OPENING STATEMENT
Senator Jim Inhofe
Environment and Public Works Committee
Hearing on Global Climate Change
Thursday July 17, 1997

Thank you Mr. Chairman, I am glad you called today's hearing, it is important to hear from the Administration on this issue. Under Secretary Wirth has testified in many Congressional hearings over the last few years, and unfortunately he raises more questions than he answers, but I hope today will be different.

Last week at our science hearing on this issue, a number of points were made and I personally learned a great deal. I would like to summarize a few key observations from the hearing:

1) While there is a large body of scientific research there is much controversy and disagreement and the scientific facts are being misrepresented by the Administration and the press.

2) We don't know how much human activity has influenced the climate. One scientist said 6%.

3) If you look at satellite data, we are not sure if there has been any global warming.

4) Even if we eliminate all manmade emissions, it may not have a noticeable impact on the environment, and the Treaty may only eliminate emissions here in the U.S., not the entire world.

5) When asked, all five witnesses stated that we would not have the uncertainties understood by this December, when the Administration plans on making a decision regarding the Treaty.

I have read over the hearing records in the various Congressional Committees over the last few years and I am very disturbed by the way the Administration makes promises to Congress and then immediately ignores them in international meetings. I would like to offer a few examples.

In March 1995, in a House Commerce Hearing Congressmen Dingell and Schaefer raised concerns that new targets may not apply to all countries, on behalf on the Administration, Mr. Rafe Pomerance a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department said "Our goal, Mr. Chairman, is that all parties participate in this next round of negotiations. We want to see that all governments participate and help define the post-2000 regime."

One month later the Administration signed onto the "Berlin Mandate" to review the commitments made to reduce the greenhouse gases and adopt targets for further reductions. The conference differentiated between developed and developing nations. This was clearly at odds with Congressmen Dingell and Schaefer's concerns and the Administration's assurances.

In June 1996, before a hearing, Mr. Pomerance stated, "Are we going to agree to a legally binding instrument in Geneva? No way." One month later in Geneva, Under Secretary Wirth announced that the U.S. supported a legally binding emissions target.

In September 1996 before the Commerce Committee, Assistant Secretary of State Eileen Claussen told Congressman Dingell that the United States would not be bound before we have completed the economic analysis and assessments. We learned this week that the Administrations efforts to analyze the economic effects has failed. The models they used did not work, and we will not understand the effect on our nation's economy before December.

I have to conclude based on the Hearing records that the performance of this Administration is somewhere between "misleading" and downright "untruthfulness". I hope today's witnesses can change this record, but I will have to reserve judgment to see if today's promises will be fulfilled.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.