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Vol. VI, No. 16

Cooler Heads Digest

Title

Vol. VI, No. 16

 

Politics

Global warming was put on the international map during the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, but is scarcely to be seen in the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development.  Instead, the summit will focus on eliminating poverty, a fact that has angered environmentalists.

 

In an effort to appear concerned about the poor, environmentalists have cooked up the argument that the poor countries will be most heavily affected if global warming isn’t stopped, thus it should be featured prominently at the summit.

 

They blame the U.S., of course.  “EPA officials told me the American administration preferred to have climate change not at all on the agenda at Johannesburg, to instead focus on water,” said European Parliament member Alex de Roo.  “What do you see?  The first item on the agenda is water.  The second is energy, which has some climate implications, but the world climate isn’t mentioned.  That’s the cloud of the Bush administration hanging over the Johannesburg summit.”

 

The lack of clean drinking water and affordable energy is a far bigger threat to Third World countries than global warming.  Millions of people, mostly children, die every year from drinking contaminated water.  As noted in Reuters (July 29, 2002), “The summit’s focus on fighting poverty reflects the overriding concern of developing countries where scourges such as water-borne diseases, malaria and AIDS, which kill millions every year, appear far more menacing than global warming.”

 

But advocates of energy suppression policies to stop global warming argue that global warming will exacerbate these problems.  “It may seem that climate change is a less immediate problem than tackling poverty, but on issues like water supply, which is susceptible to climate change, the most vulnerable countries are those in the tropics and the south,” said Jacqueline Karas, climate change research fellow at London’s Royal Institute for International Affairs.  Thus climate change should be addressed.

 

As Bjorn Lomborg has pointed out, however, clean water could be provided to every person on the planet for $200 billion.  Trying to achieve the same result through the Kyoto Protocol would cost $300 billion per year and up over the next 50 years.  That’s like curing athlete’s foot by cutting your feet off.

 

Institute Refutes AG Letter

 

As we reported in our last issue, Attorneys General from 11 States have written a joint letter attacking President Bush for his stance on global warming.  Citing Climate Action Report 2002, which the administration submitted to the United Nations, the AGs accused Bush of not acting to stop global warming. 

 

Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has written a rebuttal to the AG letter.  Lewis noted that 10 of the 11 AGs are Democrats and that none of them is a Republican.  Moreover, “On average, the AG’s eleven states generate only 16 percent of their electricity from coal, compared to 59 percent for the rest of the country.  Carbon dioxide controls would make coal-fired electricity less (or non-) competitive.”  From this Lewis concludes, the AGs are “pursuing partisan advantage” and attempting “to use tax and regulatory policy to reward home-state interests and penalize out-of-state competitors.”

 

The report on which the AGs based their letter should have never been released, according to Lewis, because the report’s impacts chapter was based on the thoroughly discredited National Assessment, a report prepared by a federal advisory committee appointed by the Clinton Administration.

 

For instance, “The Canadian model [used in the National Assessment] overestimates U.S. warming during the 20th century by 300 percent,” and “In subsequent re-analysis, the two models [the Canadian and UK Met Office models] could not reproduce past U.S. temperatures better than a table of random numbers.”

 

In a veiled threat, the AGs claim that due to Bush’s negligence on this issue, “states and others are being forced to rely on their available legal mechanisms.  The resulting combination of state-by-state regulations and litigation will necessarily lessen regulatory certainty and increase the ultimate costs of addressing climate change, thereby making the purported goals of the Administration’s current policy illusory.”

 

“In other words,” says Lewis, “if Bush refuses to harm the economy, then the AGs and their allies will mess it up even worse.”  But there is no impending threat and thus no regulatory void and “available regulatory tools would be useless or do more harm than good even if there were such a threat.”

 

Lewis concludes, “The AGs’ case for CO2 regulation is built on science fiction, selective presentation of evidence, misinterpretation of texts, and denial of the decisive importance of energy abundance to human welfare.”  The paper can be downloaded at www.cei.org.

 

Economics

 

EU Proposes Economic Suicide

 

The American Council for Capital Formation has published a report on the economic impacts of the Kyoto Protocol and the more stringent cuts being proposed beyond Kyoto’s first compliance period on the European Union.  The report is based on a study by DRI-WEFA, an economics information company.

 

The EU has met it initial goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2000, but “this was largely the result of one-time events in the United Kingdom (significant replacement of coal by natural gas in electric power generation) and Germany (shutting down inefficient industries following unification).”

 

Emissions in 10 of the 15 EU countries actually increased between 1990 and 1999, and economic forecasting groups such as the International Energy Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration predict that carbon dioxide emissions will rise in nearly all the EU countries and will on average see an increase of about 9 percent between 2000 and 2010.

 

Meeting the Kyoto targets will have a “significant negative effect on GDP levels,” says the report.  Despite the likelihood of severe economic harm and the “lack of specificity regarding policies to prevent this projected growth in emissions...more stringent greenhouse gas emissions targets are being proposed for the years after the Kyoto Protocol’s first compliance period (2008-2012).”

 

One proposal (identified as Target 1 in the study) calls for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 60 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.  Another (Target 2) calls for stabilization of atmospheric levels of greenhouse gas emissions at 550 parts per million by 2100.  In the absence of developing country participation, the second proposal would require the developed countries to reduce emissions to zero by 2050.

 

The DRI-WEFA study examines the economic implications of meeting the Kyoto targets and the additional proposed carbon dioxide reductions beyond Kyoto for four EU countries, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Spain.

 

For Germany, Kyoto compliance would raise the price of home heating oil by 40 percent.  Gasoline and diesel prices would rise by 14 and 20 percent respectively and industry would see an increase in natural gas and electricity prices of 40 percent.  GDP would fall 5 percent below projected levels and job losses would reach 1.8 million annually during the 2008 and 2012 budget period.  The more stringent targets would further reduce GDP by 2.8 to 4.2 percent per year and employment would fall by an additional 900,000 to 1.3 million jobs annually.

 

Under Kyoto, the United Kingdom would see home heating oil prices rise by 46 percent, gasoline and diesel prices rise by 10 and 13 percent, and industry would pay 117 percent more for natural gas and more than double the price for electricity.  GDP would fall 4.5 percent, while British citizens would suffer the loss of 1 million jobs per year.  The more stringent targets would lower GDP an additional 2.0 or 3.2 percent.

 

The Netherlands and Spain would suffer similar increases in energy costs and losses in GDP, although it should be noted that industry in the Netherlands would have to pay a whopping 123 percent more for natural gas and nearly twice as much for electricity.  The report can be downloaded at www.accf.org.

 

Science

 

Cosmic Rays Implicated in Temperature Discrepancy

 

A new study appearing in the July 2002 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, offers a possible explanation for the discrepancy between atmospheric and surface temperatures.   The discrepancy has puzzled scientists for some time because, according to greenhouse theory, the atmosphere should warm first, followed by the surface.  What has been observed instead is an apparent warming of the surface and no warming in the atmosphere.

 

The new study looks at how the change in interstellar cosmic rays, which are actually particles that contribute to cloud formation, may affect the earth’s temperature.  The amount of cosmic rays reaching the earth is influenced by the solar winds.  When solar wind activity is high, it blocks incoming cosmic rays and lessens cloud cover and vice versa.  Yu suggests that the cosmic rays may have height dependent effects on earth’s cloudiness.  Since clouds at different altitudes have different temperature effects, ranging from warming to cooling, this may explain the apparent difference in temperature trends.

 

“A systematic change in global cloud cover will change the atmospheric heating profile,” Yu said.  “In other words, the cosmic ray-induced global cloud changes could be the long-sought mechanism connecting solar and climate variability.”

 

High clouds, for instance, tend to cool the Earth, while low clouds tend to hold in heat.  If cosmic rays contribute to the formation of low dense clouds, this may cause a surface warming that would not be recorded in the atmosphere.  A press release about the study can be found at www.agu.org.

 

Etc.

 

The UK Meteorological Office is rapidly losing any credibility it may (or may not) have had.  Beginning in 1995 the Met Office has consistently made claims about the year’s average temperatures based on incomplete data.  That year, for instance, it announced that 1995 was the hottest year on record even though it only had 11 months of data.  When the December numbers were in, 1995 turned out to be rather average.

 

Each year the Met Office moves up the date when it begins to prognosticate that this year will be one of the hottest or the hottest year yet.  Already, with just six months of data, the UK Met Office has proclaimed that, “Globally 2002 is likely to be warmer than 2001, and may even break the record set in 1998,” according to Briony Horton, a Met Office climate scientist (Reuters, August 2, 2002).

 

Nor is the Met Office content with merely spouting guesses about the year’s average temperature, but insists on bludgeoning us with global warming guilt.  It agrees with the IPCC that manmade emissions of greenhouse gases are largely to blame for the warming that has been witnesses since 1970.  “Since 1970 there has been a marked trend in the rise of global temperatures.  The actual rise prior to 1970 was partly man-made and partly due to natural effects.  But since 1970 scientists are in fairly general agreement that warming can be attributed to man’s polluting activities.”

 

This statement hides much more than it reveals, however.  The bottom line is that virtually all the warming since 1970 occurred in 1976.  The thirty to forty years prior to 1970 the global average temperature actually fell and is only now returning to the highs experienced in the 1930s.  And if the Met Office were really honest, it would admit that a mere 7,000 weather stations is not sufficient to tell us what the global average temperature actually is.

 

If there hasn’t yet been a good reason to stop global warming, there is now.  Giant squid are taking over the world, or at least the oceans, according to a report in Australasian Science.  According to the report, squid have now overtaken humans in terms of total biomass, putting a new meaning on the idea of overpopulation.

 

John Daly notes on his website, Still Waiting for Greenhouse (www.john-daly.com), that this silliness all began when “the remains of a giant squid was washed ashore recently on a beach near the city.  Scientists from the nearby Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies raced to study the find.”  And who or what is the culprit in the veritable explosion in squid flesh?  The report fingers over fishing of other species and….drum roll please….global warming.

 

The “increase of water temperature has the effect of rapidly increasing their growth rate and their ultimate body size,” says Dr. George Jackson from the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies.  The oceans have warmed according to some estimates, but only by 0.1 degree C between 1955 and 1995 in the top 1,000 meters.  But, as John Daly points out, giant squid live below 2,500 meters, and there has been no detectable warming at those depths.

 

THE COOLER HEADS COALITION

 

Alexis de Tocqueville Institution

Americans for Tax Reform

American Legislative Exchange Council

American Policy Center

Association of Concerned Taxpayers

Center for Security Policy

Citizens for a Sound Economy

Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Consumer Alert

Defenders of Property Rights

Frontiers of Freedom

George C. Marshall Institute

Heartland Institute

Independent Institute

JunkScience.com

National Center for Policy Analysis

National Center for Public Policy Research

Pacific Research Institute

Seniors Coalition

60 Plus Association

Small Business Survival Committee