Statement of Senator Max Baucus
Environment and Public Works Committee
July 10, 1997

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased that you have scheduled this series of hearings on global climate change. It is a serious issue. One that generated a considerable concern a few years ago.

That concern culminated in the Rio Conference in 1992 and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Since then, however, there has been some skepticism and confusion about whether manmade climate change really exists. And if it does, whether the consequences are trivial or serious.

As a result, I think the public has become less certain that the threat is real and that we are on the right course to counter it.

So as the U.S. and other countries prepare to head to Kyoto, Japan, later this year to decide what the next steps should be, it is appropriate for us to review the entire issue.

We should examine the scientific basis for our climate change program. Explore the consequences of action, or inaction. And review the steps we might take to combat this threat.

Today's hearing will focus on the scientific issues surrounding climate change. A lot of research has taken place since the Senate ratified the Framework Convention in 1992. Additional data has been collected. And new tools and techniques have been developed to analyze it.

Much of the new information appears to further substantiate the seriousness of the threat we face. So I look forward to reviewing this work with our distinguished witnesses.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.