Policy Documents

Climate Change Reconsidered

Zonia M. Pino –
June 30, 2009

The American Clean Energy Security Act--better known as "Waxman-Markey"--has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate.

The measure, which aims to restrict carbon dioxide emissions in an effort to "stop global warming," would cost $846 billion in the next decade alone, in the form of required payments for emissions allowances, according to a June 5 report from the Congressional Budget Office. According to an analysis of the bill by The Heritage Foundation, Waxman-Markey will:

* "Reduce aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) by $7.4 trillion,

* Destroy 844,000 jobs on average, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 1,900,000 jobs,

* Raise electricity rates 90 percent after adjusting for inflation,

* Raise inflation-adjusted gasoline prices by 74 percent,

* Raise residential natural gas prices by 55 percent,

* Raise an average family's annual energy bill by $1,500, and

* Increase inflation-adjusted federal debt by 29 percent, or $33,400 additional federal debt per person, again after adjusting for inflation."

That's a high price to pay to address global warming, which the general public and tens of thousands of scientists doubt is a catastrophic problem brought on by human activity. Opinion polls show support for legislation to "stop global warming" is plummeting, and is now as low as the percentage of people who believe Elvis is still alive (17%). Many of your constituents are "skeptics."

They should be skeptical: Some of the world's most prominent physicists and atmospheric scientists are on record saying popular fears of global warming are "preposterous" (Dr. Richard Tol), "incoherent" (Dr. Antonino Zichichi), "grossly exaggerated" (Dr. Freeman Dyson), and "embarrassing" (Dr. Richard Lindzen).

One reason global warming realists are rarely quoted by politicians and the mainstream media is because they lacked a panel of distinguished scientists (like the other side's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)) able to produce comprehensive scientific reports that purport to represent the "consensus view" of the scientific community.

But not any more. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) has released its first report. Weighing in at 880 pages (and 4 pounds, 7 ounces), Climate Change Reconsidered is every bit as authoritative and comprehensive as Climate Change 2007, the latest report from the IPCC.

Each chapter of the book is available online and summarized below.

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Chapter 1: Global Climate Models and Their Limitations
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter1.html
Describes the limitations of the IPCC's attempt to forecast future climate conditions by using computer climate models.

Chapter 2: Feedback Factors and Radiative Forcing
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter2.html
Describes feedback factors that reduce the Earth's temperature sensitivity to changes in atmospheric CO2.

Chapter 3: Observations: Temperature Records
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter3.html
Reviews empirical data on past temperatures. No support is found for the IPCC's claim that climate observations during the twentieth century are either unprecedented or provide evidence of an anthropogenic effect on climate.

Chapter 4: Observations: Glaciers, Sea Ice, Precipitation, and Sea Level
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter4.html
Reviews observational data on glacier melting, sea ice area, variation in precipitation, and sea level rise. No evidence is found of trends that could be attributed to twentieth century warming.

Chapter 5: Solar Variability and Climate Cycles
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter5.html
Summarizes the research of a growing number of scientists who say variations in solar activity, not greenhouse gases, are the true driver of climate change.

Chapter 6: Observations: Extreme Weather
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter6.html
Investigates and debunks the widespread fears that global warming might cause more extreme weather.

Chapter 7: Biological Effects of Carbon Dioxide Enrichment
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter7.html
Examines the biological effects of rising CO2 concentrations and warmer temperatures. This is the largely unreported side of the global warming debate, perhaps because it is unequivocally good news.

Chapter 8: Species Extinction
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter8.html
Examines the IPCC's claim that CO2-induced increases in air temperature will cause unprecedented plant and animal extinctions.

Chapter 9: Human Health Effect
http://www.nipccreport.org/chapter9.html
Challenges the IPCC's claim that CO2-induced global warming is harmful to human health. A thorough examination of the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals that further global warming would likely do just the opposite and actually reduce the number of lives lost to extreme thermal conditions.

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Nothing in this Research & Commentary is intended to influence the passage of legislation, and it does not necessarily represent the views of The Heartland Institute. For further information on this and other environment topics, visit The Heartland Institute's Web site at http://www.heartland.org and PolicyBot, Heartland's free online research database.

If you have any questions about this issue or The Heartland Institute, please contact me at 312/377-4000 or zpino@heartland.org.