Letter to President Bush
US Senators Hagel, Craig, Helms and Roberts
WASHINGTON, DC 20510
6 March 2001
President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We write to seek clarification of your Administration's policy
on climate change.
We are aware that your Administration has recently begun a
formal interagency review of climate change policies. Yet on Tuesday,
February 27, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine
Todd Whitman testified on this subject before the Subcommittee
on Superfund, Waste Control, and Risk Assessment of the Senate
Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Administrator Whitman stated at this hearing that the Administration
would seek to make the Kyoto Protocol workable. She went on to
advocate the regulation of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air
Act. She called for "putting [carbon dioxide] into the process
and recognizing that we have to deal with it, which would be to
put a cap of some sort, a target anyway."
The United States Senate is on record regarding the Kyoto Protocol.
In July 1997, the Senate voted 95-0 for S. Res. 98, a resolution
that called on the President not to sign any climate change treaty
that would: 1) cause serious harm to the U.S. economy, or 2) that
did not include all countries of the world. The Kyoto Protocol
does not meet either condition. President Clinton, in signing
the Kyoto Protocol in November 1998, chose to ignore the unanimous
advice of the Senate on these minimum conditions for a ratifiable
climate change treaty.
In a CNN interview Monday February 26, Administrator Whitman
stated that during the campaign you were "very clear that
the science is good on global warming." We note that in the
October 11, 2000 Presidential debate you acknowledged that "global
warming needs to be taken very seriously," a sentiment with
which we agree. However, you then expressed your view that the
science is far from clear, when you asked former Vice President
Gore whether he knew that "some of the scientists" are
"changing their opinion a little bit on global warming."
One of the scientists you may have been thinking of is Dr. James
Hansen, Director NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who
was one of the early proponents of the catastrophic global warming
scenario. In August 2000, Dr. Hansen issued a new analysis which
said that the emphasis on carbon dioxide may be misplaced. In
his new report, he stated that other greenhouse gases -- such
as methane, black soot, CFCs, and the compounds that create smog
-- may be causing more damage than carbon dioxide and efforts
to affect climate change should focus on these other gases. "The
prospects for having a modest climate impact instead of a disastrous
one are quite good, I think," Dr. Hansen was quoted as saying
in the New York Times.
We look forward to working with you and your Administration
on the development of a comprehensive national energy strategy
that is environmentally and economically sound, and a common sense,
scientifically sound climate change policy. However, we need to
have a clear understanding of your Administration's position on
climate change, in particular the Kyoto Protocol, and the regulation
of carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act.
For the President's letter-in-reply, please click here:
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