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Perspectives on Climate Change

Date: 
Wednesday, March 21, 2007 - 12:00am
Location: 
Washington, DC
Joint Hearing with the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce

Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon

It is both my pleasure and a great privilege this morning to welcome the Honorable Albert Gore, Jr., former Vice President of the United States to this hearing. Vice President Gore has devoted almost 30 years to the subject of global warming and is here today to offer his perspective on this important issue.

As a Member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Gore invited his former college professor, Dr. Roger Revelle, to testify before the Committee on Science and Technology about the potential consequences of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

During his tenure in the Senate and during his 1987 campaign for the Presidency he continued to talk about the importance of dealing with global environmental issues such as ozone depletion and climate change.

Climate change is not the type of issue that politicians usually raise as a centerpiece of their message. As former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill used to say: “All politics is local.” But, Mr. Gore took on the challenge of convincing people that a global environmental issue like climate change is something they should be concerned about.

Through his dedication and conviction about the importance of this issue he has met the challenge of turning a global issue into a local concern. The actions being taken by cities and states across the country to begin to address climate change are proof of his success.

Most recently through his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, he has brought the science and the evidence of climate change together to make a compelling case that the consequences of climate change will alter global average conditions in ways that will impact our communities.

I have known Al Gore and his wife Tipper for years. They are deeply committed to their family and to this country. These commitments continue to provide them with the energy and drive to keep this issue moving forward. We all want to leave our children a world filled with all the promise and wonder that we inherited from our parents and grandparents. We have no choice but to begin to act in a way that will secure that inheritance for our children.

Addressing climate change will not be easy. This problem arose over a long period of time as an unintended consequence of our use of fossil fuels to power our economy and improve our quality of life. However, now that we know the problem is real we must begin to address this issue. We owe our children and grandchildren a clean, healthy environment.

Vice President Gore has provided us with clear picture of the problem and a number of concrete ideas for solving it. Thank you, Al for your service to the nation and for your dedication and persistence on this important issue.


Opening Statement By Chairman Nick Lampson (Energy and Environment)

This morning we welcome back to the Congress the Honorable Al Gore, the former Vice President of the United States.

Vice President Gore has been a persistent and passionate advocate for environmental issues. As a Member of the House of Representatives he held the first Congressional hearings on what was then a topic that was virtually unknown outside of the scientific community – global warming.

When his book, Earth in the Balance, was published in 1992 it laid out a compelling case for environmental protection and challenged all of us to work to build a more sustainable society. Through his documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, Mr. Gore has reached millions of Americans and has convinced many that global warming is not just a theory put forward by a few scientists, but a reality that we can see the effects of today and that will continue to affect the world into the future.

A number of the predictions for changes in the climate have serious implications for Texas. Increasing hurricane intensity; longer more severe droughts; and sea level rise would all have very serious consequences for the citizens of my state and for our economy.

Even if we did not face the impacts of a changing climate, the depletion of our oil and gas reserves and our reliance on foreign oil and gas supplies presents us with a national security issue that we must address.

Altering our pattern of energy use presents us with a very difficult challenge. However, if we do not begin to find alternative energy sources and to become more energy efficient we face serious consequences for our environment and our economy.

We are the most innovative and powerful economy in the world. We have led the world through many crises over the last 60 years. I believe we can address this challenge if we put the creative energy of our society to work to developing and deploying new technologies that are cleaner and more energy efficient.

I am very pleased to have the former Vice President with us today.

Thank you, Vice President Gore, for your important work on this issue.

Witnesses

Panel 1

1 - Hon. Al Gore
Former Vice President of the United States Nobel Laureate for Peace (2007) Nobel Laureate for Peace (2007)
Download the Witness Testimony


Panel 2

1 - Bjørn Lomborg
Adjunct Professor and Director, Copenhagen Consensus Center Copenhagen Business School Director, Copenhagen Consensus Center Copenhagen Business School
Download the Witness Testimony

Witness Panels
Panel 1
Mr. Gore testifies before Subcommittees
Former Vice President Gore
Panel 2
Dr. Lomborg testifies before Subcommittees
Dr. Lomborg
For information on the witnesses, use the links at left
110th Congress