Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) plan to introduce
a new anti-global warming bill this week instituting a so-called
"cap and trade" system for greenhouse gas emissions.
McCain, incoming chairman of the Senate
Commerce Committee, has scheduled a January 8 hearing on the new
bill. As described by Environment and Energy Daily, the bill would
"gradually force major energy, transportation and manufacturing
companies to cut their GHG emissions -- to year 2000 levels by
2010 and 1990 levels by 2016."1
TEN SECOND RESPONSE: The theory that humankind is causing significant
planetary warming remains dubious at best. What is certain is
that laws limiting U.S. energy use will hurt our economy and kill
THIRTY SECOND RESPONSE: The McCain-Lieberman legislation would set up
mandatory greenhouse gas reduction targets for every major sector
of the U.S. economy. If approved, it stands a chance of pushing
a frail economic recovery into a major relapse, yet it is extremely
unlikely to have discernible influence on global temperatures.
Scientists point out that the Earth has gone through repeated
cycles of gradual warming and cooling for millions of years. This
isn't likely to change under orders from the U.S. Senate.
The McCain-Lieberman legislation is no economic stimulus plan.
The bill is, however, likely to garner significant media attention
and already is receiving support from the environmental left.
"Environmentalists couldn't be happier
to have two high-profile senators challenging the administration's
climate policy," reports Environment and Energy Daily. "McCain
challenged Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Lieberman,
a vice-presidential candidate in 2000, is likely to seek the Democratic
nomination in 2004."2
The Senators have bypassed what would most likely be a more thorough
hearing in the Environment and Public Works Committee, which normally
would have jurisdiction over a climate change bill, in favor of
hearings in McCain's Commerce Committee.
According to a tentative witness list
released by the Committee January 7, expected witnesses included:
Lieberman; Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA); Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT);
James Mahoney, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and
Atmosphere and Director, U.S. Climate Change; Eileen Claussen,
President, Pew Center on Global Change; Jack Cogen, President,
Natsource; Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense Fund and
Randy Overbey, President, ALCOA Power Generating.
Inlsee and Shays are members of the House
Climate Change Caucus, a left-of-center caucus that promotes the
view that mankind may be causing the planet to warm as much as
10.4 degrees over the next 100 years, and which promotes legislation
according to this view.2 The Pew Center and the Environmental Defense
Fund are left-of-center environmental organizations. Both ALCOA
and Natsource are for-profit entitles with a business interest
in a governmental adoption of "cap and trade" schemes.
Despite making room for profit-making
entities, three elected officials on the liberal side of the global
warming debate and two representatives of the environmental left,
the Committee apparently has scheduled no representatives of organizations
skeptical of the scientific reliability of the global warming
theory nor any elected officials holding similar views.
The global warming debate has been a high profile one for some
time. The Bush Administration received significant political and
international attention in 2001 when it wisely rejected the Kyoto
Treaty, an action consistent with a 1997 95-0 Democratic-controlled
Senate vote urging the Clinton Administration (which ignored the
advice) to do essentially the same thing.
It is doubtful that significant man-made global warming is taking
place. 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.3 Highly
accurate, carefully checked satellite data have shown absolutely
no such tropospheric warming. There has been surface warming of
about half a degree Celsius, but this is far within the customary
natural swings in surface temperatures.4
The vast majority of American scientists
who specialize in climate studies - including such giants as S.
Fred Singer, former head of the U.S. Weather Service's satellite
operations; Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy
of Sciences; and the University of Virginia's Patrick Michaels
- believe global warming fear-mongers that project warming during
this century of 8-10 degrees are wrong. The U.N. Panel on Climate
Change, often cited by environmentalists, bases its projections
on worst-case scenarios from two flawed computer models, each
of which significantly contradicts the other.
The way to approach allegations that mankind
is causing climate change is through research, such as that beginning
at Stanford University's new Global Climate and Energy Project.5 The
project is a 10-year collaboration between academia and the private
sector to find the clean energy alternatives that will allow reductions
in man-made greenhouse emissions without damaging the economy.
Stanford has been supported by $225 million
in grants from ExxonMobil, General Electric and Schlumberger and
E.On, the European energy distributor. The selection of Franklin
M. Orr, Jr., dean of Stanford's respected School of Earth Sciences,
to head the new project apparently has guaranteed its independence
to the satisfaction of most mainstream environmental groups.
In the meantime, all eyes are on McCain
and Lieberman - which just might be the way they want it.
by Amy Ridenour, President
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Contact the author at: 202-507-6398
or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research
777 N. Capitol St. NE Suite 803
Washington, D.C. 20001
1 J.L. Laws, Environment & Energy Daily, "McCain
Gets Early Jump on Climate Change Bill Cosponsored by Lieberman,"
1/6/2002, downloaded from http://www.eenews.net/EEDaily/Backissues/010603/010603d.htm#2
(paid registration required).
2 See the Caucus website at http://www.house.gov/olver/climatechange/index.html
for more details about the Caucus.
3 James K. Glassman and Sallie Baliunas, The Weekly Standard,
June 25, 2001.
5 "Stanford University to Lead Search for Solutions
to Global Climate and Energy Needs," Stanford University
press release of November 20, 2002, downloaded from http://gcep.stanford.edu/gcep_news/stanford_release.html
on January 7, 2002.