Comments on the Menendez Climate Amendment from CEI and the Center for Science and Public Policy

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On May 7, 2003, the House International Relations Committee will mark up the FY 2004 State Department authorization bill. The Committee will consider an amendment, introduced by Rep. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), that, if enacted, would effectively overturn S. Res. 98, the Byrd-Hagel resolution.  Menendez’s amendment, a “Sense of Congress” resolution on global climate change, reflects the Kyoto vision of an impending greenhouse apocalypse, advocates Kyoto-style energy rationing, both as a matter of national policy and international law. CEI teams up with the Center for Science and Public Policy to offer critical comments on the amendment’s scientific and economic claims and assumptions.


Comments on Menendez Climate Change Amendment

Summary of Key Points

–        Based on the key temperature measurements of the last several decades, the actual data has shown no significant global warming trend. Therefore, the scientific facts do not support either climate alarmism or mandatory CO2 emission cuts.

–        The available scientific evidence does not support the claim that the climate of the 20th century in many locations around the globe was unusual when compared to the previous 900 years. Claims that man-made emissions are causing “unprecedented” global warming have been seriously undermined by new research that shows much of the earth was warmer during the early Middle Ages.

–        New research findings on the sun, including records of changes in the sun’s magnetism (and therefore its energy output) reaching back some 1,000 years, suggest a major natural influence on surface temperatures of the earth.

–        New research on black carbon (soot) emissions, water vapor feedback effects, and CO2 concentration increases indicate that the climate system does not respond as current climate models predict.

–        During the period from 1895 to 2002, a number of states show an actual declining trend in long-term average surface temperatures, including Texas (-0.3 degF/century) and Michigan (-0.2 degF/century).

–        The proposed climate amendment would effectively overturn S. Res. 98, the Byrd-Hagel resolution, by endorsing the Kyoto vision of an impending climate apocalypse, advocating Kyoto-style policies, and urging the United States to rejoin the Kyoto negotiations.

–        Proposals like the Kyoto agreement to sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions are estimated in most economic studies to have enormous economic, social and environmental costs. The cost estimates for the U.S. alone amount to as high as $400 billion per year. Those costs would fall disproportionately on America’s and the world’s elderly and poor.

–        Low-cost, coal-fired electric power is vital to the jobs, incomes, and health of millions of Americans.  Complete elimination of coal-fired power by Kyoto-style regulation could reduce household income by as much as $225 billion in 2010, and induce 14,000 to 25,000 premature adult deaths, especially among minorities and the poor.