Senate Democrats' Energy Bill Promotes Global Warming Theory

 

DATE: December 17, 2001

BACKGROUND: Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), joined by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), recently introduced an energy bill (S.1766, "The Energy Policy Act of 2002") which includes a number of claims on global warming. Below are our responses, using scientific studies, to refute the claims made in S.1766's Section 1001, "Sense of Congress on Global Warming."

S.1766 Claim: "Evidence continues to build that increases in atmospheric concentrations of man-made greenhouse gases are contributing to global climate change."

Response: While the earth's surface temperature has increased 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century, measurements made using NASA satellites and balloons have found no rise in the temperature of the lower atmosphere over the last 22 years.1 According to climatologists, the greenhouse gas effect would cause temperatures in the lower atmosphere, or troposphere, to increase first, but this has not happened. 2

S.1766 Claim: "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has concluded that 'there is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities...'

Response: Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, and one of the lead authors of the IPCC report, said "in point of fact, there may not have been any significant warming in the last 60 years. Moreover, such warming as may have occurred was associated with jumps that are inconsistent with greenhouse warming."3

S.1766 Claim: "...and that the Earth's average temperature can be expected to rise between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit in this century."

Response: Dr. Lindzen says, "...a doubling of carbon dioxide by itself would produce only a modest temperature increase of one degree Celsius."4 In 1988 the IPCC computer models predicted temperatures would rise 0.8 degrees Celsius each decade. By 1995 it had changed its prediction to 0.2 degrees Celsius.5 The predictions are guesses.

S.1766 Claim: "The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) confirmed ...that 'the IPCC's conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase of greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.'"

Response: Dr. Lindzen, also a panelist on the NAS report reviewing the IPCC's findings says, "Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and some agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future."6

S.1766 Claim: "The Environmental Protection Agency has found that global warming may harm the United States by altering crop yields, accelerating sea level rise, and increasing the spread of tropical infectious diseases."

Response: A new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has found that cotton yields in the southeastern U.S. would increase with increased levels of CO2. Based on data from its computer models, NCAR predicts cotton yields would increase by as much as 26-36%.7

S.1766 Claim: "In 1992, the United States ratified the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change which stated in part 'the parties to the Convention are to implement policies with the aim of returning to their 1990 levels anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.'"

Response: The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that gasoline prices would rise by 14 to 66 cents per gallon and electricity prices would increase 20 to 86 percent if such a policy is implemented.8


FOR MORE INFORMATION: See "Global Warming: Charges and Responses" by Tom Randall at http://www.nationalcenter.org/Bonn2001.html or "A Global Warming Primer" by Gerald E. Marsh, physicist, at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA361.pdf.

by Gretchen Randall, Director
John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
The National Center for Public Policy Research

Contact the author at: 773-857-5086 or [email protected]
The National Center for Public Policy Research
Chicago office
3712 North Broadway - PMB 279
Chicago, IL 60613


Footnotes:

1 Sallie Baliunas and James Glassman, The Weekly Standard, June 25, 2001.
2 Ibid.
3 Testimony by Richard Lindzen before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee May 2, 2001.
4 The National Center for Public Policy Research Global Warming Kyoto Earth Summit Fact Sheet, downloaded December 14, 2001 from http://www.nationalcenter.org/KyotoFactSheet.html.
5 Richard. S. Lindzen, "Scientists' Report Doesn't Support the Kyoto Treaty", The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2001.
6 Ibid.
7 "Climate Change Could Boost Cotton Yields," December 10, 2001 press release of NCAR.
8 Jay Hakes, Administrator, Energy Information Administration, Testimony before the Committee on Science, U.S. House of Representative, October 9, 1998.