Sep 30 2000 post by Mike Neuman to yahoo Climate Concern Group is show n below
As posted earlier (forgot to put in subject title).
Sep 30 2000 post by Mike Neuman to yahoo Climate Concern Group is shown below:
--- Sep 30 2000 post at Climate Concern Group ---
Re: Senator Wellstone remarks, 10/17/97
This looks like it might be very good, even though it is dated, so I will share with the climate concern list. But I don't have the time to read it right now so I will forward it to my work email address where I can read it, hopefully Monday. This issue is more important than any one individual's job, by a long shot, including mine.
It's terrible the way Gore and Bush talk about energy needs without so
much as mentioning the need to conserve energy in driving and flying (for needless excursions, especially) that burn up HUGE quantities of fuel, so that we are forced to open up strategic oil reserves and the Arctic National Wildlife Area for more oil drilling.
I'm planning to boycott in front of the Democratic Headquarters office
here in Madison next week with the Nader forces (I may end up being one of them) on the date of the first televised debate. It is a crime that global warming is not singled out as an issue. It should be debated by itself, not lumped in with the energy and environmental issues.
Global warming is THE paramount issue of the coming century, and all it receives is "lip service" by the U.S. presidential candidates, IF THAT!
On Sat, 30 Sep 2000 00:46:08 -0500 npat1@... writes:
>REMARKS OF SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE
>TOWN MEETING ON GLOBAL WARMING
>SCIENCE MUSEUM OF MINNESOTA
>October 17, 1997
>THANKS AND WELCOME
>Thank you all for joining us today at the Science Museum to engage in
>what is an extremely timely dialogue on global climate change, and for
>giving me the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and concerns
>about this issue. In particular, I want to touch on the direction we
>are heading as a country in dealing with this problem, or perhaps more
>specifically, the lack of direction that we seem to be seeing as we
>approach the Kyoto Summit this December.
>I want to thank my fellow panelists, Dr. Margaret Davis and Dr. Kevin
>Gurney for their very informative discussion about the science of
>climate change and the impacts on our planet and on Minnesota. Also
>thanks to Bob Kelly from Enron for letting us know that there are
>companies who recognize the problem of global warming and industry's
>profitable role in fighting the problem. And of course, Lyle Wray from
>the Citizens League for moderating this meeting.
>I also should thank the sponsors of this event, a list almost too long
>to recite --Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy, the American
>Association of Retired Persons, the Minnesota Environmental
>Partnership, the League of Women Voters of Minnesota, and, certainly,
>the Science Museum of Minnesota -- whom we should all applaud for
>their commitment to educating the citizens of Minnesota about this
>critical and difficult issue facing us today.
>We are gathered today to confront a challenge unique in human history:
>global warming. It is unique because we are having to make important
>decisions without a visible crisis. In the 1970s, long gas lines and
>two oil price shocks and the taking of hostages by a revolutionary mob
>in Iran spurred the nation to reduce its reliance on oil. In the 1950s
>and 1960s the dark clouds of particulates and smog that smothered
>urban areas moved us to clean up the air.
>Today we are faced with a potentially greater threat, but it is not
>yet a visible threat. We are talking about something that is going to
>happen, something that will largely affect our children and their
>children. What will we do? That is the challenge not only to us here
>in Minnesota or to Americans but to the human race.
>But this challenge is also about leadership and commitments: about
>whether we will honor the commitments we have made and about whether
>our nation's political leaders have the will and foresight to take
>bold action on behalf of future generations. For the 1992 Earth
>Summit, President Bush made a commitment to return greenhouse gas
>emissions to 1990 levels by 2000, yet we have not lived up to that
>commitment so far. We need to honor the commitments we have made. We
>must honor our commitments and move forward aggressively in the early
>part of the new millennium to significantly reduce greenhouse gas
>Now, the White House appears to be moving further away from our past
>commitments. The options they seem to be considering are, at best,
>disappointing. It will be a profound disappointment if the President
>does not come back from the Kyoto Summit in December with a binding
>agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels early
>in the next century. This is what leadership calls for in the face of
>the challenge. We must show leadership, as the most powerful country
>in the world, and as the largest contributor to global warming.
>This challenge can bring out our best selves. Our country can meet the
>challenge. We may continue to engage in a vigorous debate over the
>extent and the timing of climate change and its impacts, or over the
>best policy mechanisms for dealing with it, but I believe we have
>reached a point where unduly delaying action on reducing greenhouse
>gas emissions is foolhardy and tantamount to the betrayal of our
>future generations. We alone can envision and shape the future. And
>now, at the dawn of the 21st century, our capabilities to shape that
>future are being tested as we face the specter of global warming and
>For more than a decade the scientific community has investigated this
>issue. Initially its reports called for more research, better modeling
>techniques, more data. But in December 1995 the Intergovernmental
>Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of more than 2000 scientists
>from more than 100 countries, concluded that there was "a discernible
>human impact on global climate." This June, more than 2000 U.S.
>scientists, including three Nobel Laureates, signed the Scientists
>Statement on Global Climate Disruption which reads, in part, the
>"accumulation of greenhouse gases commits the earth irreversibly to
>further global climatic change and consequent ecological, economic and
>social disruption . . ."
>We know that greenhouse gases are building up. We know that human
>activities are contributing to that buildup. And we know that this
>will affect the climate. What we don't know is what the precise
>effects will be and when they will occur. Scientists predict more
>weather instability in the future--more severe droughts, more severe
>floods, more severe snowfalls. More stretches of deadly hot days and
>nights like those that led to the deaths of hundreds of people in
>Chicago in the summer of 1995. More floods like those that devastated
>the Red River Valley here in Minnesota and the Dakotas earlier this
>Scientists also predict that as the climate warms, tropical diseases
>will move further north. Indeed, when McAllen, Texas suffered an
>outbreak of dengue fever, the Houston Chronicle headline read,
>"Warning: Climate Invites Dengue Fever to Texas." Since 1987,
>outbreaks of encephalitis have occurred in Arizona, California,
>Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi and Texas.
>I think Minnesotans are uniquely qualified to understand climate
>change and its potentially devastating impacts on our state and the
>world. And not just because Minnesota's weather is so frequently a
>national news story. We are blessed with one of the most beautiful
>states in the country, and Minnesotans, more than people in most
>states, relate closely to the land around us, because we farm, hunt,
>fish, hike, bike, paddle, log, boat, camp, and otherwise enjoy an
>amazing natural bounty. Minnesotans have an almost mystical attachment
>to the land that goes back to before this state's settlement by
>Europeans yet can still be heard today in the passionate debates over
>More concretely, I also know how much impact weather, and its dramatic
>changes, can have on people's lives. All of us remember how, just a
>few short months ago, the western part of our state and the Dakotas
>faced a devastating cycle of record snowfall and flood. While we moved
>aggressively to deal with the suffering and dislocation that took
>place there, the strong people of the Red River Valley will never be
>the same after living through this, and while they may triumph over
>natural disaster, their triumph comes at a high cost indeed.
>The point of mentioning the blizzards and floods of this year is not
>to argue that they were a result of global warming, although I think a
>strong case can be made that climate change is linked to an increase
>in extreme weather events worldwide, but to point out the obvious --
>that climate and all our lives are inevitably linked and that changes
>in our weather can be devastating. What will become of our forests if
>it becomes too dry and warm for some trees to grow? What if our famous
>lakes begin to recede? What if climate change leads to more
>destructive snows, floods, and tornadoes?
>I think we can all picture how our lives, and how our Minnesota way of
>life, could be changed. Whether Minnesota can adapt to particular
>aspects of climate change is not really the point -- I know some like
>to joke about the desirability of a little more warmer weather up
>here. The point is that even if some uncertainty exists about the
>timing and extent of climate change impacts, if we don't take action
>today, Minnesota may not be the same Minnesota in the future. And
>there is reason enough to believe that the consequences of global
>warming will be even greater elsewhere in this country and around the
>When the weight of mainstream scientific opinion indicates that
>climate change will happen, and indicates that when it does, we'll
>face an array of disasters ranging from sea level rise to increases in
>tropical diseases, from destruction of agricultural lands to ecosystem
>extinction, how can we not push for action? As we move towards what
>will hopefully be the signing of a meaningful treaty in Kyoto this
>December, that will commit this country to aggressive action, I think
>Minnesotans can understand what is at stake.
>What will we do? Increasingly, scientists and non-scientists alike are
>urging us to take action now even when we are not absolutely certain
>about the impacts of climate change. To the World Health Organization,
>the serious health threats associated with global warming means that a
>"wait-and-see approach would be imprudent at best and nonsensical at
>worst." John Browne, the Chief Executive Officer of British Petroleum,
>in a speech at Stanford University this past May, declared, "the time
>to consider the policy dimensions of climate change is not when the
>link between greenhouse gases and climate change is conclusively
>proven . . . but when the possibility cannot be discounted and is
>taken seriously by the society of which we are a part. We in BP have
>reached that point . . ."
>And we might expect one of the first industries to grasp the
>implications of climate disruption would be the insurance industry and
>especially that part of the insurance industry that insures against
>catastrophic losses. And that indeed is occurring. In September 1994,
>the German insurance giant Munich Re said "the loss trend since 1960 .
>. . clearly shows the dramatic increase in catastrophic losses in the
>last few years . . ."
>Climate change is an immense challenge that will test all our
>institutions and our resources. But, like all challenges our country
>has faced, this challenge is also an incentive -- an incentive for us
>as a nation to move in a new direction towards a more sustainable
>future. And when I say sustainable future, I mean a future that is
>both environmentally as well as economically sustainable.
>I might also add that there is another aspect of sustainability that
>must be implicit in our efforts: political sustainability. Politics is
>the art of the possible, and it is possible for us to halt global
>warming and move our country into a new and prosperous era at the same
>time. Not to make this sound simple or claim that we have all the
>answers, but we need to pursue policies that make sense to Americans,
>and to be clear about what we think is necessary as well as possible.
>Part of the way we get to that point is through town meetings such as
>this, where the effort is made to learn from, educate, and involve
>citizens in this complicated issue, in a way that's meaningful.
>I know Minnesotans can understand global warming and the action
>needed, and I think other Americans can as well. When Americans know
>the score, they rise to the occasion with courage, ingenuity, and
>compassion. If we allow the opponents of meaningful action to carry
>the day with multi-million dollar ad campaigns, Americans will not
>know the score. So let me lay out what, in my view, we should do.
>We have a chance, through the international negotiations on climate
>change, to try to stop global warming, to try to reverse the damage we
>have already done, but our goal should not simply be the immense task
>of stabilizing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but of finally
>recognizing the clear links between our environment and our economy,
>and the consequences of those links on our national security, our
>quality of life, and our grandchildren's future. From recognizing the
>true costs of our actions to promoting industries that will push
>economic growth while producing environmental benefits, climate change
>offers the opportunity to take a fresh look at where we are heading as
>Let's be clear: for too long, we have allowed our economy to remain
>hostage to oil, much of it imported. We should all recognize that our
>addiction to fossil fuels is not sustainable. We fight wars in part
>over oil, which we then use to pollute our skies, while providing tax
>breaks to large oil companies. Petroleum has helped us to achieve a
>very high standard of living in the western world, and no matter what
>action is taken on climate change, oil will continue to be a major
>part of our economy. But climate change is giving us the impetus to
>reassess our energy future and how we choose to restructure our
>oil-based economy. Oil is the central nervous system of the western
>world's economy, and we have been in need of surgery for years now
>--climate change has made this condition acute as well as terminal.
>I am saddened though that the debate we are having on climate has come
>down to the old sad refrain that we must sacrifice jobs -- the
>well-being of working Americans -- to have a clean environment. What
>gets lost in this tired argument is that the consequences of global
>warming are not just catastrophic for the environment but potentially
>catastrophic for our economy. Climate change is going to put
>extraordinary pressures on the economy, such as disruption of
>agriculture and destruction of property, so by delaying action we are
>only adding to the economic burden our grandchildren will face.
>Today in Washington we are engaged in a war of computer models about
>the economic impact of trying to halt our contributions to global
>warming. I believe some models may be better than others, of course,
>but overall I agree with the assessment of Daniel Lashof of the
>Natural Resources Defense Council who said, "If you torture your
>economic models long enough, they will confess to anything."
>So let's not forget that economic models are slippery devices, and
>that some industries have a long history of overestimating the costs
>of reducing or preventing pollution. What is certainly true is that if
>we are going to call for aggressive action on climate, we have to be
>prepared for an economic transition that takes into account the need
>to make sure that investment and jobs flow into more efficient
>industries. That does not mean I see an end to coal mines or oil
>refineries. These industries can become more efficient and cleaner,
>and we must be committed to working with those industries and
>particularly the workers in those industries to enable a transition.
>I think it is wrongheaded and short sighted that the debate today
>focuses on the economic costs of reducing global warming. We need to
>also talk about the economic benefits of taking action on climate
>change. When we began to deal with the visible crisis of oil
>disruptions in the 1970s, solar and wind energy were a distant dream
>of visionaries and backyard inventors. The energy efficiency industry
>had yet to be born. Economists were convinced that energy use and
>economic growth were so entwined that one was impossible without the
>Yet, from 1975 to 1994 the average gas mileage of U.S. autos improved
>by 50 percent. The U.S. chemical industry reduced its energy use per
>unit of output by 40 percent. The U.S. steel industry, once one of the
>world's most energy inefficient, is now one of the world's most
>We rose to the challenge then when faced with a visible crisis and
>rising prices. Can we do it again without long gas lines and with
>stable prices? I say we can. Indeed, while many see only a future of
>constraints, I see a future with opportunities.
>After all, what will it take to stop overloading Mother Nature? Higher
>efficiency and more reliance on cleaner fuels. And what does that lead
>to? Manufacturing enterprises with the lowest operating costs in the
>world. Households that generate electricity from rooftop solar arrays.
>Farmers who harvest an additional "crop" -- the winds that blow over
>their fields. City streets inhabited by quiet and pollution-free
>That is a future the American people surely can rally behind.
>There are naysayers in the land who say that we can't afford to move
>too fast toward achieving this vision. I say to them, what if we do
>too much too soon? What if our homes become too quiet and comfortable?
>What if we have too many non-polluting cars on the road? What if we
>have too many rooftop solar power plants?
>President Clinton talks of a bridge to the 21st century. It is a
>metaphor that has been much used and abused. But to me, the way we
>respond to the challenge of global warming may indeed be the bridge to
>the 21st century. To a century in which electronic dissemination of
>information starts to displace phyical travel, and mass transit
>systems are established in densely populated communities, and
>renewable, homegrown fuels are used to generate power, and electric
>and hybrid and ethanol cars inhabit our roads.
>What will it cost to move in this direction? The Department of Energy
>recently completed an intensive study on the subject and concluded
>that we could return to 1990 emission levels by the year 2010 at no
>net cost to the economy. We know what is possible. A 20 cubic foot
>refrigerator can be manufactured that provides all the conveniences a
>customer wants yet consumes no more electricity than a 40 watt light
>blub. And we can produce a 40 watt light bulb that consumes 90 percent
>less electricity than the typical light bulb sold today. Lighting
>accounts for 23 percent of all US electrical energy use and the
>Department of Energy thinks that we can cut our consumption in half by
>2020. DOE thinks that we can expand our wind energy capacity
>thirtyfold in the next 13 years. Is that inconceivable? Not at all.
>Consider that the European Wind Association in 1990 set a goal of
>having 4000 MW of wind power capacity, more than twice as much as the
>U.S. has now, by the year 2000. And by 1997 it already had achieved
>that goal and now has set a goal almost as large as that which DOE
>envisions by the year 2010.
>In my view, in terms of economic competition, in the long term, the
>greenest country will win. New technologies will drive economic
>growth, and citizens in those countries with the cleanest, most
>efficient technologies will have a better quality of life and have a
>better standard of living. There's just one catch: the environmental
>degradation caused by one country, or a group of countries will harm
>another. This is why we need a treaty -- a treaty that commits the
>U.S. to binding emission targets and reductions.
>The United States is by far the most profligate of the world's users
>of energy. With 4 percent of the world's population we generate about
>20 percent of its greenhouse gases. The average American uses 12 times
>as much energy as the average Chinese and 30 times more than the
>average Indian, and more than twice as much as the average Swiss or
>Japanese. I don't think these disparities should make us feel guilty.
>But they should engender in us a moral responsibility to be the
>leaders on this issue.
>We need bold leadership and political courage from this Administration
>as we reach the home stretch of international climate negotiations. We
>hear whispered discussion from within the Administration that the
>public is not yet ready for action, that the costs are too high to do
>anything, and that we should only stabilize emissions, putting off any
>reductions long into the next century when it might be too late to
>have a hope of reversing global warming. I believe the Kyoto treaty
>may very well be the lasting legacy of this Administration. Although I
>am against governing by polls, it's clear even the polls are starting
>to show that Americans want action. The Administration must show
>vision and leadership.
>Americans want to see leadership on this issue and the White House has
>the opportunity to show visionary leadership by signing a treaty that
>includes aggressive emissions targets for the U.S. and for other
>industrialized countries. We must meet our commitments, and we must
>make new commitments to aggressively begin reducing emissions. It is
>not enough to stabilize emissions, we must reduce emissions below 1990
>levels by the first decade of the next century and continue those
>reductions throughout the century.
>We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. We need to commit
>ourselves to stringent, short term goals at Kyoto and fashion policy
>tools that channel our scientific ingenuity and entrepreneurial
>energies in the right direction.
>As Janet Yellen, chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers
>says, "if we do things dumb, it could cost a lot, but if we do it
>smart, it . . . could produce net benefits in the long run."
>The gloom and doomers tell us that if we aggressively tackle the
>problem of global warming that we will lose jobs and shutter
>industries. On the contrary, I think we will gain jobs and nurture the
>industries of the 21st century. If we were to achieve the goal set by
>the Department of Energy for wind energy alone, we would potentially
>create over 150,000 new jobs. If we adopt policies that burden a
>specific community or industry, we should develop policy tools that
>ameliorate that burden. Such tools are readily available. Yet we
>should also keep in mind that those industries that are leading the
>fight against doing anything about global warming are also industries
>that are not creating new jobs. Today we import a majority of our oil
>while, increasingly, oil refineries and petrochemical plants are
>locating out of the United States.
>Our country can rise to this challenge -- we've done it before in the
>face of great obstacles.
>We cannot defer action -- to the extent we err it should be on the
>side of action and the protection of our environment and human health.
>We have to honor our commitments and our responsibility to future
>generations -- let's take that moral responsibility seriously and
>commit to aggressive action now.
>I know there are some in Minnesota who think that a little global
>warming would be just fine. But they may have second thoughts if the
>forests of the Boundary Water and the state's wetlands begin to
>disappear, or when floods like those that occurred earlier this year
>become five year occurrences rather than 100 year events.
>There is no need to wring our hands about the circumstances in which
>we find ourselves. The bottom line is that we have the capacity to
>solve this problem, that in solving it we will move toward an economy
>and a society that most Americans devoutly wish for, and that there is
>substantial evidence that we can do so at a low short term cost and
>with substantial long term benefits. We need to act now. And we need
>the kind of leadership that won't wait for the American people to
>march on Washington before we agree to do what is right