Washington, D.C., June 25, 2008 - U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, made the following statement during today’s hearing titled, “National Security Implications of Global Climate Change:”
“This is the third hearing on the national security implications of climate change that I’ve attended since this Congress began. It was the topic of the select committee’s first ever hearing in April 2007, as well as a hearing in the science committee last September.
“Reading through the testimony, it doesn’t seem like there’s much new information to assess. Much of the information today is based on last year’s U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. The conclusions of the IPCC have been studied in great detail by this Congress and warrant further consideration in the next Congress. However, I think the American people want Congress today to focus on how to reduce gas and energy prices, improve energy security and increase domestic energy supplies.
“The National Intelligence Assessment (NIA) appears to give a good overview of climate change projections, how they might affect certain regions and nations, and how this will all affect the United States. The NIA constructs these projections out to 2030, which is a far shorter time frame than many of the projections in the IPCC reports. Much of the worst-case scenarios projected by the IPCC are in the later half of the century.
“The national security implications of climate change will cause some concerns, but so do the implications of climate change policies that stand to reduce the availability of cheap, reliable energy sources around the world.
“Many of the cases detailed in the NIA will have to be dealt with through adaptive measures. And as one of our witnesses will point out today, much of the world is not only poor, but also energy poor, which makes adaptation much more difficult. The testimony of Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute shows that an estimated 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity at all. Power plants, however fueled, would immeasurably improve these people’s lives. Where do they fit in the climate change picture?
“The testimony of Lee Lane, resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, summarizes the complexity of this issue. Mr. Lane notes that the lens of national security may not be the best way to view the issues associated with global warming. Climate change policy will require trade offs that are unavoidable, including a weakened U.S. economy that could affect how this country handles conflicts. And Mr. Lane notes that if China and India do not participate in efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, worldwide efforts to reduce carbon dioxide concentrations will fail. I agree. And yet, efforts to force China and India into compliance may only worsen global conflicts.
“Mr. Lane is also right to point out that the only way to achieve these greenhouse gas reductions is through development of new technology and that in the near-term, focus should be on further developing technologies like nuclear, clean coal, solar, wind and biomass. These technologies have the potential to produce clear, tangible improvements to the environment, which must be a key part of any climate change policy.
“These technologies can also help bolster the energy security of the United States, which should be a top priority of the Democratic leadership in Congress. There is perhaps no action that could better help the energy security of the U.S. than providing access to domestic oil and gas supplies. However, instead of taking this crucial action, Congress today will again talk about the threats of global warming, as opposed to the real threats of high energy prices and economic security.”
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