[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
CLIMATE SCIENCE AND EPA'S
GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
MARCH 8, 2011
Serial No. 112-16
Printed for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce
CLIMATE SCIENCE AND EPA'S GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS
CLIMATE SCIENCE AND EPA'S
GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND POWER
COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
MARCH 8, 2011
Serial No. 112-16
Printed for the use of the Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
66-704 WASHINGTON : 2011
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
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COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE
FRED UPTON, Michigan
JOE BARTON, Texas HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
Chairman Emeritus Ranking Member
CLIFF STEARNS, Florida JOHN D. DINGELL, Michigan
ED WHITFIELD, Kentucky EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
JOHN SHIMKUS, Illinois EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York
JOSEPH R. PITTS, Pennsylvania FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
MARY BONO MACK, California BOBBY L. RUSH, Illinois
GREG WALDEN, Oregon ANNA G. ESHOO, California
LEE TERRY, Nebraska ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
MIKE ROGERS, Michigan GENE GREEN, Texas
SUE WILKINS MYRICK, North Carolina DIANA DeGETTE, Colorado
Vice Chairman LOIS CAPPS, California
JOHN SULLIVAN, Oklahoma MICHAEL F. DOYLE, Pennsylvania
TIM MURPHY, Pennsylvania JANICE D. SCHAKOWSKY, Illinois
MICHAEL C. BURGESS, Texas CHARLES A. GONZALEZ, Texas
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee JAY INSLEE, Washington
BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
CHARLES F. BASS, New Hampshire MIKE ROSS, Arkansas
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
STEVE SCALISE, Louisiana JIM MATHESON, Utah
ROBERT E. LATTA, Ohio G.K. BUTTERFIELD, North Carolina
CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS, Washington JOHN BARROW, Georgia
GREGG HARPER, Mississippi DORIS O. MATSUI, California
LEONARD LANCE, New Jersey DONNA M. CHRISTENSEN, Virgin
BILL CASSIDY, Louisiana Islands
BRETT GUTHRIE, Kentucky
PETE OLSON, Texas
DAVID B. McKINLEY, West Virginia
CORY GARDNER, Colorado
MIKE POMPEO, Kansas
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois
H. MORGAN GRIFFITH, Virginia
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
ED WHITFIELD, Kentucky
JOHN SULLIVAN, Oklahoma BOBBY L. RUSH, Illinois
Vice Chairman Ranking Member
JOHN SHIMKUS, Illinois
GREG WALDEN, Oregon JAY INSLEE, Washington
LEE TERRY, Nebraska JIM MATHESON, Utah
MICHAEL C. BURGESS, Texas JOHN D. DINGELL, Michigan
BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
STEVE SCALISE, Louisiana ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS, Washington GENE GREEN, Texas
PETE OLSON, Texas LOIS CAPPS, California
DAVID B. McKINLEY, West Virginia MICHAEL F. DOYLE, Pennsylvania
CORY GARDNER, Colorado HENRY A. WAXMAN, California (ex
MIKE POMPEO, Kansas officio)
H. MORGAN GRIFFITH, Virginia
JOE BARTON, Texas
FRED UPTON, Michigan (ex officio)
C O N T E N T S
Hon. Ed Whitfield, a Representative in Congress from the
Commonwealth of Kentucky, opening statement.................... 1
Prepared statement........................................... 3
Hon. Bobby L. Rush, a Representative in Congress from the State
of Michigan, opening statement................................. 4
Prepared statement........................................... 5
Hon. Michael C. Burgess, a Representative in Congress from the
State of Texas, opening statement.............................. 6
Hon. Fred Upton, a Representative in Congress from the State of
Illinois, prepared statement................................... 202
Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Scripps
Institution of Oceanography.................................... 10
Prepared statement........................................... 12
Answers to submitted questions............................... 399
John R. Christy, Director, Earth System Science Center,
University of Alabama.......................................... 54
Prepared statement........................................... 56
Answers to submitted questions............................... 407
Christopher B. Field, Director, Department of Global Ecology,
Carnegie Institution of Washington............................. 78
Prepared statement........................................... 80
Answers to submitted questions............................... 416
Roger Pielke, Sr., Senior Research Scientist, Cooperative
Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of
Colorado at Boulder............................................ 89
Prepared statement........................................... 92
Answers to submitted questions............................... 419
Francis W. Zwiers, Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium,
University of Victoria......................................... 102
Prepared statement........................................... 104
Answers to submitted questions /1/...........................
Knute Nadelhoffer, Director, University of Michigan Biological
Station, University of Michigan................................ 119
Prepared statement........................................... 121
Answers to submitted questions............................... 423
Donald Roberts, Professor Emeritus, Uniformed Services,
University of the Health Sciences.............................. 135
Prepared statement........................................... 137
Answers to submitted questions............................... 429
Letter of February 9, 2011, by 1,800 doctors, submitted by Mr.
Centers for Disease Control, statement........................... 221
Letter of May 7, 2010, by 250 climate scientists, submitted by
Mr. Inslee..................................................... 223
Letter of February 2011, by 2,505 scientists, submittted by Mr.
Statement of 18 scientific societies, including AAAS, submitted
by Mr. Rush.................................................... 339
Report entitled ``The US Economic Impacts of Climated Change and
the Costs of Inaction,'' by the Center for Integrative
Environmental Research at the University of Maryland, submitted
by Mr. Rush.................................................... 342
Letter of October 11, 2009, scientists and universitites of
\1\ Dr. Zwiers declined to answer the submitted questions for the
CLIMATE SCIENCE AND EPA'S GREENHOUSE GAS REGULATIONS
THURSDAY, MARCH 8, 2011
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Energy and Power,
Committee on Energy and Commerce,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:02 a.m., in
room 2123, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ed Whitfield
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Whitfield, Terry, Burgess,
Scalise, McMorris Rodgers, McKinley, Gardner, Griffith, Rush,
Inslee, and Waxman (ex officio).
Staff Present: Michael Beckerman, Deputy Staff Director;
Maryam Brown, Chief Counsel, Energy and Power; Ben Lieberman,
Counsel, Energy & Power; Dave McCarthy, Chief Counsel,
Environment/Economy; Gib Mullan, Chief Counsel, CMT; Mary
Neumayr, Counsel, Oversight/Energy; Sean Bonyun, Deputy
Communications Director; Andrew Powaleny, Press Assistant;
Peter Spencer, Professional Staff Member, Oversight; Phil
Barnett, Minority Staff Director; Greg Dotson, Minority Energy
and Environment Staff Director; Jeff Baran, Minority Senior
Counsel; Alexandria Teitz, Minority Senior Counsel, Environment
and Energy; Karen Lightfoot, Minority Communications Director
and Senior Policy Advisor; and Caitlin Haberman, Minority
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. ED WHITFIELD, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY
Mr. Whitfield. We will call the meeting to order. And I
want to thank our panel of witnesses. We appreciate your being
here this morning very much. And of course, the title of
today's hearing is Climate Science and the EPA's Greenhouse Gas
This is our third hearing on the Energy Tax Prevention Act
of 2011. The first two focused on the adverse impact that the
Environmental Protection Agency's global warming regulatory
agenda would have on jobs and the economy in America. We could
have had other hearings on that as well, but we decided today
to focus on the science.
I might say that I only brought one of my many books that
questions global warming and the science on global warming. I
am delighted to see that at least one member brought a number
of books. I couldn't get all mine in the car. Anyway, that is
the reason we have these hearings, to hear both sides of the
I might say also that we have had 24 hearings in the House
of Representatives over the past 4 years relating to the
science for climate change and/or global warming. One thing
that really stuck out to me is that these computer models seem
to have difficulty making seasonal or yearly forecasts and they
certainly, according to many scientists, have great difficulty
trying to forecast 100 years down the road.
Science serves to inform us about the nature of a problem.
And I look forward to listening to the presentation of all our
witnesses today. But whether one thinks that science tells us
that global warming is a serious problem, which some scientists
do, a minor problem which some scientists do, or hardly a
problem at all, which some scientists do, the real question
before this committee is whether EPA's regulations under the
Clean Air Act are a wise solution to the problem. And, in my
view, clearly they are not.
In fact, one need not be a skeptic of global warming to be
a skeptic of EPA's regulatory agenda. Case in point is EPA
Administrator Lisa Jackson, and she warned us about how complex
and costly greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act
would be. Now, of course that was in 2009 and 2010, when the
administration was trying to pass through Congress a cap-and-
trade bill. It is only now that the cap-and-trade legislation
was not adopted in the Congress that the administrator has
changed her tune and emphasizes how reasonable and workable
these rules would be.
I might also say that Administrator Jackson in testimony
just a few weeks ago conceded that unilateral action by EPA
would not make much of a difference, especially given the fact
that China emits more greenhouse gases than the U.S., and its
rate of emissions increases has become many times larger than
ours in recent years. In fact, many people might be interested
in knowing that carbon emissions actually fell 6 percent in
2009 in the United States, and China was responsible for 24
percent of global carbon emissions during that same year.
Of course, the rhetoric coming from the White House is that
the sky is falling and carbon emissions are going through the
The number one reason for the reduction in carbon emissions
is the downturn in our economy. So it is pretty obvious that
these greenhouse regulations will have a major impact on our
economy, mainly because we don't yet have an available
technology to control carbon emissions on a commercial scale.
Thus far, only one global warming rule has been analyzed by
EPA, and that is, the new motor vehicle standards. The Agency
estimated that, as a result of that, they would be able to
reduce the earth's future temperature by almost \1/100th\ of a
degree by the year 2100. Not much progress. I want you to keep
that in mind, however, when you hear about these scary global
Even if you believe every word of them, the Agency rules
are no solution. In fact, they are counterproductive, because
these unilateral regulations would impose an unfair
disadvantage on domestic manufacturers and chase some of our
manufacturing jobs to nations like China that have no such
restrictions in place and no plans to institute them.
Manufacturing jobs would go overseas to countries whose
emissions per unit output are considerably higher. There is no
question EPA rules are bad economic policy, but they may very
well also be bad environmental policy.
The Energy Tax Prevention Act, far from being an attack on
global warming science, as some have suggested, is, in fact, a
repudiation of a regulatory scheme that will harm the American
economy and destroy jobs. It is also a repudiation of the
attempt by unelected bureaucrats in government to bypass the
will of Congress. Congress has spoken on this issue three
specific times and each time has said no.
H.R. 910 is not about global science. It is about stopping
regulation certain to do more harm than good, regardless of how
one interprets the science. It is about a dangerous and job-
destroying attempt to transform the economy in ways that
Congress has repeatedly rejected.
As I said, we look forward to your testimony. At this time,
I recognize the gentleman from Illinois for 5 minutes for his
[The prepared statement of Mr. Whitfield follows:]
Statement of Hon. Ed Whitfield
This is our third hearing on the Energy Tax
Prevention Act of 2011.
The first two focused on the adverse impact that
the Environmental Protection Agency's global warming regulatory
agenda would have on jobs and the economy. At both hearings,
several supporters of EPA's regulations wanted to change the
subject and talk about global warming science instead. I don't
really blame them, given what we are learning about the harm
these regulations would do to domestic manufacturing, energy
production, small business, farming, and other job creating
sectors. And from a Kentucky perspective, what I learned about
these regulations and what they would do to coal mining jobs
and to those who rely upon coal-fired electricity was
We could probably have another hearing on the
economic impacts, as we still have not heard from some of the
many job creating sectors that consider EPA's global warming
agenda to be one of if not the biggest regulatory threat they
face. But the minority wanted a separate science hearing and we
have agreed to their request.
In my view, holding yet another science hearing is
rather excessive, given that we have had 24 such hearings in
the House of Representatives over the past 4 years. But I
suppose some on this committee have already read those 24
hearing reports from cover to cover, and need additional
information. In any event, I am pleased to have this diverse
scientific panel today.
Science serves to inform us about the nature of a
problem, and I look forward to listening to the presentations
that follow. But whether one thinks the science tells us that
global warming is a serious problem, a minor problem, or hardly
a problem at all, the real question before this committee is
whether EPA's regulations are a wise solution to that problem.
Clearly they are not.
In fact, one need not be a skeptic of global
warming to be a skeptic of EPA's regulatory agenda. No less an
authority than EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson warned about how
complex and costly greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean
Air Act would be. Of course, that was in 2009 and 2010 when the
administration was trying to scare Congress in to enacting cap
and trade legislation as the preferred option. It is only now
that cap and trade is dead that the Administrator has changed
her tune and emphasizes how reasonable and workable these rules
In addition, Administrator Jackson has conceded
that unilateral action by EPA would not make much difference,
especially given the fact that China emits more greenhouse
gases than the US and its rate of emissions increases has been
many times larger than ours in recent years.
Thus far, only one global warming rule had been
analyzed by EPA, the new motor vehicle standards. The agency
has estimate that it will reduce the earth's future temperature
by about one one-hundredth of a degree by the year 2100.
Keep that in mind when you hear about these scary
global warming scenarios. Even if you choose to believe every
word of them, the agency's rules are no solution. In fact, they
are counterproductive, because these unilateral regulations
would impose an unfair disadvantage on domestic manufacturers,
and chase some of those manufacturing jobs to nations like
China that have no such restrictions in place and no plans to
institute them. Manufacturing jobs would go overseas to
countries whose emissions per unit output are considerably
higher. There's no question EPA's rules are bad economic
policy, but they may very well also be bad environmental
The Energy Tax Prevention Act, far from being an
attack on global warming science as some have suggested, is in
fact a repudiation of a regulatory scheme that will only
succeed in harming the American economy and destroying jobs. It
is also a repudiation of the attempt by unelected bureaucrats
to bypass the will of Congress.
HR 910 is not about global warming science, it is
about stopping regulations certain to do more harm than good,
regardless of how one interprets the science. It is about a
dangerous and job destroying attempt to transform the economy
in ways Congress has repeatedly rejected.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOBBY L. RUSH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS
Mr. Rush. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I must
also commend you for allowing us to hold this very important
hearing today. Mr. Waxman and I, as well as our colleagues on
this side of the aisle, were adamant in requesting that this
hearing be held because we believe this subcommittee would be
doing a disservice to all of our constituents as well as to the
entire committee process if we were to proceed to marking up
the Upton-Inhofe bill, which would repeal EPA's ability to
regulate greenhouse gases, without first hearing from actual
scientists about what the scientific evidence says regarding
greenhouse gas emissions and their efforts and their effects on
both climate change and the overall public health.
Let us make no mistake about it. With respect to all of the
witnesses that we will hear from today, that there is really no
widespread debate among the scientific community on whether
greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
Mr. Chairman, I must note that it seems, though, from your
opening statement, you are coming over to our side of the
issue. On the one side, you have over 95 percent of respected
scientists and scientific organizations worldwide, I might add,
including the National Academy of Sciences, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the American
Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the
U.S. Global Change Research Program, as well as the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. All of these
organizations are in agreement that man-made greenhouse gases
do contribute to climate change, and these impacts can be
mitigated through policy to curb these emissions.
On the other side, you have a very small, less than 5
percent, of the scientists in the community, who range from
straight-out climate change denial to those who would dispute
the certainty that the claims that human behavior is
contributing to climate change.
I recognize that there is a real fear out there by those
who believe the EPA's attempt to regulate greenhouse gases,
even if it were only by the largest emitter, would lead to job
loss in some very important sectors of our economy.
I represent Illinois, which is one of the largest coal
States in the country, and I recognize that any policy
regulating greenhouse gases will have a real consequence on the
jobs and the economy in my State. And I sincerely believe,
because the science tells me so, that these gases must be
regulated because they have a serious and costly impact on
somebody's health in my State and around the country. And as we
look out for those people across this Nation that are being
affected by the pollution associated with greenhouse gases,
then we must find a way to sensibly address this issue in a
balanced and in a measured way. For me, the cost of doing
nothing outweighs the cost of action, because the science tells
us that we cannot keep living by the status quo.
I believe we can enact sensible measures that will both
protect the public's health and create new jobs so that we are
not making our citizens choose between clean air to breathe and
jobs to feed their families.
Mr. Waxman and I sent a letter to you dated September 17,
Mr. Chairman, asking you work with us in drafting clean energy
standards so we can move our Nation forward in creating new
energy jobs and technologies that will put people to work,
clean our air, and keep America on the forefront of the
environmental protection industry, an industry that was
projected to reach $700 billion last year.
Initially, Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to work with you
on the clean coal industry, such as expanding programs like the
Future Gen project which just began operation in Morgan County,
Illinois; and hopefully we will provide answers on whether coal
demonstration can be expanded for commercial use. So I ask you,
Mr. Chairman, and all my Republican colleagues, to remember to
listen to what the science is telling us, and let's work
together to move this country forward by creating a clean
energy standard by working to promote clean coal initiatives,
and by showing the American people that we can be serious about
finding solutions and that we are not just here for political
infighting and scorekeeping.
Mr. Chairman, I have here something that I think is very
telling and a demonstration in fact. It comes from the USA
Today. And the cartoon states: ``What if it is a big hoax and
we create a better world for nothing?'' But what would we be
creating? Energy independence, preserve rainforests,
sustainability, green jobs, liveable cities, renewables, clean
air, clean water, healthy children, et cetera, et cetera.
So, Mr. Chairman, even if it is a big hoax, it is a hoax
that will provide many, many benefits for the American people.
But I do believe that this is not a hoax. This is the real
deal. The science says so and the scientists say so.
Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance
of my time.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Rush follows:]
Prepared statement of Hon. Bobby L. Rush
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I must also commend you for
allowing us to hold this very important hearing today.
Mr. Waxman and I, as well as all our colleagues on this
side of aisle, were adamant in requesting this hearing because
we believe this subcommittee would be doing a disservice to all
of our constituents, as well as to the entire committee
process, if we were to proceed to marking up the Upton-Inhofe
bill, which would repeal EPA's ability to regulate greenhouse
gases, without hearing from actual scientists about what the
scientific evidence says regarding greenhouse gas emissions and
their effects on both climate change and the overall public
Let us make no mistake about it, with respect to all of the
witnesses that we will hear from today, there really is no
widespread debate among the scientific community on whether
greenhouse gases contribute to climate change.
On the one side you have over 95% of respected scientists
and scientific organizations, worldwide, including the National
Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, the
American Meteorological Society, the U.S. Global Change
Research Program, as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, all in agreement that man-made greenhouse gases
do contribute to climate change, and these impacts can be
mitigated through policy to curb these emissions.
And on the other side you have a very small group, less
than 5% of the scientific community, who range from straight-
out climate change deniers to those who would dispute the
certainty of the claims that human behavior is contributing to
I recognize that there is real fear out there by those who
believe that EPA's attempt to regulate greenhouse gases, even
if it is by only the largest emitters, will lead to job loss in
some very important sectors in our economy.
I represent Illinois, which is one the largest coal states
in the country, and I recognize that any policy regulating
greenhouse gases will have real consequences on jobs and the
economy in my state.
But I sincerely believe, because the science tells me so,
that these gases must be regulated because they have a serious
and costly impact on public health, in my state and around the
And it is our duty to look out for those people across the
country, who are being affected by the pollution associated
with greenhouse gases, and we must find a way to sensibly
address this issue in a balanced and measured approach.
For me, the cost of doing nothing outweighs the cost of
action because the science tells us that we cannot keep living
by the status quo.
I believe we can enact sensible measures that will both
protect the public health and help create new jobs so that we
are not making our citizens choose between clean air to breathe
and jobs to feed their families.
Mr. Waxman and I sent a letter to you dated February 7th,
Mr. Chairman, asking you to work with us in drafting a clean
energy standard, so that we can move our country forward in
creating new energy jobs and technologies that would put people
to work, clean our air, and also keep America on the forefront
of the environmental protection industry, an industry that was
projected to reach $700 billion last year.
Additionally, I would be happy to work with you, Mr.
Chairman, on a clean coal initiative, such as expanding
programs like the FutureGen project, which just began
operations in Morgan County, IL, and hopefully, will provide
answers to whether coal sequestration can be expanded for
As this USA Today poster here highlights: there are so many
more benefits in acting to address climate change, as the
science tells us we must do, including energy independence,
sustainability, cleaner air and water, and a healthier
populace, to name a few, than living with the status quo and
hoping beyond hope that the majority of the world's scientists
are just wrong.
So I ask you, Mr. Chairman, and all of my Republican
colleagues, to listen to what the science is telling us and
let's work together to move this country forward by creating a
clean energy standard, by working to promote clean coal
initiatives, and by showing the American people that we can be
serious about finding solutions and that we're not just here
for political infighting and scorekeeping.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and with that I yield back my
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you, Mr. Rush.
At this time, I recognize for 5 minutes the gentleman from
Texas, Mr. Burgess.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MICHAEL C. BURGESS, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
Mr. Burgess. I thank the chairman for calling the hearing.
I want to thank the witnesses for being here with us today. It
is likely to be a very lively discussion. And some of you we
have seen before, some of you this will be your first time
here. So we are all looking forward to it.
The science is important. We talk a lot of times about the
consensus from the International Panel on Climate Change at the
U.N., but science by consensus is fraught with some danger, and
certainly Copernicus and Galileo, if they were still living,
could testify to that effect.
My opinion, for what it is worth, is that the science
behind global temperature changes is not settled. And the fact
that we have this panel of experts in front of us today, who, I
suspect at some point, will disagree with each other, is
indicative of that.
Now, I do know this. We have had these hearings before,
going back a number of years. In 2008, we saw very, very high
energy prices, and those were the harbinger of a very
significant economic collapse. As a consequence, carbon
emissions in this country went down; but I don't want to do
that again. And energy prices are on the way back up. We have
done nothing in the meantime to protect the American people
from the effect of those high energy prices. And I rather
expect, if past is prelude, we may see yet another reduction in
carbon emissions, but it will be brought because of another
jolt through the American economy.
And the Administrator of the EPA, in fact, has testified to
this effect. If Administrator Jackson's efforts are successful
and if we were to ever pass Waxman-Markey and those efforts
were to be successful, how do we do this by ourselves when it
is, in fact, a global climate change that we are talking about?
So even if we do all of the things that have been suggested
by the Administrator of the EPA, all of the things suggested by
Ranking Member Waxman and Mr. Markey, without similar measures
by other countries, we are damaging our own country and we are
not saving anybody in the process.
Now, weather and climate are complex phenomena affected by
a host of variables. In the 1970s, we have all seen the cover
of Time Magazine. The earth was cooling and the next Ice Age
was on the way. It was the consensus of scientists at that time
that that was fact and there was no point in debating it any
further. And, we have a very significantly different set of
variables to contend with today.
Part of our issue today is, what is the role of the
scientists in this debate? Are they there to function as a
gatekeeper? Or, in fact, are they a broker for putting up the
particular type of information, climate sensitivity to models
and the way that has been interpreted over time, the role that
these have had in the existing impacts in our public policy in
regards to carbon and carbon regulation and the environment.
We have got a great panel of witnesses. I look forward to a
lively interchange. I would like, since I am the chairman now,
to yield the remaining time to Mr. Griffith from Virginia.
Mr. Griffith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I may just have to
speak loud. Dr. Roberts is a constituent, and it is the first
time that I have had a constituent testify in front of a
committee on which I have served. So welcome particularly to
you, Dr. Roberts.
And then I would also say to you, Mr. Chairman, and to the
others that being a Virginian and proud of the good things we
have done in our history, although not perfect, we have done a
lot of great things in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and
sometimes that means standing alone, like when we were the only
government in the world that recognized the rights to religious
freedom. And I am often reminded, when folks show up and say,
well, 95 percent are going this way and everybody but you is
going that way that, Virginia chose a different course on
religious freedom, and now the world recognizes that we were
right. Just because you might be in the minority doesn't always
mean you are wrong.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield my time back.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you. Also, we have discovered the
problems, Mr. Waxman, for the difficulty of speaking. We hit
the ``mute all'' button, and nobody was allowed to speak. So we
have now corrected that problem, and I will recognize the
ranking member of the full committee, Mr. Waxman, for his 5-
minute opening statement.
Mr. Waxman. Well, I am glad you found the scientific way to
have all the microphones working, Mr. Chairman.
Today's hearing is a crucial opportunity for this committee
to understand what is at stake before it considers legislation
to block action on climate change. Our health and lives, our
economic strength, our national security, all are threatened by
As we will hear today from some of the world's leading
experts, human-induced climate change is happening. We are
already seeing its effects and harm from climate changes
growing. Members of Congress have the responsibility to
consider the threats facing the Nation and making careful
choices about how to address them. We owe that to our
constituents and to future generations.
I am disappointed that this hearing is happening only
because committee Democrats insisted on it, but I commend the
majority for agreeing to our request.
We now have the opportunity to hear the scientists explain
the scope and magnitude of harm from climate change. I hope the
members of this committee are willing to listen.
The Upton-Inhofe bill would overturn EPA's scientific
finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger health and the
environment. That determination was based on the science we
will hear about today.
The Upton-Inhofe bill would remove EPA's authority to
protect the American public from carbon pollution and the
impacts of climate change. The bill would legislate a
scientific finding out of existence, and it would remove the
administration's main tools to address one of the most critical
problems facing the world today.
The premise of this radical legislation, as stated by its
lead Senate sponsor, is that climate change is a hoax. So
before we act on this legislation, the members of this
committee must decide: Do we act because the personal opinions
of Senator Inhofe; or, do we accept the vast body of scientific
understanding, based on multiple lines of evidence across
multiple scientific disciplines, which says that the climate
change is real and dangerous?
None of us would hesitate in our own lives. If my doctor
had told me I had cancer, I wouldn't scour the country to find
someone to tell me that I didn't need to worry about it. Just
because I didn't feel gravely ill yet, I wouldn't assume that
my doctor was falsifying the data. And if my doctor said he
didn't know how long I had to live, I wouldn't say, well, if he
is uncertain about that, he is probably wrong about the whole
thing. I would try to get a second opinion from the best expert
I could find about the diagnosis. But I would never call the
findings of the medical experts a hoax.
Most of us don't substitute our own judgment for that of
experts when it comes to medicine, nuclear engineering,
building bridges, designing computer security, trying to figure
out how to turn the microphones on in the committee room. The
experts on climate change include atmosphere, chemists and
physicists, meteorologists, biologists, statisticians, computer
scientists, paleontologists, and geologists, thousands of
highly-trained professionals, who have published tens of
thousands of research papers in the world's top scientific
peer-reviewed journals. To reject that body of research by
experts is breathtakingly irresponsible.
Chairman Upton and Chairman Whitfield, I am not wedded to
the language of last year's energy bill. I am willing to work
with you on new approaches and creative ideas. We can start
from a blank piece of paper. I am prepared to meet with you
without preconditions for as long as it takes to find the basis
for common ground. But we need to find a way to work across
party lines to address this threat to our health, our economic
prosperity, and our national security. We have an opportunity
to act now to forestall great harm to our Nation and our world
if we don't address this challenge, we do not meet our moral
obligations to our children and to the future, and history will
not judge us kindly.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you, Mr. Waxman. And now we are
prepared to hear the testimony of the panel. I would like at
this point to introduce the panel.
First, we have Dr. Richard Somerville, who is a Professor
Emeritus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of
California, San Diego; we have Dr. John Christy, who is
Director, Earth System Science Center, University of Alabama,
Huntsville; we have Dr. Christopher Field, who is the Director,
Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of
Washington in Stanford, California; we have Dr. Roger Pielke,
Sr., who is senior research scientist, Cooperative Institute
for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of
Colorado; we have Dr. Francis Zwiers, who is the Director,
Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, University of Victoria,
Victoria, British Columbia; we have Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer, who
is the Director, University of Michigan Biological Station,
University of Michigan; and we have Dr. Donald Roberts, who is
Professor Emeritus at the Uniformed Services University of the
Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.
We welcome all of you. And you will each have 5 minutes for
your statement, and then we are going to open it up to the
panel for questions. And we look forward to your testimony.
Dr. Somerville, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENTS OF RICHARD SOMERVILLE, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR
EMERITUS, SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY; JOHN R. CHRISTY,
DIRECTOR, EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA;
CHRISTOPHER FIELD, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF GLOBAL ECOLOGY,
CARNEGIE INSTITUTION OF WASHINGTON; KNUTE NADELHOFFER,
DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN BIOLOGICAL STATION, UNIVERSITY
OF MICHIGAN; ROGER PIELKE, SR., SENIOR RESEARCH SCIENTIST,
COOPERATIVE INSTITUTE FOR RESEARCH IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES,
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER; DONALD ROBERTS, PROFESSOR
EMERITUS, UNIFORMED SERVICES, UNIVERSITY OF THE HEALTH
SCIENCES; AND FRANCIS W. ZWIERS, DIRECTOR, PACIFIC CLIMATE
IMPACTS CONSORTIUM, UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA
STATEMENT OF RICHARD SOMERVILLE
Mr. Somerville. Mr. Chairman and members of the
subcommittee, I appreciate this opportunity to testify
concerning the science of climate change. Since 1979, I have
been a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,
University of California at San Diego. Today, however, I am
speaking on my own behalf as a climate scientist.
To date, the great preponderance of experts agree on the
following facts: One, the essential findings of mainstream
climate science are firm; the world is warming. There are many
kinds of evidence: Air temperatures, ocean temperatures,
melting ice, rising sea levels, increasing water vapor in the
atmosphere, twice as many new high temperature records as new
low temperature records, and much more. Many lines of evidence
also clearly demonstrate that most of the observed warming is
due to human activities.
Two, the greenhouse effect is well understood. It is as
real as gravity. We have known for 150 years that adding man-
made carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will amplify the natural
greenhouse effect and trap heat. We know carbon dioxide is
increasing. We measure that. We know the increase is human
caused. We analyze the chemical evidence for that.
Three, our climate predictions are coming true. Many
recently observed climate changes like rising sea levels are
occurring at the high end of the predicted ranges. Some
changes, like disappearing arctic summer sea ice, are happening
faster than the anticipated worst case. Urgent global action is
needed if climate disruption is to be limited to moderate
levels, like the 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degree Celsius
target above pre-industrial 19th century temperatures, a target
not set by scientists, but by governments and agreed to by the
G-8 and G-20 nations and the European Union.
Four, the standard skeptical or contrarian arguments have
been refuted many times over in technical papers published in
the peer-reviewed scientific research literature. Nobody today
should be impressed by these discredited claims.
Five, science has its own high standards. Science works by
qualified scientists doing careful research and publishing it
in well-reviewed scientific journals. It doesn't work by
opinion-makers on the Internet or television or by bloggers or
op ed pieces.
Six, the leading scientific organizations of the world,
including National Academies of Science and professional
scientific societies, have carefully evaluated the results of
climate science and endorsed these results. If the world is to
confront the challenge of climate change wisely, it must first
learn what science has discovered, then accept that, and then
We are already experiencing impacts of climate change today
on health, safety, food, water, and security. Some further
climate change is inevitable, but how much is up to us. This
problem is solveable. The future lies in our hands. We have the
technology. We must find the will. The road forks now.
We can choose a little more warming with relatively mild
impacts or a lot more warming with serious consequences. If we,
the world, continues on the current course of increasing
emissions, there will be a lot more impacts. We and our
children and grandchildren will experience more floods,
droughts, and heat waves. We will see severe impacts on food,
water, energy, and security as global climate is disrupted.
Humanity can choose today among three courses of action:
One, to reduce emissions; two, to adapt to the impacts; and,
three, to suffer. How much of each depends on what we choose to
do. The more we reduce the emissions, the less adapting and
suffering will be required.
The future is not necessarily bleak. It is not too late to
avoid the worst impacts of manmade climate change. But this is
an urgent issue, and the urgency is scientific and not
political or ideological. We have a window of opportunity in
which to act. It closes soon. If humanity can greatly reduce
the global emissions of manmade greenhouse gases like carbon
dioxide and do it fast, then we can greatly reduce the risks of
dangerous climate change. These will require that these
emissions peak not in 50 or 100 years, but in 5 or 10 years and
then decline rapidly so that global emissions are about 80
percent lower by mid century. The sooner we start, the lower
the cost and the greater the chance of success.
Reducing emissions can be done in many ways, and the low-
hanging fruit is to quickly improve energy efficiency. This
also has many immediate benefits: Reducing dependence on
imported oil, improving health, creating jobs, making cities
cleaner and more liveable.
Our Nation's economic competitiveness depends on
innovation. If this country takes reducing heat-trapping
emissions seriously, we can lead in developing and producing
the clean energy technologies of the future, rather than
clinging to the dirty energy sources of the past.
I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you, Dr. Somerville.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Somerville follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. At this time, Dr. Christy, you are
recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF JOHN CHRISTY
Mr. Christy. Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member Rush, and
members, thank you for this opportunity to discuss climate
change. I am John Christy, Alabama's State climatologist and
Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Alabama
in Huntsville. My research actually involves building climate
data sets from scratch to answer questions about what the
climate is doing and to test assertions from model theory. In
this verbal testimony, I will briefly address six points that
are detailed in my written testimony.
One, extreme events. It is popular now to claim extreme
events are somehow caused by humans. The earth is very large,
the weather is very dynamic, and extreme events will occur
somewhere every year. A quick analysis shows that, A, floods in
England in 2000 and Australia in 2010 have been exceeded
several times in the past; B, snowstorms in the eastern U.S.
occur as part of natural circulation processes; and, C, the
recent Russian heat wave and related flooding in Pakistan were
due to blocking systems which occur without appeal to human
causes. Natural, unforced climate variability explains these
Two, the underlying temperature trend. An updated analysis
of the underlying trend of global atmospheric temperature over
the past 32 years, which accounts for volcanos and El Ninos,
shows that an atmospheric warming rate of only \9/100ths\ of a
degree has occurred per decade. This is the same value
published in my 1994 analysis, which covered only 15 years
then. This rate is one third of that suggested by climate model
Three, patterns of warming. Continued research on surface
temperature changes over land indicates nighttime warming but
little daytime change. This is a classic feature that arises
from land use change, not greenhouse gas warming.
For the tropical atmospheric temperature, several new
studies verify our earlier work that observations and models do
not agree about the rate of tropical warming.
Four, climate sensitivity and feedback. New research
addresses a question fraught with uncertainty and contention:
How sensitive is the climate system to extra greenhouse gases?
My colleague, Dr. Roy Spencer, has shown that for time periods
for which this quantity can be assessed, the observations
indicate the earth has strong negative feedbacks that mitigate
warming impulses. No model reproduces these type of feedbacks,
and so this is a clue as to why models tend to show more
warming than is observed when they add CO2.
Five, consensus science. Widely publicized reports,
purportedly by thousands of scientists, are often
misrepresentative of our science and contain overstated
confidence in their assertions. Very few scientists actually
control the content of these reports, and they rarely represent
the full range of scientific opinion and uncertainty that
attends our relatively murky science.
I understand the House has approved an amendment to defund
the IPCC. I describe our proposal in my written testimony that,
should the IPCC be funded by taxpayers, then 10 percent should
be set aside for a written report by credentialed scientists
who have consistently found the IPCC to have underrepresented
critical issues, such as the evidence for low climate
sensitivity, the importance in natural unforced variability,
and a focus on metrics that are of little value in
understanding the greenhouse effect.
And finally, number six, impact of emission control
measures. Five years ago, I testified before the Oversight and
Investigation Subcommittee chaired by you, Congressman
Whitfield. At that time, I calculated the impact of
CO2 emissions if we built 1,000 1.4 gigawatt nuclear
power plants, and that they were added by 2020. That is not
going to happen. But using the average climate model
sensitivity, I demonstrated that global temperatures would
change very little. But with the new evidence that the climate
is less sensitive to CO2 increases, the impacts will
be even tinier. Developing countries will dominate emissions
growth as they seek to rise out of poverty, a goal we cannot
and should not subvert, which requires low-cost energy which is
Thank you. And I will be happy to answer questions at the
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you, Dr. Christy.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Christy follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Field, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
STATEMENT OF CHRISTOPHER FIELD
Mr. Field. Thank you, Chairman Whitfield, Mr. Rush, and
distinguished members of the committee. It is a pleasure to
speak with you today. And I want to congratulate you on the
initiative to consider climate sciences and its importance for
the country and the future.
I am a professor of environmental earth system science at
Stanford University and director of the Carnegie Institution's
Department of Global Ecology. I have worked on climate change-
related issues for the past 25 years. And I want to start with
two key foundational points. The first is that climate warming
over the last century is unequivocal and primarily human
caused. The second is that climate changes are already
occurring in the United States and they are projected to grow
in the future.
It is important to realize that the world has convened a
large number of scientific organizations, several in the United
States, coordinated by the U.S. Global Change Research Program,
by the National Academy of Sciences, or internationally by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And in each of these
consortia, there has been an aggressive, comprehensive effort
to consolidate views across the spectrum of climate science. We
haven't looked at institutions that have been put together to
reflect one perspective or another. And when we see as what
appears as consensus statements, these are overviews of the
positions of the wide range of climate scientists, including
the full diversity of positions and the measured statements
that come from these assessments are in fact reflecting the
entire diversity across the spectrum of legitimate science.
What I would like to do in my comments is focus
specifically on relatively recent research on the sensitivity
of key sectors in the United States to climate change. My
distinguished colleagues who focus more on atmospheric science
will talk about where we are headed with the climate and where
we have been, but what I want to do is talk about sensitivity
that is observed from data, not based on simulations, that
takes advantage of the fact that, for example, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture has been surveying crop fields very,
very carefully over the last more than 100 years. And I want to
focus on two important sectors for the United States. The first
is yields of agriculture and their sensitivity to climate
change; the second is wildfires in the west and its sensitivity
to climate change.
By looking at the summary of global agriculture yields over
the last 50 years or so, we can see that agriculture is one of
the triumphs of human ingenuity. We have been able to increase
crop yields by 1 percent to 2 percent per year over many
decades, but there is increasing evidence that we are doing
this with an anchor or climate change that is pulling us back.
By looking at the year-to-year variations in climate change, we
can see that for several of the world's major food crops, there
has been a negative effect of warming that is occurring on our
ability to increase yields, such that for crops including
wheat, corn, and barley, we are seeing a decrease globally that
means that something like 40 million tons of food production
has been foregone as a consequence of the climate changes that
have already occurred.
For each of these crops, we see a sensitivity to warming,
based on observations, not simulations, of something like 10
percent yield loss for each 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of warming.
In terms of 2002 ag yields, this 40 million tons of foregone
productivity represents an economic loss of about $5 billion.
Recently, Wolfgang Schlenker and John Roberts have explored
the climate sensitivity of U.S. agriculture using an incredibly
detailed data set that has allowed them to, with much higher
precision, assess the sensitivity of U.S. crops. And what they
find is that for corn, soybeans, and cotton, there is a
profound sensitivity to warming such that at a threshold that
is about 82 for corn, 84 for soybeans, and about 90 for cotton,
you see a very steep drop-off in productivity as temperatures
rise above that. There is no question that temperatures are at
these thresholds and exceeding them relatively frequently.
With wildfires, we see a pattern where warmer, longer
summers increase the probability of wildfires. And what we have
seen by summarizing wildfire data is that in the United States
a warming of 1.8 Fahrenheit increases on average the area in
the west that has burned from 1.3 million acres per year to 4.5
million acres per year. These are profound effects that
indicate, based on observations, the deep sensitivity of U.S.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you very much, Dr. Field.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Field follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. And Dr. Pielke, you are recognized for your
5-minute opening statement.
STATEMENT OF ROGER PIELKE
Mr. Pielke. Thank you. I have worked throughout my career
to improve environmental issues, including air quality, by
conducting research, teaching, and also providing
scientifically rigorous information to policymakers. At the
State level, I served two terms on the Colorado Air Quality
Control Commission, where we developed the oxygenated fuels
program through reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles,
promulgated regulations to mandate strict controls on wood and
coal burning in residential fireplaces and stoves, and on
asbestos concentrations in the air.
In my testimony today and in more detail in my written
testimony, I have four main points.
First, research has shown that a focus on just carbon
dioxide and a few other greenhouse gases as the dominant human
force on climate is too narrow and misses other important
Two, the phrases global warming and climate change are not
the same. Global warming is a subset of climate change.
Three, the prediction or projection of reasonable weather
including extremes decades into the future is far more
difficult than commonly assumed. As well, the attribution of a
string of events to a particular subset of climate force scenes
is scientifically incomplete if the research ignores other
relevant human and natural causes of extreme weather events.
And, four, the climate science assessments of the IPCC and
CCSP, as well as the various statements issued by the AGU, AMS,
and NRC are completed by a small subset of climate scientists
who are often the same individuals.
Decisions about government regulation are ultimately legal,
administrative, legislative, and political decisions. As such,
they can be informed by scientific considerations but they are
not determined by them. In my testimony, I seek to share my
perspectives on the science of climate based on my work in this
field over the past four decades.
First, the production of multi-decadal climate predictions
of reasonable impacts whose skill cannot be verified until
decades from now is not a robust scientific approach. Models
themselves are hypotheses. The steps of hypotheses written with
respect to climate predictions are, first, make a prediction;
quantitatively the prediction with real-world observations,
that is test the hypothesis; and, three, communicate the
assessment of the scale of the prediction.
There is no way to test that a hypothesis with a multi-
decadal global climate model forecast for decades from now as
step two as a verification of the skill of these forecasts is
not possible until decades pass.
There has also been a misunderstanding of the relationship
between global warming and climate variability and longer term
change. Global warming is typically defined as an increase in
the global average surface temperature. A better metric is the
global annual average heat content measured in Joules. Global
warming involves the accumulation of heat and Joules within the
components of the climate system. This accumulation is
dominating by the heating and cooling within the upper layers
of the ocean.
Climate change, in contrast, is any multi-decadal or longer
alteration in one or more physical, chemical, and/or biological
components of the climate system. Climate change involves, for
example, changes in fauna and flora, snow cover, and so forth,
which persists for decades and longer. Climate variability can
then be defined as changes which occur on shorter time periods.
With respect to climate change. In 2009, 18 fellows of the
American Geophysical Union accepted an invitation to join me in
a paper where we discuss three different mutually exclusive
hypotheses with respect to the climate system.
Hypothesis 1. Human influence on climate variability and
change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate
climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming
decades, the human influence will continue to be minimal.
Hypothesis 2a. Although the natural causes of climate
variations and changes are undoubtedly important and human
influences are significant and involve a diverse range of
first-order climate forcings, including but not limited to the
human input of carbon dioxide. Most, if not all, of these human
influences on regional and global climate will continue to be
of concern for the coming decades.
Hypothesis 2b. Although the natural causes of climate
variation and change are undoubtedly important, the human
influences are significant and dominated by the emissions in
the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which
is carbon dioxide. The adverse effect of these gasses on
regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate
issue for the coming decades.
Hypothesis 2b, the one with the CO2 dominance,
is the IPCC perspective. In our EOS paper we concluded,
however, that only hypothesis A has not been refuted.
Hypotheses 1 and 2b are inaccurate characterizations of the
In our 2009 paper, we concluded, in addition to greenhouse
gas emissions, the other first order forcings are important to
understand the earth's climate. These forcings are spatially
heterogeneous and include effects of aerosols on clouds and
associated precipitation, the use of aerosol deposition, and
reactive carbon in the roles of land use and land cover change.
Among their effect is the role in altering atmospheric and
ocean circulations away from what they would be in a natural
climate system. As with CO2, the length of time that
they affect the climate or estimated on multi-decadal time
scales are longer.
We concluded, therefore, the cost benefit analysis
regarding the mitigation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse
gases need to be considered along with other human climate
forces in a broader environmental context, as well with respect
to the role on the climate system.
Unfortunately, the 2007 IPCC assessment did not
significantly acknowledge the importance of these and other
human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate
and their effects on predictability at the regional scale.
A major conclusion indicated from these studies is that
regional atmospheric and ocean circulation features produce
extreme events, not a global annual average surface temperature
anomaly. It is the multi-decadal change and the statistics of
these circulation features in response----
Mr. Whitfield. You can complete.
Mr. Pielke. In response to natural and human forcings and
feedbacks which must be skillfully predicted, this level of
predictive scale has not been achieved even in hindcasts of
And my last point is policymakers and the public rarely
encounter this broader view of the climate system, in part, due
to the limited number of scientists who are leading climate
assessments. As just one example, I present my experience with
the first CCS report, and my experience is documented in a
In the executive summary of that report, I stated: The
processes for completing the CCS report excluded valid
scientific perspectives under the charge of the committee. The
editor of the report systematically excluded a range of views
on the issues of understanding reconciling lower atmospheric
Future assessment committees need to appoint members with a
diversity of views who do not have a significant conflict of
interest with respect to their own work. Such committees should
be chaired by individuals committed to the presentation of a
diversity of perspectives and unwilling to engage in strong-arm
tactics to enforce a narrow perspective. Any such committee
should be charged with summarizing all relevant literature,
even if inconvenient or which presents a view not held by
certain members of the committee.
Finally, I have proposed a new approach in the climate
committee based on a bottom-up resource-based perspective.
There are five broad areas that we can use to define a need for
Mr. Whitfield. OK. Thanks.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Pielke follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Zwiers, you are recognized for 5
STATEMENT OF FRANCIS ZWIERS
Mr. Zwiers. Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Rush. Thank
you, committee members. I am privileged as a Canadian to be
able to speak to this body. It is truly an honor to be able to
I have trained as a statistician, I have spent all of my
career applying the tools of statistics to problems in climate
research, and I have held various positions in climate research
enterprises. I am currently a professor at the University of
There is a growing body of literature available that
examines both the observed changes in temperature and
precipitation extremes. These are events that, of course, do
happen all the time. A 100-year event at a particular location
is expected to recur at that location once every 100 years. The
question that we are posing to ourselves in this literature is
whether or not humans influencing the climate system are
tilting the odds and are increasing the likelihood of an event
from a one-in-100-year event to perhaps a more frequent event.
And this is the kind of evidence that the literature seems to
be turning up. The literature shows that extreme warm
temperatures seem to becoming more likely over time and extreme
cold temperatures seem to be becoming less likely over time,
and very intense precipitation is becoming more likely. And
these are phenomena that we are generally observing at
operational meteorological observing stations basically
throughout the world where the data are available.
These are changes that are expected with an overall warming
climate. We have observed the shift to warmer temperatures. We
understand a lot about the causes of those rises. The warming
climate leads to increases in the likelihood of extreme warm
temperatures. It leads to decreases in the likelihood of
extreme cold temperatures. We have observed both of those
phenomena. It leads to increases in the amount of water vapor
that is held by the free atmosphere, something that has also
been observed, and that creates conditions that would allow
more intense precipitation events to occur, something that we
are beginning to see in observations as well.
Climate models simulate extreme events, and climate models
simulate changes in extreme events that correspond more or less
to changes that have been observed, and those models are run
with historical increases in greenhouse gases and changes in
other forcing factors. Changes in the amount of aerosol that is
present in the atmosphere, for example, another product of
fossil fuel combustion.
Statistical analysis of the observations finds evidence
that these signals that are anticipated by climate models are
present in the observations. We find this evidence with high
confidence in the case of temperature extremes and with
somewhat lower confidence in the case of precipitation
extremes, but in both cases, it would be difficult to explain
observed changes with natural climate variability alone. The
most plausible explanation for observed changes in temperature
extremes and observed changes in precipitation extremes is
human influence on the climate system and human-induced
increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
With regard to temperature, we are beginning to be
confident enough so that we can cautiously attempt to estimate
changes in waiting times for rare events. You could think of
the 20-year extreme temperature event. In the case of cold
temperature events that were expected to recur about once every
20 years in the 1960s, we see that by the end of the 20th
century these events were recurring roughly two times as
frequently, they became roughly 10-year events, and we are able
to attribute that change and probability of likelihood in
extreme cold temperature events to increasing greenhouse gas
Similar results are available for warm temperature
extremes. In the case of precipitation, the odds of extreme
events has appeared to increase, but it is generally too soon
to quantify scientifically the extent to which those odds have
changed. So we have evidence that indicates that human
influence on the climate system is tilting the odds towards
more intense precipitation events, but at this stage, we are
not able to say by how much.
A few events have been studied in detail. One that has been
studied in detail was the European 2003 heat wave, which was an
event that took 40,000 lives. It is very likely that human
influence on climate increased the odds of that event by a
factor of at least two. In the case of the U.K. flooding in the
fall of 2000, it is also very likely that human influence has
increased the odds of flooding. The best estimate is the risk
So these kinds of events have significant impacts. Heat
waves cause death. Flooding cause death, damage, and enormous
economic impacts. Even seemingly benign changes can have
negative impacts. If you think of the reduced intensity of cold
extremes in wintertime, this has been linked to forest bark
beetle outbreaks throughout western North America which have
devastated forest industries in western North America as an
impact of climate change over the last several decades.
The available studies are subject to uncertainties, and
therefore do not provide the final word on the question of
whether and by how much increasing greenhouse gas
concentrations has affected the frequency and intensity of
extreme weather events, but they provide sufficient evidence, I
believe, to indicate that human influence is having an effect
on high impact events to put people and their livelihood at
risk and provide an additional piece of information for taking
action on greenhouse gas emissions. Thank you.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you, Dr. Zwiers.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Zwiers follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Nadelhoffer, you are recognized for 5
STATEMENT OF KNUTE NADELHOFFER
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Thank you, Chairman Whitfield, Ranking
Member Rush, and other members of the committee. It is a true
pleasure and honor to be testifying before you, and I very much
appreciate the opportunity. My name is Knute Nadelhoffer. I am
a researcher and professor of ecology. I am not a climatologist
or a climate scientist, but I study the effects of all kinds of
factors as they affect arctic and arctic ecosystems and
I worked for 20 years as a researcher in Woods Hall,
Massachusetts, at the marine biological laboratory, and for the
past 8 years I have been a professor at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor.
I am also the director of a major field station near the
center of the Great Lakes Basin. Our field station, the
University of Michigan biological station, is over 100 years
old. It attracts researchers from around the world who have
been recording distributions of plants and animals, ecosystem
properties, and interactions between humans and their
environments for over a century.
That field station is in the middle of the largest
freshwater system in the world. Twenty percent of the world's
surface freshwater is in the Great Lakes Basin. Our economy,
the economy of the eight States and Canadian provinces that
surround the Great Lakes are the third or fourth largest
economy in the world, and in our region we interact intimately
with our natural resources to sustain our economy and our
culture. So we pay very close attention to what happens around
Measurements at my field station and others across the
Great Lakes region are providing knowledge and insights into
changes in ecosystems associated with the changes in climates
that we have heard about.
Climate change is real. You have heard that from others on
the panel. The fact that there is a consensus is minor in my
view. The evidence is what drives our conclusions, and science
is an evidentiary-based process. The evidence is strong and
overwhelming. We can measure its effects in the Great Lakes
region, and we know that the change is primarily driven by
increases in greenhouse gases. In fact, even the skeptics call
these gases greenhouse gases. We can thank them for warming the
planet as much as it is. Excursions that we are now
encountering and experience are likely to drive our planet to a
warmer state. They have, in fact.
In the Arctic, where I have worked for 20 years on the
north slope of Alaska, we see changes, changes in vegetation.
There is now more shrub cover in the Arctic, but more
importantly, summer ice cover has decreased by 30 percent in
the satellite records since 1978. Less summer sea ice means
less reflection of heat back into space and more absorption of
heat by the ocean. This has huge implications for global
climate, as our climate scientists will tell you.
Not only is the Arctic warming but the Great Lakes region
is warming--in the north by 4 degrees Fahrenheit; in the
southern part of the Great Lakes region by 1 degree since 1978.
Stunning is the fact that Lake Superior has warmed by 4\1/
2\ degrees in the past 30 years. That is a lot of joules. That
is a lot of energy. Lake Superior is a big thermometer. It is
the deepest lake and the largest lake in the Western
Hemisphere, second largest in the world, and it is warming at a
rate that no one thought it would.
Ice cover is decreasing on the Great Lakes. It varies year
to year, but over decades we can see that the ice cover is
lower. That affects our climate. That affects evaporation from
In the Great Lakes itself, in the region, total annual
precipitation has been relatively constant over the past 50
years, but major storm events have increased by a factor of
two, and those major storms tend to come in the springtime,
late winter; and they are balanced by droughts in the summer,
and we feel it. Our coastal cities, small cities, like South
Haven on the west coast of Michigan, and larger cities like
Milwaukee on the east coast of Wisconsin, have storm sewer
systems that are now compromised. They were built 50 years ago,
and they can't handle the floods. So we are paying a cost in
terms of infrastructure.
We are experiencing more late-winter, early-spring storms,
more summer droughts and heat events. Not only does this
compromise our infrastructure, but it can degrade drinking
water quality, lead to the export of nutrient sediments into
our lakes, exacerbating dead zones. It delays planting in
springtime and stresses crops in the summer.
We have heard about the heat tolerances of corn and
soybeans, which are major crops in the Midwest. It stresses
them for us, making them more vulnerable to pests, and
jeopardizing a $40 billion forest products industry. It reduces
summer swim flow and groundwater recharge and threatens our
tourist and recreation industry which is a part of our culture.
Business-as-usual scenarios of various greenhouse gas
emissions will exacerbate these trends, compromising our
environment and the economy and culture and water of this
Thank you very much for listening to me. I look forward to
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Dr. Nadelhoffer follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. And, Dr. Roberts, you are recognized for 5
STATEMENT OF DONALD ROBERTS
Mr. Roberts. Thank you, Chairman Whitfield, Ranking Member
Rush, and members of the committee for the opportunity to be
here this morning.
I am a retired professor emeritus of tropical public
health. I follow closely the debate on claims of public health
harm from climate change. There are parallels in claims about
climate change and regulatory controls of carbon dioxide and
claims about insecticides and human health. The arguments for
government interventions in both topic areas rests on fearful
claims, doomsday predictions of devastating consequences in the
absence of regulatory intervention, and in my mind, this is
Thirty-nine years ago, the EPA took a political position to
ban a famous insecticide, DDT. Global public health leaders at
that time repeatedly and firmly warned that a ban would cause
return of devastating diseases and millions and millions of
deaths. In 1972, in spite of those warnings, the EPA banned
DDT. The public health community was right, and the results of
that decision have been devastating.
I raise the issue of this famous insecticide because it is
an excellent example of the harm that arises when politics and
ideology trump science. Poor people in malaria countries are
paying every day for an EPA decision taken 4 decades ago. As
supporting documentation, I am submitting for the record recent
statements by Ministers of Health of Namibia and Guyana, as
well as a recent peer-reviewed paper I coauthored confirming an
ideological agenda which is, regrettably, supported by the EPA.
As I document in written testimony, those who campaigned to
reduce CO2 emissions through EPA regulatory controls
are striving to show climate change is a source of harm to
public health. Claims of such harm are necessary for fear
messaging. These claims are reflected in many attempts to
attribute all sorts of increases in malaria, dengue, and other
diseases to global warming. Again, I offer documentation of
this in written testimony.
However, attempts by climate change advocates to link those
diseases to climate change have been vigorously rebutted. While
climate can affect disease rates, there is most assuredly no
simple relationship between climate and public health. The
truth is those diseases are under control of many complex and
dominant factors, with condition of human poverty and man's own
effort to control them being most important.
As evidence to back up this statement, I would point to the
different conditions of public health on the border of Mexico
and Texas. I could also point to the differences in insect-
borne disease rates on the border areas between Mozambique and
South Africa. Both those cases show how, under the same
climatic conditions and same geography, divergent public health
outcomes are achieved thanks to differing poverty rates and
man's efforts in disease control.
Growing publicity about climate change and asthma shows an
effort to prove climate change harms public health are
unabated. In written testimony, I review a recent well-
publicized paper on this topic. My area of expertise is in
tropical public health, but I review this paper as a scientist
and a taxpayer, and I question the political agenda of
highlighting climate change as an asthma problem. If we accept
that it will worsen asthma, the question that arises is, what
should we do about it? How are we to improve the health and
welfare of those suffering from asthma? The whole body of
asthma science points to conditions of poverty being dominant
risk factors for asthma. Thus, if we want to reduce asthma
problems, then, first, our goal is to improve our economy and
eliminate conditions of poverty. It is a mistake to believe
that greater EPA control over carbon dioxide will make the
slightest difference for asthma sufferers. To the contrary, I
believe that with greater EPA control, economic growth will
suffer and we will be a poorer Nation as a result.
Let us disabuse ourselves of the idea, if it is out there,
that EPA controlling CO2 will improve health
outcomes in the U.S. Or elsewhere. I fear, based on outcomes of
past EPA decisions, that greater EPA control over our lives and
economy could indeed worsen our health outcomes and, most
assuredly, worsen our economy.
Thank you, and I welcome questions.
Mr. Whitfield. Thanks, Dr. Roberts.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Roberts follows:]
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Mr. Whitfield. And thank all of you for your testimony. We
appreciate your coming here and appreciate your remarks this
First question I would like to ask you is a raise of hands.
How many of you have participated in some way and at some level
with the International Panel on Climate Change? OK. So everyone
except one has been involved in that. OK.
Now, we find ourselves today in a situation where EPA is
moving quickly on regulating greenhouse gases. So, in some
ways, as far as their decision is concerned, the science is
behind us. And I would just like to ask you, Dr. Christy, in
your view, would EPA's regulations to control greenhouse gas
emissions in the U.S. Have any real impact on the overall
presence of greenhouse gases in the world?
Mr. Christy. I have done several calculations in that
regard, and the impact is minuscule to whatever--really both
the greenhouse gas concentration total and really what the
climate system might do as a result of that delta.
Mr. Whitfield. So you would agree with Administrator
Jackson? That is basically what she said as well.
Mr. Christy. Yes.
Mr. Whitfield. OK. Now, Dr. Roberts, I may have missed--
maybe I didn't hear you correctly, but did you say that there
is no relationship between climate and public health?
Mr. Roberts. Not precisely, but the fact is that the
relationship between climate and public health is not going to
go in a single direction. I think my fear that the feeling that
climate change is a negative force for public health is flatly
wrong. It is just wrong.
Mr. Whitfield. A lot of the hearings we have had relating
to these regulations, the new people at EPA say, oh, this is
essential because we have got to cut back on asthma. We are
exposing children and elderly people to all sorts of
difficulties if we don't cut back on greenhouse gas emissions
with these regulations. Do you believe that the proposed EPA
regulations would appreciably impact public health in any way?
Mr. Roberts. No, I do not.
Mr. Whitfield. OK. Now, I am going to make just a comment
here. Obviously, this whole issue has been politicized in a
way--I mean, we have got science, we have got politics, we have
got all sorts of things going on, and when you look at the
events at the University of East Anglia, when you consider Dr.
Lai on the 2007 IPCC who made the comment that the Himalayan
glaciers would melt by the year 2035, which I think then he
backed off of that and said, you know, I don't--that was a
mistake, we are not--this is not accurate.
I remember Dr. Landsea, who was an expert on hurricanes,
served on a panel at the IPCC, in fact read the study on
hurricanes, and he testified here that someone at the IPCC
announced emphatically that more hurricanes were a direct cause
of global warming. He was so upset about it, because he said
the science is simply not there, that he resigned from IPCC.
And we have heard other incidences of that.
And I know that you can pick out isolated events in
anything, but you hear this so frequently with IPCC, it is
disserving in many ways. So just yes or no, on the IPCC in
general, do you have confidence in what they are doing? Dr.
Mr. Somerville. I certainly do have confidence, very
Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Christy?
Mr. Christy. Yes and no.
Mr. Whitfield. Yes, no, oK. Dr. Field?
Mr. Field. Yes, I have confidence.
Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Pielke?
Mr. Pielke. No.
Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Zwiers?
Mr. Zwiers. Yes.
Mr. Whitfield. Dr. Nadelhoffer?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. As a reviewer of IPCC reports, I have
Mr. Whitfield. OK. Do you have a comment, Dr. Roberts?
Mr. Roberts. I do not have a confidence.
Mr. Whitfield. I would also, Dr. Pielke, I don't know if I
have all of the details on this, but the NOAA temperature
monitoring stations--and I think I read some article that you
all did an analysis and you found that 85 percent of these
stations were unduly close to heat-generating areas--is that
correct or is that not?
Mr. Pielke. Well, we have a study that is almost through
the review process that shows that many of the stations are
very poorly located next to air conditioners, under satellite
dishes, and we are showing that is contaminating the surface
temperature record. In fact, it is introducing a warm bias over
the United States.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you. I see my time has expired. So I
recognize the gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Rush.
Mr. Rush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And Dr. Nadelhoffer, I actually appreciate you being here.
Explain to the subcommittee what the effects of climate change
are on the economy and the environment of the Great Lakes
region. You spoke something about--someone about that in the
testimony. Would you like to expound upon it, please?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Well, thank you, Congressman Rush. I am
not an economist. I can refer to several reports on the Great
Lakes economy, one most recently by the Michigan sea grant
program which identified large numbers of jobs depending on the
waters themselves. But as I mentioned in my previous testimony,
we in the Great Lakes region, in particular, are dependent upon
natural resources. Many of those natural resources are provided
by natural systems like forests, wetlands, and agricultural
ecosystems. Our agricultural ecosystems are at great risk
because of not only warming temperatures and summer droughts,
spring rains, and floods, but also exceeding levels of heat
tolerance of major crops like corn and soybeans, which, as you
know from Illinois, are major to our agricultural economy.
Mr. Rush. Well, you also reference drinking water. And the
question is, if we should fail to limit greenhouse gas
emissions, how will this affect the supply of drinking water to
the millions of people who live in the Great Lakes region in
Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Thank you for that question. It is a very
complex and interesting question, but there are simple things
and simple answers. One is, again, springtime floods which
deliver large loads of waters to the large lakes with a lot of
energy, carry sediments, pesticides, fertilizers, and nutrients
into the water. These cause increases in production in the
lakes, more algae growth, and are well associated with toxic
algae blooms; that is, blooms of algae that actually produce
toxins that harm people.
They also contribute to dead zones, organic matter that
falls to the bottom of the lakes and then is decomposed,
consuming oxygen and thereby killing fish. These are happening
now again on Lake Superior. They are likely the result of
floods that deliver materials and nutrients to the lakes. So
this increases our costs of water treatment.
Also the flooding, when it comes early in the spring,
carries more water off of the landscape, and there is less
water available for percolating into aquifers and groundwater
sources. So our groundwater sources paradoxically are at risk
in the Great Lakes region.
Mr. Rush. What will be the effect on the Great Lakes region
if we do not curb emissions of greenhouse gases?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Part of that answer is in deference to our
climate scientists who, again, I have reviewed IPCC reports. I
am not an author, but I think the evidence is very clear that
business as usual with respect to emissions will exacerbate the
trends we have seen and therefore, I think, compromise not only
our agricultural and forestry resources, but our water
To the extent that future droughts, draw down of aquifers
in the Great Plains creates needs for waters outside the basin,
any policies in the futures which actually remove water from
the Great Lakes could have dramatic effects on water levels.
Right now, 1 percent of the volume of the Great Lakes leaves
the Great Lakes annually in the Saint Lawrence Seaway, and the
lake levels are relatively stable. They go up and down a meter
or two, but they are relatively stable. If we start exporting
large quantities to drought areas outside the basin, our water
levels will more than likely decrease, decreasing supplies, as
well as quality.
Mr. Rush. Dr. Somerville and Dr. Zwiers, with 95 percent of
the world's scientists saying that climate change is man-made
and can be rolled back, do you think that it is wise policy for
Congress and the Federal Government to risk our family, our
children, our grandchildren's future because a few holdovers
are not really certain climate change does exist and can be
avoided? Will you answer that?
Mr. Somerville. I am glad to speak to that, Congressman
Rush, and I harken back to Congressman Waxman's metaphors to
the medical profession, that you don't go seeking the lone
contrary doctor when you have received a serious diagnosis. Get
a second opinion, but not 99 opinions, until you find one that
I think here the scientific evidence is overwhelming. I
mean, if I could use another medical metaphor, sure, there is
risk and costs to taking action, and there is--we also know for
elective surgery, for example, as well as climate change, there
are risks and costs to not taking action, too. And I think the
balanced view here is that we have a strong case. We need
international action. The U.S. Can lead. It cannot do the whole
job, as you have heard, but I believe that the U.S. And China
together contribute more than half of the global carbon dioxide
emissions. If they could reach an accommodation in which they
both took action, then I think that would be an enormous step
Mr. Whitfield. Gentleman from Texas, 5 minutes.
Mr. Burgess. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Somerville, let me stay with you for just a moment. Is
it your opinion that the United States Congress should pass
legislation that increases the government's control over how
much energy the American family uses or the type of energy that
is used by American families?
Mr. Somerville. Congressman, I am not an economist or a
politician, and I would leave that decision to you. I think
that in many other areas we see a variety of actions to promote
things that are taken to be good and to discourage those things
taken to be bad.
Mr. Burgess. Let me ask you a question. I don't mean to
interrupt, but my time is limited.
In this committee just exactly 2 years ago, we had--little
less than 2 years ago, we had legislation popularly known as
the Waxman-Markey legislation. Are you familiar with that?
Mr. Somerville. Yes.
Mr. Burgess. And was it your opinion that that represented
a balanced and reasonable approach to addressing the problem of
Mr. Somerville. I think it is far better than doing
Mr. Burgess. And are you aware that that bill had as its
major premise to control the amount and type of energy used by
Mr. Somerville. I do understand that aspect of it, sir.
Mr. Burgess. And do you understand there was no such
control over families in India or China?
Mr. Somerville. Of course, the U.S. Congress can't control
India and China.
Mr. Burgess. Exactly right. It is a global problem. And do
you understand why the revulsion that the country had after
that legislation was passed late at night on the floor of the
United States House of Representatives, just prior to the
Fourth of July recess in 2009, can you understand how Members
of Congress went home to their districts and were actually
reviled by their constituents for having done such an activity?
Mr. Somerville. Congressman, I am going to have to stick to
the science here.
Mr. Burgess. Well, I will tell you, having been in those
town halls and actually voting against the legislation, voting
``no'' was not enough. People wanted us to stop that thing cold
dead in its tracks, and they were not shy about telling us
So, again, I reference my opening statement, some of the
problems that we encountered here in this very committee room
in 2008 when gasoline prices went to $4 a gallon.
Now I remember after Hurricane Katrina we also had hearings
in this very committee room, and gasoline went to $3 a gallon.
We had hearings about that. Now the American public is kind of
inured to $3 a gallon. It gets to $4 a gallon and it gets their
But I remember a panel similar to this where I asked the
question that you guys have to be pretty happy now with gas up
at $3 a gallon--there is going to be less used. And the answer
I got actually stunned me, and I don't remember the witness at
the time, but he said, Actually, sir, you have to get it to $6
a gallon before you are going to affect utilization.
People hear statements like that, and it understandably
scares them to death. And that is one of the reasons why it is
so important for us to have a panel like this today. It is
important for people to understand just exactly what it is we
are talking about. We all talk in pear-shaped tones about
controlling the climate and controlling carbon dioxide, but
what we are really talking about is placing energy costs beyond
the reach of the average middle-class American family.
Dr. Christy, let me ask you a question. The memorandum that
the minority has put out for this hearing explains that the
state of the science is--climate change is occurring, it is
caused largely by human activities, poses significant risks
for, and in many cases is already affecting, a broad range of
human and natural systems. Is that an accurate description of
the state of the science as we know it now and, of course,
man's role in the science?
Mr. Christy. I think if I remember the comment right, they
stated that humans were the cause or some major cause of it.
Climate always changes. I mean, that is a fact. So the fact
that climate is changing is not news to anyone, others here.
But the notion that humans are causing most of it, that is
purely a model-driven result that you cannot discount and
cannot prove that natural enforced variability is causing this.
We don't have thermometers that say this much warming was human
cause and then this much warming was natural. We only have one
thermometer. So you are trying to figure out how much might
have been caused by human, and the fact that models fail so
many times in the tests we do with the data sets that we build
tell us they don't have the natural enforced variability level
at all yet.
Mr. Burgess. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the
balance of my time.
Mr. Whitfield. The gentleman from California is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Waxman. Dr. Christy, is there warming going on
Mr. Christy. Yes, the average temperature, yes.
Mr. Waxman. So there is a fact of warming?
Mr. Christy. Yes.
Mr. Waxman. OK. Now, Dr. Somerville, as I understand most
people looking at this problem, they look at the fact of
warming and they see climate change happening as a result. The
mainstream consensus appears to be that it is primarily caused
The widespread impacts are occurring now and expected to
get worse. I am not a scientist, but my understanding is that
there is a tremendous amount of data to support these
conclusions, not just models but actual observations and
measurement. Can you briefly describe the independent lines of
evidence that support these scientific conclusions?
Mr. Somerville. Yes, Congressman Waxman, I am glad to do
that. I would like to say that a thread has been running
through this hearing that disturbs me; that I think that it is
wrong to frame this issue in terms of the evidence for human-
caused climate change hanging from some very slender chain of
evidence that could be cut by one brilliant insightful paper.
It is not a slender thread at all. It is a thick rope woven
together of many, many chains of evidence, and there is a well-
developed branch of science and chapters in the IPCC report
devoted to exactly this question of discerning unnatural
climate change and attributing it to a cause. There are
hundreds of papers cited in the report. It is very unlikely
that they are going to be overturned by a single Einstein.
You know, we have hard about the Einsteins and Copernicus
and Galileos. They are rare. I think they deserve extreme
scrutiny. A claim to upset conventional wisdom on the basis of
a few papers which we have heard mention of today, I think
deserves extremely strong scrutiny.
Einstein was actually very quickly accepted by the physics
community, won a Nobel prize. He wasn't the lone voice in the
wilderness for very long. He was, of course, an isolated
genius. Those geniuses are rare. Those people who claim that
they are Galileo are just plain mistaken. In fact, I wonder,
since the skeptics or contrarians tend not to agree with one
another, which of them, if any, is going to turn out to upset
the conventional wisdom here.
I think it will require a very strong case to go against
the IPCC. You know, the IPCC was established just to get around
this cacophony of hearing many voices. There are outliers in
any field of science. We have retrovirus experts who don't
think that AIDS is caused by HIV.
But the IPCC is not merely a consensus. I resent that
characterization of it. The IPCC assesses the state of science.
It says where the science is solid and relatively firm, where
more research needs to be done, and it does take into account a
wide range of views. I think the discussion of this has to
begin with that and not with outliers.
Mr. Waxman. What did you think of Dr. Christy's comment? I
thought it was interesting. He said that if we are going to
fund the IPCC--and of course, the Republicans have said, no, we
shouldn't give them any money anymore--he suggested that we
have a certain amount set aside for people who have contrary
points of view. What do you think of that in terms of
distribution of money to scientific research?
Mr. Somerville. You have to start with the fact that the
IPCC doesn't really have much money. It is a little
organization with a skeleton staff in Geneva. It basically
organizes scientists into writing these reports, and we serve
without pay. It is our universities, our employers, who pay our
salaries. We don't get a penny from the IPCC, and I think the
IPCC does a very fine job of taking into account contrary
You know, the stolen e-mails from the server in East Anglia
have been mentioned in this hearing. People have to realize
that those events have now been thoroughly investigated. The
scientists have been exonerated. They are cleared. They did not
commit fraud. They did not suppress publication of their
opponents' views. They did not manipulate data, and in fact,
the IPCC considered the very publications alleged. I think they
do a fine job of considering other opinions.
Mr. Waxman. I appreciate your comments. I just think it is
quite amazing that scientific money for research ought to be
distributed based on who has minority points of views and give
them a certain amount of money. It seems to me it ought to be
peer-reviewed and see what is the most promising research.
Otherwise, I could see going into a pretty good business,
always objecting to whatever the majority view is, and then
getting my share of the allocations.
Professor Field, in your testimony, you focused on the
impacts of climate change in American agriculture and wildfires
in the Western United States. What are the key impacts on
future crop yield? What is it that you see happening in this
Mr. Field. If we look at the observation, what we see in
global agriculture a system that is very sensitive to warming.
Based on farmer experiences, on models, there are a wide range
of different mechanisms that kick in at different parts of the
world. Some of the stresses are related to limited water
availability. Some of the stresses are intrinsic to the crops.
Some of the stresses have to do with outbreaks of disease and
pathogens, and some have to do with complicated factors like
when the farmers can get into the fields for different kinds of
activities. The observations of the crops' sensitivity are
based on summaries over all of these different processes, and
that is one of the reasons that they are so robust.
Mr. Waxman. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Whitfield. Yes, sir. Mr. McKinley, you are recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. McKinley. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Roberts, let me start with you if I could, please, just
to try to frame the argument a little bit here. We have been
besieged now for the last 60 days on greenhouse gas questions,
and we have apparently 15 million people unemployed in America.
Probably an equal amount are underemployed or quit seeking
work. We have 10.3 percent unemployed in West Virginia. Lisa
Jackson was here just a few weeks ago and said that she feels
that she has no obligation to take into consideration the
economic impact of any of her decisions to the regulatory
We have had others come before this group and say that
there is no cost-effective way to handle the greenhouse gas
emissions, not cost effective. Others have testified that
higher energy costs are a result of the greenhouse gas
emissions under the Clean Air Act. And others have talked about
the high energy costs will cause economic malaise and deter the
So, since West Virginia is one of the leading producers of
fossil fuel and so dependent on all this, with 150 million tons
in the work that we do producing coal in West Virginia, what is
the future? What is going to be the impact of all this
testimony that we are hearing about the EPA overregulation of
greenhouse gases on West Virginian jobs?
Mr. Roberts. It will be a disaster.
Mr. McKinley. Thank you. Dr. Pielke, do you agree with
Mr. Pielke. That is really outside my area of expertise.
Mr. McKinley. So you don't have an opinion of whether or
not an attack on coal or war on coal is going to have an
Mr. Pielke. Well, I came to talk about the science, and
that really is outside my area of expertise. I don't want to
get into the politics of it. I just want to stick to the
Mr. McKinley. Thank you. Dr. Christy
Mr. Christy. As a State climatologist, I deal with a lot of
economic development activity, and in my State, too, it would
be a real problem. It would create more poverty than there is
now, and I can tell you, as someone who has lived in Africa,
without energy life is brutal and short.
Mr. McKinley. Thank you. Do the three of you concur that
has been--your predecessors that have come before the panel
before have indicated to this group that the greenhouse gases
are a precursor to Earth warming, global warming. Is that
generally a consensus?
Mr. Pielke. I think we have to realize that greenhouse gas
increases are one component of the climate system. It is not
the entire picture, and I think that is one of the failures of
the IPCC to adequately take intoaccount these factors.
Mr. McKinley. Dr. Pielke, we have had some come before us
and say it is a precursor to global warming; you are going to
see the emission of greenhouse gases is a precursor to global
warming. But yet, from my reading, your paper, Landsea's, Hal
Lewis', and others have indicated that what they are finding in
Antarctica, the Russian scientists down there, that the reverse
Mr. Pielke. But it is unequivocal. I think that is the
wrong argument, because we can see that CO2 is
increasing because of human activities. We know that. The
problem is how does that fit into these other forcings--land
use change, aerosols, the natural variability? And as we learn
more about the climate system, it is more complex than we
thought. And the IPCC, unfortunately, takes a very narrowed,
limited view of how we are altering the climate system.
So when we are talking about all these impacts about global
warming, first of all, climate change is more than global
warming; and secondly, even global warming and cooling is
affected by more than just carbon dioxide. And we need to
recognize that broader perspective and apparently the IPCC
decided not to do that.
Mr. McKinley. Dr. Roberts, would you like to amplify on
Mr. Roberts. I am not sure that I have the expertise or
background to add much to that, actually.
Mr. Somerville. I would be glad to comment.
Mr. McKinley. Sorry. Yield back my time. I am sorry, I
Mr. Somerville. I just said I would be glad to comment on
the issue you raised.
Mr. McKinley. Go right ahead. I am sorry. I am hard of
hearing. So if someone wanted to make a joke over that, that is
Mr. Somerville. Sure. I am happy to clarify the issue of
timing of carbon dioxide increases that you mentioned in the
Antarctic ice coolers. We do know that the Ice Ages and
transitions between Ice Ages and interglacial periods are paced
by changes in the Earth's orbit around the Sun, but that after
the pacing happens, then as a feedback carbon dioxide is added
to the atmosphere, comes out of the ocean in a warming period,
goes away out of the atmosphere, and a cooling period. So it is
an amplifier. It adds probably 30 percent to the effect of the
orbital forcing, but it is not a primary cause but it is an
Mr. McKinley. Thank you.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you. Mr. Inslee, you are recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Inslee. Thank you. I want to thank all of you for being
here today, but I have to express some degree of embarrassment
that a Nation that went to the Moon, mapped the human genome,
established the best software companies in the world, does now
have one of its great parties adopt a chronic anti-science
syndrome; one of its great parties that has decided to have an
allergy to consensus science instead of respect for science and
scientists. And that is embarrassing.
In listening to this hearing, I am convinced that if we had
Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein at this table instead
of you fine scientists, one of these parties would still not
accept the clear science until the entire Antarctic ice sheet
has melted or Hell has frozen over, whichever comes first. That
is the situation that we are in today, and I think it is a
pretty sad state of affairs.
There is one point I want to make particularly, and I hope
some who are covering this hearing might pay attention to this.
There are seven people at the table. If this hearing is
reported as saying four people said one thing and three people
said another, you are missing the big story here, and I want to
make sure everybody understands this.
I want to put in the record a letter dated February 9 by
1,800 doctors saying specifically that the health of United
States' citizens is jeopardized by greenhouse gases, and I want
to put this into the record.
Mr. Whitfield. Without objection.
Mr. Inslee. I want to put a statement by the CDC, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says
specifically that climate change gases affect the health of
human beings in America.
Mr. Whitfield. Without objection.
Mr. Inslee. Thank you, Mr. Chair. I want to put in the
record a letter from 250 of the most esteemed climate
scientists in the world urging us to act on this clear science
of climate change dated May 7th, 2010.
Mr. Whitfield. Without objection.
Mr. Inslee. I want to put in the record a letter of
February 2011 of 2,705 scientists basically urging us to allow
the Environmental Protection Agency to do its job.
Mr. Whitfield. Without objection.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. Inslee. Those are 4,560 scientists, and what I want to
say, standing behind Dr. Field at his table are 4,560
scientists. Now, the Republican Party has found two people to
raise some questions, and of course, there are lots of
questions about how fast this is going to go, and what it is
going to do, but there is enormous scientific consensus on the
Planet Earth about this fact that we have got a problem.
Now, I want to ask a question on how fast we are going. Can
we put up this slide, please, of the Arctic? I want to show an
Arctic picture of the Arctic icecap. It shows 1979 the northern
icecap on top. Then you see in September 2007, it shrunk by
about 40 or 50 percent. The most recent science predicts it may
be absolutely gone in any meaningful sense in the next 5 to 10
years. I understand a few years ago we thought that wouldn't
happen for 20 or 30 years.
It appears to me like this is happening a lot faster than
many of us thought was going to happen, and this is one of the
things that are causing not fear, Dr. Roberts, but I think a
rational concern that my 2-year-old grandson is going to grow
up in a world that is really, really different than I grew up
in, with no coral reefs and no Arctic icecap.
Dr. Field, could you comment on what is the most recent
science in that regard?.
Mr. Field. The changes are occurring very rapidly. There is
no question that changes in things like Arctic ice, in the
positions of glaciers, in the ranges of species and in the
water availability for the western U.S. Have changed
Now, the science tends to keep up with the new
observations, and so I don't think it is accurate to say that
the current scientific consensus is inconsistent with these
observations, but I do think it is fair to say that as of a few
years ago, most scientists were projecting that the kinds of
events we are seeing now might occur in the second half of the
Mr. Inslee. I read yesterday that the algae bloom in the
Arctic is now 50 days earlier than it was. I read that the
melting of the Greenland ice sheet seems to be much more
significant than perhaps we even predicted 5 or 10 years ago.
Many of these indices, to a layperson such as myself, would
suggest that we are in the upper, sort of the redder zone of
the parameters of what we have looked at. Is that a fair
assessment or not? Dr. Somerville wants to say something.
Mr. Somerville. Yes, that is very much a fair assessment,
and the Greenland icecap is a good example. The IPCC has been
cautious. It is not political at all, but it is intellectually
conservative. It doesn't go beyond the data. It doesn't do
hunches and conjectures. And it said in the last report that
you could put a number on how much sea-level rise would happen
from melting ice on land and thermal expansion of the ocean,
but it said we don't yet know enough about what might happened
to the Greenland and/or Arctic ice sheet. Now the newer science
says, yes, there are positive contributions.
Mr. Inslee. As one layperson, I had the oyster grocers of
Washington State into my office last week. They are having
trouble growing oysters in Puget Sound because of ocean
acidification, which we haven't talked about. Carbon goes in
the air, goes into the ocean, and makes it more acidic. My
oyster growers are having problems today. My berry growers are
having problems. This is not hypothetical. This is a problem
Mr. Whitfield. Did you want to say something, Mr. Pielke?
Mr. Pielke. Yes, I would. I think the observations are
certainly correct that the Arctic ice has been diminishing and
the result are effects we talked about. I think the question
is, are there other explanations that haven't been fully
explored in addition to carbon dioxide? And one of them is
black carbon, which I think most of the members of the IPCC
would have recognized. It has been better recognized recently.
There is also natural circulation effects that have caused
And I think that the proposal that Dr. Christy made that
there needs to be an alternative view is analogous in the
medical community to basically getting a second opinion. And if
you had a medical drug developed by a company and that company
is reporting on how well that drug does, you certainly would
like to have an independent assessment of that, and I think
that is what we need, and I think John's suggestion is a good
Mr. Inslee. Mr. Chair, would you permit me one comment or
follow-up question in light of Dr. Pielke's comment there?
Mr. Whitfield. Yes, I will give you one follow-up question,
and then we have to move on.
Mr. Inslee. I appreciate your courtesy, Mr. Chair.
The concern that I have, and I think many people, are that
this is a profound geophysical change in the entire system of
the Planet Earth to have this icecap disappear, and I am very
concerned about black carbon. I actually have offered a bill to
deal with black carbon. It is a problem.
But I think it is a fair statement, as far as I can tell,
is that no one in any peer-reviewed research that I can find
have suggested such a rapid change in a fundamentally pivotal
part of the climactic system, geophysical driver which the
Arctic is, other than carbon. Has anybody come up with any
other peer-reviewed hypothesis to say why this is happening? I
am not aware of any.
Mr. Whitfield. Maybe we will have a second round, but we
have got a number who haven't had questions yet.
Mr. Griffith, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Griffith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want you all to know I am here today because I have lots
of questions about the various things that are going on and
what is happening, and so I am not sure I am going to get to
answers. So, if we don't get to answers, if you all could
submit those to the committee so I can review the information,
that would be great.
Let me also say that I am concerned that we are shifting
jobs to other parts of the world where they are not going to
pay attention to this. So, even if we believe that there is a
problem and we shift all the jobs to someplace that is going to
create actually more greenhouse gases, are we creating a
solution or are we making the problem worse by having some of
the EPA regulations?
That being said, here are some of my questions. Has anybody
studied what the temperatures were, or do we know what the
temperatures were during the period in history known as the
Great Optimum, which led to the rise of the Mesopotamian
Egyptian cultures? That was a time in history of global
warming. We know that. But how warm did it get? Obviously those
were things that led to the rise of our earliest civilizations.
At some point, I would like to have somebody look at the
Lesser Optimum, which is a little closer in time, and how much
did the temperature rise then? We know that that led to the
Vikings--Professor Nadelhoffer--led to the Vikings dominating
Europe for several hundreds years, and also led to where the
icecap in the North is melting; we are now finding evidence of
Viking habitation in those areas.
Can somebody answer the question, and has the IPCC studied
why are the icecaps on Mars melting? Both NASA and National
Geographic have had reports on this. Is it, in fact, and has
there been a study, a shift in the orbit of Mars, or is it that
the Sun is putting out more radiant heat?
If we have known, as you suggest, Dr. Somerville, for 150
years the effects of greenhouse gases, then why 40 years ago,
when I was in elementary and middle school, were we taught that
an increase in greenhouse gas effect was going to lead to a new
In regard to radiant heat, the Sun spot effects, what do we
know about that? I was reading one report here that indicates
that by 2020 we will reach a new peak on Sun spot activity, and
this report actually suggests that the Earth's temperature may
be raised by .5 degrees Centigrade as a result of the Sun spot
activity. And could that also be the cause--when we were
talking about patients earlier, somebody said why do you
distrust the doctor? Then somebody made the comment, May we get
a second opinion? I would like to know if we have looked at
maybe the other patients? And Mars, having a similar global
warming effect or event going on, have we studied what that is
and has the IPCC done that?
And then what is the optimum temperature for man? Have we
looked at that? Dr. Somerville, you indicated that pre-1900
industrialized world temperatures was where you wanted to go,
but in light of the fact that we had a little Ice Age in the
18th century, are you indicating that we want to return to the
little Ice Age period? Or are you indicating something between
1820 and 1900?
I don't know the answer to that, and it was just kind of an
interesting--these are questions that I, believe it or not, lay
awake at night trying to figure out.
I would like to actually hear from Dr. Christy and Dr.
Pielke first, and then if we have time we can move on to the
others. But I did anticipate there wouldn't be a lot of time
for answers, which is why I started my comments by saying if
you have got info, you know, feel free to get it to me and
please give it to the committee as well.
Mr. Christy. I think what you are describing is the fact
that natural, unforced viability creates a large excursion of
temperature that humans have no responsibility for. I didn't
see up on the chart here after the Arctic sea ice, I didn't see
the Antarctic sea ice which reached its maximum recorded 2
weeks later after that particular picture was taken.
I will be happy to answer those questions. That was a
boatload of them, if we can have them in writing.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. Griffith. I would be happy to give you my notes. These
are things I have been worrying about for some time and
questions that--particularly the one about why we were taught
there was a new Ice Age coming, if we have known about this 40
years ago because all of my constituents were taught that. Now,
maybe our books in southwest Virginia just weren't up to par
and maybe they were 150 years out of date, but I doubt it.
Mr. Pielke. Can I follow up?
Mr. Griffith. Yes.
Mr. Pielke. What you asked about Mesopotamia and the other
regions, these are affected by regional temperatures, and I
think this really highlights the global average surface
temperature trend is a very poor metric to use to diagnose
climate change. Even global warming is not properly diagnosed
by that metric. So the question is, What was it like in
Mesopotamia, what was it like in the Arctic, for example? Those
are the questions we really need to focus on.
Mr. Griffith. Thank you. I only have 11 seconds but you are
welcome to them, Dr. Somerville.
Mr. Somerville. I would like to respond. I wish I had time
to respond to all of them.
The 1970s global cooling is a myth, perpetrated by the
popular media. It is in Newsweek magazine. It is not in the
scientific literature, papered by Peterson, et al., Bulletin of
American Meteorological Society establishes that----
Mr. Griffith. Mr. Chairman, if I might, look, I was there.
I studied it. Now maybe it is a myth. Maybe I am remembering a
myth, but I was there. It was in my textbook. That is all I can
Mr. Whitfield. I think we will just stipulate that there
may be difference of opinions about that.
Mr. Gardner, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Gardner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the
witnesses who have joined us this morning.
And to my friend from Washington, I think I am going to get
you a Kindle. I am a little concerned about that tower of books
Mr. Inslee. Would you like to read some? It might be
Mr. Gardner. Only if you will read some of mine.
Mr. Inslee. I would be happy because it is a lot shorter
Mr. Gardner. Anyway, I wanted to just briefly touch base
with Dr. Christy. We talked a little bit about agriculture in
this committee hearing. In my view, farmers are really
America's true environmentalists, people who work every day in
the land, and if global warming really threatened to cause
extreme weather, they would be the first in line to want to
stop it because it threatened their livelihoods, or livelihoods
are at stake.
If the speculation is out there that warming reduces crop
yields had any real-world validation, farmers would be on the
front lines fighting for global warming regulations,
encouraging the EPA to pass the regulations, encouraging
Congress to pass the bill.
But what the agriculture community has been saying is that
global warming policies are far worse than global warming
itself. The Farm Bureau opposes EPA's regulations for what they
would do to energy and fertilizer costs for farmers. From an
agricultural standpoint, is the cure worse than the disease?
Mr. Christy. Oh, I think so. I was just on the farm 2 weeks
ago, working with a farmer on something, and I am just
surprised at my colleagues' comments here about how agriculture
changes. We grow corn from North Dakota to Alabama. When it is
warm in Alabama, we still get 240 bushels an acre for irrigated
corn, a tremendous amount of corn.
The temperature is not as critical when you know how to
farm and deal with the variations that occur in their
particular area. But I can assure you, because I talk to a lot
of farmers and deal with them, that their fuel costs, their
fertilizer costs, they are complaining a lot right now and just
cannot bear to see those costs go up any more, which would
happen if a price were put on carbon like that.
Mr. Gardner. Thank you.
Dr. Pielke, in your testimony, there is a 2009 paper you
wrote and an excerpt in your testimony that says: Therefore,
the cost-benefit analysis regarding the mitigation of
CO2 and other greenhouse gases need to be considered
along with the other human climate forcings in a broader
environmental context, as well as with respect to their role in
a climate system.
Do you feel that there hasn't been adequate cost-benefit
analysis regarding the CO2 regulations?
Mr. Pielke. No. Actually, what we proposed is a bottom-up
resource-faced focus where you basically take something like
corn and asked what are the threats to that resource, of which
climate is one of many but it is one of them, and what are the
worse of the policies and the funding go to try to minimize
Mr. Gardner. So you believe there hasn't been enough cost-
Mr. Pielke. No, there has not been.
Mr. Gardner. There has not been enough cost-benefit
And to follow up on that, Dr. Pielke, EPA is moving quickly
on a number of greenhouse gas and other regulations right now,
and we have seen a chart that shows what is called the ``train
wreck.'' Do you think it is a good idea to do all of what we
are talking about, greenhouse gas regulations in the middle of
a recession and what those effects could be?
Mr. Pielke. Well, now you are asking me a political policy
question. I will defer that because I want to focus on the
Mr. Gardner. Dr. Christy?
Mr. Christy. My mind might have been drifting there, but I
think you were asking about----
Mr. Gardner. Moving forward with these regulations in the
middle of a recession, given what we have said, the lack of
Mr. Christy. Well, I think moving forward, whether it is a
recession or not, is going to make energy prices go up. In a
State like mine, which is very poor, that is a big fraction of
the people's expenditures and their own economy, so I would----
Mr. Gardner. When those costs go up here, will it in turn
then cause jobs to go overseas where there is little or no
Mr. Christy. We have seen that. I have talked to particular
industries that say we have already looked at Mexico and China,
because if our energy costs go up, we are going to move,
Mr. Gardner. You mentioned if we could build 1,000 nuclear
plants, what was that statistic you used?
Mr. Christy. Yes. If we could build 1,000 nuclear plants,
which is not going to happen, 1.4 gigawatts each, that would be
approximately 10 percent of the CO2 emissions taken
out of the mix, and that is not going to have much effect at
all on climate.
Mr. Gardner. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Yield back my time.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you. At this time, I recognize the
gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Scalise.
Mr. Scalise. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate all of
the panelists being with us today to talk about this issue,
especially as it relates to broader efforts by the EPA to
regulate greenhouse gases. We have had a number of hearings on
not only the science in the past but also on economic impacts,
and I would like to talk about both of those with you.
Now, one thing we hear a lot by people on the other side is
this concept that the science is settled--and I think when we
go into past hearings that we have had on this, as well as
today, I think it is clear that the science is not settled.
There is, you know, these armies of thousands of scientists
somewhere that hide behind these organizations that themselves
have been discredited, but that try to in essence diminish
countering views. And it should all come back to science. And I
know, Dr. Pielke, you talked about this, too. Would you address
Mr. Pielke. Yes. There is certainly not a consensus. In
fact, let me give you an example.
In 2005, a National Research Council report on expanding
the radio forcing concept, was coauthored by a range of
different people, including Michael Mann, for example, was on
this committee, and he signed off on this report, or all of us
did, in which we showed that there are these multiple other
types of climate forcings. The IPCC basically ignored that
report which was available to them.
Mr. Scalise. Thank you.
Dr. Somerville, in your opening statement you used terms
like ``the great preponderance of experts agree.'' Later on,
you say ``Nobody should be compressed by these discredited
claims.'' Later on you used the comment, ``It is silly and just
accepted and it will take a strong case to go against the
Why is there this kind of elitest arrogant view to people
that have a contrarian view in the scientific community to that
that you hold?
Mr. Somerville. I am certainly not trying to be elitist or
arrogant, Congressman, and I regret it if you took that
What I am saying is that obviously no science is firmly
settled, so you don't get absolute 100 percent certainty from
science. Everybody recognizes that. But some things are much
more firmly known than others. I am not going to write a
research proposal to the National Science Foundation to find
out whether the Earth goes around the Sun. That is pretty
Mr. Scalise. And none of us dispute that. However, there is
dispute over this claim that man is the cause of global
And let me ask Dr. Christy because, you know, kind of in
contrast to some of the statements Dr. Somerville has made, I
know you have been involved, I think, in some of the IPCC, some
of the scandal that has been going on over there over the last
year. Can you comment on this--this concept that the science is
Mr. Christy. Yes. I don't agree that it is at all, and I
think Dr. Somerville's comments about being exonerated for
these folks in the climate gate thing is just absolutely false,
because that was not a legal test of anything. There was not
admissible evidence. There was not cross-examination of the
evidence. There was not due process and all those things, so
those were not exoneration panels. Well, that is what they were
is exoneration panels. They weren't science or investigative
Mr. Christy. Your original question was about why are there
so many scientists that seem to look one way, or----
Mr. Scalise. Yes, let me restate it a little bit. Because,
you know, we have seen--and this has been a common trend over
the last over a year, well over a year. You have people like Al
Gore, ``The debate is over.'' They literally try to make
somebody out to be a flat-earther if they just disagree in a
scientific way. And, again----
Mr. Christy. OK.
Mr. Scalise [continuing]. Just this attempt to discredit
scientists who pose scientific theories that counter their--in
some cases, it is not even scientific theory. Al Gore is surely
not a scientist; you are.
But then you go to what happened in Climategate, where the
IPCC--and they have used the hockey-stick graph to try to,
again, say this is a settled science. And we saw in
Climategate, they used a trick to hide the decline. This is
something that really happened.
And yet, it seems like people like you and Dr. Pielke and
others who truly do go to the data--I think you have built
models on data--they are trying to actually change our economy
in the United States in a way that would run millions of jobs
out of this country. We have already seen real evidence of
that, by the way. The scientific evidence clearly is not
settled on this issue, but we do know from testimony we have
had about people who have said they have moved jobs to other
If you can maybe give me a summary of what carbon leakage
means. For those companies that go and they will build a steel
plant or they will build a refinery in another country that
doesn't have the standards that we have today, where they will
actually emit more carbon, what does that do to the global
atmosphere, if they are concerned about carbon and you are
actually emitting more carbon in another country because you
have sent those jobs out of America instead of keeping them
Mr. Christy. Yes, emissions will rise as a result of that
kind of unintended consequence. Poverty will increase in a
State like mine.
In fact, I had this very conversation with a plant owner
who said it is ironic that, with this legislative action, if it
were to go forward--they were looking at Mexico, in fact--that
they would emit four times more emissions if they were to move
their operations, plus create a pocket of poverty that we don't
need in our State that would make health concerns even worse
for those folks.
Mr. Scalise. I appreciate that. Thank you.
And I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Whitfield. Mr. Terry is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Terry. Thank you for that, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Nadelhoffer--did I pronounce that correctly? I got here
a little late.
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Yes, correctly enough. Thank you.
Mr. Terry. Should nitrogen be banned? Should the EPA ban
Mr. Nadelhoffer. The short answer is, no, the EPA could
never ban nitrogen. It is----
Mr. Terry. Why?
Mr. Nadelhoffer [continuing]. The dominant gas in our
Mr. Terry. All right. Man's use of nitrogen?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Again, the use of nitrogen as synthetic
fertilizer has essentially allowed us to feed 8 billion, 9
billion people on Earth. I don't think EPA is proposing to ban
Mr. Terry. I didn't--OK. How about you? Do you think we
Mr. Nadelhoffer. No.
Mr. Terry. OK. Just wanted to establish if we were allowed
to eat anymore.
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Oh, yes, we are.
Mr. Terry. OK.
It was interesting, it piqued my curiosity, Dr. Pielke; you
had mentioned earlier in the discussion--and it is a real
nuance here, but it is one that I think grasps at average,
nonscientific citizens when they are trying to digest all of
this global warming and man's role in it.
You had said earlier, in an answer to a question, that
man's role is a part of global warming, that there are many
other attributes or causes, and it is difficult to, kind of,
unwind man's cause. That is the ultimate issue here, because we
can only control man's role within the borders of the United
States of America.
So I am curious, what are some of the other factors? Has
there been scientific studies that would enable us to measure
more accurately so we can have a more targeted solution here
than simply trying to eliminate and go to a zero-carbon
baseline from 1820?
Mr. Pielke. Well, we have to recognize there are
consequences whenever humans do anything. But what we have
done--and there was that 2005 National Research Council report
I referenced that talks about land-use change, talks about
aerosols, talks about nitrogen deposition, for example, as well
as carbon dioxide, both the biogeochemical and the radiative
effect. And the more we learn about this, the more uncertain it
And to try to factor out what is the CO2
contribution to any of these impacts, whether it is floods or
heat waves, is becoming an increasingly more difficult problem.
And when we discuss just CO2, we focus just on C02,
we are ignoring all these other influences and not even then
considering what the natural part is.
Mr. Terry. If the United States did go to an 1820 carbon
baseline for man's emissions within the United States, has the
scientific community concluded what globally the impact would
be on global warming?
Mr. Pielke. Well, in terms of the CO2 emissions,
I am sure that work has been done. And Chris can probably talk
more about that.
But in terms of man's impact, look at the land-use change
that has occurred since 1820. And we have done quite a bit of
research showing that that has a major effect on precipitation
and on temperature and extreme weather. And this factor was
inadequately assessed in the IPCC.
So there are these other climate forcings in addition to
CO2 that really should be explored further, and they
have not been, by the IPCC.
Mr. Terry. Mr. Somerville, do you believe that farming
contributes to global warming? Farming activities?
Mr. Somerville. I think that there is certainly a
contribution, a minor contribution.
But I would like to reiterate, if I may, sir, that the
overwhelming scientific consensus--that there is no doubt that
land-use changes especially have an influence on the local
climate. But when you talk about the global climate, the
science community is not persuaded by the arguments you have
heard today from----
Mr. Terry. That there is additional contributions. Your
belief is it is 100 percent caused by these activities.
Mr. Somerville. No, it is not 100 percent at all, but it is
the dominant contribution. IPCC said in their last report----
Mr. Terry. All right.
Mr. Somerville [continuing]. In this language that your
Mr. Terry. Have you in your studies or your research been
able to determine, if we went to an 1820 baseline for man's
contribution of CO2 in the United States, what
impact that would have on global warming?
Mr. Somerville. Congressman, by itself it would not solve
the problem. We are not advocating anybody go back to the
1820s. What is scary now----
Mr. Terry. All right. 1880? 1900?
Mr. Somerville. What is scary now is the rate of change of
climate. We are not saying there was an ideal climate in some
year in the past. What is frightening, what is something to be
very concerned about is the rate at which the climate is
Mr. Terry. And my time is up. And that is part of the
problem here, is we can't get our mind around what we are
supposed to be doing if there is really that great of a
Mr. Whitfield. OK. We appreciate you all coming from many
long distances, and this is a very important subject.
Do you all have any interest in doing one more round?
Mr. Rush. Oh, absolutely, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Whitfield. All right. Five minutes each.
All right. I will start off.
As public-policymakers, I think the thing that concerns me,
particularly, just like this--we have had 24 panels of
witnesses on science. And every time basically there is an
agreement there is warming, there is a disagreement on why it
And we know that we have had warming periods in the past.
We have had the Minoan warming period, the Roman warming
period, the medieval warming period. And during that time,
there was no industrialization, and so CO2 carbon
emissions were not as high as they are today. Why? We don't
exactly know the answer. The ice in the Arctic is diminishing;
the ice in the Antarctic is growing, for lack of a better word.
So when we are asked to adopt policies unilaterally for
America that would place us at a competitive disadvantage with
other countries like China and India when jobs are at stake,
when we have high unemployment, then it is a significant issue
And this administration, through EPA, has made the decision
that they are going to regulate greenhouse gases. So, as I have
said before, on three different occasions Congress has said no.
In 1990, they said no. In 1998, they said no. They rejected the
cap-and-trade legislation the last time.
So we can talk about consensus on global warming, fine. But
consensus on why and the questions about the models, I don't
think anyone, obviously, can say definitively, ``This is the
So you all have been really helpful today. I really
appreciate all of you coming. I know you are all scientists,
you are well-educated. You are committed to trying to improve
America and our world that we live in.
So I just wanted to make that comment. And, at this point,
I would recognize Mr. Rush for 5 minutes.
Mr. Rush. I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I join you
in thanking these panelists, all of them, who are making some
significant contributions to this subcommittee.
I want to get back to Dr. Nadelhoffer.
Dr. Nadelhoffer, you spent 20-plus years in the Arctic. And
there has been some testimony, I saw you squirming and biting
at the bit because you wanted to jump in.
So would you answer the question, what impact does climate
change have for population centers globally? And referring to
your experiences from the Arctic, what did you learn from your
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Excuse me, Congressman Rush. Could you
repeat the last part of the question? It was hard to hear.
Mr. Rush. Yes, your experiences in the Arctic drew you to
certain conclusions about the effect of climate change on
population centers globally. Could you expound on your
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Well, the Arctic is a fragile environment.
It is a cold environment, and temperature excursions change the
Arctic in ways that we really are only learning are playing
out. But, certainly, in many parts of the Arctic, permafrost is
getting warmer, and in some places permafrost, which holds the
ground firmly in place, is melting and diminishing. And so,
many of our north Alaskan communities are compromised. Their
building structures are sinking, often, into thawing
The climate system--interesting that we talked about
Antarctica. The Antarctic ice sheet, of course, is a very
complex system. But most of the glaciers that are measured in
the Antarctic continent are increasing their flow rates into
the Antarctic Ocean. And so, you know, it only makes sense that
there may be more ice in the Antarctic Ocean because of the
donation from the landscape.
The Antarctic Peninsula, over the past 50 years, has
increased more than any place on Earth of a comparable size. So
there are indicators from the Antarctic region, as well.
And, of course, these regions, one of the reasons that I
and others work in the Arctic and my colleagues are working in
the Antarctic is they are bellwethers. Those are the parts of
the Earth that in the Arctic summer and the Antarctic summer
face into the sun. The field station I work in in northern
Alaska has sunlight continuously from May 20th to July 20th.
And when there is less reflectivity from ice in the summer,
there is more heat coming into the Earth's system in the
So the Arctic systems, although sparsely populated, feed
back and affect the global climate in ways that I think others
on the panel could express better than I can. But thank you
very much for your question.
Mr. Rush. Well, I have another question. Dr. Christy
indicated that crop loss may be more contributed to farmers not
really knowing what they are doing than the impacts of climate
change. Do you have a response to this, his assertions?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Well, I have an indirect response. I,
again, don't cover agricultural policy and farmer behavior and
attitudes in my research.
However, I think one of the things that climate change does
for agriculture--or, one of the ways it impacts agriculture is
to increase the uncertainty surrounding extreme events. I think
farmers could well benefit from talking at high levels with
climate scientists and trying to understand the risks involved
with a more variable climate in agricultural regions.
Mr. Rush. Dr. Field, would you respond to that question
Mr. Field. Sure.
I would like to congratulate John on knowing some very
The observations are that, in warmer periods, crop yields
go down. And with corn, it is very clear that there is a
threshold of about 84 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the
temperatures are higher than that, yields go down.
The sensitivity of corn is quite dramatic. A single day
with a temperature of 104, as opposed to 84, can decrease corn
yields by about 7 percent.
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my
Mr. Whitfield. The gentleman from Texas is recognized for 5
Mr. Burgess. Dr. Christy, from your study of--and we have
heard some talk today and some comparison to medicine and
diagnosis and treatment. So what does the evidence say about
how we are going about diagnosing this problem?
Mr. Christy. Well, as someone who actually builds those
data sets, what I find is that we have one standard of
instrumentation that gives us some answers but there are really
more answers to be found. We do need a better set of satellites
going up. I can divert there for a second, but I won't.
I will say----
Mr. Burgess. Unfortunately, some of the satellites seem to
be coming down, and that is a problem.
Mr. Christy. Right. That is a problem.
Someone mentioned about, there were 4,500 people behind Dr.
Field here. And my point in my talk was that I have looked at
the very evidence for this thing, a climate model. So those
4,500 people, to make it simple, think the world is warming at
0.26 degrees C per decade right now. That is what climate model
theory, that is what greenhouse theory in these models
indicates. The data set does not. Does that mean they are still
right and I am wrong, or what is it?
So I am not here to be a popular person. I hope I am
providing the numbers of science that make this situation more
Mr. Burgess. And you have put together these observational
databases essentially from--you have built them on your own,
you have built them from scratch?
Mr. Christy. Yes, our group has built them and published
them. They are in the literature.
Mr. Burgess. Well, does the AIPCC or the National Academy
of Sciences use your work?
Mr. Christy. Sparingly.
Mr. Burgess. Well, when they talk to you, what do they say
is the justification for not including your work in the
Mr. Christy. I think they would say, because we have so
many people, we have to include everybody's work, and so you
are just--you know, it is a democracy there, so you only get
one vote. It doesn't matter how good the data are, it is one
Mr. Burgess. Well, what are your observations suggesting to
you about the impact of carbon dioxide on global climate change
or global warming?
Mr. Christy. Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. There
is no question about that. It will increase the surface
temperature somewhat. But the effect is about one-third, the
best we can figure, than what the current theory indicates, on
which all these legislative actions are based.
Mr. Burgess. Dr. Somerville, let me ask you a question. In
your summation of your opening statement, which I appreciate
you providing for us, item number 5, you state that, ``Science
has its own high standards. It does not work by unqualified
people making claims and expressing opinions on television or
the Internet. People who are not experts, who are not trained
and experienced in this field, who do not do research and
publish it following standard scientific practice, are not
Does that statement apply to Dr. Christy?
Mr. Somerville. No.
Mr. Burgess. Well, let me ask you this. And I alluded to it
earlier, the legislation that was before us in this committee
late into the night on May 31st and then on the House floor
late into the night on June 26. Why do you think it is--if the
vast preponderance of science and scientists agree with you and
your position, why haven't you closed the deal with the public?
Mr. Somerville. That is a very good question. I think that
we, as a science community, suffer as communicators. I think
that we have not done a good job of outreach. The IPCC reports
are hard to read. I think we haven't translated them into plain
I think that some people who have done that translating
aren't well enough recognized, and I would put the U.S.
military in that category, sir. I highly recommend to this
subcommittee a report called ``Climate Change and National
Security'' by the CNA Corporation, which is composed of retired
flags officers, generals, and admirals and so on, who reviewed
this area, were briefed by climate scientists----
Mr. Burgess. Yes.
Mr. Somerville [continuing]. Said, it is a threat
multiplier, it is a national security concern----
Mr. Burgess. Let me just----
Mr. Somerville [continuing]. We don't wait for perfect
Mr. Burgess. Let me just reclaim my time. It obviously
doesn't take a rocket scientist, or a rocket surgeon for that
matter, to know that Members of Congress are not held in very
high regard right now, so anything we say is certainly suspect.
The military is held in very high regard.
Mr. Somerville. Right.
Mr. Burgess. So why--again, I would pose my question to
you--why have you not closed the deal with the public? Why,
when I go home to my district and have my town-halls, why is
the public not clamoring for me to control carbon in the
atmosphere and drive up energy prices?
Mr. Somerville. I think there are many reasons for that.
There is an active disinformation campaign out there, as you
Mr. Burgess. Who are you accusing of the active
Mr. Somerville. I am accusing parts of the fossil fuel
industry and certain think-tanks and political centers. There
is a lot of misinformation out there, and we haven't done as
good a job as we need to to counteract it, sir.
Mr. Burgess. Mr. Chairman, if I could, just a point of
personal privilege. I really appreciate Mr. Inslee bringing his
own brand of carbon sequestration to the committee. It is an
interesting tower he has constructed there.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you.
Mr. Waxman, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This panel was invited to give us information about the
scientific record. I don't think that it would be fair to ask
any of you to tell us exactly how to solve the problem. There
are a lot of different alternatives, and we could explore those
alternatives if we think something needs to be done.
I think there is a moral imperative to address climate
change because of the damaging consequences that appear to be
occurring. We don't have an abstract concern about how many
parts per million of carbon dioxide are in the atmosphere. We
are worried about extreme weather events, the reduced crop
yields, the wildfires, the floods, the rising sea level, and
the rest of a long list of impacts.
And when analyzing the costs of acting to address climate
change, it would be irresponsible to ignore the costs of
inaction. But this isn't the panel to ask about what costs we
ought to spend on acting and what are the consequences of
inacting, except on the level of science.
Professor Field, let me just go back to this point. Earlier
you said that corn, soybean, and cotton yields are very
sensitive to increased temperatures. What effect does a very
high-temperature day have on corn yields? How much are corn,
soybean, and cotton yields in the U.S. expected to decline as a
result of climate change? For example, if you have a single day
of 104 degrees temperature, instead of 84 degrees, what would
be the impact on corn? And what would be a modest warming
Mr. Field. Currently, the best science came out in a 2010
report of the National Research Council. And what it concluded
is that we should expect, in the absence of other activities,
to see U.S. crop yields drop by something on the order of 5 to
10 percent for each degree Fahrenheit of warming.
We may be able to do technological fixes that avoid some of
those changes. But I think that the best way to understand the
climate change is, it is like an anchor that we are trying to
drag as we advance agricultural technology through improved
breeding and improved practices.
Mr. Waxman. Now, if a single day of 104 degrees temperature
instead of 84 reduces corn yields by 7 percent--is that
Mr. Field. Yes.
Mr. Waxman. Even modest warming over this century is
expected to reduce corn, soybean, and cotton yields by 30 to 46
percent. Is that an accurate statement?
Mr. Field. That is as well.
Mr. Waxman. And so, if we had a severe warming, that could
reduce 63 to 82 percent.
Mr. Field. Yes.
Mr. Waxman. Now, maybe the farmers don't know about it;
they are not clamoring for any legislation on the subject. But
I could easily imagine they not knowing about it because they
are not doing this research that you are doing.
Mr. Field. The new information is really quite striking.
What it demonstrates is that, for major food crops in the U.S.
and for cotton, there is very little temperature sensitivity
until you reach a threshold. After you reach a threshold
temperature--I indicated that it is 82 for corn, 84 for
soybeans, and about 90 for cotton--you will begin to drop
rapidly. And that is why people aren't generally aware of the
Mr. Waxman. Now, some of our Members represent districts in
the western United States. Have the frequency and duration of
western wildfires been affected by these increasing
Mr. Field. Since the middle of the 1980s, we have seen a
dramatic increase in the area burned, in the average length of
fires, and in the length of fire season across the western U.S.
Mr. Waxman. And these are already happening?
Mr. Field. Yes.
Mr. Waxman. What can we expect as temperatures continue to
Mr. Field. The best estimates, based on observations, not
based on any kind of a simulation, is that a warming of about
1.8, more or less the same amount of warming that the U.S. has
seen over the last century, would increase the annual area
consumed in wildfires in the western U.S. From about 1.3
million acres a year to about 4.5 million acres per year, a
more than threefold increase as a consequence of a very modest
warming, more or less the amount of warming we have already
Mr. Waxman. And, Professor Nadelhoffer, what climate change
impacts can we expect to crop yields in the Midwest?
Mr. Nadelhoffer. Well, I don't have a percentage number,
but we are seeing higher frequencies of high-heat events. And
to the extent that those high-heat events exceed the critical
thresholds beyond which crop yields decline qualitatively, I
can say that it would damage agriculture in the U.S.
Mr. Waxman. Is it possible that soybean yields could
decline in Illinois by as much as 55 percent by the end of the
Mr. Nadelhoffer. I would not rule that out.
Mr. Waxman. And weed-induced losses for corn could increase
22 percent in the Great Lakes States and 35 percent for
Mr. Nadelhoffer. That is within the realm of possibility.
Mr. Waxman. Well, I want to end, Mr. Chairman, by saying
that we have heard a lot of reasons from Members of Congress
why people are afraid to do anything. But for us to do nothing,
for the rest of the world to do nothing, there is a cost of
inaction. And we ought to recognize that fact and try to figure
out what can we do to make things better.
If we don't want something major, let's do something
modest. But let's don't just put our heads in the sand and say,
``We heard there is no problem from some scientists and some
people that seem to be reputable, and therefore we are not
going to do anything. Let's let the problem get worse.'' I
don't think that is a responsible position.
I yield back my time.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you.
Mr. Griffith, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Griffith. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me reiterate something that I mentioned previously. As
you know, I was on a rapid-fire because I thought I was only
going to get 5 minutes and I wanted to get all my questions out
there. And I do ask you all to please get me answers, and we
will get the questions in writing to you and so forth.
But one of my great concerns in this whole debate is that
we shift our jobs and our wealth to other countries--Asia,
Mexico--other countries that are not doing what we are doing.
If it turns out that those of you who believe that it is all
manmade greenhouse gases and manmade effect, I worry that we
have crippled ourselves to respond to it later when other
countries want to do something about it because we won't have
the money. We will be a second-tier nation at that point, and
that is a great concern of mine.
And I think we should have, you know, reasonable rules and
regulations, but I want to make sure that we are doing it in a
reasonable fashion. And I am not sure that unilaterally
stopping the use of carbon fuels does this country or the world
any great favors.
That being said, I was interested in the comments by you,
Dr. Christy, in regard to land use. And I am wondering if you
can amplify that, as to how that is affecting global warming
and what we might be able to do. You know, is one of the
concerns deforestation? Are we worried about the peat bogs? I
heard permafrost mentioned. I am just wondering if you could
amplify on that.
Mr. Christy. I will just talk about the fact that, when you
look at surface temperature measurements, like I saw a chart up
there earlier, we have shown how that is contaminated by the
fact that it uses nighttime temperatures, which are a clear
signal and affected by surface development of all kinds. It is
a really complicated problem that we published on.
But there is clearly a warming component that is very large
in that surface-temperature record over land that is not due to
greenhouse gases at all, but it is due to humans. It is due to
surface development. And so, I made the comment one time that
if you turn California back into a desert, you will see the
temperature fall, simply because of this effect. I don't
recommend it, but.
Mr. Griffith. Yes, I am not in favor of that either.
But what other--you said turn California, you know, back.
What other things would we have to turn back to get back to
temperatures pre-industrialization in the 19th century--or,
excuse me, in the 1900s?
Mr. Christy. It would be to go back to what it was like in
the 18th century.
Mr. Griffith. All right.
And then, Dr. Fields, I have been very interested in--and
you may not have it here today, but I have been very interested
in--and let me see if I have this right--90 degrees for cotton,
82 for corn, 84 for soybeans? Did I get that correct? Can you
give me the same number on barley, wheat, oats, millet, rice,
Mr. Field. I can't give you the specific numbers because
the analysis for barley, we have only been able to do it with a
global scale. And with barley, the sensitivity is about 5
percent yield loss per degree Fahrenheit of temperature
Mr. Griffith. But do you know the number for barley?
Mr. Field. I don't know if there is a threshold for barley.
Mr. Griffith. OK. And how about wheat, oats, millet, rice?
Just picking up some of the other grains.
Mr. Field. Right. So, the only grains for which--the only
crops for which we have been able to identify the threshold
temperatures are corn, soybean, and cotton. For the others, we
can detect the sensitivity to warming and we can detect the
fact that historical warming has put this anchor on yields. But
as far as we can tell, we are in a part of the temperature
range that is already responsive, where we are already seeing
the yield decreases.
Mr. Griffith. OK. Now, let me ask this, because, as
Congressman Waxman pointed out, we want to deal with science
here today, and that is what I am trying to do. I have all
kinds of questions.
Do we not know the other grains because we haven't studied
them or we have not yet reached their threshold?
Mr. Field. Well, we have reached the threshold. What we are
seeing at the global scale is that there are already yield
decreases with historical warming for wheat, maize, corn, and
barley. What I said is that there is no evidence from the
observations that there is a threshold. We are already in the
responsive part of the system for wheat, barley, and corn.
Mr. Griffith. OK. Has there been a study on oats?
Mr. Field. No.
Mr. Griffith. So we have lack of science there.
Mr. Field. As far as I am aware, on oats.
Mr. Griffith. OK. And the same would be true for millet and
Mr. Field. In the study of the world's six major food
crops, we do not see that rice is decreasing yields in response
to the warming that has already occurred.
Mr. Griffith. All right. Thank you very much.
Mr. Whitfield. Thank you.
Mr. Inslee, you are recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Inslee. Thank you.
Dr. Somerville, I would like to suggest that you have been
way too self-critical on the scientific community about why
there is some remaining uncertainty in the public's mind about
this. And I want to suggest that the reason there is some
uncertainty is there has been a concerted war on science on
this subject, just like there was in the tobacco debate.
This is a movie we have seen before. When the devastating
evidence with a scientific consensus came out that tobacco
killed Americans, there was a very concerted effort to distort
and attack that science. It lasted for decades until it was
And it was in part because there were people with enormous
financial stakes that attacked that science, and it was in part
and is part today--and here is another reason for it, and I
will suggest it. Maybe it is controversial, but I will suggest
it. Folks in the press report this like a divorce trial: He
said, she said, then she said, then he said. That is not the
way science ought to be reported in this country.
And if people start reporting that this mountain of
evidence--by the way, this is just a partial list of the
scientific documents on this. These things could reach to the
ceiling. And there isn't one, single peer-reviewed paper in the
world that supports a hypothesis about why the Arctic is
melting other than this phenomena. And we need people in the
press to start reporting that, frankly, so that Americans can
make rational decisions.
Now, I want to bring in the parameters of what our real
scientific discussion here is, because there is uncertainty
about this, obviously, about how fast this is going to go and
what the temperature ranges will be.
But I want to ask Dr. Christy, there was a lawsuit up in
Vermont, and a judge quoted an expert who testified on behalf
of the plaintiff. And he quoted this--I will call him Dr. X for
the moment. I will quote from the judge's opinion.
Quote, ``Plaintiff's own expert, Dr. X, agrees with the
IPCC's assessment that, in light of new evidence and taking
into account remaining uncertainties, most of the observed
warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to
the increase in GHG concentrations. Christy''--excuse me, I
gave it away--``Dr. X agrees that the increase in carbon
dioxide is real and primarily due to the burning of fossil
fuels, which changes the radiated balance of the atmosphere and
has an impact on the planet's surface temperature toward a
Now, I gave away who Dr. X was. I just want to make clear,
Dr. Christy, you agree, do you not, that human emissions of
some of these pollutant gases is playing at least some role in
changes in our climate? Now, if you could just say ``yes'' or
``no'' to that, I would really appreciate it.
Mr. Christy. The question was a little confused there. Was
it the pollution----
Mr. Inslee. Let me just ask you if you agree with the
statement you gave up in a court in Vermont. You said you----
Mr. Christy. No, the judge got the statement wrong.
Mr. Inslee. Oh, I see. The judge did it.
Mr. Christy. I did not say that. Go back to the transcript,
and that is the problem.
Mr. Inslee. Well, let me just ask you this. Do you agree
with the IPC's conclusion, assessment, that, in light of new
evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties,
most of the observed warming over the last 6 years is likely to
have been due to the increase in GHG concentrations, testimony
by you on May 4th, 2007? Do you agree with that or disagree
Mr. Christy. What I said on the transcript was I mostly
agreed with that. I did not say I agreed with it. And if they
just changed one word, I would agree with that, instead of
``most'' to ``some.''
Mr. Inslee. Let's show the picture of the Arctic up here
again, if we can. If we can put the picture of the Arctic up
Now, what we have observed, due to satellite data and
observations on the surface, is incontrovertible. A massive
part of the Earth has changed. I don't know how many thousands
of square miles are on there, but this is a bunch. And we have
seen a 40 to 50 percent reduction in volume of the Arctic Sea
ice in September in the last couple of decades. If current
trends continue, there will be virtually no Arctic ice in
September probably within this decade, perhaps within 5 or 6
Now, what I am told is, this is a very significant change
in the planet because of the albedo effect. And perhaps, Dr.
Field, could you describe to us what that is and why this is
important to us?
Mr. Field. Thank you.
Sea ice reflects about 90 percent of the sunlight that hits
it. Seawater absorbs about 90 percent of the sunlight that hits
it. That is a big difference in the amount of heat that is
reflected back to space versus absorbed in the Earth's system.
Sea ice tends to cool the planet. Open water tends to warm the
Mr. Inslee. Now, this appears to me to be a very dramatic
change in the world that we have known since humans walked the
planet. This has never existed before while humans were on the
Has anyone produced a peer-reviewed article to suggest a
hypothesis as to why this has happened in the Arctic other than
the accumulation of greenhouse gases and associated effects?
Has anyone published a peer-reviewed article suggesting another
And I am not seeing any takers, because there are none.
Mr. Pielke. Excuse me. If you are asking a question, that
2005 NRC report talks about the black carbon. And there is also
the issue of natural circulation----
Mr. Inslee. Black carbon is something associated with
burning our fossil fuels. And that----
Mr. Pielke. I understand, but----
Mr. Inslee [continuing]. Is another problem we have to
Mr. Pielke [continuing]. It is not a greenhouse gas.
Mr. Inslee. Well, it is good enough to melt the Arctic. And
it is one of the reasons why the EPA should not be stopped from
enforcing the Clean Air Act, like the Republicans want to do.
And we are going to stop it.
Mr. Whitfield. The gentleman's time has expired.
You know, there was some nodding going on here when we
talked about there is not one peer-reviewed article relating to
the Arctic diminishing of ice. Are any of you aware of any
peer-reviewed articles that----
Mr. Christy. There are articles that talk about the
circulation being a dominant component of why that is missing
up there. If you go back several--a few thousand years, not
several, just a few thousand years, there were times when it
was probably completely free of ice. This is not a new
And I agree with you that there is no question the Arctic
ice has diminished in the past 20 years. Antarctic sea ice has
increased. And it has a greater albedo effect, by the way, than
the Arctic does. And I think Roger knows something about that.
Mr. Whitfield. The gentleman from Louisiana is recognized
for 5 minutes.
Mr. Scalise. Thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for the second
And, obviously, I think we are seeing some more very
interesting, kind of, divergent views. But, in some ways, it is
not really divergent. We are really starting to see more of the
details that seem to be excluded too often in other reports,
when some people want to issue a report just to prove what they
are trying to accomplish, as opposed to following the data.
And I want to ask you about this, Dr. Pielke, because you
refer to the Climate Change Science Program's report. And I
think you had done an analysis of it, maybe with some other
doctors, I would like to ask you to comment on.
But in a few parts of your statement, you talk about, ``The
process for completing the CCSP report excluded valid
scientific perspectives.'' You talk about, ``The editor of the
report systemically excluded a range of views on the issue of
understanding and reconciling lower atmospheric temperature
trends.'' Later on, you mentioned that, ``The executive summary
of the CCSP report ignores critical scientific issues and makes
unbalanced conclusions concerning our current understanding of
All of you are scientists, and, respectably, you can
disagree with each other if you are trying to come to a
conclusion. But if you are going to issue a report and
deliberately exclude certain things because maybe they don't
reach the same conclusion that you are trying to reach, that is
And I think, Dr. Pielke, what you are talking about here--
and you reviewed this--is getting to the heart of that very
concern many of us have, that there are people running around
out there talking about ``thousands of scientists'' out there
and trying to discredit anybody who comes out against it, when,
in fact, some of these reports exclude key data, and then the
thousands of scientists are basing their assumptions on the
report that, in itself, is factually inaccurate because it
excluded key data.
So if you can talk to me about maybe specifically the CCSP
report and what was excluded. And in the broader picture, are
there other scientists like you that have reviewed these kinds
of reports and said, ``Wait a minute, they are leaving out key
Mr. Pielke. Exactly, they certainly are. And in the CCPS
report, I documented it for others in a series of e-mail
exchanges that I had that is actually on my Web log. What you
quoted was out of a public comment that I responded to. And an
outgrowth of that was that we published several papers with
many authors in the peer-reviewed literature that showed
unresolved issues with the surface-temperature record. I am not
going to go through them here, obviously, but one of them is
how good is the siting of these sites; what height do they
measure the temperatures at.
They deliberately excluded this, and they wanted to assume
that this surface-temperature record is robust and they don't
need to look at it any further. And on the CCSP report, we
raise issues. They were excluded. And then I finally resigned
it to the public comment. And since then we have published
papers on it and have documented that there are serious issues
with the use of that metric to diagnose global warming.
Mr. Scalise. And, again, this should be based on the data.
If the data backs it up, that is one thing. But then there are
people running around using these reports that, in and of
themselves, are corrupt because they specifically excluded
Mr. Pielke. As you know, the CCSP was used in preparation
of the 2007 IPCC report. And I also documented peer-reviewed
papers that were excluded from that report that showed an
alternative perspective than what was presented in the report
on that issue.
Mr. Scalise. Thank you.
And let me ask you, Dr. Christy, because you talk about
this in a similar way. You talk about, ``Widely publicized
consensus reports by thousands of scientists are
misrepresentative and contain overstated confidence in their
assertions, rarely representing the range of scientific opinion
that attends a relatively murky field of climate science.''
Can you expand upon that, following a similar line of
questioning that I had with Dr. Pielke?
Mr. Christy. Well, fundamentally, only a few people can
write the report. Thousands of people don't write the report.
Thousands of people don't approve of everything in the report.
And so it really comes down to those few who are, as I call
them, they are gatekeepers of the information rather than
brokers of the information.
This is the information I presented to the InterAcademy
Council last summer that they pretty much took to heart. And
how do you get out of that? That was one of the things I was
Mr. Scalise. Let me ask you this, because we have heard
this in previous testimony before this committee. Some
scientists--who, as you, Dr. Pielke, and others have maybe
pointed out some inaccuracies or data that is left out, other
things--they talk about blacklisting that goes on inside the
scientific community. I don't know if you want to comment on
it. But, I mean, what kind of reaction do you get from
scientists when you do point out these things that are not
necessarily reflective of the full picture?
Mr. Christy. They are hard pressed to deal with the
numbers, because all science is numbers, and that is really
what we have. But----
Mr. Scalise. And you have built your own data models, so I
take it--and I looked at what you reviewed on the Sierra Nevada
mountains, some other things you found in the United States and
Africa in terms of temperature, and the complexities, when you
get into what really causes it. It is one thing to show that
you have a temperature change over thousands of years. You have
seen that up and down throughout history. What causes it, I
guess, is at the heart of the issue here, and the complexities
So if you can make one final comment there.
Mr. Christy. Well, I would just say, kind of, the thrust of
your question, if someone would read the Climategate e-mails,
and as someone who was denigrated in those e-mails, I have a
completely different view about them than Dr. Somerville might.
Mr. Scalise. Thank you.
And, Mr. Chairman, if I may, just one last thing. Today is
Mardi Gras day. I just flew in from New Orleans this morning to
be at this panel, so I couldn't be at the parade. But, as we
are talking about icing and agriculture, I have got a king cake
back in the back. So if members of the committee on either side
would like to come back, we have some good king cake from New
Orleans with icing on top----
Mr. Whitfield. How big is it?
Mr. Scalise [continuing]. And I would invite you all to
have some of that.
Mr. Whitfield. Is it big?
Mr. Scalise. It is--and, by the way, your good friend
Herschel Abbott is the king of Mardis Gras today.
Mr. Whitfield. All right.
Mr. Scalise. So, a beautiful day back in New Orleans. Wish
I could be there, but glad to be here. And I yield back.
Mr. Whitfield. That concludes today's hearing. I want to
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Whitfield. Yes?
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request
for some reports to be entered into the record, if I might. A
Mr. Whitfield. How big is this report?
Mr. Rush. There are a number of reports. But I would like
to have them entered into the record.
Mr. Whitfield. Well, yes. And we will enter some in the
record, too, then. All right, go ahead.
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, the first report is a 2009 report
entitled, ``Global Climate Change Impacts in the United
States.'' And this study was conducted on behalf of the
National Science and Technology Council and the U.S. Global
Change Research Program and was transmitted to the Bush White
House and the Congress in June 2009. The report summarizes the
science of climate change----
Mr. Whitfield. How many pages is that?
Mr. Rush. I think it is about 170, 180 pages.
Mr. Whitfield. OK.
Mr. Rush. And I will quote just one part of it. It says,
``Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal.
The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due
primarily to human-induced emissions.''
Mr. Whitfield. Mr. Rush, I mean, if you would read the
title, we would be happy to submit them.
Mr. Rush. All right. Well, then this study is a 2007 study
entitled, ``The U.S. Economic Impacts of Climate Change and the
Costs of Inaction,'' and it is a review and assessment by the
Center for Integrative Environmental Research at the University
The third is a statement from the board of directors of the
American Association for the Advancement of Science, the
world's largest general scientific society, which serves 262
affiliated societies and academies of science and 10 million
The other is a statement by 18 scientific societies,
including the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, representing an assessment of the science.
The other one is a letter on behalf of 152 researchers from
universities, colleges, and research institutes across the
State of Michigan strongly urging members of the Michigan
congressional delegation to reject any measure that will block
or delay the EPA from protecting the people of Michigan from
air pollution and human-caused climate change, which endangers
the public agriculture and the environment and the economy.
The next is a letter on behalf of scientists and colleges
and universities across the State of Wisconsin urging the
Wisconsin congressional delegation to support strong Federal
policies for rapid and deep reductions in emissions of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases at least on par with the
reductions recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on
And the last report, Mr. Chairman, is the report that I
heard about today, along with the rest of the Members, is the
report that Dr. Somerville stated--and I don't know the full
name of the report. It was a military report, the CNA report.
Maybe Dr. Somerville can give us the formal name of the study.
Mr. Somerville. Yes, I am glad to do that. It is ``National
Security and the Threat of Climate Change,'' 2007, the CNA
Mr. Whitfield. We will be happy to do that.
And we will also include this document, ``More Than 700
International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming
Claims.'' Without objection, so ordered.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. Waxman. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Whitfield. Yes.
Mr. Waxman. First of all, I want to thank you for holding
this hearing. I think it was important for us to hear about the
science of this whole issue.
But I was just informed that you are planning to call a
meeting of our subcommittee to mark up the bill on Thursday,
and I want to make a request that you not do that. I have
extended an offer to you to work with you. I would hate to see
Congress take a position on declaring science, a science
conclusion that what the EPA determined was false, amending the
Clean Air Act and denying the EPA ability to do anything.
I would hope we could come up with a more nuanced and more
reasonable policy in light of what we are hearing from people
today and how this issue is of a great deal of significance to
many of us. So I would appeal to you to meet with us, no
preconditions, and see if we can come up with something better.
Mr. Whitfield. Well, Mr. Waxman, thank you very much for
those comments. And, you know, these are some issues that there
are significant disagreements on. And I know that when we have
this markup on Thursday there will be a lot of debate, a lot of
amendments, and we will air it all out at that time.
And I want to thank the witnesses for being here today very
much. We appreciate your testimony. This is a very--your
testimony is very important.
I would like to also remind Members that they have 10
business days to submit questions for the record.
And I ask that the witnesses all agree to respond as
quickly as you can to any questions that come your way. I know
Mr. Griffith has a lot.
And so, with that----
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Whitfield. Yes, sir.
Mr. Rush. Mr. Chairman, I would ask, if I could, I would
join with the ranking member of the full committee and ask that
this subcommittee delay the markup that is occurring on
You know, Mr. Chairman, it seems like we are trying to
force-feed a hoax on the American people. And I just think that
we should be more deliberative and that we should take our time
The ranking member has offered his sincere request that we
delay this and offered his participation and his eagerness to
work with you and the committee and the subcommittee on trying
to come up with some kind of modification of the bill that is
currently going to be under markup. And I would join him in
I just think it is important, Mr. Chairman, that we take
our time on this, because, as you can see, there is not any
agreement. As a matter of fact, most of the scientific
community basically take odds, enormous odds, with the opinion
of the majority on this particular issue.
Mr. Whitfield. Well, Mr. Rush, thank you very much. I
appreciate your and Mr. Waxman's comments. We certainly have a
lot of respect for both of you and your views.
As I said in the beginning of this hearing, we have had 24,
now 25 hearings on the science on this issue. And on this side
of the aisle, we feel like that EPA is really forcing us to act
quickly because Congress has addressed this issue three
separate times and said ``no'' each time.
So we will go by regular order. It will be in the
subcommittee, it will be in the full committee, and if it is
able to get out of there, it will be on the floor. So we will
have plenty of opportunity for debate, plenty of opportunity
for amendment. And we look forward to working with all of you.
So, with that, the committee is adjourned. Thank you very
[Whereupon, at 12:46 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows:]
Prepared statement of Hon. Fred Upton
As chair of Energy and Commerce, I see a country
that needs a whole lot more of both. Accomplishing this is the
core goal of this committee and is why I have introduced HR
910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011. This bill would
stop the EPA's global warming regulatory agenda, an agenda that
poses a serious threat to the economy and to job growth.
The issues here are not new, as Congress grappled
with cap and trade legislation in 2009. There were a lot of
hearings on global warming, including the science. Some were
held before this committee and more before the Select
Committee. At the end of that debate, I concluded that cap and
trade energy taxes would impose far more economic pain than
environmental gain, and I did not support the legislation.
For me, that decision is an even easier one when
it comes to EPA's attempt to impose the regulatory equivalent
of the failed climate cap-and-tax legislation.
This subcommittee has held two hearings on the
Energy Tax Prevention Act. Both focused on the economic
impacts. We learned about the jobs EPA's global warming
regulations are already costing manufacturers. It was the
number one concern for most of the manufacturers that
At both hearings, there was a concerted effort by
some to shift the emphasis away from the economics of EPA's
regulatory agenda, and discuss global warming science instead.
But these discussions miss the point of HR 910. The bill is not
a referendum on global warming science, it is a referendum on
the merits of EPA's regulations.
We already learned about the high costs of this
agenda last year, but we also gained insights into its
inconsequential environmental impacts. EPA's unilateral
measures would only shift emissions to other countries. In
other words, we would be outsourcing both jobs and emissions,
harming ourselves economically but accomplishing nothing
environmentally. No matter what your beliefs in the climate
science spectrum, you should have substantial doubts that EPA's
regulations make any sense.
Beyond the science, let us not lose sight of the
bigger issue, and that is whether EPA has offered a reasonable
response, and it most definitely has not. For that reason, we
need to enact HR 910.
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