Skip to comments."Findings" vs. "Facts" In Washington (re: Global Climate Change Act of 2001/2)
Posted on 12/13/2001 4:38:42 AM PST by Stand Watch Listen
It's been remarkably warm and dry in Washington, D.C., beating 70 degrees almost every day in early December. But if people there think it's warm now, wait until February, when hot air gushes forth over new legislation targeting global warming and our way of life.
I'm referring to new legislation, the Global Climate Change Act of 2001 (soon to be of 2002). It's sponsored by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who wants to become president on Jan. 20, 2005. He's a smoother version of Al Gore. But he shares Gore's cult-like belief that our lives must be dramatically coerced in a green fashion and thinks that he, like Al, knows What's Good For Us better than we do.
The bill reflects much of Kerry's larger vision for our nation. That picture is clear in Title 1, Section 103 of his bill. It requires the development of a "national strategy" for "emissions reduction standards.that will.stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations . transforming the United States economy into a no-net greenhouse gas emissions economy."
Reality check: With today's technology, that means virtually no gasoline-powered cars, no fossil-fuel-produced electricity and no cattle. Do we have any viable replacements? Hybrid cars still burn gas, nuclear power plants are unacceptable and no one has invented the gasless cow.
Such a draconian proposal must be based on some pretty dire prospects. In legislation, these are called "findings," and there are 14 of them in Kerry's bill, S.1716. Sometimes "Findings" miss a few "Facts." To wit:
Finding 2: "The global-average surface temperature has increased over the 20th century by 0.72 to 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit and the average temperature increase in the Northern Hemisphere is likely to have been the largest of any century during the past 1,000 years."
Missing Facts: At least half of this slight rise in temperature took place before economic activity produced much of an increase in greenhouse gases. In the second half of the 20th century, two-thirds of the warming was in the winter, and three-quarters of that warming was in the abysmally cold winter air of Siberia and northwestern North America. That is predicted by greenhouse theory but rarely mentioned because it is obviously salutary. The temperature record for the last 1,000 years is highly controversial, but it also shows that for most of the 900 years prior to 1900 the earth's temperature was cooling.
Finding 3: "From 1948 to 1998 the mean temperature of the world ocean increased..."
Missing Facts: The relevant Science paper, published in April 2000, "smoothed" the ocean temperatures with an averaging technique. The "raw" data reveal no statistically significant net warming since 1977 or before 1976. In other words, the temperature "jumped" in one year. Reputable climate scientists all know about this anomaly, known as "the great Pacific climate shift," but no one can explain it. Climate models, used as the basis for most of the current hysteria, don't predict this behavior.
Finding 4: "The observed changes.[include].a rise of between 10-20 centimeters [4-8 inches] of global-average sea level."
Missing Facts: Just last month Cecile Cabanes published a paper in Science that examined the same ocean temperature record used in Finding 3. She determined that the century-scale sea level rise from warming is around 2.5 inches, not the 6 inches commonly reported. She also found places with substantial sea level declines, such as the region around Tuvalu, in the central Pacific, where the natives are claiming environmental refugee status from -- you guessed it -- sea level rise.
Finding 9: "Projected rates of warming would be much larger than the observed 20th-century changes..."
Missing Facts: In 1995, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said, "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." In 2001, they reported increasing evidence for the same.
Almost all global climate models warm the planet at a constant (not increasing) rate once "human influence" becomes established. If we accept the UN's contention that warming in recent decades is because of "human influence," then the warming of the next century will take place at the same rate, which would be around 2.7 F, but with the bias towards winter and cold temperatures noted above. Many respected economists and scientists think that the net effect of this modest warming is largely beneficial.
Finding 11: "A greenhouse-gas warming could be reversed only very slowly.."
Missing Facts: It is technologically impossible, economically impossible, and politically suicidal to reduce net greenhouse emissions to a level that would have a detectable effect on global temperature for the next 50 years. The now-dead Kyoto Protocol on global warming, with U.S. participation, would have resulted in a net "savings" of 0.13 F of warming in the next 50 years. The watered-down versions of Kyoto, modified this year in Bonn and Marrakech, result in a net warming reduction of 25/1000 of a degree by 2050.
Any legislation that is based on such a biased presentation of facts should rightfully be viewed with extreme skepticism. Let's hope that will be the fate of Kerry's "plan" when all of its hot air hits the fan in February.
Patrick J. Michaels is senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and author of "The Satanic Gases."
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