Vitter Summary Statement for Subcommittee Hearing on Farming, Fishing, Forestry & Hunting
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Green Jobs “Farming, Fishing, Forestry and Hunting in an Era of Changing Climate”
June 3, 2014
Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding today's hearing that focuses on the impacts of our ever-changing climate. I have encouraged this Committee to take a precise look at the purported impacts of carbon dioxide (CO2) on climate and to compare those to the empirical evidence. Rather than speaking in hyperbole, I think it is important for members of the Senate and members of the media to speak in a precise, direct manner.
Unfortunately, precise dialogue is not always the case. Time and again, we have heard outlandish and often conflicting claims about the devastating impacts of America's reliance on affordable energy. Whether we look at the 1974 Time Magazine article that suggested we were about to enter another ice age, or an article from last week in the same publication that suggested global warming could "sink the Statute of Liberty," or if we simply review the many extreme claims of White House Science Advisor John Holdren, it is no longer appropriate to sound the alarm on predictions that are not supported by empirical evidence or a sound scientific process.
Yesterday, the President announced sweeping power plant regulations that will set America on a path similar to that of Europe's. Should these rules be enacted, we are looking at a future of increased energy prices, heavy-handed government regulation, deteriorating competitiveness, and economic decline. Currently, many European countries are desperately seeking a way out of the path that the President has proposed, which makes me question why the President is aggressively pursuing a failed energy policy for America.
We all know that the climate changes. It has been changing since the beginning of time. The question that needs to be asked, and answered precisely and honestly, is what is the impact of human activity on climate, and what are the appropriate actions, if any, that should be implemented.
Today's hearing asks the Committee to examine the impacts of climate change on farming, fishing, forestry, and hunting. I think the public would be well served to pay close attention to the testimony of Dr. David Legates, as he will testify to the pressure in the scientific community to agree without question to a one-sided view that supplants the scientific process with the notion of consensus. Additionally, Dr. David South will discuss the impact of forest management policies on forest fires. His testimony leads to a logical conclusion, which is that active forest management allows for the harvest of overgrown forests, which would lessen the number and severity of forest fires, and that the claimed relation of forest fires to CO2 emissions is dubious at best. Counting the benefits of sound forest management is typically lost on those who are pushing an anti-fossil fuel agenda in favor of regulatory cap-and-trade.
I would ask that a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled "The Myth of the Climate Change ‘97%'" be entered into the record. The article underscores the fact that claims of scientific consensus over climate change are not as clear cut as anti-fossil fuel advocates would have you believe. Additionally, I would like to enter Dr. Richard Tol's testimony from last week's House Science Committee hearing. Dr. Tol, one of the IPCC's most senior and expert reviewers, left the IPCC earlier this year over concern with the lack of precision and forthrightness in the IPCC process. He also balks at the 97% myth. I also ask that these additional research and articles provided by our Republican witnesses be submitted for the record.
We are at a critical stage in the United States as we determine what type of energy policy we will have. What the President is attempting to do will unilaterally shift the country toward a policy that guarantees increased energy prices and a less competitive economy. I think that is the wrong path, and I hope this hearing will highlight the need for a more precise accounting of the science.