Economic "Consensus" Bandwagon on Warming Derailed

Economic "Consensus" Bandwagon on Warming Derailed

Institute President Says Global Warming Policies Will Bring Pain, Little Gain
February 12, 1997

Urging caution in the face of calls for drastic action over the issue of global warming, the Competitive Enterprise Institute responded to today's press conference alleging an economic "consensus" on global warming policy.

"The idea that a majority of American economists support imposing carbon taxes or any of the other policies discussed at today's press conference is absurd," commented Fred L. Smith, Jr., president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. "There is no such thing as a free lunch."

Earlier today, the group Redefining Progress released a statement on global warming policy signed by numerous economists. This statement is being used to pressure the U.S. government into adopting stringent controls on greenhouse gas emissions.

"I am concerned that so many economists would sign on to such a statement without looking at the active scientific and policy debate on this issue," Smith said. "Important questions are not being asked such as 'If warming is really occurring, where is the empirical evidence?' and 'Are the risks of global warming really greater than the risks of global warming policies?' Clearly many of the people on the list were duped into endorsing a vague statement of principles without much consideration as to how it would be used politically."

Smith noted that precise satellite measurements of global temperatures have failed to find any warming trend over the past two decades. "Right now, the 'solutions' being proposed are going to be extremely expensive, in terms of dollars and impact on quality of life, but the benefits are questionable at best," Smith added.

CEI suggests journalists contact leading economists before reporting on an alleged economic "consensus" on global warming policy. Some suggestions follow:

  • Robert Hahn - American Enterprise Institute (202) 862-5800

  • Paul Portney - Resources for the Future (202) 328-5000

  • Ben Zycher - Milken Institute for Job & Capital Formation (310) 998-2600

  • William Niskanen - The Cato Institute (202) 842-0200

  • Robert Crandall - Brookings Institution (202) 797-6000

  • Richard Stroup - Political Economy Research Center (406) 587-9591

  • Thomas Gale Moore - Hoover Institution (415) 723-1411

  • Thomas Schilling - University of Maryland (301) 405-3494

For more information, contact Greg Smith at (202) 331-1010 or gsmith@CEI.org.