The Leaflet: Climate Change and the States

Published September 28, 2017

This week, The Heartland Institute sent out a press release from its environmental policy experts regarding the supposed exclusive leak in The New York Times of a draft of the “Climate Science Special Report” by the U.S. Global Climate Research Program. On Tuesday, the Times, in a front-page article, claimed it was the first to release the draft report and that scientists feared the Trump administration “could change or suppress” the report, which is a part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. However, the report has been publicly available online since January, and four co-authors of the report told the Associated Press they were not aware of any suppression attempts by the current administration.

The special science report claims stronger evidence supports the theory global warming of the atmosphere and ocean has been rapid and is largely the effect of human activity since the mid-20th century. According to the report, natural variability is not a “convincing alternative explanation” for global temperature rise and “limited to a small fraction of observed climate trends.”

Many environmental experts disagree with the analysis, concluding the report uses flawed computer models and inaccurate data to scare the non-scientific community into “doing something” about the climate change crisis.

Heartland Research Fellow Isaac Orr, commenting on the climate change debate, said recently, “The recent story by The New York Times … demonstrates how politicized the debate over human influences on global temperatures has become.” 

Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition, made a similar point, arguing, “It makes no sense to claim temperatures in the United States have risen by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 150 years when meteorologist Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations study showed only 7.9 percent of existing stations achieved accuracies better than +/-1.8 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Many scientists and researchers believe humans’ carbon-dioxide emissions are not to blame for global warming. Professor of geography Arthur Viterto, wrote, for instance, “increasing mid-ocean seismic activity” contributes to global temperature rise more than CO2. Heartland Policy Advisor Donn Dears believes in the Svensmark hypothesis: “It’s very likely the Sun is the primary cause of global warming and has probably caused … temperatures [to rise] higher than today multiple times over the past 10,000 years.”

Solutions to any environmental or climate problem should not rely on the heavy hand of the government to mandate and regulate humans’ activities. Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are just one example of how misguided state policies can harm people. RPS mandates require a certain percentage of a state’s electricity development to come from renewable-energy sources, such as wind, water, or solar. RPS policies have resulted in retail electricity price increases in Delaware, North Carolina, Nevada, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

Another example of costly government regulation is statewide hydraulic fracturing bans, which have been enacted in Maryland, New York, and Vermont and have contributed to those states’ lagging economic conditions.

Free-market innovations have proven to provide ways to curb carbon-dioxide emissions while also expanding the U.S. job market. For instance, the booming fracking industry has led to record oil and natural gas production in the United States, resulting in energy independence, thousands of new jobs, and ever-declining carbon-dioxide emissions.


What We’re Working On

Budget & Tax
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Health Care
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Energy & Environment
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From Our Free-Market Friends
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