July 29, 2003
A copy of the 12,000-word speech is attached below. The following are excerpts from today's speech:
-- "Much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science."
-- "Today, even saying there is scientific disagreement over global warming is itself controversial. But anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate natural disasters."
-- "I would submit, furthermore, that not only is there a debate, but the debate is shifting away from those who subscribe to global warming alarmism. After studying the issue over the last several years, I believe that the balance of the evidence demonstrates that natural variability is the overwhelming factor influencing climate."
-- "I believe it is extremely important for the future of this country that the facts and the science get a fair hearing. Without proper knowledge and understanding, alarmists will scare the country into enacting its ultimate goal: making energy suppression, in the form of harmful mandatory restrictions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, the official policy of the United States."
-- "I have offered compelling evidence that catastrophic global warming is a hoax. That conclusion is supported by the painstaking work of the nation's top climate scientists."
-- "What have scientists concluded? The Kyoto Protocol has no environmental benefits; natural variability, not fossil fuel emissions, is the overwhelming factor influencing climate change; satellite data, confirmed by NOAA balloon measurements, confirms that no meaningful warming has occurred over the last century; and climate models predicting dramatic temperature increases over the next 100 years are flawed and highly imperfect."
THE SCIENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
STATEMENT BY SENATOR JAMES M. INHOFE
CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS
JULY 28, 2003
As chairman of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, I have a profound responsibility, because the decisions of the committee have wide-reaching impacts, influencing the health and security of every American. That's why I established three guiding principles for all committee work: it should rely on the most objective science; it should consider costs on businesses and consumers; and the bureaucracy should serve, not rule, the people.
Without these principles, we cannot make effective public policy decisions. They are necessary to both improve the environment and encourage economic growth and prosperity.
One very critical element to our success as policymakers is how we use science. That is especially true for environmental policy, which relies very heavily on science. I have insisted that federal agencies use the best, non-political science to drive decision-making. Strangely, I have been harshly criticized for taking this stance. To the environmental extremists, my insistence on sound science is outrageous.
For them, a "pro-environment" philosophy can only mean top-down, command-and-control rules dictated by bureaucrats. Science is irrelevant-instead, for extremists, politics and power are the motivating forces for making public policy.
But if the relationship between public policy and science is distorted for political ends, the result is flawed policy that hurts the environment, the economy, and the people we serve.
Sadly that's true of the current debate over many environmental issues. Too often emotion, stoked by irresponsible rhetoric, rather than facts based on objective science, shapes the contours of environmental policy.
A rather telling example of this arose during President Bush's first days in office, when emotionalism overwhelmed science in the debate over arsenic standards in drinking water. Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, vilified President Bush for "poisoning" children because he questioned the scientific basis of a regulation implemented in the final days of the Clinton Administration.
The debate featured television ads, financed by environmental groups, of children asking for another glass of arsenic-laden water. The science underlying the standard, which was flimsy at best, was hardly mentioned or held up to any scrutiny.
The Senate went through a similar scare back in 1992. That year some members seized on data from NASA suggesting that an ozone hole was developing in the Northern Hemisphere. The Senate then rushed into panic, ramming through, by a 96 to 0 vote, an accelerated ban on certain chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants. Only two weeks later NASA produced new data showing that their initial finding was a gross exaggeration, and the ozone hole never appeared.
The issue of catastrophic global warming, which I would like to speak about today, fits perfectly into this mold. Much of the debate over global warming is predicated on fear, rather than science. Global warming alarmists see a future plagued by catastrophic flooding, war, terrorism, economic dislocations, droughts, crop failures, mosquito-borne diseases, and harsh weather-all caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.
Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, sounded both ridiculous and alarmist when he said in March, "I'm more worried about global warming than I am of any major military conflict."
Science writer David Appell, who has written for such publications as the New Scientist and Scientific American, parroted Blix when he said global warming would "threaten fundamental food and water sources. It would lead to displacement of billions of people and huge waves of refugees, spawn terrorism and topple governments, spread disease across the globe."
Appell's next point deserves special emphasis, because it demonstrates the sheer lunacy of environmental extremists: "[Global warming] would be chaos by any measure, far greater even than the sum total of chaos of the global wars of the 20th century, and so in this sense Blix is right to be concerned. Sounds like a weapon of mass destruction to me."
No wonder the late political scientist Aaron Wildavsky called global warming alarmism the "mother of all environmental scares."
Appell and Blix sound very much like those who warned us in the 1970s that the planet was headed for a catastrophic global cooling. On April 28, 1975, Newsweek printed an article titled, "The Cooling World," in which the magazine warned: "There are ominous signs that the earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production-with serious political implications for just about every nation on earth."
In a similar refrain, Time magazine for June 24, 1974 declared: "However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades."
In 1974 the National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation, stated: "During the last 20 to 30 years, world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade." Two years earlier, the board had observed: "Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end...leading into the next glacial age."
How quickly things change. Fear of the coming ice age is old hat, but fear that man-made greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise to harmful levels is in vogue. Alarmists brazenly assert that this phenomenon is fact, and that the science of climate change is "settled."
To cite just one example, Ian Bowles, former senior science director on environmental issues for the Clinton National Security Council, said in the April 22, 2001 edition of the Boston Globe: "the basic link between carbon emissions, accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the phenomenon of climate change is not seriously disputed in the scientific community."
But in fact the issue is far from settled, and indeed is seriously disputed. I would like to submit at the end of my remarks a July 8 editorial by former Carter Administration Energy Secretary James Schlesinger on the science of climate change. In that editorial, Dr. Schlesinger takes issue with alarmists who assert there is a scientific consensus supporting their views.
[Refer to Chart 5] "There is an idea among the public that the science is settled," Dr. Schlesinger wrote. "...[T]hat remains far from the truth."
Today, even saying there is scientific disagreement over global warming is itself controversial. But anyone who pays even cursory attention to the issue understands that scientists vigorously disagree over whether human activities are responsible for global warming, or whether those activities will precipitate natural disasters.
I would submit, furthermore, that not only is there a debate, but the debate is shifting away from those who subscribe to global warming alarmism. After studying the issue over the last several years, I believe that the balance of the evidence offers strong proof that natural variability is the overwhelming factor influencing climate.
It's also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence. Thus far no one has seriously demonstrated any scientific proof that increased global temperatures would lead to the catastrophes predicted by alarmists. In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.
For these reasons I would like to discuss an important body of scientific research that refutes the anthropogenic theory of catastrophic global warming. I believe this research offers compelling proof that human activities have little impact on climate.
This research, well documented in the scientific literature, directly challenges the environmental worldview of the media, so they typically don't receive proper attention and discussion. Certain members of the media would rather level personal attacks on scientists who question "accepted" global warming theories than engage on the science.
This is an unfortunate artifact of the debate-the relentless increase in personal attacks on certain members of the scientific community who question so-called conventional wisdom.
I believe it is extremely important for the future of this country that the facts and the science get a fair hearing. Without proper knowledge and understanding, alarmists will scare the country into enacting its ultimate goal: making energy suppression, in the form of harmful mandatory restrictions on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse emissions, the official policy of the United States.
Such a policy would induce serious economic harm, especially for low-income and minority populations. Energy suppression, as official government and non-partisan private analyses have amply confirmed, means higher prices for food, medical care, and electricity, as well as massive job losses and drastic reductions in gross domestic product, all the while providing virtually no environmental benefit. In other words: a raw deal for the American people and a crisis for the poor.
THE KYOTO TREATY
The issue of global warming has garnered significant international attention through the Kyoto Treaty, which requires signatories to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by considerable amounts below 1990 levels.
The Clinton Administration, led by former Vice President Al Gore, signed Kyoto on November 12, 1998, but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification.
The treaty explicitly acknowledges as true that man-made emissions, principally from the use of fossil fuels, are causing global temperatures to rise, eventually to catastrophic levels. Kyoto enthusiasts believe that if we dramatically cut back, or even eliminate, fossil fuels, the climate system will respond by sending global temperatures back to "normal" levels.
In 1997, the Senate sent a powerful signal that Kyoto was unacceptable. By a vote of 95 to 0, the Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel resolution, which stated that the Senate would not ratify Kyoto if it caused substantial economic harm and if developing countries were not required to participate on the same timetable.
The treaty would have required the U.S. to reduce its emissions 31% below the level otherwise predicted for 2010. Put another way, the U.S. would have had to cut 552 million metric tons of CO2 per year by 2008-2012. As the Business Roundtable pointed out, that target is "the equivalent of having to eliminate all current emissions from either the U.S. transportation sector, or the utilities sector (residential and commercial sources), or industry."
The most widely cited and most definitive economic analysis of Kyoto came from Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, or WEFA. According to WEFA economists, Kyoto would cost 2.4 million US jobs and reduce GDP by 3.2%, or about $300 billion annually, an amount greater than the total expenditure on primary and secondary education.
Because of Kyoto, American consumers would face higher food, medical, and housing costs-for food, an increase of 11%, medicine, an increase of 14%, and housing, an increase of 7%. At the same time an average household of four would see its real income drop by $2,700 in 2010, and each year thereafter.
Under Kyoto, energy and electricity prices would nearly double, and gasoline prices would go up an additional 65 cents per gallon.
Some in the environmental community have dismissed the WEFA report as a tainted product of "industry." I would point them to the 1998 analysis by the Clinton Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy, which largely confirmed WEFA's analysis.
Keep in mind, all of these disastrous results of Kyoto are predicted by Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, a private consulting company founded by professors from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School.
In July, the Congressional Budget Office provided further proof that Kyoto-like carbon regulatory schemes are regressive and harmful to economic growth and prosperity.
As the CBO found, "The price increases resulting from a carbon cap would be regressive--that is, they would place a relatively greater burden on lower-income households than on higher-income ones."
As to the broader, macroeconomic effects of carbon cap and trade schemes, CBO said, "A cap-and-trade program for carbon emissions could impose significant costs on the economy in the form of welfare losses. Welfare losses are real costs to the economy in that they would not be recovered elsewhere in the form of higher income. Those losses would be borne by people in their roles as shareholders, consumers, and workers."
Now some might respond that government can simply redistribute income in the form of welfare programs to mitigate the impacts on the poor. But the CBO found otherwise: "The government could use the allowance value to partly redistribute the costs of a carbon cap-and-trade program, but it could not cover those costs entirely." And further: "Available research indicates that providing compensation could actually raise the cost to the economy of a carbon cap."
Despite these facts, groups such as Greenpeace blindly assert that Kyoto "will not impose significant costs" and "will not be an economic burden."
Among the many questions this provokes, one might ask: Won't be a burden on whom, exactly? Greenpeace doesn't elaborate, but according to a recent study by the Center for Energy and Economic Development, sponsored by the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, if the U.S. ratifies Kyoto, or passes domestic climate policies effectively implementing the treaty, the result would "disproportionately harm America's minority communities, and place the economic advancement of millions of U.S. Blacks and Hispanics at risk."
Among the study's key findings: Kyoto will cost 511,000 jobs held by Hispanic workers and 864,000 jobs held by Black workers; poverty rates for minority families will increase dramatically; and, because Kyoto will bring about higher energy prices, many minority businesses will be lost.
It is interesting to note that the environmental left purports to advocate policies based on their alleged good for humanity, especially for the most vulnerable. Kyoto is no exception. Yet Kyoto, and Kyoto-like policies developed here in this body, would cause the greatest harm to the poorest among us.
Environmental alarmists, as an article of faith, peddle the notion that climate change is, as Greenpeace put it, "the biggest environmental threat facing...developing countries." For one, such thinking runs contrary to the public declaration of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development-a program sponsored by the United Nations-which found that poverty is the number one threat facing developing countries.
Dr. John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, passionately reiterated that point in a May 22 letter to House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.). As an addendum to his testimony during the committee's hearing on the Kyoto Protocol, Christy, an Alabama State climatologist, wrote eloquently about his service as a missionary in Africa.
For Christy, "poverty is the worst polluter," and as he noted, bringing modern, inexpensive electricity to developing countries would raise living standards and lead to a cleaner environment. Kyoto, he said, would be counterproductive, and as I interpret him, immoral, for Kyoto would divert precious resources away from helping those truly in need to a problem that doesn't exist, and a solution that would have no environmental benefit. The following is an excerpt from the letter, and worth quoting at length:
"The typical home was a mud-walled, thatched-roof structure. Smoke from the cooking fire fueled by undried wood was especially irritating to breathe as one entered the home. The fine particles and toxic emissions from these in-house, open fires assured serious lung and eye diseases for a lifetime. And, keeping such fires fueled and burning required a major amount of time, preventing the people from engaging in other less environmentally damaging pursuits.
"I've always believed that establishing a series of coal-fired power plants in countries such as Kenya (with simple electrification to the villages) would be the best advancement for the African people and the African environment. An electric light bulb, a microwave oven and a small heater in each home would make a dramatic difference in the overall standard of living. No longer would a major portion of time be spent on gathering inefficient and toxic fuel. The serious health problems of hauling heavy loads and lung poisoning would be much reduced. Women would be freed to engage in activities of greater productivity and advancement. Light on demand would allow for more learning to take place and other activities to be completed. Electricity would also foster a more efficient transfer of important information from radio or television. And finally, the preservation of some of the most beautiful and diverse habitats on the planet would be possible if wood were eliminated as a source of energy.
"Providing energy from sources other than biomass (wood and dung), such as coal-produced electricity, would bring longer and better lives to the people of the developing world and greater opportunity for the preservation of their natural ecosystems. Let me assure you, notwithstanding the views of extreme environmentalists, that Africans do indeed want a higher standard of living. They want to live longer and healthier with less burden bearing and with more opportunities to advance. New sources of affordable, accessible energy would set them down the road of achieving such aspirations.
"These experiences made it clear to me that affordable, accessible energy was desperately needed in African countries. [INSERT AKPALI EXPERIENCE]
"As in Africa, ideas for limiting energy use, as embodied in the Kyoto protocol, create the greatest hardships for the poorest among us. As I mentioned in the Hearing, enacting any of these noble-sounding initiatives to deal with climate change through increased energy costs, might make a wealthy urbanite or politician feel good about themselves, but they would not improve the environment and would most certainly degrade the lives of those who need help now."
Some in this body have introduced Kyoto-like legislation that would hurt low-income and minority populations. Last year, Tom Mullen, president of Cleveland Catholic Charities, testified against S. 556, the Clean Power Act, which would impose onerous, unrealistic restrictions, including a Kyoto-like cap on carbon dioxide emissions, on electric utilities. He noted that this regime would mean higher electricity prices for the poorest citizens of Cleveland.
For those on fixed incomes, as Mr. Mullen pointed out, higher electricity prices present a choice between eating and staying warm in winter or cool in summer. As Mr. Mullen said, "The overall impact on the economy in Northeast Ohio would be overwhelming, and the needs that we address at Catholic Charities in Ohio with the elderly and poor would be well beyond our capacity and that of our current partners in government and the private sector."
In addition to its negative economic impacts, Kyoto still does not satisfy Byrd-Hagel's concerns about developing countries. Though such countries as China, India, Brazil, South Korea, and Mexico are signatories to Kyoto, they are not required to reduce their emissions, even though they emit nearly 30 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. And within a generation they will be the world's largest emitters of carbon, methane and other such greenhouse gases.
Despite the fact that neither of Byrd-Hagel's conditions has been met, environmentalists have bitterly criticized President Bush for abandoning Kyoto. But one wonders: why don't they assail the 95 senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who, according to Byrd-Hagel, oppose Kyoto as it stands today, and who would, presumably, oppose ratification if the treaty came up on the Senate floor?
And why don't they assail former President Clinton, or former Vice President Gore, who signed the treaty but never submitted it to the Senate for ratification?
To repeat, it was the unanimous vote of this body that Kyoto was and still is unacceptable. Several of my colleagues who believe that humans are responsible for global warming, including Sen. Jeffords, Sen. Kennedy, Sen. Boxer, Sen. Moseley-Braun, Sen. Lieberman, and Sen. Kerry, all voted for Byrd-Hagel.
Again, all of these senators, the most outspoken proponents of Kyoto, voted in favor of Byrd-Hagel.
Remember, Byrd-Hagel said the Senate would not ratify Kyoto if it caused substantial economic harm and if developing countries were not required to participate on the same timetable. So, if the Bryd-Hagel conditions are ever satisfied, should the United States ratify Kyoto?
Answering that question depends on several factors, including whether Kyoto would provide significant, needed environmental benefits.
First, we should ask what Kyoto is designed to accomplish. According to the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Kyoto will achieve "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system."
What does this statement mean? The IPCC offers no elaboration and doesn't provide any scientific explanation about what that level would be. Why? The answer is simple: thus far no one has found a definitive scientific answer.
Dr. S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Virginia, who served as the first Director of the US Weather Satellite Service (which is now in the Department of Commerce) and more recently as a member and vice chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere (NACOA), said that "No one knows what constitutes a 'dangerous' concentration. There exists, as yet, no scientific basis for defining such a concentration, or even of knowing whether it is more or less than current levels of carbon dioxide."
One might pose the question: if we had the ability to set the global thermostat, what temperature would we pick? Would we set it colder or warmer than it is today? What would the optimal temperature be? The actual dawn of civilization occurred in a period climatologists call the "climatic optimum" when the mean surface temperature was 1-2º Celsius warmer than today. Why not go 1 to 2 degrees Celsius higher? Or 1 to 2 degrees lower for that matter?
The Kyoto emissions reduction targets are arbitrary, lacking in any real scientific basis. Kyoto therefore will have virtually no impact on global temperatures. This is not just my opinion, but the conclusion reached by the country's top climate scientists.
Dr. Tom Wigley, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, found that if the Kyoto Protocol were fully implemented by all signatories-now I will note here that this next point assumes that the alarmists' science is correct, which of course it is not-if Kyoto were fully implemented it would reduce temperatures by a mere 0.07 degrees Celsius by 2050, and 0.13 degrees Celsius by 2100. What does this mean? Such an amount is so small that ground-based thermometers cannot reliably measure it.
Dr. Richard Lindzen, an MIT scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has specialized in climate issues for over 30 years, told the Committee on Environment and Public Works on May 2, 2001 that there is a "definitive disconnect between Kyoto and science. Should a catastrophic scenario prove correct, Kyoto would not prevent it."
Similarly, Dr. James Hansen of NASA, considered the father of global warming theory, said that Kyoto Protocol "will have little effect" on global temperature in the 21st century. In a rather stunning follow-up, Hansen said it would take 30 Kyotos-let me repeat that-30 Kyotos to reduce warming to an acceptable level. If one Kyoto devastates the American economy, what would 30 do?
So this leads to another question: if the provisions in the Protocol do little or nothing measurable to influence global temperatures, what does this tell us about the scientific basis of Kyoto?
Answering that question requires a thorough examination of the scientific work conducted by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which provides the scientific basis for Kyoto, international climate negotiations, and the substance of claims made by alarmists.
IPCC Assessment Reports
In 1992, several nations from around the globe gathered in Rio de Janiero for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The meeting was premised on the concern that global warming was becoming a problem. The U.S., along with many others, signed the Framework Convention, committing them to making voluntary reductions in greenhouse gases.
Over time, it became clear that signatories were not achieving their reduction targets as stipulated under Rio. This realization led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which was an amendment to the Framework Convention, and which prescribed mandatory reductions only for developed nations. [By the way, leaving out developing nations was an explicit violation of Byrd-Hagel.]
The science of Kyoto is based on the "Assessment Reports" conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC. Over the last 13 years, the IPCC has published 3 assessments, with each one over time growing more and more alarmist.
The first IPCC Assessment Report in 1990 found that the climate record of the past century was "broadly consistent" with the changes in Earth's surface temperature, as calculated by climate models that incorporated the observed increase in greenhouse gases.
This conclusion, however, appears suspect considering the climate cooled between 1940 and 1975, just as industrial activity grew rapidly after World War II. It has been difficult to reconcile this cooling with the observed increase in greenhouse gases.
After its initial publication, the IPCC's Second Assessment report in 1995 attracted widespread international attention, particularly among scientists who believed that human activities were causing global warming. In their view, the report provided the proverbial smoking gun.
The most widely cited phrase from the report-actually, it came from the report summary, as few in the media actually read the entire report-was that "the balance of the evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." This of course is so vague that it's essentially meaningless.
What do they mean by "suggests?" And, for that matter, what, in this particular context, does "discernible" mean? How much human influence is discernible? Is it a positive or negative influence? Where is the precise scientific quantification?
Unfortunately the media created the impression that man-induced global warming was fact. On August 10, 1995, the New York Times published an article titled "Experts Confirm Human Role in Global Warming." According to the Times account, the IPCC showed that global warming "is unlikely to be entirely due to natural causes."
Of course, when parsed, this account means fairly little. Not entirely due to natural causes? Well, how much, then? 1 percent? 20 percent? 85 percent?
The IPCC report was replete with caveats and qualifications, providing little evidence to support anthropogenic theories of global warming. The preceding paragraph in which the "balance of evidence" quote appears makes exactly that point.
It reads: "Our ability to quantify the human influence on global climate is currently limited because the expected signal is still emerging from the noise of natural variability, and because there are uncertainties in key factors. These include the magnitude and patterns of long-term variability and the time evolving pattern of forcing by, and response to, changes in concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and land surface changes."
Moreover, the IPCC report was quite explicit about the uncertainties surrounding a link between human actions and global warming. "Although these global mean results suggest that there is some anthropogenic component in the observed temperature record, they cannot be considered compelling evidence of a clear cause-and-effect link between anthropogenic forcing and changes in the Earth's surface temperature."
Remember, the IPCC provides the scientific basis for the alarmists' conclusions about global warming. But even the IPCC is saying that their own science cannot be considered compelling evidence.
Dr. John Christy