Senator Daniel K. Inouye (submitted written testimony)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Boxer for initiating this Members hearing on this important issue. It is an excellent opportunity to b ng together the various Committees and Members with an interest in energy conservation, climate change, and the environment.
I also want to commend Senator Boxer for her leadership on these serious issues. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act of 2007, introduced by Senators Boxer and Sanders. I look forward to working on other legislation with my many colleagues who are committed to addressing the very real problem of global warming.
As Chairman of the Commerce Committee, I would like to explain the important role the Committee would play in developing policy responses to the many problems associated with global warming. With jurisdiction over rail, surface, and air transportation, we oversee the sector of our economy that is responsible for the largest proportion of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions. The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program, which sets miles per gallon (mpg) targets for the passenger automobile fleet.
The Committee has jurisdiction over science and technology matters directly relevant to climate change. For example, the Committee has primary jurisdiction over atmospheric monitoring and science, and over the principal federal agencies that conduct or fund climate change research – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Science Foundation. The Committee also developed and oversees the Global Change Research Act, which sets forth authority for federal interagency research on climate change, as well as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which is charged with guiding and integrating research and science policy across government agencies. Finally, the Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over engineering and technology research and development, as well as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which has a role to play in developing better measurements, standards, and technologies to help reduce the production of greenhouse gases.
Because of our broad jurisdiction, and the imminent need to address climate change related issues, my Commerce Committee colleagues and I anticipate an active agenda for the Committee in terms of both legislative initiatives and our hearing schedule. Let me briefly highlight some of the legislation and hearings that we anticipate working on during this session.
Last week, Senators Feinstein, Snowe, Durbin and I introduced the "Ten-in-Ten Fuel Economy Act of 2007," which would mandate that the passenger fleet, which would include light trucks weighing less than 10,000 lbs as well as cars, achieve a combined CAFE average of 35 mpg by 2019. I would like to thank Chairman Boxer for joining us in this important effort. This bill takes a real world approach to improving passenger fleet fuel economy and would be a significant positive step in cutting our national greenhouse gas emissions. By 2025, the provisions of this bill would reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 358 million metric tons, which is the equivalent of taking 52 million cars and trucks off our nation's roadways. In addition, assuming today's price for a gallon of gas, the Act would effectively reduce consumption of foreign oil by 2.1 million barrels a day by saving over 35 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
The Committee's agenda at the start of the 110th Congress will feature a number of hearings on climate change science and technology issues. In a few weeks, we will be holding a hearing on climate change science and scientific integrity to address federal scientists' ability to convey research findings and conclusions to policy makers and the pubic without being constrained by any political agenda. We also expect to hold hearings on the relationship between our oceans and climate change, including the impact of climate change on our coastal environments and our marine resources.
The Committee is also concerned with the declining federal budget for climate change research, and reports that the federal climate research program is not only stagnating, but also subject to cutbacks that would endanger the future health of research and monitoring. The Committee will be pursuing legislation to strengthen the federal climate research program to ensure support for the fundamental science needed to fully understand the impact of climate change.
The Committee may also pursue legislation aimed at promoting innovative energy technology, and directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology to improve measurement technologies and standards that are essential to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Given the growing number of uses of our oceans and the Commerce Committee's jurisdiction over the transportation and commerce aspects of the Outer Continental Shelf, coastal zone management, marine fisheries, and oceans, we hope to revisit some of the language in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to account for these other
1 look forward to working with all of you to improve the environment and decrease our dependence on foreign oil.