Competitive Enterprise Institute | 1899 L ST NW Floor 12, Washington, DC 20036 | Phone: 202-331-1010 | Fax: 202-331-0640
October 1, 2002
To The Editors:
Your editorial “A ticklish compromise for a trickle of oil” (10/01/02) alludes that certain problems exist with the three Senate “climate change” titles being considered by Republican conferees on the energy legislation as a trade for a very restricted opening of ANWR for oil production. In the interests of space I will comment solely on the most obscene result in the event of such a compromise.
“Title XIII, which allocates billions of extra taxpayer dollars for climate research” falls woefully short of exposing the actual boondoggle at stake. In sum, it rewards the most politicized scientific endeavor in memory, and codifies in U.S. law a position that no credible scientist—though many pandering politicians—will say publicly. The bureaucracy in question, the US Global Change Research Project, was exposed in U.S. District Court in Washington, in a lawsuit I filed on behalf of U.S. Senator James Inhofe, Reps. JoAnn Emerson and Joe Knollenberg, CEI and others. (CEI vs. Clinton, et al., CV-00-02383 DCDC). USGCRP has two functions, one of which it performed curiously and for the first time, just as its political patron Al Gore made his stretch run for the White House. We sued, properly discrediting this “National Assessment on Climate Change”, and in settlement ultimately had it disowned by the Bush White House as not representing formal government policy.
The settlement-by-“legal fiction” was made necessary, despite an over six-year delay in developing an assessment and wasting millions of dollars, because plaintiffs -- citing the formal if confidential comments of many federal scientists, exposed under the Freedom of Information Act—demonstrated politicization and numerous statutory violations committed in a rushed pursuit of an incomplete, inaccurate report in time for the fall elections of 2000.
Given its record, USGCRP must be more closely scrutinized, not enriched, expanded, and further empowered. Yet Title XIII - part of a “Global Climate Change Act of 2002” not exposed to the committee process or debate—amends the “Scientific Assessment” requirement for a National Assessment without adding protections against problems exposed by CEI, et al., v. Clinton.
Worse, although elsewhere the Senate bill acknowledged the weakness of existing technology - and therefore, knowledge—Title XIII adds to U.S. law the UN’s flawed, anti-scientific presumption that “climate change” is a recognized, detectable man-made effect, distinct from “climate variability,” the natural processes that dictate climate. It fails to provide for judicial review of authority, old and new, already demonstrated as subject to politicization and other abuse. This sub rosa effort also calls for rushing on matters of evaluating and acting upon geological cycles thousands of years long on the basis of mere years’ worth of observed data, a prescription for policy disaster.
Climate change advocates insist this matter is the most pressing scientific and environmental issue of our time, yet have ducked using actual science, and now seek to amend the relevant scientific research provisions—already demonstrated through litigation to be subject to politicization and other abuse - through a backdoor amendment not subjected to the committee process or even substantive floor deliberation. This is obscene and no trade allowing it is jusitifiable.