Press Release

Uncertainty and Action: Considering the IPCC Report

May 17, 2007

Uncertainty and Action: Considering the IPCC Report

FOR RELEASE: May 16, 2007

WASHINGTON- In a hearing before the House Science and Technology Committee today, Resources for the Future Senior Fellow Billy Pizer offered members of Congress insight into the Working Group III Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pizer was one of more than 100 lead authors on the IPCC report, for which a "Summary for Policy Makers" was issued May 4. The full report has not yet been released.

In his testimony, he led Committee members through a series of considerations about the report.

"There are a variety of different stabilization targets we could think about over the next century," he stated, outlining the range of options and associated cost estimates. "An important thing to realize is that this range of estimates...does not have a probability associated with it: the costs could actually be higher or lower."

Pizer also highlighted the importance of technology to successful climate policy. "We can't just set a cap-and-trade in motion and go home. We're really going to need public support for research and development."


link to video
Video of Pizer's testimony is available on the House Committee website.

He clarified that IPCC estimates assume both economywide coverage and global participation but acknowledged that the latter is unlikely in the near future. To help mitigate that challenge, he emphasized the importance of action and diplomatic efforts on the part of the United States

"[It is important] to think about broad, flexible domestic policies and engagement with the rest of the world to try and get similar policies elsewhere," he said.

Throughout his remarks, Pizer urged careful thought and further research, but not inaction.

"Thinking about policy to deal with climate change, it's very important to think about what is going to happen if our best pick does not end up being right," he advised. However, "the first step is to have a reasonable domestic's a lot easier to convince people to come along with something once you've already demonstrated leadership."


Resources for the Future, an independent and nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think-tank, seeks to improve environmental and natural resource policymaking worldwide through objective social science research of the highest caliber.


Link to testimony

Written Testimony by William A. Pizer


Founded in 1952, Resources for the Future is an independent and nonpartisan institution.