TSR Extra: Memo on McCain/Kerry and Global Warming

 

 

Dear TSR Subscriber:

Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) have called for a "No Regrets" policy on so-called greenhouse gas emissions.

As reported in Environment & Energy Daily, McCain said Tuesday, "I'm not sure we should wait [to act] until every scientist in America agrees this is a serious problem."

Evidence demonstrates that following the senators' direction would create a far more serious problem.

Therefore, we are sending the following National Center for Public Policy Research update listing the most common charges being made with regard to man-made global warming and providing responses, with footnotes, based on the facts.

Sincerely,

Tom and Gretchen Randall


Global Warming: Charges and Responses

A refutation of the most pervasive charges relating to the theory of man-made global warming

 

Global Warming: Charges and Responses

A refutation of the most pervasive charges relating to the theory
of man-made global warming

 

 

1. Charge: George W. Bush killed the Kyoto Protocol.

Response: President Bush did not kill the Kyoto Protocol. It was dead when he took office. Senate Res. 98, passed by a vote of 95-0 on July 25, 1997, states that the Senate will not ratify any climate treaty that would harm the U.S. economy or fails to require developing nations to reduce emissions.1 Kyoto fails both tests. The President simply recognized these facts.

Response: President Clinton, himself, signed appropriations bills in 1999, 2000 and 2001 prohibiting the Environmental Protection Agency from using any funds to "issue rules, regulations, decrees of orders for the purpose of implementation, or in preparation for implementation, of the Kyoto Protocol" until the Protocol is ratified by the Senate.2

 

2. Charge: European countries and Japan are strongly in favor of the Kyoto Protocol and criticize the U.S. for not supporting it.

Response: Neither Japan nor any European Community nation has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, of the 84 countries that signed the Protocol, it has been ratified by only 33 undeveloped countries - all of which would be unaffected by the treaty - and Romania.3

 

3. Charge: Emissions reductions demanded by the Kyoto Protocol would have had few economic effects.

Response: The Kyoto Protocol would have a devastating affect on the U.S. economy, according to very conservative projections by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. They estimate gasoline prices would have risen 14 to 66 cents per gallon by the year 2010, electricity would have gone up 20 to 86 percent and gross domestic product would fall.4

Other experts have predicted the output of energy intensive products, such as steel, chemicals, paper and cars would have fallen by as much as 15 percent.5 Such sweeping changes world cost the jobs of millions of Americans. That is why responsible leaders, such as Cecil E. Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of American and James Hoffa, president of the Teamsters Union, have expressed grave concerns about the Protocol.

 

4. Charge: The burdens of meeting the demands of the Kyoto Protocol are distributed fairly.

Response: No, the burdens of meeting the demands of Kyoto would fall most heavily on minorities. A study commissioned by six African-American and Hispanic organizations found that the increased costs forced by the Protocol would cut minority income by 10 percent (white incomes would go down only 4.5 percent) and 864,000 black Americans and 511,000 Hispanics would lose their jobs.6

Response: Undeveloped countries such as China, India and Brazil are exempted from the Kyoto Protocol. However, these three countries alone are projected to produce 16 percent more carbon dioxide by the year 2020 than the U.S., even if the protocol is not in place.7

 

5. Charge: We have already seen man-caused global warming in this century.

Response: Actually, we have seen no sign of man-induced global warming at all. The computer models used in U.N. studies say the first area to heat under the "greenhouse gas effect" should be the lower atmosphere, known as the troposphere.8 Highly accurate, carefully checked satellite data has shown absolutely no warming. There has been surface warming of about half a degree Celsius, but this is far below the customary natural swings in surface temperatures.9

 

6. Charge: Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels are the primary cause of global warming.

Response: There are many indications that carbon dioxide does not play a significant role in global warming. Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at MIT and a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel on climate change estimates that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would produce a temperature increase of only one degree Celsius.10

In fact, clouds and water vapor appear to be far greater factors related to global temperature. According to Lindzen of MIT and scientists at NASA, clouds and water vapor may play a significant role in regulating the earth's temperature to keep it more constant.11

 

7. Charge: The science on global warming is conclusive. CNN reported that a prestigious 2001 National Academy of Sciences report represented "a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse and is due to man. There is no wiggle room."

Response: Nothing could be further from the truth. Richard Lindzen of MIT, one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, has said so, repeatedly. As he has said, there were a wide variety of scientific views to be presented in that report and, "That the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them."12 It should be added that the same is true of the all of the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change studies on which the notion of global warming is based. Journalists who claim that studies reporting a diversity of opinion are unanimous or nearly so are guilty of false reporting.

 

8. Charge: Even if the science on global warming isn't certain, we should abide by the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol anyway, as a precaution that it might be right.

Response: No. We must never base environmental actions on anything but sound science. We have ample experience of doing more harm than good with environmental regulations based on unsure science. For example, the Clean Air Act mandated oxygenates in gasoline and we ended up with no improvement in air quality but now have the oxygenate MTBE polluting wells in 31 states.131415

Response: We should not take actions that may not be necessary but will certainly increase the level of poverty in this country (see Charge 3, above). As economist Walter Williams of George Mason University has observed, "As you look around the world, it is poverty, as opposed to dirty air, that has implications for health."16

 

9. Charge: We should at least set up programs for voluntarily cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Response: The federal government has no statutory authority for regulating carbon dioxide since it is not classified as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act.17

 

10. Charge: Many large companies support the Kyoto Protocol and restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions.

Response: You have to ask yourself why. As the economist Walter Williams of George Mason University has said, "Companies can use the law and regulation to accomplish what they cannot accomplish in the market. If I'm a CEO, without principle, of a company that produces gasoline products and I see another company that wants to drill for oil off Santa Monica, I would surely contribute to an environmental group that would tie my competitor up in court, thereby gaining for me a greater market advantage."18 The same reason, or other reasons completely unrelated to global warming, might motivate calls for carbon dioxide emissions.

 

11. Charge: Still, the warming we have seen so far is unprecedented.

Response: Actually, it is not. A thousand years ago the earth was in a very warm period, but around 1300 the Northern Hemisphere entered an ice age. Over the last 200 years, the earth has been steadily warming. It is also interesting to note that just 30 years ago, there was great concern about global cooling.19

 

12. Charge: But what about all those computer models that show global warming? They can't all be wrong.

Response: But they have been wrong - continually. In 1988 the IPCC computer models predicted temperatures would rise 0.8 degrees Celsius per decade. By 1990, the estimates were down to 0.3 degrees and by 1995 it was 0.2 degrees.20 So, the recent changes of estimates are nothing new nor are they any more likely to be right. As shown in item 5, in fact, none of the predicted warming has occurred.

In addition, the computer models leave out a wide variety of major climate mechanisms, including clouds. Most notably they leave out a natural heat vent phenomenon over the South Pacific that appears to have a self-regulating effect of the earth's temperature.21

 

by Tom Randall, director of environmental and regulatory affairs,
and Gretchen Randall, Director of Energy and Regulatory Affairs,
The National Center for Public Policy Research

 

Issue Date: July 6, 2001

Contact the authors at
The National Center for Public Policy Research, Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 857-5086 or t[email protected] or [email protected]

Or through The National Center for Public Policy Research's main office:
501 Capitol Court, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-4110 * fax (202) 543-5975
[email protected] * http://www.nationalcenter.org

 

Footnotes:

1 S. Res. 98, introduced by Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE), passed 95-0, July 25, 1997.
2 P.L. 105-276 (Conference Report 105-769), P.L. 106-744 (Conference Report 106-379), and P.L. 106-377 (Conference Report 106-988).
3 Kyoto Protocol Status of ratification as of May 9, 2001, available at http://www.unfccc.int/resource/kpstats.pdf
4 Jay E. Hakes, Administrator, Energy Information Administration, Testimony before the Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representatives, October 9, 1998.
5 Margo Thornburg, senior vice president and chief economist, American Council for Capital Formation, Testimony before the Committee on Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, October 6, 1998.
6 "Study Says Global Warming Treaty Will Hurt U.S. Minorities," Associated Press, July 6, 2000, cited by John Carlisle, "Treaty to Combat Unproven Global Warming Threat Would Hurt Americans' Standard of Living," National Policy Analysis #309, September 2000, National Center for Public Policy Research, available on the Internet at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA309.html.
7 Heritage Foundation calculations, based on data from U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Agency Administration, International Energy Outlook 2001, Table A10
8 James K. Glassman and Sallie Baliunas, The Weekly Standard, June 25, 2001.
9 Ibid.
10 Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, "Scientists' Report Doesn't Support The Kyoto Treaty," The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001
11 James K. Glassman and Sallie Baliunas, The Weekly Standard, June 25, 2001.
12 Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, "Scientists' Report Doesn't Support The Kyoto Treaty," The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001
13 1990 Clean Air Act, as amended
14 Ozone-Forming Potential of Reformulated Gasoline, The National Research Council, May 11, 1999.
15 MTBE "The Biggest Environmental Crisis of the Next Decade, Chicago Life Magazine, Summer 2000.
16 Interview with Walter Williams, Ph.D., Environment & Climate News, The Heartland Institute, February 2000
17 1990 Clean Air Act, as amended
18 Interview with Walter Williams, Ph.D., Environment & Climate News, The Heartland Institute, February 2000
19 Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, Scientists' Report Doesn't Support The Kyoto Treaty, The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001
20 The National Center for Public Policy Research Global Warming Kyoto Earth Summit Fact Sheet, downloaded July 3, 2001 from http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoFactSheet.html
21 NASA News Release No: 01-18