Franconia, NH, June 4- 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, “Global Warming Mountaintop ‘Summit’: Economic Impacts on New England:”
“This is the first of many expected field hearings for the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. With the possible exception of Holy Hill in my southeastern Wisconsin district, I can’t imagine a more beautiful location for this committee to begin its road show than here at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, New Hampshire.
“The chairman has said this committee will travel to several locations in an effort to get a first-hand look at climate change, though I doubt we will go anywhere with a more scenic view than the one we have here.
“With these field hearings, we’ll get a closer look at how warming temperatures specifically affect some regions. Undoubtedly, there will be an emphasis on the problems caused by climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. But perhaps not every effect is all bad.
“For example, Timothy Perkins, the director of the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center, will tell us today that the maple syrup season is getting shorter. But he also notes that this shorter season hasn’t yet resulted in lower syrup harvests. Not only that, Dr. Perkins also points out that increased carbon dioxide concentrations also lead to higher sugar production in maples.
“It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that a warming climate will reduce the number of days one can ski or harvest sap from maple trees. There’s little doubt that these kinds of changes would also have negative effects on the New England economy and culture.
“But what will take imagination is developing solutions that will help protect the ski seasons and maple sap harvests without hurting the economy even more. For that, the solution will have to include ways to adapt to the changing climate.
“Dr. Perkins notes that the growth potential of maples in the northeast is limited because of marginal soil nutrition and long-term nitrogen saturation, among other reasons. We know that healthy forests help take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and smart forest management should be a component of any climate change policy. I believe healthy forest management policies that help encourage maple tree growth are more likely to have a positive affect on these trees than greenhouse gas regulations whose effects may never be seen.
“When considering climate change policy, one of the most important principles Republicans will insist upon is that the policy actually leads to measurable, tangible improvements to the environment.
“Republicans will insist that any policy puts an emphasis on advances in energy technology while also making sure that the policy doesn’t hurt the economy or cost us jobs.
“While this magnificent mountain provides a great vantage point to see the surrounding countryside, I’m not sure this location will help bring realistic solutions into view. For that, we need a mountain high enough to see to India and China, but I doubt that the summit of Mount Everest is one of the destinations that our committee has on our agenda.
“It may seem hard to believe that these far away nations could have an affect on this beautiful mountain half a world away, but the scientific consensus appears to tell us just that. Already, China is predicted to surpass the U.S. in carbon dioxide emissions this year.
“That’s why Republicans will also insist that any policy addressing greenhouse gas reductions also includes China and India. I do salute President Bush for announcing a policy that engages China and India. When talking about global warming, there is a lot to think about locally, but if we act, we must do so globally.”
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