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The theoretical advantages of alternative policy instruments have been discussed for years. The study would systematically evaluate, using a consistent set of Congressionally relevant criteria, the strengths and weaknesses of the full range of choices available: market-based approaches, information programs, technology-based standards, performance-based standards, enhanced monitoring and enforcement, etc. Unfortunately, little effort has been given to such pragmatic issues as implementation, monitoring, and enforcement. The assessment will examine new programs being tried by State and localities, such as the marketable permit program currently being tried to control ozone in Southern California. Other OECD countries have tried nontraditional approaches as well and no doubt will be a source of useful information. Special attention will be paid to how new advances in monitoring, modeling and control technology development have affected the feasibility and costs of the regulatory choices.

Project Director: Robert Friedman

Estimated publication date: Fall 1994

Requested by: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works

Uncertain Climate: Managing Costs, Water, Agriculture, Wetlands, Natural Areas, and Forests

Most policy decisions made in the next several years about climate change will be made in the face of great uncertainty about the nature and magnitude of potential effects on natural and engineered systems. It will be a decade or more before the General Circulation Models (GCMs) offer the kind of temporal and regional detail desirable or the results of the massive research efforts underway both here and broad are available. In "Changing By Degrees: Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gases," OTA examined ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next couple of decades.

OTA is currently examining 1) the role of LDCs (less developed countries) and mechanisms to influence their emissions; 2) energy efficiency in each sector of the U.S. economy; and 3) the potential for renewable and nuclear energy in the United States. Additionally, OTA has just completed a study on the role of energy efficiency in the Federal Government. Thus, energy related emissions reduction potential is under intensive study at OTA. However, less work has been done on the "systems at risk" from climate change and possible responses to a changing climate. No agency has yet taken a strategic look at the interplay between the natural and engineered systems potentially at risk from climate change, the timing of information needed for planning for these systems, and how well coordinated the Federal research program is to provide such answers. OTA proposes to address the following questions:

What is at risk over what time frames? Which ecological systems (i.e., wetlands, forests, fisheries) and engineered systems (water supply, dams and ports) are most at risk from climate change and over which time frames? How do the lead times needed for human interventions in these systems vary (e.g., agriculture with annual time scales versus forestry with decadal time scales)?

Will we have answers when we need them? Do current U.S. R&D programs reflect the shortand long-term needs of decisionmakers, with respect to providing information about rates of climate change, the potential for “surprises" effects on different systems, potential strategies for making systems more resilient in the face of uncertain climate change and adapting to such


How can we best plan for an uncertain climate? Whether, how, and when decisionmakers should consider the uncertain effects of a changing climate as they plan the future management of natural systems and built systems in the United States; what criteria should be used? how might climate change affect our foreign aid strategy?

Possible Impact on Legislation:

Many bills have been introduced in the 103rd Congress that could be affected by this assessment. Among these are:

S. 171 (and H.R. 109): Department of the Environment Act of 1993
S. 921 (and H.R. 2043): Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1993
S.995: The Federal Disaster Preparedness and Response Act of 1993
S. 1110 (and H.R. 1845): National Biological Survey Act of 1993
S.1114: The Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act of 1993

S. 1304: A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to improve the conservation of wetlands and thereby restore and maintain the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the Nation's waters

S.1405: National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1993

H.R. 62: National Flood Insurance Compliance, Mitigation, and Erosion Management Act of 1993 H.R. 138: A bill to ensure equal treatment for playa lakes, prairie potholes, vernal pools, pocosins, and other special wetlands under Federal wetland delineation criteria

H.R. 229: National Forest Health Act

H.R. 299: A Bill to establish a Commission on Environment and Development

H.R. 350: A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to further the protection of wetlands

H.R. 869: A Bill to promote biological diversity, conservation, and cooperation in the Western Hemisphere

H.R. 935: Earthquake, Volcanic Eruption, and Hurricane Hazards Insurance Act of 1993

H.R. 970: A Bill to provide for the participation of the U.S. in a climate stabilization program

H.R. 1164: Forest Biodiversity and Clearcutting Prohibition Act of 1993

H.R. 1330: A bill to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to establish a comprehensive program for conserving and managing wetlands in the U.S.

H.R. 2931: A bill to direct the Secretary of the Army to conduct a study to assess the adequacy of current flood control measures on the Upper Mississippi River and its tributaries

Project Director: Rosina Bierbaum

Estimated publication date: Fall 1993

Requested by: Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

16.D. Other Services to the Congress

16.D.1 Testimony

OTA received frequent requests to testify at Congressional hearings; in fact, testimony is one of the main mechanisms for OTA to deliver information to Congress in a way that matches its specific needs and timing. The increased interest and need for OTA's work has been reflected in committee requests for testimony and briefings from OTA.


During fiscal year 1993, the Director, Assistant Directors, Program Managers, and Project Directors testified a total of 24 times. Testimony was given both before House and Senate committees and subcommittees.

10/8/92 Subcommittee on Technology and Competitiveness, House Committee on Science,

Space and Technology

Observations on the National Aeronautical Research and Competitiveness Act
(Jack Nunn)

02/24/93 Senate Special Committee on Aging

02/16/93 Subcommittee on Energy, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
Investing in Technologies for America's Energy Future
(Peter Blair)

02/25/93 House Committee on Small Business

Development of Ceredase

(Alan Garber and Michael Gluck)

The Government's Role in New Drug Research and Development: Lessons from

(Judy Wagner and Michael Gluck)

03/11/93 Subcommittee on Business Opportunities, Regulation and Energy, House Committee on

Small Business

Relationships Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Academic and NonProfit
Research Industries

(Judith Wagner and Michael Gluck)

03/16/93 Subcommittee on Environment, Credit and Rural Development, House Committee on


Administration's Budget Proposal for Rural Electrification Administration Program


03/23/93 Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary and Vocational Education, House Committee on Education and Labor

Integrating Technology Into America's Classrooms
Linda Roberts)

04/19/93 Subcommittee on Research and Technology, House Committee on Armed Services

Defense Conversion Legislation

(Kitty Gillman)

04/26/93 Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs

Human Genome Diversity Project
(Robyn Nishimi)

04/28/93 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee onScience, Space and Technology

Development of Innovative Environmental Cleanup Technologies
(Peter Johnson and German Reyes)

04/29/93 Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Industrial Energy Efficiency: Issues and Opportunities for the 1990's
(Peter Blair and John Newman)

05/05/93 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and


Characteristics and Regulations of Home Infusion Industry
(Elaine Power)

05/06/93 Senate Special Committee on Aging

Smoking Related Deaths and Financial Costs: OTA Estimates for 1990
(Maria Hewitt, Mary Laschober and Roger Herdman)

05/06/93 Subcommittee on Space, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Future Remote Sensing from Space: Civilian Satellite Systems and Applications (Ray Williamson)

05/13/93 Subcommittee on Energy, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology Emerging Export Markets for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies: Can the U.S. Compete?

Impact of the Defense Drawdown
(Jack Nunn)

05/13/93 Subcommittee on Defense Technology, Acquisition and Industrial Base, Senate Committee on Armed Services


05/20/93 Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies, Senate Committee
on Appropriations

Federal Research and Technology for Aviation
(Kevin Dopart and Nancy Carson)

06/10/93 Joint Committee on Organization of Congress

Hearing on Congressional Support Agencies
(Roger C. Herdman)

06/10/93 Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

U.S. and Foreign Satellite Remote Sensing
(Ray Williamson and Brian McCue)

06/16/93 Subcommittee on International Economic Policy, Trade, Oceans and Environment, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

Global Arms Trade: Commerce in Advanced Military Technology and Weapons
(William Keller)

06/17/93 Subcommittee on Energy, House Committee on Science, Space and Technology

DOE Weapons Laboratories
(Julie Gorte)

06/17/93 Subcommittee on Department Operations and Nutrition, House Committee

on Agriculture

The Federal Role in Agricultural Research Priority Setting
(Daryl Chubin and Michael Phillips)

06/22/93 Subcommittee on Health, House Committee on Ways and Means

Cost Containment and The Market for Prescription Drugs
(Judy Wagner and Michael Gluck)

07/07/93 Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources

Making the Future Work: Technology, Workers and the Workplace

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