Climate Report Counters Alarmist Hearings

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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273

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Washington, D.C., November 16, 2004—On the occasion of yet another congressional hearing featuring alarmist predictions of future climate disaster, the Competitive Enterprise Institute has released a study on the state of the global warming debate. Today Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-AZ) will hold a hearing on the misleading and unbalanced Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report. CEI's study, Launching the Counter-Offensive: A Sensible Sense of Congress Resolution on Climate Change, by Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis, Jr., refutes many of the faulty assumptions from the Impact Assessment and similar climate studies.


The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, despite its recent release, has already generated analysis pointing out numerous flaws and distortions.  Widely accepted data records show Arctic temperatures that are roughly the same as in the 1930s and part of a slight cooling trend over the last few thousands years, and that the Greenland ice sheet is also cooling, all in opposition to the unsourced data sets contained in the Assessment.


Launching the Counteroffensive takes on the misleading Arctic scenarios: “As for the Arctic Sea, satellite photos show that ice cover has contracted since 1979, a period when the region warmed. However, the Arctic has not warmed faster than the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, contrary to what we would expect if the polar warming were due to an intensification of the greenhouse effect,” writes Lewis. “Moreover, the Arctic was warmer during the late 1930s and early 1940s, before the rapid rise in CO2 levels, than it is today. For all we know—satellite photography did not exist 65 years ago—the Arctic then looked pretty much as it does now.”


In order to generate the predictions of massive dislocation and disaster in the Arctic, the authors of the Impact Assessment had to use warming scenarios from a previous report – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report – which scientists and economists consider extreme and among the least likely to actually come to pass.  Even the evidence for one of its most widely cited predictions, that polar bears may become extinct due to regional warming, is actually consistent with a larger population of bears competing for a naturally limited food supply.