The video CEI’s Iain Murray links below notes that Al Gore is fond of arguing that rising carbon-dioxide levels correlate with rising global temperatures. But as Iain and others on Planet Gore have pointed out, carbon-dioxide levels continue to rise, while global temperatures have remained flat, at best — and have dropped by some measures. And yet legislative “fixes” — to arrest nonexistent global warming by taxing non-dispositive carbon emissions — remain on offer.
Steve Forbes makes the same point in his Fact and Comment column in the March 10 issue of Forbes. His lead item, “Brrr!,” notes that solar variability has more to do with warming and cooling trends in the Earth’s climate than does carbon dioxide.
The “Other Comments” section from Forbes’s March 10 issue also quotes Ben Lieberman’s NRO article from September on the changing climate debate (I reproduce their reproduction below) — so three cheers for Forbes.
Unfortunately, the climate seems to be changing faster than the climate-change debate.
The reason Kyoto Protocol signatories are not reducing their emissions is that doing so is proving to be prohibitively costly. These nations are learning the hard way what the Bush Administration has understood all along — that attempts to rapidly force down the fossil-fuel use that provides the backbone of modern economies will be very expensive.
While inundating the public with scary stories about global warming’s effects, the proponents of cap-and-trade have thus far said little about the costs of combating the threat — and for good reasons. Kyoto’s provisions would have cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars annually from higher energy prices, but would, according to proponents, avert only 0.07 degrees Celsius of global warming by 2050.
A European Environment Agency report found that greenhouse-gas emissions from motor vehicles continue to rise due to increased driving, despite punitively high European gasoline taxes that push the overall price well above $6 per gallon. In fact, increased vehicle emissions are a big part of the reason most Western European countries are going to miss their Kyoto targets. If $6 per gallon is not high enough to discourage driving and meet Europe’s global-warming targets, then what will it take here? Americans, who get angry enough over $3 gas, will want answers to this and other economic questions before they buy into any climate policy.
– Ben Lieberman, Heritage Foundation, National Review Online