Madam President, the issue that we're addressing this week, global climate change is a challenge with so many dimensions, some moral, some economic, some scientific. I want to spend my first few minutes today talking about -- I want to spend my first few minutes talking about science. We can't get the policy right if we can't get the science right. I come from a state that believes in science.

Minnesota is home to the Mayo Clinic and other great medical institutions. It helped launch the green revolution in agriculture a half century ago. Today it is home to -- to a great research university with the University of Minnesota and high had tech companies like 3-M and MedTronic. We have brought everything from – the post-it note. Over the past few days we have heard a great deal of debate about the science of climate change. The debate, I believe, should be over. The facts are in and the science is clear.

The intergovernmental panel on climate change has concluded that the evidence of global warming is now unequivocal and apparent on every continent of our plant. It -- planet. It is plain in weather patterns, melting wildlife -- the US Department of Agriculture written by top environmental researchers reached the same conclusion. They wrote there is robust scientific evidence that human climate change is occurring. Climate change is impacting the nation's echo systems in significant ways and that is likely to accelerate in the future. The result is ocean levels are rising, glaciers are melting, violent weather events are increasing, we have seen recent ones in my state and soon entire species will be threatened. This isn't just an environmental danger. It's also an economic danger.

First, you can see what we would predict as we see increases in temperatures in this world. And I will adhere that the -- the estimates are the temperature also go up somewhere from three degrees to eight degrees in the next 100 years, and to put that into perspective, they got up 1 diarrhea in the -- degree in the last 100 years, we have started to see changes. That doesn't sound like a lot to you, they have gone up five degrees since the height of the ice age. The predictions are in the next century by our own EPA here we go as we look at the increases in temperature and what that might mean. One degree increase would mean increasing mortality from heat waves, floods, and droughts. This is predicted by the 2020's. A two-degree increase millions of people face flooding risks every year. A three-degree increase, the global production decreases and so on and so on.

Can I tell you in my state, madam President, people are already seeing these changes. They have seen the economic impacts of these changes. Lake Superior is near its lowest levels in the last 80 years and that's an average. It goes up and down a lit. It went up a little fortunately this year, but overall we have seen decreasing levels so that overall it is near its lowest level in 80 years. That has impacted our barges, that has impacted the economy up there you need more barges because they are sinking lower. Why is that happening? Well, the water is melting. The ice is melting quicker, and so the water evaporates and you see lower levels in places like Lake Superior.

We also have seen changes for our ski resorts. Overall when you look at the trends we have seen decreasing snow, which means less money for them. And those are just some small examples of the economic costs of climate change. You can see that the insured and uninsured costs of climate-related weather events are going up and up, we are paying the price. A problem so serious demands a serious response. This is chart showing the weather-related economic losses and how they increased. You look at the decade from 1960 to 1969, 1970 to 1979, 1980 to 1989, and then you look at the last 10 years and these are economic losses. These are the amounts that insured and then this is your total of economic losses due to weather-related issues. A problem so serious as this demands a serious response. I believe that as a nation we're up to it.

Now, just look at a little history here. In the 1970's after the first OPEC oil embargo caused world oil prices to quadrupled, congress passed the first cafe standards, fuel economy standards, for the nation's cars and trucks. At first the skeptics said that congress had overreached and the cafe standards were unrealistic. Then business put its mind to the challenge. All the auto companies developed more efficient engines and lighter automotive to meet customer demand for fuel-efficient cars. Recently the national academy of science estimated that those cafe standards have now saved our country 2.8 million barrels of oil a day and cut oil consumption by 14% annually. And with the higher fuel economy standards we adopted last year, after many, many years of inaction to build on that initial cafe standard, estimates are for an average family, depending on the price of gas, could save $1,000 a year. We will continue to save. But we must set the standards. So we have an example where when the standards were set, business went to the challenge and we actually saved money. That's not the only example. In 1987 and in 1992, the government adopted new energy efficiency standards for household appliances.

Again, the American business community responded competing to develop new technologies and energy efficient products. I call it building a fridge to the next century. Soon you could walk into any appliance store and find energy efficient refrigerators and air conditioners that give consumers higher quality but at lower energy consumption. You look at this chart that we have on light bulbs and you can see if every American home replaced one light bulb with an energy star qualified bulb we could save $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.

Now, we are starting to develop all kinds of technologies to save money for consumers. And make big reductions in carbon emissions. The American Council for Energy Efficient Economy estimates that these higher energy efficient standards saved consumers $50 billion from 1990 to 2000 and will cut US electricity consumption by 6.5% within this decade. What did all of these examples have in common? Well, the public sector and the private sector worked together in a partnership in which each performed at its best. Government took leadership, set high standards and provided a nationwide mandatory framework so that everyone played by the same rules. Then the private sector responded to that signal using a classic American combination of technological innovation and market competition.

The challenge of climate change, madam President, presents us with this same opportunity, an opportunity for technology, with wind, solar with energy efficiency, with potential of nuclear, with the potential of clean coal technology. It's a long list with great potential. We must meet this challenge. And we can. If we set standards for the country, the investment technology and innovation will follow. On the environment and public works committee, my colleague, Senator Boxer, Senator Warner and Senator Lieberman, have written landmark legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and I’m proud to be a cosponsor. This measure establishes mandatory economy wide science-based limits on carbon and other global warming gases so we can cut emissions 20% by the year 2020 and nearly 70% by the year 2050. To achieve those goals without disrupting our economy, it would establish a market-driven cap-and-trade system that provides economic incentives for reducing emissions. Now, we did the same thing with acid rain years ago. And it worked well. To make the system work, however, we need to have full and accurate information about the sources and amounts of greenhouse gas pollution and that's what I would like to take a few minutes to talk about today because of the fact that this -- this is the first title of the bill and one that I authored, along with Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine.

The famous British scientist Lord Calvin felt the same way about measuring things before you do anything. He once observed when you can measure what you're speaking the kind accurate information that we need. The EPA collects a lot of data on energy consumption and production, but the quality of that data varies greatly across different fuels and different sectors. For example, data on crude oil and petroleum products stocks is collected weekly from selected oil companies, while data on energy use in the industrial sector is collected only once every three years through surveys. In some cases the EPA itself collects the data while in other cases the data is collected through state or other federal agencies. Some industries report to the EPA and others report to the energy department. Some are reporting every year and some are reporting every three years. In short, it's mishmash.

Last week the Brookings institution here in Washington issued its own report on carbon emissions in different cities around the country. They too tried to make a comprehensive study, but they admitted that they could only estimate emissions from homes and vehicles, not factories or planes or railroads or government buildings. Then there are state efforts. 31 states, representing 70% of the country's population, have formed a carbon registration system of their own. It's a bipartisan project with support from governors such as Janet Napolitano and Governor Schwarzenegger of California. While these state projects are very well-intentioned, they are a poor replacement for national standard. Remember how Justice Brandeis, in that famous decision, always talked about how the states could be a laboratory of democracy. He talked about how states, one state cost courage to move ahead. Well, I don't think when he said that he ever met inaction by the federal government. But that's what we've had in the area of climate change, and that's certainly what we had in the area of trying to measure what's going on here.

Mr. President, we are never going to make progress against global climate change unless we can answer the question of how much people are admitting -- are emitting with greenhouse gases. This problem actually plagued the European Union two and three years ago. They actually beat us in establishing a comprehensive cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas pollution. But because they didn't start with a good, comprehensive registry of the sources and quantities greenhouse gas emissions, they wound up wasting a lost money and time before they got their cap-and-trade system right. That is why Senator Snowe and I worked together last year to write this legislation, which is the first title of the bill, establishing a greenhouse gas registry. You can see what this means. It's an accurate, comprehensive data on carbon emissions. It requires reporting of greenhouse gas emissions to the EPA it requires third-party verification. It does have exemptions for small businesses, because we don't want to do anything that's too burdensome. And it also makes the data publicly available on the internet. I think we know how much people are interested in this issue, and they have a right to know about it. In addition to setting the stage for cap-and-trade solutions to global climate change, one comprehensive national registry, instead of all the states doing their own, would help the states by streamlining administration costs. It would also help business. Before long, they are going to have to start cutting their own greenhouse gas emissions, and they can't adopt the right technologies without having good data on their own carbon emissions. In fact, some of the nation's leading corporations have endorsed the national carbon registry. They include Alcoa, Boston Scientific, General Electric, Caterpillar, Johnson & Johnson, Pacific Gas and Electric, and many, many more. These executives have teamed up with some of the country's leading environmental groups, including the nature conservancy and the natural resources defense council to form the US climate action partnership. They recently issued a statement calling on the federal government to quickly enact strong national legislation to require significant reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. They took this historic step because they understood the threat of climate change, and they recognize the need for federal action. These leaders are right, the time has come for us to act.

As I close here, madam President, I think about the challenges of this historic -- historic challenge, and I like to recall a prayer from the Ojibwa people in Minnesota. Their philosophy told them that the decisions of great leaders are not made for today, not made for this generation, but for those that are seven generations from now. That is part of our burden and part of our challenge as we approach this climate change issue. That is why today I urge my colleagues to support cloture on this bill, to not only start measuring what the problem is, but to actually give this country and this world a solution. Thank you, madam President, and I yield the floor.