now
often experience that inconvenience during extra high tides.
2. We do not have the winter blizzards or freezes that is within
the memory of many Islanders. Now most winters the total snowfall is
less than 6 inches.
3. There is wildlife present now that didn't use to be there. The
brown pelican began settling this far north about a dozen years ago and
now nest on the border with Virginia.
The independent folks of our communities have been toughened over
time from dealing with the elements of nature. Despite difficult times
for watermen, residents are determined to stay until forced to leave by
the economy or the environment. Twenty five years ago, experts said we
wouldn't be here in 25 years. As an Islander, Jennings Evans summed it
up, ``We'll be here as long as the Lord wants us here''.
But reports of potential sea level rises are daunting. I know
several of you have been to Greenland recently and have seen first hand
the beginning of a large scale meltdown. Predictions of a 20-23 foot
sea level rise would affect many millions of people worldwide. A rise
of three feet would likely be the end of practical living on Smith
Island. A recent movie entitled, ``We Are All Smith Islanders''
highlights that while our area is the oft referred to ``canary in the
coal mine'', all of us are vulnerable is some way to any human involved
In 1813 one of the future members of the Senate, Army General
William Henry Harrison of Ohio received a war report from Commodore
Oliver Perry after the Battle of Lake Erie, ``We have met the enemy and
he is ours''. For Earth Day 1970 Walt Kelly changed one word in order
to point out where the blame originates with our environmental
problems. His cartoon character Pogo says, ``We have met the enemy and
he is us.''
I urge this Committee to strongly address this issue which
threatens our security and I believe disrupts God's instruction to Adam
and Eve to ``work the Garden of Eden and take care of it''.
On a kayak trip I took down the Susquehanna River a man in northern
Pennsylvania asked me, ``Are they mad at us down there?'' He was
wondering if the acid mine drainage, silt runoff and other pollutants
originating in the upper River area had upset those living around the
The larger question is whether future generations, downstream in
time, will be angry with us for not doing more to stem the changes that
seem inevitable now.
One of the reasons I feel good about being here today is that my
four oldest grandchildren, Bryn, Elisabeth, Brooke, and Caroline, are
here with me, along with my daughters. I trust that part of my legacy
for them will be that they will tell their grandchildren that in
September of 2007 their great great grandfather spoke to this Committee
to address the issue of global warming and the long term consequences.
I want them to know that I did what I could. Members of this Committee,
I trust you will do the same.
Thank you for your time.
Responses by Pastor Richard Edmund to Additional Questions
from Senator Cardin
Question 1. With a population of just 225 people and three
churches, Smith Island must be home to people who really value their
faith. You have spoken eloquently today about how faith sustains the
people of Smith Island. Would you please take a few minutes more to
talk about how your faith motivates you to be involved in issues such
as this one, especially the role you see among people of faith and
their stewardship responsibilities for God's creation?
Response. A lot of my sense of responsibility for caring for God's
creation comes from the book of Genesis. In chapter 2 verse 15 God
instructs Adam to ``work and keep'' the Garden of Eden. Surely this is
a guideline for the rest of our environment. While we have dominion
over the earth, that doesn't mean we dominate and subject it to
whatever purpose seems best for us for our immediate future.
After the Flood God makes a covenant with Noah and his descendants
never again to destroy the earth by a flood. In this passage in Genesis
9, verses 9 and 10, God includes ``birds, livestock, and all the wild
animals'' in this binding agreement. They are our partners in this
covenant with God, and I believe we need to defend them against harm.
There is Biblical support for this position in Proverbs 31:8-9 where we
are told to ``speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, . . .
defend the rights of the poor and needy.'' While this is directed
primarily toward other humans, I believe God would want us to defend
His creation and our partners against harm due to our greed. Nature is
often without defense from our modern machinery and waste products from
power plants, homes and industry. It must please God that some are
speaking up for the part of God's creation we are intentionally and
unintentionally changing. As I said in my testimony, God called
Creation good, and we can't make it better.
We on Smith Island certainly use our share of energy and contribute
to global warming, but I believe that folks like watermen and farmers
who work with nature have a greater appreciation for being good
stewards of God's creation. It is their faith in God and what I see as
my responsibility to them, and the rest of the world, that helps form
my faith response on this issue of global warming.
Question 2. In your testimony you relate a wonderful story about a
conversation you had with someone who lived `up-watershed' in
Pennsylvania who expected criticism for the pollution that was making
its way down into the Chesapeake. Your gracious answer to him was a
good lesson to all of us about finding solutions, not assigning blame.
But I want to focus on the challenge that you then issued to all of us.
You say that we need to answer the challenge of those who live not just
downstream today, but those who live in downstream generations. I
agree. Would you take a moment to talk about the responsibility we have
to future generations to address climate change today?
Response. Many Native American tribes traditionally considered how
their actions would affect those who came after them for seven
generations. There is a statue dedicated to this thought on the banks
of the Susquehanna River which provides one-half of the fresh water
flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. It was further upriver from that point
that the question was asked about responsibility for what has happened
to the Bay and beyond. I have a feeling that those in the generations
to follow ours will wonder ``What were they thinking?'' when those in
positions to make a difference stood by and watched as pollutants in
many forms poured into our air, land and water and did little or
nothing to stop the effects with which they will then have to contend.
As a heavily loaded train or a large ship takes a long distance to
slow down and stop, the earth changes we seem to have initiated will
take many years and maybe generations to slow down. It is an almost
complete unknown what will really happen after we are gone. The wildly
differing estimates of sea level rise attest to that factor in the
equation of global change. But each little step will help and we can't
be intimidated by the enormity of the problem.
A couple years ago I testified for the Maryland legislature about
why power plants should restrict their emissions into the atmosphere.
In addition to the Senate hearing where I was very honored to speak to
this issue of global warming, I will share that with my children and
grandchildren, and I trust they will pass along to their children in
turn, that I did try to help stem what seems like a runaway train that
they will have to figure out how to stop, or how to live with the
consequences. We all can do more to stem the changes that will
inevitably come, but our legacy to those who come along after we are
gone, should be that we tried to make a difference.
Senator Cardin. Thank you for your testimony. We welcome
your family. I think it is a fitting conclusion to this panel,
and tells us the responsibility that all of us have in trying
to get the Federal policies correct.
We will start the questioning with Senator Mikulski.
Senator Mikulski. First of all, I just want to thank every
member of the panel for not only their contribution to this
hearing, but what you do every day in terms of the vitality of
the Bay, in terms of what you bring to the table, whether it is
scientific commentary, pastoral stewardship, or advocacy.
Dr. Schnare, thank you very much for bringing the geo-
engineering information. We will come back to it in time, but I
would just invite you, if you have a framework that you would
like to bring to my committee's attention, we would welcome
this, because I think it will be a topic that will move on the
global screen. I have questions and yellow lights about it. But
rather than us giving our opinions about it, let's go beyond
opinion and go to sound data and research, which is what we
have been talking about here today.
Dr. Schnare. I would be happy to do that.
Senator Mikulski. I believe that anything dealing with
global warming, and any changes, has to deal with, number one,
the right diagnosis and the right prescription. Then you need
the political will. Political will will only come if people
think they are affected.
Now, Pastor Edmund, when I hear your testimony and look at
the fact that there are now only 225 people on Smith Island,
when it used to have a much larger population, the fact that
people leave the island every day to commute into Crisfield,
taking jobs, for example, at the prison so that they could have
health care and a reliable revenue stream, while the men are
kind of foraging for crabs.
My question to you, and I know you have been part of a
covenant approach, et cetera, tell me why are so many people
leaving the island now on a permanent basis?
Pastor Edmund. It is complicated to answer, as global
warming is. Some of them leave because it is a difficult
situation for their young people to commute back and forth each
day to school. It is a one hour boat ride each way, and if they
want to be involved in sports activities and other activities.
Senator Mikulski. Let's go to the economics. Is it the fact
that there is a decline in oysters, or what?
Pastor Edmund. There are certainly many of the younger
people that are not deciding to get into the watermen industry.
It is a big output financially to do that. The future doesn't
hold strong for a good harvest from the crabs or the oysters,
so some people are leaving for that reason. Some people are
going and working on barges and tugs. Quite a few people do
that for the consistent income and also for the benefits
provided, because of the difficulty to continue crabbing.
Senator Mikulski. So two things: No. 1, the concern about
reliable income; and No. 2, reliable income is usually based on
the way they earn their living, and the way they earn their
living was off primarily crabbing and oysters. Isn't that
Pastor Edmund. Yes. I would say maybe 90 percent of the
income for just people living on the island comes from the
Senator Mikulski. Let's go to you, Dr. Boesch. The Wildlife
Federation put out this report, and we welcome it. But how long
have you been studying the Bay?
Pastor Boesch. A little over 25 years.
Senator Mikulski. Twenty-five years, and you have
everything from peer measurements that go back 100 years, to
your own research team. Now, in this report, as Senator Cardin
has raised, oysters and crabs are part of our identity. They
are also an important part of our economy, and we know that
just if we look at watermen alone, let alone the multiplier
part, we are talking about what was once thousands of people.
So here is my question. Given temperature rise, the change
in chemical composition possibly, as a colleague mentioned,
what now are there indications will happen to crabs and
oysters, say, in the next--let's take crabs and then go to
oysters--over the next 5 years? Not the worst case scenario,
but a mid-case scenario. And where do you think we will be in,
say, 5 years or 10 years if current trend lines continue?
Pastor Boesch. Well, of course the predictions are
difficult, particularly, as they say, about the future. So it
is hard to draw firm conclusions. However, we can look at the
things that we think are the most likely to happen as the Bay
continues to warm, and sea levels continue to rise. The threats
to those two resources are primarily these.
First of all, juvenile crabs, depend on the Zostera or
eelgrass beds in the lower bay that we have talked about. Just
2 years ago, we almost lost them. At the end of a very warm
summer, populations were down to a very low level. Young crabs
also depend on tidal marshes, which are very much in jeopardy
as sea level rise accelerates. So for crabs, the habitat losses
are a really critical problem. The prognosis doesn't seem to be
promising. We won't lose crabs altogether, but the number and
productivity of blue crabs will probably be diminished.
Second, with respect to oysters, as the Bay deepens as sea
level rises, more ocean water coming into the Bay. If there is
a fixed amount of fresh water coming in from the rivers, this
means the salinity lines move up in the Bay. As you know,
Senator, that is really a serious problem for oysters because
of the oyster diseases which are controlled by salinity. So as
salinity increases, the diseases will progress farther up the
Senator Mikulski. So is it conceivable that the economy
that we know, that if we were sitting at one of our famous crab
houses, and I won't mention them by name. It is like saying who
is your favorite child. But if we were sitting in one of the
crab houses in Maryland, it is conceivable--
Senator Warner. Or Virginia.
Senator Mikulski. Or Virginia.
Senator Warner. Thank you.
Senator Mikulski. You know, we still haven't had that
crabcake cook-off that you challenged me with.
Senator Mikulski. But the fact is that we could look to
more and more importing because we cannot meet the demand now.
Is that right?
Mr. Boesch. That is correct. As you know, Senator, that is
happening now with the importation of both oysters and crabs to
meet the local and regional demand.
Senator Mikulski. Which would be a decline of our economy
and our whole way of life. I mean, the watermen.
Now, let's, if I could just turn from my last question, to
Will Baker. Will, and all the panelists, do you remember when
Isabel hit and we had the surge in the Bay and the water came
up. In my mind, we got a taste of what rising sea level would
mean. It was temporary, but it was devastating. Will, take me
on a tour down the Bay, starting at Crisfield and ending in
Baltimore. As you see the temperature rise, what would you say
is the impact, just physically, on Crisfield, Hoopers,
Annapolis, and Baltimore?
Mr. Baker. Well, Senator, we released a climate change
report this summer. On the cover is a picture of downtown
Annapolis during Hurricane Isabel. I think that picture speaks
1,000 words. That is what you are going to see in Crisfield and
Hoopers Island and St. Michaels and all the way up into
Baltimore, is streets flooded, resources flooded, economic
damage. I think it is critical.
You mentioned the farmers. It certainly impacts there. With
greater storms and runoff and erosion, you are going to have
more sediment loads in the Bay. So I would add that to what Dr.
Boesch said is an impact.
Senator Mikulski. And agricultural legacy issues, in other
words, no matter what you have been able to work out
constructively with agriculture and poultry, what will run off
will not be pristine topsoil.
Mr. Baker. There is no question. We could face severe
economic, environmental, recreational, human health issues.
Senator Mikulski. But if we picture Hoopers Island, that
would probably go under water.
Mr. Baker. The islands of the Bay are already disappearing,
and you would see that accelerate and probably come to a
conclusion in our lifetimes.
Senator Mikulski. Now, let's picture Annapolis, from the
Naval Academy to Main Street. During Isabel, it just flooded
out. We had $42 million worth of damage at the Naval Academy.
It flooded out the entire power plant at the Naval Academy, and
classes had to be moved to a variety of other settings, just as
Can you describe what Annapolis would look like?
Mr. Baker. Absolutely. That is what you would see more of.
Fells Point, your hometown, underwater. So there is human,
economic, and environmental health impacts from all of this.
Senator Mikulski. Well, I will stop with my questions.
Senator Cardin, do you remember how you, both as a House
member and in the General Assembly, remember how we had to deal
with beach erosion in Ocean City? So we had to deal with a lot
of remedial work. It seems to me we have to look ahead to, if
global warming is so, and water will rise, not at the draconian
rate of say 20 feet, but 2 feet, then they are not going to be
able to get insurance for their buildings; being able to pull
back from the water. I don't know how you pull back the Naval
Academy. I really don't. And all that has been around it would
When you think of Baltimore, what would run off into the
Bay, because you have agricultural legacy, but we have
industrial legacy that could cause significant pollution. But
there would be no remediation to protect our land resources.
So I will stop now, because to me the best prevention will
be working internationally, and of course, our own national
solutions with Governors. But again, I am going to stop. We
really want to thank you. I am sorry I couldn't ask each and
every one of you a question.
Senator Cardin. Senator Mikulski, thank you. As I pointed
out, AllState already has stopped insuring, and many of the
insurance companies. If you live in the coastal areas, it is
tough to get insurance today because the insurance companies
understand the risk, not only the risk from sea level change,
but it is climate change. They understand that. They understand
that they are not willing to risk their financial investments.
It is causing real hardships for people who live in coastal
The chart that we brought here shows a one meter, the red
is a one meter increase in sea level. Dr. Boesch indicated two
to four feet would be what you could reasonably anticipate. So
that would be about the average increase, but then red would be
under water. So it gives you an indication of the serious
threat this region has from sea level change increases.
Senator Warner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A question for Mr. Baker. The environmental bill that
Senator Lieberman and I are working on does have a provision
for the Bay. As a matter of fact, there is quite a liberal
provision in there for distribution of funds to the interests
of fishermen, trout streams. We have a lot of environmental
funding streams going out. But let's assume we have a block of
money, and it does pass through for the Bay, what are the
mechanisms by which we get it down into the proper priorities
for the Bay? Congress can't be expected to know the details to
make that assessment.
Should we sort of divide the money between the several
States that are surrounding the Bay? It may be somewhat
disproportionate for Maryland and Virginia, given that their
shorelines consume a good deal of it. How would you go about
the mechanism by which we--the conduit for the money to the Bay
form the cap and trade proposal now under consideration?
Mr. Baker. The good news, Senator, is that thanks to
scientists here today, Dr. Boesch, Dr. Pyke and certainly all
those behind them, the science is very precise in terms of how
the money could be spent most effectively. I will just touch on
one area that I mentioned in my testimony which has benefits
also for global climate change because it sequesters carbon.
To use some of this money to help the farmers put the best
management practices on their land, that have proven to be the
most cost-effective way to reduce a pound of nitrogen from
coming into the Chesapeake Bay, just to take that one
pollutant, seems to me the place where now much of the focus
Thanks to the good work in the Commonwealth and in the
State of Maryland, we have come a long way towards addressing
sewage treatment plant upgrades to the state of technology. But
now we need to turn to the agricultural sector. They are
meeting us more than half way. They want to do what is right.
They want to invest their own money, but they need assistance.
There are numerous mechanisms whereby those decisions can
be made to get the money to the most effective areas in keeping
Senator Warner. Well, is it better to say to the State of
Virginia and Maryland, ``Here is the money; you go back and
direct how your farmers do it, not the Federal Government.'' If
I might draw on a modest bit of experience. I spent many of my
summers as a boy on farms growing up, back in the days when we
didn't have many tractors. They are all big dray horses we
used. And I then owned quite a few farms in my lifetime. So I
have always been interested in it.
Farmers are very independent. When you step on their land,
that is their sovereign territory. Now, it doesn't take a
genius to figure out that when you are plowing, you expose the
soil, but you have to do it--although we do more sod planting
now--but plowing exposes a very dangerous time for the drain-
off. But you can plug up the tributaries and so forth it drains
I don't see why it takes so much money to try and help the
farmers do what seems to me is obvious to them. They have
farmed that land and their forefathers in most instances have
farmed it, too.
Mr. Baker. Well, I think it is competing----
Senator Warner. It's not rocket science, is it?
Mr. Baker. I think it is competing in a world economy that
is trying to get more and more production out of the same acre
Senator Warner. I agree with that.
Mr. Baker. We see that happening all the time in terms of
the intensity with which land is farmed now, dramatically
increased even for the last 40 or 50 years, so more
fertilizers, more herbicides, more intense croppings. I think
that is really at the root of why it is so much more difficult
today than it may have been in the past.
Senator Warner. Any other suggestions? I think you are well
taken and you are correct about the advancement in science in
trying to take less and less tillage land and put it to good
Dr. Schnare. Senator, the Thomas Jefferson Institute has
been working very hard to try and find ways to encourage
farmers to transition to never-till farming. We don't begin to
take responsibility for what has happened, but we are very
pleased to report what has happened. As recently as 5 years
ago, fewer than 80,000 acres in Virginia were in the mix. It is
now up to about 150,000 acres out of 1.1 million. You can
reduce nutrients by 90 percent by using these advanced
Senator Warner. You mean nutrients escaping from the
Dr. Schnare. Exactly.
Senator Warner. You don't have the streams and tributaries
feeding into the----
Dr. Schnare. Yes, sir. Exactly that. But what we found it
takes, because farmers make money doing this, it is to their
benefit to do it, it is rocket science. It is a difficult
change in farming, and we found, and have worked very hard, for
one, I am pleased that the State legislature acceded to this,
to increase funding to the technical experts in the State Farm
Bureaus and the like, who can be the agents of change to help
farmers transition. They haven't done it immediately, but it is
growing. The number one most productive corn farmer in the
United States has been doing never-till farming for over 15
Senator Warner. You mean sod planting?
Dr. Schnare. No, Senator, I mean corn production Virginia.
Senator Warner. No-till.
Mr. Schnare. He doesn't even use winter cover crop at this
Senator Warner. Is that right?
Mr. Schnare. He is right on the Rappahannock. He is a
remarkably good farmer and he is a model for the entire State.
We are going to encourage more and more of that. That is why we
work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and others to try to
bring these methods forward over the last several years.
But keep in mind, and this is important to understand,
regardless of how we get them the money, we have a short-term
problem as well as a long-term problem. The short-term problem
is the foot or two ocean rise. The second problem is the many
feet ocean rise. They are two different kinds of problems.
I extend again the opportunity to inform you, as Senator
Mikulski has asked us to do, to talk about geo-engineering,
which will address these, some in the short term and some in
the long term. Those are not State challenges. Those will have
to be Federal and international.
Senator Warner. I appreciate that testimony, and I may have
been a little off the mark on that. I accept your answer as
being the correct one, that there is a measure of rocket
science in this and we have to help our farmers learn it.
Could I have one more quick question? A little bit of
philosophical approach to this whole subject of climate change.
I am a relative newcomer. I have been on this committee I think
20 odd years now, but we have really come into focus on this
issue. I have teamed up, and I am ready to step out and take
risks and politics be darned. We are going to try and drive
this bill through.
But in fairness to other colleagues on this Committee and
throughout the Senate, there is still a lot of question marks
about global climate change, is it real, what are the unknowns.
I mean, it caught my attention when Mr. Boesch, his opening
statement, very well drafted, and I will repeat it: ``Chairman
Boxer, members of the Committee, I am Don Boesch. I am pleased
to appear before you today to address what is known.'' That is
the key phrase, ``what is known about the impacts of global
Now, any bill like cap and trade is secretly reaching into
the pockets of Mr. and Mrs. America, the working people. There
is nothing that is of greater value next to a man's home and
his family, than his car. And that is becoming a more costly
means of transportation because of fuel costs. Every home has
got to go through a measure of heating or cooling, as the case
may be, during various times of the year.
These costs are going to begin to creep, and the public I
think is going to say, ``OK, let's give it a chance; I will
continue to pay.'' But if we try and push too far in our
initial charge forward on this issue, and we overstep
technology and overstep what we know and how to go about
correcting it, I think the public might rebel and we will all
pull back and then have to start again, and I don't know when
we would get the momentum to start again.
So I do it with a measure of caution. No matter how
committed you are individually, and I am and certain members of
this committee, there are those who way to say let's go at a
pace where we are secure, and then consolidate our gains, and
then move ahead again.
Now, it is clear that we have to put down some very strong
markers. We can't go about this thing half-hearted. But
whatever we do, let's go at it with a full heart, but only try
and gain that amount of ground in our first charge out of the
trenches and over the top into the face of the unknown, and
then consolidate and then do it again.
Just philosophically, do you all share that? Or do you have
a difference of views? Let's just start at your end and go the
other way for a change.
Pastor Edmund. Well, we certainly want to be correct in
what we are doing. It is a fine line as to whether we delay
long enough to make 100 percent certainty as to whether this
climate change is actually going to occur. Of if we wait too
long, and then it is so much of a larger job ahead of us.
But I think if we apply reasonable measures, it is better
to err on the side of caution. We certainly for a couple
centuries now have been putting a lot of pollutants into the
air that have to have some sort of effect, I believe, on the
climate in the long run.
Senator Warner. I agree with you. I am willing to take a
measure of risk, not concerning my political risk or anything
Pastor Edmund. Right.
Senator Warner. Take a measure of risk, but we just want to
capture that high ground that we can take based on some pretty
solid data as to the effects of climate change and the degree
to which technology and modern science can put in corrective
Mr. Schnare. Thank you, Senator. I think the question of
incremental approaches crashes on the rocks of the time scales
with which we are operating. If we are to prevent 550 parts per
million of CO2 in our atmosphere, which is
considered the point at which we hit the first tipping point,
the inevitable full melting of the Greenland ice sheet, some
argue, including Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, that it is
already too late, and that any attempt to prevent that is
nothing more than, in his words, ``a pious hope.''
If what I am hearing from you is that the 80 percent
reduction needed worldwide is too much of a first step, and
since China and India refuse to do it, it probably is, then I
think what you have to examine is what can we do--we know there
are acute things to do for the first 20 years. We know they are
affordable. But they will not solve the initial problem. We are
going to need a couple of centuries to move away from carbon-
based fuel, which is why I have raised to the Committee this
concern about geo-engineering, that someone will use, but which
is not now being managed or even contemplated on how we would
manage this process.
Senator Warner. Well, I don't mean to be half-hearted, but
just philosophically I will take into consideration your views.
Mr. Avery. The correlation between our temperature record
over the last 150 years with CO2 is very, very weak.
The correlation with the sun spot index is very, very strong. I
think that, with all due respect to the power of the Congress,
you are headed for enormous anguish, frustration and misspent
capital in this effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It
will not halt the temperature cycle.
Mr. Boesch. Well, first the good news. We have a good
starting point, because I think we have all agreed, despite the
difference of perspectives, that the world is warming. So let's
get on beyond that discussion and figure out how much of the
warming is due to humankind, and how much is due to natural
The fact of the matter is that we have added greenhouse
gases into the atmosphere over the last 30 years that warmed
the earth 10 times more than the variation in the solar energy
reaching the earth. So although Mr. Avery indicated that the
solar activity does affect our climate, we are going to a new
era beyond that. We are already in a warm period and we are now
taking it outside of what the earth has seen over hundreds of
thousands of years.
So I would agree that time is not on our side. We do need
to make some positive commitments and actions, but we don't
have all the solutions in hand. Whether it is geo-engineering
or carbon sequestration, all of these things are going to take
time and investment.
However, another point that Dr. Schnare made, is that there
are lots of things that we can do now to sort of reverse the
upward growth in emissions and then reduce them. That is why
States have formed climate commissions, including the one
Governor O'Malley talked about, that are developing goals from
a State perspective. The States are setting 2020 goals for
emissions reductions, something that we could actually begin to
strive to achieve specifically. What they are concluding is
that once you look at it, it is feasible to return to levels of
emissions that were present in 1990.
Guess what? This fear that it is going to bankrupt us, we
can't afford it, goes away when you start to look at ways to
achieve these goals. The State of Arizona recently completed
its plan. The State of Arizona is one of the fastest growing
States in the Nation and Lord knows, it has huge demands for
air conditioning. It estimated that it could reduce its
greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels even with all of
its growth and economic development, and actually save for
their economy $5.5 billion--not cost, but save. There are up-
front investments. There are investments that have to be made
in terms of alternative energy sources. But most of the other
things we can do actually benefit our economy and benefit
families, because they reduce energy consumption.
Senator Warner. The point is well taken. I didn't mean to
consume time. I think I hit sort of an interesting note.
Senator Cardin. No, no, I want to give you the chance for
the last two to respond. I think it is a very important
Senator Warner. Let's do that.
Senator Cardin. Because we need to figure out what is the
practical way we can get this accomplished.
Senator Warner. That is correct.
Mr. Pyke. Thank you. I will try to answer very succinctly.
One, emissions choices make a difference. That is
important. Two, wearing one hat, part of my professional life
is in the building sector. It is an industry that is
transforming itself to meet higher levels of performance. This
not so much about cost as it is about fixing a fragmented and
complicated industry. That is something we can do and we can
all profit from in various ways.
The third and more important issue, or equally important
issue, is that a lot of the things we talked about with regard
to the Bay are process improvements. This is about electing to
make a different decision in how we are managing our resources.
As Dr. Boesch had said, we are looking at changing conditions.
Thus, it is irresponsible to carry out our responsibilities as
if climate wasn't changing. And so as we carry out the Clean
Water Act, as we carry out the Endangered Species Act, as we
look at NEPA, those are situations where it is now responsible.
The standard of care is shifting so that we should ask our
agencies to include that in their decisionmaking process
explicitly. That can be done immediately.
Senator Warner. Good.
Mr. Baker. I truly believe the costs will actually come
down to the general public. In the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's
energy efficient building, for instance, we are saving $75,000
a year in energy costs. So I think conservation of energy is a
great cost saving.
Senator Warner. I agree.
Mr. Baker. But secondly, maybe here is the philosophical
part, let's accept for a moment that global warming is not
going to happen. And then let's look at all the strategies that
have been put forward to address global warming. All of them
make great environmental sense even if they are not to address
global warming. I will just cite my friend Jim Woolsey, who is
such an advocate for energy conservation. His motivation is
because he believes global warming is real, but also energy
independence for this Country and the great benefit that is to
So there are lots of other benefits of the strategies we
have all been talking about beyond global warming.
Senator Warner. I share your admiration for Jim Woolsey.
I thank the Chair. I thank my colleagues. What an excellent
hearing we have had this morning.
Senator Cardin. Senator Warner, thank you. I think the last
point that Mr. Baker made is that there is more unity in this
issue than one might expect, for different reasons. I think
there is a strong need for the environmental issues, including
the Chesapeake Bay, but also national security on energy
independence, and also economic issues because we can save a
lot of money for our economy.
Following up with what Dr. Boesch said, there is agreement,
I think consensus, that we are getting warmer, and warmer is
not good for the health of the Chesapeake Bay region. Whether
it has to do with the warmer waters, which is affecting the
life on Smith Island because it affects the watermen's
livelihood, or whether it affects people who want to live here
because they want to go out on the weekend and catch rockfish,
which might not be here in the future if we are not careful as
to what happens with the warming of the Chesapeake Bay, whether
it is sea level increases, which certainly is having an impact
on the life of this entire region, or whether it is storm
conditions which bring us more unpredictable weather, which is
affecting the ability not only to get insurance, but the safety
of your family.
These are all issues that I think we need to deal with. I
do think that there is also general agreement with what Dr.
Boesch said, and that is, sure, we go through cycles of
warming, but there is normally stability in those cycles. And
then in the last 50 years, we have seen something somewhat
dramatic as to what has happened. Although there may be some
argument as to what impact the greenhouse gases have on that,
it has been the major variable over the last 50 years, the
amount of emissions of greenhouse gases. So it is something
that is a major concern as to how we are going to figure out
what is right for the Chesapeake Bay and our environment, but
also what is right for our energy policy in this Country.
I think Senator Warner's point about coming up with a
practical solution is important. It is not only important from
the point of view of getting a bill passed in the Congress and
signed by the President, but we need also to be credible for
international leadership. The United States has to get back in
the game. We do need to be able to exercise international
leadership as it relates to what is happening in China and
India and other countries because obviously that has an impact
on what we are doing.
So I think these are all interrelated, but clearly the
people in the Chesapeake Bay region are directly affected by
I thank all of you for the manner in which you have made
your presentations today. I agree with Chairman Boxer, I think
this has been a very, very important hearing for all of us who
are trying to do what we can to preserve a way of life for the
people of this region. And to Pastor Edmund, I will conclude
with you. Your grandchildren should be very proud of what you
are doing. On a typical Sunday, you should know that Pastor
Edmund needs to use a golf cart and a boat in order to get to
the three churches on Smith Island in order to provide the
spiritual leadership to that community, which is just an
inspiration to all of us.
We thank you very much for all of you being here. We look
forward to working with you.
The Committee will keep the record open for one week.
If there is nothing further?
Senator Mikulski. Mr. Chairman, Acting Chairman, I would
like to just thank again everyone who participated, and all the
hard work that went into it.
What I would like to just comment is that I was very
pleased that maybe I have had a modest impact on public policy
by my presence. But I have obviously helped you move up and in
2\1/2\ hours become Chairman.
Senator Mikulski. We have had a good day. Thank you very
Senator Cardin. Maryland is in a good position right now.
Senator Mikulski. As Louis Goldstein would say, ``God bless
you all real good.''
Senator Cardin. The Committee will stand adjourned. Thank
[Whereupon, at 12:04 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]
[Additional statements submitted for the record follow:]
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