Specific Comments on Menendez Climate Change Amendment Findings

Finding (1) Evidence continues to build that increases in atmospheric concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases are contributing to global climate change.

This statement is pure assertion. It supplies no evidence that “evidence continues to build.”

Finding (1) also seems to say more than it does. What matters from a public policy standpoint is not whether the “balance of evidence suggests … a discernible human influence of global climate” (as the IPCC said in its 1996 report), but whether there is any evidence at all that man-made greenhouse gases are causing, or are likely to cause, a climate catastrophe, and whether the benefits of energy-rationing schemes like the Kyoto Protocol would be in any reasonable proportion to their costs. As discussed below, a modest 21st century warming would likely enhance global food security and biodiversity, and Kyoto would be all economic pain for no environmental gain. Mere detection of a human influence on climate would not justify adopting the kinds of policies the Menendez amendment advocates.

Although Finding (1) does not specify the “evidence” to which it refers, it more than likely alludes to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, particularly Chapter 12, “Detection of Climate Change and Summary of Causes.” Chapter 12 argues that the 0.4-0.8 degree C warming during the 20th century was “very unlikely” to be due “entirely” to natural causes. The chapter offers two main kinds of evidence: temperature records and computer model simulations.