(October 30, 2006 – Chicago, Illinois) A study released in England today has created a media frenzy in the United States by claiming global warming over the next century will cost the world economy trillions of dollars. The Washington Post introduces its coverage of the report with the headline “Global Warming Will Devastate World Economy, Report Says.”
The following statement commenting on the British study is from James M. Taylor, senior fellow for environment affairs at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment and Climate News. Taylor can be reached at 941/776-5690 or [email protected]. For more information about The Heartland Institute, contact Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000 or [email protected].
“The new ‘study’ commissioned by British career politician Gordon Brown is fatally flawed and a microcosm of all that is duplicitous regarding global warming alarmists and their political propaganda.
“The study asserts it could cost $9.6 trillion over the next 100 years to deal with the effects of a worst-case global warming scenario. Yet the study itself admits to speculation based on incomplete information. It also includes in this $9.6 trillion figure economic ‘penalties’ for predicted declines in human health and environmental wellness.
“The study’s assertions are scientifically suspect. For example, the study asserts 200 million people will be homeless as a result of dramatic rises in sea level–yet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates only about a foot of sea level rise in the next century even if no action is taken. The study asserts the Sahara and other deserts will swallow up substantial crop production, yet carbon dioxide accelerates plant growth and current studies show the Sahara and other global deserts are shrinking.
“Moreover, there is a great deal of conflicting evidence about what role man has played in the planet’s modest recent warming, about 0.12 to 0.17 degrees C per decade–a pace that would mean 1.2 to 1.7 degrees over the entire next century. A just-released study by Danish scientists, for example, finds more cosmic rays reaching the Earth in recent decades are causing some of the warming, and concludes ‘it might be necessary to reevaluate the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide.’
“Tellingly, the new British study was commissioned by a Labour Party career politician who hopes to become prime minister next year. His global warming views are to the left of current Prime Minister Tony Blair, and he has recruited Al Gore to be his environmental guru by serving as an advisor to the British government.
“As if that weren’t telling enough, British economist Nicholas Stern, who actually authored the study, makes no secret of his lack of objectivity on this issue. Stern proudly proclaims he hopes the report will put global pressure on the U.S. to make mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide emissions.
“When studies are released that challenge global warming hysteria, the media takes every opportunity to emphasize any remote connection between ‘industry’ and those studies. In the case of this new British study, however, most media outlets have ignored Brown’s status as a career liberal politician who stands to gain politically by commissioning an alarmist study. Nor does the media report Brown’s close political ties to Al Gore. Nor does the media point out Stern’s bias on this issue and his predisposition to reaching alarmist conclusions.
“The study asks us to endure definite and extensive financial hardships to address a mere speculative problem. The October 30 New York Times notes it would cost anywhere from 1 percent to 16 percent of worldwide domestic product over the twenty-first century to cap greenhouse gases at current levels.
“We need less politics, more objectivity, and a lot more scientific evidence before we can ask U.S. citizens to make that kind of sacrifice.”
James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment affairs at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment and Climate News. He can be reached at 941/776-5690 or [email protected]. For more information about The Heartland Institute, contact Michael Van Winkle at 312/377-4000 or [email protected].