Winning the Global Warming War

Published February 17, 2017

What to do about global warming, or “climate change,” is the most consequential political war of our era. The Heartland Institute’s primary goal over the next four years is to win the global warming war. Here is why, and how we plan to do it.

Why We Must Win

Global warming isn’t just one of many public policy debates that free-market advocates need to win. It is a war, the most important and most consequential war of our era.

Progressives have declared war on capitalism and the technologies, fuels, and industries critical to its survival. This is why they took over the environmental movement in the 1980s and 1990s; not to protect the environment, but to wage war on capitalism.

Global expenditures to “stop global warming” already exceeded $1.5 trillion a year in 2015, or approximately $4 billion a day. Progressives want to spend even more. They claim stabilizing the global climate would require reducing carbon dioxide emissions 80 percent or even more by the middle of the century.

Solar and wind energy typically costs five to ten times as much as energy produced from fossil fuels. Because they are intermittent and unreliable sources of energy, they cannot be scaled up to meet current levels of demand for energy, much less the higher levels of demand that are expected to prevail decades from now.

Energy in the Progressive’s fantasy world would have to be rationed. Choices of housing and occupations and cars, among other goods and services, would be severely limited. Economic growth would slow to a crawl. Capitalism will have been destroyed, and along with it the standard of living we all now take for granted.

No Consensus

Most scientists don’t believe computer models can predict future weather patterns or tell us whether global warming is a threat. Real peer-reviewed science shows the human impact on climate is probably too small to measure and not worth trying to prevent or undo.

Surveys and article-counting exercises alleging to show a “consensus” invariably ask the wrong questions (e.g., is climate change happening, rather than whether a human impact is likely to be dangerous) or are methodologically flawed. More reliable research shows the science community is deeply divided and unsure about the causes and consequences of climate change.

The Heartland Institute has exposed the “consensus” fallacy by publishing Climate Change Reconsidered, a series of volumes summarizing the vast scientific scholarship that refutes global warming alarmism. Our most recent book, Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming, zeroes in on the false “consensus” claim and utterly demolishes it.

We plan to distribute more than 300,000 copies of Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming in the coming months.

A Peace Dividend

By ending the costly war on affordable energy, we can give every family in America a “peace dividend” equal to approximately $4,275 a year, every year. This money could be used to pay for college tuition, mortgage payments or rent, or to pay off debt.

The cost of global warming alarmism in the United States includes the cost of wind, solar, and ethanol subsidies; of storage required to offset peaks and valleys caused by unreliable wind and solar power; of subsidies for electric and plug-in vehicles; the lost wages of coal miners and manufacturers; and the salaries and wages of thousands of government bureaucrats who owe their jobs to global warming alarmism.

The Heartland Institute is documenting the amount of this peace dividend in the upcoming and final volume in the Climate Change Reconsidered series, subtitled Benefit & Costs of Fossil Fuels.

A Pro-energy, Pro-environment, Pro-jobs Agenda

Ending the Progressives’ war on affordable energy would jump-start the economy and create high-paying jobs in manufacturing here in the United States.

Climate realism is part of a bigger pro-energy, pro-environment, and pro-jobs agenda. (See a summary of that agenda on page 19 of this issue of QPR.) Presenting climate realism this way gives people a reason to follow the global warming debate more closely… because it has real consequences for their day-to-day lives.

In the coming months, we plan to schedule meetings with elected officials in 20 states, building on the success of past meetings and capitalizing on the new possibilities for passing legislation thanks to the results of the 2016 elections.

Replace EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the Progressives’ most powerful army in the global warming war. They use it to impose regulations that Congress refuses to pass, to produce fake science to support its agenda, and to demonize and harass those who disagree with them.

The new Republican Party Platform says “We propose to shift responsibility for environmental regulation from the federal bureaucracy to the states and to transform the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] into an independent bipartisan commission, similar to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with structural safeguards against politicized science.”

It also says “We will likewise forbid the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide, something never envisioned when Congress passed the Clean Air Act.”

The GOP is following the lead of its candidate for president, Donald Trump, who in a March 2016 debate said he would abolish EPA and in a May 2016 speech in North Dakota condemned “the Environmental Protection Agency’s use of totalitarian tactics” that have “denied millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting under our feet. This is your treasure, and you – the American People – are entitled to share in the riches.”

The Heartland Institute’s science director, Jay Lehr, Ph.D., proposed in 2014 a plan to replace EPA with a “committee of the whole” composed of the heads of the 50 state environmental protection agencies. Regrettably, many “experts” are convinced it would be impossible to abolish EPA.

To get around this clique and tap the ideas of thousands of state elected officials and literally millions of victims of EPA abuses, we plan to host a competition later this year for the best ideas for replacing EPA.

We Can Win … With Your Help

The Heartland Institute, working with many allies in government and in the free-market movement, is documenting and educating policymakers and the public on why we must win the global warming war. We are assembling research to back up each of the points made above, and we are using communications vehicles The Heartland Institute has created and refined over the years to build public and political support for them.

Your financial support is needed if these projects are to be undertaken and successful. Contributions to The Heartland Institute are tax-deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Together, we can win the most important public policy battle of our era. The stakes could not be higher, or the opportunity greater. I hope you will join us.