SENATOR CHRISTOPHER S. BOND
ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS COMMITTEE
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE HEARING
OPENING STATEMENT

Mr. Chairman--Thank you for scheduling this hearing on the science and economics surrounding global climate change. I look toward to today's testimony.

Mr. Chairman, I am wanting to know what it is that we know on global climate change. It is my assumption that after this hearing I will have more questions than answers.

Just yesterday I read the opinion piece by Mr. Samuelson, Dancing Around a Dilemma, in the Washington Post. He made some interesting points.

He said, "The problem with global warming is that we don't know yet whether it represents a genuine national threat and, if so, how large."

In addition, "Economic growth requires more energy and fossil fuels provide 85 percent of all energy. Without a breakthrough in alternative energy-- nuclear, solar, something--no one knows how to lower emissions adequately without ultimately crushing the world economy."

And his ending, "Hardly anyone wants to admit candidly the uncertainties of global wanting. It's politically incorrect to question whether this is a serious problem that serious people ought to take seriously."

Mr. Chairman, that is just one of the more recent things I have read.

As Chairman of the Small Business Committee I have been hearing for several months from small businesses, who already have a tough time and have to weed through a morass of regulations, that they will face unsustainable costs. An opinion piece by Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business Survival Foundation, stated, "For America's small businesses, the treaty could be especially harsh. Energy-intensive operations such as bakeries, dry cleaners, auto repair shops, small manufacturers and, ironically, recycling businesses would be immediately hit."

Finally, I picked up the book, Facts not Fear; A Parents Guide to Teaching Children about the Environment, which contains information on subjects from endangered species to global warming. This book points out that back in 1989, "some scientists were predicting an increase in global temperatures of between 3.5 and 5 degrees Celsius perhaps as early as the middle of the twenty-first century. In 1990, an intergovernmental panel of scientists projected an increase of 3 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. But the latest estimate is that temperatures may increase by between I and 3 degrees Celsius by the year 2100."

Mr. Chairman, some consensus has been reached in the scientific community on some very basic points. First, we do burn large quantities of fossil fuels that add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere which may affect greenhouse gases. And two, the Earth's temperature has increased slightly over the last one hundred years. In my opinion, that is about all the consensus we have.

Mr. Chairman, I want to make one more reference to the book, Facts Not Fear. The book primarily deals with environmental education--but it contains a message that I think we must remember. `Environmental education should help students understand the complex living world and the natural laws or principles that govern it--this is, it should be grounded in science. Iii addition, it should be taught with an understanding of economics, which is simply the study of why people make the choices they do."

Common Sense. Reality Based Rational Thinking.

This is a point that all of us should remember and I hope is how we move forward on this issue.