Where’s the Warming? Unusual Weather Does Not Equal Climate Change

Where’s the Warming? Unusual Weather Does Not Equal Climate Change

April 14, 1999

The debate over human-induced global warming is far from settled. Listening to radical environmental activists and Vice President Al Gore, however, would give one the impression that the science is settled and humans are to blame for the warm temperatures in 1998. Recent weather events, however, could give the opposite impression.

This past winter saw record cold in the Arctic (notable because greenhouse theory predicts "global" warming will occur primarily in that region), heavy snowfall and deadly avalanches in the Alps, and record cold temperatures in the United States – including an April snow fall in North Carolina.

But these record cold temperatures and unusual weather events tell us nothing climatically. Neither do the record high temperatures of 1998 – they are not evidence for or against global warming. Only long-term observational evidence is valid, and so far it has failed to support the global warming hypothesis.

Despite these uncertainties, there is support in the White House and among some environmental groups for a global climate treaty, such as the Kyoto Protocol. Even the Clinton/Gore Administration has admitted that there would be enormous costs associated with the Kyoto Protocol. Some environmental groups have admitted that cutting back emissions of greenhouse gases would have little, if any, effect on global climate. What is the point of enacting such a treaty, when other options exist? Options that would not throw the brakes on a booming economy, yet improve the environment.

"If the Vice President is so worried about global warming he should consider a ‘no regrets’ policy," says Paul Georgia, environmental research associate at CEI and managing editor of Cooler Heads, a bi-weekly newsletter covering global warming issues. "We suggest a program of deregulation that would remove barriers to energy innovation, eliminate subsidies that encourage energy use and liberate energy markets. A ‘no-regrets’ policy should be pursued regardless of global warming considerations."

"All too often, folks turn to the government to solve a problem, only to discover that the solution – the regulations – actually make it worse," Georgia continued. "No environmental good will come from any policy that destroys economic growth. It is far more rational to remove those regulatory barriers so that the US, and countries all around the world, can develop wealth – historically, the creation of wealth has led to a cleaner environment."

Paul Georgia and James Sheehan, director of international environmental policy, have studied global warming and its implications for years and CEI representatives are regular attendees of UN Conferences on Climate Change. To schedule an interview or for more information, please contact Emily McGee, director of media relations, at 202-331-1010, ext. 209, or 703-728-0138 (cell).

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.