Climate Change Weekly #216
On June 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution sponsored by Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) expressing the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would harm the economy and should not be enacted. The vote was 237 to 163 in favor of the resolution, with six Democrats joining the entire Republican caucus in supporting it.
Because a carbon tax would apply to 85 percent of our nation’s energy, and energy is the lifeblood of the economy, the resolution states a carbon tax “would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.”
In the lead-up to the resolution’s introduction a group of 22 research institutes, legal foundations, and grassroots activist groups, including The Heartland Institute, submitted a letter to Scalise expressing support for his resolution.
The letter noted multiple independent analyses, including reports by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), have found “Such marketplace manipulation represents a recipe for unintended consequences and self-inflicted economic damage … [and would be] … regressive, imposing disproportionately high costs on middle- and lower-income families and thereby harming most those who can afford it least.”
NAM found a carbon tax could eliminate the equivalent of 21 million jobs over the next 40 years and reduce workers’ wages by up to 8.5 percent. A carbon tax would increase the cost of goods and services as manufacturers and retailers pass their higher energy costs on to consumers. In addition, a carbon tax would damage America’s economic competitiveness, making U.S. goods more expensive than comparable goods from other countries. Relatively inexpensive energy is one of the main competitive advantages American manufacturers currently have over their international competitors. The American Energy Alliance notes, in the second half of 2014 the average price of electricity for industrial consumers in the EU was 12 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with 7 cents per kilowatt hour in the United States. A tax on carbon dioxide emissions would undermine this advantage.
CBO notes a carbon tax would be highly regressive, costing the poorest one-fifth of American households two-and-a-half times more than the richest one-fifth of households. Low-income Americans, senior citizens, and those on fixed incomes spend a bigger share of their overall budgets on energy and energy-related items than do middle-income or wealthy households.
The Environmental Protection Agency admits a carbon tax would do nothing to prevent global climate change even if human carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to it. Moreover, a carbon tax would likely increase carbon dioxide emissions overall. Facing higher energy costs some, perhaps many, American companies would be forced to move overseas to remain profitable. The countries to which they are most likely to relocate – China and India, for example – have weaker environmental standards and less efficient methods of production than in the United States. As companies fleeing the carbon tax shift more production overseas, more carbon dioxide emissions and overall air pollution would result.
There is never a good time to enact bad policy, and a carbon tax is one of the worst policies I can imagine. Congress’s action should be applauded.
— H. Sterling Burnett
IN THIS ISSUE …
Stalagmites cast doubt on climate models … Greenpeace sued for false climate claims … India may not sign climate pact in 2016 … Children’s book teaches climate truth … E-mails expose RICO 20’s dirty laundry
A recent paper in Nature Communications provides more evidence nature remains in control of climate. Researchers at the Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences measuring elements and isotopes in stalagmites from the Indonesian island of Flores compared ancient rainfall patterns to records from East Asia and the central-eastern equatorial Pacific. They found alternating multi-century-long El Niño/La Niña-like patterns have affected global climate for at least the past 2,000 years. Climate models do not reproduce those patterns.
Alena Kimbrough, a member of the research team, said, “We’ve shown [Pacific El Niño/La Niña oscillations are] an important part of the climate system that has influenced global temperatures and rainfall over the past millennium.”
The paper states:
Our results highlight significant discrepancies between the proxy records and model simulations for the past millennium. … We cannot rule out the possibility that some of the low-frequency Pacific variability was a forced response to variable solar intensity and changing teleconnections to higher latitudes that are not simulated by the models, … or that unforced, low-frequency internal climate variability (that is difficult for models to simulate) was responsible for at least some of the global temperature change of the past millennium.
According to the researchers the tropical Pacific La Niña -like pattern is thought to be a contributing factor to the recent hiatus in warming temperatures and also affected temperature shifts earlier in the twentieth century. Their analysis suggests projections of tropical rainfall patterns, global temperature extremes, and other climate phenomena will remain uncertain until paleoclimate records and models consistently capture the climate impact of natural El Nino/La Niña-type patterns in the tropical Pacific.
On May 31, Resolute Forest Products filed suit against the radical environmental group Greenpeace in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia claiming Greenpeace violated federal racketeering, trademark, and defamation laws as well as Georgia laws barring tortious interference with Resolute’s operations.
Resolute claims Greenpeace’s self-described “Resolute: Forest Destroyer” campaign falsely accuses the company of, among other things “destroying endangered forests,” causing the “destruction of endangered species,” and impairing the Boreal’s ability to mitigate climate change.
Resolute notes it is not a “destroyer” of the Boreal forest in any possible sense of the word, since Canada retains about 90 percent of its original forest cover, with agriculture and urbanization, not forestry and certainly not Resolute, responsible for the 10 percent lost over several hundred years. Every area Resolute harvests is regenerated either naturally or by seeding or planting; Resolute says between 2010 and 2012 it planted more than 60 million trees per year on average. Resolute argues its reforestation efforts and those of other Canadian forestry companies have resulted in virtually no permanent loss of Boreal forest acreage annually due to logging.
In addition, contrary to Greenpeace’s “Forest Destroyer” claims, Resolute’s logging practices have improved, not impaired, the Boreal forest’s carbon uptake. Science unequivocally shows the amount of carbon stored in North American forests has increased by millions of metric tons per year. Canadian forestry causes less than .06% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Most importantly, harvesting in the Boreal and other large old-growth forests reduces carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere as young forests absorb substantially more greenhouse gases than older forests, which can be net emitters of greenhouse gases.
The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognizes that fact, stating, “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustainable yield of timber, fibre, or energy from the forest will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”
After meetings between President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ended with a joint statement on June 8, Obama administration officials claimed India will ratify the Paris climate change agreement this year. Modi was quick to contradict the claim, saying India had not set a fixed deadline to sign the deal; rather, “We agreed to join as soon as possible and that is what is reflected in the Joint Statement as well.”
Because India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and because the accord becomes binding only when at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions formally join, India’s signature is critical if the Paris accord is to come into force before Obama leaves office. Indian negotiators have noted, “President Obama is pushing hard to get the Paris agreement going as his legacy. But he can only join the agreement. He can’t ratify it. What if developing countries ratify it, helping the Paris agreement come into force by 2016-end, but the next US President walks out of it with a simple executive order? We have to be mindful of the possibilities.”
A new e-book suitable for children from 8 to 14 years old is available on Amazon takes the acrimony out of the debate over the causes of climate change by sticking strictly to the facts about what is actually known about climate. It makes no theoretical predictions about the future. After a chapter explaining the difference between climate and weather, the author takes the reader through an examination of how seasons, altitude, continents, ocean currents and wind, volcanic action, greenhouse gases, and various climate cycles (e.g., ice ages, solar activity, El Niño and La Niña) shape the climates in which people live. In addition, the book explores the workings of extreme weather zones or periodic events like tropical storms and droughts.
I know adults who could benefit from reading this book’s clear exploration of the role various natural factors play in shaping climate.
Newly released internal e-mails show how George Mason University (GMU) climate professors plotted their petition calling on government to prosecute skeptics of global warming using laws designed to go after the mob.
Attorney Chris Horner, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, forced the release of the e-mails by filing a Freedom of Information Act request.
The emails show GMU professors Jagadish Shukla and Edward Maibach discussing how to craft their petition to appeal to conservatives. Other emails showed the two received warnings from others that the petition would go over poorly.
Maibach sent a draft of the RICO 20 petition to Alex Bozmoski, who makes conservative arguments for action to stop climate change, asking for advice on how to make it appeal to conservatives. Bozmoski’s reply cautioned, “It’s just an impossible topic to not scream hard-core left. You’re talking about prosecuting conservatives. …” Maibach also reached out to the climate alarmist Union of Concerned Scientists. The e-mails show the group “declined to support the petition.”
Despite those setbacks, Shukla and Maibach proceeded with the petition, getting 20 scientists to sign on before having to withdraw it after a media firestorm ensued.
GMU officials initially told Horner there were “no records” of the professors discussing RICO prosecution in their official capacity. Horner and CEI proved such emails existed by obtaining emails from professors at other universities who had corresponded with the GMU professors, who used their work emails, concerning the petition. After providing that evidence to the court, on May 13, the judge hearing the case required GMU to release the e-mails.
Horner told Fox News he’s pleased the emails are now public, “to educate the public how taxpayer resources were used” to push for the censorship of climate change skeptics.
SOURCE: Fox News