Mark Udall: Administration's Climate Research Plan Inadequate
(Washington DC) - Congressman Mark Udall (D-CO) said that the Climate Change Strategic Plan (CCSP) released today is an indication of the Bush Administration's avoidance of the real problems presented by global change. "The research proposed by the Strategic Plan is fine as far as it goes. But the Plan doesn't reflect a broad consultative process among non-scientists and it doesn't help us to reduce our vulnerability to present and future global changes," said Udall.
The CCSP aims to reduce uncertainty in projections of how the Earth's climate may change in the future through large Federal expenditures for basic climatic research. "Basic research alone isn't enough," Udall noted. "Going back to the drawing board is only a stalling tactic. While the Administration plays for time, we are becoming increasingly vulnerable to accelerated impacts of climate changes. We must begin to offer answers to our farmers, water managers, emergency planners, energy producers and other key constituencies who are being affected by a changing climate." Udall also pointed out that the plan focuses almost exclusively on climate while ignoring the effects of other global trends such as urbanization, reduced water supplies, and air and water quality degradation that have significant impacts on human health and the global economy.
In April of this year, Udall introduced H.R. 1578, the Global Change Research and Data Management Act, a bill designed to tie global change research more closely to the needs of key constituencies. The bill would require Federal officials, in developing the research plan, to consult closely with the user community and with the National Governors Association to enhance the practical uses and policy relevance of global change research. The bill was defeated in a party-line vote in the House Science Committee on May 1, 2003. "I am not surprised at the Administration's opposition to my bill, but I was disappointed that my Republican colleagues in the Congress failed to see the wisdom of demanding that the billions of dollars of research investment be more targeted to reducing our vulnerability to the inevitable environmental changes that are coming."
"Considering its history on climate change, the Bush Administration's current push for more basic research is suspect. This is the same Administration that has rejected U.S. involvement in the Kyoto process and edited honest assessment of climate change from a variety of government reports. We must fund research, but we must also be certain that it is more than academic - it must also be useful in the real world," said Udall.