[Senate Hearing 111-1179]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 111-1179
UPDATE ON THE LATEST
GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 25, 2009
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COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
ONE HUNDRED ELEVENTH CONGRESS
BARBARA BOXER, California, Chairman
MAX BAUCUS, Montana JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
THOMAS R. CARPER, Delaware GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
FRANK R. LAUTENBERG, New Jersey DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont MIKE CRAPO, Idaho
AMY KLOBUCHAR, Minnesota CHRISTOPHER S. BOND, Missouri
SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, Rhode Island LAMAR ALEXANDER, Tennessee
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
JEFF MERKLEY, Oregon
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, New York
ARLEN SPECTER, Pennsylvania
Bettina Poirier, Staff Director
Ruth Van Mark, Minority Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
FEBRUARY 25, 2009
Boxer, Hon. Barbara, U.S. Senator from the State of California... 1
Inhofe, Hon. James M., U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma... 3
Lautenberg, Hon. Frank, U.S. Senator from the State of New Jersey 7
Bond, Hon. Christopher ``Kit'', U.S. Senator from the State of
Klobuchar, Hon. Amy, U.S. Senator from the State of Minnesota.... 14
Specter, Hon. Arlen, U.S. Senator from the State of Pennsylvania. 15
Merkley, Hon. Jeff, U.S. Senator from the State of Oregon........ 17
Sanders, Hon. Bernard, U.S. Senator from the State of Vermont.... 17
Barrasso, Hon. John, U.S. Senator from the State of Wyoming...... 18
Cardin, Hon. Benjamin, U.S. Senator from the State of Maryland... 20
Whitehouse, Hon. Sheldon, U.S. Senator from the State of Rhode
Udall, Hon. Tom, U.S. Senator from the State of New Mexico....... 23
Gillibrand, Hon. Kirsten, U.S. Senator from the State of New York 24
Crapo, Hon. Mike, U.S. Senator from the State of Idaho, prepared
Pachauri, Rajendra K., Ph.D., Chairman, United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...................... 25
Prepared statement........................................... 28
Responses to additional questions from Senator Cardin........ 84
Response to an additional question from Senator Sanders...... 85
Responses to additional questions from:
Senator Inhofe........................................... 85
Senator Crapo............................................ 88
Field, Christopher, Ph.D., Director, Department of Global
Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University;
Co-Chair, Working Group II, United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change........................................ 91
Prepared statement........................................... 94
Responses to additional questions from Senator Cardin........ 113
Response to an additional question from Senator Sanders...... 115
Responses to additional questions from Senator Inhofe........ 115
Response to an additional question from Senator Crapo........ 117
Frumkin, Howard, M.D., MPH, DR.PH., Director, National Center for
Environmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention; Director, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Prepared statement........................................... 121
Response to an additional question from Senator Sanders...... 146
Responses to additional questions from Senator Crapo......... 147
Happer, William, Ph.D., Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics,
Princeton University........................................... 149
Prepared statement........................................... 152
Responses to additional questions from Senator Inhofe........ 163
UPDATE ON THE LATEST
GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2009
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
The full committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m. in
room 406, Dirksen Senate Building, Hon. Barbara Boxer (chairman
of the Committee), presiding.
Present: Senators Boxer, Inhofe, Carper, Lautenberg,
Cardin, Sanders, Klobuchar, Whitehouse, Udall, Merkley,
Gillibrand, Barrasso, Specter, Bond.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BARBARA BOXER,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Senator Boxer. The hearing will come to order.
Today we are going to have a very esteemed panel to discuss
the latest global warming science. Senator Inhofe and I
will have 6 minutes, not 5, for our opening statements, and
then the rest of our colleague will have five. And then our
friends on the panel, our distinguished panel, all of you will
have seven minutes in which to present, and then we will have
We are having this hearing because obviously we all feel we
must be guided by the best available science as we address the
challenge of global warming. This morning we will hear from
several of the world's leading scientists about the latest
global warming science.
In 2007, the Nobel prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, the IPCC, painted a stark and sobering picture
of the future that awaits us if we fail to act quickly to curb
global warming pollution. The IPCC's projections for North
American include an increase in the frequency and duration of
heat waves and heat-related illness; an increase in water-borne
disease from degraded water quality; more respiratory disease,
including asthma and other lung diseases from increased ozone
or smog concentrations, particularly dangerous to children and
the elderly; more winter flooding, reduced summer flows and
intensified water shortages in the West due to reduced snow
pack; droughts and insect invasions that will kill crops and
forests and will leave forests more susceptible to fire;
intensified storms that will batter coastal communities and
habitats, with the damage compounded by erosion.
Since 2007, new studies have confirmed the warnings sounded
by the IPCC, and many of the latest findings suggest that the
situation is more urgent than previously stated. Recent
scientific reports have found that greenhouse gas emissions are
increasing faster than predicted, black carbon soot is trapping
more of the sun's energy in the atmosphere than previously
understood, sea levels may be rising faster than previous
estimates predicted, the likelihood of destabilizing releases
of carbon from melting permafrost is greater than once thought.
We are reminded of the mounting evidence of the threat
posed by global warming in recent headlines. And I want to
share some of these headlines with you. The Washington Post:
Faster Climate Change Feared. The L.A. Times: West's Trees
Dying Faster as Temperatures Rise. The Washington Post: Long
Droughts, Rising Seas Predicted Despite Future CO2
Curbs. And the San Jose Mercury News: Global Warming Danger
The testimony we hear today will underscore the urgent need
to respond to these findings with decisive action. I am so
pleased to welcome our witnesses today. Dr. Pachauri is the
Chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
In 2008, Dr. Pachauri accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the
panel's 2,000 participating scientists. And he has been, I say
to my colleagues, so generous with his time. If any of you have
questions for him, he is there for you.
We also have Dr. Christopher Field. He is with us from
Stanford University. Dr. Field was the Co-Chair of Working
Group II of the IPCC, which focused on the impacts of global
warming. He is an expert on how global warming is already
affecting North America, and the additional impacts that are
likely to come with increased warming in the future.
I am also pleased that we have Dr. Howard Frumkin here
today. Dr. Frumkin is Director of the National Center for
Environmental Health at the CDC. The last time the CDC
testified here on the public impacts of global warming, we
discovered that the written testimony had been heavily redacted
by the White House. I am looking forward to the opportunity for
a full accounting of the dangers global warming poses to human
Dr. William Happer, a Professor of Physics at Princeton, is
a witness for the minority today. And I also want to thank him
so much for participating in this hearing.
In one of his first major statements after the election
last November, President Obama said ``Now is the time to
confront this challenge once and for all. Delay is no longer an
option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes
are too high, the consequences too serious.'' And in his speech
last night, our President called on Congress to enact
legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution.
And I believe we must and we will answer that call.
I am convinced that when we address the challenges of
climate change, the steps we take will create jobs, will
reinvigorate the economy and will make us more energy
independent. The science makes it clear that we must not wait
any longer to get started. And again, I want to say to the
scientists here, thank you so very much. You are here with no
political agenda, you are here to tell us the truth as you know
it, as you see it. And that is what will guide us, the science
will guide us. So thank you again very, very much.
And it is my pleasure to call upon our Ranking Member,
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES M. INHOFE,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA
Senator Inhofe. Thank you. Before my opening statement, let
me just acknowledge, we have some very significant things in
this Committee called Environment and Public Works that have
nothing to do with the environment. But the public works, we
have a Highway Bill coming up, a WRDA bill, Water Resources
Development Act, which we want to get back on a 2-year cycle.
And you are going to find that the Chairman and the Ranking
Member will be inseparable in these issues. They will be
working together, contrary to what you might see today.
Senator Inhofe. Now, thank you for holding the hearing
today, Madam Chairman. As you know, no one likes to talk more
about the global warming science than I do. However, with this
being the first climate change hearing in the 111th Congress
and in the midst of this deep financial crisis, the recession,
I thought I would start by quoting Ronald Reagan: ``There you
go again.'' In these turbulent financial times, rather than
opening with climate hearings that analyze issues that
Americans are concerned about, such as how cap and trade
policies, which were mentioned last night by the President, how
they are going to affect the bottom line.
I don't need computer models to tell me that the people are
hurting financially, that hundreds of thousands of Americans
are losing their jobs every month, and I don't need a degree in
science to tell me that the climate will continue to change and
challenge us all. I see it every day. Rather as law makers, it
is our duty here in this Committee to analyze the policy issues
that affect all Americans, especially in the near term. And I
am hopeful that this year we will schedule more hearings that
address these types of issues.
Now before I comment on the science and welcome our
distinguished witnesses, I thought I would try to put some of
these economic issues in perspective with the science. I will
use numbers that the Americans are unfortunately getting used
to. By this chart up here, all the bailouts that we have been
subjected to, one of the problems I have, we are thinking now
in terms of billions and trillions, which used to be in
millions. If you look at the auto bailout, housing bailout,
mortgage bailout, and then of course the big bank bailout, $700
billion, the economic bailout that was just passed.
Now, when you compare that to the climate bailout, this is
something you have to look at. And the figures we are using
here are not my figures, these were the figures of the authors
of the bill, the last climate bill that we had, which was the
Now, what they all have in common is that they represent
previously unimaginable amounts of money that the Government is
currently spending or eventually taxing to throw at our
problems and try to boost our economy. In the cap and trade
context, this comes in the form of taxes through passed on
higher energy costs, in terms of effectiveness. We learned last
week that at least with the auto bailout, the initial offering
didn't really work, because now both GM and Chrysler are coming
back for more.
Now, where does this climate science come in? It comes in
once again in terms of effectiveness, using our tax dollars
wisely, assuming the IPCC's own targets for stabilization of
CO2 in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million, or
even less realistic targets being argued by many.
Then the science dictates and the EPA confirms that the
U.S. only cap and trade policy is not going to be effective.
Now, if you just stop for a minute and just try logic, if this
were back talking about the Kyoto thing, assuming all countries
are going to do the same thing, there could be an argument that
to say, even if you believe that anthropogenic gases,
CO2, in carbon, is causing global warming, then what
good does it do for us unilaterally to try to do this as a
Country? Because all that would happen is, and we have
information from the National Association of Manufacturers and
others that our manufacturing base would further erode and go
to countries where there are no emission requirements. And I am
talking about China and Mexico and some of these other
So they may argue that on a new global international policy
where the U.S. should lead in order to reach such pie in the
sky reduction levels, however, these efforts should be
contrasted with the reports from just last month from the
Chinese government that show China is aiming to increase its
co-production by about 30 percent in 2015. So they have no
intention of dropping it down. We have many other quotes that
there is not time to talk about here.
Now, regarding the science. I welcome all the witnesses
here today including Dr. William Happer. I would say this, and
I would have done the same, and tried to do the same thing when
I was chairing this Committee, it is stacked three to one, so
anyone who is evaluating, this is not representative of an even
panel in terms of the positions. Dr. Happer is a professor at
the Department of Physics at Princeton University and former
Director of Energy Research in the Department of Energy from
1990 to 1993. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society,
the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and
the National Academy of Sciences. I welcome him and all the
As you know, I regularly serve as a disseminator of
information on the latest science that is not being reported in
the mainstream media. I have given 12 floor speeches on this
document, if anyone wants to endure all 12 of them, you can get
them on my site, Inhofe.senate.gov. And contrary to the media
and the United Nations, what they have promoted, there is a
growing body of scientific studies and scientists who are
openly rebelling against these so-called consensus. Recently I
released a new report on climate scientists, which documents
many studies. The report included over 650 scientists who
reject the assertions made by the United Nations. It features
skeptical voices of over 650 prominent international
scientists, including many, and it has been updated, I might
add, there are now close to 800 on this list.
So I would note that with over 650 dissenting scientists or
more than 12 times the number of U.N. scientists, that is 52,
who authored the IPCC's 2007 summary for policymakers. And I
would say that it is not really the report, it is the summary
for policymakers that the media, all these guys at this table
over here, are looking at. And that is not from scientists,
that is from policymakers and for politicians.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Senator Inhofe follows:]
Statement of Hon. James M. Inhofe,
U.S. Senator from the State of Oklahoma
Thank you, Madam Chairman, for holding today's hearing. As
you know, no one likes to talk more about climate science than
I do. However with this being the first climate change hearing
in the 111th Congress, and in the midst of a deep financial
crisis and recession, I thought I'd start by quoting Ronald
Reagan: ``There you go again.'' In these turbulent financial
times, rather than opening with climate hearings analyzing the
issues that concern Americans, such as how cap-and-trade
policies and taxes will affect our energy prices and our bottom
line, we are here today to focus once again on speculative
computer model predictions of 50 to100 years away of a looming
climate catastrophe, and the public health and ecological chaos
that will result from man's supposed effect on his climate by
the continuing use of fossil fuels.
I don't need computer models to tell me that people are
hurting financially, or that hundreds of thousands of Americans
are losing their jobs every month, and I don't need a degree in
science to tell me that the climate will continue to change and
challenge us all. I see it every day. Rather, as lawmakers, it
is our duty here in this Committee to analyze the policy issues
that affect all Americans, especially in the near term, and I
am hopeful that this year we will schedule more hearings that
address these types of issues.
Now, before I comment on the science and welcome our
distinguished witnesses, I thought I would try and put some of
these economic issues in perspective with the science. I will
use numbers that Americans are unfortunately getting used to
seeing with all of the debate on bailouts. As you can see, this
chart represents the costs of the various government bailouts
within the last year (Auto Bailout $17 Billion, Housing Bailout
$200B, Mortgage Bailout $275B, Bank Bailout, $700B, Economy
Bailout $787B). The bottom number represents the amount of
money the sponsors of the Lieberman-Warner bill said would be
generated under their cap-and-trade bill, which is included in
the billions, to keep the numbers in perspective.
What they all have in common is they represent previously
unimaginable amounts of money that the government is currently
spending or eventually taxing to throw at our problems to try
to ``boost'' our economy. In the cap-and-trade context, this
comes in the form of taxes through passed-on higher energy
costs. In terms of effectiveness, we learned last week that at
least with the auto bailout, the initial offering will be
ineffective, with GM and Chrysler both asking for billions more
and still leaving bankruptcy options open. Time will tell
whether these other bailouts are also proven ineffective.
Now where does climate science come in? It comes in once
again in terms of effectiveness, using our tax dollars wisely.
Assuming the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change's (IPCC's) own targets for stabilization of
CO2 in the atmosphere at 450 ppm (parts per
million), the EPA has confirmed that a U.S. only cap-and-trade
carbon policy will be ineffective. These targets are simply not
achievable with the approach to climate change that has been
the focus of the policy debate for years.
Now my colleagues will argue that we must focus on a new
global international policy the U.S. should lead in order to
reach such pie-in-the-sky reduction levels. However, these
efforts should be contrasted with last month's Chinese
government reports that show China is aiming to increase its
coal production by about 30 percent in 2015 to meet its energy
needs. In addition, other developing countries state they will
not agree to binding caps and that climate funding is an
entitlement, not aid, to be paid for by who else but us? It is
time for us to get realistic about these policies, and focus on
what is achievable, both globally and domestically, to help
bring down energy costs to consumers and make us more energy
Now, regarding the science, I welcome all of our witnesses
here today, including Dr. William Happer. Dr. Happer is a
professor at the Department of Physics at Princeton University
and former Director of Energy Research at the Department of
Energy from 1990 to 1993. He is a fellow of the American
Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement
of Science, and the National Academy of Sciences. I welcome his
and all of the witnesses' testimony.
As you know, I regularly serve as a disseminator of
information on the latest science that is not being reported in
the mainstream media. I have given over 12 floor speeches
documenting the politicization of the global warming science
issue. My continuing fear is that objective, transparent, and
verifiable science gets lost in the public dialog.
Contrary to what the media and the U.N. have promoted,
there is a growing body of scientific studies and scientists
who are openly rebelling against the so-called ``consensus.''
Recently, I released a new minority report on climate
science which documents many of the studies. That report
included over 650 scientists who have challenged man-made
global warming claims made by the IPCC and former Vice
President Al Gore.
It features the skeptical voices of over 650 prominent
international scientists, including many current and former
U.N. IPCC scientists. This updated report includes an
additional 250 scientists and climate researchers since the
initial release in December 2007. I would note the over 650
dissenting scientists are more than 12 times the number of U.N.
scientists (52) who authored the IPCC 2007 Summary for
I would like to insert this report in the record and I look
forward to referencing it in questions for the witnesses.
[The referenced material was not received at time of
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Senator, since I only took 5 minutes of my 6, I will answer
something you said. The first briefing we held in this
Committee was on January 7th, and it was called Investing in
Green Technology as a Strategy for Economic Recovery. So I know
you and I disagree on the point, but believe me, this Committee
is geared toward green jobs. We, as a matter of fact, have a
new subcommittee, that is going to be chaired by Bernie
Sanders, and I appreciate your approving of this, that is going
to be dealing with the creation of green jobs. Because we are
going to focus not only on the public works side with jobs,
jobs, jobs, but also on the Environment side.
And I also would point out on your chart that a cap and
trade system isn't a bailout, it is revenues coming into the
Government because we are going to have a private cap, we are
going to have a system that sets a price on carbon and does it
in the marketplace, just like the stock market. So it is going
to be done out there.
So rather than a bailout, it is a bail-in. We are going to
have help here, we are going to receive these large amounts of
money from a cap and trade system, and I am very excited about
Senator Inhofe. And I would concede to your first comments,
but I would only say in terms of bailouts, this is the amount
of money that people, not the people in this, well, including
the people in this room, many of whom don't really care that
much, but the people out in the real world who are going to
have to pay for higher energy costs, they are going to have to
pay for all this fun that we are having up here.
So I just think we owe it to them, and I applaud you for
having this science hearing, and I think that we need to let
them know that the science is not settled. And all these recent
things that we were talking about have come up, many of whom
were the IPCC individuals that actually started out with the
United Nations on this thing, they have come over to the other
side. And I named names when we had the hearing with Vice
President Gore, and I notice he is a little bit concerned about
the fact that people like Claude Allegre from France and people
like Nir Shaviv from Israel and David Bellamy from the U.K.,
these are people who were on the other side of this issue who
are now over on the skeptic side, and they are all scientists.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. I allowed you to interrupt me, and now I
will finish what I was going to say, which is that a lot of us
believe that when we attack the problem of global warming,
which we believe science tells us we must attack, and I would
say probably more than 90 percent of the scientists, probably
more than that, agree that we must, and agree on the science.
There are always outliers, that is fine, and they have
their rights. But we think it will be a boon to our economy.
And the last thing I will say before I turn it over to
Senator Lautenberg for his time, is that to say that the people
in this room don't care about jobs, that is ludicrous. Eighty
percent of the American people consider themselves
environmentalists. That is, we have polled people, 80 percent.
Of course they care about jobs. And to set the Environment
against jobs is ludicrous, because when you look back in the
history, since we started passing Clean Air, Safe Drinking
Water and all that, many of which were started under Republican
Presidents, jobs go along with it.
So I hope we don't say that people who care about the
Environment don't care about jobs. We all work for a living.
Senator Inhofe. I don't think I said that, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Well, you said people in this room don't
Senator Inhofe. I said that we have activists who are more
concerned about causes than that.
Senator Boxer. Yes. You can see that this is a little bit
of a touchy subject between us. But we love each other.
Senator Boxer. Senator Lautenberg.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. FRANK LAUTENBERG,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you, Madam Chairman, and thank
you for calling these distinguished witnesses to this hearing.
I welcome our distinguished professor from Princeton, the
State of New Jersey. We might even have a difference of view,
but that doesn't mean that we are not proud of New Jersey and
Princeton, and their long, distinguished academic record.
Madam Chairman, it kind of befuddles the mind a little bit
when we review, have these traditional reviews of what was said
and how dismissive views are about those who are in attendance
here. It is hard to understand that, and I am sorry that our
friend, Senator Inhofe, has left, because I don't want to
disparage him when he is not here.
Senator Lautenberg. And Madam Chairman, thank you for
having the hearing. In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change said the world is warming and humans are
responsible. This science is sound, their conclusions hard to
ignore. The head of the IPCC, we are pleased to have Dr.
Pachauri here. Welcome, all of you. And we look forward to your
analysis, Dr. Pachauri, of the situation.
There are new reports that Antarctica is getting warmer. I
had the opportunity to go there, go to the South Pole just a
few years ago. And I was dismayed to see places that became
kind of familiar to me in a very short period of time that had
been standing there for thousands of years, and suddenly now
the breakoffs are State-size and floating in the ocean as long
as they last.
Members of this Committee were in Greenland. We went there,
and I don't know what visual observations mean, but the fact of
the matter is that the disappearance of ice was obvious. The
ground that was left behind had turned black. And the rise in
sea levels, in my view, cannot be further ignored. In fact, the
amount of sea ice in the Arctic is nearly 40 percent below
normal, according to a recent report.
A warming world means rising sea levels, and rising sea
levels have global implications. Anyone with a coastline has to
worry about that and plan for these changes. The EPA itself
found States with coastlines such as our State, New Jersey,
California and other States represented on this Committee will
directly face these risks in coming years. With increased
greenhouse gases and higher temperatures, we also risk more
severe and unstable weather, less productive fisheries from an
increasingly acidic ocean and extinction of entire species of
And how about the degradation of health? What is the cost
of that? Increases in respiratory diseases, those things, when
we look at our chart, we see comparisons that are really
irrelevant in terms of what we are talking about here. Because
yes, we have to spend money on other things. We have to dig
ourselves out of a deep economic hole. But we also have a
responsibility to our families and succeeding generations to do
something about this instead of scornfully reviewing what has
I don't know whether of you believe that one of the worst
hoaxes, hoaxes, a joke perpetrated on the people of this
Country is the discussion of the view of global warming. It is
outrageous to be so casual about something and make comparisons
that don't do our families any good. With increased gases and
higher temperatures, we also risk, and we risk more severe
unstable weather, less productive fisheries from an
increasingly, as I said, I am repeating myself here, it gets
me. All of us want to protect our planet and our way of life
for our children and grandchildren and generations to follow.
And every day we ignore the science and choose to do nothing,
global warming gets worse and we need to make up for lost time.
Last year, scientists were talking about the need for
America to reduce greenhouse emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
Now, many scientists believe that we need to cut emissions by
90 percent. We need to be bold, and this Committee has to lead
the way. And together, we will fight global warming and our
dependence on foreign energy sources, improve our air quality,
create millions of new high-paying jobs.
Madam Chairman, I look forward to working with you to craft
a bill rooted in science to tackle the climate changes we face.
Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer. Thank you so much, Senator Lautenberg.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. CHRISTOPHER ``KIT'' BOND,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MISSOURI
Senator Bond. Thank you very much, Madam Chair, for hosting
this hearing. I am concerned about the failure of climate
modelers to predict accurately the global cooling we have seen
the last 10 years. These models don't explain why we saw
temperatures far warmer than today than 100 years ago, 1,000
years ago, when the Vikings were farming Greenland, and 2,000
years ago, when the Romans grew grapes in Britain. So there is
much to be learned about the science of climate.
But I want to focus on economics and what the science says
about the futility of proposed U.S. Government actions. The
first chart is from the International Energy Agency in Paris.
The left hand bar shows where carbon emissions are headed in
2030, business as usual. The red portion of the bar shows
carbon emissions from developing countries in OECD, basically
western countries, Japan and Australia. The blue portion of the
bar is emissions from everyone else.
The green bar is where some want to be. That is worldwide
carbon concentrations in the atmosphere of 450 parts per
million is what some scientists tell us is needed to avoid
serious climate harm from humans.
What this chart shows us is that if we cut 100 percent of
the carbon emissions from the western developed world, tracked
by the dashed red line, we would still not do enough to reach
carbon concentrations some say are necessary. That means
western developed countries could park every car, bus and
truck, turn off almost every television, light, computer, air
conditioner and many heaters, idle almost every factory and it
still would not be enough. This is not a prediction, this is a
scientific fact just by doing the math of carbon emissions and
Now, the second chart, done with data from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, shows how science tells us
that if the U.S. passes carbon legislation without developed
countries like India and China taking similar actions, carbon
levels will still rise dramatically. Near the red arrow
pointing up, the thin red line is business as usual. The nearby
line headed up is U.S. acting alone. Basically, no change.
The only way we halt the rapid rise in carbon
concentrations is if the U.S. is joined by India and China
cutting carbon emissions, the green arrow and dashed line. This
is important, because our guests here from India and the United
Nations have said developing countries like India will be
exempted from any such restrictions in a new Kyoto Treaty. Our
friends from China have made similar comments, when they will
not accept carbon cut quotas from a new Kyoto Treaty.
For those who say we should be leaders and impose this pain
on ourselves, what is the purpose of that, if science shows
that countries needed to make a difference refuse to follow? We
must then as why, during a worldwide economic crisis, should we
take futile actions that science says will do nothing to solve
the problem. Speaker Pelosi of the House has suggested that
this will be a good way to raise governmental revenues.
OMB Director Peter Orszag said this week that the Obama
budget is already counting on Government proceeds from a coming
cap and auction bill. That says tax to me. That is not a
market. Some have suggested this would be a climate bailout,
like our previous bank and housing bailouts that have worked so
successfully. With the Pelosi and Orszag comments, it seems
clear that what they really want to bail out is the Federal
Government with its runaway spending and the tremendous amounts
of money that would be spent hiring people to do these things.
But how much is a hidden energy tax going to kill American
jobs, burden U.S. families and devastate retirees, especially
in coal-dependent regions? That is to be determined. I happen
to live in one of those regions, and I am very much concerned
that we would devastate the Midwest. Calling this proposed
system of governmental costs on companies who provide jobs, who
produce energy, support energy-related jobs, a ``market-based
solution,'' which clobbers people dependent on fossil fuels is
a remarkable obfuscation. Let's call it what it is. It is going
to be a huge unfair tax.
The science shows us that the United States acting while
China and India refuse to act will be futile. I will certainly
oppose raising energy costs on suffering families and workers
during an economic crisis when the science says our actions
will be futile. I hope my colleagues will, too.
And I thank you, Madam Chair, for giving me this
[The prepared statement of Senator Bond follows:]
Statement of Hon. Christopher ``Kit'' Bond,
U.S. Senator from the State of Missouri
Thank you, Madam Chairman, for hosting this hearing on the
current state of climate science. I am concerned by the failure
of climate modelers to predict accurately the global cooling we
have seen the last 10 years. These models also do not explain
why we saw temperatures far warmer then today 1,000 years ago
when the Vikings were farming Greenland and 2,000 years ago
when the Romans grew grapes in Britain. So, I believe there is
much to learn about the science of climate.
But today I want to focus on what science says about the
futility of proposed government actions. This chart is from the
International Energy Agency in Paris. The left hand bar shows
where carbon emissions are headed in 2030 with business as
usual. The red portion of the bar shows carbon emissions from
developed countries in the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development, basically western countries and
Japan and Australia. The blue portion of the bar is emission
from everyone else. The green bar is where some want to be--
that is worldwide carbon concentrations in the atmosphere of
450 parts per million. This is what some scientists tell us is
needed to avoid serious climate harm.
What this chart shows us is that if we cut 100 percent of
the carbon emissions from the western, developed world, tracked
by the dashed red line, we would still not do enough to reach
carbon concentrations some say are necessary to avert dangerous
climate change. That means western, developed countries could
park every car, bus and truck, turn off almost every
television, light, computer, air conditioner and many heaters,
idle almost every factory, and it still would not be enough.
That is not a prediction, that is a scientific fact just by
doing the math of carbon emissions and concentrations.
This second chart, done with data from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, shows how science tells us
that if the U.S. passes carbon legislation without developed
countries like India and China taking similar actions, that
carbon levels will still rise dramatically. Near the red arrow
pointing up, the thin red line is business as usual. The nearby
line headed up, is the U.S. acting alone--basically no change.
The only way we halt the rapid rise of carbon concentrations is
if the U.S. is joined by India and China cutting carbon
emissions--the green arrow and dashed lines.
This is important because our guest here from India and the
United Nations has said ``developing countries [like India]
will be exempted from any such restrictions'' in a new Kyoto
treaty. Our friends from China have made similar comments that
they will not accept carbon cut quotas from a new Kyoto treaty.
For those who say we should be leaders and impose this pain
on ourselves, what is the purpose of that if science shows that
countries needed to make a difference refuse to follow?
We must then ask why, during a worldwide economic crisis,
should we take futile actions that science says will do nothing
to solve the problem?
Speaker Pelosi of the House has suggested that this will be
a good way to raise Federal Government revenues. OMB Director
Orszag said this week that the Obama budget is already counting
on Government proceeds from a coming cap and auction bill.
Some have suggested that this would be a climate bailout,
like our previous bank and housing bailouts. With the Pelosi
and Orszag comments, it seems clear that what they really want
to bail out is the Federal Government and runaway spending.
The science shows us that the United States acting while
China and India refuses to act will be futile. I certainly will
oppose raising energy costs on suffering families and workers,
especially during an economic crisis, when the science says our
actions will be futile.
I hope my colleagues will, too. Thank you.
[The referenced material follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. Well, thank you, Senator Bond, for taking
the opportunity to reiterate the message you have had for us
for quite a while. I would say you do it very well.
But I would just point out that these countries that you
point to, India and China, very key that they do attack this,
they do like to come into our Country with their goods, and we
do have leverage under the WTO. And I think that was part of
our last approach. I am thankful to you for raising this issue
because I think it has to be key to our next legislation as
And now it is my pleasure to call on Senator Klobuchar.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. AMY KLOBUCHAR,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MINNESOTA
Senator Klobuchar. Thank you very much, Chairman Boxer, and
thank you again for making this such a prominent issue and
having a review of the science, which I think we need to have.
I also, Senator Bond, live in a cold place, and I bet it is
even colder than yours. But I will say that the citizens in my
State, while we are concerned in these economic times to make
sure that we come up with a solution to this that isn't going
to bring them down, I think they see the possibility of
opportunity here. Maybe it is because we have been a leader in
renewable energy, that we are fourth in the Country with wind,
that we have an aggressive renewable standard. But they see, I
would say, the glass not just half empty, but half full, and
see the possibilities.
We have always been in a leader in our State in science. We
are the home of the Mayo Clinic, we have given the world
everything from the pacemaker to the Post-It note, and we see
this as our next opportunity. I am also a former prosecutor, so
I believe in evidence. That is why I think it is important that
we base our hearing today not just on everyone's rhetoric, but
on the information that you are going to present us with.
Senator Lautenberg mentioned we had a trip to Greenland in
2007. And while I am no scientist, I was able to see first-hand
from the people that live there what was going on. We learned
that Greenlanders were planting potatoes in places that only a
few years ago were covered year-round with ice. We learned that
Greenland has lost a large portion of their ice sheet.
But what surprised me most was something I saw during the
trip in the middle of the ice sheet. We landed on this island
that was easily the size of a house, and our pilot explained to
us that the island had only appeared in the last 5 years when
the ice had melted. As one of the scientists who accompanied us
on this trip explained to us, Greenland is really the canary in
the coal mine when it comes to climate change.
As we all know, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change concluded in November 2007 that global warming is
happening, that most of the observed increase in temperature is
very likely to due to greenhouse gases. The report predicted an
increase in wildfires and public health problems, like heat
stroke, asthma and even chronic disease. And what is
particularly troubling is that actual warming trends are out-
pacing the forecasts of the IPCC.
A story in last Sunday's Washington Post I thought was
quite concerning. The article reported on the annual meeting in
Chicago of the American Association for the Advancement of
Science. One of the scientists said, ``We are basically looking
now at a future climate that is beyond anything we have
considered seriously in climate model simulations.'' I would
like to hear about your thoughts on that.
He went on to note that greenhouse gases are being emitted
at higher rates than previously anticipated and that this is
causing an unexpectedly high release of carbon from the Arctic
Madam Chairman, the oceans are warming, causing wind speeds
to increase, which in turn makes the oceans more acidic. But as
I have always said, to get the support for this across the
Country, we have to talk about more than oceans. We have to
talk about the fact that in the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, we
have seen declining levels because of the ice melting sooner,
which has affected our barge traffic. We have seen ice fish
houses that can't get out until much later than they usually
do, because the ice isn't freezing. We have seen an increase in
storms and floods our State.
Glaciers around the world are melting. We saw this in
Greenland, we are seeing it in the Himalayas. I thought it was
interesting to learn about how the Chinese traditionally plant
two crops a year. You think the huge country of China, and when
the Himalayan glaciers disappear, where they get their water,
the chances are that water levels on the main Chinese river
that supply Chinese agriculture will also dry up.
But this is about the lakes in Minnesota. But it is also as
far-reaching as agriculture in China. That is why this topic is
so important. We need the best possible information about the
science of climate change, so that we can anticipate what is
coming. We need accurate information in order to draft this
legislation, to make this legislation fair to the people of
this Country, but to actually do something and get this done.
During his speech to the Country last night, President
Obama talked about this issue and the challenge. He included a
call to action, he included a call to action to this Congress
to actually get cap and trade legislation passed. He sent a
clear and powerful message to everyone in this Country and the
rest of the world that addressing climate change is a priority.
I see this, unlike my colleague on the other side, from
another M State in the Midwest, I see this as an opportunity.
We have a scientific community that we are going to hear from
today that is giving us sound information and we have a
Congress that for the first time stands ready to turn that
scientific information into action.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and thank you to our
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ARLEN SPECTER,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA
Senator Specter. Thank you, Madam Chairwoman.
I am delighted to be a member of this very important
Committee, Environment and Public Works. I had served on it
many years ago, but other committee assignments precluded my
being on it and now I am glad to be here, especially because
the global warming issue is going to be a central issue.
I thank you, Madam Chairwoman, for scheduling this hearing
on the most up to date scientific evidence. Because that sets
the stage for what we are going to do. I think the evolution of
the views of President Bush on the threat of global warming are
highly significant. For a considerable period of time,
President Bush was a doubter. And in the later stages of his
Administration, he came to agree that global warming was a
There are still some who raise questions, and it is a
legitimate inquiry. Some of the scientific evidence provides
the underpinning for what we need to do.
Two years ago, Senator Bingaman and I introduced
legislation on global warming and it differed from the
parameters of the legislation introduced by Senator Warner and
Senator Lieberman, which had more exacting standards. But the
Warner-Lieberman standards could not be achieved within
existing technology, at least that is what my studies showed.
The contention was raised that if we had more exacting
standards that technology would advance to meet them. Well,
that is speculative. And my own view is that we ought to have
very, very meaningful standards, but they ought to be within
reach on existing technology. If our technology is improved at
a later time, there will be ample opportunity to revise the
standards, if we deem that necessary and attainable.
I think it is very important to structure legislation which
can receive popular support, public support. My State,
Pennsylvania, is a big coal-producing State, 30 billion tons of
bituminous in western Pennsylvania and 7 billion tons of
anthracite in northeastern Pennsylvania, very, very important
for our economy. And while I applaud what we are doing with $80
billion in the stimulus package for energy that is renewable,
wind power, solar power, hydropower, until we get there, we are
dependent on, too much so, on OPEC oil. And with clean coal
technology, we still have an opportunity to use these resources
with due regard for the environment and environmental
protection, which my record shows is a high point of
consideration on my part.
The Bingaman-Specter bill has gotten significant support
from not only the power companies, and many have joined in
urging its adoption, but also from the United Mine Workers.
Also a labor organization very concerned about jobs, obviously,
which is what they should be. But acknowledging that
significant steps have to be taken, so that when we take a look
at the overall picture, I think we have to bear that in mind.
But this is a very important subject, highlighted again by
the President last night. I look forward to working with you,
Madam Chairwoman, and the others on this Committee to try to
structure legislation which can be enacted this year. Thank
Senator Boxer. Senator, thank you very much. And thank you
for the contribution you made to this debate, working with
Senator Bingaman. It was very important, and it continues to
be. Thank you.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JEFF MERKLEY,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Senator Merkley. Thank you very much, Madam Chair, for
bringing this panel of esteemed scientists together.
Every citizen in my State is certainly impacted by issues
regarding climate change, from our farmers, for whom a small
change in precipitation certainly can change a dry land wheat
crop into a desert, to our folks in the timber industry who
have concerns about insect infestations and forest fires, to
our folks in our river economy and our coastal economy,
dramatically affected by the temperature of the water, the
water flows, the course of currents and so on and so forth.
So after a time period in which science has not always been
at the center of the conversation, I am delighted that we are
turning to you all for your best insights. Certainly one point
I would love for you all to address if possible in your
testimony is, if we do nothing as an international community,
and I do take the point of Senator Bond that the international
community needs to work together to tackle these issues, if we
do nothing and the increase in carbon dioxide and methane gas
continues apace over the next 50 years, what is your best
estimate of how much the temperature of the planet will
increase over a 50-year period, and what is the impact on
ecosystems and human civilization?
I associate myself with other comments that have been made
here, and look forward to your testimony.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BERNARD SANDERS,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF VERMONT
Senator Sanders. Thank you, Madam Chair, and thank you for
your leadership on this issue, not only of great significance
to our Country, but the entire world. For many years now, at
least for the last 8 years, the rest of this planet has been
wondering what the United States of America is doing. I think
at this particular moment in history, we are going to rise to
As Senator Merkley just mentioned, I think one of the
issues that we have to address is not just the cost of
addressing the crisis of global warming, it is what is the
cost, both monetarily, financially, as well as health-wise, of
not addressing the issue. I think the evidence seems to suggest
that if we do not act aggressively in cutting back on
greenhouse gas emissions and reversing global warming, what we
are going to look at are trillions of dollars of loss in the
international economy over a period of years, we are going to
look at a great amount of loss in terms of extreme weather
conditions, flooding, of drought, of hunger, of political
In fact, I think the CIA is now worried about mass
migrations as people have to move around and are engaged in
struggle for limited natural resources, for food. We are going
to look at increased disease. What is the cost of all of that
if we do not act?
Second of all, in terms of economics, Senator Boxer and I
just came from a meeting earlier this morning talking to people
from all over the Country who are seeing the potential for the
creation of millions, millions of good-paying jobs over the
years as we move away from fossil fuels, as we address the
economic crisis this Country faces from the importation of some
$700 billion a year of foreign oil. Think of the jobs that we
could create as we move to wind, as we move to solar, as we
move to geothermal, as we move to biomass. Huge jobs creation
in all of that area.
Clearly, I think as some of our friends on the other side
have indicated, this is not just an American crisis, this is an
international crisis. But we have no credibility with the rest
of the world if we are not moving forward aggressively. And in
fact, what we have just heard this morning, as you talk about
China, China is moving forward aggressively in terms of energy
efficiency, in terms of solar. Do you think they are dummies
there? I don't think so. They know that their lakes and their
rivers are heavily polluted. When I was in China, people were
wearing these masks around their face because the air is so
polluted. They are not dumb.
And if we can in fact take a leadership position once again
in terms of sustainable energy, we can create significant
numbers of jobs in this Country helping China, helping India
with that technology. In fact, we should be a little bit
embarrassed that some of the technologies that we created in
this Country are now being aggressively used around the rest of
the world, and we are importing products from them. This is the
United States of America. We should be doing quite the
So Madam Chair, thank you, A, for recognizing the huge
importance of this issue for people all over the planet, and
second of all, for understanding what President Obama has made
clear for many years now, that of course this is a crisis, but
it is also an opportunity to make radical changes in energy in
America and create millions of good-paying jobs.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN BARRASSO,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF WYOMING
Senator Barrasso. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I
welcome the panel.
It is fascinating, as we attempt to address this issue,
that the Pew Research Center did a poll to show where different
topics fit into the interest of the American people. And right
now, at a ranking of 20 different items of importance to the
American people, the issue of addressing climate change ranked
20th, dead last. The American public is dealing with the
reality of an economic meltdown, that is a real and an
So with trillions of taxpayer dollars being directed to
stimulate, ``stimulate'' the economy, each next step Congress
takes to spend additional funds on anything is going to be
watched closely by the American public. We have just passed
numerous bailout bills. Senator Inhofe has gone through a chart
of the different bailouts that we have been dealing with,
passed numerous bailout bills over the last 6 months. Now, a
new $787 billion economic bailout intended to create millions
We heard in hearings last year that climate change
legislation is needed to avert a 4 degree global temperature
increase by the year 2050. This will occur only if India and
China fall in line and take similar action. Well, China and
India are emitting more carbon than the United States. It is
essential that they participate in any international effort.
If these countries do enact strict and expensive
regulations, we will then avert the 4 degree and instead incur
only a 2 degree increase by the year 2050. And that only comes
true if the science holds.
But science doesn't stop for policymakers. It continually
adds to itself, building upon our knowledge base. That is why I
am glad to see these experts here today. Because even now, as
many scientists tell us that the earth is warming, the science
changes as to the cause of warming. New reports, in a study
that I have recently looked at, says that sulfur dioxide
emissions from volcanic eruptions may be playing even a larger
part in climate change than previously thought, maybe even more
important than carbon dioxide. A recent study was released
suggesting that analysis of leaves in peat and lake deposits,
as opposed to examining the Arctic ice cores, may be a better
measurement of the role carbon has played in our climate in the
Additional studies have been released suggesting the pace
of warming has increased, dramatically increased. The Chairman
of the Committee has shown headlines to that effect. I don't
think we can ignore any of these studies. If we can't ignore
these studies, then we must consider that a cap and trade bill
heavily tilted toward capturing carbon at a cost of trillions
to the economy could be an outdated solution to the problem.
We have to get this right. So I would say, let's get
America's energy as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without
raising energy prices on the people of America. That means
increasing clean baseload 24 hour, 7 day a week power and
making that available as soon as we can. That means clean coal
technology, nuclear power, and natural gas.
Let's invest in the technology to retrofit existing power
plants and yes, let's augment that with an intermittent
renewable power supply. And we have plenty of available
renewable power in Wyoming. All of these sources of energy are
clean, low to zero carbon emitting and can be developed right
here in America. But spending trillions of dollars, trillions
of dollars, to address climate change through an untested cap
and trade approach, an expensive proposal, is an unnecessarily
risky approach. To me, it is a trillion dollar climate bailout.
I would say, let's adopt a climate change policy that makes
America's energy clean, affordable and domestic.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Senator Boxer. Thanks, Senator.
I just wanted to point out, we have had a cap and trade
system to fight acid rain. It has been tested and it has
And I want to point out that we are going to hear from
Senators Cardin, Crapo if he is back, and Whitehouse. But at
that point, we are going to close off the opening statements
and hear from our panel.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BENJAMIN CARDIN,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND
Senator Cardin. Thank you, Madam Chair. And let me thank
you for this hearing. It is not the first that we have, and I
am sure it is not going to be the last to make sure that we
have the best scientific information as we move forward to deal
with one of the major problems that we face, not only as a
Nation, but as a member of the international community.
The scientific information on global climate change has
been remarkably consistent. There has really been no major
change in the predictions that we have a serious problem. Now,
for the people of Maryland, let me talk a little bit about the
Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is experiencing radical
changes. And it is related to global climate change. Sea level
changes, we have seen a lowering of the dissolved oxygen
levels, more precipitation, changes in various species and
migration patterns, which is jeopardizing not only the economy
but the character of my State of Maryland.
So the people of Maryland are concerned about what is
happening. And they have a right to expect that this Congress
will take up the challenge associated with global climate
But the good news is that we all know we have to do
something about energy from the point of view of our security.
And using less carbon-based energy sources will be good for our
economic security. We know that. So this really becomes a win-
win situation for our Nation.
So I was proud that President Obama, Madam Chair, last
night mentioned that one of his priorities in dealing with our
economy is to deal with a carbon cap. Now, I heard Senator Bond
and Senator Barrasso talk about the economic impacts of dealing
with global climate change. To me, this is a win-win situation.
If you reward private companies that can come up with ways to
produce energy with emitting less carbon, that is a win. And
that is what a carbon cap does. It energizes the private
companies to use their ingenuity here in America to lead in
technology that will help us not only with a cleaner
environment, but with energy security, and will also help our
economy by creating more jobs.
And yes, there is a penalty under a carbon cap. If you
pollute, you are going to have to pay for the damage you are
causing to our economy. To me, that is America. That is what
our economy market-based system is based upon that you can make
money and help our Country. And that is what the carbon cap is
So I heard also the concern about what other countries are
doing, and I have heard my colleague talk about it. Well, as
President Obama said last night, this is America, we lead. And
it is time that we led on this critically important issue.
Now, I congratulate the Chairman, last year for the bill
you brought forward, because you recognized the impact that we
need to have other countries follow our leadership. And if they
produce products that are bad for the environment, with
emitting too much greenhouse gases, then there is a price to
pay if those products come into America. And I have talked to
my friends, parliamentarians from other countries. And we need
to work within the WTO, the World Trade Organization, so that
we have consistent international roles to recognize that all of
us are citizens of this planet and have a responsibility to
reduce carbon emissions.
But if the United States does not lead, it won't get done.
That is the responsibility that we hold. And with President
Obama's leadership as the President of our United States, we
have a unique opportunity, and the world is watching. And I
congratulate you, Madam Chair, for holding this hearing, so
that our decisions will be based upon the best scientific
[The prepared statement of Senator Cardin follows:]
Statement of Hon. Benjamin Cardin,
U.S. Senator from the State of Maryland
Madam Chairman, thank you.
Over the last 2 years we have heard testimony from a number
of individuals. A little over a year ago, for example, we heard
from Dr. Pachauri, and we are grateful that he has come back to
provide us with a further update on the science of global
I want to thank Chairman Boxer for her work in keeping the
focus on sound science as this debate continues.
While the list of witnesses has included the occasional
obligatory nay-sayer, we have seen a steady stream of
scientists who have provided a remarkably consistent set of
the state of the global climate system,
projections on how the climate system is changing, and
the likely impacts these changes will have on health and
human welfare, agriculture, transportation systems, and
important ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay.
Much of the testimony has been informed by the latest,
peer-reviewed science and represents a consensus of the
scientific community on the nature of the climate system's
warming, the causes for that warming, and the degree to which
this warming will continue.
Climate change will likely have an impact on our Nation's
treasure, the Chesapeake Bay. Possible impacts for the
Chesapeake include increased sea-levels, lower dissolved oxygen
levels, more precipitation, and changes in various species'
abundance and migration patterns. Many species will deal with
the interaction of several climate change effects, which could
impact their ability to survive in the Bay region.
It is not only wildlife that are threatened by climate
change--the EPA has found that increasing greenhouse gas
concentrations poses a threat to human health due to a number
of factors including more deaths attributed to heat and the
increase in vector-borne diseases. In Baltimore, the EPA
projects that a three degree Fahrenheit overall air temperature
increase in air temperature could increase the heat-related
death toll by 50 percent from 85 to 130 people annually.
The research upon which these findings are based is rooted
in an extensive, careful analysis of past and present
observations of the atmosphere and ocean coupled with advanced
numerical predictive models.
The science record is remarkable in another key aspect.
Time is not on our side. The scientific community consistently
warns us that the longer we wait to take aggressive action to
curb greenhouse gas emissions, the steeper the climb will be to
meet our targets.
Thankfully, today we have not simply a strong scientific
consensus on the issue. We also have an increasing body of
evidence that our efforts to address climate change will result
in a number of net positives for America and the world.
Our national security is enhanced as we reduce our
reliance on foreign sources of oil.
Our economy will be recharged as we move to a
sustainable energy system and the thousands of green jobs it
will produce in solar, wind and bio-energy development and
energy efficiency projects.
And lowering greenhouse gas pollution will almost
certainly also result in a lowering of other air pollutants,
meaning our citizens will be breathing cleaner air.
Thankfully, today we have both an Administration in the
White House as well as the congressional leadership we will
need to tackle this extraordinary challenge.
I look forward to hearing from today's witnesses and
learning more about the latest climate science research.
And I look forward to using this hearing as a strong
springboard for us as we confront one of the greatest
challenges of our age. With your strong leadership, I look
forward to drafting and passing a climate change bill this
year. Let's get started.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Senator Boxer. Senator, thank you very much.
I see Senator Crapo isn't here. We will go to Senator
Whitehouse. If Senator Crapo comes back, we will go to him and
then Senator Udall, and then we will move forward.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF RHODE ISLAND
Senator Whitehouse. Thank you, Madam Chair,
I am always reminded when we go through this exercise of
debate with our colleagues and friends over whether climate
change is really happening of the hearing that you held with
the head of the health departments of all the States, came here
and gave such a strong, unanimous statement. I asked her, where
was the minority report; she said there wasn't one. The health
directors of Missouri, of Wyoming, of Idaho, of Oklahoma, were
all on board. And I asked, what is the difference, why is there
disagreement here? And in a very quiet voice she said, well, we
did take an oath to protect the health and safety of our
This seems to be the last redoubt where the merchants of
doubt can still work their obstructive mischief. And it is
unfortunate, I think. You can always find someone who disagrees
with any proposition, you can find scientists who disagree with
scientific propositions. You can find lawyers who disagree with
But responsible humans act on far less information than
this. And even flinty-eyed, rough, tough, profit, bottom-line
driven Republican-leaning insurance companies are modifying
their decisions and their projections based on this. In Rhode
Island, our fishermen see different fisheries. Our nurserymen
see the seasons changing. They have seen winter blooms that
they have never seen before. Hunters, fishers, naturalists, the
black-capped chickadee is the State bird of Massachusetts. And
it is being replaced by the Carolina chickadee, because the
weather is changing.
We seem to have an inability here to grasp the obvious that
people who are out there in the environment, working in the
real world and the real environment see every single day. I
don't know what it is about this place that makes it so. But it
saddens me to hear colleagues cloak this question in economic
gloom as well as everything else. I think that is an unfair
thing, it is so un-optimistic about America to cloak it in
those terms. This could be an area where we are creating jobs,
where we are creating exports. This is a place where we can
lower families' and businesses' and schools' energy costs.
This is an area where we improve our national security. We
don't have to cloak it in economic gloom. I think it is false,
I think it is unfortunate. I guess it is rhetorically
effective. But I really think it is a shame.
And I hope that the witnesses will talk for a moment during
the course of their testimony not just about the warming effect
of the carbon load that we are putting into our atmosphere, but
also about the ocean acidification effect. Because you know
what? Even if the .05 percent or whatever it is of scientific
opinion that doesn't recognize that something serious is going
on here is correct, and the warming of the planet may not be
related, carbon dioxide is going up. It is going up in
unprecedented concentrations. The ocean is a sink for carbon
dioxide. It is absorbing it. When it does, it changes the
chemistry. I think these are known facts.
What we don't know what happens when the chemistry changes,
because we are hitting unprecedented ocean chemistries. But it
appears that things like the small mollusks and species that
make up krill, for instance, the base of the very oceanic food
chain, could find themselves in an environment in which they
are unable to make the shells that hold them together out of
calcium carbonate in the sea. It could well be that the worst
effect for humankind of our carbon emissions is not climate
change, but it is ocean change. And I hope that you will
address that for a moment in your testimony.
I appreciate very much the Senator's persistent leadership
through this. I think that as people look back through time and
look for responsible behavior at this moment, they will see her
efforts as a shining example and others as regrettable.
Senator Boxer. I thank the Senator, and just know, this is
a great Committee. We have a lot of support for this position.
Last year we had bipartisan support, and I am hoping we will
have it again.
We have been joined by Senator Gillibrand, so we are going
to hear from Senator Udall and Senator Gillibrand.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. TOM UDALL,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO
Senator Udall. Thank you, Madam Chair. I really want to
thank you for all of your work on climate change. When I was in
the House of Representatives, I followed what you did over here
in the Senate. To me, you were really the leader and stepped
out. You put a bill on the floor of the U.S. Senate. We had not
had in either chamber a bill on the floor, debated, amended,
discussed. I think that helps the American people in an
impressive way to start understanding this.
Then once again today, you have brought together a very
distinguished panel to address the issue and to get these
Many of the comments I agree with that were made earlier. I
just wanted to talk a little bit about the West, and urge the
panelists to address some of the western issues in terms of
climate change. I come from a western State, the State of New
Mexico. As one scientist described to me vividly, what would
happen in New Mexico, he said with just the trend, the
conservative trend, not the higher trend or the lower trend,
but just the conservative trend of where we are headed would be
the equivalent in weather of putting, as you all know when you
move these clickers around on a computer screen, click onto the
State of New Mexico and drag it 300 miles to the south, which
means that New Mexico would then have the weather of Chihuahua,
Now, if any of you have been to Santa Fe, my home town, or
been to northern New Mexico, the 10,000 foot mountains, the
snow pack, if you move New Mexico down to Chihuahua, you
immediately wipe out the snow pack, which is the entire water
cycle for our region. The snow pack occurs in the winter,
drains through the spring. For example, the community of Santa
Fe is fed by two reservoirs. Forty percent of the water of
Santa Fe is from these two reservoirs.
And I am just using Santa Fe as an example, this would
happen all across the West to the snow pack. And I want you to
talk about that.
I have also heard, and I think it is a fact, that the West
is going to be twice as hot in terms of your models than other
parts of the Country. So that also is going to have an impact,
not only on water, which we know living in an arid State, we
know that water is precious, we know that we have to use it
wisely and global warming is going to make it so that we are
going to have a lot of difficulty with water. And one of our
other major industries, agriculture, which uses water, so that
is going to1have an impact.
So I am very happy to see Dr. Christopher Field here. He
was someone who mentored a member of my staff that worked with
me, Johanna Paulsonberg, on climate matters. She has now moved
on to other things, but it was wonderful having her on my
congressional staff, having the benefit of her knowledge that
she gained from you and from her hard study. So it is great to
see you here today and I really look forward to hearing the
And once again, I congratulate our Chair for pulling
together such a distinguished panel, which I think when the
American people hear what these folks have to say, they will
understand the urgency that we feel for doing something here
today. So thank you, and I yield my time.
Senator Boxer. We are getting very close to that moment.
Senator Gillibrand, you will have the last word. Unless
Senator Crapo comes back, you will have the last word.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND,
U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Senator Gillibrand. As your junior member, I will be short
Thank you for your extraordinary leadership. I am extremely
grateful for your voice for change and for holding this
hearing. Thank you to our panelists for coming, sharing your
expertise with us. As President Obama said last night, this is
an era for solutions. We are looking to you for those solutions
and for your guidance on how best to tackle climate change.
In New York State, there is no question that climate change
exists. You can talk to our hunters in upstate New York, who
are very familiar with the migratory patterns of birds. They
know when ice is thawing at a different time of the year. They
are very much in tune to how our environment has been affected
by global climate change. You can also ask our mayors and city
council members downstate, when they have seen massive flooding
in regions that previously did not have flooding.
There are so many concerns State-wide that are affecting
everyone. With regard to flooding, it is an enormous challenge
for municipalities, for our sewer systems that are going to
overrun. It is costing enormous amounts of money on the local
level. But also, it has resulted in lives lost and businesses
lost and homes lost in upstate New York, in Delaware County,
where that 100 year flood seems to be coming every summer. It
is an extraordinary challenge that we face. So we do need to
focus on the solutions.
I was very, very grateful to President Obama last night,
because he talked about a vision for energy independence in the
next decade. He talked about the investments in green energy,
in new manufacturing, in building materials that are carbon-
neutral, and in a cap and trade policy. He talked about how we
need to stimulate our entrepreneurs and our innovators to
invest in new products, build the electric car. It gets the
equivalent of 240 miles per gallon. If we had an electric car
that cost $25,000 to buy, it would revolutionize the entire
industry. It would revolutionize our environment, and it would
be the one thing that could combat global climate change
So the opportunities are clear, and the vision of our
President and our leaders in the Senate and the House are also
clear. So we look forward to that partnership.
I have many grave concerns that I hope you will address. I
was in the Bronx earlier this week, and I was meeting with our
local elected leaders. The rates of asthma are so high in many
of our inner cities because of pollution and because of issues
of climate change. I hope that you can address how these issues
translate to my community, to lives lost, businesses lost,
homes lost because of flooding, how it translates to the health
and welfare of our children because of chronic diseases,
including asthma and allergies that are being caused by some of
Thank you for being here. Thank you for your leadership.
Thank you, Madam Senator, for your leadership as our Chairman.
I appreciate it very much.
Senator Boxer. Thank you for your leadership.
And now, the moment has arrived. We are going to hear from
Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Chairman, United Nations Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change. It is an honor to have you here, sir.
Please proceed for 7 minutes.
STATEMENT OF RAJENDRA K. PACHAURI, PH.D., CHAIRMAN, UNITED
NATIONS INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Mr. Pachauri. Honorable Chairperson of the Committee,
Senator Barbara Boxer, honorable members of the Committee,
colleagues, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a
great privilege to be able to testify before this Committee and
provide an update on the latest global warming science.
I shall proceed promptly to give you what I wanted to
present, Madam Chairperson. This is just a very quick overview
of how the IPCC functions. We have the plenary session, which
includes all the governments of the world and essentially
represented by people who are scientifically aware of the
subject; they approve of the outline of a particular
assessment. Then we request governments to give us nominations
and CVs of the range of experts who would work on the
When they are selected, we carry out the drafting of the
first version of the report. This is reviewed by experts. Then
we get to, on the basis of comments that we receive, which are
carefully logged and documented. We either accept those
comments, or where they are rejected, we have to give reasons
why they are rejected. And this is done very transparently.
Then we move to the second draft and so on.
What I want to emphasize is the fact that this is a very
objective, open, transparent process whereby we get the best
scientists from all over the world to work on each of these
assessments. I also want to ensure I mention that the review
process ensures scientific integrity, objectivity, openness and
We also have great satisfaction in noting that the
scientific community has endorsed the findings of the Fourth
Assessment Report of the IPCC. This includes the National
Academy of Science, the American Meteorological Society, the
American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for
the Advancement of Science.
Climate science has evolved. We now have much deeper
understanding. We have much better observations and data on the
basis of which I think science has improved and has progressed
from one assessment to the other, culminating in the Fourth
Assessment Report we just completed in November 2007.
Just to give you an indication of the scale of the human
effort that goes into this, in the Fourth Assessment Report we
had 450 lead authors. And these are the actual scientists who
write the report. We had 800 contributing authors, and these
are people who are specialized in some specific aspect or the
other, and they provide inputs. And we had something like 2,500
scientific expert reviewers. So it is a mammoth exercise, and
each of these persons work on a voluntary basis. Nobody is
paid, nobody gets any benefits.
The input from the American scientific community was
overwhelming. If you look at these numbers, in each of the
working group we had coordinating lead authors, lead authors,
review editors, contributing authors and the total was 825. So
I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the IPCC for
the enormous contribution that the scientific community in the
U.S. has made to its work.
The warming of the climate system is unequivocal. This is a
major finding that we came up with. And I believe there is no
cause at all for scientific doubt on this. These are
observations of temperature changes that have taken place and
you will notice there are ups and downs over here, which is
clearly on the basis of natural changes, that the climate
obviously is influenced by, and human changes.
But what is particularly significant is the fact that if
you look at the last 100 years, Madam Chairperson, you will get
an increase of 0.74 degrees Celsius. This is clearly a much
steeper slope than you will find for the entire 100 years plus
that you see on this graph.
Now, if you look at the last 50 years, the rate of increase
has been even faster, almost twice of what we had in the 100-
year period from this time before. And finally, let me
emphasize that 11 of the last 12 years rank among the 12
warmest in the instrumental record of global surface
Now, here I would like to show you the observations of
temperature changes. If you look at what our models have shown,
as a result of just natural factors, then you see a major
deviation between observations and the projections of these
models. But once you add man-made factors, and that is
essentially the concentration of greenhouse gases, you get
almost a perfect fit. So I want to emphasize that IPCC's work
takes into account all the natural factors that affect climate
as well as the human dimensions of what we are doing.
This is a familiar figure, so I shan't spend any time on
it. But let me talk of the inequity of climate change impacts.
In Africa, for instance, by 2020 our projections show that 75
million to 250 million would be affected by water stress on
account of climate change, and crop revenues could drop very
rapidly. So we are really causing major distortions and
disparities in economic development and growth throughout the
I would like to emphasize that delayed emission reductions
significantly constrain the opportunities to achieve lower
stabilization levels, and therefore this is an urgent task that
we have to attend to. If you look at the need to stabilize,
let's say temperature increase to 2.0 to 2.4 degrees Celsius,
we have only up to 2015 as the window of opportunity, because
we will have to ensure that CO2 emissions peak in
that year and decline rapidly thereafter.
Now, this is not going to be an expensive proposition,
because our estimate is that for this trajectory of
stabilization, the total cost to the global economy will not
exceed 3 percent of the global GDP in the year 2030. What does
that mean? That means essentially if you had no mitigation,
this is the kind of increase you would get, but with mitigation
this line bends downwards. Essentially this means that we would
only delay the level of prosperity that we are likely to
achieve by a few months, or at the most a year.
But the good news is that there are huge co-benefits of
mitigation, which the honorable Senators have already
mentioned, health co-benefits, much greater employment,
increased energy security and mitigation can result in near-
term co-benefits that could substantially offset the cost of
mitigation, in fact, even lead to negative costs.
Now, I would like to just end by giving some quotations.
This is what the Secretary General of the United Nations has
said, and finally, some quotations from the President of the
United States, President Barack Obama.
Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pachauri follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. Dr. Christopher Field, Director, Department
of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institute for Science, at Stanford.
And he was Co-Chair of Working Group II, which looked at the
problems that we will be facing in our continent here. So we
are very anxious to hear from you, sir.
STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER FIELD, PH.D., DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF
GLOBAL ECOLOGY, CARNEGIE INSTITUTION FOR SCIENCE, STANFORD
UNIVERSITY; CO-CHAIR, WORKING GROUP II, UNITED NATIONS
INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Mr. Field. Thank you, Madam Chairman and members of the
It is a pleasure to review the latest updates on the
science and to give you a feel for the way that the reports of
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change serve as a very
strong foundation for new observations that are coming together
all the time. These two pieces fit together in a comprehensive
and increasingly compelling way.
I want to repeat a couple of the comments that Dr. Pachauri
made about the strength of the IPCC process. The numbers of
scientists who participate in the IPCC is, of course, very,
very large. But what is important about the process is that it
represents an incredibly consistent distilling. Every statement
that makes its way into the IPCC is challenged, tested,
challenged again. And by the time a statement makes it into the
IPCC reports, it has really passed an incredibly high
threshold. This is to be contrasted with the broader scientific
literature, which includes a wide range of results that are
interesting ideas and stand the initial test of time but
haven't really been exposed to the kind of tests that the IPCC
reports are, incredibly important distinction about the value
Perhaps the key conclusions from the Fourth Assessment
Report released in 2007 is that there has been clear,
unequivocal evidence of warming, 1.3 degree Fahrenheit over the
last 100 years. I think an even more important conclusion is
that now we have increasingly compelling evidence that human
actions are very likely responsible for most of the warming
over the last 50 years. We have a wide variety of fingerprints,
fingerprints that allow us to test whether it is greenhouse
gases or some other putative mechanism. What we see
consistently with each of these fingerprints is that the
quantitative results, the qualitative results, point toward the
unequivocal role of the greenhouse gases in driving the warming
that has occurred.
There is a question of how much warming will occur in the
future. It is clear that the mechanisms that have been put in
place by greenhouse gas emissions will continue and without
decisive action to reduce CO2 emissions to the
atmosphere, the business as usual type of possibilities result
in temperatures at 2100 where, with a low emissions pathway, we
could end up with global average warming of somewhere in the
range of 2 to 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit. With a high possibility,
it could be in the range of 4 to 11. Of course, the recent
trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions has even been higher
than what is characterized as the highest scenario in the IPCC
reports, leading to the conclusion that we fundamentally
haven't tested the consequences of the emission trajectory that
we now know we are on.
There are a wide variety of impacts, and they go everywhere
from ecosystems to industry to human health. I want to
characterize some of the most important findings of the IPCC
with regard to impacts on the United States, especially. One of
the most compelling is that there is clear evidence that we
have already seen, impacts on western water resources. There is
earlier peak in the flow of western rivers. There is a decrease
in the amount of snow that is stored in the western snow pack.
It is up to 30 percent in many years. We are also seeing a
decreased springtime and summertime flow in many rivers that
are important to the support of ecosystems.
The projections of climate change impact for water
resources in the West are really compelling. There is this
gigantic tongue of reduced runoff, essentially, severe drought,
that runs all the way from California to Oklahoma. The broad
swath of the Southwest is basically robbed of the water to have
It is clear that we are seeing increased areas consumed in
wildfire already. The quadrennial fire review just released by
the U.S. Federal agencies shows that in the 1980s, there were
50 wildfires, more than 50,000 acres. In the decade starting in
1999, there were 240. The projections are clear that as the
time between the melt of the snow in the spring and the first
snow in the fall increases, we have greater and greater risk of
wildfires and more and more problems associated with fighting
It is also clear that many U.S. cities are already seeing
increased numbers of heat waves, hot days, hot nights, and
extended periods of heat. And there are very many cities,
Sacramento is a good example, where just a small amount of
warming transitions days that are uncomfortably hot into
potentially life-threatening heat waves. So we are very close
to a threshold in a very large number of American cities.
It is very difficult to translate the full range of climate
impacts into economic costs. The IPCC has attempted to do that,
and comes up with a relatively wide range. The range is that
the social cost of carbon, the integrated damages across all
the sectors could be anywhere from $3 to $95 per ton of
CO2. That could result in, if we take the integrated
costs of the CO2 emitted this year worldwide,
anywhere from $110 billion to over $3.6 trillion of cumulative
impacts, and if you contrast that with the cost of
stabilization, the costs are really quite modest. Several of
you have already spoken about the possibility that we might
achieve net economic benefits as a consequence of tackling
climate change, and the IPCC concludes the same. But there also
could be costs that could be as much as 3 percent of GDP going
out to 2030.
If you look at new observations, it is clear that things
have continued to change, and they have changed very rapidly,
mostly in ways that were discussed by the IPCC, but haven't yet
been confirmed, because the evidence wasn't yet strong enough.
CO2 emissions have been increasing very, very
rapidly. From 2000 to 2007 the annual rate of increase was 3.5
percent per year, contrasted with 0.9 percent per year from
1990 to 1999, over a threefold increase. We have seen rapid
shrinkages in the area covered by Arctic ice, so that in 2007,
the area of minimum summer ice in September was 37 percent less
than the long-term average. It was more than 20 percent less
than the previous low in 2005. And just within the last few
months, we have seen confirmation that the continent of
Antarctica has been warming, and it has been warming at a rate
of almost .2 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, comparable in pace
to much of the rest of the southern hemisphere.
In some we are seeing a very wide range of documented
impacts. We have increased confidence that these are due to
humans and the fingerprints are really compelling. Many areas
of risk for the United States, and the costs for mitigation
appear to be modest in terms of the long-term costs of doing
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Field follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
And now, we are going to turn to Dr. Howard Frumkin,
Director, National Center for Environmental Health, Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention. He is the Director of the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Thank you very much, Doctor.
STATEMENT OF HOWARD FRUMKIN, M.D., MPH, DR.PH., DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL CENTER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, CENTERS FOR DISEASE
CONTROL AND PREVENTION; DIRECTOR, AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES
AND DISEASE REGISTRY
Dr. Frumkin. Madam Chair, members of the Committee, thank
you very much for the opportunity to testify today.
It is clear that your eloquence as Senators far outstrips
our aptitude as PowerPoint users here on the panel.
Dr. Frumkin. Dr. Field addressed himself to earth system
changes, and drew heavily on the earth and atmospheric sciences
to update you. I would like to turn now to the human impacts of
climate change and draw on the health sciences to update you. I
do this, because climate change is expected to have very real
impacts on the health and well-being of real people. That is of
great concern to us at the CDC and we think to the entire
The health science research, as it emerges, is suggesting
to us a number of impacts of climate change on health and well-
being. They are shown here on this slide, and they are
described in more detail in my written testimony. The direct
effects of heat can be dangerous to people, especially during
heat waves, as we have seen. Severe weather events, both rapid
ones like tornadoes and hurricanes, and drawn-out ones, like
floods, have a range of impacts on health, as we have seen
tragically in recent years in this Country.
Air pollution worsens in several respects under warming
scenarios. That has impacts on cardiovascular and respiratory
health and on longevity. Allergies are expected to worsen
because certain plants that are sources of allergens, from
ragweed to poison ivy, seem to thrive under climate change
Many vector-borne diseases, traditionally called tropical
diseases, in a reminder that these diseases are ecosystem
dependent. As ecosystems shift and as the range of these
diseases shifts, we expect impacts on human vulnerability and
on disease incidence as well. Water-borne diseases are clearly
linked to severe rainfall events and to changes in temperature.
Threats to the water and food supply can be serious, as
agricultural output changes under climate change scenarios.
That in turn affects nutrition and health status.
Mental health impacts are considerable. We are now
appreciating that one of the longest-lasting and most serious
impacts of Hurricane Katrina, for example, has been the mental
health impact. We need to attend to that in future climate
change scenarios as well. Finally, the possibility of
dislocation and migration has public health impacts on those
who need to move.
Each of these health impacts teaches us specific lessons
that are important to keep in mind. With regard to heat, we
have long experience with heat waves, we have conducted
extensive epidemiologic studies, we know who in cities is most
vulnerable and we know the steps that we can take to protect
the health of people from the effects of the heat wave. This is
a good example of how good epidemiology and good preparedness
can help us protect the public.
Infectious diseases teach us a different lesson. These are
extremely complex phenomena. Climate change is expected to
affect the baseline risk of infectious diseases, but many other
factors play a role as well, from air conditioning to the
presence of screens to underlying health status. We need
considerable research to understand best how infectious
diseases will unfold. We also need very good surveillance and
early warning systems. These are key tools in public health,
because we need to recognize these diseases, if and when they
change their range.
The mental health outcomes remind us of the need to be very
broad-thinking and holistic as we consider the impacts on
health. And the question of food is a reminder that we need to
look outside the health sector itself and upstream to other
sectors whose activities and products affect and determine
health. For example, agricultural output--we have evidence
emerging now that protein content of certain food crops is
diminished under climate change scenarios. That will affect the
nutritional value of foods that some people eat, and for some
that will have a measurable health impact.
The good news here is that few of these are new problems.
Many of these are longstanding problems. Climate change serves
not as a revolutionary change, but as an amplifier or
multiplier of existing and fairly well understood risks. We
have in our public health tool box the tools and strategies
that we need in many cases to address these problems and to
protect the public. These, after all, are the tools and
strategies of public health preparedness.
We need to undertake surveillance and data collection,
collecting the baseline information that we need to track
trends and to recognize perturbations. We have talked earlier
in this panel about modeling and forecasting. We need to
downscale modeling and forecasting from the global scale to the
regional and even the local scale, where health impacts will
play out. And we need to extend existing models to health
We need to take direct actions to protect the public. For
example, heat wave preparedness plans are available for cities
to use; GIS systems can identify who is vulnerable, buddy
systems can be put in place to reach out to those individuals
when heat waves should occur, they can be brought to refuge
centers if necessary to protect them during a heat wave, the
health care system can be prepared and equipped to deal with
hyperthermic health outcomes. We know how to do those plans,
and we need to be working on those.
We need effective communication. Using the lessons of
health communication, we have great experience in the health
sector in delivering tough messages: exercise more, eat better
food, quit smoking. Many of the same communication techniques
will be useful as applied to climate change, so that people can
receive and understand useful information, and not despair, but
take constructive action.
We need to undertake training and capacity building, so
that at the State and local level, members of our health
departments know how to use these tools, know how to implement
them, and can do their job to protect the public. And we need
to undertake research, because there is much we still need to
learn about climate change, the biomedical and basic biological
dimensions of climate change, as they will affect health.
I want to close by pointing to the benefits of taking many
of these steps, and these are co-benefits. Indeed, there are
sweet spots here. The public health actions we need to take to
protect against climate change, ranging from research to
surveillance to early warning systems, will have benefits
across the entire system of public health, not simply limited
to climate change.
In effect, many of the actions that we need to take to
address climate change will have benefits for health more
broadly. If we shift our transportation patterns to more
walking and bicycling and less use of vehicles, those are steps
we need to take in an increasingly sedentary and overweight
society anyway. And those will also be steps that address
So the combined health, economic and social benefits of
addressing climate change are very much on our mind as we
prepare the public health responses to best protect the public.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Frumkin follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
Dr. William Happer, Professor of Physics, Princeton
University. And as I understand it, also Chairman of the George
C. Marshall Institute. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM HAPPER, PH.D., CYRUS FOGG BRACKETT
PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
Mr. Happer. Thank you.
Let me state clearly where I probably agree with the other
witnesses. We have been in a period of global warming, but it
has been going on for about 200 years. Also, there have been
several periods, like the last 10 years, when the warming has
ceased. In fact, there has been a little bit of cooling over
the past 10 years. There have even been periods of substantial
cooling, for example, from 1940 to 1970. You can see that on
Dr. Pachauri's chart.
Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased
from about 280 to 380 parts per million over the past 100
The combustion of fossil fuels, coal, oil, natural gases,
contributed to this increase in the atmosphere. Finally,
increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere
will cause some warming of the earth's surface. The key
question is, will the net effect of the warming and any other
effects of CO2 be good or bad for humanity? I
believe the increase of CO2 will be good.
I predict that future historians will look back on this
period much as we now look back on the period just before we
passed the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to prohibit
the manufacturing, sale or transportation of intoxicating
liquors. At the time, the 18th Amendment seemed to be exactly
the right thing to do. It was the 1917 version of saving the
planet from the ravages of climate change.
More than half the States enacted Prohibition laws before
the 18th Amendment was finally ratified. Only one State, Rhode
Island, voted against it, and my hat is off to the Senator from
Rhode Island. I am sorry he is not here.
There were many people who thought that prohibition might
do more harm than good, but they were completely outmatched by
the Temperance movement, whose motives and methods have much in
common with the movement to stop climate change. Deeply sincere
people felt they were saving humanity from the evils of
alcohol, just as many people now sincerely think they are
saving humanity from the evils of CO2.
Prohibition was a mistake, and our Country has probably
still not fully recovered from the damage it did. For example,
institutions like organized crime got their start in that era.
Drastic limitations on CO2 are likely to damage our
Country in an analogous way. There is tremendous opportunity
for corruption there.
There is little argument in the scientific community that
the direct effect of doubling CO2 concentrations
will be a small increase in the earth's temperature, on the
order of 1 degree Centigrade. That is not enough to worry about
it. Further increases will cause even less temperature rise.
To get the scary scenarios that we hear about, water vapor
and clouds must amplify the direct effects of CO2.
In fact, observations suggest that water vapor and clouds
actually diminish the already small global warming expected
from CO2, not amplify it. The evidence comes from
satellite measurements of infrared radiation escaping from the
earth into outer space, from measurement of the sunlight
reflected from clouds and from measurements of the temperature
of the earth's surface.
I keep hearing about the pollutant CO2, or about
poisoning the atmosphere with CO2. CO2 is
not a pollutant. It is not a poison and we should not corrupt
the English language by depriving pollutant and poison of their
original meaning. When we exhale, each of us here, our exhaled
breath is 4 percent CO2. That is about 40,000 parts
per million, 100 times the current atmospheric concentrations.
CO2 is absolutely essential for life. Commercial
greenhouse operators often use CO2 as a fertilizer
to improve the health and growth rate of their plants. Plants
and our own primate ancestors evolved when the levels of
atmospheric CO2 were about 1,000 parts per million,
a level we will probably not reach by burning fossil fuels. By
the way, the oceans did just fine then, at 1,000 parts per
million. There was no problem with acidification and lots of
coral reefs grew very vigorously.
We are all aware that the green revolution has increased
crop yields around the world. Part of this wonderful
development comes from improved crop varieties, better use of
mineral fertilizers, herbicides, et cetera. But no small part
of the yield improvement has come from increased atmospheric
levels of CO2. If we decrease our current levels of
CO2 to those that prevailed a few hundred years ago,
I don't know how we would do that, but if we did, we would lose
part of the green revolution, and the green revolution has yet
to run its course, if we let CO2 continue to go up.
I often hear there is a consensus behind the idea of
impending disaster from climate change that already it may be
almost too late to avert this catastrophe, even if we stop
burning fossil fuels. Well, first, what is correct in science
is not determined by consensus, but by experiment, observation,
testing. I can't think of any other branch of science where an
international organization is needed to determine the truth.
This is the first time this has ever happened.
Second, I don't think there is a consensus about an
impending climate crisis. Like the Temperance movement 100
years ago, the climate catastrophe movement has enlisted the
mass media, leadership of scientific societies, trustees of
charitable foundations, many other influential people to their
cause. Even elementary school teachers and writers of
children's books terrify our children with the idea of
impending climate doom. Children should not be force fed
propaganda masquerading as science. Many of you know that in
the year 2007, a British court ruled that if Al Gore's book, An
Inconvenient Truth, was used in British public schools, that
children had to be told of 11 particularly troubling
inaccuracies. For example, the court ruled it was not possible
to attribute Hurricane Katrina to CO2. Indeed, if we
had taken a small fraction of the many billions of dollars that
we spent on climate change research and propaganda and fixed
the dikes and pumps around New Orleans, there would have been
I regret that climate change issues have become confused
with serious problems like secure energy supplies, protecting
our environment and figuring out where future generations will
get energy or chemical feedstocks after we have burned all the
fossil fuel we can find. I hope we don't confuse these laudable
goals with hysterics about carbon footprints. I hope Congress
will choose to promote investment in technology that addresses
real problems and scientific research that will help us cope
with these real problems.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Happer follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. Thank you very much.
I just want to put into the record a list of the various
foundations that the ExxonMobil gives money to, and note that
Dr. Happer, your George C. Marshall Institute receives almost a
million dollars over the past 10 years from Exxon.
Your words are very alarming to me, sir, because you are
basically saying to these three gentlemen that they are feeding
us propaganda. And I have read other things you have said which
compares people who are talking about climate change to the
Germans during the Nazi era. I have that, I will put that in
[The referenced information follows:]
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED]
Senator Boxer. And you also talked about hysterics. Now,
the last thing I would say that came out of these three
scientists was hysterics. I was wondering when they would
actually raise their voice above a very modest level. They are
very clear in what they have learned from the science. I
haven't heard hysterics.
So I would, because you made that charge, ask each of them
to just talk about how you view the scientific consensus on
this. Is there a consensus on this, and are people who are
saying it is hysterics or saying it is propaganda, are they
outliers in terms of the scientific community? And I don't mean
particularly Dr. Happer, but just, he is saying things that
some outliers and some members of this Committee say.
And I think it is important, I know Dr. Pachauri, you have
put forward all the steps that were taken. But if you could
just address in just conversational terms whether or not what
you have told us today is propaganda or hysterics.
Mr. Pachauri. Thank you, Madam Chairperson. Let me once
again repeat that the IPCC functions on the basis of mobilizing
the best talent from across the world. And incidentally, all
those that are chosen for carrying out this task are
essentially those that have been nominated by governments and
then carefully selected on the basis of the record of research
that they have carried out.
I also want to state that all the work that the IPCC does
is based on peer-reviewed literature. The IPCC itself doesn't
carry out any research. It looks at peer-reviewed literature in
well-established journals. And therefore, if this doesn't
represent a consensus of the best scientific expertise drawn
from all over the world, I would like to ask what would.
And I mentioned also, Madam Chairperson, that in the Fourth
Assessment Report, we had an overwhelming number of people from
the U.S., very distinguished scientists. And these were those
who were actually nominated and then subsequently selected by
the IPCC. They were nominated by the previous Administration. I
am talking about the year 2002, 2003.
And finally, may I also say with all due respect to our
distinguished colleague from Princeton--very truly an
outstanding institution; I myself have had some association and
continue to have a modest association with a somewhat
relatively unknown institution called Yale University.
I would like to emphasize this analogy of the Temperance
movement. I think if you go down the annals of history, you
will find more people have suffered for having opposed
conventional thinking on subjects like cosmology, on the laws
of gravity. I just want to mention one single name. In the year
1600, there was a person called Giordano Bruno who was burned
at the stake simply because he believed that the world is
really something that is part of a much larger universe.
So I would like to submit that whenever new knowledge has
emerged, there has been resistance, there has been denial and
ultimately, thank God, the truth has prevailed. And I would
believe the truth exists today.
Senator Boxer. Well, let me do this, because my time is
running out. I am going to ask the last question of mine to Dr.
Field, and pick up again on what Dr. Happer said. First, he
said that there was a cooling trend, and then he switched and
said, I think increases of CO2 will be good for
humanity. So I don't know from that whether he thinks there is
a cooling trend or---- but let's forget that.
He said, increases of CO2 will be good for
humanity. So I guess I need to ask Dr. Field and Dr. Frumkin
quickly to explain whether they agree with that or not.
Mr. Field. Thank you very much. The temperature records for
2008 have just been released by NASA's Goddard Institute for
Space Studies; 2008 was the ninth warmest year in the
instrumental record. The fact of the matter is that
CO2 does increase the growth of some plants, but not
all plants. Some major crops, corn, sugar cane, sorghum, use a
different photosynthesis pathway and are not at all stimulated
by increased atmospheric CO2.
Early results on CO2 as an agriculture
fertilizer suggest that it might be quite powerful in
increasing yields by maybe 25 to 30 percent, but recently we
have developed a series of new technologies called free air
CO2 enrichment that allow us to do genuine field
scale tests of how much doubling atmospheric CO2
increases the growth of major crops. And the evidence is that
doubling CO2 in cooler regions in the United States
can increase crop growth maybe 10 to 20 percent. So certainly
not a significant amount. And in the context, well, it could be
And in the context of the rising temperatures that are
caused by the greenhouse effect of CO2, we basically
see downward pressure from the climate change and a small
upward pressure from the CO2. The IPCC conclusion is
that in the United States, for the next few decades, we might
see those approximately balancing each other out. Once the
temperature increase gets to be greater than about 3 degrees
Fahrenheit, the warming trend is expected to be the dominant
one, with crop yields going down.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
And Dr. Frumkin, since you are an expert on health, do you
agree that CO2 is going to be good for humanity, an
increase in CO2 is going to be good for humanity?
Dr. Frumkin. No, Senator Boxer. The combination of rising
CO2 and the associated earth system changes, such as
warmer temperatures, will have a range of impacts on health, as
I described earlier. Both the diminished agricultural output,
especially in vulnerable parts of the world, and the other
impacts, such as worsening air pollution and aggravation of
allergies, collectively give us much more concern than
Senator Boxer. Senator Inhofe.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you.
Let me share something I was just handed. This is new news
that came out apparently today. The U.K. Register has reported
that ``Japanese scientists have made a dramatic break with the
U.N. and western-backed hypotheses of climate change. The
IPCC's conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are
likely to show a continuous, monotonous increase should be
perceived as an unprovable hypothesis.''
Dr. Pachauri, you have made several statements in 2003 and
2008 concerning the Flat Earth Society, which I think is fine.
t is a type of name calling I suppose that is good. It can get
Many scientists who doubt what you claim are included in
our U.S. Senate minority report, the one I referred to. And
they have cited you and Al Gore as other characterizations of
skeptics as one of the key motivating factors to publicly speak
out in dissent. Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs is
one of those scientists who are not happy with your comments.
Briggs specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation,
serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and
Statistics Committee, and is an associate editor of the Monthly
Weather Review. He wrote in 2008, ``After reading U.N. IPCC
Chairman Pachauri's asinine comment comparing skeptics to Flat
Earthers, it is hard to remain quiet.''
Paleoclimate expert Augusto Mangini of the University of
Heidelberg in Germany criticized the U.N. IPCC summary, ``I
consider the part of the IPCC report which I can really judge
as an expert,'' in other words, the reconstruction of the
paleoclimate, ``wrong.'' He added, ``The earth will not die.''
South African nuclear physicist and chemical engineer Dr.
Philip Lloyd, a U.N. IPCC co-coordinator, lead author who has
authored more than 150 publications, stated ``The quantity of
CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the
natural circulation between air, water and soil. I am doing a
detailed assessment of the U.N. IPCC's reports and the summary
for policymakers identifying the way in which the summaries
have distorted the science.''
Victor Emmanuel Vacquier, a researcher at the Institute of
Geophysics of the University of New Mexico stated ``the models
and forecasts of the U.N. IPCC are incorrect because they only
are based on mathematical models and presented results
scenarios.'' Indian geologists, and you could probably help me
with the pronunciation of this name, Dr. Pachauri, but it is
Arun Ahluwalia, of Punjab University, and a board member of the
U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet, ``The IPCC has
actually become a closed-circuit. It doesn't listen to others.
It doesn't have open minds. I am really amazed that the Nobel
Peace Prize is being given on scientifically incorrect
conclusions by people who are not geologists.''
Dr. Nicholas Drapela of the faculty of the Oregon State
University chemistry department described the U.N. IPCC this
way: ``The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a body
of the United Nations, it is not a scientific body, it is a
political body.'' Dr. John Rignold, a U.K. emeritus engineering
professor at the University of Southampton, who held the chair
in industry instrumentation at Southampton, accused the U.N. of
censorship on July 23d of 2008, just last year. Dr. Rignold
wrote, ``Here was a purely political body posing as a
scientific institution. They acted in concert to keep out alien
or hostile opinion. Peer review developed into a mantra that
was picked up by political activists who clearly had no idea of
the procedures of science or its learning societies.''
Another one of the IPCC scientists not happy with your
group's process accused the IPCC of ignoring skeptical
comments. The IPCC 2007 expert reviewer, Medhav Chandakar, a
Ph.D meteorologist, a scientist with the Natural Resources
Stewardship Process, who has over 45 years' experience in
climatology, meteorology, oceanography, and who has published
nearly 100 papers and reports, said ``To my dismay, IPCC
authors ignored all of my comments and suggestions for major
changes in the first order draft and sent me the second order
draft with essentially the same text as the first order draft.
None of the authors of the chapter bothered to directly
communicate with me or with other expert reviewers with whom I
communicate on a regular basis on many issues that were raised
in my review. This is not an acceptable scientific process.''
I want to comment on another one. This is the former
Colorado State climatologist, Roger Pielke, Sr., analyzed your
most recent, and this is you, Dr. Field, your most recent
scientific claims on February 15th, 2009. Dr. Pielke suggested
that this claim conflicts with real world observations. He
observed that since mid-2003, there have been no upper ocean
global average warming and observation which is not consistent
with the GISS model predictions. Over this time, the recent and
current tropospheric temperature data also shown in the lower
tropospheric temperatures today are no lower than they were in
2002. The recent global warming is less than the IPCC models
predict and even more so in disagreement. And this is a quote,
he said, ``When will the news media,'' this is significant, I
agree with this, ``When will the news media and others realize
that by presenting such biased reports, which are easily
refuted by real world data, they are losing their credibility
among many of the scientific community as well as the public?''
Let me just say, Dr. Happer, you have had a lot of
criticism here by the others. I thought I would take the 2
minutes I have remaining----
Senator Boxer. You had seven. You had seven when we
started. So you are out of time.
Senator Inhofe. I hope you will have the opportunity to
refute and certainly do that to each and every allegation in
perhaps a written communication. Would you do that?
Mr. Happer. Well, do I have some time to respond?
Senator Boxer. Well, excuse me. You have run out of your
seven minutes. I gave you seven, I had seven.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Senator Boxer. So we are going to have to put it off. But I
could also say, you spent your entire 7 minutes attacking the
rest of the panel, so we will need to have these----
Senator Inhofe. No, I was quoting scientists, Madam
Senator Boxer. Who were attacking the IPCC.
Senator Inhofe. That is correct.
Senator Boxer. And I would like to put into the record this
Japan Society of Energy and Resources that you broke the news
to us, they are dominated by the power companies in Japan, the
gas chemical companies. And I put that in the record.
[The referenced material was not received at time of
Senator Boxer. I would call on Senator Lautenberg.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman. I
want to ask Dr. Pachauri, what are the credentials for
membership in the IPCC? Is there a credential that one has to
bring to be a member? This is a member association, is it not?
Mr. Pachauri. May I respond to that, Madam Chairperson?
Senator Lautenberg. Yes.
Mr. Pachauri. Right.
Senator Lautenberg. That is my time.
Mr. Pachauri. Yes, sir. So as I mentioned, what we do is we
first, on the basis of----
Senator Lautenberg. As short as you can, please.
Mr. Pachauri. Yes, detailed exercise, scope out the
contents of a particular report, then we write to governments
to send us nominations of scientists who can work on the
report. These are then selected by the bureau of the IPCC
purely on the basis of their research record and their CVs. So
it is entirely a merit-based system.
Senator Lautenberg. How many members presently constitute
Mr. Pachauri. Well, there is no permanent membership per
se. For each particular report, we mobilize a team of the best
scientists that we can get.
Senator Lautenberg. How many people contribute to it?
Mr. Pachauri. Well, like in the last Fourth Assessment
report, we had 450 people who actually wrote the report, 2,500
odd who actually reviewed various drafts, and in addition, 800
so-called contributing authors. So I would say roughly 4,000
Senator Lautenberg. Dr. Happer, I have to commend you for
courage, even though we radically differ on the view of what is
From 1980 to 1994, it is said by CDC, and correct me, Dr.
Frumkin, if I am wrong, that there was a 75 percent increase in
the number of cases of asthma and 150 percent increase among
children. Now, is that some kind of a coincidental thing, or do
you believe that there is any kind of cause that might bring
that situation to us? Dr. Happer.
Mr. Happer. Oh, for me?
Senator Lautenberg. Yes. I am sorry.
Mr. Happer. I am glad you asked. I actually started a
little company that looks at asthma and lung imaging a few
years ago. So I learned a fair amount about that. The people I
talk to, physicians, felt that much of it was due to indoor
dust and that, especially slum dwellers were exposed to such
dust. I am not a physician, but it was believed to be sort of a
Now, maybe that is associated with temperature one way or
another. Maybe more air conditioning is a bad thing, I don't
know. But this is the limit of what I can respond to on this.
Senator Lautenberg. Dr. Frumkin.
Dr. Frumkin. Asthma is on the rise. The causes are very
complex and not fully understood. But what is clear is that
once people have asthma, and this is especially an issue for
children, some of the effects of climate change especially
affect those individuals. They are especially susceptible. So
the problems with air pollution, and the problems with allergen
production that rise with climate change are especially
worrisome for those with asthma, a larger population now than
it has been in the past.
Senator Lautenberg. Dr. Happer, you dispute the fact that a
consensus has validity, do I understand you correctly?
Mr. Happer. Consensuses are often wrong in science and in
other spheres of human life. For example, in my field,
physicists covered themselves with shame 100 years ago when
they debated with Darwin how old the earth was. I mentioned
some of this in my written testimony. But there was complete
consensus in the physics community the earth couldn't be more
than a few tens of millions of years old. They were completely
wrong and Darwin was right.
So consensus is not the way to determine the truth.
Senator Lautenberg. Do you challenge the findings that were
presented here by your colleagues about the growth in warming
and the severity of storms, sea rising?
Mr. Happer. Yes, I do, actually. If you look at the records
of hurricanes, they have not increased at all. That is public
knowledge. And as for warming, it is still not as warm as it
was when the Vikings settled Greenland. They were not growing
potatoes, but they were exporting sheep to Norway. So there
have been huge fluctuations in the climate that IPCC doesn't
even try to explain.
Senator Lautenberg. Do you think there is a conspiracy, Dr.
Mr. Happer. No, no, not at all.
Senator Lautenberg. Well, permit me to finish the sentence,
please. That this is a, that there is a conspiracy that is
presenting this thing that is a hoax that is being delivered to
the world at large because of a conspiratorial alliance?
Mr. Happer. No. I really respect the people working on
this. I think they really think they are doing good, they want
to save the world. We all have an urge to do something good.
That is why we are put in the world. I think they have made a
Senator Lautenberg. No, but can this, the charge that this
is a hoax, that global warming is a hoax, could you say that
that is the kind of a joke you could laugh at?
Mr. Happer. No, I don't agree that it is a hoax. I said
what I thought it was, I think it is a mistake. A hoax means
that someone is intentionally trying to deceive you. I don't
think that is the case. I don't think that my colleagues are
doing that at all.
Senator Lautenberg. Thank you very much.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Senator Klobuchar. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman.
Thank you to all of you.
I wanted to ask just some specific scientific questions on
the status of the research. We have heard a lot, Dr. Pachauri,
about how there has been some changes to the models about
concerns about even more immediate and dramatic climate
changes. And I have heard some of that is due to the increased
levels of methane emissions that may be coming from the melting
of the polar ice. Could you enlighten us about this idea that
these methane emissions coming from the polar ice are going to
create more global warming?
Mr. Pachauri. Absolutely, Madam Senator. As a matter of
fact, there are a number of other factors also which, with
further warming, could lead to larger emissions of greenhouse
gases. The oceans, for instance, which hold large quantity of
carbon dioxide, with warming could lead to a release of some of
that carbon dioxide. This is an area which is being studied in
considerable detail. But the indications are very clear that,
for instance, the permafrost melting will result in other
greenhouse gases, and additional greenhouse gases being emitted
into the atmosphere.
Senator Klobuchar. So it is more than just the warming
started all this, so when, I am just trying to understand this,
so when suddenly the ice starts to melt, that actually leads to
more of these gases getting out, is what you are saying? OK.
And then, second question I had is just about the timing of
this. The next IPCC report is going to be out in 2014, is that
right? And I am just thinking, we are doing all this work right
now, and is there going to be some kind of preliminary
assessment out in between the last one and this one?
Mr. Pachauri. Actually, to carry out a thorough and
reliable assessment of climate change, we really need this kind
of period of time, Senator. And this time around, we are also
developing some new scenarios of the way economic growth,
technology changes and so on will take place. So we really
would not be able to come up with anything more than a very
preliminary assessment of how things are changing.
Senator Klobuchar. Could you tell me a little, just based
on your international work, about how some of the major
economies like India and China are interpreting some of the
IPCC data and what is happening there?
Mr. Pachauri. Senator, there is a substantial concern in
all the countries of the world about the impacts of climate
change. Because some of these nations are going to be impacted,
are going to receive the impacts of climate change that would
really disrupt not only their economy but their ecosystems and
One point that I would like to mention is that the problem
today has been caused not by flows or emissions that are taking
place currently but by the stock which has accumulated
essentially as a result of development in the industrialized
countries. And I think it is for this reason that the framework
you mention on climate change talks about common but
And therefore, may I submit--this is purely a personal
opinion--I think for a country like the United States to lead
is critically important. The number of technologies that you
develop over here, whether it is motorcars or something else,
will be used by the developing countries as well.
Senator Klobuchar. Exactly. Mr. Field, could you talk
about, you talked about your assessments and what is happening
and the models. Could you focus a little on the Midwest and
what you have seen there? In our State, we seem to have more
fires and floods and things in recent years, especially in the
warm years. Could you talk about that?
Mr. Field. The United States is expected to have diverse
impacts of climate. And some of those impacts will be positive.
There are deaths that result from cold temperature. And the
real challenge in trying to understand the overall effect is to
add up the pluses and the minuses and the conclusion of the
IPCC and of the scientific assessment process is that the
minuses dramatically outweigh the benefits.
In the United States, many of the most serious impacts will
be a consequence of changes in water supply and precipitation
is one of the things that is difficult to project from the
climate models. In the United States, the clearest decreases in
expected precipitation are in the West and the Southwest, with
uncertain trends in the upper Midwest. I think the things that
we see clear evidence of in the upper Midwest are increased
number of heat wave days, even in cities that are relatively
cool. The consequences of heat waves vary from place to place,
and cooler cities are not necessarily immune from them. There
also are a wide range of concerns about sustainability of water
resources in the Great Lakes Region and the transportation is
subject to relatively modest----
Senator Klobuchar. The barge traffic and----
Mr. Field [continuing]. Increases in lake level, which
become increasingly difficult to predict in an environment
where year to year, variation rainfall increases. And that is
one of the clearest consequences of the climate models.
Senator Klobuchar. Thank you very much. I appreciate all of
Senator Boxer. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Merkley. Thank you, Madam Chair. One of the
contrasts in the testimony that I thought was very stark was
the difference between Dr. Pachauri's testimony that 11 of the
last 12 years ranked among the 12 warmest years in the record
of global surface temperature and Dr. Happer's testimony that
the last decade has been a cooling period. Could either of you
or anyone else kind of comment on this dramatic difference and
what leads you to such starkly opposite conclusions?
Mr. Happer. Well, I could take a start. You can look at the
satellite record of the temperature, you could click on the
Internet, you can find it. And the temperature peaked about 10
years ago, at the time of an El Nino. And since then, it has
been slightly trending downward. In fact, it peaked at a time
when we were at a peak of the records of temperature.
But they are not very old. For example, we don't have good
records of temperature in the 1930s. My guess is it was
probably hotter in the 1930s, but it is certainly consistent
that the last 10 years could be high temperature years if the
record of temperature only goes back 40 years.
Senator Merkley. So for me to clarify, you are using the
same, we are talking apples to apples, you are talking about
the global surface temperature, not in a particular part of the
globe and so forth?
Mr. Happer. The satellite temperature, yes.
Senator Merkley. Dr. Field.
Mr. Field. Yes, 2008 was the ninth warmest year in the
instrumental record. The two warmest years were 1999 and 2005.
It is difficult to tell for sure, because they were about the
same. And there is no question that all the warmest years in
the record have been recent ones.
There is also no question that the current temperatures are
warmer than any time we have seen in the last 400 years, and
very likely for the last 2,000 years. It also is very difficult
to say that in a domain with strong directional warming, we
wouldn't see an occasional warm year. The climate is a very
complicated system, and we want to make sure that we don't set
people up to be misled by a single exceptionally hot year or a
single exceptionally cool year.
Mr. Pachauri. Senator, I projected a picture of global mean
surface temperature going back in time to the middle of the
19th century. And I clearly indicated, unfortunately not
adequately due to shortage of time, that there are ups and
downs in this record.
But if you look at the last 100 years, for which I showed
you a line that essentially shows the slope of changes, and
particularly deal with the last 50 years, then the trend is
unmistakable. We are on a path of increased warming, and there
is no question about it. And we are not talking about
predictions of the weather, as Professor Field has rightly
said. You could get a terribly cold year, you could get a
terribly hot year. But it is the trend, and the pattern that we
should really be concerned about.
Senator Merkley. Thank you. If I could just follow up on
that, I did find your chart very useful. You said the kind of
trend line for 100 years is .074 degrees Centigrade per decade,
the last 50 years .128 degrees Centigrade per decade. And my,
by the estimates of how much the temperature might increase
over the next 50 to 100 years, I am assuming that it appears
very likely that the number of Centigrade degree increase per
decade is very likely to increase substantially beyond that.
If one was to take, for example, and look at just the next
decade, where is kind of the estimate for that decade?
Mr. Pachauri. Well, if we do nothing, Senator, then we
would get an increase of about 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade.
That is the kind of increase that we see. But this would become
much sharper if we don't do anything about the problem, but
that is the immediate projection.
Senator Merkley. So I want to follow up on one last piece
here, which is the line of carbon dioxide parts per million in
the atmosphere, going from 280 historically to 380. It sounds
like there is a lot of consensus across everyone's testimony in
that regard. Is there still substantial belief in the
scientific community that if we don't constrain the part per
million at about 400 parts per million that we are on a, very
difficult to reverse the trend of global warming that we are
on? Are we in the, we use the terrorist alert signals if we
will, are we on the orange zone or the red zone or just how
close are we to a situation where it would be very hard to
reverse the impact?
Mr. Pachauri. Senator, if we want to limit global mean
temperature increase to say, 2 to 2.4 degrees Celsius, then we
have to stabilize CO2 equivalent concentration
levels at between 445 to 490 parts per million. Now, that is
just a little above where we are today. And that is why I said
we have just about 6 years left in which we will have to bring
about peaking of emissions and then start reducing them
thereafter. And we have got, in the IPCC Fourth Assessment
Report, several scenarios of reduction that need to be achieved
for different levels of temperature increase.
Senator Merkley. Dr. Happer, you wanted to respond? Very
briefly, because my time has run its course.
Mr. Happer. I just wanted to say a few things. Many people
don't realize that over geological time, we are really in a
CO2 famine now. Almost never has the CO2
level been as low as it has been in the Holocene, 280, that is
unheard of. Most of the time it is at least 1,000, and it has
been quite a bit higher than that. The earth was just fine in
those times. We evolved as a species in those times when the
CO2 levels were three or four times what they are
now. And the oceans were fine, plants grew fine, animals grew
So it is baffling to me that we are so frightened of
getting nowhere close to where we started.
Senator Merkley. My time is up.
Senator Boxer. Take a little extra time, because this is a
weird kind of place you have taken us to. Because you are
taking us back how many years, Dr. Happer? To when we were
Senator Merkley. Pleistocene, I think was the----
Ms. Happer. Well, most people think primate evolved about
80 million years ago.
Senator Boxer. OK, there you go. I don't even know how to
say this, but a lot has happened since then----
Senator Boxer [continuing]. In terms of where people are
living and working. We have a society now. So to say go back to
those days, I shudder to think of what it means is going to
happen. So either I am missing something or you just don't seem
to think times have changed.
Mr. Happer. Well, I don't think that the laws of nature,
physics and chemistry have changed in 80 million years. Eighty
million years ago, the earth was a very prosperous place. There
is no reason to think it will suddenly become bad now.
Senator Boxer. OK. Dr. Field, if things were to go back the
way it was then in terms of the amount of carbon in the air,
which Dr. Happer said was wonderful times, how much was in the
air then, sir?
Mr. Happer. It is a little hard to be sure, but three or
four times what we have now.
Senator Boxer. Three or four times more, what would happen
to the people here? And could you just talk reality? Because,
don't do it from up here, do it from here. And this is not
coming off Senator Carper's time. I am going to give him two
extra minutes because of this. But I feel this is really the
most extraordinary argument I have ever heard, that we could go
back to the times that were so long ago and everything would be
fine. You need to talk to me about that.
Mr. Field. I would like to give you two observations that
are well-known from the historical data. We know that the
CO2 concentrations are higher now than they have
been at any time in the last 650,000 years. It is not like it
was yesterday when they were higher.
We know the last time they were higher for sure was
probably about 50 million years ago. I am sorry the Senator
from Wyoming isn't here, because 50 million years ago there
were crocodiles in Wyoming. We might go back----
Senator Carper. Some would say there still are.
Mr. Field [continuing]. To a very, very different world.
Senator Boxer. Well, that is the point. I mean, we are
trying to preserve society as we know it and Dr. Happer says,
just go back to the way it was 50 million years ago. I am not
telling that to my grandkids.
Senator Merkley, since that was your good--I will give you
a minute or two and then I will give Tom as much time.
Senator Merkley. I want to say a few things. The first is
that homo sapiens were not on this planet during the
Pleistocene. And so we are indeed talking about ecosystems that
have changed dramatically and certainly human civilization
having come and been established far more recently.
The second is, I just have to comment on the parallel you
drew to Prohibition. It would seem if you draw the parallel to
the issue of being concerned about the health impacts of
alcohol then the parallel would be, your commentary would be,
increased alcohol consumption is not much of an issue, doesn't
have a health consequence, might even be beneficial.
After 10 years of testimony in the State of Oregon on the
impacts of alcohol consumption on health and the huge toll it
takes on families, I say if you really want to exploit that
parallel you might come to a very different conclusion about
Mr. Happer. May I respond?
Senator Boxer. We are not going to have responses now. We
are going to go to Tom Carper.
Senator Carper. Thank you, Madam Chair.
That was pretty good, Senator Merkley. Very good.
I was an undergraduate, went to Ohio State University. From
time to time I go back and visit my old alma mater. I was last
there a little over a year ago, and I spent some time in the
Polar Research Center there. It is run by a couple of folks
that several of you know, Drs. Lonnie and Ellen Thompson. They
were good enough to share with me their research, which
involves, I think, climbing tall mountains in places along the
equator, going up to the ice caps and trying to measure,
collect ice samples and measure levels of CO2 that
go back hundreds of thousands of years, maybe close to a
And my recollection of what they shared with me that day
was that if you go back about that far over 500,000, over
600,000, over 7000,000 years, you find that the, and look from
back then to the present, you will find that we are going
through a period of time where levels of CO2 are
probably higher than any time in all the years represented in
their samples. They also show a pretty close correlation to
increases in temperature with the increases in CO2.
Are you all at all familiar with their research and do you
have any comment on it? Dr. Field.
Mr. Field. There is a very rich body of information that
has come from the study of ice cores. The longest ice cores
come from Antarctica where there is incredibly deep ice. And
those have been incredibly useful in mapping out the trajectory
of ice ages and interglacials that we have experienced. Those
have also been incredibly important for figuring out how
powerful the effect of CO2 on climate is.
Essentially, we know that the ice ages are triggered by small
changes in the shape of the earth's orbit, and we can calculate
the physics very precisely of how much warming that would
There is information stored in the ice cores that tells us
how much warming actually occurred, and then we can use the
difference between the amount that the change in the shape of
the orbit should have caused and the amount that actually
occurred as one of the most effective ways to figure out
powerful a climate forcing agent the CO2 is, and a
lot of the information we have on the climate sensitivity comes
from those ice cores.
Senator Carper. Dr. Pachauri.
Mr. Pachauri. Senator, I would just like to mention that
over the last 650,000 years, as Professor Field has mentioned,
we have had remarkable stability in the concentration of carbon
dioxide in the earth's atmosphere. And I would also like to
mention that about 125,000 years ago, when we had warming more
or less at the same level that we are heading toward today, but
that was for very different reasons, we had sea level rise of
several meters. And I think that is the kind of thing that we
might be heading toward that has been brought out very clearly
in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.
Senator Carper. Stay on sea level risk if we could for a
little bit. Just by a show of hands, has anyone on our panel
ever been to Delaware? Oh, good for you. A State not known for
its mountains or hills. In fact, I kid people, and I say, I
think in my State, the highest point of land in my State is a
bridge. We have great beaches, though. And a lot of people do
come to our beaches.
We are told that, according to the IPCC, that if global
temperature rises I think by about 2 degrees Celsius in the
years to come, we are going to see a sea level rise of close to
two feet. No, I think it is close to four feet, maybe four to
five feet. My understanding is that this would not be a good
thing for my State of Delaware. And I say with tongue in cheek
that instead of people going to the beaches to swim or surf at
Bethany or Rehoboth or Dewey Beach they would go to Dover Beach
or Wilmington Beach or Newark Beach, and instead of going to
NASCAR racing at Dover Downs, they would go there for sailboat
I just want to ask, what you, setting aside those thoughts,
but the threat of that kind of sea level rise, as much as three
or four or five feet, with a rise in temperatures of maybe 2
degrees Celsius, what might that impact be for us on the East
Coast? Even around here in Washington, DC?
Mr. Pachauri. Senator, even with a 2 degree increase in
temperature, we have estimated that due to thermal expansion of
the oceans alone, worldwide we would get sea level rise, and
this is thermal expansion alone, of 0.4 to 1.4 meters. So let's
say you are somewhere in the middle of that range. We are
talking about at least a two feet increase in sea level.
And this is something that in a sense, the world has
already been committed to, so we have to do something to bring
about a reduction in that. And quite apart from the impacts on
the U.S., may I say that there are several small island states
that will be completely wiped out. The country of Bangladesh,
which has over 160 million people, will have no place to go,
and several other regions of the world.
But I will let Professor Field talk about that, if you
Senator Carper. Yes, the East Coast, just talk about--I
appreciate very much your mentioning the island states and
Bangladesh. But the East Coast.
Mr. Field. The impacts of a modest sea level rise, and I
hate to say modest, because two to four feet is big in terms of
impacts, but even a small amount of sea level risk can have big
impacts. A specific example, I will start with California and I
will get to the East Coast in a minute. In the delta of the
Sacramento River, we know that a one foot sea level rise is
enough to change the once in a 100 year flood to once every 10
years. That is what we really see. If you look at the damages
from sea level that comes from the extremes, and what you see
is even a small amount of sea level rise of a few inches, can
make the extremes come dramatically more frequent. When you get
up to two to four feet, you are seeing the once in a 100 year
flood come every year.
The other thing that is really important in the eastern
U.S. where there are big estuaries is that sea level increase
in the one to two to three feet range can essentially eliminate
all the estuaries, and especially important in urbanized areas
where you have a squeeze between the developed zone and the
open water, essentially the rising sea level just pushes the
water right up to the sea walls or whatever the retaining
structures are that each community has erected.
Senator Carper. Thank you both for those comments.
Let me ask, one other question, and that is, well, let me
go back to Drs. Ellen and Lonnie Thompson for a moment. If you
were a critic of their research and you were trying to poke a
hole in the work that they have done, how would you go about
doing that? How could their work be discredited? Any ideas?
Mr. Pachauri. I am sorry, I didn't quite get whose work you
Senator Carper. The people I talked to at Ohio State
University, Drs. Lonnie and Ellen Thompson. How would you go
about discrediting their work if you were trying to poke holes
Mr. Field. Well, I am a great fan of their work, I would
certainly never try to discredit it. And as in most areas of
science, there are many teams that have drilled these ice
cores. The Thompsons are the specialists in high altitude
alpine ice cores. And the patterns that they see are in many
cases very similar to the patterns that come from other teams
that have drilled ice cores in Greenland and other teams that
have drilled ice cores in Antarctica. You see a progression of
the atmospheric CO2 varying between about 200 parts
per million during the ice ages, about 280 during the
interglacials. And I think that in all science, the whole idea
is that it should be testable and repeatable. There are many
groups that are out there doing the tests. I think that the
overall body of information from the ice cores has stood the
challenge of a great many tests already.
Senator Carper. All right, thank you.
Last question I will ask, just a short one. I understand
recent studies have shown that sulfur dioxide and black carbon
may be global warming agents. And I just wonder, is the IPCC
looking at these pollutants and their contributions to climate
Mr. Pachauri. Yes, as a matter of fact, we have looked at
that, Senator, even in the Fourth Assessment Report.
Undoubtedly this is a factor, but may I submit that this is
something that really doesn't have an impact uniformly across
the globe. Because the extent of black carbon that you have is
largely a localized phenomenon. Of course, it moves from one
region to the other. But this is clearly a factor. It would
have an impact, for instance, as has been found, on the
monsoons in South Asia and in other parts of Asia. It certainly
had an impact in China, to some extent.
So it is a very localized phenomenon. And we are finding
out more and more about this situation.
Senator Carper. Our thanks to each of you for joining us
today and for your work and your testimony. Thank you.
Senator Boxer. Thank you.
Well, to the panel, you have been very gracious with your
time. I am very grateful to all of you for coming, all of you,
including our dissenter, because I think we got somewhere
today. I now see it clearly. If we decide that more and more
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is fine and it was just great
50 million years ago, when there was three to four times as
much, I mean, if we decide that, and we don't mind that things
changed dramatically for our people.
I could tell you in California, this is important, that the
preliminary analysis from our bill there addressing global
warming is going to avoid 400 premature deaths, 11,000
incidences of asthma and lower respiratory symptoms and 67,000
lost work days by 2020. That is something that is good. If we
don't do it, people are going to die. Simple. Straightforward.
Going to get sick and they are going to die.
Now, if you think going back to all those years ago and
those levels and everything is wonderful and fine and that is
your view of the future, God bless you. But I don't agree. I
will fight you ever step of the way. I view it as uncaring, I
view it as irresponsible. If anything we need to do, it is to
leave this planet in the condition as good as we got it from
We are going to work at it in this Committee. We are going
to have that choice between my colleagues who say, do nothing,
the party of nope, versus do something, the party of hope. And
in doing so, we are going to make our Country far more
prosperous. I will tell you, this is a great issue for us in
And nothing good comes easy. It was hard for this
Committee, long before we were here, to pass the Clean Water
Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Endangered Species Act,
the Superfund Program, this Committee has an amazing, amazing
record of stepping up to the plate. And we did it last year, we
are going to do it this year.
And we have been challenged by our President. I couldn't be
more proud of this Committee. And Senator Inhofe and I, you
know, we kid a lot, but we really do have a fondness for each
other. On this issue, it is like Dr. Happer and Dr. Pachauri. I
mean, it is just, we are definitely coming from a very
different place, and as we see today, a very different time.
Senator Boxer. I didn't really know it went back that far.
But now, this is giving me new energy for this fight.
So thank you to my Committee, both sides. Thank you to this
illustrious panel. Maybe you didn't feel like you were helping
us, but you really did help us today, all of you. Thank you
very, very much, and we stand adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:28 p.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
[Additional statement submitted for the record follows:]
Statement of Hon. Mike Crapo,
U.S. Senator from the State of Idaho
Ms. Chairwoman, thank you for the opportunity to share a
few words. Also, thank you to the witnesses for being here with
us today to discuss the science of climate change.
As a new member of the Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee, I am looking forward to robust and thorough
discussions about the environmental challenges facing our
Nation and our world. I am equally hopeful that we will fully
explore all available solutions to some of the most pressing
issues of our day such as: ending our Nation's foreign
dependence on oil, achieving energy security and finding ways
to promote clean energy. Solutions to these issues will make
our Nation safer, stronger, and provide a cleaner world for our
children and grandchildren.
The best way to promote the goals of a clean, healthy
environment is through a framework of incentives for clean
energy production. Incentives for wind and solar are important,
but a realistic goal for the advancement of clean energy must
include incentives for nuclear energy production, carbon
capture and sequestration, geothermal and hydropower.
In this time of economic turmoil, we need to find a way to
promote clean energy faster and cheaper, and I am concerned
about the costs of past proposals before this Committee.
For example, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated
that S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act would
cost $6.7 trillion to implement. Yet, the National Association
of Manufacturers estimated that this legislation would cost our
economy 3-4 million jobs. Passage of this type of legislation
would absolutely negate the predicted benefits of the Stimulus
package, which President Obama has stated will ``save or
create'' 3.5 million jobs. Therefore we should proceed very
cautiously--carefully analyzing the implications of all climate
proposals before this Committee.
Since 2001, the United States has spent over $35 billion on
global climate change initiatives, more than all other
countries combined. This money has been spent on investments in
clean technologies, international partnerships, and clean
technology usage. We are also beginning to see the fruits of
our legislative labor as the Energy Policy Acts of 2005 and
2007 begin to take effect and make a real difference to the
Nation's domestic energy portfolio.
Today, there are 17 companies and consortia pursuing
licenses for 26 new nuclear reactors, representing an
investment of approximately $80 billion to $100 billion and the
creation of thousands of jobs. Plans are in place to build
cellulosic ethanol plants using loan guarantees and incentives
from the 2005 and 2007 Energy Bills, and there has been a
significant investment in renewable power sources.
To ensure that we transition to clean energy at the lowest
cost to the consumer, we could take steps to create a Clean
Electricity Standard that rewards a broad array of advanced
clean sources, like: nuclear power, clean coal, hydro-power,
efficiency, and renewable sources. We can also focus on
improving management of our Nation's forests, allowing the
forests to double the current amount of sequestered carbon.
These approaches will ensure American energy independence,
create jobs, and grow the U.S. economy. This will also provide
a roadmap for others to follow, sharing the best economic and
environmental solutions for the U.S. with developing nations
around the world.