Crist Misrepresents Science on Global Warming

Published July 16, 2007

Regarding “Emissions must be cut, Gov. Crist tells climate change summit” (July 12), Charlie Crist is doing Floridians a grave disservice by misrepresenting the science regarding global warming.

The Sun-Sentinel notes that Crist says Florida is facing a potential “catastrophe” from rising seas, violent weather, and severe droughts. Science, however, tells us just the opposite.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gives a mid-level projection of merely one foot of sea level rise during the entire next century, rather than the 20 inches Crist claims in his July 12 press release. Even the one-foot estimate is overly alarmist, as the March 16 issue of Science magazine reports that the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps are contributing only 0.35 millimeters of sea level rise per year – or only 1 inch of sea level rise per century – to our ongoing natural rise in sea level.

Scientists tell us that global warming will, at worst, be hurricane-neutral. The April 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters reports that global warming will increase wind shear, which will in turn prevent hurricanes from forming. Moreover, renowned experts William Gray and Chris Landsea released two separate studies this spring showing that hurricane activity has declined in recent decades while the planet has warmed.

Droughts are also a red herring, as the IPCC projects that Florida will experience no change in precipitation this century, and that the United States as a whole will experience more precipitation. Indeed, in Crist’s July 12 press release, he links this year’s Florida drought to global warming, but fails to mention the wetter-than-normal conditions that prevailed for several years before this year’s drought.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute.