Testimony on Global Warming before the Republican Study Committee of Colorado

Presentation to the Republican Study Committee of Colorado on Global Warming and Climate Policy

Full Document Available in PDF

Chairman Lambert, Vice Chairman Lundberg, and Committee members: Thank you for inviting me to discuss global warming and climate change policy. On personal a note, I am honored to share the podium with Dr. Gray, one of the world’s leading hurricane experts. 

My testimony develops the following points:

  • Global warming is real and much of the warming since the mid-1970s is likely due to rising greenhouse gas levels from fossil energy use and other human activities.
  • However, the rate of warming has been modest and constant. Both data and theory suggest that future warming in the 21st century will be at low end of the UN climate panel’s projected range—2ºC or less.
  • Accordingly, the impacts of warming on human civilization and eco-systems are likely to be manageable and have benefits as well as costs.
  • Vice President Gore’s influential film, An Inconvenient Truth, warns that, in the 21st century, global warming may shut down the Gulf Stream, plunging <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Europe into a mini-ice age; gin up ever-more powerful and deadly storms; and break apart the great ice sheets, inundating the world’s coastal cities. Gore hypes the possible link between global warming and hurricanes. The ice sheet doomsday scenario is science fiction.
  • The Kyoto Protocol, even if implemented by all industrial countries, would avert an un-detectably small amount of global warming. Yet Kyoto would cost the U.S. economy tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in lost jobs, higher energy prices, and reduced GDP.  Kyoto is all economic pain for no environmental gain.
  • Per ton of emissions reduced, State-level greenhouse gas regulation is potentially far more costly than Kyoto.
  • The real inconvenient truth is that we do not know how to meet current, much less future anticipated, global energy needs with low- and non-emitting technologies. Carbon constraints tough enough to detectably cool the planet would be economically ruinous—a “cure” worse than the alleged disease.
  • Corporate lobbying for carbon regulation does not mean that Kyoto-style policy is good for the economy. All it shows is that some companies seek to establish a Carbon Cartel—a system of OPEC-like quotas (emission permits) for restricting the supply and raising the price of all carbon-based energy, not just oil.      
  • Putting an energy-starved world on an energy diet is not moral. Diverting major quantities of grain stocks to “feed” cars is not ethical.
  • Policymakers concerned about global warming should: (1) Support basic research to develop affordable, emission-free energy technologies, and (2) target scarce international assistance efforts where they can do the most good for each dollar invested.