Sunday, January 22, 2012

Testimony of Dr. E Bryan Crenshaw III, Pennsylvania Clean Air's Media Lead, at the EPA/NHTSA Clean Car Hearing in Philly

Thank you for the opportunity to speak at this hearing in support of the new mileage standards for passenger vehicles.

Today, I bring with me two perspectives. First, as a biomedical scientist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and more importantly, as a father of 12 year-old, Zack (Seen here expressing his concern about global warming).

Although I am not a climatologist, many of the major scientific articles addressing climate change and the release of anthropogenic green house gases that cause it, are published in major scientific journals that I read, such as Science and Nature. I have followed with interest for years the strengthening evidence in support of the science behind global warming. Not only do these journals address the evidence in support of climate change, but also they often address the engineering, policy and economic solutions to mitigate the worst effects of climate disruption.

In 2004, a paper in Science by Pacala and Socolow outlined an approach that could effectively address the problem, not by using a single solution, but a series of incremental and feasible solutions for different sectors of the economy, which they referred to as “stabilization wedges” (Pacala and Socolow, 2004). No single wedge would address the entire problem, but addressing each wedge individually and collectively would lead to the carbon reductions necessary to stem global warming. Critically, transportation represents a fundamental component of the solution, and I laud these new mileage standards as an important step in the “wedge” to decarbonize our transportation sector.

Although – as a scientist – the solutions to decarbonizing our economy seem concrete and feasible, as a father, I am concerned that our public and private institutions are not doing enough to address the impending serious problems that will result, if we do not reduce our emissions of green house gases.

As a scientist, I read policy papers in which the best military minds view global warming as a major national security threat, and I am encouraged that our military is acting on this security concern by increasing their use of sustainable energy (Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 2010). Nonetheless, as a father, I fear that not enough is being done to ensure the security of the world that I am leaving behind for my son.

As a scientist, I’ve read policy papers by groups, such as the McKinsey and Company (Creyts et al., 2007), that outline the dangers of global warming to the economy, and the modest costs – such as those incurred by the rule proposed today – necessary to ameliorate the negative economic consequences. As a father, I strive to encourage our government to take the necessary steps to ensure the prosperity of our economy in the future.

Working at a major pediatric hospital, I understand the numerous ill effects of burning fossil fuels on vulnerable populations, such as our children. In venues, such as the hearing today, I work to protect my child by supporting actions that reduce the amount of pollution that is spewed into our enviroment.

For these reasons, I support the efforts that the EPA and NHTSA are taking to implement an important rule critical for the reduction of our use of fossil fuels, and consequently, the production of green house gases that are endangering our climate. For my son, Zack, and his generation – for their security, for their prosperity, for their health and well-being – I implore you to implement this rule for their future, and the future of our country.

Thank you.

E. Bryan Crenshaw III, PhD

Citizen Activist and Member of the John Muir Society
Sierra Club


Pacala, S. and Socolow, R. Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies. Science: 305: 968-972 (2004). [Abstract - Subscription needed for full paper]

U.S. Department of Defense, Quadrennial Defense Review Report (Washington, DC, February 2010), < >.

Creyts, J., Derkach, A., Nyquist, S., Ostrowski, K. and Stephenson, J. “Reducing US greenhouse gas emissions: How much at what cost?” < > (2007).

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