Thank you to the witnesses and the Members of the Committee.  Today’s hearing will focus on the recent analysis by the Energy Information Administration of draft global warming legislation.  Last year I was joined by Senators Specter and Lugar, as well as some Members of this Committee – Senators Landrieu, Salazar and Murkowski – in submitting the draft legislation to the EIA.  I appreciate all of those Members requesting this information with me.
            The draft was a culmination of over a year’s worth of work, which began with an EIA analysis of the climate proposal by the National Commission on Energy Policy.  Over the past Congress, we visited this issue on the Senate floor (during the Energy Bill debate in 2005), we had hearings in this Committee, and we convened a day-long workshop with 29 participants to explore the design features of a cap and trade proposal.  Receiving this EIA analysis was the necessary next step to take as we try to craft bipartisan legislation to address global warming.
            This Monday, Senator Specter and I circulated the discussion draft and initiated a process for vetting the language over the coming months.  After this hearing, our offices will begin convening a series of staff workshops to create a dialogue between experts, stakeholders and Congressional offices.
            As I initially reviewed the results of the EIA analysis, I was pleased to see that we can start to do something to slow the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions without harming the economy.  In fact, the impacts seem so negligible, that I am interested in continuing the conversation about specific targets and timetables for the next few months before actually introducing the legislation.
            We also plan to have more hearings on the issue of climate change and will hear from Sir Nicholas Stern next month, which I hope will give the Committee another chance to review the impacts of delaying action to prevent global warming.
            There are many parts of the proposed discussion draft that deserve more deliberation before the bill is introduced.  I think I speak for Senator Specter and myself when I say that we are committed to working through those issues and finding the political center of this issue to enact legislation this year.
            This will not be easy, but I hope that we can continue the good bipartisan work that has been demonstrated already on this Committee.  I appreciate the time and effort that Senator Domenici has devoted to these difficult issues, as well as other Members of this Committee.