GREEN FAILURE: Impact of the Global Warming Hoax
Posted by FactReal on October 30, 2010
|SUMMARY: The Global Warming Hoax and its Impact|
|For years businesses and the general public have been told by mainstream climatologists that the planet is warming due to human activity and that immediate action is necessary to avoid a global catastrophe. The U.S. government relied heavily on a 2007 report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to justify the need to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) created anthropogenically. Over time, Congress enacted numerous policies to increase clean energy production, such as mandates for renewable fuels, expanded tax credits for renewable energy, and new energy efficiency targets for vehicles and appliances. All of these policies had the goal of reducing America’s carbon footprint. Congress is now seeking to expand and create new policies aimed at further reducing emissions by placing a national cap on carbon emissions and enforcing a federal mandate for renewable energy production. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is on its own regulatory path to decrease CO2. (…)
Recent flaws discovered in the scientific assessment of climate change have shown that the scientific consensus is not as settled as the public had been led to believe. Leaked e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in the U.K. revealed conspiracy, exaggerated warming data, possibly illegal destruction and manipulation of data, and attempts to freeze out dissenting scientists from publishing their work in reputable journals. Furthermore, gaffes exposed in the IPCC report have only increased skepticism among businesses and the public, and raised serious questions about sacrificing economic activity to reduce CO2 emissions. (…)
The Shifting Consensus
The alleged scientific consensus on climate change holds that the planet is warming at a dramatic rate. But not long ago, scientists thought that global cooling was a threat to the planet. As recently as 1975, The New York Times ran an article titled, “A Major Cooling Widely Considered to Be Inevitable.” Some proposals even included covering the polar ice caps with black soot to melt them. Only six years later, climatologists predicted that global warming was inevitable, and the issue gained more traction throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The IPCC published multiple reports, the first in 1990, pronouncing that human activities, predominately fossil fuel use, were warming the planet. A supplementary report followed in 1992, the second report appeared in 1995, and the third in 2001—all presenting “newer and stronger” evidence that the planet’s surface was heating due to human activity.
The message that warming was incontrovertible continually gained momentum and exploded in 2006 when former Vice President Al Gore released his book and documentary film An Inconvenient Truth, claiming that the planet would witness more Hurricane Katrina-like disasters and rising sea levels if humans do not drastically reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions. The 2007 IPCC report became Al Gore’s magnum opus on climate change and the main source for the “evidence” he relentlessly pitched to Congress. The 2007 report declared that global warming is “unequivocal,” and the frequency and intensity of natural disasters is likely to increase. The report’s “Summary for Policymakers” warned that carbon emissions from fossil fuel production and nitrous oxide, and methane emissions from agricultural production, are significantly contributing to global warming. Government officials in the U.S. and around the world continually use and exaggerate the IPCC report to justify the need for carbon reduction policies, creating a large disparity between hype and reality. For instance, even the IPCC projection of sea level rising over the next century is a modest 7 to 23 inches, with the lower end of that projection occurring over the past two centuries.
Is There a Scientific Consensus? Several recent events, including revelations that forced the IPCC to retract parts of its 2007 report, have called the scientific consensus into question. Although the study puts the probability of Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035 at “very high,” the authors acknowledged that they based this and other claims on speculation. Further, the IPCC’s assessment of reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps, and Africa came from two dubious sources. One was from a magazine that discussed anecdotal evidence from mountain climbers; the other came from a student dissertation. The IPCC also acknowledged overstating crop loss in Africa, depletion of the Amazon rain forest, sea level increases in the Netherlands, and damage from weather catastrophes.
Climate data sets are also raising questions. Hackers leaked thousands of e-mails and other documents from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit that detailed how these climatologists, many with important roles in promulgating the official U.N. science, refused to share data, plotted to keep dissenting scientists from being published in leading journals, and discarded original data. Some have resigned and others have been investigated for breaching data laws under the Freedom of Information Act. Russian climatologists blamed the scandal-laden Climate Research Unit (CRU) for omitting cooler data points from its data set. In the U.S., computer programmer E. Michael Smith and meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo detailed how the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) dropped thousands of data points from its climate data set—data points that were in cooler regions around the globe.
…[C]limatologists questioned the IPCC’s findings before these gaffes. University of Virginia professor Fred Singer recently published an 800-page report titled, “Climate Change Reconsidered,” which questions and debunks many of the IPCC conclusions and emphasizes that there is no scientific consensus on climate change. Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, notes that the IPCC’s models fail to take into account naturally occurring cycles such as El Niño, the Pacific decadal oscillation, or the Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Other prominent scientists called political action “irresponsible and immoral” because of the lack of credible evidence. When the IPCC released its report in 2007, 400 climate experts disputed the findings; that number has since grown to more than 700 scientists, including several current and former IPCC scientists. (…)
Government Plans to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Despite these revelations about scientific research on global warming, the U.S. government has aggressively pursued climate change policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. During the past two decades, the federal government has spent more than $79 billion on climate change policies, “including science and technology research, administration, education campaigns, foreign aid, and tax breaks.” Legislation signed into law in 2005 and 2007 included more steps to transition from fossil fuels and improve energy efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions. More recently, the Obama Administration has attempted to tip the balance in favor of renewable energy by advocating a cap-and-trade system, CO2 regulations, renewable electricity mandates, and additional billions of dollars in government spending for government-picked “clean-energy” sources. (…)
The 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included funding for renewable energy as well. Also known as the stimulus bill, the $814 billion package allocates nearly $47 billion for renewable energy sources, smart grids, and energy-efficiency programs. Congress granted an additional $20 billion to manufacturers of renewable energy technology in the form of tax credits.
The reason these sources of energy need government help is that they are too uncompetitive to reach the market otherwise. To the extent that there is a valid economic case for wind energy, solar energy, and ethanol fuel, industry will provide them even in the absence of government dictates and subsidies. Moreover, government-mandated energy-efficiency programs may sound good to consumers, but it is rarely good when Washington controls the market, since the forced energy-efficiency standards can result in decreased product performance, features, or reliability, which destroys value for the consumer. Mandatory improvements in efficiency usually raise the purchase price of appliances; sometimes the increase is more than enough to negate the energy savings.
Key legislative and regulatory steps are:
● 2005 and 2007 Energy Bills and 2009 Green Stimulus. Over the past five years, the government implemented two key policies to support renewable energy production, and passed a stimulus bill in 2009 with billions allocated to renewable energy projects. (…)
● Cap and Trade. One way to make clean energy more competitive is to tax fossil fuels to make them more expensive through a cap-and-trade system. Under cap and trade, emitters of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide derived from fossil fuel production, would be required to obtain permits (also known as allowances) for each ton of CO2 emitted…
● EPA Regulations. With Congress unable to deliver a final cap-and-trade bill to the President, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working on a backdoor policy to regulate greenhouse gas emissions much like cap and trade…In April 2009, the EPA issued an endangerment finding, saying that current and future greenhouse gas emissions pose a serious threat to public health and safety. The EPA relied on the 2007 IPCC report as well as data from the NCDC to establish this finding. Thus, questionable science is guiding major changes in economic regulation. Under this approach, almost any activity that emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Like cap and trade, regulating CO2 emissions under the Clean Air Act would similarly burden the economy with higher energy costs, and would also include higher administrative compliance costs for businesses, higher bureaucratic costs for enforcing the regulations, and higher legal costs from the inevitable litigation.
Business Responds to Government
Recognizing policymakers’ commitment to reducing greenhouse gases, businesses shaped their plans around government policies, despite the fact they are based on poor scientific evidence. Companies worldwide are taking climate change into consideration when making short-term and long-term business decisions. (…)
There is nothing wrong with these business decisions if they are made voluntarily. But if they are made in response to government policies favoring renewable energy over other sources, especially on questionable scientific grounds, it misallocates private resources, crowds out innovation, and wastes taxpayer money. In Spain, solar companies enjoyed lucrative subsidies for years; when the global recession forced the Spanish government to cut back its handouts, the Spanish solar market crashed.
In a free market, the private sector should bear the risk and, therefore, reap the reward or suffer the consequences of an investment decision. If the government dictates these decisions by subsidizing a portion of the project, businesses receive all rewards with minimal risk. With start-up companies and large corporations alike receiving money from the government through stimulus funds or tax credits, firms will divert investments to clean-energy technology away from other—potentially more profitable and value-creating—investments.
– Global Warming Hoax Revealed: The emails that reveal an effort to hide the truth about climate science
– ClimateGate emails