Heartland Offers Guide to Global Warming

Published January 1, 1999

Much of what is reported about global warming in newspapers is just plain wrong–wrong science, wrong data, wrong implications–but few experts are available to rebut the newspaper articles, concludes a new publication from The Heartland Institute.

While the Instant Expert Guide to Global Warming won’t make a Noble Prize scientist out of its readers, it will enable them to distinguish real science and economic facts from political and ideological spin, says Heartland President Joseph Bast, who wrote the Guide.

“We wanted an easy-to-read explanation of the science behind global warming, not the hype behind global warming,” says Bast. “I wanted something my mother-in-law could read and understand.”

He added that he hopes the Guide, about the size of a No. 10 business envelope, will be purchased in bulk by industries with employees who would be affected if the Kyoto climate change treaty were implemented.

“For instance,” he urges, “the Guide should be in the glove compartment of every new car sold in America.”

The booklet details seven facts readers should know about global warming:

1. Most scientists do not believe human activities threaten to disrupt the Earth’s climate.

More than 17,000 scientists have signed a petition generated by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine saying, in part, “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”

2. The most reliable temperature data show no global warming trend.

U.S. government satellites and weather balloons, widely deployed since 1978, rank 1997 as the seventh coolest year on record, while 1998’s level is distorted by the effects of the El Niño weather pattern. Airborne measuring devices are far more reliable and technologically sound than the surface-based measuring devices that environmental alarmists use and which inevitably are skewed by over-representation of city heat readings and under-representation of readings from cooler locales such as mountains, deserts, and forests.

3. Global computer models are too crude to predict future climate changes.

The complex computer programs that attempt to simulate the Earth’s atmosphere are only as accurate as the data fed into them. After scientists adjust these models for known anomalies, Dr. Vincent Gray, a prominent meteorologist, concludes, “we can expect the maximum temperature rise between 1990 and 2100 to be 1 degree Centigrade,” a small amount that would produce little if any climatic change.

4. The IPCC did not prove human activity causes global warming.

The U.N. established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to provide a source of scientific advice on global warming. The panel’s report has been unfairly interpreted by alarmists to mean the U.N. has concluded that human activity causes global warming. But the chairman of the panel, Dr. Bert Bolin, said, “. . . the climate issue is not ‘settled.’ It is both uncertain and incomplete.”

5. A modest amount of global warming, should it occur, would be beneficial to the natural world and to human civilization.

Warmer winters would mean longer growing seasons and less stress on most plants and wildlife, producing a substantial benefit for the global ecosystem. A slightly warmer world probably would be greener (plants thrive on carbon dioxide) and a little cloudier than the Earth today, but otherwise not much different.

6. Quickly reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be costly and would not stop global warming.

Lowering CO2 emissions to levels specified in the Kyoto climate change treaty would require retiring existing capital stock, such as tools, equipment and machinery, before the end of their useful lives. Such retirement and replacement would add billions of dollars to the cost of operation by business and industry. Even if the U.S. and other industrialized nations reduced their emissions to 1990 levels, annual carbon dioxide emissions would still rise by 32 percent between 1990 and 2010 because developing nations, such as China, Mexico, and India, are not required to reduce or even slow the growth of their greenhouse gas emissions.

7. The best strategy to pursue is one of “no regrets.”

While a policy of “better safe than sorry” makes sense at first, it would produce just the opposite result. “Immediate action wouldn’t make us any safer, but it would surely make us poorer. And being poorer would make us less safe,” the booklet concludes.

The 24-page Instant Expert Guide to Global Warming is available for 80 cents each prepaid, and in bulk quantities for as little as 55 cents each. Write to The Heartland Institute, 19 South LaSalle Street #903, Chicago, IL 60603.