Frank R. Lautenberg


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



I want to first thank Senator Jeffords for his service to Vermont and to our nation.  He has worked for safer, smarter transportation, better health care options, and to protect our environment.  He has served with distinction.  He will be missed in this Committee and the Senate.


Mr. Chairman, now I want to thank you for providing us an opportunity today to prove to you that global warming is not a hoax—it is real.  I saw a movie recently called Hoot.  It’s a story about a boy and his friends who save a group of owls from losing their habitat.  I liked Hoot because it tells the truth: the way we behave affects the world.  For the last six years, the way the Bush administration has behaved towards the environment has negatively affected our world.  Joined by Exxon, the American Petroleum Institute, and others, the administration has misled Americans about the threats global warming poses to our communities, our country, and the continents.


The reason people are making movies and writing books focusing on the environment is because major changes in our environment—like global warming—are happening, and people want to know the truth.  The truth is that global warming is no hoax.  There is no conspiracy.  What you hear, what you read, what you see, is reality.  Global warming is melting our glaciers, leading to record temperatures, changing our weather, and changing the conditions of our oceans.  The oil companies and other polluters have borrowed a page from the tobacco industry’s playbook: creating fake science in order to undermine real science.

But it’s time to focus on an inconvenient truth: global warming is real, caused by man, and the Bush administration has spent six years avoiding real action.  The administration has declined to put mandatory caps on carbon emissions, opposed a significant improvement of CAFE standards, and refused to let California set tailpipe emissions standards on carbon dioxide for their cards.  In the past year alone, politicians—not scientists—have kept NOAA’s and NASA’s experts from discussing and releasing their work on global warming.  And when scientists can’t tell the public what they’ve learned, then we will have to rely on the media to uncover the truth.


The power of science is that it’s beholden to no one: it is not Democratic or Republican.  I am hopeful that, in the aftermath of November’s elections, and with a new Congress, America ’s scientists will be able to tell their own story—and we can use their expert advice and help to reduce global warming.


Thank you, Mr. Chairman.